The Project Gutenberg EBook of South Africa and the Transvaal War, Vol. 8
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Title: South Africa and the Transvaal War, Vol. 8 (of 8)
       South Africa and its Future

Author: Various

Editor: Louis Creswicke

Release Date: November 24, 2014 [EBook #47449]

Language: English

Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1


Produced by Brownfox and the Online Distributed Proofreading
Team at (This file was produced from
images generously made available by The Internet Archive)

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After a Photo in the Natal Government Collection, by permission.

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South Africa
and the
Transvaal War











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Everyone who has followed the story of the War in South Africa from start to finish will assuredly have acquired a keen and lasting interest in the land which has been won by the expenditure of so much blood and treasure. Earnestly will he discuss in his mind all questions connected with the development of the New Dominions of the King, and vigilantly will he watch every action of the Government in regard to them.

In order rightly to estimate the difficulties to be overcome and the issues to be hoped for, and to follow these questions with complete apprehension, it is necessary to be familiar with their aspect in every possible light. To this end, the Editor has invited the co-operation of various well-known Authorities, each of whom has kindly contributed his opinion on matters coming within his special experience.

The Publishers claim, therefore, that in this Volume is collected the cream of modern thought, furnished at first-hand by those whose mastery of their subject, and whose interest in the Empire, render them competent to instruct in the intricacies of the South African problems, with which for some time to come we must stand face-to-face. That these writers do not on all points entirely agree is a matter for congratulation, as readers are thus enabled to view the political panorama from every reasonable standpoint, and weigh the pros and cons of their arguments with perspicuity and without prejudice.

At the present juncture, when Mr. Chamberlain, the greatest of Colonial Secretaries, is visiting South Africa, the Publishers are convinced that this Volume is the most valuable book on the new Colonies that has yet been offered to the Public.

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By His Grace THE DUKE OF ARGYLL, P.C., K.T.; Author of “Imperial Federation,” “The Life and Times of Queen Victoria,” &c.  
SOUTH AFRICAN FEDERATION: Views of Colonial Premiers 16
By E. B. OSBORN, Author of “Greater Canada.”  
By M. J. FARRELLY, LL.D., Barrister-at-Law; Advocate of the Supreme Court of Cape Colony.  
THE AFRICANDER PARTY: Its Origin, Its Growth, Its Aims 38
By the Hon. A. WILMOT, Member of the Legislative Council, Cape Colony; Author of “History of Our Own Times in South Africa,” &c., &c.  
RHODESIA: Some Personal Recollections 55
By E. F. KNIGHT, Author of “Where Three Empires Meet,” “The Cruise of the Falcon,” &c.  
By JAMES STANLEY LITTLE, Author of “South Africa,” “The Progress of the British Empire in the Nineteenth Century,” “The United States of Britain,” &c. &c.  
By F. T. NORRIS.  
By ALLEN G. DAVISON, Chief Inspector of Sheep for Cape Colony.  
By W. BLELOCH, Author of “The New South Africa.”  
By ERNEST GRAHAM LITTLE, B.A., formerly Porter Scholar, of the Cape University; M.D. University of London; Member of the Royal College of Physicians; Physician, with charge of the Skin Department, at St. Mary’s Hospital; Senior Assistant Physician to the East London Hospital for Children and Dispensary for Women, Shadwell; late House Physician at St. George’s Hospital and at the City of London Hospital for Diseases of the Chest.  
By WILLIAM EGLINGTON, Editor and Proprietor of “The British and South African Export Gazette.”  

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Commercial Map of South Africa At Front
A Stock Farm Frontispiece
Church Street, Pretoria—the Approach to the Town 20
At the Head of Umgeni Falls, Howick, Natal 40
The Outlet below Victoria Falls, Zambesi River 64
Lord Milner 80
A Kaffir Village 120
Peeling Bark on a Wattle Plantation in Natal 132
Bloemfontein 160
The Docks, Cape Town 8
The Low Veldt from Botha’s Hill 48
A Hunter’s Waggon, Rhodesia 56
The Resettlement of the Transvaal—A Boer Family returning to their Farm 72
Washing Plant of De Beers Diamond Mines at Kimberley 88
Cyanide Works (New Comet Mine) at Johannesburg 92
Mines on the Line of Reef at Johannesburg 96
Driving an “End” in May Consolidated Mine, Johannesburg 100
General View of the Surface Works of a Rand Gold Mine (Knight’s) 104
Pritchard Street, Johannesburg 108
Mill (or Battery) of a Gold Mine (Salisbury and Jubilee, Johannesburg) 112
Tea Farm, showing Coolies Picking 124
A Sugar-mill in Natal (Centrifugal Room) 128
Johannesburg Mail Train at the Foot of Majuba 144
Commissioner Street, Johannesburg 148
Morning Market at Johannesburg 152
Morning Market at Kimberley 168
Church Street East, Pretoria 176
Sir Henry M’Callum, K.C.M.G. 12
Hon. Sir W. F. Hely Hutchinson 16
Right Hon. Sir J. Gordon Sprigg, K.C.M.G. 24
Hon. Sir Arthur Lawley, K.C.M.G. 32
Sir H. J. Goold-Adams, C.B., C.M.G. 44
The Colonial Conference 184
Five-Mile Spruit, Rhodesia 56
Cape to Cairo Railway 58
Rhodesian Natives Washing Clothes 63
Macheckie Railway Bridge 65
The Wankie Expedition 68
Rhodesian Mining—The Dobie Mill 70
Prospecting for Gold 87
The Infancy of a Gold Mine 90
Section of a Gold Mine 93
Head-Gear of the Witwatersrand Gold-Mining Co. 100
Kaffir Compound 102
Cyanide Works 104
General View of Surface Works 106
Map—Transvaal Gold-Fields 109
Map—Rhodesian Gold-Fields 111
Wellwood Farm 114
Farm in the Karroo Proper 118
Vermont Merino Ewes 122
Pure Negretti Merino Ram 126
Angora Goat (Young Ewe) 130
Flock of Fat Cross-Bred Merino and Fat-Tailed Sheep 133
Angora Goats (Young Rams) 135
Fat-Tailed Hairy Africander Sheep 136
Angora Goat (Ram) 138
Bridge over the Tugela 142
Station Yard, Durban 146
Map of Cape Government Railway 152, 3
Map—Britain in Africa 199
Transcribers' Note: Click image for a larger version of this map

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Author of “Imperial Federation,” “The Life and Times of Queen Victoria,” &c.

Emigration of white men and women to South Africa—how can we best secure this? The abiding difficulty at the Cape and throughout the states that will form the future South African Confederation is the colour question. The “colour” is not that of the gold to be found so often in many places, but the question of the white and the black races dwelling in the same country.

Dutchman and Englishman will in time form one race. There is nothing to part them. They are European cousins. They both come from North Europe. The blood of the Dutchman runs in the veins of the Englishman. The parent stock of the Dutch gave off many a swarm wherewith to people the East Anglian shores. England has been fed and fought by the Dutch since those old days. We have received many of their sturdy countrymen into London. Any one who does not know the number and influence of the Dutch in comparatively recent times in our metropolis should pay a visit to the Austen Friars, the place where the monks of St. Augustine had their headquarters in the city, and see the fine old church the Dutch built, and in which they still worship. We remember well the stiff battles of Charles II.’s time. We know the names of Van Tromp and De Witt as well as any Dutchman. We have learned to respect our Dutch cousins, both on sea and land.

And their religion? There is nothing there to separate us. Has the Presbyterian form of religion kept Scotland separate? No, save in the pride of her ancient history. No Scotsman has any objection to marry an English lass, especially if she has herself more than will give both of them something better than oatcake. And the Dutch Reformed Church is much like the Presbyterian. There[Pg 2] is nothing that can in its tenets form any bar to the mixing of the British and Dutch people in South Africa. To be sure, a “nacht-maal” is not precisely a Church of England convocation or congress. It approaches much nearer to a Scottish communion service in out-of-the-way Highland parishes. There is nothing aggressive or exclusive in the staid and sober faith of our Dutch friends. And this being so, Scotsmen especially have intermarried often with the Boers.

As trustee of a Highland estate, some time ago my consent was asked to the granting of a leasehold to a Scottish gentleman, who had returned from the Transvaal. The only objection the lawyer who asked the question mentioned as existing against this man was that he was said to have married a native. Some canny objectors had written a letter saying that this ought to form a bar to any grant of land to the man, though he had originally come from the district. Who was the lady? was the next inquiry. Was she a Hottentot Venus? Did she “bang her hair” in too negroid a fashion? Would she introduce among the dim lights of the North the terrible practices of her people? Would the quiet village be scandalised by strange feasts and weird howlings? No, by no means. What was she, then? Why, nothing but a nice flaxen-haired, rather squab-featured, but withal comely Boer girl! So she entered into her Highland possession, had a door “stoop,” or something like a bit of raised verandah flooring put outside the entrance, but found, poor soul, that it was rather a dripping place of observation in her adopted climate. Nevertheless, the last news of her is that she is a happy, “sonsie” mother, and has some children, who don’t speak Dutch as their common language, but only a few low Dutch words, with very Highland accent.

But this is said to be only the case where a Scotsman marries a Boer. There is apparently something in the Scot that makes him look after his family more carefully than does the average Englishman or Irishman. It is therefore only the Scot, as it is said, both in Africa and in Canada, whose children, if he marry one of another race, do not desert the accents of their forefathers on the paternal side. As a rule the children become much what the mother is. I have seen the children of a naval man who had married an Indian woman on the Pacific Coast become almost like the small fish-eating savages around them. They were willing to do a little work for a spurt, and then relapsed into dirt and laziness. So in the north-west of Canada it is only an Orkney or Aberdeen east-coast Scot who can keep his family to civilised life, if he marry a Cree or member of any other Indian tribe. The Frenchman’s children, by an Indian mother, take to hunting only. Even with the Scots in Old Canada[Pg 3] the same rule holds good, at least wherever a Celt has married a French Canadian. There are numbers of families below Quebec, on the north side of the river St. Lawrence, whose names are Highland. They are the descendants chiefly of Fraser’s Highlanders, one of the regiments employed during the war against the French in 1748-49. When the soldiers obtained grants of land on the conclusion of the war they married French-Canadian women. Their descendants now can seldom speak one word of English or of Gaelic. They speak nothing but Canadian French patois. It is the mother’s influence, with rare exceptions, that tells. So it is in South Africa. In some districts it is as with Fraser’s Highlanders, in Province Quebec. You may visit farm after farm, especially those whose owners have Irish names, and you will not find any person in the house, or on the land belonging to the farm, who can speak a word of either English or Irish! It may be doubted if there would have been much loyalty taught to any government by the use of the Erse tongue. The “Taal” may inculcate a certain amount more of respect for paternal and government authority. Yet if theory distinguishes between Briton and Boer, or Englishman and Africander, Nature does not, and you find that the mingling of the races is a practical principle acted on regularly wherever the races are brought together. We may congratulate ourselves that this is so. The mixed race will be a magnificent one, with the size, courage, and tenacity of the Dutch, and the gentleness, bravery, and power of government and of cohesion of the Britisher. There are no handsomer women anywhere than there are among the Dutch ladies of Cape Colony. Many of their sons are sent to English public schools and universities, and though there are, alas, only too many who live under British institutions and who do not become British, there is no reason why, in course of time, they should not become as good citizens of a British Commonwealth as have the Vanderbilts and Van Horns and Roosevelts, and many others of Dutch name and lineage in New York State, for New York was New Amsterdam, and a very flourishing Dutch colony. On the banks of the Hudson you may still see thoroughly Dutch houses, built in the old days. What New Yorker would now change his nationality, though of Dutch descent? The freedom they have in the United States their cousins will also have in South Africa. They will mix with the English, whose language most of them speak already. They will do so all the more readily as time passes, in that they can never feel themselves to be anything but the equals of the British in all save in numbers.

It was for the benefit of the union between England and Scotland that the Scots won Bannockburn and many another hard fight[Pg 4] besides. They could point to their victories as the English could to theirs. And so with those of Dutch race at the Cape. They can point to famous names of good soldiers, who have inflicted defeat on the best British troops. And for this they will be all the greater friends hereafter. Unless each partner in business or in marriage can bring something into the common pot, there is not so happy a sense of helpfulness and mutual aid given, as there is when this union is a more equal one. There is another and a most weighty consideration which will tend to the union of the European races. This is the common necessity each has to strengthen the other against any possible predominance of the blacks. The danger in this matter will arise more in the warmer regions of the north of the future confederation than in the more temperate south. Time has proved that the white races can do well in the Cape. They increase rapidly. The climate is most favourable. The physical character of the races does not in any way deteriorate. On the contrary, it improves. They gain, as the Americans say, in “avoirdupois.” An “avoirdupois” Dutchman at the Cape, whose ancestors have been “avoirdupoising” there for two centuries, is a better all-round, and very round man, than is his compatriot in race at home among the canals and tulip gardens of Holland. But the black holds his own in weight and in numbers even in the temperate climate of the Cape Colony. Farther north, where the temperature is hotter, it is certain that he will be a better man than the white. The only exception to this can be in the mountain districts, where at high elevations in the plateaus there is probably a possibility that the white man’s children may thrive. In general, however, in all the low ground north of the Transvaal, and in many districts there, the “Kaffir” will be more favoured by the climate than will be the white invader. The Europeans will partially subject them, and partially they will remain, deteriorated in morals, but by no means likely to remain only the obedient servants that they are expected to be. There are many who now say that the next big trouble in South Africa will be with the blacks. This apprehension, if there be any reason in it, is another incentive for the whites to combine to make settlements secure and numerous, where they can defy any movement among the blacks. It is an additional incentive to us in the old land to see what we may do to make this union of the whites as British in feeling, as liberty loving, as British institutions can make it. The Boers in fighting have not lost their freedom. They have only lost one form of collective and separate independence. Individually their independence is far better guaranteed under British than under Dutch Africander forms of government.

But a great help to their seeing and understanding of this[Pg 5] will be the predominance, not the domination, of the English language. In the schools English history and its modern expansion in the colonies should be taught. Half of the dislike of England shown in the Republic and among the people in the United States arises from the teaching of the school-books, which indoctrinates the young American with the idea that as all tyranny known to his American fathers was centralised and expressed in Lord North’s Stamp Act and the Tea Duties, so the modern Britisher must still be imbued with the ideas of Lord North, and taxation without representation must go hand in hand with British rule. The young Africander must be taught that we of the old country have learned our lesson. He must know that each of the British self-governing colonies is a separate nation in alliance of its own free will with the mother-land. He must know that even in the wildest dreams of Africanderism the most separatist of the separatists desired the naval stations of the Cape to remain one of the chief resorts of the British fleet. Now that Germany and France have their foot on South African soil, “marching” with the states of the new confederation to be, the youth of the states must be taught to know our forms of government and the history of them, so that they may judge if they would rather be under the German or French flag. To be under any separate new flag would of course be to court danger from the powerful countries, who could cut off their trade from the harbours, were it not for the protection afforded by the British fleets. Union and education are therefore the passwords to success.

How can we better help these forces than by well-devised emigration? Our Dutch friends have given us a good example. They imported in the eighteenth century 5000 children from Amsterdam. They knew what they were about. That was at a time when horses were sent round in a ring to tread corn, that the labour of threshing it might be saved. It was a time when, near the outlying settlements to which the children were sent, there were lions and elephants to be met with—real live animals—recognisable by the Noah’s ark toys of the children, whose delight at the sight of the creatures was not always shared by their parents! How different is all now! For thousands of miles, up and down the country, life is as safe as in most parishes in England. The only thing to fear is probably an enraged ostrich, and these can easily, even on an ostrich farm where the huge birds are reared for their feathers, be kept out of the children’s way. The little ones had a long time of it on board ship, three months in some cases; and glad they must have been to see the coast-line rising as they neared the Bay, and the long flat top of the precipitous Table Mountain, with[Pg 6] a white wreath of mist looking like snow against the delicate blue of the sky, on its rocky summit level. They were not all kept in the white town at the base of the beautiful mountain whose ever-changing hues were a delight to them. The children were wisely distributed, that they might take a liking to the place where they were trained, and should have a feeling of home love for the part of the country they would know while yet young. And so it should be done by us in these later times when we have more need of the spread of our own tongue and traditions in this great land. Careful location is indeed necessary, but there are so many good locations, especially along the south coast, that we need not be too timid or too dilatory. Port Elizabeth, Cape Town, two good bays to the northward to which railways must ultimately come—more settlements again along the coast in temperate regions to the east, are wanted, where latitude 34 shows that no great heat can be feared—these are the “plums” for position. And when you turn the corner of that long stretch of coast lying along latitude 34, you must look out for higher sites than those on the sea-beach for the young people. And of these higher sites there are plenty. If Durban be too relaxing there is Pietermaritzburg inland, and so of most of the ports and bays. Leaving the coast and going inland by the railways into the “Orange” and Transvaal, we at once meet the main difficulty of “location” in the want of water. The Transvaal seems like a gigantic turtle-back, and whereas in Australia you may meet with water if you dig 1500 feet or more, where there is no appearance of it on the surface, we must wait for such revelations in the Transvaal. The territories are fed by few good rivers, and these are apt to be either raging torrents or dry gravel beds. But there are “fonteins” in many places, and there is no reason why a fair sprinkling of girls’ and boys’ institutions should not be comfortably located both in Transvaal and “Orange,” where along the river of that name there is a more certain supply of water. The Vaal is of course the largest stream for irrigation in the north. Very little has been done to husband the water of any of the African rivers; and the chief work to be done in matters of material improvement is the adequate damming and storing of the waters of all the principal streams. The winter floods, copious and overwhelming, have been allowed to run to waste. Water and wives must for a long time be the chief wants of South Africa.

Lucas gives briefly the main features of the country now under our flag. From the south coast to the Zambesi in the neighbourhood of the Victoria Falls is 1200 miles. The land rises steadily from the sea as you get into the Hinterlands, and the mountain ranges run parallel to the sea. Behind these ranges there is everywhere an elevated plateau, and the highest plains are in the east.[Pg 7] There also the rainfall is the greatest. “It is from the south or east that men come into Southern Africa, not from the west, where stretch the dreary deserts of Damara and Namaqua Land.” North of the Karoo Desert the principal places are well situated for altitude. To the west Kimberley is 4000 feet above the sea. Bloemfontein, the capital of the Orange State, is higher by 500 feet than is Kimberley. Mafeking has 4200 feet. Pretoria, the capital of the Transvaal, is the same as Bloemfontein. Johannesburg, though so near Pretoria, stands at 5600 feet. In the north, Matebele Land has an average of 2500 feet. It is possible that deep borings may find water in the new states where there is none at present. These heights are sufficient to explain how it is that even far to the north of Cape Colony European settlement may thrive, and children grow up strong and healthy. But “location” is everything.

Now, what has been done to foster immigration and settlement up to the present? Hardly anything has been done by Government. Sir Harry Smith, who commanded in the fiercest of the Kaffir wars, and after whose wife Ladysmith received its name, strongly urged the policy of settling soldiers in the Colony. Between the Fish and the Keiskamma rivers “military villages” were encouraged, the settlers “being army pensioners liable to be called on for the defence of the frontier.” Then again in the Queenstown district Governor-General Cathcart proposed to settle two Swiss Regiments, but his plan was not supported. Then Sir George Grey, his successor, persuaded the home Government to send out 2300 of the Foreign Legion, as it was called, recruited for the Crimean War. They were to be called on for military service, if wanted, during a period of seven years, and they were to have pay for three years. Each man received his land free of rent, to become his own at the end of the seven years, if he had loyally fulfilled his engagements. The Government of the Cape helped by a grant of money. “At the beginning of 1857,” says Lucas in his Geography of the British Colonies, “the German soldiers arrived and were settled, some at existing towns or stations, such as East London and King William’s Town, some on selected sites, whose villages were yet to be built. Distributed through the eastern districts of the Colony, and through British Kaffraria, they held the lines of communication, as garrisons attached to, and having an interest in the soil. The divisional district of Stutterheim still bears the name of the officer in whose charge the soldiers came, and under whose immediate guidance they were settled on the land. The chief drawback to the scheme was that only a few of the emigrants brought wives with them. This defect Sir George Grey sought to remedy by proposing to import a number of German families to be located with and to[Pg 8] supplement the military settlers. Some were brought over, but the total expenditure which was contemplated was too large to win the assent of the Imperial Government, and to subsidise an exclusively German immigration, seemed to the Secretaries of State less politic than to provide the existing German settlers with English or Irish wives. The Governor therefore sent on a thousand of the unmarried soldiers to India, and those who remained behind developed into Cape Colonists, and fell into line with the civil population.”

This experiment has succeeded so well that it is a wonder that it was not repeated. Considering the enormous disproportion in the old country between the number of men and the number of women, it would seem a comparatively simple matter to assist female emigration, especially when a Colony is young and able to absorb any number sent. Nor need any Colonial Government Department be alarmed that the worthless will be sent. There are plenty of useful and excellent women who would be glad to go. As yet the only woman contingents that have been sent out are the few dozen teachers who have proceeded to the concentration camps. A party of these hailing from Toronto and Ottawa were lately in England on their journey to the Cape. Every one who met these ladies was struck with the earnestness they showed and the ability they displayed in conversing on the subject of their hopes and expectations. They seemed a lot drafted from the best women instructresses in some New England State. But Ontario can well afford now to be compared with the best of the New England States in regard to her public instruction. Her schools of all kinds are excellent. A “send off” meeting was held in the Jerusalem Chamber at Westminster Abbey for a party of fifty. They were addressed by Mr. Chamberlain and Lord Peel. Now that peace has come and the camps will have been broken up, these women will doubtless find equally useful employment under the Education Department in the New Colonies. The Government here have a large “reservoir” to draw upon in the women who are employed in the telegraph and postal service in Great Britain. Any of these persons would immediately find a sphere of activity in the new lands. The population of these countries is certain to increase rapidly with the opening of the old mines and the successful exploitation of new. There are large centres of industry where there is no want of water, where there is a certainty of good mining success, and where communities will grow up anxious for good schools, and well able to pay for instructors and instructresses.

Photo: Wilson, Aberdeen.


It is a curious thing that while at the Cape and elsewhere you find in the hotels plenty of Swiss and German and some French waitresses and housemaids, you find few English. Why? It must be[Pg 9] only from want of organisation. At Grahamstown, not far from the bay called Algoa by the Portuguese (whose thoughts went to Goa in India, and named Algoa and Delagoa as calling places for Goa ships) there has been an institution for instruction lately founded. Let me cite here the work of the South African Expansion Committee in their own words.

This Association is established to promote Protected Emigration, due regard being had to the interests both of the Emigrants and of the countries to which they go.

The Association pledges itself:—

(a) To Emigrate only such Women and Girls as are of good character and capacity.

(b) To select only such Men and Families as are suitable to the requirements of each Colony.

(c) To secure for them proper Protection on the voyage, and adequate Reception on arrival.

(d) If possible, not to lose sight of them for a year or two after their Emigration.

(e) To raise a Loan Fund for necessitous cases, repayment being secured on detained wages.

It is recognised by prominent statesmen of all parties that the future of our South African possessions depends on their colonisation—not only by the large bodies of active and energetic men, who at the close of the war will find permanent employment there—but also by trained and capable women. Many situations and professions are already awaiting them, and as the country becomes more settled, fresh openings of all sorts will arise.

Women of proved suitability are prepared to go, when the right time comes, but a great barrier to all extensive development of this essential movement is lack of funds.

Financial support is needed for the following purposes:—

(1) The establishment, on sound business principles, of Hostels at Cape Town[1] and at the chief centres, such as Durban, Pretoria, Kimberley, Johannesburg, Bloemfontein, Bulawayo, Salisbury, &c., where women and girls can be received for a few days on arrival, and where, if they have daily engagements, they may reside permanently. Each of these Hostels would be also an employment Bureau for every kind of women’s work, and would require a capable salaried Lady Superintendent to manage the Home and the Employment Bureau, and to act as correspondent between Employer and Employed.

(2) Provision for the proper care and guidance of women throughout the journey from the British Isles to their final destination in South Africa.

(3) Grants in aid of passages from the British Isles to South Africa when the traveller cannot afford the whole cost, or loans to be repaid within a given period.

[Pg 10]

(4) Preparation of women at the Leaton Colonial Training Home, Wellington, Salop.

(5) Secretarial Expenses.

British men and women must alike desire for our new territories, and for South Africa generally, the same ordered, wholesome, law-abiding traditions as are to be found in the Old Country; and these can only be built up on a lasting basis, by rendering life possible there as here for suitable women, whether as teachers, nurses, secretaries, typists, telegraph or telephone clerks, sempstresses, or household assistants.

We would appeal for funds not only to help those who go to earn their daily bread, but also to enable the wives, the daughters, and sisters of settlers to join their belongings in the new country. Many a man could make a home for his wife or sister but for the initial cost of her passage and the difficulties of the journey for inexperienced women. Openings in the new territories are declined by men at the front, because they cannot bring out those dependent upon them at home. They need that the ocean be bridged for them by kindly forethought, by experienced and economical organisation, by suitable protection, and by carefully adjusted financial assistance.

It is surely not much to ask that those to whom domestic comfort is a matter of course, should contribute in these ways to make a home life possible for those upon whom the future of South Africa depends.

The Lady Knightley, of Fawsley, in regard to the preparation for women going to South Africa, says:—

“In laying before the public the scheme for assisting the emigration of women of all classes to South Africa, the Council are specially anxious to enlist the active co-operation of ladies in all parts of the country, and with a view to securing this assistance, they desire to draw the attention, of those who may be disposed to help, to various methods of forwarding the scheme, in the hope that some one or other of them may prove feasible.

“Ladies could insure that those desiring to emigrate should have the opportunity of fitting themselves for their new life by helping to provide instruction for them in various departments of practical life.

“1. Cooking, Dairying, Poultry-keeping.

“2. Breadmaking, Laundry-work.

“3. Needlework, Cutting out.

“4. Gardening, Fruit-packing, Bee-keeping.

“5. Ambulance, Nursing, Health teaching.

“In some parts of the country this will be best accomplished by arranging for attendance at County Council Classes for Technical Instruction, or by putting people in the way of gaining the Scholarships which some County Councils provide for dairying, others for nursing, &c. In other districts, where such Classes or Scholarships are not provided by the County Council, or where the Classes are inconvenient of access, it might be arranged for such instruction to be given in a country house. Good, old-fashioned, upper servants, of whom there are some left, might in some cases be glad to help in this way.

“An even better plan would be to arrange for girls and young women (especially those from towns) to pass a month or two in a farmhouse, where, under a capable farmer’s wife, much of the required teaching would come naturally in the routine of the household. In this way a foundation might be laid which would render the traveller of far greater use on her first arrival[Pg 11] in South Africa than would otherwise be the case, and also more able to acquire further knowledge should she obtain a situation on a poultry or other farm.

“The improved methods of poultry-keeping inaugurated by the National Poultry Organisation, 12 Hanover Square, should, if possible, be studied. Ladies might supply intending travellers with copies of its valuable leaflets.

“Some knowledge of gardening should be acquired, preferably through the medium of the Swanley Ladies’ Horticultural College. But should this prove too long and expensive a training, a good deal might be learnt from a head gardener if ladies would make it easy for such instruction to be given. The best methods of packing fruit should also be acquired, and in towns, ladies who are large customers of fruit salesmen might make interest with them for giving instruction.

“Ladies who are Members of County Bee-keeping Associations might be able to obtain for intending Emigrants some instruction from the Expert usually attached to such Associations. Mr. Theodore Bent has pointed out that in a country where wild bees do so well as they do in South Africa, tame bees ought to succeed, and as butter at present is somewhat scarce, honey might become a valuable article of food. The same remark applies to jam, and jam-making should be included in the subjects to be taught.

“If possible, intending travellers should attend some ambulance, health, and nursing lectures, which would prove a valuable possession in their future lives. Of course, such instruction would be a good deal better than nothing, but regular Ambulance Lectures, with an Examination to follow, would be far better, and in many instances ladies could use their influence in the country in getting such lectures arranged, not of course specially for Emigrants, but to give them the opportunity of attending. They might also, in some cases, pay the necessary fees. There are many ladies, especially among the younger ones, who have acquired a considerable knowledge of nursing, and who might do invaluable service by imparting to intending emigrants some acquaintance with, at all events, such rudiments of nursing as are comprised in changing sheets, improvised cradles, bed rests, and the hundred and one little dodges—if they may be so termed—which make the whole difference in illness, and which so many people are utterly ignorant of.

“It is hoped that it may be found possible for nurses to go out on the same ships with parties of emigrants, with a view to their giving nursing and ambulance lectures on the voyage.

“Ladies may also help by contributing to the libraries for use on board ship and at the Hostels, which it is intended to establish for the reception of emigrants on their arrival at Cape Town, and also in other South African Centres.

“Another form of assistance would be to undertake to pay for the instruction of emigrants in South African languages. Miss Alice Werner (20 Dry Hill, Park Road, Tonbridge) is holding classes for the study of the Zulu language, and also for Taal or Cape Dutch, at King’s College, Strand. Besides these, she is prepared to give lessons in some of the languages spoken in British Central Africa.

“Clothes are not unfrequently needed for intending emigrants. Working parties could be organised to provide new underclothing, which could also be purchased from institutions and bazaars. These working parties would also furnish a valuable opportunity for making known the scheme among the[Pg 12] daughters of the farmers and tradesmen, who are just the class most likely to prove desirable denizens of the new Colonies.

“Useful but fashionable slightly-used clothes for middle-class women might also be collected.

“Ladies with friends in South Africa may also give valuable assistance by writing to tell them of the scheme, being careful to enclose a prospectus issued by the Association, so that there may be no mistake as to terms, conditions, &c. Ladies in Cape Town should be asked to confer with Mrs. Bairnsfather, Grange Avenue, Rondebosch, Cape Town, and with the Committee which has recently been formed.

“It should be known to all who are kindly willing to interest themselves in this undertaking that a Colonial Training Home has been established at Leaton, Wrockwardine, Wellington, Salop, the object of which is to give practical training in domestic work to ladies and girls wishing to proceed to the Colonies, to join their families or as Mothers’ Helps. The training given is of the most thorough description, and no servants being kept, the pupils do all the work of the house. The course lasts for three or six months, and the terms are 15s. weekly for a single bedroom, 10s. for sharing a double one. But as only twelve pupils can be received at a time, it will be impossible by this means only, to train the many girls who, it is hoped, will be willing and anxious to avail themselves of the advantages offered by this scheme; and therefore it is that the Council confidently appeal for help on the simple but practicable lines indicated in the foregoing pages.”

In application to the British Women’s Emigration Association (South African Expansion), replies to the following questions have to be forwarded to the Hon. Secretary, South African Expansion, Imperial Institute, London, S. W.:—

1. Christian and Surname in full; Postal Address in full.

2. Date and Place of Birth; Religious Denomination.

3. (a) Parents or near relative living; (b) Home Address; (c) Father’s Profession.

4. To which Colony do you wish to go?

5. Have you friends or relatives there with whom you are in correspondence? if so, give name and address.

6. What line of life do you propose to pursue in that Colony?

7. Have you hitherto had any experience in practical work?

8. Do you propose—(a) to invest capital? (b) to seek employment in (1) Poultry, Fruit, Vegetable Farming or Dairy? (2) Business, Boarding-house, Tea-shop, Dressmaking, Photography, &c.

9. If from a Colonial or other Training Home, give address.

10. Is your health good? (a Medical Certificate will be required); when were you last vaccinated?

11. Can you meet your travelling expenses, or are you likely to require a small loan?

12. Three references are required. Give name and address if possible of—(a) Minister of Religion or Justice of the Peace; (b) two ladies or other responsible persons.

13. Space to be left blank for Referee’s signature.

14. Length of time Referee has known Applicant.

[Pg 13]

The ordinary ocean fares are as follow:—

Union-Castle Line, from Southampton.

Second Class. Mail Steamer. Intermediate.
Cape Town 25 to 29 guineas 23 to 26 guineas.
Port Elizabeth 17 to 31 " 24 to 28 "
East London 28 to 32 " 25 to 29 "
Natal 29 to 33 " 26 to 30 "
Third Class. Mail Steamer. Intermediate.
Cape Town 15 to 17 guineas 12 to 14 guineas.
Port Elizabeth 16 to 18 " 13 to 15 "
East London 17 to 19 " 14 to 16 "
Natal 18 to 20 " 15 to 17 "

Aberdeen (Rennie) Line, direct from London.

Natal, First Class, £34 13s.; Second Class, £21.
Beira, " £40 19s.; " £26.

Intermediate Steamers carrying First Class only.

Natal, £25, 4s. Beira, £34.

Shaw Savill Line to Cape Town only, from London—

Third Class, £9, 9s. to £11, 11s. No Second Class.

Also White Star Line to Cape Town occasionally, from Liverpool.

Luggage allowed free; 20 cubic feet second class; 10 cubic feet third class, extra at 1s. 6d. per foot. By Aberdeen Line, 40 feet first class; 30 feet intermediate.

At the present time there are no assisted passages to Cape Colony. When these are granted, they enable an employer to obtain an employee by paying to the Immigration Office at Cape Town a portion of the passage money, the Government of Cape Colony paying the remainder. Women availing themselves of the advantage of a practically free passage are obliged to sign a contract, which is legally binding, to remain one year or longer, according to the agreement made with the employer.

Natal.—Persons resident in Natal can obtain third class assisted passages from their female relatives and domestic servants through the Immigration Department in the Colony. Adults, £5; children, half-price.

Persons travelling under the auspices of the Association are grouped in reserved cabins under an escort. When larger parties are collected they will have the comfort of travelling with an experienced matron, whose authority they will be expected to uphold.

Hostels and Employment Bureaux are established for receiving travellers and for Registry Work at Cape Town, Johannesburg, and Salisbury. Reception and forwarding arranged at all seaports.

Employment for Elementary and High School Teachers, Trained Nurses, Typists, Dressmakers and Milliners, Useful Helps, Matrons, Business Hands, and Laundresses, can be obtained through the Correspondents of the Association.[Pg 14]

In Cape Colony and the larger towns of South Africa, the openings will be chiefly for all-round Domestics, and women in Professions and Business; up the country in the New Territories, for women who as Working Housekeepers can utilise native labour. Teachers will be wanted in all the Provinces.

Employees will be sent out as soon as employers apply for them and Government Authorities consent. Women who intend to settle up-country should meanwhile perfect themselves in cooking and all household matters, adding a knowledge of dairy work, poultry, and bee-keeping.

Travellers going through the Association who have to sleep in London, can be received at 3s. 6d. per day. Three days’ notice must be given.

Only women of good character, health, and capability, are accepted by the South African Expansion Committee, in whose hands the selection of women to South Africa has been placed. Protection is secured to them till they enter the situations found for them in the Colonies.

Photo: Elliott & Fry, London.


Governor of Natal.

But fully as important as the emigration of adults will be the placing of children in well-selected places in South Africa. The object to be attained is to let children grow up in the country so that they may regard it as their own, and that their early home affection may be largely connected with their adopted land. The difficulty of the selection of children is as nothing compared with the difficulty of the selection of adults. Nor are the objections often raised in a new community against the importation of the last, heard against the first. A wide experience has shown that children are eagerly sought by farmers, and are “placed out” with ease. The remarkable success Dr. Barnardo has had in Canada, to which country he has sent between twelve and thirteen thousand children, has proved this. The number of failures has been only about 1 per cent. Nor is this a haphazard statement. Watch and ward have been kept over the fortunes of the youngsters. They have been carefully placed after due negotiation and correspondence, and each has been reported upon after settlement. The success obtained is best gauged by the ever-increasing number of applications for just such boys and girls as have been previously “located.” Every year of late years there have been three great parties sent across the Atlantic, and the cry is ever for more to come. In spring, in midsummer, and in “the fall,” the children have been taken out. Entrained on arriving in Canada, the farmers have come down to meet them at the various stations, and they have been at once taken to their new homes, where they have almost uniformly given satisfaction to their employers. They are growing up hearty, happy Canadians, and many hundred letters arrive from them at Stepney where they were trained, telling how they are “getting on.” Every penny spent on their teaching in England has had a double return in making room when they go for another boy or girl to be similarly[Pg 15] brought up, and in providing Canada and Britain with a small citizen “cut out of whole cloth,” as the Americans say, ready to fight for the Empire whether in Canada, in Europe, or in Africa.

Now though the East End philanthropist has the greatest number from which to draw his recruits, he does not stand alone. There is Mr. Quarrier, near Alloa in Scotland, who is doing similar work. In London no child who knocks at the door of the many institutions is refused. Each is admitted, and the change in a year is marvellous. The child has already become a good little mechanic or workman of some kind or other. He is cleanly, disciplined, and has many an example ahead of him and around him, to make him follow in the good road on which he has been set. In London £5000 is now asked for by Dr. Barnardo for the African scheme. The greatest care is to be taken to watch over the children sent out. They are to be carefully placed where climate and water is good, and there, after a course of instruction in all that is most useful in South Africa, they will be placed out as in Canada with farmers, with miners, with mechanics, and with any who want them, if the employers can only show that a good home is provided. But until a good home is provided by the Colonists, they are to have a good home out there of their own. There are opportunities of education in the local farming pursuits that “make the mouth water,” to have children thus placed. The pastoral work of dairying, as well as the healthy occupations of gardening and produce-raising will all be studied and taught on the spot. What a happy change from the crowded thoroughfares of the east of London! And if these children succeed, as they assuredly will, why should not the Government do a little useful work of the same kind as that undertaken by Dr. Barnardo and by Mr. Quarrier on its own account? Why not utilise for Africa some of the industrial school children? They, if settled together, and sent to English-speaking farmers, will not forget that they are English. They will not make their farms when they get them, after their useful school career, resound only with the expressive but illiterate “Taal” tongue. Good Saxon (even if shorn of a few h’s) will be heard in their homesteads in the future. They will add a good reinforcement to those who know that freedom is not to be got by racial separation, and the condemnation of everything British. They will permeate the districts where they grow up to manhood and womanhood with the British idea and practice of common obedience to law and justice as the best security for freedom.


[1] The generosity of Mr. Rhodes and of the De Beers Company has made it possible to the influential South African Immigration Committee which has been formed at Cape Town to open a Hostel there already.

[Pg 16]




Author of “Greater Canada”


Unification has always been an ideal of South African statesmen, and twice, at least, it has been within measurable distance of realisation. In 1858 Sir George Grey, who had federated the New Zealand settlements despite the intensity of their local jealousies, promulgated the first practical scheme of South African Federation. So well had he ruled the Kaffir tribes on the eastern border of Cape Colony, that the Free State, weary of warfare with the Basutos, made overtures for a federal alliance, and the proposition of the Volksraad was actually laid before the Cape Parliament by Sir George Grey, before the opinion of the British Ministry in regard to his scheme of federation on New Zealand lines and their sanction for the course actually pursued had been received. Sir George Grey was recalled; though on his arrival off the British coast he found that he had been reinstated by a new Secretary of State, the delay led to the loss of an excellent opportunity for carrying through a measure comparable in importance with the Act which brought about the legislative union of Upper and Lower Canada.

Photo: Elliott & Fry, London.


Governor of Cape Colony.

For many years after the failure of Sir George Grey’s attempt, unification was a little-regarded counsel of perfection. It is true that the Duke of Buckingham, Secretary of State for the Colonies in the Disraeli Ministry of 1868, admitted that it would be politic to consider seriously any further overtures for a federal alliance from the Boers, but the Free State was no longer in the mood to make them, our annexation of Basutoland being resented, and the discovery of diamonds on its western border in 1867 having created fresh causes of irritation. When the second Disraeli Ministry came into power, and Lord Carnarvon, who had collaborated with the Canadian Fathers of Federation (he himself may be described as the Godfather of the Dominion), undertook the charge of colonial affairs, the plan proposed by Sir Henry Barkly for a confederation of South[Pg 17] Africa, which should be the logical consequence of the grant of autonomy to Cape Colony, was cordially received. Unfortunately the Free State held aloof, the Cape Ministry remembered only too well the object lessons in anti-Imperialism received from Lord Carnarvon’s predecessors, and a grain de sable—the tactlessness of Mr. Froude—caused a vast amount of friction. Even then, but for the revival at home of the belief that political quietism and a policy of non-interference with Colonial affairs would enable Great Britain to retain the commercial hegemony of the world, Lord Carnarvon’s hopes might have been realised; for he had grasped the all-important fact that South Africa was, and must always remain, a single-minded community, whenever the native question was discussed, and that this unity of opinion was a stronger motive for unification than any or all of those political or commercial considerations which had already led to the making of the Dominion, and seemed certain, sooner or later, to bring about the federation of the Australian Colonies.

In more recent years three men of commanding influence have, each in his own way, attempted to realise the ideal of unity. Mr. Kruger’s attempt to lay the foundation of a Dutch confederacy, the future greatness of which would have been based (can we doubt it?) on some form of slavery, may be dismissed as an instance of the adage, corruptio optimi pessima. Mr. Cecil Rhodes worked for a federation on the model of the United States; since the Cape was half Dutch, the Transvaal was to be made half British, and the settlement of Rhodesia was to insure the preponderance of Imperial ideas in the Union of the future. He saw that the Boers must be persuaded to co-operate, and for that reason he allied himself to Mr. Hofmeyr, the unofficial leader of the Boer party in Cape Colony, who also had his federal scheme. Had the two Boer leaders agreed to work loyally together in their disloyalty, it is conceivable that they might have brought about an act of federation in the Boer interest, and have constitutionally demanded from Great Britain the removal of her garrisons from South Africa, a naval station at Simon’s Bay being conceded in order to retain the essential measure of Imperial protection. Such, at any rate, seems to have been Mr. Hofmeyr’s dream. But, instead of being content to widen and deepen the influence of the Afrikander Bond until such time as the term “suzerainty” should have been interpreted by the heirs to Mr. Gladstone’s South African policy, Mr. Kruger decided to make use of his hoarded armaments, and the future of his great raid involved the failure of Mr. Hofmeyr’s long-meditated plan of—shall we call it?—constitutional disloyalty. Nevertheless the twofold ideal of unity, which inspired the acts both of those who deserved and those who did not deserve to succeed, has survived[Pg 18] all these vicissitudes, and was never more strong than at the present moment. Indeed it is obvious that not only the British and Dutch inhabitants of South Africa, but also all responsible politicians and competent publicists in Canada and Australia, are now of opinion that complete solutions of the three South African problems of primary importance—the settlement of the native question, agricultural development, and railway administration—can only be obtained through a Federal Parliament, a body which would combine a detailed knowledge of local conditions with the power of seeing each problem as a whole, and devising a general solution.


The foregoing contains the gist of many conversations with those who have a special knowledge of South Africa and South African affairs. The opinions of Sir Albert Hime, the Prime Minister of Natal, who may certainly claim to speak in this matter on behalf of the South African loyalists, were expressed as follows in an interview with the writer:—

“I am convinced that the majority of South Africans are anxious to see a ‘United South Africa,’ and I believe they will see it before long. I cannot, of course, speak for the Dutch; but I am sure that every ‘Britisher’ in Natal and in Rhodesia, and nine out of every ten ‘Britishers’ in the rest of South Africa, are in favour of federation. The great problems of South African development can only be completely solved by a central authority. The native problem, for example, which is the most serious of all, is a case in point. The difficulty of obtaining a sufficient supply of native labour—a difficulty only to be overcome by increasing the wants of the natives—is only one phase of this problem, but it will supply an illustration of the necessity of considering the interests of the whole country in dealing with such matters. As things are arranged at present, the planters and farmers of Natal have a reasonable cause of complaint in the fact that all their available supply of native labour is drawn away to the Rand mines. I may add that the solidarity of South African opinion in regard to the treatment of the natives—all white men in South Africa are agreed, for example, that they must never have the franchise, and that no attempt should be made to create a navvy class in South Africa to compete with the natives in the unskilled labour market—is a great unifying influence. The matter of agricultural settlement is another problem which should be considered with reference to the general interests of the whole country. There is an impression current in certain quarters that immigration should be diverted into the new Colonies. But once[Pg 19] the conception of a United South Africa is grasped, it is obvious that a new British settler in Natal will do as much for the maintenance of British supremacy as a new British settler in the Transvaal. If South Africa is not to become a country of two or three large cities in a huge, sparsely settled territory, the problem of agricultural development should be dealt with on the broadest lines, and in the interest of the whole country. Natal has no intention whatever of pursuing a selfish policy in regard to the work of procuring settlers or of obtaining a share of the Transvaal traffic.”

Asked to express his opinion as to when the “United South Africa” of his hopes would come into being, Sir Albert Hime naturally enough refused to suggest a date. “But I am strongly of opinion that federation should take place before the new Colonies receive self-government, or, at any rate, concurrently with that event. That would be the safest course; for it is quite possible that the new Colonies, after they had received autonomy, would refuse to join. Once they have attained the privileges of self-government as part and parcel of a ‘United South Africa,’ I do not think there would be any special friction; if there was, it would gradually disappear as local jealousies grew less.”

“Though I do not regard the question of South African Federation as a matter of merely academic interest,” continued Sir Albert Hime, “yet I think it would serve no useful purpose to discuss the details of a federal scheme at the present moment. But, for my own part, I do not regard the arguments of Mr. Cecil Rhodes in favour of making Cape Town the federal capital as conclusive. In a speech at Bulawayo, Mr. Cecil Rhodes summed up those arguments in a forcible manner, and his bequest of Groote Schuur as a residence for the Premier of the United South Africa that is to be, is an additional argument of considerable weight. But I am inclined to think that the fact that the Cape Peninsula is, as Mr. Rhodes said, the seaside sanatorium of South Africa, would not compensate for the remoteness of Cape Town from the centre of the new federation. And, again, if Cape Town were chosen there would be a tendency to make too much of Cape politics, and the spirit of Cape politicians might tend to dominate the Federal Parliament. Johannesburg would be a bad choice. Living will always be costly there, and the influence of cosmopolitan capitalists might be exerted with bad results. Of course we should be glad to have the capital in Natal, but I do not expect we shall have that honour. All things considered, Bloemfontein would perhaps be the best choice. Or we might follow the example of the United States, Canada, and Australia, and settle the claims of the existing capitals by creating a new city for our federal capital.[Pg 20]


Sir Edward Barton was at first unwilling to express an opinion on a subject “in which many with better knowledge have a deep interest.” “But I am confident,” he continued, “that before many years have passed away we shall see a Federated South Africa, and that no South African will wish to return to the old order of things once that federation has come into being. I still believe that the form chosen for the constitution of the Australian Commonwealth was the best available, and I think that it would be better suited to South Africa than the Canadian form. But whichever form is chosen, the whole community will benefit by federation.

“We in Australia have had great difficulties to overcome, and a certain amount of friction has necessarily arisen between the States and the federal authority, but the history of the United States and of the Dominion shows that such difficulties and friction cannot be avoided, but can always be surmounted. With the exception of a few discontented persons, I think nobody in Australia would be in favour of a return to the old order of things, and it is already clear that the local jealousies which hampered Australian progress are vanishing. When I was in British Columbia nine years ago, I tried hard to find a man who believed that the act of confederation should be undone; but I could not discover such a person. There may be a few ‘Blue Noses’ in Nova Scotia who would like to see confederation abolished, but I never met one. In either case, the fact that Annexationists are few—too few to be counted—in Canada, explains my failure. And once South African Federation is an accomplished fact—and though the racial antithesis, as was the case in Canada, renders the accomplishment more difficult than in Australia, where a difference in opinion as to fiscal policy was the chief obstacle—I am very sure that the vast majority of South Africans, whether British or Dutch, will refuse to contemplate a change to the old state of local jealousies. The sooner South African Federation comes, the better for South Africa.”


Drawn by Donald E. M’Cracken.

Asked to answer the question: Should federation come before the new Colonies receive self-government, or concurrently with that event? Sir Edward Barton replied that in his opinion either course would create difficulties for the future.

“Australian Federation,” he continued, “came out of the will of the people. The result of a referendum proved that a majority of the people was in favour of federation, and all the States consented to the terms thereof. Now if the Transvaal and the Orange River Colonies, communities that have enjoyed a form of self-[Pg 21]government in the past, had not free choice of assent or refusal, and joined the South African Federation under compulsion (no matter how slight a measure of compulsion), constitutional difficulties might spring up in the hereafter. Disputes might arise between the federal authority and these two States, and they would say, ‘We were not asked for our consent, we had not complete freedom of choice.’ In any case, representation must be given to them, and it would be awkward if two out of the five Federal States or Provinces were trying to overthrow the federation. I do not say this would happen, but the possibility of such an emergency should be seriously considered. It would be safe, I think, to work and wait for a majority in favour of federation; more especially as there has existed and still exists, as I am informed, a strong feeling that the interests of both peoples in South Africa would be furthered by such a measure.”


Neither Mr. Seddon nor Sir Wilfrid Laurier granted the writer’s request for an expression of opinion in regard to the possibility or probability of South African Federation. Mr. Seddon, though he is always ready to advise the various Provinces of the Empire in commercial matters, is averse to interfering in other people’s politics. Moreover the word “federation” has a discomfortable sound in the ears of his New Zealand constituents; to a few it suggests Rossetti’s “might-have-been,” to most its echo is a more or less decided “certainly not.”

Sir Wilfrid Laurier, who has suffered much from the too imaginative interviewer, both in the United States and in France, makes it a principle not to be interviewed. But a day or two after he had courteously declined to grant the writer’s request, he was good enough to allude to the subject of South African Federation in a speech at Edinburgh, from which the following excerpt is taken: “In my humble opinion,” said the Canadian Premier, with reference to the attempt of Mr. Rhodes to secure the unification of South Africa, “Mr. Rhodes made one mistake. He made the mistake of being too impatient. Had he allowed time for development, had he allowed the Dutch population to get reconciled to the idea of British citizenship, they would have had much sooner than will be the case the federation of South Africa, which is the only future of that great country.”

To judge from the spirit of his utterances in Canada on the subject of South Africa, it would appear that Sir Wilfrid Laurier’s opinions as to the best means of working towards the end of South[Pg 22] African Federation do not materially differ from those of Sir Edmund Barton. He believes that the free consent of the new Colonies should be obtained, and that the policy pursued with regard to Manitoba by the “Fathers of Confederation”—a policy of which he disapproved at the time, a policy which led to a long series of disputes between Manitoba and the Dominion Government—should not be pursued in the case of the Transvaal and Orange River Colonies. It will be remembered that the “Red River Settlement” received Provincial status on condition of becoming a member of confederation, and that the terms of membership were accepted under compulsion, and in the hope that they could be bettered.

[Pg 23]



Barrister-at-Law; Advocate of the Supreme Court of Cape Colony


The Roman Dutch Law—the body of legal principles and enactments codified under the later Roman Empire by the Emperor Justinian, as modified by legislation of the States-General and decisions of the tribunals of Holland up to the end of the eighteenth century—the date of the British occupation of Cape Colony—constitutes the Common Law of all British South Africa from the Zambesi to the sea. Indeed its sway stretches farther north, if we include the province of Northern Rhodesia.

The recent annexation to the Empire of the territories of the two Boer Republics must necessarily have many effects not alone in the sphere of politics, but also in that of law. But no unsettling of the general principles of private law, regulating the rights and duties of the citizens in private relations, can be the result. The invariable practice of the Imperial Government—the only possible one to prevent inextricable confusion of personal status and property rights—has always been to enforce, as the unaltered law of the land, any system of European Law already in operation in territories annexed or ceded to the Empire, being already a portion of the dominion of any State of the European Family of Nations. In this respect the Imperial Government but follows the general practice of other European States: a practice so uniform that it may almost be regarded as a portion of the Law of Nations, of that custom of the European race which for a century we are accustomed to speak of as International Law. The committee of the Privy Council, which, as regards the Empire outside of Europe, may be viewed as the Imperial Court of Appeal, has therefore to adjudicate on systems of law more numerous than these that come before any other tribunal in the world. Not alone questions to be determined under the Common Law of England, but suits to be decided under that law, as modified by the legislation of the self-governing Colonies, come under the cognisance of that unique tribunal. From[Pg 24] the Channel Islands, whose people boast that they were never conquered by England, are heard appeals, based on the Grand Coutumier de Normandie, unknown in France since the French Revolution. The French Law of Lower Canada, still administered under British authority, is lifeless and unknown in the Paris which gave it birth. Similarly the Roman Dutch Law of the United Provinces, now enforced in the former over-sea possessions of Holland, has long ago been swept away in Low Countries, surviving as the law of the land only in the British possessions, in South America, in Ceylon, and in South Africa. With one result, arresting the attention of the historical student, that in our own day British tribunals accept, as of the highest authority—in many matters most vitally affecting the status and property of British citizens from the Lion’s Head to the Line, the recorded opinions of a Pretorian prefect of the Roman Empire in York—the brightest of the five stars of the Loi des Citations.

The tribunals of the Empire constitute a museum of former systems of law, flourishing far from their parent springs. But every change is not necessarily progress. The marked liking of British colonists, born in the United Kingdom, for the Roman Law under whose sway they have passed is a very instructive phenomenon. Wisdom, they seem to think, did not die with the fashioners of that “codeless myriad of precedents, that wilderness of single instances” which, evolved according to imperturbable theory from the bosom of the English judiciary, is known as the Law of England.

This preference is the more impressive, seeing that on many vital matters, not mere abstractions of jurisprudence, the Roman Dutch Law differs from the English systemless system.

The personal status of all residents in the new British Colonies falls under rules quite different from the English rules as to capacity to enter into and to perform contracts, as to property rights, and as to family relations. Results of some importance may chiefly be expected from the fact that, since the annexation and the transformation of the Republics into British Colonies, the presumption in law that British immigrants intend to adopt a new domicile, and subject themselves and their property to a new legal system, must necessarily be stronger than when residence was being taken up in the territory, then foreign, of two Boer Republics. In the future, not alone, as hitherto, contracts of service and contracts as regards property, but the relationship, personal and as affecting property, of marriage and succession, will fall under the jurisdiction of a High Court administering primarily the Law of Rome. The Court will apply the Law of England to those latter conditions only in cases in which they consider that, in accordance with the principles of Private[Pg 25] International Law, the English system is applicable—the presumption now being that, as a general rule, it is not applicable.

Photo: Russell, London.


Prime Minister of Cape Colony.

As regards the capacity of adults to enter into and be bound by contract, the most striking difference between the English and Roman Dutch systems is the survival, under the latter, of a modified form of the Roman Interdiction of the Prodigal. Under certain circumstances, on application of friends or relatives, such an order can issue. Again, contracts of service made out of South Africa are not binding unless entered into again before a public official in South Africa.

In respect to the tenure of property, more especially of property in land, the differences which exist are all in favour of Roman Dutch Law. An admirable system of registering titles to land, whether of ownership or mortgage, exists in South Africa, as on the Continent of Europe, where that most valuable legacy from the Roman Empire has remained unchanged in principle to our day. No tedious scrutiny of documents attesting title to land is necessary, as it is in England. The official register is sufficient proof of ownership. Transfer is rapid and inexpensive. Again, unavoidable calamity, amounting to a condition of impossibility of beneficial occupation, excuses from the necessity of payment of rent of land. Such excuse is not known to the Law of England.

Unlike the Law of England, but like the Law of Scotland, desertion by either party to a marriage furnishes ground for absolute divorce, with right of re-marriage. The system, flowing directly from the Roman Law, both in Scotland and South Africa, is understood to work satisfactorily, comparatively few divorces being sought for.


Leaving the general principles of the law affecting personal status, family relations, and property rights, the difference between the Law of England and that of South Africa practically disappears as regards Europeans in social relations. In the whole field of Commercial Law, and in that of the Law of Crimes and Punishments, the Law of England has practically been adopted in all the States and Colonies. The origin of this state of the law is, of course, to be found in the fact that the Roman Law conceptions were out of harmony with modern commercial conditions and the competition of the World Market; and also that their code of Crimes and Punishments has become inappropriate to the later forms of European civilisation.

Several features of South African legislation require more special[Pg 26] notice. The Transvaal Law may be taken as typical of that of the other States, and political and economical conditions make the law of the late Republics of most importance and interest to the British public. The most salient topics are those dealt with by the Law of Mines, the law as to the natives, and the Law of Universal Military Service.

The law as to minerals, including not alone gold and silver, but all precious metals and precious stones, is based on State ownership. It is expressly declared: “The right of mining for and disposal of all precious stones and precious metals belongs to the State.”

The State, however, does not undertake the work of mining, but grants, under certain conditions, that privilege to various classes in the community. The Government is authorised by law to proclaim a specified area to be public “diggings.” Thereupon, certain rights are reserved to the owner of the farm wherein the area is situated. These rights are in effect to select certain portions of the proclaimed area as mining “claims” belonging to the owner, and to mark off these portions. The remainder of the area is then open to appropriation by the public, the first comer having the first right. Shortly before the war of 1899, in consequence of scenes of disorder attending the marking off of these “claims” by the general public, steps were taken to introduce a system of assigning the mining areas by lot among the residents in each district.

The taxation of the mineral grounds was, and is, based on a dual system. The one is taxation, by means of levying a monthly due, called a “claim licence,” in the mere possession of a mining area, called a “claim,” whether or not the area is being developed. The other principle, superadded to the first, was that of taxing the profits of each mine. Before the war this latter tax amounted to five per cent.

In relation to gold mining, in one very important respect the Law of the Transvaal, like that of Cape Colony, is in striking opposition to the rules of civilised law all over the world. The famous I. D. B. (Illicit Diamond Buying) enactments passed to protect diamond mining in Kimberley have a parallel in the I. G. B. (Illicit Gold Buying) provisions of the Transvaal Law. It is incumbent on the possessor of rough diamonds to prove his innocence. Similarly, under the Gold Law of the Transvaal, “Any one who is found in possession of amalgam or unwrought gold, or uncut precious stones, and can give no proof that he obtained possession of the same in a lawful manner,” is punishable with fine and imprisonment. For a third offence, the amount of fine and imprisonment with hard labour is at the discretion of the Court, and[Pg 27] forfeiture of the unwrought gold, or uncut precious stones, follows conviction.

It is true that in England, for instance, a similar exception is in force with reference to the possession of explosives, a measure intended to prevent Anarchist outrages. But the difference is very great between the two classes of cases. The manufacture and sale of explosives is not the staple industry of England, as the production of gold and diamonds is in South Africa. The chief occupation of the industrial population of England is not affected; the provision remains only one of some inconsiderable exceptions to the general rule, that every one is presumed innocent until he is proved guilty.

The law relating to natives, under which head are included all the coloured races, is equally strange to those familiar only with the Law of England. The so-called Pass Law provides that every native in districts or towns inhabited by Europeans—everywhere, in fact, except in the native villages—must be in possession of an official passport, showing he is registered in an official State registry. Other regulations limit the action of the native—the Curfew regulations, compelling Kaffirs in town districts to remain indoors after sunset. Municipal rules, prohibiting Kaffirs from walking on the footpath of the street, and special rules of the Criminal Law affect them. The lash is presented as the penalty for various offences. The death penalty is inflicted for Kaffir outrages on women of the European race. By the imposition of a Hut Tax, payable annually, the Kaffir is induced to labour; an occupation which, if left to himself, he prefers to leave to women.

The Law of Universal Military Service, applying to all Europeans who are burghers—a law of all the States of South Africa—furnishes another point of divergence from the Law of England. In the Transvaal all burghers over the age of sixteen and up to the age of sixty are under the military command of the elected Field Cornet of the district. In time of war the age begins at fourteen and has no fixed limit for ending. This, be it noted, is not a case of conscription; it is a levy en masse, taken as a normal condition of life. Burghers on commando are exempt from civil process, and are exempt from the obligation of paying claim licenses for the period they are on commando.


It is, of course, in the present stage of our information impossible to state fully the various modifications which have been introduced in the new Colonies since the British annexation two years ago.[Pg 28]

Some changes worth noticing have, however, been published.

In Private Law, the chief change of which we have information appears to have been the abolition of the Orphan Chamber of Roman Dutch Law—a State department concerned with the administration of infants’ estates. The change, however, seems only to have been one of administration and title, the duties of the abolished Chamber being transferred to the Attorney-General’s Department.

As regards the Gold Law, an enactment by the late Republic of a war-tax on the gold output of from forty to fifty per cent. has been abolished. The British tax on the mines has been fixed by proclamation at ten per cent. on the profits of each mine. The system of claim licenses—taxation on the possession of mining areas—is continued.

Minor modifications of the details of the Native Pass Law have also been announced, including the restriction of the number of cases, and of the power of magistrates to sentence Kaffirs to the punishment of the lash.

The Law of Military Service appears to remain up to the present unmodified. Indeed, a recent decision in the newly established British High Court of the Transvaal has very rigidly construed a provision of the Gold Law, protecting burghers on commando from liability to pay license dues. The Court refuses to allow to Uitlanders the same privilege as that allowed to burghers in arms. The Uitlander, according to that decision, is liable to pay these arrears accruing during the war to the present British administration.


Before considering specific suggestions as to actual legislation required in the new Colonies, it is necessary to set clearly before us what are the objects to be aimed at by Imperial statesmen. Most of the errors of the past century of Imperial rule in South Africa are traceable to the fact that no steady and consistent policy has been adopted for any definite period. With every change of government in the United Kingdom the British policy in South Africa altered. As I have written elsewhere, it swung with bewildering inconsistency, according to whether an Imperialist or a Little Englander Government was in power, from an expansionist to a “retrenchment” policy. Alternately negrophilist and anti-Kaffir, alternately conciliatory to the Dutch and aggressively British. “Nothing more fixed than the certainty of Imperial change, unless, indeed, it were the cruelty of Imperial ingratitude.[Pg 29]

I shall take it, then, that consistency is the least we may expect as the result of the late war. The maintenance of the integrity of the world-wide Empire, plainly bound up with the retention of South Africa, involving the possession of the only secure sea-route to Australia and India; the upholding of the banner of European justice and humanity in Africa, the British portion of the mission of the European race the world over—to this end, the fusion of all strains of the European people in a new nationality to form a constituent part of the Empire—these I take to be the objects of Imperial statesmen in the United Kingdom and the Colonies, and of all loyal citizens of the Empire.

Now, these principles being fixed, we have next to consider what are the dangers threatening the successful carrying out of a policy based on these principles.

The first, and most formidable, danger is that arising from the existence in all the Colonies of South Africa of a Separatist party among the Boer section of the population, usually described as the Young Afrikander party. Its origin is due to many historic causes; among which not the least has been the unwise and vacillating policy of the Imperial Government. That party is by no means extinct as a result of the late war. No matter what professions are made in the Land of Diplomatists, it has to be reckoned with for our time and generation. It relies for the ultimate success of its policy of substituting a Boer-ruled independent State for British citizenship of the Empire on many causes. In the first place, the stubborn tenacity of the Boer people, and their slowness to abandon any long-held purpose. Again, on their military skill, their religious fanaticism, their conviction that they are the Lord’s elect, and that His sword will smite not in vain. Yet again, and most of all, on the enormous birth-rate among the Boers—families of twelve sons being not uncommon. Boer ignorance of the power and purpose of the Empire—of the real character of that federation of freemen—figures also in their calculations; and as well the barrier against fusion of the European strains kept up by the use of that patois of the Hollander tongue, the South African Taal. Lastly, their main reliance is on future inefficiency of the Imperial administration—marred by negrophilist British missionaries and English society nepotism and favouritism—on the see-saw of British party politics, and on the prospects of the Empire becoming involved in war with some great European Power.

The next danger is that arising from the presence on the goldfields of the Transvaal of vast agglomerations of cosmopolitan finance owning most of the mineral wealth of the State. On many points, the interest of these groups is not the same as those of the Imperial[Pg 30] Government and those of the rank and file of the British settlers. Taxation of the mines for Imperial purposes, such as those of State-aided British immigration and State-constructed irrigation works, cannot be in the interest of the mining groups. The lowering of the wages of the white miners is clearly in their interest; while opposed to the prospects of welfare of British miners and British merchants in the towns, to those of the professional classes, and, above all, to the interests of British agricultural settlers, whose occupation cannot be profitable for many years to come unless their market is at their door. Mining profits remitted to Berlin and Paris, instead of going to the pockets of resident British miners, cannot benefit the British agricultural settler. Again, the truck system, by which employers supply goods to their workers (a system illegal in England), while it may increase the profits of the mining groups, would be destruction of the trade of the British dwellers in the towns. This aspect of the question is rendered more serious by the fact that practically all the press of South Africa is owned or controlled by the financiers of the mining groups.

Lastly, a danger which has existed for generations is that arising from the existence of a body of sentiment in the United Kingdom which, for want of a better word, is called negrophilism. This sentiment is usually voiced by British missionaries, and advocates an impossible black man and brother theory. Its effect on British legislation and administration in South Africa caused the first dissension of moment between Boers and British at the time of the abolition of negro slavery in 1836. The whole theory is felt by all Europeans of South African experience to be based on a flat contradiction of the facts of life and the teaching of the 250 years of European contact with the South African native—Bushman, Hottentot, or Kaffir. Allied with this is the colour-blindness of some Anglo-Indians, who favour the disastrous measure of flooding South Africa with Asiatics from India.


Having defined the Imperial policy in South Africa to be the maintenance of the integrity of that federation of freemen which is the British Empire, the upholding of the banner of European justice and humanity in the Dark Continent, and for the promotion of these ends the fusion of all strains of the European race in one community, let us now consider the general lines of State action requisite to carry out that policy.

All parties loyal to the Empire are agreed that the first requisite[Pg 31] from the standpoint of the Imperial welfare is the promotion of the immigration of British agriculturists to South Africa. The enormous birth-rate of the Boer people will prevent any prospect of fusion between British and Boers—anything, in fact, but the swamping of the British element—unless this immigration be organised by the State. The life of the gold and diamond mines cannot last longer—so those qualified to speak are agreed—than a few generations. With the exhaustion of the mines, the British population, if confined to the towns, would inevitably disappear. Again, the Boers being essentially country folk, could never have that close association with the British necessary for the coalition of a united people, unless the British are settled as agriculturists. A most encouraging precedent of the success of State-organised immigration of British settlers on the land is to be found in the State-aided immigration of 1820 into the Eastern Province of Cape Colony.

Exactly as in Egypt and in India, agriculture, to be prosperous and to extend over large areas, is impossible in South Africa unless with the aid of State-constructed irrigation works. The water supply, both from rainfall and underground natural reservoirs, is ample; but engineering skill is required to enable these sources to be utilised all the year round. The recently published report of Mr. W. Willcocks shows what favourable prospects exist for the carrying out of a general system of State irrigation works.

One word of warning is necessary. The general impression, so sedulously created for many years past, of the unsuitability of South Africa as a sphere for British immigration, is, as Mr. Rudyard Kipling has pointed out, only a part of a political propaganda, intended to exclude British influence. It may be entirely ignored.

The next requisite of State action is the promotion, by legislation and administration, of the development of the present and future goldfields, and other mineral fields, in such manner as may tend to further the general ends of the Imperial policy as already described. The taxation of the mines should be so adjusted as to favour British immigration and the creation of a prosperous and loyal British community. The development of new fields should be encouraged; adequate sums should be raised for public objects; the minerals, expressly declared to be property of the State, should be primarily regarded as a fund for State purposes, not one for the creation of millionaires or the undue enriching of shareholders in Hamburg or Paris or Vienna. The welfare of the mass of British residents in the towns engaged in trade should be considered in legislation affecting the gold mines.

In view of the presence of an overwhelming majority of the[Pg 32] subject Kaffir race, all Europeans should be trained to arms, on the model of the laws already in existence in the two new Colonies. From an Imperial, as distinguished from a European standpoint, this measure is equally necessary. The Boers are born soldiers: a nation in arms. No reliance on a professional army or professional police can afford any assurance of stability for the Imperial rule. The Boers would regard such a régime as merely one of transitory military domination.

An efficient system of education, from primary school to university, should be organised and carried out. In the new Colonies great progress has already been made in this direction, and a recently published address by Mr. W. Sargent, the Director of Education, shows that the principles to be kept in mind are clearly apprehended.

A sane and consistent policy with regard to the status of the Kaffir and other non-European people should be adopted and adhered to. The Boer position, that the Kaffir is not in justice entitled to equality, social or political, with Europeans, should be upheld, as that plainly sanctioned by European experience of two centuries and a half.

Efficiency should be insisted on as the test for appointment in the public service. Salaries on an adequate scale should be given, bearing in mind the standard of payment usually obtaining in gold-bearing districts. The obstacles in the way of making efficiency the test of appointment should be clearly understood, and as far as possible guarded against; the persistence of Young Afrikander Separatist ideals, and the readiness of the propagandists to accept office under the Imperial Government; the danger of undue weight being given to the influence of the great capitalists; the equal danger of the intrigue, favouritism, and nepotism of London society—of which so much was heard at the late Committee of Inquiry into the training of army officers—being brought to bear on appointments to office in the new Colonies.

The language question—that of the degree of recognition necessary or expedient of the Dutch language in the courts and public offices—is so important that it is better to consider it separately.

Photo: Russell, London.


Lieutenant-Governor of the Transvaal.


The question of the degree of recognition of the Dutch language in the new Colonies to be accorded by the new administration is one of the most difficult, and at the same time one of the most urgent and altogether inevitable, presented by the altered situation, the result of the late war. It is one of the cases where not to decide is[Pg 33] to decide. Let us endeavour to understand the conditions of the problem, bearing steadily in mind the objects to be aimed at by the Imperial policy.

No responsible statesman in the United Kingdom or in the Colonies can desire to take any step other than conciliatory to Boer sentiment, provided the main object of creating a united and prosperous European community is obtained. Anything like a persecution of the Boer tongue or traditions would not only be unjust, but most unwise. At the same time, Imperial statesmen must remember that British-descended citizens of the Empire in South Africa hold that their sentiment and their opinion is not to be taken as a matter to be ignored. Now, Imperialist sentiment in South Africa is united as to the desirability of having only one official language, and of doing away with the dual language system introduced in Cape Colony twenty years ago.

Limiting any action of the Imperial Government, must necessarily be the conditions as to the recognition of Dutch agreed upon with the Boer generals as one of the terms of peace. These conditions were that the Dutch language is to be taught in the schools, in cases where the parents of the children desire it; and in the courts of law in cases where, in the opinion of the court, the ends of justice will be furthered by its use. The wish of the parents and the discretion of the law-courts are, therefore, to be arbiters. The peace terms, in this matter, seem wholly reasonable; but the main question of a dual language remains unaffected.

Let us first deal with the cause of much misapprehension in the United Kingdom in this matter. Here I will quote from an article of mine published some time before the peace agreement:—

“There is no question here of the suppression of the language of a people. The language of the Boer people of South Africa is a patois called the Taal, based on the seventeenth-century Hollander Dutch, with a mixture of many strange words, Kaffir and English, and with the omission of most grammatical inflexions. In that happy tongue you are permitted to say: ‘I is.’ It is needless to say there is no literature in this patois, as there is in the Hollander Dutch of this century. Now, it is only to Hollander Dutch that it is proposed to accord equal audience as an official language. The official recognition of Hollander Dutch dates from 1882 in the Cape Colony, and is a result of the political propaganda of the Afrikander Bond. It was openly announced and hailed as the ‘thin end of the wedge’ to prevent the fusion of the Boer and British strains of the European people, and to drive the British into the sea. It is almost as grotesque a misrepresentation to call this claim for the official recognition of Hollander Dutch a popular demand, as if, in regard to[Pg 34] modern Italy, we were told that the peasants of Umbria or the Marches were hungering and thirsting for the recognition of Augustan Latin as entitled to equal audience with Italian in the courts and public offices of Italy.

“The veld Boer does not understand Hollander Dutch. He only hears the Hollander tongue, or, rather, the seventeenth-century predecessor of it, in the text from the seventeenth-century Dutch Bible read out in the churches on Sundays by the predikant, or in the hymns, once chanted by his forefathers of the Lowlands, who worsted Alva, persecutor of the Saints of the Lord.

“It will clear the air greatly if people at home will realise what is the force behind this Hollander Dutch language movement. It is the Young Afrikander party.

“For sixty years English was the sole official language in South Africa. The experiment of two official languages is one of only twenty years’ duration, and has not been crowned with any conspicuous success, unless racial cleavage, political and social, be counted as such.

“No other course can so speedily promote the fusion of all Europeans. Judging by the trend of events, the future among the European people belongs to one or two of the great languages. It is significant that, at the present moment of time, with a knowledge of English and French, one can travel the world. The fusion of European strains, so happily accomplished in the United States of America, is admittedly due to the determined enforcement of a single language as the sole official language of the Republic. Immigrants of all European nationalities learn to speak and write English—their children of the next generation become Americans. As a London Consul-General of the United States pointed out to me, the reunion of the European race, as a political measure on a vast scale, has been first accomplished in the American Commonwealth. Never since the pre-historic time of the root-origins of our language, never since the corporate unity of the Roman Empire, has there been so vast a breaking down of barriers between Europeans.

“The matter is one of political expediency, not of æsthetics. The unity of the European people is a greater historic fact and present reality than any of those brief heritages of common life for a few short centuries of one or other sections of the race, giving rise to the national tongues. Personally, one may sympathise with the scholar’s preference for a survival of Latin as the language of Europe, as it was during the Roman Empire, as it was during the Middle Ages, and as it would have remained but for the outburst of Nationalist particularism during the sixteenth century. One may lament, with a loyal European like Talleyrand, what that outburst has cost Europe; led by the ambition of the House of Capet in[Pg 35] France, of the Tudor in England, and the princes of North Germany, plunderers of the Teutonic knights. No doubt it is true that thousands of millions of pounds and millions of lives have been wasted by that particularism—strange step-child of the unifying Renaissance. From the æsthetic side, it is vain to argue whether Keltic be a purer tongue, more passionately expressive, Spanish more majestic, or Italian liquid music. The sieve of the gods seems hitherto to let through, for the world of the European race, only two of the great tongues—French and English.”

In a word, for all æsthetic purposes, let the various harmonies of all the tongues of the European race continue to enrich the choir, enshrining memories of the past. But for the political field of action the trumpet of command and order should sound a note clear from its being single.

Any incidental inconvenience, such as must arise to the first generation of immigrants to the American Commonwealth, must only be treated as transitory, and, as far as possible, provided against. Very few Europeans who do not know English have business in the law-courts or public offices. In the years preceding the late war, only five out of every hundred cases in the Transvaal law-courts were between people not conversant with English. For this small minority, in all the public offices and the courts, competent interpreters can be provided.


It may be well that I should add some suggestions as to the measures which I at present hold should be taken to put into force the general lines of legislation, already sketched out as suitable for the carrying out of the Imperial policy as already defined. But it should be understood that these suggestions are only intended as furnishing material for discussion. In the absence of fuller information as to future needs and emergencies, it would be unwise to finally advocate concrete measures. What is, in my mind, of importance is not any specific measure, but the principles of Imperial policy on which I have insisted. If it can be shown to me, in the future discussions on these matters, in which I hope to take part on my return to South Africa, that other measures are better suited to carry out the consistent policy I have defined, I shall be prepared to advocate such other measures.

In the first place, I think that in view of the wide divergence of opinion and interest, among the British residents quite as much as among the Boers, a consultative body, nominated by the High Commissioner, should be appointed to advise on any projected[Pg 36] legislation. For some time, while the form of Crown Colony Government is continued, advice from such a body will be specially needful. Apart from the maintenance of law and order, the interests of the great mining groups, representation of shareholders resident in Europe is by no means necessarily the same as those of the rest of the British residents, or indeed those of the Imperial Government. Among such matters of divergence of interest may be enumerated the scale and method of taxation on the mines, no matter for what Imperial purpose—British immigration, State irrigation works, or university and general education. The maintenance of the present very high rate of wages of the European miners is another subject. British residents in the towns, shopkeepers, importers, professional men and their employees, are concerned in the maintenance of a high rate of wages for the miners, as the money is spent in the country, not in Paris or Berlin. Again, the introduction of the truck system, the supply of goods by the miners to their employees, European or Kaffir, while it would increase the profits of mining shareholders in Europe, would destroy the means of existence of the bulk of the British residents in the towns.

Amongst the Boers, there is almost as great divergence of interest between the wealthy farmers, desirous of keeping together their vast cattle ranches of 6000 acres, and the class of Bijwoners (tenants at will on an over-lord’s land), whose interest would be favoured by the dividing up of cattle ranches, and the encouragement of small farmers who would be agriculturists.

For this reason, a consultation body should be thoroughly representative of all classes.

Direct legislation favouring British immigration of agriculturists is plainly necessary, and as well the creation of State irrigation works. Such steps, it is reassuring to know, have already been taken. Personally, I am in favour of village ownership of agricultural lands being instituted, a system with which the Boers are already familiar, in connection with the cultivation of the lands owned by the towns.

To promote the prosperity of British residents in the towns, and as well to secure a market for agricultural produce, the truck system should be prohibited by law; and the compound system, under which the Kaffir workmen in mines are not only supplied with goods but confined to barracks called “compounds,” should also be prohibited. Neither system has hitherto been in force in the new Colonies.

As regards the Gold Law, the new British administration has established a tax of ten per cent. on the net profits of each mine, and has retained the previous system as well, of taxing the pos[Pg 37]session of mining areas. It will require some time to see how the present method of levy affects the growth of the British population. Personally, I have not been convinced by the arguments in favour of the “claim license” system: it is held by its opponents that it tends to throw all the mining areas into the possession of the great mining groups, the areas being forfeited to the State in times of depression by poorer men who are unable to continue to pay. Suggestions deserving consideration have been made as to the advisability of the State developing gold areas already in the possession of the State.

As regards the arrears of claim licenses accruing during the war against the expelled British inhabitants, I have strongly advocated in the London press their entire remission. The Boer burgher on commando is held to be exempted; it is difficult to see why the expelled British should not also be exempted.

Another measure which I have supported is that of the arming of all British civilians, for reasons already enumerated. An essential to the measure being successful, being loyally supported, is that, on the Boer model, the officers of the corps should be elected by their men. British colonists, with their traditions of liberty and independence, will never submit to being compulsorily placed on military service and subjected to the orders of officers whom they have not chosen.

No measure of greater political moment can be taken than the thorough organising of a system of education, from the university to the school. I am one of those who support the making of the Gold Reef city a great university centre.

As regards the Native Law, I advocate as little as possible alteration in the laws already in force. The Boer theory of the position of the Kaffir—as not an equal, but entitled to justice, under tutelage to a government directed by European ideals—is the sound one.[2]

Asiatic immigration in any form, whether of British Indians from India, or Chinese from Hong-Kong or elsewhere, would be a measure fraught with disaster to the future of European civilisation. With the exception of some employers of labour in Rhodesia and Natal, South African opinion—British, Boer, even Kaffir—is opposed to Asiatic immigration. Even the employers referred to only desire to encourage the importation of Asiatics as manual labourers, not as owners of the land or traders in the towns.


[2] In the Fortnightly Review, August 1902. Ideal with this subject: “Negrophilism in South Africa.”

[Pg 38]




Member of the Legislative Council, Cape Colony; Author of “History of Our Own Times in South Africa,” &c., &c.

One of the greatest statesmen whose experience and ability have assisted the Imperial Government declares that it was only after two years’ residence that he understood the political problems affecting South Africa. Hundreds rush in where Milners fear to tread, and the little knowledge which induces superficial views and rash judgment on a merely primâ facie case are now at present, as they have been in the past, among the causes which impede the progress of a vast country which we hope will yet become a great federated dominion under the British crown.

It is because of the vital importance of going to the root of the political questions affecting South Africa that this paper is written.

The origin of the Africander party is traceable principally to discontent with British rule. The Cape Colony, as our readers know, was obtained by conquest in 1806, and by purchase from the Netherlands for six million pounds sterling in the year 1814. Mr. Paul M. Botha, Member of the Orange Free State Volksraad for Kroonstadt, states the case from the Dutchman’s point of view, and tells us that as England said that South Africa was her country she ought to have governed it, instead of which she shirked responsibilities and was guilty of the most glaring inconsistencies. One day England blew hot and the next cold. “One moment she insisted on swallowing us, and the next moment she insisted on disgorging us.” For example, the Orange Free State was declared British territory because a governor said, “You can never escape British jurisdiction.” Then we were abandoned because the next governor said, “The country was a howling wilderness.” The Transvaal was annexed, and Sir Garnet Wolseley declared: “The rivers will sooner run back in their courses than that England will give back the Transvaal.” Shortly after that the Transvaal was[Pg 39] retroceded, after Majuba, because the British Ministry said, “We have been unjust in annexing this country.”[3]

The slavery question, Mr. Botha tells us, was handled with astounding negligence and ignorance of the circumstances of the people. Although England was perfectly right in emancipating the slaves, yet the way it was done irritated, annoyed, and disgusted the people, and sowed seeds of distrust which have never been eradicated. England failed to carry out effectively her promises of compensation.

On the minor grievances, such as Slagter’s Nek and other so-called injustices of England, Mr. Botha lays no stress. “It was a rough period, and rough measures were used by all Governments.” He significantly adds that what he has heard of the cruelty of the Dutch East India Company’s officials makes him think that anyhow British rule was heaven to that of the Dutch. Whatever a well-educated man like Mr. Botha may say, we know that the rank and file of the Dutch throughout South Africa are taught to “Remember Slagter’s Nek.” Nothing can be more unjust than to blame the British power for executing rebels, caught red-handed and sentenced to death in perfect accord with both evidence and law by a competent Court, whose members were themselves of Dutch extraction. Nevertheless this is one of the heavy popular grievances.

Mr. Botha says that England’s weak and spasmodic policy in South Africa has made the Boer what he is to-day—distrustful and contemptuous of British statesmen. By further receding into the interior, and having to fight wild beasts and hordes of Kaffirs, the Boer became blown out with vanity at his own prowess, and more and more ignorant. Through this ignorance it is easier to mislead than to lead him. A man who plays upon his vanity and prejudices against England quickly obtains influence. A loud talker and blusterer gets a better hearing than a quiet reasoner. “I ascribe this to want of education and complete isolation on the veldt.”

As a marked illustration in support of Mr. Botha’s view which has come under the present writer’s observation, let us tell what occurred shortly before the war to a nephew of the Speaker of the House of Assembly who had to travel through the Transvaal to look after some landed property. This gentleman, who spoke the Taal perfectly, met at one place about two dozen Dutchmen who were, like the Laird of Cockpen, “greatly ta’en up with the ’fairs of the State.” The first question, “Can we beat the British?” was answered by a unanimous “Yes, we have done so before, and can, of course, easily do so again.” Second. “Tell me, Carls,[Pg 40] could we beat England and France united?” “Certainly,” said every one, “there can be no doubt about it.” But now interposed a new speaker. “How if we had to fight England, France, and Germany?” The reply was unanimous. “We can beat them all three.” No wonder that the people of the Lord, as they believed themselves to be, took the bit between their teeth at the time of the ultimatum. Not even Paul Kruger could then have stopped the war, for they felt perfectly assured of victory.

With a religion which has not unfitly been described as a superstition based upon the Old Testament, there is profound ignorance accompanied by prejudice of the most deep-rooted character. Mr. Botha tells us that unfortunately the ministers of the Dutch Reformed Church, “greedy for the fat lamb, the fowl, and the purse,” foster this ignorance. One Predikant had actually the audacity to tell his congregation that God must help His chosen people, otherwise He would lose His influence.

Mr. Botha defends his own people against charges of treachery, and gives it as his fixed opinion that a just and firm Government with uniformity of treatment will not only control and satisfy the Boers, but eradicate in time that feeling of distrust and fear which was engendered in their minds by the halting and unequal policy of England. He admits at the same time that it is to Britain that they owe peace, and that it was Britain that protected them from foreign invasion and saved them from continual civil strife. Then comes most important evidence. President Brand of the Free State recognised in the misgoverned Transvaal a subtle enemy. Indeed, it is scarcely remembered that in 1857 the burghers of the South African Republic invaded the Orange Free State territory and declared that it belonged to them. Paul Kruger was subsequently raised up, in the opinion of his followers, to be a Moses, whose mission was to deliver “De Africander Natie” from British bondage. Mr. Botha asks us to let him tear this veil of false romance away. “We know him,” he tells us, “as an avaricious, unscrupulous, and hypocritical man, who sacrificed a whole people to his cupidity.” Krugerism spread over South Africa, using the Bond, the press, and the pulpit to further its schemes.


Let it be fully understood—the Bond was the fons and origo of the South African war—Krugerism powerfully co-operating. The idea of the Africander Bond took root at the Paarl in the Cape Colony in the years 1879 and 1880. Of course, as we have seen, there was abundant preparation, but events in the Transvaal hastened proceedings. Enthusiastic, educated men, such as Reitz, Te Water, and the students of the Theological Seminary at Stellenbosch felt patriotic desires wildly coursing in their veins, but the[Pg 41] honour of formulating a definite plan of organisation belongs to the Rev. S. J. du Toit, who then edited De Patriot newspaper at the Paarl. De Transvaalse Oorlag was published by Messrs. D. T. du Toit & Co. of the Paarl in the year 1881. It was the retrocession of the Transvaal under the direction of Mr. Gladstone in the last-mentioned year that enabled the Bond to assume a very definite shape, and to obtain immense and widespread power.

Carl Borckenhagen, editor of the Bloemfontein Express, and F. W. Reitz, who succeeded Sir J. Brand as President of the Orange Free State, and was subsequently State Secretary of the Transvaal, earnestly joined the Bond. The former was a German, whose honest and intense hatred of England was apparent in all his leading articles, while the life-dream of the latter was to see the establishment of the Dutch Republican United States of South Africa.

Branches of the Bond were formed in the Cape Colony, the Transvaal, and the Orange Free State, and in 1882 the first Congress of the Bond was held at Graaff Reinet. A very astute and profoundly able plotter was already at work in the person of Mr. J. H. Hofmeyr, who had started “The Farmers’ Protection Society” with the expressed purpose of watching over Dutch farmers, and stirring them up to take an interest in politics. Hitherto the Dutch bucolic mind had lain fallow. It was now to be cultivated in order that it might produce fruit at parliamentary elections, and, as a more powerful means to that end, “The Farmers’ Protection Society” was amalgamated with the Bond in the year 1883. Mr. J. H. Hofmeyr then assumed the reins of management, and, as a Member in the House of Assembly for Stellenbosch, began to wield a power which at last developed into that of a colonial Earl of Warwick, or king-maker. Ministries were formed at his bidding, and cabinets accepted his control.

Certainly Mr. Hofmeyr very wisely and astutely modified the ostensible objects of the Bond, and he was helped to do so by the fact that the Hollander party in the Government at Pretoria became stronger than the Africanders. Indeed, the Rev. S. J. Du Toit, the founder of the Bond, was worsted in the Transvaal by the men from the old country. But to make up for this, their march in the Cape Colony was so triumphant that the President of the Bond at the Paarl Congress in June 1900 was able to glory in the fact that since 1884 the Cape Colony had been ruled under responsible government almost exclusively by the aid of the Africander Bond. In 1885 there were twenty-five Bond Members of Parliament who held the balance of power, and there can be no doubt that Sir Thomas Upington, Sir Gordon Sprigg, and Mr. Rhodes sought and accepted their support.[Pg 42]

When Mr. Rhodes became Prime Minister in 1890 he was in harmony with the Bond, but certainly did not sympathise with its real object. Each party masked its idea, and each party thought that it was successfully using the other for its own objects. Objects diametrically opposite: Mr. Rhodes desired the supremacy of the British Imperial Power, and the Africander party really aimed at the formation of a Republican South Africa.

The Bond, says Mr. Theo. Schreiner (“The Africander Bond,” &c., p. 29) was for many years the only organised political body in the Cape Colony, and it exercised a political tyranny which crushed all true political life and thought under its iron heel. While it deliberately refused to take the reins of Government, it constantly aimed at increasing the number of its Members in Parliament, and at making it impossible for any Ministry to exist without its support. Arguing apparently from facts, Sir Hercules Robinson, in his farewell speech at Cape Town in April 1889, went so far as to say that there was no longer any permanent place in South Africa for direct Imperial rule.

A Bond Congress was held at Kimberley in 1891, when Mr. Rhodes made a very bold but unsuccessful attempt to get the Dutch to join with the English of the Cape Colony against the iniquitous rule and anti-British policy of the South African Republic. Another Congress was held at Port Elizabeth, when there was an attempt made to capture the Bond by means of British friendship. Indeed the changed attitude of this Association deceived many people, as under the extremely able leadership of Mr. Hofmeyr it assumed the position of a great benevolent society, which desired all Colonists, both English and Dutch, to join it, in order to help forward the progress of South Africa. Nevertheless, it is very significant that the Rev. S. J. du Toit lost the high position he had previously held in consequence of his supposed anti-Transvaal sympathies, and at the same time the influence of the South African Republic greatly increased. “Blood is thicker than water.” The close alliance of sympathy more and more knit together the Dutchmen of the States and of the Colonies.

But the Jameson Raid of 1895 removed every estrangement. Just before this event President Kruger showed his hand by venturing on a dangerous step, which really meant an open breach of the Convention. He closed the drifts, or fords, by which goods carried on the Cape and Natal railways entered the Transvaal, intending by this act to force traffic over his own Delagoa Bay line. He was informed by a joint ultimatum from the Imperial Government and the Cape Colony that his action could not be permitted, and he rescinded his declaration.[Pg 43]

It is not necessary to give a history of the Jameson Raid. No event since Majuba had so much played into the hands of the party in favour of an “Africander Natie.” Cromwell’s words when General Leslie’s army left its strong position, “The Lord has delivered them into our hands,” clearly expressed the sentiment which on this occasion animated the minds of Bond members. The Transvaal enormously increased its armaments, preparations for war virtually commenced, and the entire sympathy of the Africander party in the Cape Colony went out to their brethren of the South African Republic.

Mr. Hofmeyr was a leader who thoroughly deserved the title of “the mole,” as he metaphorically burrowed under the political platform, and concealed his methods and aims with great subtlety. He saw the danger of pursuing openly the programme expressed in the motto of his party, and clothed the ideas of Africanderism in a constitutional garb. However, when considering the real aim of the Bond, we shall prove that this association never abandoned its original programme.

It must be admitted that, in some respects, there is an analogy between Daniel O’Connell, as leader of the Irish National party, and J. H. Hofmeyr, the “Ons Jan” of Africanderism. Both ostensibly were in favour of working only on constitutional lines, and both were defeated by extremists, who saw no other way of obtaining success than by recourse to arms. In the case of the Young Ireland party, with such leaders as John Michell, Smith O’Brien, and Gavan Duffy, a very futile insurrection was quickly crushed; while, so far as J. H. Hofmeyr was concerned, a much greater conflagration resulted. The great fire was really lit by him—at least he constantly added fuel to it—and when too late made futile efforts to extinguish the flames. O’Connell was much more honest, as he openly opposed the Young Irelanders, and retired broken-hearted from the arena.

Hofmeyr undoubtedly did not raise a finger to stop the furious onward march of his party. Ons Land indeed encouraged this movement, and the editor, Mr. Malun, was completely under the great leader’s influence. Certainly at the end, as will be seen if the correspondence ever comes to light, Hofmeyr tried to stop the mad career of the Republics. No one saw more clearly than he did that it was absolute folly to fight the British nation, but his interference came too late.

O’Connell fought more straightforwardly. Never for a moment did he admit that the policy of force was justifiable; while, on the contrary, Hofmeyr had not the moral courage to step publicly into the arena and denounce it. He was always occult in his mode of[Pg 44] fighting. Unfortunately, in posing as a friend, he became the most dangerous enemy of his own people.

The policy of the Africander Bond in the Cape Colony pandered to mean interests and base prejudices. The corn farmers and brandy producers were banded together in an unholy compact. Heavy duties of five shillings per hundred pounds on flour and half-a-crown on wheat were levied, while excise was abolished on spirits made from the grape, in order that members of the Bond who grew cereals and made very bad brandy might be benefited. The shameful result was that bread became dear and bad alcohol cheap. As a Nemesis the producers got into the hands of middlemen, and their condition was rather injured than improved. In the case of both wines and spirits, careless, unscientific methods were generally adopted, quantity was preferred to quality, and in many cases acetous fermentation resulted. Although spirit produced from the grape paid not a farthing of excise, and was carried at a non-paying rate on the railways, it was so miserably full of fusel oil and dangerous in character as to be discarded generally by the white population, and sent broadcast among the aboriginal natives for their degradation, demoralisation, and destruction. In a shameful manner Mr. Hofmeyr and the Bond politicians persistently resisted every proposed law for the restriction of the sale of bad alcohol among aboriginal natives, and indeed by insidious methods did all in their power to remove every barrier between the native and the deadly poison made carelessly in thousands of “pot stills” in the Dutch districts of the Western Province.

At the same time the true Phariseeism of this people was demonstrated by their fanatical observance of the Lord’s Day, which they styled the Sabbath, and their absurd opposition to any Sunday trains, even when absolutely necessary in general public interests. Mr. Merriman, in one of his saner moments, reprobated this hypocrisy.

Photo: Maull & Fox, London.


Lieutenant-Governor of Orange River Colony.

In South Africa the Native Laws Commission, which comprised such men as Sir Thomas Upington, Sir Thomas Scanlen, and Sir Jacob Barry, took evidence in a very complete form in the early eighties, and as a result reported unanimously in favour of prohibiting the sale of intoxicants to the aboriginal natives. Accordingly by Act of Parliament this recommendation was given full effect to in the Transkeian Territories. Subsequently the Drink Commission reported in favour of this prohibition being extended to natives throughout the Colony. In Bechuanaland and Basutoland, as well as in Natal, the law was adopted long ago, and invariably worked well; nevertheless, to the shame of the Bond organisation, it persistently preferred Mammon to God, and in the strongest manner opposed any legislation whose result would be to save the black man[Pg 45] from destruction. Eventually an Act introduced by Sir James Rose Innes was maimed before it was allowed to pass, so that licensing Boards were only empowered to pass restrictive regulations on the sale of alcohol to the coloured races “short of total prohibition.”

During the entire term of Bond rule in the Cape Colony not a sixpence could be obtained for the encouragement of emigration from the United Kingdom to the Cape Colony—nor would any land be ever granted for the purpose. “Africa for the Africanders” has a very real and exact meaning, and this was shown to demonstration when even the petty vote for granting assisted passages to domestic servants and artisans was objected to and refused. These people might in many cases come from England, and therefore must be shut out.

The subtlety and diplomacy of the Bond were evinced in voting a grant for the British Navy, and Mr. Hofmeyr took many opportunities of posing as a loyal subject, but, as we shall prove in the context, the one great underlying principle of the organisation was to obtain the mastery in South Africa. All nationalities were invited to join. Africa must be made great by a union of all its people, but those who read between the lines and ascertained the real opinions of those who were guiding the movement knew perfectly well that although the Imperial power might be allowed at first to be a faineant king, the Mayor of the Palace with real authority was to be the people of Dutch extraction—the Africanders—throughout Southern Africa.

We now come to the last days before the war, when Lord Milner could have been easily checkmated if Mr. Hofmeyr had been able to influence the Republican Governments. As every one knew, Mr. Kruger had positively promised equal franchise rights to British subjects at the retrocession of the Transvaal, and this promise was shamefully broken. In a constitutional manner the Uitlanders vainly endeavoured to obtain redress, and now appealed to the Imperial Government. The High Commissioner merely did his evident duty, when at the Bloemfontein Conference he insisted that at least a portion of the franchise rights promised should be given. No doubt Mr. Hofmeyr would have seen his opportunity here, and have consented in such a manner, and with such a purpose, as to really render British interference nugatory, but the Dutch Republicans had now the bit between their teeth. They were the Lord’s people, they had made all their preparations, and were perfectly sure of victory. Mr. Kruger himself could not now stop the war, and the astounding ultimatum came forth from the little Republic to the great Empire: “Recall your troops and send no more, or we will punish you.” If this gage had not been taken[Pg 46] up the United Kingdom would have been forced to take a back seat as a third-class power among the nations of the world.

Having referred to the origin and growth of the Africander party, we must now consider its aims. It must be admitted that its originators were perfectly candid. We find them declaring in De Patriot in 1882, when referring to Confederation, that “There is just one hindrance, and that is the British flag. Let them take that away, and within a year the confederation under the free Africander flag will be established. The British must just have Simon’s Bay as a naval and military station on the road to India, and give over all the rest of Africa to the Africanders.... It is we on top or they on top. They must be under or we under.... Two things are wanted, artillery for the Transvaal ... to make their own ammunition and to be well supplied with cannon. Now that the war against the English Government is over (at Majuba Hill), the war against the English language must begin. By Anglifying the girls they infect the whole family life with the English speech.”

We must now put into the box witnesses of a very important character whose testimony, so far as the aims of the Bond are concerned, is perfectly unexceptionable. These witnesses are Mr. Burgers, President of the South African Republic, Sir John Brand, President of the Orange Free State, Mr. Reitz, State Secretary of the South African Republic and previously President of the Orange Free State, and Mr. Steyn, Attorney-General and subsequently President of the Orange Free State. In 1875 President Burgers stated at a meeting held in Holland to consider the Delagoa Bay railway scheme, that he hoped to see a New Holland eight millions strong in South Africa, whence England shall have been expelled. It was President Brand who said, “Bartle Frere dreams of United South Africa under the British flag; and so do I, but not under the same flag.” And when conducting a controversy with Kruger on the subject of a Customs Union, Sir John Brand, disgusted with treachery, cried aloud, “The Bond seeks to raise a Republican flag in a country with which we are at peace.”[4]

Mr. Theo. Schreiner, whose honesty and truthfulness no man in South Africa will deny, furnishes us with a circumstantial account of an interview between himself and Mr. Reitz in the early eighties.[5] Then Mr. Reitz was a judge at Bloemfontein, and was one of that band of Africander patriots whose aspiration and conduct remind us naturally of the aims, objects, and aspirations of the Young Ireland party under Smith O’Brien. After in vain trying to enlist Mr.[Pg 47] Schreiner as a recruit, Mr. Reitz asked him to state the reason of his refusal. The reply was, “Because the ultimate object aimed at was the overthrow of British power and the expulsion of the British flag from South Africa.” “Well, what if it is so?” was the rejoinder, to which Mr. Schreiner replied, “You don’t suppose, do you, that the flag is going to disappear without a tremendous struggle and fight?” “Well,” said Mr. Reitz, “I suppose not, but what of that?”

Mr. Steyn, of the Orange Free State, made the following statement to the Rev. W. Tees, Presbyterian Minister in Durban:—

“Great Britain has been completely taken by surprise.”

“Sir, this has been preparing since the year 1884.”[6]

“In both States?” asked the clergyman.

“Yes,” was the reply, “in both, and in the Colony also. The Transvaal has been the arsenal, but those in the know in the Free State and in the Colony have worked in unison with Kruger. The object was to oust the British from South Africa, but it was not intended to do it all at once. The first step was the consolidation of the two Republics as a Sovereign International State, and later on an Africander rising at the right moment.”

Mr. Tees then asked a very pertinent question. “Then do you mean to say that when President Kruger attended the Bloemfontein Conference he knew perfectly well that the proceedings were a farce, and that he really meant to fight?”

Mr. Steyn’s reply was “Yes.”

At a conference between the Governments of the South African Republic and Orange Free States held in 1887[7] relative to railways, we find Mr. Kruger declaring: “If you hook on to the Colony you cut our throat.... Let us speak frankly; we are not going to be dependent on England.” Mr. Wolmarans, following, declared: “We have had much experience of her Majesty’s Government, and we will and must shake ourselves free. We are still insufficiently prepared. We wish to get to the sea, especially with an eye to future complications—you know our secret policy.” Subsequently the blunt soldier, General Joubert, said on the occasion of an Uitlander complaining to him of the constant breach of Article 14 of the 1884 Convention providing equality of treatment for the Uitlanders: “Equality! We don’t want equality! We want to see who is to be boss in South Africa.”

Apropos to this subject it is not uninteresting to note from the debates in the Volksraad of the South African Republic (see the Johannesburg Star of August 17, 1895) that the laws of the Trans[Pg 48]vaal were intended to make the acquisition of the franchise by Uitlanders morally impossible, and that at the end of one debate Mr. Otto merely became the mouthpiece of the Burghers when he said, without any rebuke from the chairman, “Come on and fight. I say, come on and have it out; and the sooner the better.”

We must now put in documentary evidence to prove the real aims and objects of the Africander Bond. The declaration of the Rev. S. J. Du Toit, Judge Reitz, and Carl Borckenhagen is perfectly explicit. They declare that “The object of the Africander Bond is the establishment of a South African Nationality through the cultivation of a true love of this our fatherland. This object must be attained by the promotion and defence of the national language, and by Africanders, both politically and socially, making their power to be felt as a nation.”

After the retrocession of the Transvaal the “Africander Natie” took a very definite shape, as we find the Patriot newspaper declaring that “God’s hand has been visible in a more marked manner than ever before seen since the days of the children of Israel. Proud England is compelled to give the Boers back their land after they had been defeated by a mere handful.” The little respect which Africanders entertained for British troops had entirely departed.

One of the articles of the Bond programme of principles contained the following words: “In itself acknowledging no single form of Government as the only suitable form, and whilst acknowledging the form of Government existing at present, it (the Bond) means that the aim of our national development must be a United South Africa under its own flag.” With the subtlety which always distinguished the party, a change was made in this some years afterwards.

The language of the Bond organ, De Patriot, is perfectly explicit, and shows very clearly the spirit and intentions of the party. The English must be boycotted. There must be no English shops, signboards, advertisements, or bookkeepers. Manufacture of munitions of war must be started in the two Republics. “At Heidelberg there are already 4000 cartridges made daily, and a few skilful Africanders have begun to make shells too. That is right; so we must become a nation.” It must be considered a disgrace to speak English, and war must be waged in the Church against that language. “It is the Dutch Reformed Church. What has England to do with it?” In family life no quarter was to be given.


Photo by Wilson, Aberdeen

As we have already said, the junction of the Farmers’ Protection Society with the Bond exercised a moderating influence, but the spirit, intentions, and object of the party remained the same, although[Pg 49] Mr. J. H. Hofmeyr attempted, in a manner as astute as it was dangerous, to unite the Dutch and English people in South Africa in a common antagonism to Great Britain’s power, influence, and presence. Even Mr. Merriman saw through this trick, as he declared in a speech delivered at Grahamstown in 1885. “It is now the cue of the Bond to pretend to be loyal, and if it were not painful it would be ridiculous to hear the editor of De Zuid Afrikaan cheering the Queen, and to hear Du Toit praying for her while resolutions are passed round to the branches in direct opposition to the honour of England.... Each one of you will have to make up his mind whether he is prepared to see the colony remain a part of the British Empire, which carries with it obligations as well as privileges, or whether he is prepared to obey the dictates of the Bond. From the very first time, some years ago, when first the poison began to be distilled in this country, I felt that it must come to this: Was England or the Transvaal to be the paramount force in South Africa?... What could they think of the objects of the Bond when they found Judge Reitz advocating a Republic of South Africa under one flag?... No one who wishes well to the British Government could have read the leading articles of the Zuid Afrikaan and Express and De Patriot, in expounding the Bond principles, without seeing that the maintenance of law and order under the British Crown and the object they have in view are absolutely different things.... My quarrel with the Bond is that it stirs up race difference. Its main object is to make the South African Republic the paramount power in South Africa.”

To do justice to the Bond, we must quote Mr. Theron, their secretary, who is reported by the South African News of May 5, 1900, to have said:—

“One other question may be asked, ‘What is the object of the Bond?’ My reply is, its object, its only object, is expressed in sec. 2 of the General Constitution, which is worded as follows: ‘The nearest object of the Bond is the formation of a South African Nationality by means of union and co-operation, as a preparation for the ultimate object, a united South Africa. The Bond tries to attain this object by constitutional means, giving to respective governments and legislatures all the support they are entitled to, and respecting everybody’s rights.’” This was perfectly understood. It was a Dutch Nationality and a Dutch Republican South Africa that was aimed at, and the context fully proved this assertion when the vast majority of the Bond party fought against England, either as belligerents in the Republics or as rebels—active and passive—within the Cape Colony. Nine out of every ten ministers of the Dutch Reformed Church were[Pg 50] rebels, according to the testimony of one of their own number—the Rev. Mr. Vlok of Piquetberg. In such circumstances it is impossible to come to any other conclusion than that the departure from the original, straightforward declaration of the aims of the Bond was nothing but a diplomatic effort to throw dust in the eyes of the enemy.

Certainly such a man as Mr. Cronwright Schreiner was in no way deceived by this attitude, as we find him saying in 1893[8] that the Africander Bond is anti-English in its aims; its officers and its language are Dutch, and it is striving to gain such power as absolutely to control the Cape Parliament. It had “paralysed our political life.” “In fact,” he goes on to say, “the Bond has sacrificed the welfare of the country for years to the selfish attainment of one object, namely, the supremacy of the Dutch-speaking inhabitants of the Cape Colony, regardless of the rights of others; the imagined good of an ignorant clique of the Dutch has been preferred to the good of the country. These men must not have power; they are wholly unfit to have it. The Bond is a body striving solely for its own benighted ends, and founded and conducted on race lines.” This was a correct judgment passed from the English Cape Colony farmer’s point of view; men who, quite unlike the pro-Boers in England, perfectly understood their subject by means of adequate evidence obtained on the spot, as well as by bitter personal experience.

Can anything be more significant than the following facts. The Hon. Mr. Bellingan, a Dutch member of the Legislative Council, in the session immediately previous to the war is reported by the Cape Times to have said: “If the policy of annexation were adhered to, they (the Africanders) would take advantage of England’s calamity;” while the Bond paper, Ons Land, reports the honourable member as saying that when the Queen came to die and storms burst over the empire the Africanders would not side with England if the Republics were annexed. Then the member himself, in a letter to the Cape Times, declared that what he said was: “He saw difficulty for the British Empire after the death of our beloved Queen. By giving the Republicans their independence England could reckon upon them as friends, but if the Republics were annexed she could not do so.”

The Bond undoubtedly during many years prepared the materials for a conflagration. The great never-dying, ever-present aspiration was fully expressed in its motto, “Africa for the Africanders.” It was nothing if not diplomatic, and professed very loudly a loyalty which showed itself in its true colours when the[Pg 51] Bond party was in power just prior to the war. Then we find its aims exhibited by the Bond party in Parliament, backed up by the Bond Congress, fighting most strenuously against the absurdly lenient provisions of the Treason Bill.

As Mr. Theo. Schreiner aptly says, “Rebellion in fact is no rebellion in the eyes of the Bond so long as it be in accord with the Africander national ideal.” The ministers of their political party allowed ammunition and guns to be carried to the Republics over the railways of the Colony in immense quantities, and the W. P. Schreiner ministry was split up rather than consent to the very mild punishment of deprivation of the franchise being inflicted on rebels. Then came the war, when a large majority of the Bond party were either active or passive rebels.

But no one more clearly points out the real objects of the Bond than Mr. Reitz, one of its original founders, and to the end one of its principal leaders. He does not hesitate to say in his brochure entitled “A Century of Wrong,” largely circulated in more than one language over the continent of Europe:—

“May the hope which glowed in our hearts during 1880, and which buoyed us up during that struggle, burn on steadily. May it prove a beacon of light in our path, invincibly moving onwards through blood and through tears until it leads us to a real union of South Africa.... Whether the result be victory or death, liberty will assuredly rise in South Africa ... just as freedom dawned over the United States of America a little more than a century ago. Then from Zambesi to Simonstown it will be ‘Africa for the Africander.’”

A Bond object-lesson was really to be seen in a practical manner in the South African Republic under the rule of Dutch Africanders. There indeed the Transvaal portion of Africa was clearly ruled for one section of the population—the Africander—to the utter exclusion of the rights of the English population largely in a majority within Johannesburg. There was an election system leading to the corrupt and unjust rule of Boer Raads and a Boer oligarchy. Protection, Concessions, the Master and Servants Acts were all managed in accordance with Africander ideas. Bond views of native policy were carried out in such a way that no coloured person however civilised could vote, nor hold title to fixed property nor trade freely, nor even marry as white people might. All this found encouragement in the Cape Colony, and eventually the absurd fiction of Boers fighting for liberty in the Transvaal was proclaimed as a fact over all Europe, although literally they commenced a war in which they felt sure of success for the purpose of subverting liberty and obtaining complete freedom to carry on government by a section of[Pg 52] the people purely for the interests of a section—the Africanders—ignoring altogether equal rights for all other men.

When we consider clearly and definitely all the facts, remember that history repeats itself and that the Africanders are profoundly tenacious of their political opinions and have proved themselves to be a people who are able to wait, can we not see at once how desirable it is to suspend temporarily the constitution of the Cape Colony? The body politic requires a physician. No one better understands the subject or is more competent to prescribe than Lord Milner. Why do we not take his advice? Nothing is more significant than the fact that in the Cape Colony two years ago heated parliamentary debates and a violent political agitation, following immediately upon the suppression of the first rebellion, were in their turn succeeded by a second rebellion more ruinous than the former one.

In asking for suspension there is no idea of defection from the principle of responsible government. The Imperial system requires local independence, and in due course this will be extended to all parts of South Africa. A necessary interregnum is required for purposes of true liberty and sound rule, in order that breakdown may be prevented and true constitutionalism take the place of the tyranny of any section of the population. The Imperial Government is no step-mother, and the federation of Southern Africa will doubtless be on similar lines to those of the Canadian Dominion. Certainly no system will be forced upon the people contrary to their wishes, but the resurrection of Bond power in the Cape Colony would absolutely prevent any well-considered and statesmanlike plan, in which all men would receive fair play utterly regardless of race extraction. In fact the British and the Africander Bond theories are diametrically opposed. The first makes every civilised man equal from the Zambesi to Cape Town, the other specially and always means “Africa for the Africanders.”

Heated discussions in Parliament, and the intense excitement connected with contested elections, cannot but accentuate race hatred in the Cape Colony. Surely South Africa should have a rest. As in the Transvaal and in the Orange Colony, so at the Cape, the great healer, time, ought to be allowed to do its work.

But perhaps the strongest, because the most practical, argument in favour of “suspension” is based upon the fact that a re-distribution Act is absolutely necessary if fair play is to be bestowed on all nationalities, and the reign of the Bond be not allowed to again become supreme. The suspensionists are really fighting for liberty against the rule of a section. Their motto is that of the Union Jack—“Equal rights for all”—whereas, as we know, the Africanders will in the future, as in the past, demand “Africa for the Africanders.[Pg 53]” No delusion is greater than to imagine that they will change their purpose. Their plan is to adhere to their principles, consolidate their party, and wait for an opportunity. After spending more than two hundred millions of money, and much more than this—40,000 noble lives—for the sake of upholding British supremacy in Southern Africa, nothing should be done even to risk a recurrence of the trouble. This certainly was the opinion of Lord Milner, and of the great majority of the British people in the Cape Colony. The advice now referred to was not taken, and history must record the result.

The real aims and objects of the Bond are as decipherable to-day as they were three years or ten years ago. The people who belong to it are thoroughly tenacious of these opinions, and to do them justice, make no pretence of having changed them. At the Paarl the popular General Botha has just declared that they are not vanquished, retain their traditions, and will yet conquer. They look with unutterable scorn on the men who joined the National Scouts, and entertain feelings of coldness and dislike for those who did not join the enemy either actively or passively. In the great Dutch Church of Cape Town, the Republican Generals received an unanimous ovation, and were carried shoulder high, in triumph, from the edifice. The truth is that the Bond exists, remains extremely powerful, and is only waiting and watching for an opportunity.

British rule is now comparatively easy both in the Transvaal and Orange Colonies. Effective progress is being made under the rule of wise and firm Governments; but it is in the Cape Colony, where a treacherous and powerful enemy is allowed to plot with impunity, that the real danger to British Imperial interests lies.

How history repeats itself! When the fatuous policy of abandoning 35,000 square miles of excellent territory styled the Orange River Sovereignty was pursued in 1853, there was only one man in the House of Commons who opposed it,[9] and subsequent circumstances amply justified his judgment. In 1902, Mr. Chamberlain would have found it absolutely impossible to obtain a majority in the House of Commons favourable to suspension of the Cape Colony Constitution. What is now to be done? Our answer is, “Accept with loyalty the decision of the Government, and show by wise moderation that we are most desirous to be friends with our fellow-subjects of Dutch extraction. No recriminations nor abuse should proceed from our side. Nothing[Pg 54] will please us better than to find the Bond abandoned and all men cordially uniting as one free people under the British flag. If this be not done—and masses of the people have already declared that it will not—we will have to fight the Bond again at elections, on public platforms, and in the press, as well as in Parliament. It would have been well for both nationalities if this could have been avoided, but this is now impossible.”



[3] See “From Boer to Boer and Englishman,” by Paul M. Botha. London: Hugh Rees, 1901.

[4] See Macmillan’s Magazine, May 1900.

[5] This is published in full in the Weekly Times of December 1, 1899, and is fully referred to in Wilmot’s “History of Our Own Times in South Africa.” See also “The Truth about the Transvaal” and various other publications.

[6] See Daily News of May 10, 1900.

[7] Reported in the Times of May 24, 1900.

[8] Paper read at the Cradock Farmers’ Association in October 1893.

[9] This was Mr. Norton. See the dramatic manner in which this is referred to in the second volume of “The Life of Sir Harry Smith.”

[Pg 55]




Author of “Where Three Empires Meet”; “The Cruise of the ‘Falcon,’” &c.

In all the long romantic story of the making of the British Empire, no episode more strongly appeals to the imagination than the foundation of Rhodesia. Well is it named Rhodesia; for the history of Great Britain’s acquisitions on either side of the Zambesi, the 750,000 square miles of magnificent territories which lie under the sway of the British South Africa Company, is the history of the Englishman, Cecil John Rhodes: had it not been for whose foresight, statesmanship, untiring vigilance, determined but patient endeavour for years towards the accomplishment of his mighty schemes, the South African Plateau, with its gold-bearing reefs, its vast tracts of rich arable and pastoral lands, would have fallen into the hands of one or other of the foreign Powers which keenly contested with him its possession.

It is a trite saying that when the time is ripe for great doings on the part of a nation the necessary man invariably appears. It is a saying hardly warranted by fact, for many a golden opportunity have nations, Great Britain as often as others, lost because the right man was not forthcoming. Happily it has not been so in South Africa. It is almost certain that, had it not been for the accident of Mr. Rhodes seeking the South African shores for his health when a lad, the Germans and the Boers would have cut off the Cape Colony from all possibility of expansion to the north. Those Powers had even found their right men. The Transvaal had her stubborn Kruger; Germany had her shrewd and energetic agents and explorers preparing the way to annexation in different portions of the Dark Continent; while even Portugal had her D’Andrade, a man who displayed much of the spirit and enterprise of the Portuguese discoverers and conquerors of olden days. Cecil Rhodes took his place in South African affairs but just in time. The Transvaal War had been followed by a period of extraordinary apathy both in England and in the Cape Colony. No one seemed to care in the least what became of the territory lying beyond our then limits. At home men were sick of the very name of South[Pg 56] Africa. Many would have gladly abandoned all our possessions about the Cape of Storms, and abdicated an Empire which seemed to bring us nothing but futile wars, disaster, and disgrace. It was at this critical period that Mr. Rhodes came to the front to save our supremacy in South Africa—too late, indeed, to save for us much that should have been ours; too late, for example, to secure our sovereignty over Namaqualand and Damaraland, territories which had been long recognised as being within Britain’s sphere of influence, which formerly had been annexed to the Cape, but which latterly had been totally neglected both by the Imperial and Cape Governments, so that the watchful Germans were left at liberty, first to establish their trading missions, and finally to assert their sovereignty over those extensive regions.

Five-Mile Spruit on Melsetter Road, Rhodesia Five-Mile Spruit on Melsetter Road, Rhodesia

The richness and beauty of the highlands, extending over an immense area both north and south of the Zambesi, had for many years been known to both English and Boer travellers. Mr. Rhodes, in his early days at Kimberley, met many an adventurous wanderer who had come from that wonderful region, and their glowing tales perhaps first inspired in him that ambitious dream of the creation of a great new British colony that should include all the finest country in South and Central Africa. As far back as 1882, having commenced to take an active part in Cape politics, Mr. Rhodes took the initial steps towards the attainment of the one absorbing purpose of his life.[Pg 57]


Photo by Wilson, Aberdeen

Of fascinating interest is the story—a story for the most part yet untold to the world—of Cecil Rhodes’ long struggle with the Boers and Portuguese who attempted to keep the Empire-builder out of the Promised Land, and of his frequent forestallings of further German expansion at our expense. The first, the most critical and anxious period of all, was occupied with the contest for the very gate of the country, the right-of-way to the north, which we were so nearly losing, and without which our advance would have been hopelessly barred. The only outlet to the north from the Cape Colony lay through Bechuanaland, a vast region that was divided into several independent native kingdoms, and hemmed in between the Germans, then advancing from the west, and the Transvaal Boers on the east. This gateway to the north has been likened to the neck of a bottle; the narrow neck which, once passed, opens out into the broad and precious Zambesia. Kruger, clever and obstinate, commenced his career of attempted expansion by seizing this neck with the intention of thus cutting us off completely from the north. It was his ambition to extend the Boer rule westward to the German line, eastward to Delagoa Bay and the Indian Ocean, and northwards over the steppes of Zambesia. Pretorius had declared that the Transvaal had no boundary on the west, unless it were the Atlantic Ocean. The first struggle therefore between Rhodes and Kruger was for this vital point of vantage, the neck. Had Kruger grasped it the British flag would never have floated on the northern plateau, the Boers and Germans would have joined hands—there had been a talk of a German Protectorate over the Transvaal—and theirs, not ours, would have been the splendid prize. And what is more, seeing what a vast conspiracy had been organised against us, we should probably have lost the Cape Colony itself: the foundations of our Empire would have been shaken. Immense was the threatening peril to which we shut our eyes. The Transvaal War had left the Cape Colonists in a distinctly anti-British frame of mind. Disgusted at the follies of the Imperial Government, even those of British blood sympathised with the Transvaal Boers, and had no objection to the north falling into the hands of the Dutch Republicans. Indeed, the general feeling at the Cape at that time appears to have been republican. Cecil Rhodes had not only to out-manœuvre Germany, the Transvaal, and Portugal, but had also to overcome the opposition of colonial prejudice, and the complete indifference of the English to all affairs South African. He stood almost alone, and had to create a party for himself. Not only man of action, but diplomatist and opportunist in the best sense of the word, he played his game with wondrous skill, and succeeded at last in winning over[Pg 58] the reluctant colonists to his views. The very Africander Bond became his ally for a time.

Cape to Cairo Railway. Laying the Rails

That struggle for the neck of Bechuanaland is an interesting story that cannot be told here. First Kruger attempted to establish himself in Mankoroane’s territory. Mankoroane, to protect himself, offered to cede his country to the Cape Colony, which point-blank refused it. Rhodes, in 1882, went himself to the chieftain, and so arranged matters that the Imperial Government found itself compelled to take over the district. Thwarted at this point, Kruger attempted to cut us off further to the north, and sent his agents to establish the freebooting republics of Goshen and Stellaland. Again Rhodes checked him. Going himself to Stellaland, he persuaded the Boers in possession to accept the British flag on the condition that our Government ratified their titles to the land they had occupied. The Warren expedition, despatched at last in consequence of the strong representations of Rhodes and his far-seeing ally, Sir Hercules Robinson, the then High Commissioner, resulted in the expulsion of the Boer freebooters from Montsioa’s country, where Mafeking now stands, and the extension of our protectorate over the whole of Bechuanaland. Then Rhodes arranged for the taking over of Khama’s land, and the gateway to[Pg 59] the north was won. Foiled again, and thus hemmed in on the west, the stubborn Kruger sent his very able agent Grobler to Lobengula to obtain from him a Matabele concession to the Transvaal. Rhodes found that it was hopeless to attempt to bring the Imperial Government to a sense of the danger of the position, so now, before it was too late, he had to act promptly for himself. He sent Maguire Thomson and Rudd to Lobengula to obtain a concession from him before Grobler had carried out his mission. They were successful; the Governor ratified the concession. Dr. Jameson and Dr. Harris went to Matabeleland to deliver to the king the stipulated arms and ammunition; and despite the bitter opposition of the Cape statesman and consistently anti-British Englishman, Mr. Merriman, the deed of concession was sealed, and its validity was recognised by the Government. And thus in 1888, after years of patient endeavour, Cecil Rhodes at last had made the way clear for the realisation of his mighty scheme.

The sinews of war had now to be found; and Rhodes, in anticipation, before the granting of the concession, had made his provisions. First he had brought about the amalgamation of the diamond-mining companies, and then, as head of the great De Beers Corporation with its rent-roll of four millions sterling a year, he, in 1887, effected the alteration of the De Beers Trust Deed by a liquidation of the Company, so as to give the De Beers directors power to apply the Company’s funds to outside objects, that is, to the development of the North. Messrs. Barnato and Beit agreed to this on the condition of being made life governors, and ever since loyally co-operated with Rhodes in the execution of his scheme.

The next step was the granting of the charter by the British Government in 1889, and the creation of the British South Africa Company. Then Rhodes sent out the famous Pioneer Expedition to Mashonaland, and the white men established themselves in Rhodesia. It must be borne in mind that at that time and for years afterwards Rhodes had to be ever closely watching and cunningly circumventing the German Boers and Portuguese, who spared no effort to keep us from the north. Bismarck’s agent, Count Pffeil, was sent on a secret mission to South Africa and all but succeeded in anticipating Rhodes, and in winning for Germany a broad strip of territory that would have connected her eastern and western possessions, so forming a bar across Africa from ocean to ocean that would have effectually shut us out. Then there was the Boer trek into Mashonaland in 1891, when the Rhodesians guarded the drifts against the invaders—a scheme of Kruger’s that was frustrated without the shedding of blood. Even when the Pioneer Expedition[Pg 60] was on its way, the energetic Portuguese D’Andrade was distributing the flags of his country among the chiefs, and attempting to get concessions that would cut Mashonaland off from Matabeleland. To defeat his plans Rhodes entered into a treaty with Umtassa, and obtained the Gazaland concession from Gungunyana, a concession which would have extended the Chartered Company’s possessions to the shores of the Indian Ocean had not Lord Salisbury refused to ratify it and acknowledged the claims of Portugal. Then again in 1889 Rhodes, whose Intelligence Department always supplied him in good time with information as to the doings of his rivals, hearing that Germany intended to cut us off at the head of Lake Nyassa, secretly sent Mr. H. H. Johnson to hoist British flags at Port Abercorn on Lake Tanganyika and other places, as proof of our occupation. The Portuguese also hoped to erect a wall against our expansion by connecting her eastern and western territories, and for this purpose an expedition set out from Angola to seize the Barotse country, but here Rhodes again forestalled them; his mission was the first to arrive in the country, and Barotseland was placed under our protection. The way these things were done by Rhodes’ agents, the hardships endured, the perils incurred by these adventurous men who—unlike the Portuguese agents who were always accompanied by large bands of armed men—plunged alone into these savage regions to carry out their hazardous missions, makes a wonderful story indeed of British pluck and enterprise.

The Pioneer Expedition set out in June 1890. The Pioneer Column, which had been enrolled by Major Frank Johnson, consisted of 187 men who had decided to try their fortunes in the new country, and it was accompanied by 650 mounted police, under the command of Lieut.-Colonel Pennefather. The famous hunter, Selous, acted as guide. The ox-waggons carried provisions and other stores sufficient to supply the whole force for six months. For four hundred miles the Pioneers marched into Mashonaland, constructing a road as they went, and making drifts at the many rivers to enable the waggons to cross. Forts were built at intervals, and small garrisons were left in them. At last they came to their objective point, Mount Hampden; and hard by it they built Fort Salisbury, now the capital of all Rhodesia. The Pioneer Force was now disbanded, each man receiving, in addition to his pay, the right to peg out fifteen gold claims and 3000 acres of land. The men scattered over the country, prospecting for gold and pegging out their claims and farms. The first rainy season was a terrible one for them; it was an exceptionally bad year; all transport was interrupted, supplies fell short; the men had to live on native foodstuffs; great privations were endured; many died; and, as in every[Pg 61] other part of our Empire, the ways of Rhodesia are strewn with the bones of the men who won the land for their country.

But the men who go out as the pioneers of the Empire are not easily discouraged. The settlement and development of the country was at once undertaken with energy. Arrangements were made for the administration of the new State; a legal system was created; roads were constructed; mining plant was brought up; mining operations commenced; land was brought under cultivation; stores were opened; townships were surveyed, and rose rapidly from the wilderness, handsome brick buildings taking the place of the huts in which the pioneers roughed it at first. But the development of the country was much retarded by the difficulty of communication and the enormous cost of transport. Little could be done until Rhodesia was afforded railway communication with the coast; so Mr. Rhodes made arrangements for the extension of the Cape railway from its then terminus at Kimberley, and for the construction of a line to Beira on the east coast.

The Chartered Company had not long effected its active occupation of Mashonaland before the Matabele impis resumed their murderous raids on the Mashonas, and in 1893 the Matabele war broke out, leading to the overthrow of Lobengula and the absorption of Matabeleland by the Chartered Company. Nearly every able-bodied white man in Mashonaland volunteered his services. Three columns, numbering nine hundred men in all, marched through the country, defeating the Matabele impis on the Shangani and Zambesi; Bulawayo was occupied, and with the gallant stand of Wilson and his little force, the war was brought to a conclusion.

Then the white man’s city began to rise from the veldt, hard by the burnt kraal of Lobengula. Towards the close of the war I travelled in an ox-waggon with some Boer transport riders from the Marico Valley in the Transvaal—about thirty miles from Mafeking—to Bulawayo. This beautiful valley (“the Granary of the Transvaal”) was the old home of Moselekatse, Lobengula’s father. It was a fat land; there is none so rich for a hundred leagues around; for tribes of Zulu blood will establish themselves in none but the best country, and they will trek far to find it. The rolling land of Marico is as fertile as it is beautiful. It is as green as Devon, and the pretty farmhouses of the prosperous people are scattered among rich pastures, great fields of corn, and fruit orchards. Fifty years ago the Boers and their Baralong allies drove Moselekatse and his raiding warriors out of Marico, and sent them trekking north to seek a new home. So northward they travelled, murdering and cattle-lifting as they went, traversing good country, but not such as would satisfy the Zulu, until at last, nearly five hundred miles[Pg 62] from Marico, they came to a land even more favoured than that they had left, and settled down in what is now called Matabeleland. I followed their route, and could then understand their choice. Fair indeed to the eye appears the green, well-watered high veldt of Matabeleland as the traveller from the south opens it out on reaching the watershed between the Crocodile and the Zambesi rivers. Lieutenant Maund, who some years before had been sent to spy out Matabeleland, with justice reported that, “when compared to the country south of it, it was as Canaan after the wilderness.” When I reached the place where Bulawayo, with its stately buildings, now stands, I found a few hundred white men occupying a little temporary settlement of native huts and tattered tents that had sprung up round the newly-constructed fort; the building of the modern city had not commenced. A little later I was present at the first auction of township stands. The alternate land lots bearing even numbers, lining one side of what was to be the chief street, were sold. They fetched about £50 apiece. A few months afterwards the alternate stands bearing odd numbers were sold by auction; they all fetched over £400 apiece, the highest price realised being £900. Some of the stands, that could have been purchased for £50 each in 1893, are at the present time worth six or seven thousand pounds apiece, and realise that price when put on the market. I quote these figures to show that whatever critics at home may think of the future of Rhodesia, those on the spot have confidence in it. The Matabele War was scarcely over before the volunteers, having received their mining, farm, and loot rights, scattered over the country to prospect and peg out their claims. It was wonderful to observe how quickly, under Dr. Jameson’s able administration, everything was put in order, and Matabeleland began to assume the aspect of a settled country. Bulawayo was soon a fine city, having its water-works, electric lighting, hospitals, public schools, its imposing court-house and other handsome public buildings. Townships sprang up like mushrooms all over the high veldt in the vicinity of the gold-bearing reefs. The population rapidly increased. The Chartered Company, in the meanwhile, pushed on the railway from Mafeking towards Bulawayo, proceeded to construct the line from Umtali to Beira, and quickly placed Bulawayo into telegraphic communication with the outer world. And now there was every sign of prosperity; the development of the gold mines gave encouraging results; trade was good; the value of the land for farming was proved, and excellent crops were raised; Rhodesia’s future seemed assured. But it was fated that its progress should be retarded by an extraordinary succession of disasters; surely no new country was ever so sorely tried.[Pg 63]

All was going well until the early part of 1896, when the first of its many scourges swept down on the unhappy land—the dreaded rinderpest came from the North, and despite every precaution that could be taken to prevent its spreading, it destroyed over 90 per cent. of the cattle in the country, and played like havoc among the wild game. It is difficult for one who was not in Rhodesia at the time to realise the magnitude of this misfortune. As this was a land then entirely dependent upon oxen for transport, a stoppage was put to agricultural and mining operations; and the cattle-owning native population suffered greatly. Before the rinderpest broke out the average price of an ox in Rhodesia was £6, and now, though it is over five years since the rinderpest was stamped out, the price is about £28. Transport rates rose from 10s. to £5 per 100 lbs., and all the necessaries of life went up to famine prices. These figures, which will be found in an interesting pamphlet written by Mr. P. S. Inskip of the British South Africa Company’s service, will convey some idea of the situation. Absolute ruin faced the settlers; it is wonderful that the bulk of them did not abandon the country in despair, but pioneers are not easily disheartened, and they stubbornly struggled on, taking every possible measure to mitigate the effect of the plague.

Rhodesian Natives Washing Clothes Rhodesian Natives Washing Clothes

But misfortune followed on misfortune. The rinderpest was raging when the Matabele rose, and the Rhodesians had to suppress a formidable rebellion, which was rendered the more difficult to cope[Pg 64] with by the scarcity of oxen. The white settlers were massacred in outlying districts; there were heroic rescues, the rising spread to Mashonaland, and it was not until 1897 that the rebellion was crushed and peace for a little while came to the troubled land. Our total casualties were 690; and of the white settlers in the country alone 390 were killed and 150 were wounded, that is, 10 per cent. of the population. The Company spent £360,000 in compensating the settlers for the losses the rebellion had brought upon them.

It had fortunately been discovered that the rinderpest could be stamped out by inoculation, but no sooner had this plague been conquered by science than a terrible outbreak of red-water decimated the remaining cattle. Locusts, too, came in unwonted numbers to devour the crops, and horse sickness was very destructive. Then, on the top of all Rhodesia’s troubles, came the but just concluded Boer war cutting off this inland territory from its communications with its commercial and military bases on the coast, retarding its development, and once more calling on its manhood to abandon industry and take up arms for their country. The Rhodesians responded well to the call; twelve and a half per cent. of the population fought in the war, and it will be in the memory of all how well they acquitted themselves in the defence of Bechuanaland and the relief of Mafeking. Thanks to the foresight of Cecil Rhodes, Matabeleland was ours. Had it not been so, the Boers when defeated in war would have trekked north into the rough country—through which it would have been almost impossible for us to follow them—there to form new independent states, to intrigue against us as before. It would have been the old story over again; and after a few years we should have been plunged into another Boer war. But Rhodes had hemmed in the two Boer Republics. The quarrel had to be fought out within their boundaries. There was no outlet for them into the wilderness this time.


After Photo by G. W. Wilson, Aberdeen.

Notwithstanding these successive disasters the Chartered Company and the settlers had done much during those few troublous years to develop the country. The rinderpest and the native rebellion made it all the more urgent to complete the railway system that was to open communication with the coast. The Company hurried on the construction. In November 1897 the line had been extended from Mafeking to Bulawayo, and in 1899 the line from Salisbury to Beira was completed. Then the line from Bulawayo to Salisbury was pushed on; this connection has just been completed, and one can now travel by rail without changing carriage from Capetown to Beira viâ Bulawayo and Salisbury. Another line is being constructed through the Wankie coalfields[Pg 65] which will cross the Zambesi near the Victoria Falls. How short a time ago it seems since the man who had visited the Falls was regarded as a great explorer! Other branches, too, will shortly open communication to the various goldfields.

Macheckie Railway Bridge on the Salisbury Line, Mashonaland Railway

It is worthy of notice that Rhodesia, though the most remote from the coast, was the one State in South Africa whose industries were kept going during the war, so that the conclusion of peace found her ready for an immediate expansion of her trade. This was due to the wise policy of the Company. Early in 1900 it was represented to the Administration that unless communication, which had been interrupted at the commencement of the war, was soon restored, work could not proceed on the mines; the native labourers would have to be discharged, and the mines would have to be closed down. The Administration realised that it would not only be disastrous to throw so many Europeans and natives out of work, but that the closing down of the mines would convince the Matabele that there was truth in the report which the Boer agents were diligently spreading to the effect that the English were being driven out of the country, and that the opportunity for rebellion had arrived. The Administration therefore came to the assistance of the mining community by making arrangements for the importation of sufficient necessaries for six months through Beira, at a fixed transport rate of £25 per ton from Port Elizabeth. The Company found itself about £5 a ton out of pocket by this arrangement, but great distress was saved. At the opening of the war the price of[Pg 66] grain and meal rose 100 per cent.; but the Hon. Sir Arthur Lawley, the then Administrator of Matabeleland, warned the Chamber of Commerce at Bulawayo that if the cost of necessaries rose too high he would open the Government Stores—in which a large reserve of supplies had been laid up at the outbreak of the war—and sell to white men at a reasonable rate. This had the desired effect for a time, but later on the merchants took an unfair advantage of the situation, whereupon the Administrator carried out his threat, and so brought prices sharply down again. The result of this policy was excellent; the development of the mines proceeded, even if slowly; the crops were sown and there was a good harvest; the natives remained quiet and readily paid their hut-tax, which amounted to a larger sum than had been raised in any previous year.

Considering all the disasters, from the rinderpest down to the Boer War, that have befallen the country, it is indeed wonderful that so much has already been done towards the development of the resources of Rhodesia. There are critics at home who maintain that the country is valueless, that there are no payable gold reefs in it, else the mines would by this time have been working at a profit. People in the old days spoke in the same way of the Rand. Now, it was not until 1897, when the railway reached Bulawayo, that the real development of the mines commenced, and since then the country has produced gold to the value of a million and a quarter sterling, and this with a very limited number of stamps running. The gold belt extends for about 500 miles. Out of the 114,000 claims that have been pegged out, only 737 have been worked at all. Some of the mines have already paid dividends. The future possibilities of these yet practically untouched goldfields no one can estimate.

It had been naturally expected that so soon as the opening of the Rhodesian railways lowered the cost of transport rapid progress would be made in the working of the mines, and critics at home express their wonder that more has not been done; but the enormous increase in the cost of local transport due to the rinderpest has cancelled the advantage gained by the low railway rates from the south. Before the railway was constructed or the rinderpest appeared, the transport from Mafeking to Bulawayo, a distance of 500 miles, was ten shillings per 100 lbs. It costs as much as that now to transport mining machinery by ox-waggon from the Bulawayo railway-yard to a mine only 50 miles distant; and some of the mines are as far as 200 miles from a railway station. The branch lines that are being constructed will bring many of the mines within easy reach of the railway, but no great general progress can be[Pg 67] made throughout Rhodesia until cattle become plentiful and cheap again. The Chartered Company is taking active steps to restock the country. The importation of cattle on a large scale, both by the various companies and by individuals, is now proceeding. Cattle of an excellent breed, suitable to the climate, are being brought from Angoniland, and will be crossed with Kerry or Jersey bulls. Importers of stock intended for breeding purposes can carry them over the Rhodesian railways at considerably reduced rates. Moreover, the Administration advances money to farmers on easy terms, on the security of their farms, to enable them to purchase cattle. With regard to the rinderpest, inoculation has proved successful, and the Government should be able to subdue any fresh outbreak by using the serum which is now manufactured at Kimberley.

Now that peace has come to South Africa, all that Rhodesia wants to enable her to make rapid progress is cheap transport, which she will shortly have, and abundant and efficient native labour; for surely the sore trials of her youth, which she so pluckily endured and survived, are over at last. The gold is there; the majority of the reefs are permanent, and to quote from the report of the Chartered Company’s Resident Consulting Engineer:—“What the future may hold it is impossible to say, but the most grievous pessimist must surely admit that the experimental stage has been safely passed, and that Rhodesia has been proved to be a valuable gold-mining country of which the possibilities are enormous.” The recent discovery of valuable coal deposits will greatly assist the development of the country’s resources, more especially benefiting the gold-mining industry, for the timber is becoming exhausted in the vicinity of the mines, and the price of wood fuel is ever advancing. A careful examination of one small section of the Wankie bed shows that it will yield 1000 tons a day of coal of excellent quality for the next hundred years. It is too early yet to discuss the value of the iron, copper, and other ores which exist in Rhodesia.

To turn to agriculture. There seems to be no production of the temperate and sub-tropical zones that does not flourish on the favoured, well-watered soil of Southern Rhodesia. The area under cultivation is rapidly extending. The one great drawback is the locust. However, farming pays well despite occasional bad seasons. Here is a story that exemplifies the tenacity, under disaster, of the Rhodesian settler. In one year, when the successive locust swarms ate up the land, a certain farmer sowed his farm with mealies. The locusts devoured the crop: undiscouraged, he sowed his fields a second time: again he lost his crop. Yet a third time he sowed, and got his harvest in safely. Despite the two failures, he now[Pg 68] realised a handsome profit. Happily, in the season of 1898-99 locusts almost entirely disappeared, and apparently they have never since invaded the country in their former numbers. It is claimed that this is due to the extensive use of toxine, with which for the last few years a campaign of extermination has, with apparent success, been carried on against these scourges of the land. The toxine has been distributed among the white farmers and the native chiefs, with instructions for its use, and satisfaction with the results has been generally expressed. An energetic farmer does well in Rhodesia, and finds among the mining communities an ever-increasing market for his produce. At present the principal products are mealies, barley, wheat, oats, forage, and potatoes, and excellent crops are raised. Market farming and dairy farming in the vicinity of the towns are industries that require little capital, and are exceedingly profitable. Boer tobacco is produced in large quantities, and experiments that have been tried with American seed have proved the suitability of soil and climate for the cultivation of the superior qualities of tobacco. Oranges, peaches, walnuts, apples, bananas, figs, cherries, vines, and other fruits do very well in Rhodesia. In the yet uncolonised north of this vast territory wild rubber of high commercial value covers large tracts of country. The Chartered Company is taking steps to protect the plant against the destructive native methods of extraction, and to make it a source of wealth to Rhodesia as well of revenue to itself. In several districts the cultivation of coffee and tea promises to prove successful.

The Wankie Expedition The Wankie Expedition

[Pg 69]

As elsewhere in South Africa, the chief difficulty in the way of the development of the country is the disinclination of the idle natives to work on the mines or elsewhere, all the more so now that so many have been spoilt by the excessive wages paid to them by the military authorities during the war. The native of Mashonaland, for example, living in a country blessed with a fruitful soil and splendid climate, protected by our rule from the raids that used to devastate his lands, reaping his crops in security, assisted by the Administration in hard times of rinderpest or locust scourge, is now more than ever loth to work. He can earn as much as £3 a month with food and lodging. But for the protection which he enjoys, and which enables him to wax rich, he only contributes to the expenses of Government his hut-tax of ten shillings. An increase in his hut-tax might induce him to work for a few weeks in the year. If nothing will overcome his deep-rooted indolence, other labour must be imported. Arabs from Aden are already working in some of the mines.

The pay of the skilled white miner is 30s. a day. Throughout Rhodesia the artisan earns good wages, the blacksmith and the bricklayer, for example, receiving respectively 30s. and 35s. a day in Salisbury. Detractors of Rhodesia are constantly asserting that the white population is outrageously taxed, each settler, they state, having to pay £40 per annum to the Chartered Company in the shape of taxes; and a well-known politician, beloved of Little Englanders, has publicly declared that this is the case. It appears that these ingenious people arrived at this conclusion by dividing the amount of the Company’s revenue, £440,000, by the number of Europeans in the country, namely, 12,000, which certainly does give a result of nearly £40 per head. It is thus assumed that all the Company’s revenue is derived from the taxation of the settlers. Now, in the first place, out of this £440,000 of revenue, £113,000 represents the amount of the native hut-tax, and is therefore not contributed by white people at all. Another £23,000 is derived from the sales and rent of land, the Company’s property; and another £58,000 from the telegraph and postal services, which up till now have been worked at a loss. No one can maintain that these items fall under the head of taxation. To go further, another £86,000 of the Company’s revenue is paid directly by the mining companies that have been floated—that is, by the shareholders in England, not by the people of Rhodesia. These figures added up amount to £280,000, which leaves a balance of £160,000—the taxation laid on the settlers, that is, about £13 per head. To go still further, of this £160,000, £73,000 is derived from the duties on wines, spirits, and tobacco. Therefore if one puts these luxuries[Pg 70] out of the calculation the taxation amounts to only £7 a head per year, which is anything but high when one bears in mind that there are no paupers in Rhodesia, that women and children are few, and that the large bulk of the population are adult males in the prime of life earning high wages.

Rhodesian Mining. The Dobie Mill

The climate of the Rhodesian plateau is undoubtedly healthy and well suited to British colonists. It is a land where the white man can work in the fields. The British children reared here are as rosy of cheek and as sturdy of limb as those at home. There is, of course, malaria in the lowlands, but that will disappear before occupation and civilisation, even as it has done in once unhealthy districts of the Transvaal and the Cape Colony. It is the same with the diseases that affect domestic animals: thus horse-sickness once prevailed far to the south, and gradually has been driven north before advancing civilisation. The dreaded tsetse fly too, fatal to horses and cattle, can only exist where the larger wild beasts abound, and vanishes with the latter wherever the white man establishes himself. The rinderpest, in killing off the wild buffalo, did one good service: the tsetse disappeared with the buffalo, and now only frequents remote and unfrequented regions.

From every point of view the future of Rhodesia now looks hopeful. The young State suffered from every calamity that can befall a new country, but was too vigorous to succumb. The Company and the Rhodesian community have displayed pluck, energy, and patriotism in the hour of Britain’s danger, and every loyal[Pg 71] Englishman must sincerely wish Rhodesia prosperity. As regards the prospects of the Chartered Company itself, I will conclude by calling attention to one point. Up till now the Company has been compelled to maintain a large and expensive military force, costing £276,000 a year. Now that the Boer war has been brought to a conclusion, the necessity for so large a force has ceased to exist, and Mr. W. H. Milton, the Senior Administrator of Southern Rhodesia, has recommended, as sufficient to meet the requirements of the country, the maintenance of a force of 400 Europeans and 400 natives, with a simple organisation on the lines of the Cape Police. The cost of this, he maintains, should not exceed £100,000 per annum. If his proposal is accepted, the revenue of the Chartered Company should balance its expenditure, and the corner will be turned.

[Pg 72]



Author of “South Africa,” “The Progress of the British Empire in the Nineteenth Century,” “The United States of Britain,” &c. &c.

The magnificent vagueness of the subject the editor of this volume has, in his wisdom, thought fit to apportion to me might have its conveniences, were it not that such pregnant matters as emigration, federation, education, irrigation, and half-a-dozen subjects besides, all of which bristle with problems and possibilities of the most clamant kind, are ruled out of this paper, in that their consideration has been entrusted to highly competent and patriotic writers, upon whose preserves it would be unbecoming to poach. Nevertheless, it must be obvious to everybody that it will not be possible to attempt a comprehensive analysis of the problems and possibilities of the future, and to keep entirely clear of these all-important factors in the case; seeing that every political, ethnical, financial, and economic problem impinges on these special subjects of which one and all are a part.


Drawing by Chas. M. Sheldon.

As to the political situation to-day, it seems scarcely to be apprehended in this country that the lines of cleavage between parties and factions at the Cape, and indeed in the new colonies, are by no means simple ones. In South Africa generally it is not merely a case of Briton versus Boer; it is not in Cape Colony simply a case of Dutch Africander versus British loyalist. In the Transvaal the problem is not solely how to bring the Boers and English together, or how to conciliate and retain the loyalty of those men, largely of British origin, formerly known as Uitlanders. A labour party, championing a programme practically identical with that with which all students of later-day politico-social questions are familiar, is coming into existence, and is, I think, certain to make itself a power in the land as time advances. It has been frequently, if somewhat hastily, assumed that in South Africa generally parties will follow the lines of division common to most civilised communities, and range themselves in camps, the composition of which will be determined respectively by the place of residence and occupation of the units of the people; the interests, sentiments, and aspirations of the town dwellers being at variance with those of the rural in[Pg 73]habitants. In a sense, we may take the people of Johannesburg to represent what passes for the urban population of old-settled countries. Roughly speaking, the citizens of the older established and smaller towns were dependent for their existence, and are likely to continue to be so dependent, on the agriculturists, since outside the Rand the Transvaal had no industries, no manufactures worth considering: for some time to come she is not likely to have any. So the Rand stood and stands for the towns, and the Uitlanders for the townsmen. The rest of the State stood and stands for the country, and, the agriculturists being mainly Dutch, the Boers stand for the countrymen. In the future, however, the race question, which has practically overruled any dividing lines drawn on the basis of townsmen and countrymen in Cape Colony, should cease to govern, in quite the old way, the political antagonisms of the inhabitants of the Transvaal; in any case, if the various schemes for settling British farmers in the land are crowned with reasonable success, it will no longer be possible to regard the rural Transvaalers as simply Boers, and the townsmen as simply Britishers. At present in the Transvaal there exists, of course, the great and principal division of its people, the British and philo-British versus the Dutch and philo-Dutch. But the interests of the great mining companies are not now, and never can be, on all-fours with those of the operatives; while the traders are likely to find their ideals at variance with those of the mining magnates and operatives alike. Obviously there will be no immediate community of interest and aim between the old Boer farmers and the new British elements introduced on to the land. The differences of the townsmen are likely to be more strictly economic than political; but they must necessarily take a political complexion in the process of their devolution. It would be rash to attempt anything in the shape of a precise forecast; but it certainly seems to me quite unlikely that the future divisions into parties of the citizens of the Transvaal can take the simple form of Briton versus Boer. No doubt the existence of the two races, living side by side, with the remembrance of a century’s differences between them, will continue to give a decided tincture to the parties to be formed in the future. It depends entirely on the kind of statecraft Great Britain brings to bear on the settlement of the new colonies and on its results, whether the progressive elements in the existing population—the population waiting for the gates to be opened to it may, for the purposes of this argument, be considered as entirely progressive—range themselves on the side of British imperialism, or whether they will join themselves to those forces, already existing, which openly or secretly aim at the establishment of a republican régime. It is quite a mistake to suppose that[Pg 74] these forces—republican sympathies, that is to say—are at the moment entirely to be sought for in the Boer camp. It is, or it ought to be, common knowledge that the internal movement for reform on the Rand, and for the elimination of the Dopper-Hollander dominance of Pretoria, was not exactly inspired or sustained by men who wished to see the Transvaal an integral portion of the British Empire. At the same time, it is not denied that a great many sympathisers with this movement, and not a few of its active supporters—the late Mr. Rhodes, for instance—were above all things anxious that when the Transvaal flag was hauled down the Union Jack should be run up.

Apart, however, from such considerations, matters of history, it may be allowed that whatever the nationality or preferences of respective Uitlanders at that time of day, a rough sense of justice would reconcile most of them now to the flag of the country, which at enormous sacrifice of treasure and men has procured their release from the bondage of Pretoria. It is equally certain, more so in fact, that their acceptance of the British flag, now and hereafter, is and will be contingent on the treatment they receive at the hands of the new Government. Already many voices are heard in the land declaring that, so far from the new Government having brought relief to the mining industry and to the Uitlanders—and it must be clearly understood by all Englishmen, however much they may resent the fact, that upon the prosperity of the mines not only the welfare of the Transvaal but of all South Africa depends—it has increased its burdens. The limits of space will not permit any exhaustive examination into the basis of this complaint. Mr. Chamberlain, before these lines are in the hands of the public, will doubtless be on the spot examining into the grounds of the complaint. It would be clearly impossible for any one to accuse me, of all persons, of favouring the millionaires, or of holding a brief for their views and interests. But this is not a millionaires’, or a mining question; it is the question of the to be or not to be of South Africa as a British dependency. It may be said at once, that if, as Mr. Chamberlain at one time indicated, the somewhat contradictory and superficial report drawn up by Sir David Barbour, full of inconsistencies and injustices as it is, is to be accepted by the British Government, then I would not care to purchase at any price a seven years’ repairing lease—a repairing lease with a vengeance—of British tenure of South Africa, much less the freehold of the property. Whether he be a financial expert or not, no man who possesses a sound working knowledge, personal knowledge, of South Africa and its affairs can study this report and preserve his equanimity. It fills one with fear and trembling. Sir David[Pg 75] Barbour’s proposals savour of the arbitrary confiscation of mining profits. This perhaps, standing alone, would not matter much from a South African point of view, since the loss would mainly fall on the hundreds of thousands of English and foreign shareholders interested in the mines; according to the Statist, the British public has something like £250,000,000 invested in the mines. However, it is not with such losses we are at present concerned. My contention is that if the Transvaal is taxed out of all proportion to its wealth—its immediate or permanent prospects even; if the new colonies, despite the heavy losses from the war, and the serious—for a long time to come it will be serious—dearth of labour contingent thereon, is burdened with taxation, the incidence of which is to be double, or in any case greatly in excess of the monstrous charges levied by Kruger and his advisers; if the Transvaal is to be saddled with a heavy war debt, then the financial, political, and economic ruin of South Africa in general, and the Transvaal in particular, must follow as an inevitable consequence, and this will happen even should a short respite be given. I have set forth again and again, in the columns of the Times and Post, and in the Anglo-African journal I formerly conducted, that apart from the uneconomic and impolitic nature of these suggestions, they are morally unsound. He who calls the tune must pay the piper. The British people, by allowing themselves to be ruled and betrayed by men who persisted in blinding their eyes to the writing on the wall, though there were Daniels in abundance to interpret it to them; by allowing themselves to be served by an army wholly inadequate in numbers, and largely composed of inefficients, are responsible for the cost of a war which never would have taken place had British pro-consuls and colonists on the spot been trusted; their counsel listened to here, and their hands freed and actions upheld yonder.

Moreover, all such heroic schemes of taxation in the interest of the British taxpayer, of which Sir David Barbour’s report is a type, are based on proleptic statistics of an expansion which after all is problematical, and which in any case will not become solid fact if onerous conditions are imposed upon the Rand in advance of that expansion. The profits from the mines, great as they ought to be if we do not strangle the goose right away, are ephemeral profits—thirty to fifty years will see the last of them. Possibly the high-water mark of production will be reached twenty years hence, and from that time the decline will begin as in the case of the Australian and Californian mines. It is obvious, therefore, that a heavy war debt must press disastrously on the industry during its growth and during its decline. Taxation seems to have[Pg 76] been proposed on the basis of the anticipation, as if it were already an accomplished fact, of the most prosperous days possible of attainment by the industry, and in entire obliviousness of the fact that no sooner is the zenith reached than gradual decline, ending in extinction, must supervene. Unjust taxation would be a suicidal policy; it would retard the flow of capital, render all but a few higher-grade mines unprofitable, with the result that the budgets of the new colonies would show deficits year after year. Not only would capital awaiting employment be frightened into other channels, but schemes of federation would remain sterile schemes; and the hope of a prosperous and united South Africa would continue a mere day-dream, impossible of accomplishment.

I have put this question of the taxation of the Transvaal in the forefront of this paper, because it is of pressing importance and immediate interest. Scarcely less important, though the subject will probably be dealt with more fully by another pen, is the question of land settlement. We are approaching this matter too parochially and timidly. If the land companies and burghers will not part with suitable land to settlers on reasonable terms, they must be made to do so. The example of New Zealand must be followed. It is absolutely essential that we should plant out settlers on a large scale; especially is it essential in view of the fact that the loyalty of the dwellers in Johannesburg and other mining centres is not to be counted on confidently. With these men commercial considerations are certain to be dominant. Even if they are not given the solid reasons for discontent already foreshadowed, reasons, real and imaginary, in plenty are certain to crop up. Hence their loyalty will not be a matter of sentiment, but one of calculation. Further, every help and encouragement must be given to the right kind of settlers; the country which spent over two hundred millions sterling in making South Africa a possible place for Englishmen to live in, should not grudge another ten, twenty, or if necessary thirty millions to make the conditions of life sufficiently attractive to the emigrating English agriculturist. The conditions underlying land settlement have been carefully studied by Mr. Arnold Forster’s Land Commission, and they were lucidly set forth in the report of that Commission. It remains for the Imperial Government to make them operative, by coming to the country for generous support. I can do no more here than record my absolute conviction, for what it may be worth, that if land settlement in the new colonies is to find its own level, so to speak; if we are trusting to men with the necessary capital, some £300 or more, to come forward in anything like sufficient numbers to affect appreciably the question of British versus Boer in favour of the British, or the problem of self-seeking Cosmopolitanism (purely[Pg 77] commercial interests) versus sentimental and patriotic Imperialism, we are building our hopes on sand. The drawbacks to farming in Africa are many: absence of transport (and obviously without well-devised and speedily carried out railway schemes the internal development of South Africa is impossible); absence of navigable rivers; recurrent droughts (here again I may say that nothing less can avail than grand schemes of organised irrigation such as those favoured by Mr. Hedger Wallace and by Mr. Willcocks in his luminous report); cattle disease and locusts. The ignis fatuus of the Rand, it must always be remembered, is ever present to lure away the settler when he has once been induced to settle. To the Englishman the love of isolation is not generally the strongly developed vice or virtue it is with the Boer. Consequently, we must go before the settler and prepare the way for him. Large and well-organised schemes of planting families on communal principles, freely scattered over the land in the midst of the Boers, both from an economic and political point of view, are absolutely necessary if we are to retain our hold on the country, or ensure its permanent prosperity. Under proper conditions and safeguards, generous schemes of female immigration must be initiated. It has been said, and I do not gainsay it, that South Africa requires almost immediately 70,000 more women. Also the Children of the State, the waifs and strays, the foundlings, those who are physically and morally fit, of course, should be sent out to South Africa, there to be carefully prepared in proper establishments for colonial life. In this matter we may well learn wisdom from the early Dutch settlers, who, under an arrangement with the Amsterdam authorities, received into their midst a number of foundlings. From these the present race of sturdy burghers has sprung. The subject is too vast for detailed treatment here; else much might be said about the policy of obliging all male settlers to bind themselves to a course of military training and contingent service, and as to the expediency of encouraging a respectable number of Canadians and Australians to make their home in South Africa. It is, in any case, obvious that no tentative tinkering with the question of land settlement can avail.

The sooner we face this necessity the better; since the sooner it is in a fair way to being faced, mastered, and provided for, the sooner can those electoral and legislative concessions we have promised the Boers, and which honour, justice, and expediency oblige us to grant at the earliest possible date, be granted. As things now are, we have a British autocracy in power, alternating in turn between the desire to repress the clamant demands of the one great industry of South Africa—the gold mines, and dread of that powerful confederacy—the Rand magnates. The methods and example of the great financial[Pg 78] corporations and financial princes are not, to write temperately, conducive to the elevation of public morals; nor do they tend to give to the public life of a colony a high or healthy tone. Students of Mr. Cecil Rhodes’ career cannot fail to notice the disintegrating effect on that great patriot’s manners, and on his public and private procedure, which resulted from his close association with, and inexplicable reliance on, men, most of whom (it would be invidious to specialise the exceptions) lived and moved and had their being on a plane infinitely lower than Rhodes’ natural one. The destinies of the new colonies are for the moment nominally in the hands of British officials. These officials have practically nobody to go to for counsel but the mining and financial experts. This is not as it should be. The sooner there is a free play of interests and opinions between the Boers, British settlers, and Johannesburgers the better. These divergent classes, all colonial, however antagonistic their interests and prejudices, must fight out their differences among themselves as best they may. The British official, excellent as he is in dealing with subject races, is not seen at his best in controlling men of his own flesh and blood—men, I should say, of his own colour—when these men are in a position of political inferiority to himself.

The mention of this subject reminds me, that one of the most effective arguments in favour of granting representative institutions to the new colonies as quickly as may be is to be found in the native question. In this matter, as indeed in every matter, colonial opinion asserting itself through the necessarily imperfect, but only possible, system of parliamentary institutions, must be respected. As to the native question, an enormous majority of British South Africans, though it may reprobate certain tendencies to undue harshness, brutality even, still observable in the conduct of Boers of the baser sort, is nevertheless convinced that the Dutch attitude toward the native is, in its essence, the only possible or safe one. There is not the smallest fear that anything in the shape of compulsory labour will be sanctioned by any legislature in South Africa. But that the principles and provisions of that most statesmanlike Act, the Glen Grey Act, will be further extended there can be no doubt.

That the labour question throughout South Africa, and especially as it affects the mining industry, is among the more difficult problems of the future, most persons are aware. It is said that in five years’ time 320,000 natives will be required at Johannesburg to work the mines, irrespective of enormous domestic requirements there. To this total we must add the hundreds of thousands needed for industrial and household work throughout South Africa. It is estimated that in five years’ time there will be no more than 600,000[Pg 79] working Kaffirs south of the Zambesi. It is obvious that under the most favourable computation the supply is certain to continue to be totally inadequate to the demand. This is the more apparent when it is remembered, that it is only possible to get a small proportion of able-bodied Kaffirs to work at all, and that the average service of these willing ones is not more than four months a year, taking one year with another. Doubtless the new laws as to capitation tax, and the modifications in the direction of greater stringency in the hut tax, alterations which must have the effect of reducing the economic evil of polygamy, will effect some amelioration in the conditions now obtaining. But the lowering of wages and the prohibition of the liquor sale have retarded the immediate supply. I have had to listen before now to arguments in favour of the unrestricted sale of liquor to the natives, and in advocacy of establishing drinking booths from one end to the other of the Rand. This would be as suicidal, politically and socially, and in the long run as uneconomic a policy as could well be devised, to say nothing as to its cynical immorality. Of course, when schemes of organisation are perfected, and labour is largely drawn from Central Africa, the employers will enjoy some measure of relief; but in the end, unless relief comes from that highly debatable source—the importation of coolie labour—the prejudice against white labour in Africa will have to break down: a way out, I am sure, always provided the whites can be differentiated and segregated from the blacks, which cannot but be fraught with results of lasting benefit to the country, in procuring for it a solid substratum of Caucasian settlers who will become the industrial backbone of the country. The indirect advantages of such an innovation cannot be reaped, however, if schemes of heavy taxation are to be sanctioned. The margin between loss and profit in working most of the mines—they are what are called in city slang “low-grade propositions”—is so small, that a slight increase even in the price of labour would often make mining unprofitable.

The employment of white labour would have the effect of disabusing the minds of the natives of the growing conviction that they are necessary to our well-being and existence. The truth is not so far short of this; but we must not make it apparent: we must try to make it less true than it is. During the war the native, spoiled by the military, did not gain respect for the Englishman. He is a shrewd fellow, and although our arms were victorious in the end, he cherished no delusions. Man for man, he has seen for himself how much more effective as a fighter the Boer was than the Briton. Enjoying special advantages—his knowledge of the country and his control over the Kaffirs—the Boer was enabled to[Pg 80] make the best use of his superior marksmanship, tactics, and mobility; with the result that it was easy for him to inflict much greater damage on his opponents than that opponent, with all his courage and spirit, could inflict in return. The native has seen our men lying in ghastly, mutilated masses. He has seen few such spectacles on the Boer side. The native is no sentimentalist. He is much like a prevalent type of modern young woman—fond of laughing, enjoyment, gew-gaws and sweets, while viewing everything from the standpoint of self-interest. In brief, despite his jollity he is as hard as nails. It is perfectly right that we should show him some consideration as the descendant of tribes who conquered the land some century or so earlier than we conquered it; for, except so far as being an inhabitant of the continent is concerned, it is absurd to talk of the existing South African tribes as aborigines. But if the “nigger” will not work, he must in the long run give place to men who will, to British and Continental labourers and to other British subjects—the coolies of India, for instance—men who will work, and who are now starving, or are on the brink of starvation, for the want of it. That this step is not to be taken lightly I am free to admit. It is fraught with grave difficulties and dangers—political, economic, and ethnical—considerations which are by no means to be minimised even if for a larger good—South Africa cannot be allowed to languish for lack of labour—they will have to be ignored.


By Mortimer Menpes.

From “War Impressions,” by arrangement with Messrs A. & C. Black, London.

There can many, indeed in most directions, the civil administration of the new colonies, so far as it has been provided, is highly creditable to Lord Milner and the able men associated with him. So excellent and so thorough is the work accomplished—in education, in replacing the machinery of the higher civil administration throughout the colonies—that, without hyperbole, it may be said to fill one with admiration and wonder. If one could always be sure of getting such a man as Joseph Chamberlain at the Colonial Office, and such a man as Alfred Milner as High Commissioner, one would be strongly in favour of retaining permanently as much power as possible in the hands of the holders of these two offices. But it is not possible to count upon a succession of such ministers. It is noteworthy, and I would especially emphasise the point in view of what is to follow, that the appointment of Lord Milner and Mr. Chamberlain to their respective offices may be said to have been in defiance of precedent. Since the institution of the Colonial Secretaryship half-a-century ago, ministers appointed to the office have almost invariably been noblemen of little or no importance. Again, Lord Milner’s earliest career was not official. He was quite out of the groove in which the men who become colonial governors usually run. It is regrettable, that the success of these two statesmen[Pg 81] does not give the Government heart of grace to put appointments in the new colonies more largely into the hands of men of proved initiative and originality—men who have not had any good which may have been in them strangled by red tape and flummery in the public offices. The complaint as to the appointments made in the Transvaal—appointments of untried striplings and callow fledglings from the universities, is doubtless exaggerated; but it is well to remember that putting power into the hands of the “curled darlings of the nation” was one of the chief causes, among many contributory causes, of the failure of Sir Theophilus Shepstone’s policy; the reason why the annexation of the Transvaal, with the tacit consent and approval of the majority of its people, was subsequently repudiated by them.

However that may be, it is extremely regrettable that a country, possessing so many good men, men in every way indicated by their abilities and achievements as successful administrators in posse, is constantly at a deadlock for the lack of suitable public servants. I could mention spontaneously, without having time for reflection and for selection, a round dozen, probably a score, men of parts full of the sense of our imperial responsibilities, and certain to be able and zealous in the Empire’s service: men accustomed to positions in which initiative and sound judgment are demanded of them, who, pining to be men of action, to play their part, however humble, in affairs of State, affairs of which they possess a firm grip, are condemned to enforced inactivity, buried away in country houses, or, let us say, wasting their energies in mere constructive synthesis or destructive criticism, for which, alas! no one is much the better. These men, the born administrators of our over-seas dominions, are lost to the Empire, because of the red-tape exclusiveness and jealousy of the ruling classes of this country.

I have been betrayed for the moment into an academic consideration, and let me say here that I sorrowfully endorse—I might add that in a large measure I have publicly anticipated—most of the strictures on our system of misgovernment, corruption, and panoplied vice set forth in the letters of that sturdy Africander signing himself by his true initials “P. S.” Under these abuses we groan, and it is difficult to continue to hope that we shall escape from their tyranny, and rise again to that full manhood of our race asserted in the spacious days of Elizabeth, and again when Napoleon threatened our shores. Our grand old country is sinking deeper and deeper into the morass of spiritual and intellectual indifferentism, sordid materialism, and time-serving opportunism. One sees scant justification for optimism, unless, indeed, Judgment should descend upon us and beneficently scourge us back to our nobler past.[Pg 82]

It is not, however, with these larger issues I am at this moment directly concerned. Despite the constant drains upon our best and most vital manhood the possession—protection and administration—of the most extensive empire of this or any age impose upon the United Kingdom, upon, that is to say, a small and no longer rapidly increasing nation, I do not believe that there would be any ground for the fear that we have annexed more territory than we can effectively administer, or that we have incurred greater responsibilities than we can sustain, if we had the presence of mind, the initiative and sense to utilise those latent sources of unexhausted supply we now wilfully neglect. The immediate bearing of these remarks reveals itself when the serious problem of the personnel of the magistracy of the new colonies is mentioned. Every one knows that the landdrosts under the old régime, men for the most part rough and unlettered, were habitually underpaid and habitually corrupt. The inadequate salaries paid to these men are, it seems, now being continued to the new magistracy, and this despite the enormous increase in the cost of living, with the result that men of quite inferior parts are mainly available for the positions; while, when from stress of life and circumstance, men of the right stamp, men to whom Boer and Kaffir can look up as their natural superiors, chance to fill these offices, they are unable, by reason of their poverty, to live in a way or to comport themselves in a manner consistent with the dignity of their offices.

In the Transvaal, and indeed in South Africa generally, it behoves us to welcome all comers from Europe and America, not being adventurers or wastrels—all and sundry who can contribute to the good of the country and who are willing to become loyal citizens. It will be madness to attempt to build up a South African nation from these islands alone. England is a small country and the English are gradually ceasing—and this tendency is certain to increase—to rear large families. In the past, in our own land as well as in our realms beyond the seas, our chief glory has been in our genius in amalgamating different strains, bringing them all into the fold as patriotic Britons. The British Empire is now more than ever a crucible wherein metals, precious and base, may be wrought into a fine amalgam. Whether as a limb of a great and regenerated British Empire, and therein my individual hopes lie, or as a powerful republic on the pattern of the United States, there ought to be no question as to the future of South Africa. Mr. Chamberlain said again only the other day that the prosperity of South Africa in the not far distant future would doubtless exceed the dreams of the most sanguine visionary. So let it be. Many shrewd Americans are of the same mind. No doubt the immediate expansion in South[Pg 83] Africa’s import trade is due to military requirements, while the shrinkage of its export trade may be attributed mainly to the war having put a stop to the recovery and exportation of gold. The cost of living throughout South Africa, at present extraordinarily high, is certain to be reduced to more reasonable limits when the railways are permanently relieved from the control of the military. It must be remembered, too, that while a fair proportion of favoured individuals among the colonists have reaped huge harvests by the war, a far greater number have been crippled and ruined outright by it. It is not for me to deal with the problems of trade; but I may say that even should some scheme of the favoured-nation kind be extended to British imports by the South African Realm to be, that in itself would not serve, nor will the spirit of patriotic preference for British goods suffice to preserve the trade of South Africa for this country. The matter rests with our manufacturers, exporters, and their agents; and no one, not being a self-deceived egoist, can pretend that the more alert, adaptive, and modern methods of American and German houses are not certain, unless our countrymen turn over a new leaf, to prove too much for our laissez-faire, self-sufficiency, and careless indifference.

In this matter the best men, be they English, German, or Yankee, will win. But this is a home rather than a South African question. In any case, we may expect soon to see a considerable influx of capitalists, farmers, and traders, and they cannot but give an impetus to South Africa’s reviving fortunes, let political ineptitude do its worst. I have endeavoured to show wherein lie the chief obstacles to progress in the new colonies. In the old—Natal would in any case seem to have an era of immediate prosperity before her—the future is darkened by considerations all too apparent for the most optimistic or blind to overlook or ignore. The Africander Bond and the Dutch Reformed Church have not buried the hatchet. Throughout South Africa it is, of course, the duty of the loyal South African of British origin or British sympathies to endeavour to recognise at their best the many sterling qualities of the Dutch, and to forgive with what charity he may their besetting sins, condoning them as the resultants of environment and circumstance. It is also their duty to recognise that the past mistakes of Downing Street were chiefly due to lack of brain and thought, rather than to lack of heart, and to determine to work with all true patriots for the lasting good and welfare of South Africa.

Unhappily there is ample evidence to show that the Dutch Reformed Church and the Africander Bond are as active for evil as ever. How great is the terrorism exercised by the Commissie van Toezicht (the Secret Council of the Bond) is illustrated to-day by the[Pg 84] abject recantation of the Rev. Mr. Botha, a pastor who, having counselled his countrymen to submit to the inevitable and accept British rule as far back as September 1901, now stands in the white sheet of repentance, and abjectly craves to be forgiven for what he calls his temporary weakness and backsliding! Undoubtedly disloyalty to the British Empire throughout South Africa has its fons et origo not in the Transvaal but at the Cape. For the moment the Bond lies low. It has gained everything it can hope to gain for the present. This the most superficial student of Cape politics can see. The problem of how to reconcile divergent elements at the Cape, and to make the Cape Dutch as loyal to the Empire as the French Canadians to-day, not that their loyalty is unimpeachable, is an extremely complicated one. At the Cape it is by no means merely a question of Dutch versus English or of Town versus Country. Many of the most active enemies of Great Britain are to be found in the houses of the old Dutch families inhabiting the suburban districts of Cape Town—Wynburg, Rondebosch, and so forth. It is also true that among those old Dutch families no more loyal subjects of the king are to be found. Unhappily English associations, close intercourse with Government House, intermarriage with English families, and education at our universities or at the Temple here, do not always ensure that the Dutch Africander will be loyal to Great Britain. Even more to be regretted is the fact that many colonists of pure British descent, birth even, are merely nominally loyal to the Imperial connection, if as much as that. Their loyalty is of the opportunist kind. Because of their hatred of the Dutch propaganda, and because they fear that the Dutch, if left to themselves, would become “top dog,” they tolerate British institutions. We cannot blame them over much for this attitude, when we remember how miserably we have deserted our countrymen in the past; how we have left them to the tender mercies of the Dutch; how we have neglected their warnings and advice, and brought ruin and misery upon them because of our short-sightedness and stiff-neckedness.

Even now the British colonist has many substantial excuses for averring that loyalty does not pay. In view of these facts it behoves Great Britain to admit frankly her past errors and to resolve, if she means to retain her hold on South Africa, to order her footsteps differently in the future. It behoves Great Britain, if she would avoid future risks of triangular disloyalty and the grave disasters, local and international, which might supervene on another period of neglect and snubbing, to trust the men on the spot. It behoves her to govern South Africa firmly, consistently, and unemotionally; to have done with Majubanimity and all its works once and for all; all folly, such as paltering with the language and[Pg 85] education questions, whereby the sentiments and interests of loyal British colonists are flouted and ignored. Great Britain must, however, do everything that she can consistently do to bring the two European races—English and Dutch—together. If she is to do this, if England is to retain a firm grip on South Africa, we must continue strong, let it be said rather we must renew our strength here in the centre of the Empire. Within the next half-century it is probable that the last ounce of gold will have been extracted from the Transvaal’s deepest deep levels. Within half that time the impending struggle of the world Powers to establish themselves in unassailable positions will have taken place. Germany is forced by an inexorable law of self-preservation to find an outlet for her commerce and her people on the seas. Every thinking German, from the Kaiser downwards, tells us as much frankly. We can see it for ourselves. She must find employment, food, and raiment for her highly prolific people, for their own land is by no means rich in natural wealth. As to Africa, our hold on it depends entirely upon the strength of our national grip. If our hand is growing flabby and listless, and, alas! there are too many indications that such is the case; if France is to gain her ends in the Mediterranean; if sentimental views in regard to the natives are to prompt us to stand idly by while such organisations as the so-called Ethiopian Church of the United States working from the south, and the emissaries of a militant Mahommedanism from the north, conspire informally to undermine their loyalty, then our days in Africa are numbered. In the last event, our hold on that continent in general and South Africa in particular depends upon character, especially the character of our ruling classes. The possibilities of this country in Africa are magnificent; but the problems to be solved, if these possibilities are to be realised, must appal and finally overcome all but the stoutest of heart. The world, and South Africa with it, will fall to the nation which breeds and sustains the best men.

[Pg 86]



The future prosperity of South Africa mainly depends upon the development of her vast and indisputable gold wealth, for, albeit she possesses other resources in undoubtedly lavish abundance, the means for the utilisation of these latter are dependent, in a large measure, upon the effective exploitation of her auriferous reserves. This fact was explicitly stated by Sir David Barbour, the financial expert appointed by the Imperial Government to report in 1901 on the resources of the Transvaal, and that this impartial official opinion is echoed by all competent observers prior to and since his investigations only confirms its correctness. As to the magnitude to which the mining industries in the Transvaal may ultimately attain opinions differ, but, says this authority, and this view is confirmed by experts, it is certain that the production of gold will continue to increase largely for some years at least; that there will be a corresponding growth in the production of coal, and it is possible, and perhaps probable, that valuable mines of other minerals, and especially of diamonds, may be opened. He therefore opines that, from an economic point of view, the prospects of the future for a considerable period are quite satisfactory, and it is unnecessary to speculate as to what may ultimately happen.

Public opinion on the Rand is unanimous that absolutely vital questions for the mines’ future are, for the moment, labour and taxation. A comprehensive and impartial view of the circumstances of the mines must force the conclusion that such contentions are perfectly sound. Naturally, however, the dimensions of the latter factor have less weight since the reduction of the customs tariff and the previous abolition of monopolies, and, with the pending solution of the question of dynamite, the mining industry is now not only in a vastly superior economic condition than it ever was, but has been placed in a position to sustain, not without some difficulty maybe at the outset, all the prospective burdens of projected Imperial taxation. In saying “not without difficulty,” the crux of the present economic situation, as looked at by the leading and responsible section of the mining industry and competent individuals at large, is touched. For the judiciousness or otherwise of the[Pg 87] immediately heavy incidence of the share of the cost of the war, which it may be contemplated to place on the Transvaal, is what causes the present misgivings; and, with the operative capacity of 1898 still some ten to fifteen months ahead, the immediate call for heavy contributions can only act as a drag upon progress. It is with this consideration in view that the Chamber of Mines, in a recent letter to Lord Milner, asked for a delay of five years before making a first payment, in order to allow time for the industry to recover its former level, and that other authorities have also entered their protests.

Prospecting for Gold: Panning a Sample

The inference that an immediate and heavy increase of taxation is to be made to meet the war debt obligations may possibly be gratuitous, and probabilities confirm this supposition, for it is at issue with the Government expert’s special recommendations. From this point of view, Sir David Barbour’s observations are worth reciting for their direct bearing. He says: “The sound policy for the Transvaal is to so frame its system of taxation as not to increase unnecessarily the initial capital expenditure, or enhance the cost of working. I shall take it for granted that it[Pg 88] is not intended to impose excessive or crushing taxation on either of the Colonies, or to exact such a share of their revenue as would cripple or starve the Administration. Subject to these considerations, I shall assume that any surplus of revenue over expenditure, or any special assets that the Colonies may possess, can fairly be taken towards meeting a portion of the cost of the war.” Further: “If the additional taxation which I recommend ... be imposed ... it may be anticipated that after two years from the conclusion of peace that Colony will be in a position to set aside a portion of its ordinary revenue towards meeting the cost of the war. I am unable at present to form an estimate of the amount which it may be possible to set aside in this way.... On the assumption that the contribution of the Orange River Colony and the Transvaal towards the cost of the war is to be limited to the amount which they can pay without imposing excessive taxation or starving the Administration, it will be obvious from what is said in the preceding portion of this report, and especially in paragraph 62, that it is impossible at the present time to specify any definite sum as that which ought to be paid. I suggest that the Imperial Government should fix the maximum sum which, under any circumstances, they would require to be paid. Such portions of the total amount of contribution, so fixed as it may be found from time to time that the Colonies can bear, should be made a charge against them. If, in the course of time, it is found that the Colonies are unable to pay the whole sum, under the conditions as to taxation and cost of administration which I have already specified, the balance should be written off.” So far as the immediate incidence of war taxation is concerned, it is therefore highly probable that the Government, who have adopted their financial expert’s views almost in toto with regard to fiscal reform, will do the same with regard to the levy of the war contribution.


Photo by Wilson, Aberdeen

But another phase of the same subject is revealed in the extent of the contribution which the Transvaal should be called to bear compared with that of the other South African Colonies. In the thoughts of some, tinctured still perhaps with a touch of the recent bitterness of the war, the Transvaal should bear the heaviest share; but it is to be observed that this is not the opinion of the responsible heads of the mining industry, who, while admitting the justness of assuming their proper proportion of the proposed burdens, appropriately point out that both the Orange River Colony and the Cape Colony (for a part of the latter’s population) were fellow-sharers in the beginnings and the conduct of the war, and should bear a due portion of the resultant financial burdens, while Natal, it is contended,[Pg 89] cannot fairly be allowed to escape contribution to the extent at least of the valuable Transvaal territory which has been allotted to her. Pending formal announcements of the Government’s intentions—and it is to be observed a contribution from the Orange River Colony is contemplated in Sir David Barbour’s report—many huge lump sums have been mentioned, which it is proposed to levy on the Transvaal alone. Such reports naturally have not only alarmed the mining industry, but disturbed the confidence of international capitalists, upon whom the future development of the wealth of the goldfields in the first place rests. The extent of the alarm which is felt is shown by the Johannesburg Chamber of Mines as a body pleading in their recent communication to Lord Milner for a “reasonable sum” to be fixed, and by the rough estimates of this sum propounded by others, as, for instance, Mr. Freeman Cohen, chairman of the Potchefstroom Exploration and Gold Mining Company, who indicates £30,000,000 as the specific figure, while Mr. Bleloch adventures the sum of £35,000,000. This last gentleman’s summing up of the situation is that the mines can pay, and are willing and forward to pay, provided the incidence at the first be made light, and that the burden of the £55,000,000 estimate of the Government’s financial expert be shared by the other Colonies in the proportion, say, of £5,000,000 from each, to lessen the burden on the mining industry as much as possible, especially the low-grade section, and also as a matter of equity, and he advocates in addition—to augment the disposable revenue—the levy of a 5 per cent. tax on the profits of other industries (banks, &c.), the creation of death dues and of a land tax; also the beneficial reservation to the Government of portions of each new mining field to be opened.

That the whole weight of the taxation of the Transvaal should not be made to fall upon one industry is, of course, consonant with reason, policy, and equity. Pending the pronouncement of its actual intentions, and in view of the alarmist rumours which are spread about, it behoves the Government, to allay the very natural apprehensions entertained, to give an early and explicit outline of its proposals, and in this connection the projected visit of the Right Hon. J. Chamberlain to the Colonies is of the best augury. From his place in Parliament that statesman has already disclaimed, on several occasions, proposals anent the immediate imposition of heavy taxes attributed to the Imperial Government, and the probabilities are that those recently published in London are as baseless as they are vague.

The dependence, to a large extent, of the development of the mining industry on the fostering and assistance, or otherwise, accorded by the existing Government is a point too painfully brought home[Pg 90] to the Rand mining industry by past experience to need demonstration; wherefore the sound common-sense statesmanship of those now responsible for the prosperity of the Empire is a valuable guarantee that the various problems now absorbing the attention of the industry will be treated in a fair, just, and liberal manner.

The Rand mining industry, at the moment, is undoubtedly in the throes of one of those periodic waves of depression incident to all great gold-mining fields, though to the Rand in a less degree than to the others, on account of the certain results which may be reckoned upon from the stable nature of its geological formation. Capital required for its development is in many cases being withheld, investors looking askance at its demands with obvious misgivings. This attitude is undoubtedly due to impatience, and disappointment that progress has not been more rapid since peace has been declared.

The Infancy of a Gold-Mine: Winding Quartz with a Whim

Apparently it was assumed that only a cessation of hostilities was needed for the mines to hurry up and resume their old-time rate of production and prosperity. Such an assumption ignores the real difficulties of reconstituting a country and its industries, devastated and disorganised for three years by war, and setting up an entirely new order of things. As a matter of fact, the progress actually achieved has been marvellous, and as much, or even more, than could have been expected in like cases. It has apparently been forgotten that civil government has only within a few weeks replaced the military in the main administrative channels. The railway network of the sub-continent has only been thrown open to the free transport of merchants’ goods within the past month, and the limitation of transit to the Rand, and the interior generally, is a most serious matter, by reason of the fact that the trunk railways[Pg 91] from the coast are only single lines. For the clearance at the ports of the accumulations of mining machinery, mining stores, building materials, foodstuffs, and general merchandise, months are required, and this clearance must take place ere the railway traffic can fall back into its normal grooves. Abundance of labour, too—always a crucial question with mining operations, whether they be on the Rand, in Rhodesia, or elsewhere in the sub-continent—is, for a variety of causes, not yet available, although measures have been taken by the Government and the mining industry, acting in concert, which have placed this subject on a more satisfactory footing than it ever enjoyed. Other advances have been made in the improvement of the status of the industry, such, for instance, as the reduction of the customs duties, which enormously improve the industry’s chances of future remunerative working. Some desiderata are certainly unfulfilled, such as reduced railway rates; but the instalment of reforms made affords a fair basis on which working can be resumed with admirable chances of remuneration and profit. This being so, the unreasonableness of the show of impatience that progress has not been more rapid, and the undeservedness of the distrust with which the industry is professed to be regarded in some quarters, are obvious. A sober view of the situation of the Transvaal at the present moment must undoubtedly force the confession that the amount of solid work done in solving the many problems simultaneously surging up for solution in a new colony besides mining,—repatriation, resettlement, &c.—and in rebuilding generally the body politic, is of substantial volume, and that the progress hitherto made, in removing the difficulties which beset the mining industry, are sufficient augury that whatever remains unalleviated will receive its due and satisfactory attention in the near future.

In an old (1876) edition of “Chambers’s Encyclopædia,” under the heading of “Africa—Productions,” is the statement that “It would be hazardous to assert that Africa is deficient in mineral wealth, though, judging from our present imperfect knowledge, it does not seem to be extremely rich.” Little did the compilers of this well-known work think that, in the space of less than twenty-five years, a town of about 150,000 inhabitants would spring up as the centre of a mining country which now takes rank as the first gold-producer in the world. The gold production of the Rand to date is indeed stated to equal one-ninth of the coined gold in circulation throughout the world, while its potential reserves are probably fourfold this amount. In 1887 the United States occupied first rank among gold-producing countries, Australia being second, and Russia third, the total gold production of the world being only £18,000,000. In 1898, South Africa occupied the premier position with 28 per cent.[Pg 92] of the aggregate world’s production, and her contribution, moreover, represented only 3½ millions less than the world’s aggregate in the first-named year. In 1899, owing to the war, it just managed to fall short of the headship. Since its start, the Rand gold-fields have produced gold to the handsome aggregate amount of £81,000,000 sterling. On the fortunes of South Africa, the influence exerted by this stupendous accretion to its wealth is past question, for the output of £20,000,000 of gold in 1898 formed 80 per cent. of the subcontinent’s aggregate exports in that year, while 68 per cent. of it was disbursed in labour, foodstuffs, mining stores, and material in the course of its winning. It is only needful to glance back at the modest proportions of South Africa’s trade movement before the discovery, first of diamonds and then of gold, to recognise how much it owes to its mineral wealth, and more particularly to that of gold, for its present-day prosperity. Its populations, its cities and ports, its railway network, its multifarious industries from agriculture upwards, and its merchant firms and commercial activity have each and all been stimulated and enlarged enormously by it. As in the case of Australia and other older gold-producing countries, the output of gold, primarily from the Witwatersrand fields, has acted like a perennial stream, fructifying and rendering teemful the arid wastes, and making the very wilderness to blossom as the rose.

The gold-bearing quartz-pebble conglomerate beds, called by the Boers “banket”—the discovery of gold in the outcrops of which in 1883 started the Witwatersrand mining industry—form a series of strata going down at an angle of about 30 degrees to hitherto unknown depths—over 8000 feet have already been plumbed—and extending over a tested lateral distance of more than 50 miles.


The tailings are run into the huge vats, and the cyanide of potassium a deadly poison percolates through, and carries off the gold in solution.

Photo by Barnett & Co., Johannesburg
Section of a Gold Mine. (Photo by Horace W. Nicholls, Johannesburg)

[Pg 93]These beds lie in series, that particular one which contains most of the gold being called the Main Reef series, comprising the Main Reef proper and a number of subordinate reefs or bands. The thickness of the Main Reef is from 3 to 12 feet, that of the Main Reef Leader 3 feet on the average, and the South Reef thinner than the latter, but having a richer gold contents than either. These are the beds chiefly worked, the gold being disseminated throughout the matrix mainly in crystals, visible gold being only occasionally seen, but in fairly regular quantities, so that the results of working, whether in the richer or poorer reefs, are capable of being accurately forecasted. The knowledge of the nature and extent of the beds has only gradually been brought together, and is still incomplete in parts even for the 15 miles section of the Rand which has been longest under working, and discoveries are of almost daily occurrence extending the sum of information regarding their composition and incidence. In the section situated between the Langlaagte[Pg 94] Estate Mine in the west and the New Comet in the east, one profitable mine after another follows almost without a break. The eastern and western extensions are, for the main part, still terra incognita; but the several mines scattered along their stretch have confirmed the identity and value of the formation, which is held by experts to warrant the belief in the existence of wealth even exceeding the Rand proper.

Knowledge as to the depth to which the reefs descend has been slowest in accumulating. When the outcrops were first worked in the central section, it was believed that there was little or no gold in the lower levels. Since 1898, however, deep and yet deeper depths have been explored, especially in following the richer reefs, and always with the similar result of meeting with the same, or a superior, grade of ore contents peculiar to the higher sections of the particular reef, so that the inference is strengthened to certainty that profitable exploitation is only limited to the ultimate depth at which modern mining can be carried on. The problem, therefore, is one for the engineers; for, apart from the increased temperature in the lower levels, which can be met by roomier shafts, and the occurrence of water, which is likewise capable of being dealt with, the only difficulty to be met with is that concerned with the hoisting appliances for such enormous depths. So recently as May last the London Chamber of Mines, and more recently the Johannesburg Association of Mining Engineers, were engaged on the solution of this question. It is needless to anticipate the results of their deliberations, the point turning upon the choice betwixt two systems, only so far as to state that means for solving the difficulties of the task are considered to be available, at least, to such depths as 5565 feet on the slope, and that the results of mining at these great depths can be made to show a substantial profit. It may be added, however, that in consequence of the increased cost to reach the ore, the need for the utmost reduction of working costs becomes paramount.

The circumstances of gold-mining on the Rand have, therefore, features quite distinct from those of quartz-reef, alluvial, or other kinds of mining, and approximate to those of coal winning, especially in the matter of the depth and regularity of the conglomerate formation. Its peculiarities have created a method of mining, the outcome of costly experiment, experience, and skill, which will remain a lasting asset to future ages.

The future gold production of the Rand mining industry is a subject which enchains the attention alike of the investor and the curious. In approaching the subject of the unexploited gold contents of the banket formation, figures are handled which simulate[Pg 95] the fabulous, and almost excuse the disbelief with which all such estimates are received in some quarters. Confirmation of the approximate correctness of the computations may, however, be obtained in two ways: firstly, from the past yield of the gold-fields in the seventeen years since their start; and secondly, from the verification of former prognostications which subsequent outputs have furnished. So far as regards the former, the fact of the production of £81,000,000 of gold since the start of the industry up to now, under well-known circumstances is, in the first place, proof positive that the gold exists; and, in the second, affords inferential grounds for assuming that, given at all similar circumstances, mining operations will yield like results. This is, of course, taking the lowest ground, for it is indubitable that the circumstances will not be alike, but vastly improved, in which case the value of the results will be proportionately enhanced. As to the confirmation which results from the verification which later outputs have furnished, both of the trustworthiness of the bases on which former forecasts were made and of the prognostications themselves, there may be instanced the forecasts of such early computators as Mr. Hamilton Smith, Mr. C. D. Rudd, and others. The former, in 1892, in a report on the future production of the Rand fields, made by request of Messrs. Rothschild, adventured an opinion which is worth quoting textually. He said: “With the active and energetic men who have this industry in hand, and always supposing that the foregoing theories be correct, in three or four years from now the producing power of the mines and their reducing works will, I think, be increased to an output of five or six million tons of ore per annum, worth a gross yield of over £10,000,000. At this rate the available supply of ore, as conjectured above, will last for more than thirty years.”

As an actual fact, in four years from the time of his writing the above, the Rand gold yield from 69 companies working amounted to 5,325,355 ozs., the total production being of the gross value of £10,583,616; so that, far from his estimate being too sanguine or exaggerated, it was a literal forecast of the actuality. He subsequently expressed the opinion that the full producing power of the Rand would be reached by the end of the century, when the output might be expected to exceed £12,500,000 per annum. As a matter of fact the total value of gold produced in the Transvaal in 1898 was over £15,000,000, most of which came from the Rand, and, had mining operations in 1899 not been interrupted by the war, the output in that year would have reached to over £18,000,000. Mr. Smith based his estimate on a working depth of 5200 feet, and on an area of the reef only 11 miles in extent, but since his time deep mining has been successfully prosecuted to[Pg 96] 7000 feet. Inference and analogy, therefore, both afford strong support to the correctness of estimates, based on the results of past working, of the future gold contents of the Witwatersrand reefs, which estimates, as appears, are more likely to be under-reckoned than otherwise, from the sheer immensity of the subject, and from the necessarily imperfect knowledge of the potentialities of so huge a problem.

The divergencies in the several estimates made from time to time in the past of the total gold available from the Rand banket beds have in part arisen from the sheer inability of those making the estimates to anticipate the striking developments which have successively been made. So far back as 1893, 325 millions, and subsequently 450 millions and 700 millions, have been adventured by various persons. The relative moderateness of these estimates, compared with more recent ones, is due, as in the case of that of Mr. Hamilton Smith, to the under-valuation of the potentialities of deep-level mining, which are only now becoming fully apparent. One of the more recent estimates—that of Mr. Bleloch—based on working depths of 3000 to 7000 feet, and taken over an area of fifty miles, embracing the district between Randfontein and Holfontein, computes an available gold yield of £2,871,000,000 sterling, or eight times as much as the estimate of 1893.

Although so enlarged, the total actually understates potentialities by being exclusive of possible discoveries beyond these limits, and also by the estimates being framed on the older ratios of gold recovery to ore tonnage, thus ignoring the application of the latest scientific methods to the treatment of the poorest ore, which would tend to enhance the results considerably. Apart from these limitations, this estimate of 2871 millions is made in the most systematic manner, from careful calculations, area by area, according to the thickness of the reefs, the tonnage per claim, and the value per ton as they have been shown from past working. The total tonnage of payable ore available is estimated at 1,378,000,000. The average gold value per ton of ore in the figures works out at 41s. 7d., but in the actuality this varies from 78s. in the richest mines down to actual loss in the least paying of low-grade ores. In these stupendous figures are included the contributions of the great deep-level mines, the growing proportions of whose contributions to the aggregate output is already becoming a noteworthy feature, while the extent of their development cannot be foreseen. Mining engineers are indeed already considering the specifications of equipments for negotiating depths deeper than 7000 feet, and even in 1899 the possibility of mining at 12,000 feet was considered. Certainly the mining of minerals in other parts of the world has shown[Pg 97] the feasibility of operations at much greater depths than those mentioned.


Photo by Wilson, Aberdeen

The ascertainment of the proximate gold contents of the Transvaal mining area leads up to the question, How and when is this stupendous wealth to be rendered available? In other words, what is likely to be the gold production in the several years from now on, and how long will this rate of production continue? or what are the chances of the early exhaustion of the mining industry? To take the last item first, it is the growing conviction of Rand mining engineers that the amount of available gold is only limited by the extent to which mining operations can be prosecuted below the surface. Mining engineers had up till recently generally agreed to fix a depth of 8000 feet as the utmost limit to which mechanical appliances and other circumstances will allow them to follow the descent of the reefs, and the available gold yield is calculated on this basis. But there is no finality in this statement of depth, and already, as we have remarked, engineers are calculating for deeper delvings, and 9000 and even 12,000 feet have been spoken of. This latter increase of 4000 feet—from 8000 to 12,000 feet—would alone augment the gold estimate by 50 per cent. For the rest, and retaining the 8000 feet limit estimate as the measure of the exhaustion of the present Rand, this is naturally controlled by the rate of production per year, which itself is dependent on the particular circumstances of the industry during the period in question.

The yearly production of gold from now onwards offers no insurmountable obstacle to a fairly exact appreciation. It is merely a rule of three calculation: if in the past, under given circumstances, working results have been as follows; in the future, with the same or like circumstances, the results will be such. Various computations from time to time have been made on these bases, among the most recent being those of Mr. Cooper-Key and Dr. Hatch in 1899, Mr. Goldring and Mr. Bleloch in 1901, and quite recently Messrs. Leggett and Hatch (on 47 miles of the Rand only, and working to depths of 4000 to 7000 feet). Mr. Cooper-Key’s forecast, which was made in 1899, was for the output of the three following years, the war not having then been anticipated. The basis of his calculation, like that of Mr. Goldring’s, was the number of stamps or the milling power employed. If in 1898, he argued, there were in work on the Central, Eastern, Far Eastern, and Western sections of the Rand 6000 stamps, at the end of 1899 this number would probably be increased by 165, or to a total of 6165; at the end of 1900 the increase made would be 1730 and the total 7895; at the end of 1901 the total would have risen to 9845;[Pg 98] and at the end of 1902 to 11,785. On the basis of 1800 tons milled per stamp, of an average value of £2 per ton, and with an average number of stamps of 7000, 9000, and 10,500 in the three years, the output would have been: 1900, £25,200,000; 1901, £32,400,000; and 1902, £37,800,000. Mr. Goldring, who is the Secretary of the Johannesburg Chamber of Mines, likewise framing his calculation on certain yearly increases in the milling power, calculated that in the five years following the full resumption of mining operations, 17,000 stamps would be at work, or an increase of 11,000 on the number before the war. Allowing for a fall in the grade of ore milled, in consequence of cheaper methods permitting of a lower grade of ore to be dealt with, the 17,000 stamps, he considered, would produce at least £50,000,000 sterling a year. Writing before the war, and basing his estimate on observations made by Mr. Eckstein that in five years the number of stamps in working would be 12,000, Dr. Hatch, likewise following the milling power basis, calculated for a yearly gold production of £36,000,000. Mr. Bleloch’s opinion, taking the production in the nine working months of 1899 of £20,000,000 as a basis, is that the rate of production would probably double itself after the war. “If this be so,” he adds, “in fifty years’ time the product of the Rand will have reached over £2,000,000,000, and if such an accelerated progress is made, the whole of the vast amount now estimated may be dug out of the Rand within sixty or seventy years.” The latest estimate published, that of Messrs. Leggett and Hatch, going on the basis of the average increase of production of £4,000,000 per year in the three years before the war, and that the production in 1899—a broken year owing to the war—was £19,000,000, concludes that, allowing eighteen months from January 1, 1902, for the industry to be restored to the conditions existing in August 1899, a similar increase of production will bring the output to at least £30,000,000 per annum by June 30, 1906, and if this rate of production were to be maintained from then on, the total production of £1,233,560,700 would give a life from January 1, 1902, of forty-two years and a half. But as the production will decline gradually, instead of coming to a sudden stop, the life of the industry is likely to be prolonged for some considerable number of years beyond the period indicated. If, on the other hand, the annual output should exceed £30,000,000 for any considerable period, as is, perhaps, within the bounds of possibility, this would partially offset the extension of life due to the gradual decline of production. It is to be added, in explanation of Messrs. Leggett and Hatch’s estimate, that it contemplates working along a strike of forty-seven miles only, and to the restricted depth of from 4000 to 6000 feet.[Pg 99]

The following tabulated comparison of these several estimates will assist their comprehension, it being explained that Mr. Bleloch’s estimate is reduced to the extent of 25 per cent. as a set-off for probably barren sections, &c.:—

Year. Mr. Cooper-Key (1899). Dr. Hatch (1899). Mr. Goldring (1901). Messrs. Leggett & Hatch (1902). Mr. Bleloch (1901).
  £ £ £ £ £
1898 ... ... 20,000,000 ... ...
1899 ... ... ... 19,000,000 20,000,000
1900 25,200,000 ... ... ... ...
1901 32,400,000 ... ... ... ...
1902 37,800,000 ... ... ... 15,000,000
1903 ... ...     50,000,000 each year     30,000,000 each year 20,000,000
1904 ... 36,000,000 25,000,000
1905 ... ...     35,000,000 each year
1906 ... ...
1907 ... ...
1908 ... ... ...
1909 ... ... ...
1910 ... ... ...
1911 ... ... ...
1912 ... ... ...
1913 ... ... ...
1914 ... ... ...
1915 ... ... ...     40,000,000 each year
1924 ... ... ...
1925 ... ... ...     45,000,000 each year
1934 ... ... ...
1935 ... ... ... ...     40,000,000 each year
1944 ... ... ... ...
1945 ... ... ... ...     30,000,000 each year
1954 ... ... ... ...
1955 ... ... ... ...     30,000,000 each year
1964 ... ... ... ...
1965 ... ... ... ...     15,000,000 each year
1974 ... ... ... ...

These several estimates are of course to be looked upon merely as approximations, and they are, moreover, not framed on exactly the same bases. They, however, agree in the main that the 1899 output of roundly £20,000,000 will be increased to some point between £30,000,000 and £50,000,000 within a few years’ time, and maintained thereat, more or less continuously, for periods varying over 45 and 65 years. The production of the several estimates for the whole period gives an average of £37,000,000, which is only slightly higher than that of Mr. Bleloch, which is £35,714,285. This, consequently, is the handsome yearly output which the Rand mining industry offers in the near future—an amount which alone equals the total production of the whole world in 1897—if the circumstances are at least equal to those which previously prevailed.[Pg 100]

Head-Gear of the Witwatersrand Gold-Mining Co.

(Photo by Horace W. Nicholls, Johannesburg)

Having advanced the question of the future of the mining industry to the extent of showing a possible gold yield of at least 2,871 millions, spread over a period of seventy years at the rate of between 37 and 40 millions a year, at a moderate estimate, it is pertinent to inquire somewhat into the efficacy of the means for securing this return, the location of anything and its appropriation being two distinct matters. As implied previously, the realisation of this huge prospective gold yield depends upon the circumstances of the industry being at least equal to those of the past. If found to be superior, the ultimate realisation will only be made the more certain. These circumstances may be conveniently classified as external and internal. So far back[Pg 101] as the Industrial Commission of 1897 it was recognised that the essentials for the development of the Rand were reduction of taxes and economy in working. The evidence of all the prominent heads of mining groups, both English and foreign, then tendered, in the sum amounted to this. Where the circumstances of a mine are such that they can only be worked at a higher cost than their returns, or with only an infinitesimal profit, either costs must be reduced or the mine compelled to close down. In many cases a reduction of working costs of so moderate an amount as 2s. per ton means the life of a mine, and less than this spells bankruptcy. Where mines had exhausted every effort to reduce working costs, it was also contended with justice that they had established a claim for moral and material assistance on the part of the Government, where it could be properly accorded; indeed, a personal interest, so to say, attached to Government interference, in that the national revenues were jeopardised when mines failed of successful working. The assistances asked for by the mining industry, and which the Government were able to accord, are now notorious, but are worth reciting for the bearing they have on our present subject. They were fiscal reforms conducing to cheapening of labour by reducing the cost of living both for whites and natives; increase in the effectiveness of native labour by the proper enforcement of the Liquor Law, the cancellation of the local spirit monopoly, and the withdrawal of the right of free imports of spirits from Mozambique and the Orange Free State; abolition of monopolies which tended to enhance the cost of materials used in the mines, including those of dynamite, cement, &c.; reduction of rail rates, and abrogation, by arrangement, of the transit dues levied by the coast Colonies, thus lessening first and working costs of mining equipments and materials; promotion of large public works directly or indirectly affecting the mines, such as provision of adequate water supplies, construction of railways, &c.; finally, an equitable and sympathetic attitude of the Governing Power to all and every question having relation to the country’s staple industry. So far as these reforms were appraisable, they were reckoned to be equivalent to a saving of not less than 6s. per ton in working costs. What practical chance there was of gaining the relief sought under the old régime is shown by the futile results of the Industrial Commission’s labours.


In some places the holes for blasting are bored by Kaffirs, but as a rule the drives are made with the use of boring machines driven by compressed air. There are few accidents underground, as the rock is so hard that there is little fear of the “levels” falling in. The chief danger is from the gas after blasting ...

But the altered circumstances of the mining industry since the war are evidenced by the reforms already consummated and under weigh, comprising among them some of the leading demands of 1897. This fact is conclusive that, so far as external circumstances are concerned, the mining industry is not only in the enjoyment of equally favourable circumstances with those existing previously, but[Pg 102] even greatly superior. By so much, therefore, is the perspective of the gold yield to which we have made allusion assisted towards becoming a reality.

Kaffir Compound, New Primrose Gold Mine, Johannesburg

As regards the internal circumstances on which the progress of the mining industry depends, these are the employment of the most improved methods and means of production. They comprise the most perfected machinery and appliances, and the latest processes of metallurgical and chemical science. Speaking generally, it may be said that on the Rand at the present time are employed the most up-to-date skill and technical knowledge, and the latest devised mechanical appliances. This, by the way, is only true of individual mines however. The equipment of the mass varies greatly, and necessarily so, since the conditions of one mine differ vastly from those of its neighbour; and distant and even contiguous localities require unlike treatment, according to the nature of the ore or reef worked and other local conditions. The improvement effected hitherto is evidence, however, of the initiation and energy[Pg 103] which have been displayed by the heads of the mining industry in the past, and an earnest for the future, while the progress achieved abides as an invaluable guide for all future mining operations in like geological formations.

The knowledge of how best to treat the peculiarities of the banket reef has, however, only been slowly gained, and at the cost of much money and many unavoidable blunders. For instance, the only metallurgical operation for the extraction of gold employed up to 1889 was the stamping mill, and fine gold and amalgam were necessarily abundant in the tailings which were cast away on the spoil heap. The cyanide process, and that of the treatment of slimes, were only applied in 1891 and 1898 respectively. Their use has added millions to the yearly output of gold. The amalgamation process, the chlorination treatment of concentrates, and the use of frue vanners are other innovations gradually introduced as results of experiment and experience, and which have likewise increased the efficacy of the extractive operations. Similar progress has been shown in the improvement effected in the mechanical equipment. At first the mining operations were confined to the primitive digging of a huge trench over the site of the outcrop, with the simplest delver’s tools furnished by the locality. This method has advanced to the stage of sinking shafts to the enormous depth of a mile into the bowels of the earth, equipped with the most elaborate hoisting plant, with underground equipment lit and worked by electricity, and the complementary surface establishments, at a cost running into hundreds of thousands of pounds. There yet lies before the industry the general adoption, not only of these but of other improvements which experience has shown to be desirable, such as the practice of sorting of ore, the use of heavier batteries on the score of greater economy, &c., and their utilisation is merely a question of time. As, therefore, all these improvements and betterments have been successively made, and the mining industry is only now gradually—it is not yet, so far as a large number of them are concerned—entering into the full use of them, it is obvious that future mining operations must not only enjoy the same favouring circumstances as those which enabled the huge mining output of the past, but a very much better environment, through the more general use of all those methods which experience and science have shown to be advisable. As a consequence, and in the measure of the value of these improvements, will the effective output be ameliorated from now onwards.

The value of the improved circumstances of the mining industry alluded to is convertible into figures in the terms of working costs and divisible dividends. The former may be said to be the baro[Pg 104]meter of the latter. In the past, in the early days of the mining industry, when the problems of mine equipment and gold extraction and winning were only imperfectly understood, the wasteful expenditure of money on inefficient methods and appliances swallowed up in many cases every vestige of profit.

Cyanide Works. Witwatersrand Gold-Mining Co.

(Photo by Horace W. Nicholls, Johannesburg)

It was incidental to the first operations on the then unknown geological formation of the Rand, when the very science of the goldfields had to be created. Costs of working on the Rand are now, through the excellent system devised by the Chamber of Mines, tabulated so that the outlay of individual mines, or of the mining industry in the aggregate, may be seen at any moment at a glance. For instance, taking the record for the eight years from 1890 to 1898 inclusive, for example, the working costs ranged from 80.8 per cent. of the total value of the gold produced by eighty-five companies in 1890 down to 68.1 per cent. in 1898, the last full year before the war, the decrease showing the extent of the progress made in reducing the working costs. Simultaneously the dividends increased from 19.2 to 31.9 per cent., testifying to the close kinship with the costs factor. These figures are a general average taken over the aggregate of the mines working, and do not represent the ratios of working costs of individual mines, which differ of course according to the greater richness of the ore, the fewer difficulties to[Pg 105] be dealt with in winning it, and the methods employed to secure the end in view. This is exemplified by the fact that in a few of the best equipped mines costs have been brought down to as low as 17s. 6d. per ton, while on others they rise to 79s. 6d. and above. The Robinson mine is a case where, despite adverse circumstances, the enlightened employment of the latest appliances of science and mechanics has resulted in reducing costs to an extremely low level. In 1888 the working costs of the mine were 72s. 1d. per ton; in 1892 they were reduced to 46s. 5d., and in 1896 to 30s. 11d. They have subsequently been reduced to a still lower figure, and this despite the fact that the ore changed from an oxidised character to a pyritic, involving greater difficulty and cost to treat. This mine was the first to introduce frue vanners, the cyanide process and the treatment of slimes, expending as much as £80,000 in the last innovation. By means of these it raised its gold extraction from 65 to 90 per cent., and gave encouragement and impetus to all mining on these fields. The latest costs published for the month of September this year of thirty-six mines in working give an average of 26s. 3d. per ton, which shows that operating charges are now at about the same ratio as they were before the war. Although so reduced, however, they are still relatively higher than they may be expected to be when the mines settle back into their normal grooves. The reason for this is that only a few mines are now working up to their full battery power, and, while costs are on the full scale, results are less, surface dumps are being drawn upon for mill service instead of the mine itself, owing to lack of full supply of labour, &c. When, however, the effects of the important fiscal reductions just made have had time to exercise their effect in reducing the cost of imported mining stores, foodstuffs, and the smaller machinery and metal goods charged by the mines to the working account, further reductions in the working costs will be possible. Of the actual money value of this per ton of ore milled, various opinions have been ventured. It has been estimated by experts that it is possible under favouring circumstances to reduce the expense of working by some 10s. per ton, at which rate ore yielding over 5.6 dwt. per ton bullion could be made to yield a profit. The importance of this not only in improving the present position of all mining undertakings, but in stimulating the low-grade mines to come into the working stage, can hardly be overestimated. With the various difficulties besetting the mining industry removed, the future working cost level should be lower than at any preceding period, taking into account the benefit of the recent fiscal reductions and other governmental assistance in prospect.


Showing the head-gear at top of the shaft, the stacks locating the engine-rooms. A sloping tramway will be seen leading down from the shaft-head, and iron waggons bringing the crushed ore, and taking it away to the “battery” or “mill.” The waggons are driven by an endless wire rope, and discharge automatically. Beyond, in the middle distance, may be seen the huge white heap of “tailings,” the waste débris after the gold has been extracted. Each mine has its own electric-light plant.

Photo by Barnett & Co., Johannesburg

Allusion has been made to the probable continuation of the[Pg 106] Rand formation beyond its present area; but, as a matter of fact, the Witwatersrand series of reefs, or an amplification of them, has been more or less proved for a distance of nearly one hundred miles to the north and south. The strike of the reefs is not uniformly continuous—in fact, the reefs are intersected by quite a numerous series of faults, and in many places they have been subjected to extensive denudation, to the extent of complete obliteration of the outcrop in places. Nevertheless at various points very remunerative mines have been established, and although, on the whole, the character of possessing a low-grade ore is attributed to these reefs, this is probably due more to the very incomplete prospecting to which the area has been subjected than to any actual lack contrasted with the better known central section of the Rand. On this subject Mr. Bleloch makes the apposite observation that “it is not reasonable to think that only the richest portions of the Witwatersrand zones have been laid open on the surface, and that the sections which remain covered are poor. It is probable that many portions of these hidden areas contain reefs, if not rich at least payable, and this may especially be hoped for in that region where the reefs are completely hidden, and at the two ends of which, where they are exposed, they are found to be payable.”

General View of Surface Works. Witwatersrand Gold-Mining Co.

(Photo by Horace W. Nicholls, Johannesburg)

The eastern section of this greater Rand is about 30 miles in extent, or 140 miles if the contours of the outcrops be followed.[Pg 107] In the western section the conglomerate may be followed for 90 miles as far as Klerksdorp, when the formation swerves back to the Vaal River. So far back as 1890 gold-bearing reefs on the banks of the Vaal River were known, and identified by experts as the south-western rim of the Witwatersrand basin; but lack of railway facilities and cheap coal then precluded their profitable working. This district is now surrounded by railways, and the circumstances are so improved that the possibility of creating a new Rand in the locality is regarded as feasible by both experts and capitalists, as, albeit only low-grade ore has as yet been met with, this is properly held to be hardly a fair index of what lies below, for experience in the Central Rand has shown that the reefs often improve lower down. The recently reported “new discoveries” of reefs actually refer to this particular district.

The prospect before these outlying areas of the Rand is further authoritatively confirmed by a recent report of the Commissioner of Mines, in which he observes: “While the expansion of the Witwatersrand is certain, the future of mining in the outlying districts will largely depend upon the introduction of a mining law which will give greater facilities and hold out greater rewards to the individual prospector and small capitalist.” This observation is true regarding many other mining fields in the Transvaal besides that of the Greater Rand.

Although in speaking of gold-mining in the Transvaal the Witwatersrand is usually meant, it must not be lost sight of that the Transvaal possesses other gold-fields of great potentialities and of older date. The De Kaap fields in the Barberton district were the object of attention before those of the Witwatersrand were discovered, and at one time bulked hugely in the public eye. Unknown reserves, both of alluvial and quartz gold, exist, those reefs of the latter which have been worked yielding in many cases a much higher ratio of gold to the ton than do the famed banket beds of the Witwatersrand. The Sheba mine in this district, a case in point, is one of the most remarkable gold mines in the world, nearly 90 feet of ore having been taken out of some stopes. The quartz reefs extend over a distance of 30 miles, mainly in the hilly districts, while the alluvium occurs in most of the river valleys. The development of the district in the past has been hampered by a number of remediable causes, chief among which are unscientific working, monopolist concessions, excessive railway and customs burdens, and general governmental neglect. With the removal of these, gold-mining here is believed by experts to offer prospects not inferior, perhaps, to those of the Rand. The recent Government proclamation throwing open the district to pegging, with the contemplated modifications in[Pg 108] the Gold Law favouring prospectors, are earnests that this splendid mineral reserve will at last have that justice done to it which is its due. Next in importance to the De Kaap gold-fields come those of the Lydenburg district. The gold exists here in a similar quartz reef formation, with, also, unusually rich alluvial tracts; but not one-tenth of its resources are known, although since the start of the workings an output valued at £2,000,000 sterling has been achieved. A number of paying companies are at work, but the drawbacks under which the development of these fields labour are very much those which prevail on the Barberton fields. The northern gold-beds, including the Zoutpansberg, Klein Letaba, Murchison, Selati, &c., are likewise of the quartz formation, and they have been worked to a limited extent over a longer period than either of the two preceding fields. The Murchison gold-belt is particularly noticeable among these fields. The principal or southern reef, 18 inches in thickness, is said to extend for 18 miles, and to be workable down to 1000 feet, and to contain a gold contents of £25,000,000 sterling. The northern reef is estimated to be capable of producing £20,000,000 of gold. Development waits, in all these auriferous regions, primarily on the provision of railway facilities to get up machinery and mining requisites; and the extension of the Pietersburg line, which has been promised, or the completion of the long-projected Selati railway from where it left off, would be as the breath of life to the mining industry here. Two other promising mining fields, generally separately grouped but really a portion of the De Kaap system, are the Komati or Steynsdorp and the Swazieland gold-fields. The former exists on the Swazieland border, not far from Barberton, and is rightly regarded as merely an outlier of the mineral formations of that district. The numerous reefs have, however, only yielded as yet low-grade and refractory ores. The Swazieland fields have only been prospected in the north-west of that territory, but the results have shown that a considerable body of ore exists. Its gold output in 1898 totalled 8256 oz. Minor fields are those of Malmani, on the western border near Mafeking, the Pretoria quartz reefs, and the banket beds of Vryheid (the last now incorporated into Natal). The prospects of all these fields are very large, and their requirements are alike. Conditions tending to lessen the cost of working, and facilities to induce the advent of the prospector and to justify the investment of capital, will reverse in their cases the dubious records of the past, while adding immensely to the wealth of the Transvaal’s gold production resources.


Photo by Horace W. Nicholls, Johannesburg
From “South Africa,” by permission.

The sum of the foregoing observations is that the future of the Transvaal mining industry presents a vista of incalculable prosperity. In the restricted area of the Central Rand alone there is a treasure[Pg 110][Pg 109] of at least £2,871,000,000 awaiting appropriation; and, beyond this huge sum, there are reserves in the Greater Rand which, reckoned on the basis of mileage alone, would sixfold this amount. Moreover, as the confines of the Rand reef formation have not yet been determined, should they be found to stretch into Natal and Zululand on the one hand, or into Rhodesia on the other, as recent discoveries would seem to indicate, the productive possibilities of the future are enlarged proportionately. Apart from its banket reefs the Transvaal likewise possesses huge gold reserves in its quartz reef fields in the De Kaap, Lydenburg, Zoutpansberg, and other districts to the south-east, east, and north, not to speak of the already opened and promising grounds on the extreme west, which await development when the Rand conglomerate beds are exhausted, if they do not—as in all probability they will—receive attention beforehand. The value of these resources is attested by the best of all evidence—that of actual productive yield in the past. In the matter of circumstances, means, and paying results from mining, it has been shown, and it is incontestible, that the industry now stands, in every particular, upon a much more advantageous basis than it ever enjoyed. As regards processes and mechanical appliances, the new era opens with the substantial asset in hand represented by the accumulated skill and knowledge of past painful and costly experience and experiment, so that new mines making a start may lay down their equipments with the greatest practical certainty and economy and assurance of successful results, even on low-grade properties previously deemed unremunerative. In respect of external circumstances, the conditions are already so improved, or in course of improvement, that working costs have been—and will be more so in the future, when all the beneficent proposals contemplated by the Government, and the local advantages resulting from the new order of things have had time to come into operation—lessened to the extent of yielding substantial accretions to the dividends of the already paying mines, while facilitating the development of the deeper mines, and the multitude of minor low-grade concerns hitherto incapable of profitable working. Estimates have been adventured in the earlier part of this chapter of the amount of the saving of working costs to the extent of 10s. per ton, but this is a pure approximation, and the actual outcome is likely to be twofold or more. Similarly the yield of gold per year from the Rand central district of 37 to 40 millions is only a rough estimate, the production in the future, as in the past, being likely to be much above the forecasts, taking into view the beneficent circumstances which will henceforth rule, the full appraisement of which is at present impossible.[Pg 111]

From “South Africa,” by permission.

[Pg 112]

Altogether, therefore, the outlook is one of undimmed brightness, for the misgivings entertained in some quarters regarding new taxation burdens to be imposed, calculated to hamper or hinder the progress of the industry, must be allowed to have no shadow of substance. The pronouncements of the Government hitherto, and the recommendations of their Transvaal adviser, are clear on this head. Taxation will naturally have to be borne, and the tax on profits was accepted in principle by the mining industry before the war. Its incidence, whatever be the amount, will only reduce to a fractional extent that portion of the yield set apart for dividends, which will bear the burden, whatever it be, with the greater ease in view of the accretion of dividends rendered possible by the new conditions. There are, indeed, grounds for assuming that a part of the agitation on foot is lacking in singleness of aim, and engineered by persons who have some secondary object to gain. The rank and file of the mining industry, as well as the best sense of the Anglo-Saxon community, has, however, confidence in the Government that it will do nothing harmful to the best interests of the new Colonies in general, and its staple industry in particular, and, moreover, will be true to the English principle of inviting the taxed to its councils. It is in this particular light that the visit of the Secretary of State for the Colonies to South Africa has such special interest at this juncture.


The powdered ore is washed down over the plates. The deafening roar from the stamps sounds in quiet evenings, from a distance, like the roar of the sea on a rocky coast.

Photo by Barnett & Co., Johannesburg

[Pg 113]



Almost the last message of that prophetic statesman Rhodes was characteristic: “Support Milner through thick and thin,” he curtly and emphatically said. It is therefore Lord Milner’s opinion of the future settlement of the country which should not merely be read, but marked and learnt and inwardly digested, by all who are anxious for the development of British interests in the new Colonies, and who shrink from a recurrence of the horrible scenes of the past, which owed their origin mainly to long years of vacillation on the part of Governments that “swallowed up” the Boers at one moment only to disgorge them the next. Lord Milner, as Mr. Chamberlain has put it, “is the most effective instrument in our possession.” To his subtle yet gigantic brain, to his detailed yet comprehensive labours, we are indebted for a plan out of the chaos, a practical plan by which Briton and Boer may be efficiently planted side by side on the soil for the agricultural and political well-being of the newly-acquired Colonies.

It must be remembered that the agricultural resources of the conquered territory have hitherto been inadequately developed. As it was half a century ago, so it remains to-day—a pastoral country importing its cereals, its dairy produce, and even its hay from foreign parts. The motto of the Boer has never been “Forward,” nor has industry been his strong point. The happy farmstead of five thousand acres which served to keep his ancestor, served also to keep him comfortably till the date of the war. Progress lay not with him but with the British settlers in the region of the Rand, or with the crafty Hollanders who pulled the wires of the misguided autocrat whose ambitious aim was to “stagger humanity.”

The sole appreciable advance came from Great Britain. While mining hummed apace, agriculture crept laboriously; the country, teeming with promise, remained in parts entirely barren, in others overrun by the uncombatted yellow tulip or the incango, both weeds deadly to the soil.

The veldt and the karroo, say the pessimists, offer no home for the Englishman. They moreover aver that only so long as the mines hold out will the settler remain in South Africa. But[Pg 114] there are others, Lord Kitchener and Lord Milner among them, who see in the country the latent possibility of modern North America, or, at least, a great agricultural future which will endure long after the history of the mineral districts is a closed volume. The science of irrigation in its most modern development—“the foundation-stone on which can be built the permanent prosperity of South Africa”—is capable of transforming the profitless deserts into flowering gardens and fruitful orchards which in very few years will do more than pay their way. But to properly develop any scheme requiring eternal vigilance, industry, and foresight, it is necessary that a goodly sprinkling of the enterprising British population shall be dispersed all over the land, so that not in the towns alone will the characteristics of the dominant race be maintained.

Wellwood Farm in Graaff Reinet District

(Mixed grass and karroo veldt)

Some one has said South Africa must irrigate or perish. This may be a truism; but it is also very certain that South Africa, while irrigating, must offer homes to a leavening mass of sound and desirable British settlers before the irrigation schemes under discussion can effect the agricultural transformation which, in British hands, might speedily come to pass. The nature of this settlement and the expedition of it, from an economic, social, and political point of view, is declared by Lord Milner to be of supreme importance. A new and progressive farming population must rein[Pg 115]force the old; for, it is most essential “that the old condition of things shall not be reproduced, in which the race division coincided almost completely with a division of interests, the whole country population being virtually Boer, while the bulk of the industrial and commercial population was British.” The three great essentials of any successful scheme, according to Lord Milner’s showing, are these: it must have magnitude, it must deal with land of good quality, it must attract settlers of the right kind. In the matter of magnitude there are many and intricate questions to be discussed. Land settlement must be undertaken on a large scale else it will be politically unimportant, the Boer States will remain Boer States in all but name, and any money advanced by the British speculator will be like the talent hidden in a napkin—just a talent and nothing more, till the end of the chapter! The Government must assert its paternity; it must control, it must assist. On all sides simultaneous effort must be made to march in time with the progressive note that, once struck, must be continuously and consistently re-echoed throughout the length and breadth of the new Colonies. The best quality of land must invite the best quality of settler, though regulations must be sufficiently elastic to meet the wants of the settler with capital, and also those of the settler with little more than practical experience. They must vary, too, with the varying character of the farms. The reason for this necessity has concisely been explained by Lord Milner: “Take only the broad distinction between dry and irrigated farms, familiar to every South African. Evidently a much larger area is required in the former than in the latter, while the experience needed by the farmer would vary greatly in the two cases. In the former he would be mainly employed in stock-raising, while in the latter in the cultivation of cereals; and in favourable neighbourhoods market gardening would be the most profitable industry. Australian ranchers seem peculiarly suited to the high veldt, while the corn lands of the ‘Conquered Territory’ could have no better occupants than young progressive farmers from the Scottish lowlands. And there are intermediate types of farms suited to settlers of the most varied experience and resources.”

A rough draft of the terms on which the Orange River Colony Government proposed to offer Government land to British settlers affords an insight into the big projects that are afoot. The draft was submitted to the British Government about the middle of 1902 in order that sanction might be given to the principle of the conditions set forth. Here—abbreviated—are the conditions of lease:—

“The settler shall pay the annual rent due by him to the Government in half-yearly instalments, the first of which shall be due six[Pg 116] months after his taking possession. The settler holding under a lease shall have the right, with the approval of the Government, at any time after the completion of his first year’s tenancy, to enter upon the system of purchase by instalments, by giving three months’ notice to the Government of his intention to do so before the date when his next half-yearly instalment falls due. In that case his leasehold tenure shall be held to cease from the date of the payment of such instalment, and he shall be entitled to acquire the land on the same terms as a settler taking it on the purchase system, save and except that he shall not have a year’s grace before beginning to purchase by instalments, but that the first of his sixty half-yearly instalments shall become due six months after the date of his last payment under the lease. Every lease shall be for five years, but shall be renewable at the option of the settler for a further period of five or ten years.”

The grounds on which the Government may cancel the lease shall be the following:—

“Failure to pay in full any half-yearly instalment of rent, or any sum due in respect of advances within three months of its becoming due.

“Neglect to cultivate the land in a proper and husbandlike manner to the satisfaction of the Government, or to apply any money advanced by the Government for the purpose specified.

“Conviction for any criminal offence punishable by death or by imprisonment without option of a fine.”

The Government will be prepared to make advances to the settler for such permanent improvements as the Government may approve, such as drainage, fencing, farm buildings, tree-planting, the sinking of wells, making of roads, reclamation of waste land, or any other work calculated to permanently enhance the value of the land, provided—

“That the sum of such advances shall not at any time exceed the capital which the settler has himself expended, or can satisfy the Government that he is prepared to expend, in connection with the cultivation of the land.

“That the total outstanding amount at any one time shall not exceed five times the rent of the land.”

All advances made by the Government in accordance with the foregoing section shall be repaid by the settler with interest at £5 per centum within ten years by twenty equal half-yearly instalments.[Pg 117]

Among the conditions of purchase it is stated:—

“The settler shall acquire the freehold of the land by paying to the Government for the period of thirty years an annual sum amounting to £5, 15s. per centum of the purchase price. This annual sum shall be paid in two half-yearly instalments of £2, 17s. 6d. per centum of such price.... If the settler affix to his holding any engine, machinery, or any other fixture, or erect a building which he is not authorised by the Government to affix or erect, the said fixture or building shall be the property of the settler and removable by him within a reasonable time after the cancellation of his contract, provided that he first discharges all debts due by him to the Government, and that after the removals he makes good any unavoidable damage thereby occasioned. The settler must give one month’s notice of his intention to remove such fixture or building, and on receipt of such notice the Government may elect to purchase such fixtures or building after a valuation as provided for.”

During the currency of the contract of purchase the settler will not be liable to pay any quit-rent or land-tax, or to make any other payment to the Government than those provided for by the contract. But from the time of the land becoming the freehold of the settler under any of the provisions it shall be subject to any quit-rent or land tax payable to the Government, to which any other freehold land may from time to time be subject, according to the laws of the Orange River Colony. The settler shall be liable, both before and after the acquisition of the freehold, to pay any rates which may be lawfully levied on the land for local purposes, but such rates shall not, during the period of thirty and a half years from the date of the settler’s taking possession under the contract of purchase, exceed 1d. per £1 per annum of the purchase price of the land.

In reply to the Colonial Secretary’s telegram stating his belief that the settlement of farmers from England would not be successful unless the farms were close together, Lord Milner answered: “I quite agree that farmers from home should not be isolated. But we want farms of various characters. Dry farms, as you suppose, are much in demand by Australians. I have a number of excellent applicants of this class, and could to-morrow dispose of twice as many dry farms as we possess in healthy parts of the Transvaal to selected Australasians who have served in war and have agricultural experience and some capital. Generally speaking, I do not think it desirable to encourage agricultural settlers from home. It would be better to give the first chance to the men on the spot, whether oversea colonists or yeomen. This would not permanently exclude men from home, as a long time must elapse before we can[Pg 118] deal with some of the land we have, and I hope to go on acquiring more. But land immediately available should be offered to those already here who cannot afford to wait.”

Everything mainly depends on the size of the settlement scheme. To be of use it must be rapidly pushed forward with all the vigour that the Government can bring to bear on the subject. The ball, once effectively set rolling, would then move by the force of its own impetus. First some three or four thousand settlers on land acquired by Government would set the example, and quickly, round them would flock private persons from the oversea Colonies or Great Britain who, discovering that the Government meant business, would follow suit, acquire land, and settle down in British constellations, so that the sharp social and political division between town and country would cease to exist and the past state of agricultural stagnation could never return. Thus, much would be done “to consolidate South African sentiment in the general interests of the Empire.”

A Farm in the Karroo Proper

(A typical stone-faced earth bank of a water dam in foreground)

In regard to the quality of the land, a very small quantity of the land available in the Transvaal is suited to British settlers, and but little, though excellent, Government land is to be obtained in the Orange River Colony. In both Colonies most of the land is privately owned. Much of this land may come into the market, and[Pg 119] many farmers may be found willing to part with a portion of their property in order to obtain capital for the restocking of the other portion. But, thinks Lord Milner, unless the Government is armed with a general power of expropriation—not necessarily for use save in emergency—it will be impossible to get sufficient land, or even to make the best use of the land we already have or may hereafter acquire by voluntary purchase. For, knowing his Boer through and through, he rightly assumes that one or two recalcitrant owners might prevent an irrigation scheme for a whole district, or otherwise obstruct the distribution of a given area into farms suitable for settlers. But, far from wishing to dispossess the Boer farmer and create a class of landless and discontented men, Lord Milner expresses his belief that it is our duty and interest to preserve the Boer as a farmer though not as a large negligent landowner. Unless land is purchased and British settlers are speedily installed, an opportunity will be lost which will never recur, and neglect of the present may endanger the future peace and prosperity of South Africa. In fact, the key to the situation, the key to the gate which will let in a steady influx of agricultural immigrants, is made up of two things—powers of expropriation and money.

There are naturally many quibblers belonging to the “Foreigners’ friend and Britons’ foe” party who look askance at these proposals, and, indeed, at any proposals which might endow colonisation with what they call a political, but which should properly be termed an Imperial, trend. The idea of outnumbering the Dutch inhabitants seems to them preposterous—even vindictive. They would prefer the British Government and the British taxpayers, in matters connected with their own policy and their own expenditure, to be out-voiced by the inhabitants of the territory they have spent blood and treasure to conquer. But to discuss the arguments of these quibblers would be sheer waste of time and of space. Obstructions ever have their value. As the impediment in the shell of the oyster brings about the growth of the pearl, so the obstruction in the bivalve of politics has brought forth the jewel of Imperial solidarity.

But it may as well be mentioned that the expropriation suggestion which also excites the ire of Radicals, is by no means an invention solely directed against the Boers in the conquered States. The precedent is to be found in the legislation of New Zealand. The Land for Settlements Act, 1894, enables the Government of that Colony, if no private agreement can be arrived at, to take land compulsorily for settlement, subject to a price fixed by valuation and a certain compensation.

As regards settlers—the third great essential of Lord Milner’s scheme—the future looks rosy enough. There are many who served[Pg 120] in the war and have a right to preference, who are eager to live on the land and farm it, and who do not seek to acquire it merely as a speculation or a makeshift. Hundreds of hale and hearty fellows, men of experience and resource, men who have the pluck to succeed, and men who have the courage to challenge failure, have already offered themselves and wait patiently till their turn may arrive. Were the land forthcoming, it would not be exaggeration to say that some 10,000 and more of our fellow-countrymen would be cultivating it within the twelvemonth.


The progressive mood of Natal should afford sufficient encouragement to even the most wary speculators. Here, for the purpose of attracting tenant farmers, the plan is to form agricultural settlements resembling the close colonies of New Zealand, the settlements to be planted on areas irrigated by Government works. According to Sir Albert Hime, irrigation here intensifies cultivation tenfold, and so enables a farmer to get his living off one-tenth of the amount of land that would otherwise be required, and furthermore assures his crop. Owing to the broken nature of the country, the irrigable areas are small in size and suited mainly for supporting settlements of small cultivators. Such settlements, wherever started, however, have proved unmistakably prosperous, and it only remains for the Natal Government to introduce its scheme of close settlements to the notice of the right form of emigrant in order to render the “Garden Colony” eternally rich in green things upon the earth. At present sugar-planting, thanks to the system of central mills, is in a flourishing state. The same may be said of tea-planting, which owes much to the continuous efforts of Sir J. L. Hulett, whose “gardens” are the most important in Natal.

The demand for the wattle bark is on the increase. This tree (Acacia Mollissima), originally brought from Australia, soon became acclimatised in Natal, where there are now 50,000 acres of wattle plantation. The wattle bark is exported to England, while the tree—stripped of its bark—serves for poles which are much in demand in the Rand mines. It is said that land for wattle-growing may be purchased at from eighteen to twenty-five shillings an acre, the cost of ploughing and planting may be estimated at from thirty-two to fifteen shillings an acre. It takes some six years before cutting down can be begun, but then, the probable net profits would be nearly half the gross returns.


With the development of the Rand the demand for timber will increase by leaps and bounds, and the market for wattle bark as[Pg 121] a tanning material will advance proportionately. As an instance of the increase in the demand for bark, it may be stated that the exports were valued at £69,850 in 1901 as against £30,929 in 1898.

Elsewhere, expansion and development will be the direct result of irrigation. To those interested in South Africa, the future, whether prospectively considered or practically discussed, must hinge on the water-supply and the cunning practice of water-storage.

Mr. Willcocks (now Sir William Willcocks) of the Egyptian Irrigation Department, one of the most experienced men, indeed one of the greatest experts in irrigation in the world, when asked to contribute to this volume, said “it would indeed afford him much pleasure to co-operate,” but, owing to the great pressure of affairs, he could not do credit to any other work he might undertake. But his report on South Africa is so admirable an exposition of the possibilities of the country, seen from the then standpoint, that merely to quote some of its most salient features were preferable to inviting the opinion of a lesser authority.

Plainly, the expert tells us that, with the exception of the south-west corner of the Cape Colony, the “conquered territory” of the Orange River Colony, and the high veldt of the Transvaal, the agricultural development of the whole country depends on irrigation. The high-lying plateau of South Africa has by its situation a rainfall suited to tropical countries, and, owing to its altitude, a climate which belongs to a temperate zone. The autumn rains of February and March, which are monsoon rains, would in a country like India be of infinite value; but followed, as they are in South Africa, by a severe and biting winter, they are of little value for agricultural purposes. The long winter and spring drought, and the uncertain summer rains, absolutely prohibit agriculture of any advanced kind. In certain favoured tracts—such as a fifth of Cape Colony, half the Orange River Colony, and two-thirds of the Transvaal—Indian corn, potatoes, roots generally, and pumpkins for feeding stock in winter, can be grown with the aid of the rainfall, and matured in all but years of heavy drought. By means of crop rotations, suitable manures, and good tillage, agricultural development of no mean value could be accomplished within a decade, especially if taken in conjunction with stock-breeding, the principal industry of the country. But, in other parts of the colonies, water comes when it is of no value, and is absent when it would be worth untold gold. To avoid this inconvenience, Mr. Willcocks says, we have only to imitate nature and impound on the surface of the ground the same water which she stores in caverns and fissures; and for instance of what even inferior water may do with the rich soil of South[Pg 122] Africa, he gives the Kenilworth Oasis (within a few miles of Kimberley), which is irrigated by the refuse water of the diamond mines.

Generally speaking, the annual rainfall is sufficient to allow of the storage of water on a very large scale. Cape Colony with the aid of its rainfall, together with the Orange River, should be able to ensure the perennial irrigation of 1,000,000 acres, the Orange River Colony of 750,000 acres, and the Transvaal of 500,000 acres in the high-lying regions and 1,000,000 in the low tracts, which tracts Mr. Willcocks recommends should be thrown open to our fellow British-Indian subjects.

Vermont Merino Ewes

Seeing that agriculture without irrigation is generally impossible throughout the new colonies, it must be admitted that the secret of their development lies first and foremost in the ingenious storage of water. The rainfall is like the traditional Offenbachian policemen, “when wanted, never there,” and when it is not wanted it is invariably present. Therefore it is necessary for the Government to proclaim the countries themselves as arid or semi-arid, and legislate accordingly. Italian irrigation laws may be taken as a model for all arid and semi-arid countries in the possession of Europeans. The Government of Cavour decreed the rivers and torrents as public property, and, as such, the property of the Government representing the people. Ancient and vague irrigation rights standing in the way of legislation were promptly disposed of, and the Government set itself to legislate for future concessions, to which wise and strong measure modern Italy owes much of its prosperity.[Pg 123]

It is decided that all important irrigation works should be carried forth by the State, and not, as in America, by individuals or concessionaire companies, for experience shows that private enterprise has often disastrous results, because of the difficulty in realising immediate returns from the investment. The slow and sure methods of a Government in the control of the works—their construction, ownership, and administration—is the only successful method. Such works, well conceived and well executed, bring in a direct benefit to the State if allowed to develop on slow and natural lines; they also bring in indirect benefits which a State reaps from increase of wealth of every kind.

With the increased demand for agricultural labour, caused by the development of the country, the poor white problem will be solved. The sole kind of manual labour which appeals to the poor white is agricultural labour, since he cannot work in competition with black labour.

Mr. Willcocks considers that, in order to save the country from dropping from the height of prosperity to poverty, part of the profits of the mines should be invested in irrigation works for the permanent development of the country. “The mineral wealth of the Transvaal is extraordinarily great, but it is exhaustible, some say in within the space of fifty, others within the space of a hundred, years. It would be a disaster, indeed, for the country, if none of this wealth were devoted to the development of its agriculture. Agricultural development is slow, but it is permanent and knows of no exhaustion.” After recommending the adoption of the metric system of weights and measures—which is superior to all other systems—he takes the sections of the three colonies and describes them in detail. The technicalities of irrigation must be studied separately, but the characteristics of the country are interesting to all.


The abundant winter rains render this, one of the wheat districts of the Colony, independent of irrigation in winter. The farms, in size about 2000 acres, appear too large to be profitably worked by poor farmers. Ploughing is done perfunctorily, and no rotation of leguminous crops with serials is attempted, because it is believed that there is no market in Cape Town for beans and other legumins. Mr. Willcocks suggests as a remedy the construction of an agricultural railway through this district, so that the disposal of fodder would be simplified. He also proposes the exchange of seeds between Egypt, which is rich in legumins, and the Colony,[Pg 124] which is rich in fodders capable of existing in conditions of extreme drought. He thinks the luscious emerald burseem (Egyptian clover), grown in rotation with wheat, might stock the soil with nitrogen and possibly destroy the rust in wheat which is universally complained of. Indeed he declares that legumins might be grown with cereals all over the Colony with great benefit to agriculture. Lentils are a wholesome and sustaining fare, and beans form the principal food of donkeys and poultry in Egypt. In India horses, sheep, and cattle, Mr. Willcocks says, are fed on “gram,” another lentil; and the present writer can testify to more than that, for not only do the horses fatten, but so also do the families of the native “syces” employed to take care of them! This proves that gram, if properly used, is as nourishing for the biped as for the quadruped world. But the art of using the lentil is not generally known. The lentil worked into a purée, and diluted and warmed with curry gravy, makes one of the finest adjuncts to the breakfast-table imaginable. Served hot in a sauce tureen it can be eaten with fish, hard-boiled eggs, biscuits, or any other light food which may be at hand. This sauce supplies the stamina and flavour of a meal.

To return. The Wynberg district is famed for its vineyards, which, lately, have suffered through phylloxera. Much of the grape-juice is converted into the brandy that works such havoc with the natives. Mr. Willcocks proposes as an alternative the introduction of the resinous firs common in Greece for the purpose of converting the grapes into the light wines which are manufactured by the Greek farmers; but it is to be feared that the native palate, tutored to the smack of more fiery fluid, will not approve the delicate flavour of the resinato wines.

In regard to the Breede River Valley, expensive river and canal works will be needed to properly irrigate the district, but these will repay the expenditure. In the Touws River Valley, in years of ordinary winter rain, good wheat crops can be grown on the alluvium of the river, which crops might be made permanent by the construction of fifteen-feet high weirs at suitable sites, and the leading off of small canals from the up-stream sides.

In the karoo veldt, in the Prince Albert district, the light rainfall, together with the violent slope of the country, renders numerous irrigation schemes impossible. But the karoo bushes need and are worth development, otherwise they will in time be exterminated. Our authority gives in detail a scheme by which this development may be accomplished, and declares that if the right method of preservation were adopted, it would probably be possible to feed three sheep where one can be fed to-day.


Reproduced by permission from the Natal Government Collection

The Oudtshoorn district is the garden of the Cape Colony. It[Pg 125] enjoys a splendid climate and water-supply. The speciality of the Oudtshoorn Valley is ostrich farming. The birds in thousands feed in the lucerne fields on the banks of the Oliphants River. Crops of tobacco and potatoes, orange groves, vineyards and orchards are everywhere to be seen. There are still some 70,000 acres of land in the valley capable of development by irrigation if water could be found for them—and here many schemes are possible. “Unirrigated land in the valley, on which there falls annually from seven to ten inches of rain, is worth scarcely £1 an acre; while the same land, when irrigated, is worth from £30 to £100 per acre.” It is impossible here to describe the practical remedies and improvement schemes suggested; the object of quotation is merely to give on authority, a concise outline of the rich vista that has been extended before us, and the perpetual prosperity that may be secured to the South African Continent if the Government should consent to adopt the measures suggested.

In the advanced farms stock are watered from tanks fed by subsoil water raised by windmills. Wherever there are no permanent springs these mills, Mr. Willcocks thinks, might be made compulsory. He says: “I have seen stock drinking from shallow pools which contained mud rather than water, and in which dead sheep were festering. It might be possible to legislate that, if a reservoir is constructed, it must be fenced round and protected from entry by stock. The reservoir dam should be pierced by a pipe discharging into a trough, from which cattle should be given to drink.” This would protect the water from pollution and save the cattle from contracting rinderpest and spreading it all over the country.

The farms have a general area of some 12,000 acres each, with about twelve acres of cultivated land per farm. This means about one acre of arable land to a thousand acres of pastoral land. The cultivated area is divided thus—one acre of fruit or vegetable garden to about eleven acres under wheat, Indian corn, lucerne, and oat-hay. Here, the veldt will carry one sheep—these are principally merinos—or a goat, to four acres; or one ox to sixteen acres.[10]

North of Britstown the pan and vale formation begins, a formation consisting of alternate ridges of rounded dolomite hills and flat depressions which are either vales or pans. Vales have outlets for the water which collects in them, pans usually have none. Some are natural reservoirs of great capacity. The pans, when not brack, are the natural reservoirs of the country. Mr. Willcocks has shown how both pans and vales may be dealt with to the best advantage,[Pg 126] and how the direct storage of water and the indirect storage of it should be effected.

Still touring in the Cape Colony, he turned his attention to the Kat, Kabossi, Keishma, Klipparts, and other streams near the sea, which have a perennial discharge with a minimum of about 100 cubic feet per second, yet which are scarcely utilised. On this subject he reported: “The value of this water near the sea will never be appreciated till the idea is abandoned that cereals are the only crops worth growing and that manures are not necessary. The attempt to grow cereals year after year without manure and without rotation of crops has made the wheat crops so liable to rust that agriculture is discounted everywhere near the sea. Wherever perennial water of any kind can be obtained in the important stock districts of the Eastern Provinces, lucerne, at least, might be planted to the utmost limits of the water.”

Pure Negretti Merino Ram

Locusts are ubiquitous; but these in the footganger stage might be easily destroyed before they could develop into the pest they now are. Mr. Willcocks thus describes a mode of dealing with them: “At the foot of some low hills in the karoo bush I came across great numbers of the footgangers. They were jet black, and were very easily distinguished. Indeed it appeared as though some giant had just walked over the veldt and sprinkled it with great splashes of jet-black ink. If I had been a Kaffir, and had known[Pg 127] that a reward would have been given for the location of locusts in this stage, it would have been a simple matter to have gone to the nearest magistrate and reported the appearance of the footgangers. A few men, with washing soap and water and sprays could have killed many millions in a few hours.” He proposes that the States should combine and annually devote £20,000 to the extermination of these creatures before they take wing and become uncombatable. The idea is an excellent one; but the method of carrying it into effect will need to be “slim” in its strictures, otherwise the remedy, in homeopathic fashion, may be productive of the disease! In India, for instance, where several annas are offered for every deadly snake destroyed, these pests are occasionally cherished and bred as a comfortable source of income. In the Deccan, a few years since, a nest of these reptiles was discovered near the writer’s bungalow, and the farming process was explained by an Anglo-Indian friend. Every dead snake being worth three or four annas, it was to the interest of the enterprising native to rear as many as possible, so that when hard up he could slay one of his “stock” and receive the coveted reward!

The Aliwal North, Herschel, and New England districts lie between 4500 and 6000 feet above sea-level, and have a rainfall of some thirty inches per annum. A good Indian corn crop may be counted on every year, and wheat in five years out of six. Only a third of the cultivable area is put under cultivation, though the grasses are good and one acre can support a sheep. Agriculture is generally backward, rotations of crops and manuring being unknown. Turnips and swedes for winter feeding of stock have been raised with success.


Basutoland has a better rainfall than any part of South Africa, except Natal and the south-western corner of Cape Colony. The maximum fall per annum, save in years of drought, may be put at thirty-five inches, the minimum at twenty-eight. It is nearly always sufficient to allow of wheat being sown between July and August, and reaped in December without irrigation. About one-third of cultivated land is devoted to wheat, a third to Indian corn, and a third to millets. These last are sown between the middle of September and the middle of November, and are reaped in April. No rotations of cereals with leguminous crops are practised; no manure is used. Cultivation has been going on for thirty years, and the soil is by no means as productive as it was originally.

According to the authority of Mr. Willcocks, if suitable manures were employed and careful cultivation gone in for, this country with[Pg 128] its friable soil should be eminently suitable for all root crops, such as potatoes, onions, and turnips, while beetroot would answer admirably in the valley of the Caledon River up-stream to Ladybrand, and in the main tributaries of the Caledon. The denudation of the country—owing to the numerous ravines which cut it up—is serious, and, if allowed to continue, it will mean incalculable loss. The scouring action of the water is aggravated by the fact that the Basuto villages are built on the tops of the hills. The steeps are constantly worn into tracks by the women-carriers of water from the springs, and these tracks become during the rain a series of rivulets which contribute further to the general denudation. To save the land from the fate of Palestine, which, in somewhat the same way, became denuded by hundreds of years of cultivation and intense habitation, an ingenious arrangement for planting willow and poplar cuttings in damp ravines, and wattles and aloes in the dry ones, has been described by Mr. Willcocks—a remedy which at the outset seems costly, but will finally become self-supporting. The young trees will be pollarded and produce fuel, which is badly needed in this at present extraordinarily treeless region; and it is even possible that if the ravines were filled with trees it might result in an increased rainfall during the critical months of August, September, and October.

Nothing in the way of irrigation can here be done without reservoirs, and these would pay nowhere but near the important centres. But more important than irrigation, and much less costly, would be a better system of cultivation, the introduction of leguminous crops and roots in rotation with cereals. Experimental ventures by means of model farms would soon prove what were the most suitable legumins and roots for the country, and the best manures. Once initiated, the intelligent Basutos would rapidly improve upon their limited experiences; but whether they would acquire a taste for a diet of pulses, on the cultivation of which the future development of the country depends, is another matter.

Patriotically, it seems reasonable to demand the education of the appetite of a people in accordance with the output of their native land. The young of a nation should be taught to acquire a taste for healthy home-grown fare, and the women-folk should be instructed in the art of manipulating it to the profit of the household. What is applicable in Basutoland is applicable all over South Africa. The urban population must assist agriculture or it cannot be made to pay. The produce of the farms must find a market at its elbow, so to say; for there can be no profits if enormous charges for rail have to be met and the farmers are thrust into competition with the American and European markets.


Photo by Wilson, Aberdeen

[Pg 129]


The south-eastern corner of the Orange River Colony, in the region of Harrismith, Ficksburg, Ladybrand, and Wepener, is considered the best suited for European settlers. Springs are numerous. Wheat and Indian corn are the principal crops. The flour-mills on the Caledon can be worked for nine months yearly, and the land on both sides of it is full of promise to the agriculturist. Improvements in the form of weirs, &c., are suggested, by which one-fourth of the area would be insured in nine years out of ten. “It would be possible to put some 50,000 acres under lucerne; 12,000 acres, or, if necessary, the whole 24,000 acres under beetroot, for which soil, climate, and seasons are most favourable.” Thus would be introduced an important sugar industry into the country.

In the north-eastern half of the Orange River Colony perennial irrigation would ensure as good crops, but at a greater expenditure of water. Here the value of perennially irrigated land to land depending on rainfall may be taken as £1 to one shilling in this district, on the high veldt of the Transvaal, and in the south-eastern corner of the Orange River Colony. In the south-western half of the Orange River Colony, it may be taken as £1 to sixpence; in the Eastern Karroo as £1 to threepence; and in the Western Karroo as £1 to a penny. In the north-eastern half of the Orange River Colony the good veldt may be taken as £1 per acre, and perennially irrigated land as £20 per acre.[11]

After inquiry, observation, and comparison with other countries, Mr. Willcocks’ estimate of the price which could be paid for perennial irrigation is as follows: In parts which lie below 1000 feet above sea-level, situated in the arid or semi-arid region, a water-rent of £2 per annum could be easily paid anywhere near a railway. In semi-arid regions, between 1000 and 2500 feet, a water-rent of £1, 10s. could be paid. Over 2500 feet in height, £1 per acre per annum could be paid. Near important centres the rent could be higher.


The Transvaal, for agricultural purposes, may be divided into the[Pg 130] dolomite region,[12] the high, low, and bush veldt, and the south-eastern tracts. The most important is the dolomite region, which, roughly speaking, covers the country within lines joining Vereeniging, Heidelberg, Bethel, Pretoria, Rustenburg, Zeerust, Lichtenburg, Klerksdorp, and the Vaal River from Klerksdorp to Vereeniging—an area of about 15,000 square miles. Johannesburg’s rainfall—from twenty-eight inches per annum in the east to twenty-two inches in the west—is the best in the district. Though uncertain in September, October, and November, in January, February, and March rain can always be counted on. The country generally is capable of great agricultural development, an area of some 350,000 acres being capable of perennial irrigation, in addition to the areas irrigated by the existing springs. In addition to the agricultural value of perennially irrigated land, there is the land which without the aid of irrigation can be so cultivated as to give excellent yields, for it is proved that well-manured and tilled crops need only half the rainfall that ill-manured and untilled crops require.

Angora Goat (Young Ewe)

In the high veldt the rainfall, taken at twenty-one inches, occurs in[Pg 131] January, February, and March. The veldt grass will support one sheep per acre. Mr. Willcocks thinks that in this region—it is enclosed by lines drawn from Vereeniging to Heidelberg, Pretoria, Belfast, Amsterdam, Vryheid, Volksrust, Standerton, and the line of the Vaal River—it would be more profitable to thoroughly develop the unirrigated crops than to go in for perennial irrigation. The higher the altitude in South Africa the less the value of perennial water, except under special conditions. Perennial irrigation should first be confined to centres such as Middelburg, Standerton, and other towns which, with this aid, would give handsome profits.

The annual trek from the high to the low veldt in winter might be dispensed with if sufficient winter food crops were grown with the aid of the rainfall, and the stock herded in winter in cattle and sheep folds sheltered by groves of blue gum or pine trees. The practice of trekking from high to low veldt in winter, is due to the fact that winter frosts kill the grass in the high veldt, and the farmers, in default of other food-stuffs for flocks, are forced to travel to the regions where frost is unknown. Naturally, the trekking results in 10,000 acres of veldt having to do the work of 5000. To double the value of their holdings in the high veldt, and save the trouble of the trek, the farmers need only to plant a few belts of sheltering trees, and cultivate roots and feeding stuff for flocks and herds.

The low veldt, being well supplied with water, could finally become a possession of great value. The climate being unsuited to Europeans, the place has remained undeveloped; but the land, if set apart, might be made self-supporting, indeed a source of appreciable revenue to the country, if British Indians and Kafirs were encouraged to produce rice, tropical plants, &c., which would in no way compete with the temperate and sub-tropical crops of the European farmers in the other regions. “If,” says Mr. Willcocks, “Indians and Kafirs were confined to the tropical belts, and the Europeans to the temperate belts, we should not see the absurd spectacle which we see to-day of the best parts of the temperate zones being inhabited almost exclusively by Kafirs, while the Europeans with great jealousy are keeping the Indians and Kafirs out of the tropical belts.”

No wholesale improvements in arid or semi-arid regions can be carried forward without land and water taxes, for individuals that are exempt might neglect to improve the land with impunity, and the State would be powerless to interfere to prevent whole regions lying waste and barren.

There is said to be scarcely a part of South Africa where agriculturists cannot afford to pay £1 per acre per annum for perennially irrigated land, and the system of irrigation as put before[Pg 132] the Government shows that this uniform rate would enable extensive projects to be undertaken everywhere with profit.

Land tax is another question to be considered. Land in Orange River Colony may be considered as having a mean value of 15s. per acre. The suggested tax is 6d. per acre per annum. The effect of such tax would be to weed the country of useless landowners, and replace them by industrious and progressive farming men. On a basis of 6d. per acre per annum, the Orange River Colony could pay £300,000 per annum.

In the Transvaal the dolomite region, the high veldt, and the south-eastern corner—taken as worth 10s. an acre, and taxed at 4d. per acre—would bring in annually some £350,000. As in the Orange Colony, irrigation works would add materially to the revenue. There would at first be protests from all quarters, but eventually this systematic taxation would prevent worthless landlords from accumulating property to the detriment of progressive practical men.

In order to protect and improve the position of the farmers, Mr. Willcocks recommends the formation of a Bureau of Agriculture after the pattern of the Agricultural Bureau at Washington. Its representatives collect information from far and near, and of every possible kind, sending to headquarters all manner of agricultural produce. Experimental farms are started in the various states, curious seeds are sown, and if any variety proves adaptable to any particular region, the farmers are promptly provided with seed corn, and thus assisted to keep at the head of the world in agricultural production. Such a bureau in South Africa would cause its agents to import legumins from Egypt, and labour-saving machines from America, which last would halve the expenditure on watercourses and earthwork of all classes.

Taken all round, South Africa with the addition of 3,000,000 acres of perennially irrigated land (gained at an expenditure of £30,000,000, and valued at £100,000,000), and also with 10,000,000 acres of land under crops depending on rainfall (which might be valued at another £100,000,000), would be a very different country from that which it is to-day. In view of this immensely rich outlook, no South African statesman should rest content with the transitory mineral wealth of the moment, or the golden glories of a possible fifty years. Irrigation, and irrigation alone, can secure permanent wealth to any part of the South African continent, and the Government that refuses to recognise the vital importance of a sufficiently comprehensive land and irrigation scheme, and that hesitates while the land is ripe for regeneration—that Government will deservedly go down to posterity as the Government of lost opportunities.


After Photo by G. W. Wilson, Aberdeen.


[10] Interesting details regarding the important industry of wool-growing have been furnished by Mr. Allen Davison, Chief Inspector of Sheep for the Cape Colony. See the following Chapter.

[11] The conditions of Vaal River irrigation differ entirely from those on the Orange River; but irrigation could be provided at an expenditure of about £10 per acre, and a water-rate of £1 per acre would pay all expenses and five per cent. capital. To avoid trouble and ill-feeling, it is suggested that the three colonies should settle their claims in the respective rivers by the Cape Colony accepting the waters of the Orange River as its property; while the Transvaal and the Orange River Colony divided the Vaal between themselves.

[12] The dolomite region consists of the high plateaux on which the rain falls, of the belt of dolomite in which the water is stored and out of which the springs have their birth, and of the sandstone and argillaceous rocks over which the water flows and where it is principally utilised. Owing to displacement, the older rocks lie highest, and the younger are less in altitude.

[Pg 133]



Chief Inspector of Sheep for the Cape Colony

The Cape Colony, including the Transkeian Territories, may, from a pastoral point of view, be divided into three parts: first, the grass country of the east and south-east, 37,722 square miles in extent; second, the mixed grass and karroo, in the north, centre, and south-west, comprising an area of 57,617 square miles; and third, the karroo proper, in the west and north-west, which includes 125,747 square miles.

Flock of Fat Cross-Bred Merino and Fat-Tailed Sheep

(The stone walls of the kraal are coped with cakes of “mist,” or dried sheep manure)

Of these divisions the smallest in extent—the Grass Country—is the most heavily stocked, some portions carrying as many as from four to five hundred sheep to the square mile. Although the natural pasture may not compare favourably with that of other stock-raising countries, it possesses advantages which cannot be surpassed elsewhere in the Colony. The flocks grazed in this locality are, generally speaking, superior in breed, and the wool is light, clean, and well grown, commanding the highest prices realised for Cape clips. Fencing has been systematically and extensively carried out, and with but few exceptions, every farm is enclosed, and subdivided into paddocks, at a cost of from £35 to £50 per mile.

Along the coast, and for some miles inland, the grass grows rank and sour, and is only eaten by stock when in the young and succulent[Pg 134] stage. Later in the season, when the pasture becomes dry and woody, it is quite unfit for grazing purposes. In these parts merino sheep are rarely found, the ravages of a disease named Heartwater having denuded the farms of all small stock, with the exception of the common or Boer goat, which thrives fairly well, and is kept in small flocks for milking and slaughter.

The soil of the grass veldt being deficient in lime, the stock naturally crave for salt, and in the northern districts farming cannot be carried on successfully without a liberal supply being provided for large as well as small stock. The grass country is, as a rule, better supplied with water than any other part of the colony, the average annual rainfall being over twenty-seven inches. There are also numerous streams and springs which rarely fail even in the most severe droughts.

The mixed grass and karroo country of the central districts is especially adapted for Angora goat-farming, though at the same time merino sheep are kept in large numbers. The pasture consists mainly of sweet grasses, interspersed with karroo bushes of various kinds, and dwarf trees, among which may be mentioned the Spekboom (Portulacaria afra Jacq), a fleshy, round-leaved, soft-wooded tree, which is a most valuable food for sheep, cattle, goats, and even horses. The thornless species of the prickly pear (Opuntia Tuna) is invaluable in seasons of drought; and both the wild thorn and the mimosa tree furnish food of a nourishing and sustaining nature. In the north and south-west, Angora goats do not thrive so well, but in these localities merino sheep and Boer goats are kept in large numbers.

Steek grass (Aristida congesta R and S) grows in many parts of the mixed veldt, and is one of the greatest drawbacks to successful farming. The seeds of this grass do not readily fall when ripe, and are thus liable to be carried away by sheep and goats in their fleeces. Many clips are seriously damaged by this seed, which mats the hair and wool into hard solid masses, and often working through the fleece pierces the skin, causing intense irritation, and in some cases even death.

The rainfall varies considerably. In the north and central districts the annual average is a little over sixteen inches, while in the south-west it is almost twenty-four inches. As a rule the former portion is but poorly watered, the farmers depending to a large extent on springs and the artificial storage of water.

The karroo is well adapted for Angoras, as well as goats of the common type. More than one-half the number of the Cape sheep in the Colony is found in this region, which, owing to its vast extent and low rainfall, is better suited for animals of an active and hardy nature.[Pg 135]

In the karroo the bushes are short and stunted, but they nevertheless form most excellent grazing for small stock. When dry seasons set in, the plants, although denuded of every green leaf, retain nourishment for a remarkable period; and as long as water is procurable, stock maintain their condition fairly well by feeding on the bark and dry twigs. The most valuable bushes are: the Draaibosch (Diplopappus filifolius); the Schaapbosch (Penlzia virgata); the Gannabosch (Caroxylon silsola); and the Vygebosch (Mesembrianthemum spinosum). When rain falls, the bushes shoot into leaf, and in the course of two or three weeks, what appeared to be a barren and parched wilderness, is transformed into beautiful and highly nutritious pasturage.

Angora Goats (Young Rams)

The karroo is badly watered, the farmers depending chiefly on springs, wells, and dams for their supply. Underground water is found at various depths, the average being about sixty feet. In but few cases, however, does the supply rise to the surface, which necessitates the use of windmills and pumps. The average annual rainfall is over ten inches, though in some districts it does not exceed six inches. Given good seasons, there is no part of the Colony which is healthier for small stock than the karroo, and there is certainly no portion in which sheep and goats multiply more rapidly. One severe drought, however, will often sweep away the increase of several years, and leave the farmer on the verge of ruin.

Throughout the Colony but few attempts are made to supply winter feeding for stock, or to make adequate provision for times of[Pg 136] drought. Of late years the cultivation of lucerne has been on the increase, and in the north and north-east, where the winters are long and severe, turnips are grown, and these amply repay the farmers for the labour and expense incurred.

The last reliable returns of the small stock in the Colony were taken in the year 1898, since which date the disturbed state of the country has prevented the collection of statistics of any value. At the close of 1898 there were: 10,565,844 woolled sheep; 1,560,439 Cape or fat-tailed sheep; 3,039,482 Angora goats; and 2,312,052 common or Boer goats. These figures, especially as regards sheep, will no doubt show a considerable decrease when the next census is taken, for the demands of the military, and the losses incidental to war, must to a certain extent have caused a marked reduction.

Merino sheep from the Royal flock of George III. were first introduced at the Cape about the year 1793, but it was not until 1838 that any real progress in breeding was made.

Fat-Tailed Hairy Africander Sheep (Rams)

Of late years Australian merinos, Tasmanian and Vermont sheep have been largely imported; and there are many flocks in the Colony which have been bred up to a very high standard. The Vermont sheep, which are close, heavily-woolled animals, possess many advantages, which, by judicious crossing, are well suited to counteract some of the defects noticeable in the flocks of this country. At the present time a very large proportion of the woolled sheep are inferior in quality, and far below the standard of excellence which every breeder of stock should strive to attain to.

The Cape or fat-tailed sheep is a leggy, active animal, with a hairy skin, bred solely for the butcher. These sheep are noted for their enormous tails, which weigh from ten to fifteen pounds, although in some cases this last weight has been considerably[Pg 137] exceeded. Being active and free from wool, the animal is peculiarly adapted for the karroo, where long distances have generally to be traversed in the search for pasture and water. The skin of the fat-tailed sheep possesses a special value for glove-making, and good, sound skins readily fetch fifty shillings per dozen, and as much as seventy shillings when the quality can be guaranteed.

The Angora goat was first introduced into the Colony from Asia Minor in 1838, and crossed with the common or Boer goat, the progeny of which formed the nucleus of the Angora industry of the present day. From time to time fresh importations have taken place, the last consignment arriving in 1895-96. These goats, however, proved disappointing, and although they realised high prices, were distinctly inferior to the best goats bred in the Colony.

The Angora is a delicate animal, and as the shearing season usually commences in the winter months, success in farming depends in a great measure on the provision of suitable shelter, as a protection against cold and wet weather.

The common or Boer goat is a large, well-made, active, and hardy animal, which thrives in every part of the country; especially in the dry and barren north-western districts. Large numbers of these goats are sold to the butchers, the carcasses averaging from sixty to sixty-five pounds in weight.

In many localities they are kept for their milking properties, on which account they are extremely valuable, since they often supply milk for household purposes when it would be impossible for horned cattle to exist. Goat-skins are largely used for tanning, and supply the farmer and his family with materials for their boots and veld schoens.

Cape wool, as a rule, takes the lowest place on the principal markets, and is the first to be effected by any downward tendency in prices. There are several reasons for this unsatisfactory state of affairs. These reasons have been brought prominently to the notice of the colonial farmer, but, in spite of their importance and interest, they have not as yet received the attention they deserve. Scab, the greatest enemy that stock farmers have to contend with, is prevalent in nearly every part of the country, and has proved so destructive to the flocks and clips generally that the annual loss to the country has been estimated at from five hundred thousand to one million pounds sterling.

That this disease was a source of great trouble in the early days at the Cape is very evident, for placcaats or edicts were framed, as far back as 1693 and 1740, dealing most stringently with any man who neglected the cleansing of his flocks. These placcaats, however, in the course of time fell into desuetude, and it was not until 1886[Pg 138] that any serious attempt was made to cope with the disease. The law passed at this time was only enforced in a small portion of the Colony, but it proved of such service, that in 1894 another Act was framed, which was proclaimed over the whole country. Owing to certain defects in this legislation, the good results which were anticipated have not been effected; but, nevertheless, some advance has been made, as evidenced in the improved quality of the wool and skins which leave these shores. Until more stringent measures for the eradication of scab are introduced, the stigma attached to the wool products of the Colony will not be removed.

Angora Goat (Ram)

In 1838 the quantity of wool exported was 490,754 lbs., valued at £26,627. In 1891 the highest figures were reached, the record being 75,520,701 lbs., of the value of £2,264,498: this in 1901 had fallen to 65,209,699 lbs., valued at £1,489,246.

Mohair, the name given to the fleece of the Angora goat, is peculiarly liable to variations in price, according to the fashions which may be in vogue. On a well-bred animal the fleece should hang in long wavy locks or ringlets of white, silky, lustrous hair; and when full grown, should touch the ground. The fleeces vary in weight according to the breed of the animal, and to the class to which it belongs—oily or non-oily. From a well-bred flock of Angora ewes the mohair should average about four pounds weight per animal. In the case of rams and kapaters, or wethers, there is a considerable increase, as much as from eight to fourteen pounds being sometimes clipped. A dry climate is essential to the growth of good mohair, and[Pg 139] therefore the karroo and mixed grass and karroo country are admirably adapted for its production. Almost all the Angoras in the Colony are the progeny of rams imported from Asia Minor, crossed with the white Boer goat; and it is probably owing to this fact that in many flocks a considerable amount of kemp, or coarse white hair, is still to be found. Even in the most favourable circumstances Cape mohair realises less than the Turkish produce by from twopence to threepence per pound; this probably being on account of the lack of brightness and spinning properties possessed by the former article.

At the present time the Cape produces about one-half of the world’s supply of mohair. In 1857 the quantity exported was 870 lbs., which realised £10. These figures in 1897 had increased to 12,583,601 lbs., valued at £676,644; and in 1901 had fallen to 10,813,239 lbs., of the value of £502,605. The decrease in the exports of wool and mohair for the year 1901 is no doubt due to the effects of the war and the disturbed state of the country.

At present, however, the outlook is more hopeful, and there is no doubt whatever that for the progressive and enterprising farmer the future is one of great possibilities.

[Pg 140]



Author of “The New South Africa”

South Africa is a country of magnificent distances, with the centres of industry situated at points far apart in the wide interior; the country villages are dotted about with thirty to fifty miles of brown karroo or verdant veldt in between; even the homesteads of the Boers are planted at respectful distances from each other. In such a country a comprehensive, efficient, and cheap railway system is absolutely necessary; without railways the development of trade and industry could not be pushed forward on any large scale. The great staple products of the Cape—wool, skins, and hides—could not compete with the like products of Australia and the Argentine. The diamond mines of Kimberley, which support an industrial population of about 50,000, and the great gold mines of the Rand, which at the present stage of development supply the wherewithal to live to 200,000 people, white and black, would be able to work only on a restricted basis; the greater number of the Rand mines would have to shut down, and without railways it may be said that the stimulating production of wealth in the nearly indestructible form of gold and diamonds would practically cease.

To meet the requirements which the circumstances demand, a far-stretching network of railways—with wide meshes it is true—is growing over the country. Instead of the old system of ox transport and coaches drawn by mules, which ten years ago were the only means of approach to the Transvaal and Rhodesia, there are now modern freight trains, drawn by heavy-type locomotives, hauling up the vast import traffic to the Rand, and running down return loads of wool and hides from the grassy uplands of the Orange River Colony, and the barren-looking, but wide and productive, karroo plains of the Cape. There are trains de luxe with corridors and platforms to enable the passenger to stretch his limbs en route, or sit in comfort and view the scenery as the train plods on its twenty-five or thirty miles an hour.

Twelve years ago Bulawayo was the head kraal of a bloodthirsty savage, and was approached only by a few adventurous spirits who recked little of danger and less of time. The[Pg 141] journey from the coast to the inland centre took at least three months, and now it can be visited with comfort and despatch. Without alighting from the train the traveller can enjoy his morning bath; he can breakfast, lunch, and dine; he can press a button and call for cool, liquid refreshments at any hour of the day; and he can complete his journey of 1360 miles from Cape Town to the Rhodesian industrial capital in 3½ days. The Cape Town-Johannesburg journey of 1000 miles is done just within 44 hours. These results may not be considered of much account by the English or American traveller accustomed to a speed of 50 miles an hour for long distances, but South African railways have been built to suit the special necessities of the country. The gauge is only 3 feet 6 inches, and on all the lines heavy gradients have to be negotiated.

The interior of South Africa is a great plateau elevated from 4000 to 6000 feet above sea-level. The edge of the plateau runs round the sub-continent at no great distance from the sea, its bold escarpments looking over the 50 to 100 miles of broken, low-lying coast lands which skirt the continent. In consequence, all the railways to the interior, within the first 100 miles from the coast, begin climbing up steep inclines cut along the sides of one or other of the few passes which admit of ascent by railway trains. Whether the journey is made from Cape Town, Port Elizabeth, East London, Durban, or Delagoa Bay, the ascent has to be negotiated. The tedium of the uphill journey is compensated to some extent by the grandeur of the scenery in these initial stages of the routes to the interior. On the Cape line there is the magnificent view of the Hex River which, like Fair Melrose, can best be seen in pale moonlight as towards morning the night train from Cape Town winds along, gradually climbing up and up above the valley lying 1000 feet below. On either side grand brown mountains rise like sentinels to guard the pass. It has often been conjectured what would have been the upshot if the Boers had marched right south and seized this pass at the beginning of the war. It would have been Colenso over again, only worse. On the Port Elizabeth line, from Coerney to Cradock, the line passes up through rugged valleys in places bright with the sub-tropical evergreen bush of South Africa, and hemmed in with massive mountains forming the broken edges of the continent. The line through Graaf Reinet negotiates similar country, as does also the line from East London through King William’s Town. The ascent from Durban is the most difficult of all. Natal is formed almost wholly of great fragments of the South African plateau which seem to have broken off, and now lie in long lines of broken mountain chains running north[Pg 142] and south. These mountain ranges lie transverse to the route of the railway, so that ascents and descents have to be made time and again before the Transvaal high veldt is gained. From Durban to Charlestown the aggregate ascent is 12,600 feet. Altitudes of two, three, four, and five thousand feet are gained en route and then partially lost again. Some of the scenery on this line is of surpassing interest and beauty. Near the coast there are fruit gardens, pine and banana plantations, and orange groves, with here and there fields of pasture fenced in. Farther up, mealie fields spread along the slopes of the hills and down the valleys. Then there follow stretches of open grass country alternating with bush. Herds of cattle, fat and sleek, graze on the rich grass lands. Above Pietermaritzburg the line ascends for three thousand feet to highlands to descend again two thousand to Colenso.

Bridge over the Tugela, Zululand Extension (1330 Feet Long) Connecting Natal and Zululand

The next stretch of fifty miles has become one of the historic districts of the empire. In a winding of the Tugela lies Colenso. Then Pieters Hill is climbed, and the traveller can realise the desperate nature of the task set to General Buller’s army. Then come Wagon Hill and Cæsar’s Camp, with Bulwan on the right and[Pg 143] Ladysmith lying in a hollow in the centre. Beyond Ladysmith the train climbs again to Elandslaagte, and begins in a succession of gradual ascents to climb to the crest of the Drakensberg, the final climb being made under the shadow of Majuba, and through the tunnel of Laing’s Nek. Once at Charlestown the high veldt is gained for good. The ascent from Delagoa Bay is easier, in that there is not the same repetition of ups and downs as on the Natal railway. The line runs through the Komati Poort, and then up the Elands River Valley, a beautiful valley indeed, but a veritable valley of death to the builders of the railway. At Waterval Onder the final steep ascent is begun, part of the way being so steep that the cog-wheel system is required. At Waterval Boven the high veldt is gained, and the main difficulties left behind.

The Beira railway to Salisbury has a similar ascent to make. Having described the approaches, some idea may now be given of the railway routes on the interior plateau itself. The Cape Town line to De Aar and Kimberley after gaining the plateau traverses the Great Karroo, a monotonous stretch of several hundred miles of parched brown, barren-looking plain with isolated, flat-topped mountains, and ranges which serve to give variety, and make a scene of widespread solitude, having a melancholy charm wholly its own. This barren-looking veldt, with its sparse vegetation of stunted shrubs, supports millions of sheep and goats, and however unpromising its aspect, it plays an important part in the railway and general economy of the country. The Midlands railway from Port Elizabeth to De Aar and Norval’s Pont traverses similar country, but not so arid. The Eastern railway, from East London through King William’s Town and Queenstown to Bethulie, traverses more undulating country covered with grass intermixed with karroo shrub. In some districts, notably round King William’s Town and Queenstown, agriculture has made considerable headway. The western line continues from Kimberley through Vryburg (British Bechuanaland) to Mafeking, and on to Bulawayo through grass-covered country, with clumps of Kameeldoorn trees, presenting in many places the appearance of an English park. This is a great cattle country, and provides considerable traffic for the railway over and above the mining traffic of Kimberley and Rhodesia. All the Cape lines connect with one another with two necks which converge at Springfontein for the Orange River Colony and Transvaal traffic. From the Orange River northwards the railways are known as the Central South African Railways. The line through the Orange River Colony runs through flat grassy plains for a distance of 300 miles: plains which, after a devastating war, still hold over a million sheep and 160,000 head of cattle. In time of peace the whole country is one[Pg 144] monotonous scene of pastoral prosperity. On entering the Transvaal at Vereeniging—the place of the declaration of peace—the railway enters at once into the rich gold-bearing region of the Transvaal. There is a gradual rise over open country to the Rand. On every side there is evidence of great industrial activity, and at many places along the line beginnings may be seen of Transvaal agriculture, beginnings which promise a great future.

The south-eastern branch of the Central South African Railways connects with the Natal line at Volksrust, and proceeds along the high veldt viâ Standerton and Heidelberg to the Rand. The high veldt of the Transvaal has an average height of 5000 feet above sea-level. It is a vast open grass country with rocky ridges rising a few hundred feet above the ordinary level. A magnificent stock country, and rich in coal, iron, and gold. On the eastern line, the Central South African line connects with the Portuguese line at Komati Poort, and passes up the Elands River Valley already described. From Waterval Boven the railway continues to ascend to the summit of the high veldt at Bergendal, near Belfast. It was here where the last big pitched battle was fought before the break-up of the Boer army into guerilla forces. The line passes along the northern limits of the high veldt viâ Middelburg to Pretoria. The country it passes through is equal in stock-raising capabilities and mineral riches to the south-eastern line. There are enormous areas of coal of good quality and abundance of iron ore, and limestone sufficient for the establishment of a great industry which itself will doubtless bring about and maintain great railway expansion in the future.

From Pretoria, the Pretoria-Pietersburg line, formerly a private company, now taken over by the Central South African Railways, strikes north to Pietersburg into the heart of the tropical part of the Transvaal. The country it traverses is partly flat and partly hilly, at some places thick bush and at others wide grassy plains. In the northern district there is a large population of Kaffirs who cultivate the extremely fertile soil, and produce great quantities of mealies (maize) and Kaffir corn, which products, together with timber for the mines, form the principal items of traffic carried by the railway. The Beira railway to Salisbury, originally a narrow gauge, has now been widened to the standard 3 feet 6 inches gauge of South Africa, and carries all the traffic for the Mashonaland mines.


In all, South Africa possesses approximately 5000 miles of railway, having a capitalised value, including rolling stock, of about £50,000,000, or £10,000 per mile. The three important systems are the Cape Government Railways, the Natal Government Railways, and the Central South African Railways (Transvaal and[Pg 145] Orange River Colony). The Cape system has a mileage of 2135 miles, and in addition it works 587 miles of the Rhodesian Railways, or a total of 2722 miles. The Natal system covers 612½ miles, and the Central South African system 1312 miles. In addition to these there is the Beira Railway, already briefly described, and there are also several small privately-owned railways. The three chief systems own altogether 1239 engines and 27,806 waggons, and a large but still insufficient equipment of coaches for passenger traffic. Great attention has been given and much money expended in the past two years in bringing the rolling stock up to a state of efficiency for dealing with the greatly-increased traffic anticipated on the establishment of peace in South Africa. The Central South African Railways—the State Railways now owning and working the old Free State and Netherlands systems—have almost doubled the carrying capacity of these railways. Natal had 129 engines before the war; she has now 209. She had 3101 waggons before the war; she has now 6154. The Cape railways have also largely increased their stock. The enormous traffic now being handled, more or less successfully, will justify this provident policy.

All these systems make large annual profits. In its best year, 1896, the Cape Government system showed—

Total Earnings. Total Expenses. Profits.
£4,078,561. £9,921,809. £2,156,752.

Or £10, 7s. 6d. per cent. on the then capital of £20,799,288. This included the Free State share of profit under the then working arrangement. Deducting the Free State share, the profit was at the rate of £8, 19s. 7d. per cent. In the same year the Natal Railway showed—

Total Earnings. Total Expenses. Profits.
£1,136,213, 16s. 1d. £421,989, 14s. 2d. £706,224, 1s. 11d.

Or £11, 9s. 0½d. per cent. on the then capital of £6,236,555.

In the same profitable year the Netherlands Railway returns showed—

Total Earnings. Total Expenses,
Plus Interest on Capital.
Total Nett Profits.
£2,903,516, 0s. 5d. £1,197,841, 18s. 8d. £1,705,674, 1s. 9d.

The profits of this railway in this year equalled 59 per cent. of the total earnings.

In 1901, notwithstanding the state of war, the Cape Government Railways showed—

Total Earnings. Total Expenses. Profits.
£3,852,871. £2,875,571. £977,300.

Equal to £4, 8s. 4d. per cent. on the then capital of £22,125,085.[Pg 146]

In the same year the Natal Railways showed—

Earnings. Total Expenses. Profits.
£1,650,355, 5s. 4d. £1,159,026, 7s. 9d. £491,328, 17s. 7d.

Equal to £5, 15s. 2½d. per cent. on the capital of £8,528,989.

Included in the Natal Railway expenses is the sum of £159,328 expended on permanent work that should have been charged to capital, which, if added to the profits as it should be, would make an actual profit for the year of £650,656, 17s. 7d. There are no returns available to show the result of working the Central South African Railways, formerly the Imperial Military Railways, during the period of the war. Nor are there any available now, but considering the past results and the great volume of present traffic, and the maintenance of the old high rates for freight and passenger fares, it may be estimated that the earnings of the Central South African Railways in the Transvaal and the Orange River Colony will probably be between £5,500,000 and £6,000,000, and the profits between £2,500,000 and £3,000,000, a very important item in the revenues of the two new colonies.

Station Yard, Durban

(The Tower of the Town Hall is seen in the background)

In comparison with other railways in the British Empire the South African railways hold an important position as regards mileage, and the average earnings per mile are more than double[Pg 147] the average earnings of several important colonial and Indian railways. The combined earnings of all South African railways working 5000 miles may be taken at £11,000,000 for the year. The Canadian Pacific Railway, working 7000 miles, earned £6,002,061. The Grand Trunk of Canada, working 4179 miles, earned £4,407,016. The Victorian Railways, Victoria, Australia, working 3238 miles, earned £3,337,797. The Queensland Railway, working 2801 miles, earned £1,316,936. The Bombay, Baroda, and Central Indian Railways, with 2764 miles, earned £3,253,866. The Great Indian Peninsular and Indian Midland Railways, with 2800 miles, earned £3,063,066. Comparing with important home railways:—

  Capital. Miles. Earnings.
London and North-Western Railways £118,126,653 1941 £13,812,000
Great Western Railway 84,424,177 2645 11,181,471
Midland Railway 170,550,931 2019 11,153,792
All South African Railways 50,000,000 5000 11,000,000

These figures show that South African railways make high earnings as compared even with a great railway like the Canadian Pacific, a railway serving one of the most important trade routes in the world, and traversing a rich agricultural country, with a population of 5,000,000, as compared with South Africa’s 700,000 whites and 2,000,000 blacks. The Queensland railways, with more than half the mileage, earn less than one-eighth the total earned by South African railways, while the enormous traffic of the famous London North-Western, with its large capitalised value, only brings in a matter of £3,000,000 a year more than the railways of South Africa, with their moderate capitalisation of £50,000,000.

This comparison should bring home to investors the excellent opening which South Africa affords for safe and profitable participation in the reasonable railway expansion the country still requires, especially is this the case with the two new colonies. Another fifteen hundred miles could well be added. These new railways would have earning capacity little inferior to the existing lines, and the present margin of profits is so wide that a substantial reduction in rates would not materially affect the prospects, because such a reduction would inevitably result in a great increase in the volume of traffic.

The comparison also leads to the conclusion that the present rates are excessive. They have been maintained at their high level through the system of the Colonial Governments looking to the railways for a large proportion of the revenue. The great pivot of[Pg 148] South African industry is the Rand, with its goldfields, and both Natal and Cape Colony have for years past taken toll on the Rand traffic, and thereby swelled their own revenues.

The old Free State and Transvaal Governments in a like manner determined to fleece the industrial workers, and so save their own burghers from bearing their due share of the cost of Government. While they were the greatest sinners themselves, they could not with reason ask the southern Governments to take the first step towards moderation. As a consequence, the Rand, dependent for the most part of its food and for the whole of its industrial equipment on over-sea supplies, became one of the most expensive places to live and work in that the wide world knows. Under the new regime there is as yet no improvement; the Imperial Government is looking for revenue. To the despair of British loyalists the old high rates are maintained, with the effect of delaying and perhaps prohibiting the enormous industrial progress which the wealth of the country would under other conditions make possible. All classes feel the burden, and at the forthcoming Congress of the Associated Chamber of Commerce, which will meet at Kimberley, resolutions bearing on the question are to be submitted. The first affirms: “That the railways, being the highways of the country, should be worked solely with a view to furnishing the transit and traffic requirements of the country, and entirely dissociated from the revenual, political, or protective considerations;” and “That the policy of raising revenue through excessive railway rates is an objectionable method of taxation. It is unfair in its incidence, and bears with especial hardship on the inland wage-earner.”

These resolutions reflect the feelings of the whole inland community of South Africa.


Photo by Barnett & Co., Johannesburg

The Canadian Pacific Railway, with 7588 miles open, makes a net profit of £2,620,000 on a capital of £53,000,000 as against South Africa, with 5000 miles open, and net profits of over £5,000,000 on a similar capital. The Canadian Pacific Railway makes a net profit of £371 per mile against a net profit of Natal railways of £803 per mile, and an approximate net profit of £1800 per mile of the Central South African railways (Transvaal and Orange River Colony railways). New Zealand railway returns for 1902 show net earning of £280 per mile. The through rate for ordinary goods from Durban to Johannesburg is just over 3¾d. per ton per mile. The rate for ordinary goods on the Central South African railways (Transvaal railways) for fifteen miles is 9d. per ton per mile; for fifty miles, 6⅔d. per ton per mile; for longer distances, approximately 6d. per ton per mile. The average rate for goods[Pg 149] on the Canadian Pacific Railway is only one-third of a penny per ton per mile. Were this rate charged on a ton of goods brought from Durban—the nearest colonial port—to Johannesburg, the cost would be only 13s. 6d. as against £7, 13s. 4d., the present cost; that is, the South African through rate is ten times as much as the average rate in Canada; and the Transvaal rate for ordinary local traffic of 6d. to 9d. per ton per mile is twenty times higher than the average Canadian rate. The Canadian Pacific Railway is selected for comparison, because it is a railway built to develop new and sparsely-populated territory, its special work being essentially the same as that required of the railways of South Africa. The Canadian Pacific Railway has doubled its earnings since 1895. If its policy were copied in South Africa, where the whole industrial life of the country depends on railways, enormous developments could be looked for. In South Africa it is fully realised that, until the burden of excessive railway rates is got rid of, the costs of living must prohibit any great growth of population, and without growth of population the development of the natural resources of the country can only make the slowest of progress. The people are quite willing to provide the Government with revenue, but they wish to provide it by different methods than those which obtained in the past.

Owing to exorbitant fares the people of Johannesburg are practically confined within the limits of the town and its immediate suburbs. They are compelled to pay high rents. £250 to £300 a year represents the present rent for an ordinary cottage. The passenger fares on the London and North-Western are from a 1½d. to 1¾d. per mile first, 1¼d. second, and fractionally under a 1d. third. A great reduction is made on season tickets. Transvaal railway fares average 3d. per mile first, 2½d. second, and 1½d. third, and only a small reduction is made for season tickets. With high rents and high prices for food, rendered dear by cost of carriage, the workers, in order to live, must obtain high wages. High wages mean high-working costs for all industrial enterprises. Consequently only a few industries, and only the richer mines, can be worked at a profit. Ordinary industries which can carry only moderate working costs cannot be undertaken.

Judging from the results of the past six years sweeping reductions are quite possible while still allowing for a paying railway revenue. Mr. Cooper-Key has shown, that the excess profits made by the Transvaal railways alone, after providing for reasonable interest on capital at the rate of 4¾ per cent., were:—

For 1896 £1,162,925.
" 1897 1,111,964.
" 1898 928,623.

[Pg 150]

For the present year the excess profits on Transvaal railways, over a 4 per cent. interest on capital, will probably amount to not far short of £1,500,000.

As might be expected after a consideration of the profits and earning capacity of South African railways, important extensions of the previous system are projected and in progress.

In the Cape Colony there is a project to connect Saldanha Bay, the proposed new port, with the main line viâ Hopefield. A southern line viâ Oudtshoorn and Willowmore will bring Cape Town in closer contact with Mossel Bay and Port Elizabeth, and open up the southern districts of Cape Colony. Another line will join the Port Elizabeth midland line with the eastern system at King Williamstown.

In the Orange River Colony the projected lines are from Springfontein to Koffyfontein; from Bloemfontein to Ladybrand and Ficksburg; from Harrismith to Heilbron or Vereeniging. The line from Bloemfontein to Ladybrand is already partly built. It will open up the wheat-growing section of the Orange River Colony.

In the Transvaal the most important projected lines are: A line from Fourteen Streams to Klerksdorp, providing an alternative route from the Cape Ports to the Rand. A line from Krugersdorp to Rustenburg and thence probably to Zeerust and Mafeking, opening up a valuable agricultural country. A line from Springs to Machadodorp or Ermelo, through the best coal and iron districts of the Transvaal, and providing an alternative route from Delagoa Bay to the Rand. This line would greatly relieve the congestion which exists after the high veldt is gained on the present eastern line, owing to the coal traffic and the over-sea imports having to be carried over a single line of railway. A line from Pietersburg to Leydsdorp and thence probably connecting with the Selati railway at its present terminus. There is a private company formed to build a line from Machadodorp to Ermelo, and the Government is constructing a coal line for the mines along the south of the Rand, and another alternative line from Johannesburg to Vereeniging.

In Natal it is a question of doubling the present main line or of constructing another single line of railway from Greytown to the Transvaal. The first plan would be cheaper, and would give more immediate help to Natal in the competition for Transvaal traffic, while the alternative Greytown route would open up new country to railway influence, and materially add to the prosperity of the agricultural population of that section of the colony. Natal is also about to construct a line from Maritzburg to Riverside on the Cape-Natal frontier. The Cape being under promise to connect this[Pg 151] point with their eastern system, and thus provide direct railway communication with Durban and Cape Town.

In Rhodesia the line connecting Bulawayo and Salisbury is approaching completion.[13] It is possible that Gwelo, a town on the railway, will be the junction or next starting-point of the “Cape to Cairo” railway, or it may be that the route by another new line from Bulawayo to the Wankie coalfields near the Zambesi may be chosen instead. A line is in course of construction from Bulawayo to the Gwanda goldfields, and a line is proposed from Salisbury north to Lo Maghonda. Altogether over 2000 miles of new railway are projected in South Africa. In the Transvaal the new lines proposed will have a length of over 800 miles, and at least 500 miles may be considered as lines whose construction is a matter of urgent necessity.

This forecast of railway development in the immediate future in South Africa means the raising and spending of another £16,000,000, £8000 per mile being about the lowest figure that can be reckoned on to build the lines and provide rolling stock. Transvaal expenditure for new railways may be estimated for the period of the next three years at not less than £6,000,000. When built, however, these railways will be sound properties, thoroughly sure as to their dividend or interest-earning capacity. Lord Milner referred in a recent speech to what he called the governmental plant which he said was required before private enterprise could get to work on making the country productive. Chief among the governmental plant so referred to are railways, but alongside of the recognition of the necessity of railways it is to be hoped that governmental recognition will also be given to the fact that to be of real use the railways must be run at cheap rates, otherwise the looked-for benefit will never come.

As regards over-sea traffic, it is hoped that rates may be brought down by encouraging competition between the various railways from the coast, and the Transvaal Government has a powerful lever in its eastern line. The distance from Delagoa Bay to the Rand is only 395 miles, of which only 56 belong to the Portuguese.[14] From[Pg 154][Pg 153][Pg 152] Durban the distance is 483 miles; from Port Elizabeth, 785 miles, and from Cape Town, 1000 miles. The Transvaal Government has the whip in hand, and it is hoped that it will use it so that all South Africa will be brought into line on the question of moderate freight and passenger rates. At present goods are pouring into the Transvaal at the rate of 21,000 tons per week, and in addition there are 8000 tons being brought up weekly for the military, but if rates are not lowered, this great railway activity will prove only transient, because it is certain that at present the internal industries are making no progress, and consequently trade must fall off.

Map of the Cape Government Railways, Based on the Map Accompanying the General Manager’s Report

(Scale = 120 English miles to an inch)

In conclusion, a word may be said of the important part played by South African railways in the late war. A German strategist predicted that with the existing railway systems of South Africa it would be impossible to feed an army of 250,000 men in the interior of the country. Yet it was actually done, and not for a brief period only, but for nearly three years. Besides bringing the food-stuff for this host, and for the civil population besides, the railways transported guns, ammunition, horses and men up and down, back and forward as the commander-in-chief required. The magnitude of this work can be imagined when it is stated that no less than 126 trains were required for the final concentration against Delarey at Klerksdorp. The working of the railways during the war reflects the greatest credit on the managers and employées of all South African railways. It was impossible to tell when a train would run through a band of snipers, one or more of its occupants paying the penalty of death, or when the engine might be hoisted by a hidden charge of dynamite, and the machine and its drivers turned to wreckage. During the war the railway service required qualities of endurance and courage equal to those possessed by the bravest soldier in the field.


Photo by Barnett & Co., Johannesburg


At present South African industries (outside of agriculture and pastoral pursuits) may be said to consist of mining and railways. The railways, in spite of heavy rates, have made a great mining industry possible. What could they do in respect of other and ordinary industries? It is a question of rates. Given recognition of the principle that railways should be the most essential part of the governmental plant spoken of by Lord Milner—plainly to be used for developing the country, and not for the use of extracting revenue to which it is at present put, not gold-mining alone, but a hundred industries would presently flourish. On the Rand there are already great engineering works contending against many difficulties, and[Pg 155] especially the cost of labour. These works execute repairs for the mines, make castings, and even manufacture new machinery. A great future industry, which for the present is impossible on account of want of railway facilities, is the exploitation of the rich iron ores of the Transvaal. It is stated that a syndicate with large capital has been formed to undertake this work on a large scale when the conditions are favourable, and within the next few years it is probable that the Middelburg district will have smelting furnaces, foundries, rolling mills, and all the varied works of a young iron and steel industry which may eventually take a leading place in the world. Mr. Carnegie recently stated that the iron ores of Britain will be exhausted in twenty-five years, and those of the United States in sixty years. The extensive deposits of the Transvaal should last for centuries.

Another possible future industry is the distillation of oil from the shales of the Eastern Transvaal and the Orange River Colony. These deposits are at present being tested, and give promise of payability. Throughout South Africa there are many flour mills. The chief works being at Port Elizabeth and Cape Town and in the wheat district of the Orange River Colony. Other industries which have found a footing, and are now making steady progress, are leather-making, boot and harness making, wool-washing, jam-making, candle-making, waggon and cart building from colonial woods. All these industries are carried on chiefly in the Cape Colony and Natal. In the Transvaal there are pottery works, a cement factory, many breweries, and one distillery. In the Cape and Natal there are also several large breweries. One great industry which has arisen, owing to the mining wealth of the country, is the manufacture of explosives. There is a large dynamite factory at Cape Town owned by the De Beers Company, and another—the largest explosive factory in the world—at Modderfontein near Johannesburg. The Modderfontein factory cost upwards of three-quarters of a million to build. The works are spread over a large area, the property comprising 5280 acres. This factory was owned by a company with German, English, and French interests, formed to work the dynamite monopoly for the Transvaal Government. The high prices it charged, and the huge profits it made, being additional direct burdens on the already overloaded mining industry, were the causes of great discontent. Since the war the monopoly has been abolished. The company is now practically a British company, and its policy appears to be to meet its customers, and gain their goodwill. Prices have been reduced by 30s. a case The prices now being: blasting gelatine, 67s. 6d.; gelignite, 50s.; and dynamite, 50s. a case, as against 97s. 6d., 87s. 6d., and 77s. 6d.[Pg 156] respectively before the war. These prices are fair, and it is stated are just sufficient to give a margin of profit. At present in the Transvaal it is a question of allowing free competition in explosives, or of just granting sufficient protection to the existing factory to enable it to live. As the factory finds employment for nearly 3000 hands, white and black, it would certainly be a national loss if it had to shut down.

In the nature of things in South Africa all classes of industrial undertakings are difficult to establish, and probably a moderate protective tariff would be beneficial to the country in the long run, as in the initial stages it would serve to turn the balance between profit and loss. Every industry successfully established adds to the white population, and is therefore to be welcomed. A policy of moderate protection then for industries, which could be fed by the natural resources of the country itself, should be carefully considered by the Government. Such a policy, together with a thorough cutting down of the present industry-killing railway rates, would go a long way to make a speedy beginning in South Africa of the great industrial activity which is sure to come eventually.


[13] The British South African Company has decided to expend £2,000,000 on railways in Rhodesia—£1,000,000 to be expended immediately for work to be completed by the end of next year, and a like sum, towards the end of 1903, will probably be sanctioned for the purpose of carrying the Cape to Cairo line north of the Zambesi to the bend of the Kafue, a distance of 300 miles. When the proposed work is carried out Rhodesia will have over 2500 miles of railway.—Ed.

[14] It is interesting to note that Portugal has strengthened her position in Africa by granting to Mr. Robert Williams a concession for a railway from Lobito Bay, near Benguella (in Portuguese West Africa), to the eastern frontier of the Colony. Lobito Bay is four days’ journey nearer to England than the Cape, and it is described as having one of the finest harbours in the world, and accommodation for larger vessels than Delagoa Bay.—Ed.

[Pg 157]



B.A., formerly Porter Scholar, of the Cape University; M.D. University of London; Member of the Royal College of Physicians; Physician, with charge of the Skin Department, at St. Mary’s Hospital; Senior Assistant Physician to the East London Hospital for Children and Dispensary for Women, Shadwell; late House Physician at St. George’s Hospital and at the City of London Hospital for Diseases of the Chest

In these days, when the physical methods of treating disease are so largely supplementing, and even supplanting, the methods of what may be termed chemical therapeutics, the question of suitable health resorts is one which must engage the attention of every medical man who is anxious to do his best for his patient. The opening up of South Africa by the success of British arms will be followed shortly, it is to be hoped, by a vigorous development of the country through colonisation and the investment of capital. Thus will be afforded a new and more extended field for the employment of the natural therapeutics of climate, soil, and environment, by which to combat the advance of many insidious diseases. We English people are too prone to bend the knee to foreign Baals, who but mock us as we worship. It should be an additional pleasure to every enlightened Imperialist to think that within the borders of our own empire, in lands peopled by those who speak our own kindly mother-tongue, we may find physical conditions in every way superior to those of foreign health-resorts, which have hitherto waxed fat and become insolent in their fancied monopoly. I write with the hope that many who are ignorant of these superior advantages possessed by South Africa may be guided by these pages to make their choice of a recreation-ground more intelligently, and consequently with better results, than is at present usually the case. It is true that at the moment invalids should be dissuaded from going to South Africa while the difficulties exist of transport and maintenance of so large and so sudden an increase of population. Supposing that our railway companies had not been able to run any extra trains for the last Coronation procession in London, we should have had a picture of congestion and discomfort not unlike what is happening in South Africa at the present time. But these difficulties are but of the moment and are passing hourly. When once things have settled down a little, normal methods will prevail; and it may confidently be predicted that travelling in South[Pg 158] Africa will become increasingly comfortable and easy as the flow of population and wealth create a demand for increased facilities. Already far nearer approximation to our standards of comfort has been made than is dreamt of by stay-at-home Englishmen. The ox-waggon is not now the usual means of covering the distance between Wynberg and Kimberley, as was apparently thought by a medical lecturer not many years ago, since he gravely advised his audience to adopt that method of transit. We have only within the last few months seen in London electric trams as good as those that have been running for some years from Cape Town to Sea Point.

The voyage to South Africa is one of the pleasantest and most healthful in the world. It is in itself a powerful factor in the restoration of mind and body. There are two routes by which one can travel, the East and the West Coast routes. The East Coast route, by which Mr. Chamberlain travelled, is of recent development, and the principal steamers running on it are German (the German East Africa Company). Passengers may join the boat at Hamburg, Antwerp, Marseilles, or Naples, and the voyage is broken at Port Said, Suez, Aden, Zanzibar, Delagoa, and is terminated at Durban. It is thus an interesting itinerary, and for those who fear sea-sickness may be recommended, as the vessel is never longer than five days continuously at sea. The pleasantest months in which to travel by this route are February, March, and April. At other times it is apt to be oppressively hot. The personnel of the fleet is very obliging and anxious to promote the comfort of passengers, but the German cooking is not to the taste of all English palates. The steamers carry a German medical officer. The time occupied is about six weeks, and the fares are from £48 for first-class, from £33 for second, and from £21 for third. The West Coast service is at present practically a monopoly of the Union-Castle Company, formed by the amalgamation of the Union and Castle lines, which formerly competed for the passenger traffic. The time occupied by this service, which carries the royal mails, is much shorter, being usually about sixteen days. The fares range from 35 guineas for first, from 23 guineas for second, and from 10 guineas for third class. The voyage is exceedingly pleasant at any time of the year, and but little rough weather is met with, the worst part of the buffeting being often in the English Channel and Bay of Biscay. After leaving Madeira, which is about four days out from England, the sea is usually smooth and the weather gloriously fine. The feeding and accommodation on these steamers are comparable with those of a European first-class hotel, and all of them carry a well-qualified medical man. Latterly, some competition with these lines has been introduced, and is to be welcomed. Messrs. Bucknall[Pg 159] Brothers, Messrs. Rennie, the White Star Company, the German East Africa line, the Shaw-Savill Company, and others are now running frequent steamers to the Cape and Natal, and their fares are lower than those of the Union-Castle line, and the comfort and speed are not much less than obtain with this service. Where, however, time and not money is the important consideration, the Union-Castle steamers must be preferred. These steamers start from London and Southampton, and call at Madeira, Teneriffe, Grand Canary, and St. Helena (not more than two of these places on each voyage). The steamers remain three or four days at Cape Town, and proceed up the east coast, calling at Port Elizabeth, East London, and finally Durban, which is the end of the voyage.

For many cases of nervous break-down, so common a feature of our over-strained civilisation, I regard the Cape trip as an invaluable restorative. Persons who have had a severe attack of influenza would regain their strength more surely in a holiday spent in going and returning from the Cape than in any other way. I particularise influenza for its frequency, but the benefit is equally great in many other affections in which the nervous system especially suffers. Thus I have seen extraordinarily good results follow in a case of persistent insomnia of many months’ duration. The patient completely conquered his sleeplessness during the voyage out, and was perfectly free from it on his return, and has remained exempt for years. In another instance a gentleman whose symptoms pointed to the early nervous break-down of general paralysis, recovered his faculties of mental concentration and memory as a result of a visit of a few weeks’ duration. In the case of phthisical patients, whose special desiderata I shall discuss throughout this paper, it would be well for the companies to arrange, where possible, for facilities for their sleeping under cover on deck, in order to avoid the unavoidable closeness of cabins during the night. This would be a matter of no difficulty or discomfort for three-quarters of the voyage. The wants of delicate infants are met by the carriage in most of the mail steamers of a cow, so that fresh milk can be obtained throughout the voyage; but a store of milk, adequately sterilised before leaving England, may with advantage be taken with them by anxious mothers to ensure proper supplies for their infants. The milk keeps perfectly, and a couple of dozen pint-bottles will last out the voyage, and be a security against lacking this essential nourishment.

The ports of arrival in South Africa are usually Durban for the East Coast routes and Cape Town for the West Coast. The health-characteristics of these ports will be discussed after a general survey of the climatic conditions of the country has been made.

It is a common mistake to send patients to South Africa with no[Pg 160] detailed instructions as to the localities best suited for individual cases, and regardless of the fact that the physiography of the country is so varied that no general statement as to the climate is possible. Two broad features, however, may be immediately distinguished, if we regard South Africa as consisting of interior highlands surrounded by a narrow, low-lying coast belt, the width of the latter varying much, but seldom exceeding fifty miles. The largest towns, with the exception of Johannesburg, are comprised in the coast-belt, the uplands being for the most part sparsely inhabited. The climate of the seaboard is further conditioned by the prevalence of currents and winds, so that towns on the east coast have a materially different atmosphere from those of the west. It will, of course, be remembered that the seasons in the southern hemisphere are exactly reversed with respect to those of the northern. For the Cape the division of the year may be made as follows:—

In South Africa, however, the matter is complicated by the fact that the rains occur, in some parts, mostly in the winter, as in England and northern countries generally, and in other parts are strictly confined to the summer. The humidity of the air is probably the most important factor in the healthiness or otherwise of a climate for many diseases, and this point must therefore be most carefully considered. For phthisis in particular moist warmth has long been condemned as only less harmful than moist cold. Madeira and the Riviera have consequently lost much of their former vogue as suitable resorts for phthisis, on account of their high degree of humidity. It is to be earnestly desired that the claims of the highlands of South Africa to be considered the most advantageous country in the world for all but the latest stages of this disease, should become more widely known, alike to patients and physicians. A further consideration, of the highest importance to non-wealthy consumptives, is that South Africa is a new and progressive country, in which there are good prospects that the change of environment will lead, not only to restored health, but to the means of earning a livelihood as well.


Drawing by Donald E. M’Cracken

It will be necessary now to examine more in detail the special characteristics of the several regions of South Africa and their relative fitness for receiving patients and visitors. Besides the question of climate many other factors must be considered, such as the accommodation for invalids, the possibility of obtaining comfort and suitable food, and the social conditions which form, from a psychological standpoint, an important element in the treatment. To take[Pg 161] the last point first, I would earnestly deprecate the focal accumulation of a large number of invalids, especially of tubercular invalids, in one centre; not so much because of the infectivity of such an accumulation, but because of the deplorable mental depression which results from the constant contemplation of other sufferers from this disease. Any one who has had experience of large hospitals or sanatoria for phthisis must have been struck with the undesirability, from this point of view, of the aggregation of patients. Mind and body are so inextricably mingled that the intelligent physician will attach not less importance to factors concerning the first than to those affecting the second. Let the sick man, therefore, avoid his sick fellows, when this is possible, and mix by preference with the healthy and robust. Health, like ill-health, is contagious. But when the patient’s forces are too far shattered to allow of this, sanatoria become necessary. I contend still that these should be small and disseminated, rather than central and on a colossal scale. This subject will be discussed in greater detail later.

Accommodation and the obtaining of creature comforts for invalids are, of course, more practicable in the towns than in the sparsely-populated country districts, but, unhappily, the towns are mostly confined to the coast-belt, which is not the healthiest part of South Africa. The variations of climate within this coast-belt are great, and are influenced, as has been said, by the prevalence of winds and rains, and sea-currents. The eastern and south-eastern parts of the seaboard have heavy summer rains; the southern and south-western parts have in the first a rainfall somewhat evenly distributed through the year, with winter rains as one approaches the west. The imaginary approximate line between the summer and winter rains would divide the southern coast in the longitude of Grahamstown. West of this line the rainfall may be said to vary between ten and twenty-five inches; east of this line it is uniformly above the latter figure. The mean humidity of the coast-line is about 75 per cent. It may be said at once that for this reason none of the coast districts, as regards climate, is an advantageous resort for all-the-year-round residence for phthisical patients, but that the seaboard having winter rains is ipso facto less suitable than that in which the rainfall is chiefly in the summer months. It is unfortunate that hitherto many circumstances have conspired to make the English visitor in search of health reluctant to live out of the towns, though these are often by no means the most suitable places for him. Political dissension between the two great occupying races has been the bane of South Africa and especially of the Cape Colony. It has come about that the progressive English have settled in the towns,[Pg 162] while the unprogressive Dutch have kept tenaciously to the country. As a corollary from this, it is still the reproach of South Africa that, outside of a few towns, it is impossible to obtain good accommodation for the traveller, and still less for the invalid. It is earnestly to be hoped that the wider knowledge of the country, consequent upon the attention which has been concentrated upon it during the war, will lead to a large immigration of settlers who, eschewing the goldfields, will be content with the securer, if less considerable, competence to be obtained from agriculture, and will thus develop the country. It was a very wise and far-seeing plan of the late Mr. Rhodes to settle energetic English farmers in the midst of a stagnant Dutch district, and it is desirable in every way to break up the hard-and-fast racial division which has made so permanent an impress on the land. But this must be a matter of time, and for many years it must remain true that in the precious search for health the English invalid must be content to live in the midst of an alien majority, sometimes bitterly antipathetic to all things English. An even more important reason for keeping to the towns is that owing to the devastation of cattle caused by rinderpest and red-water, food, especially fresh meat, milk, and butter, has become dear and difficult to procure. To sum up, it may therefore be said that to the seriously ill, who are incapable of roughing it in any sense, the coast lands, though as regards climate not so satisfactory as the upper plateaux, are the only possible resource; but the sick man who is not yet so sick as to be laid up, is urged to quit the coast as soon as possible, and to take up his abode in the higher plains.


Cape Town, the capital of the Cape Colony, is the usual terminus of the voyage from England. It lies at the foot of Table Mountain, on the shores of Table Bay. Though an ugly town, it has natural surroundings of great beauty, and its suburbs are picturesque in the extreme. It has an excellent water-supply derived from Table Mountain, but its drainage is bad and the death-rate excessively high for a position of such natural advantage. Living is dear and at the present time exorbitant, owing to the large influx of persons wishing to go up to the goldfields, and unable to proceed on their way by reason of the congestion of the railway and the impossibility of finding house-room at their ultimate destination. The hotels are for the most part expensive, and leave much to be desired as regards cleanliness and comfort to the traveller fresh from Europe. There are numerous boarding-houses which are often comfortable and well managed, and in which the charges are about £12 per month for[Pg 163] each person. The city itself, however, is not a pleasant place to live in, and most of the business community have houses in the suburbs, retaining only offices and shops in the town. The pleasantest residential district within the metropolis itself is the part called “the Gardens,” at the top of Government Avenue, a fine shady walk not open to wheeled traffic, with a double row of oak trees on each side, some of them planted by Governor Van der Stell, between 1679 and 1699. The magnificent Parliament buildings, Government House (the residence of the High Commissioner), many of the Government offices, the Public Library and Museum, the South African College, are all in close proximity to this part of the town. The library contains the most notable collection of books to be found in any of our colonies, including, as it does, the great Grey collection and the Dessinian bequest. It is particularly rich in literature dealing with South African history.

There is a large native quarter where the Malays congregate. It is overcrowded and insanitary to a degree, and contributes conspicuously to the high death-rate.

The residential suburbs, which are very healthy, stretch east and west of the town, and are connected with it by rail and electric car. The former are the more fashionable, and have become familiar to English readers during the past three years. Rondebosch, in which is Mr. Rhodes’s house, Groot Schuur (bequeathed to the High Commissioner), is five miles out. Claremont, a couple of miles eastward, has a large and excellent sanatorium which was of great value to the military. Wynberg, a mile further east, has a military hospital, and is a particularly healthy and pleasant district. It has an excellent independent water-supply. The Government wine-farm, Constantia, which gives the name to the well-known Cape liqueur, is situated in the neighbourhood. The suburban railway is continued to the east, passing by Muizenberg and Kalk Bay, favourite seaside resorts for holiday-makers, and terminating at Simonstown, the headquarters of the Cape and West Coast Imperial naval squadrons. To the west of the bay lie the suburbs of Green and Sea Point, separated from the town by a large expanse of flat open land adjoining the sea, and called “the Common,” upon which a large military camp was located during the war. The fresh Atlantic breezes blow directly across the Point, and this is one of the healthiest spots on the coast-belt. A magnificent new road, the Victoria Road, has been made along the sides of the precipitous slope forming the western edge of the Cape peninsula, as far as Houts Bay. From this there is an inland carriage-drive to Wynberg. The Victoria road a little resembles, but is far more magnificent than, the celebrated Corniche[Pg 164] road in the French Riviera. The late Lord Carnarvon, when he visited South Africa in 1887, called this “the finest drive in the world.” January, February, and March are the hottest months of the year in Cape Town. The mean maximum temperature for these three months is 80°. June, July, and August are the coldest, with a mean maximum of 62°, and a mean minimum of 49°. Clothing as for the English summer and winter respectively is recommended, but it must be remembered that even in summer the nights are cool, a drop of over 20° between midday and evening temperatures being common. The mean humidity is 79.

Fruit in the Cape peninsula is plentiful and good—grapes, oranges, tangerines, peaches, apricots, nectarines, strawberries, plums, apples, quinces, melons, pears, pomegranates, grenadillas, loquats, figs, guavas, tomatoes, are all procurable in season. The flora of the Cape peninsula is one of the most interesting in the world. Over 10,000 varieties of heath have been described as occurring in this small area. Mr. Chamberlain should be interested in the Disa grandiflora, the celebrated orchid to be found only on the summit of Table Mountain.

It is well to give a caution as to the prevalence of venomous snakes which abound in the Cape peninsula and South Africa generally. The cobra and the puff-adder are the most dangerous of these fearsome things. A celebrated South African authoress has confided to me that her habit of looking at her feet when walking, a habit upon which she received much banter in Europe, was derived from her early timidity of snakes. Cautious observation of one’s tread in tramping across the Cape plains is very necessary, and many fatal accidents have been due to carelessness in this respect. The visitor is strongly urged to carry with him on any such expedition a hypodermic syringe and a supply of Calmette’s “Antivenene,” which may be obtained from the British Institute of Preventive Medicine. Calmette’s experiments go to show that the venom of all species of snakes and of scorpions is of a similar nature. His serum is obtained by the inoculation of horses with the poison of the cobra. The remedial injection should be made immediately upon the occurrence of the bite. The serum keeps well for months if retained in a cool dark place. The dose is about five cubic centimetres of the serum, to be injected hypodermically.

It is curious that this late observation of modern science should have been in a measure anticipated by the natives, who have been accustomed for many years to eat snakes and swallow their venom, with a view to render themselves immune to the bites of these reptiles.

An infective sore, occurring mostly on the hands and feet, is often contracted in walking on the veldt in South Africa, and it has[Pg 165] been called veldt-sore. Its bacteriology has lately been thoroughly worked out, and it appears to be due to a specific micro-organism, though Professor Wright, of Netley, claims it to be the ordinary microbe of suppuration. I have had personal experience of this small ailment, and can vouch for the discomfort and intractability of the sore thus produced. Free drainage of the wound and antiseptic dressings are recommended.

Another note of warning may be fitly included here. Domestic service being performed almost entirely by natives, it is often necessary to entrust young children to their care. Unhappily, venereal diseases are exceedingly common among the coloured population. I have seen deplorable instances of the infection of young children with gonorrhœa and syphilis derived from their native nurses. These should, therefore, be selected with the utmost circumspection.

Durban, the second most usual termination of the voyage from Europe, is the seaport of the Colony of Natal. Cape Town and Durban have the distinction of being the only ports in South Africa at which landing can be effected direct from the ocean-steamers. The hottest months are January, February, and March, with a mean maximum of 84°, and a mean humidity of 76 per cent. Its dry season is the winter, and it is at its best then, and is a favourite winter resort for residents of Johannesburg, from which it is only twenty-four hours by rail. From April to September, bright, clear, sunny weather may be expected, and the climate is exceedingly enjoyable. The town is one of the most English in South Africa, and its hotels, boarding-houses, &c., are good, but woefully deficient in number for the present influx of settlers. Houses are extremely difficult to procure, and building is very expensive. The recent working of important coalfields near Durban has increased its value as a port and coaling station. The water-supply is ample and excellent, being derived from rivers several miles from the town, and being passed through filter-beds before distribution. A modern drainage system is approaching completion, and the town is being supplied with electric lighting. Mangoes, pine-apples, bananas, and custard apples are plentiful, in addition to many of the fruits previously enumerated as growing in the Cape Colony. There are large sugar and tea plantations in the vicinity, and rice, coffee, pepper, and tobacco are cultivated with success. To sum up, it may be said that although the summer humidity and heat make it not well suited for phthisical patients, the town is in the winter months one of the healthiest in South Africa, and one of the most progressive and pleasant to live in.

Port Elizabeth, the third most important of the coast-towns, is not to be recommended as a permanent residence for invalids. Its[Pg 166] rainfall is more evenly distributed through the year, and the humidity, which is remarkably constant, is about 75 per cent. The variations in summer and winter heat are also within a small range; the highest mean temperature for summer being 75°; the lowest mean for winter 48°. But the winds are trying, and render it unsuitable for invalids. Uitenhage, a small village three-quarters of an hour’s run from Port Elizabeth, is far healthier, and is rapidly becoming a favourite suburb. It has an exceptionally good water-supply. In the near neighbourhood are the largest vineyards in the Eastern Province.

These three towns may serve as types of the climatic conditions to be met with on the south-western, southern, and south-eastern coast-line respectively. It must be again emphasised that climatically none of the coast resorts are as beneficial for phthisis and chest affections generally as the uplands; but that other factors render them at the present time, and for the immediate future, the most suitable resorts for the seriously ill. And though climatically they are not the best that South Africa can afford, they are, nevertheless, better than most of the European resorts that have hitherto been frequented. For they all afford more prolonged sunshine, and purer air, and are more exempt from the infectivity of overcrowding than is the case with the fashionable recruiting places of Europe. But it is to the highlands of South Africa that we eventually look with confidence as promising the maximum of benefit, which will be available as soon as the difficulties of food and accommodation and social environment are adjusted. From the coast-line a series of terraces rise to the northward, with extreme regularity on the western three-fourths, with less uniformity on the eastern fourth of the southern continent, as far as the Zambesi. Four terraces may thus be distinguished, and are divided as follows:—

1. The coast plateau comprising the land within fifty miles of the coast, and reaching a level below 1000 feet.

2. The Southern Karroo, the plateau between the Outeniqua and Langenbergen mountains to the south, and the Zwaartebergen to the north. Level from 1000 to 1500 feet.

3. The Great or Central Karroo, the plateau between the Zwaartebergen range to the south, and the Nieuwveld and Roggeveld to the north. Height between 2000 and 3000 feet.

4. The Northern Karroo, stretching north to the Orange River at a level of 4000 feet and over. The Transvaal and Rhodesia, though not commonly included as within the Karroo districts, are high tablelands with similar altitudes, and may be described under this heading.

[Pg 167]

The climate of the coast plateau is similar to that of the seaboard, and much need not be added to the description given under that heading. Visitors to the higher plains of South Africa must be warned to go not unprovided with warm clothing, and to be careful of evening chills. The fall of temperature as night comes is very great. It has been observed that chills which in England usually result in nasal catarrh, in South Africa take the form of intestinal catarrh, and most visitors experience this discomfort soon after arrival.

In the Southern Karroo is situated the important health-resort of Ceres, much frequented by the residents of Cape Town, from which it is distant only 84 miles. It is a pretty little Dutch town, 1700 feet above sea-level, with picturesque surroundings. It has a small sanatorium under very competent medical supervision. The water-supply is derived from mountain springs, and is very pure. The climate is drier than that of the coast plateau, and its ease of access from Cape Town enables supplies to be readily brought up. Being within the line of winter rains it is not recommended for phthisical patients in other than summer months, but during the latter, which may be taken as extending from October to March, the phthisical patient could live and sleep in the open air in properly-constructed sanatoria. It is much to be desired that further accommodation of this kind should be supplied, as Ceres forms a comfortable halting-place, where the phthisical patient may with advantage spend a few weeks on his road to the higher plateaux, and it would be an invaluable resort for delicate persons whom physicians are obliged to send out of England during the English winter, a time at which Ceres would be at its best.

Grahamstown, though not properly in the Southern Karroo, is at nearly the same level, 1700 feet, as Ceres, and may be considered here. Its rains occur mostly in the summer, and it is consequently more to be recommended as a winter resort. It is one of the prettiest towns in South Africa and one of the most English, and it vies with the capital in educational facilities. It is best reached from Port Elizabeth, from which it is 100 miles by rail, but the journey occupies nine hours. Its climate is remarkably equable but somewhat damp. It has a public library, second only to that of Cape Town, and a magnificent museum. Sport is still to be procured in the neighbourhood, and the society is more cultured and intellectual than is the case in many colonial towns. It has long enjoyed the sobriquet of the “City of the Saints,” and is a pleasant and healthy place for family settlement, the schools being numerous and excellent. It is not, however, so well adapted for the presence of sanatoria for phthisis as many other districts in South Africa, owing to its humidity.[Pg 168]

The Great or Central Karroo and the Northern Karroo may be considered together, as they have very similar climates, differing only in the greater height of the northern plateau with the consequent influences on temperature and dryness. It may be said to offer a crescendo of advantage as the elevation increases. Here is probably to be found one of the most perfect climates in the world for tuberculosis, and one of the most healthy and invigorating. I would defy the most miserable hypochondriac alive to remain uncheerful on a bright sunny day on these glorious uplands. His struggle to remain lugubrious would be as hopeless as Mr. Thompson’s after his second glass of port, even when that gentleman’s deference for Sir Austin Feverel urgently required the effort. Something of the same exhilaration may be felt in the higher Swiss altitudes, but unaccompanied by the vivifying influences of the sun. Sunshine and pure air, it must be remembered, are the strongest bactericidal agents known. Mr. Clinton Dent, lecturing at St. George’s Hospital, gave expression to his astonishment at the surgical triumphs of healing, which he attributed to pure air, achieved under his observation during the war. The dryness, and consequent clearness, of the air are remarkable, and indeed incredible to the northern European. This feature explains the inferior shooting of our soldiers on their first arrival in South Africa; they would invariably sight their rifles too low, their targets being, in fact, far more distant than seemed possible by reason of the clearness. And this dryness makes it possible to tolerate extremes both of heat and cold which without this factor would mean serious discomfort.


Photo by Wilson, Aberdeen

In fact, the moist warmth of our English summers is infinitely more oppressive and less easily borne than the far higher temperatures, but tempered by comparative absence of moisture, which prevail in the Karroo. The rarity of sunstroke throughout South Africa is a clinical observation which establishes the truth of the statements just made. In the records of a military hospital in the Northern Karroo during the months from August to April, including therefore the hottest time of the year, out of 3000 medical cases not a single instance of sunstroke was noted. The experience gained in this hospital has an additional value from the circumstance that the gifted physician, the late Dr. Washbourn, was the observer, and some of the results he records may be more eloquent than many pages of description. Of the medical cases (nearly 3000), 546 were enteric, 379 dysentery, 296 muscular rheumatism, 258 malaria, 187 “continued fever,” 152 diarrhœa, 93 jaundice, 70 tonsilitis, 71 influenza, and only 43 bronchitis and chest affections. Dr. Washbourn acutely remarks, “From this list it may be roughly concluded that the air in South Africa is good; the food bad.” It[Pg 169] will be noticed that intestinal diseases form more than a third of the total. The dysentery was probably due to faulty ingesta and not to the specific organism usually associated with dysentery, since amœbæ coli could not be found in the stools. Malaria occurs only in limited areas in the northern Transvaal and parts of Rhodesia; the Karroo proper and the coast-belt are entirely free. The causation of malaria is now so well understood that it must yearly become a more and more preventable disease. But the great outstanding features of the list, the prevalence of intestinal diseases, the absence of respiratory troubles, merit closer examination. The intestinal diseases, under which the muscular rheumatism, (caused by toxines), the jaundice, and much of the continued fever, must be included, are due to ingesta, i.e. food and water. The difficulty of obtaining good food, and the absence of sanitation which is the main cause of the impurity of the water, are the obstacles which must speedily be overcome in order to make the second feature assume its proper value in the treatment of disease. The rainfall is everywhere adequate for the supply of pure water, but this must be properly stored and kept from contagia. The interesting experiments which Dr. Vivian Poore has made on the subject of rural hygiene are convincing as to the possibility of disposing of excreta with complete security to health, and material profit to the community, without the necessity of abundant water. He has found that in the dry-earth system of closets, followed by the application of the excreta to the soil and their superficial burial in the humus, with subsequent tillage, a perfectly successful system of drainage is obtainable. In an acre and a half of ground he has for many years disposed of the excreta of a hundred persons, and the crops he has raised upon this land have yielded a profit of £50 per annum per acre. It appears to me fortunate therefore that most of the South African towns (except on the coast) have not yet adopted the costly and wasteful methods of destruction of sewage which are the fashion of the moment and which entail an immense loss of water. An intelligent application of very simple methods, within the reach of the smallest community or of the largest town, will ensure proper destruction of excreta, increased fertility of soil, and security against contamination of water—the latter being by far the greatest danger in South Africa. The supplying of food is intimately bound up with the conservation of water. The soil of the Karroo is astonishingly fertile when watered, and irrigation should be widely adopted. In places where this has been done the most satisfactory results have been obtained. At Matjesfontein, for example, a small oasis in the midst of the dry Karroo has been created within recent years by intelligent methods of irrigation. It is to be hoped that more[Pg 170] energetic and progressive settlers will ultimately, as farms change hands under the financial stress of the war, tackle these difficulties with modern methods of agriculture. When it becomes possible to obtain fresh food-stuffs at moderate cost, the country will be ripe for the multiplication of sanatoria and places of reception for invalids and visitors. The type of sanatorium to be recommended for phthisical patients is still much debated. The essay of Dr. Latham and Mr. West, of St. George’s Hospital, who have lately won the King’s prize, offered for the best solution of this question, will be published within a few weeks, and may go some way towards settling the model to be adopted. At the present time only a few sanatoria exist in South Africa, and it will be well to devote a few words to the localities in which they are to be found.

Beaufort West, on the northern main line from Cape Town, and Cradock, on the northern main line from Port Elizabeth, are old-established health-resorts which offer fair accommodation for invalids. They are of nearly equal altitude, some 2800 feet, and are both in possession of a good water-supply. Their moderate elevation and ease of access from the coast render them particularly suitable for advanced cases of phthisis who are too ill to travel farther north, and for asthma and cardiac affections.

Howick, on the main north line to the Transvaal from Durban, altitude 3500 feet, was much used as a convalescent military base during the war, and is a popular health-resort with adequate invalid accommodation. It has a good all-the-year-round climate, but is particularly recommended for the winter, which is its rainless season. Estcourt, a little farther north on the same line, is some 300 feet higher, with much the same climate. It has a sanatorium. Standerton, 5000 feet, near the Natal-Transvaal border, and on the Durban line, has a bracing winter climate, and is then much frequented by Johannesburg residents, anxious to escape the dust-storms of the Rand. Wakkerstroom, 6000 feet, a few miles east of Standerton, is an advancing health-resort, which has a sanatorium. It is best adapted for cases of early phthisis. Its altitude contra-indicates it for persons with heart affections.

Middelburg, 4000 feet, in the Great Karroo, on the Port Elizabeth line, has a sanatorium, and opportunities of accommodation in farms in the neighbourhood. It has a summer rainfall, and is therefore more especially to be recommended as a winter resort.

Kimberley, altitude 4000 feet, on the Great Northern Plateau, is the fourth largest city in South Africa, and is entirely unique in this, that it may be described as being run by a benevolent despotism, that of the De Beers Company, who own the diamond mines. This company has built at its own cost the best sanatorium in South[Pg 171] Africa. The fierce heat and the dust-storms render it somewhat trying as a permanent residence.

Bloemfontein, 4500 feet, in the Northern Karroo, the capital of the Orange River Colony, has long been a favourite resort for phthisical patients, and has a well-deserved reputation for the extreme dryness of its climate. It has summer rains of short duration but very heavy while they last. Its mean humidity is 58. December, January, and February are the hottest months, with a mean maximum of 85.° It has very fair hotel-accommodation at prices much lower than those ruling in Johannesburg, and has sanatorium establishments. It is on the main line of railway from Cape Town, from Port Elizabeth, and from East London. It has a good water-supply, and should become a most successful centre for the treatment of many pulmonary affections. The principal drawback to its healthiness is the prevalence of dust-storms in the late winter months.

Johannesburg, 5700 feet, in the great northern plateau of the Transvaal, is the largest and busiest town in South Africa, and cannot, for these reasons, be recommended as a health-resort; moreover, for some time to come the scramble for accommodation and the general roughing that results must keep away all but the most active and robust. But it is in a very healthy position, and enjoys a splendid climate for ten months of the year. The later winter months (July and August) are spoilt by the severe dust-storms, and the wealthier Johannesburg residents usually leave it during these months. It is the centre towards which all railways converge, and may be reached from Cape Town (in 45 hours by mail train, once a week; in 60 hours by the ordinary daily service), from Port Elizabeth in 43 hours; from Durban in 24 hours. It has summer rains in heavy downpours, with clear, fine weather between the showers. The healthiest parts of Johannesburg are the Hill and Parktown, which are fashionable suburbs. There are numerous hotels, which at the present time are very expensive; a single room with board cannot be had under 25s. a day; servants’ wages are high, from £6 to £10 per month; food-stuffs are dear and difficult to procure; fresh meat is unobtainable, all supplies being imported frozen; eggs are 11s. a dozen; milk 1s. a pint; house-rent, for a six-roomed house, averages from £20 to £30 a month. These details are mentioned to give the intending visitor warning what he may expect at the present moment; and the great rush which is continuing will doubtless keep up the prices and lack of accommodation, so that for a considerable time to come Johannesburg is a place for the delicate and the ill to avoid.

Pretoria, the official capital of the Transvaal colony, is 30 miles north of Johannesburg, but it is 1760 feet lower, and is sheltered[Pg 172] and shut in by mountains, which render it a pleasant resort from Johannesburg in its windy months. The winter climate is delightful. The sanitation, both of Johannesburg and Pretoria, is very imperfect and bad, and enteric and dysentery are in consequence very prevalent. Pneumonia is one of the scourges of Johannesburg, probably owing to the frequency of chills, the variation in temperature from the heat of the day to the cool of the evening being very great—as much as 70° at times. Water is not too plentiful, and there are seasons of scarcity which increase epidemic disease.

Basutoland has been called the Switzerland of South Africa from its beautiful mountain-scenery. It is, however, not open to invalids, or indeed to travellers, owing to its being still a native reserve.

Harrismith, 5250 feet, in the Orange River Colony, is probably the nearest available health-resort to Basutoland, and is an excellent place for consumption in earlier stages. A sanatorium is being provided. It is easily reached from Durban. I have known a case of phthisis with repeated hæmoptysis to be arrested by a visit of six months to Harrismith.

Rhodesia is, as has been said, a continuation of the elevated tableland of the great northern plateau, and its climate is very similar to that of the higher Karroo, with the exception that malaria is found in some parts of the country, and is not present in the Karroo. The country is on the whole healthy, but is as yet too undeveloped to receive invalids.


There are numerous mineral-springs in the country, but they remain for the most part but little used, and there is here an excellent opportunity for future development. A few words upon some of the better known of these may be useful.

Caledon, altitude 900 feet, 80 miles from Cape Town, is the best known and most developed watering-place in South Africa. A line of railway, connecting it directly with the Cape main-trunk line, has just been completed. Its reputation dates from the times of the earliest Dutch occupation. It has ferruginous springs, both hot and cold, which offer a most successful treatment for gout, rheumatism, anæmia, and cardiac diseases and renal insufficiency. There is excellent and increasing accommodation in connection with the springs. The climate is very pleasant, and especially to be recommended in summer, as being drier than the coast towns, though within such a short distance of Cape Town. The rains are in the winter.

Brandvlei, near Worcester, 100 miles from Cape Town, has[Pg 173] some very hot sulphur-springs which have not yet been much used.

Montagu, altitude 750 feet, near Robertson (140 miles by rail from Cape Town), has some hot mineral-springs which have been used with success in rheumatism and skin diseases, and there is an “établissement des bains” under progressive management.

Aliwal North, 4500 feet, on the Orange River, best reached from East London, may be compared to the Swiss watering-place, Loêche, in the combination of hot sulphur-springs with a great altitude. The baths are excellent for rheumatism and skin diseases, and good accommodation is procurable. The climate is a delightful one, with short summer rains and bright dry winter. The altitude is unfavourable for cardiac affections, but good for phthisis, and this has long been a much commended resort for the latter disease.

Warmbaths, altitude about 5000 feet, a thermal spring, connected by rail with Johannesburg and Pretoria (from the latter of which it is distant 70 miles), is rapidly becoming an important spa. The water issues at a very high temperature. It is ferruginous, sulphurous, and alkaline. Increased accommodation here is very desirable, and will no doubt be rapidly supplied. Rheumatic affections, anæmia, and skin diseases are benefited by this treatment, but heart disorders are aggravated by the high elevation.

It is impossible within the limits assigned to me to go into further details about the magnificent opportunities for the health-seeker which this great country must offer in the near future. To those who have been bred under those kindly skies, and who have left them permanently, an incurable nostalgia often comes, when the burden of this murk-laden atmosphere of London seems indeed intolerable. I hope that these few pages may lead many a sufferer to find new vigour and new courage in that sunnier air. May it prove to them in very fact a land of Good Hope and pleasant memories, whether they remain in the country or whether they make but a fleeting visit.[15]


[15] I have obtained much help, for which I wish to make due acknowledgment, from the following works on South Africa, which I would commend to the inquirer on the subject:—

[Pg 174]



Editor and Proprietor of “The British and South African Export Gazette”

It is somewhat of an anomaly that of the scores of books which have been published of late years in connection with South Africa, not one has contained any direct reference to its commerce. This is the more remarkable when it is remembered how little is known, outside the circle of those associated with the trade, of its actual extent and importance. It is true that here and there in the daily press statements, more or less accurate, from time to time appear as to its trend, and of late quite a number of technical journals, somewhat tardily, appear to have only just awakened to the fact that the huge demands made upon British industries by South Africa’s consumptive requirements are worthy of further investigation. But however admirable their intentions, the process of enlightening the public to which they set themselves would seem to have failed of its object, for the reason that, while each has done its best in its own particular groove, collectively they reveal nothing but what interests their own immediate circle of readers.

In view of the wide publicity given to South African affairs in recent times, the ignorance of the average man as to the remarkable expansion which has taken place in South African trade since the Majuba scuttle is not a little astonishing. He doubtless has a hazy idea that it runs well into millions, but there his knowledge ceases. He has had it dinned into his ears that British manufacturers have been asleep and sacrificed the trade to the greater activities of their rivals, and while he may deplore this fact, and bewail the decadence of our erstwhile commercial supremacy in oversea markets, there his interest ceases. It is with the view of enlightening a wider public as to the extent and scope of our present trade with South Africa, together with its future prospects, that this article has reference, and it will also serve to show, despite erroneous assertions to the contrary, that we have nothing to fear from foreign competition. However[Pg 175] lax our manufacturers may have been in the past in allowing their rivals to secure so firm a footing in a market where, until a few years ago, they were supreme, after a perusal of the facts herein adduced it will be conceded that their present position is one from which it will be a matter of extreme difficulty to dislodge them.

Strange as it may appear, South African trade first began to show signs of expansion after the events which followed upon the retrocession of the Transvaal to the Boers in 1881. Until that year it was practically insignificant in its proportions and almost stationary in its volume, being mainly assisted by the activity shown in the diamond industry, gold not then having become a factor in quickening the commercial pulse. In the year named, the total imports into the country from all sources amounted to £11,140,027, of which the Cape Colony took, in round figures, all but two millions. After 1881, however, the imports steadily, if slowly, increased in bulk, which was due less to active developments in South Africa itself than to the gradual opening up of the country after the first Boer war. In 1891, in which year it may be said the fabulous wealth of the Witwatersrand first began to attract the attention of the civilised world, the value of the imports stood at £12,230,270, of which the Cape Colony took practically the same amount of goods as in 1881, while Natal had improved her position by taking about one-fourth of the total. After 1891 the imports increased with extraordinary rapidity in proportion as the gold industry made headway, until in 1901 they touched the high-water mark with £31,595,332, or practically three times what they stood at twenty years before.

In 1881, the quantity of goods imported from countries other than England was so insignificant as not to be worth including in the official returns, and so far as the United States was concerned absolutely no trade with South Africa was done at all, and but very little with the European Continent. In 1892, however, Germany and America began to pay greater attention to the possibilities of what then showed signs of becoming an exceedingly promising market, the share of the former country in that year being only £231,172, while that of the latter was £418,126. How successful they were in their efforts is seen by the fact that with each succeeding year the value of the goods entering South Africa from those countries grew by leaps and bounds, until in 1901 the German share had increased to £1,118,010, and that of the United States to £2,640,193. Neither of these amounts was, however, the highest point reached by either Germany or America, their record years[Pg 176] being 1896 and 1898 respectively. It is unquestionable that had British manufacturers paid sufficient attention to the possibilities of the South African trade in the period from 1881-91, and had realised how rapidly the country was developing, thereby quickening them to action, the foreigner would not have got the hold upon its commerce which he now has, the combined share of all the countries competing with Great Britain amounting in 1901 to £4,590,681, or 14.9 per cent. of the total imports. Although the purely British share was as much as 65.6 per cent., the balance being made up by the shares of our Colonies and non-competing countries (i.e. goods imported from countries that Great Britain cannot supply), much remains to be done to retain even that percental share; but it is satisfactory to note that the lessons of the past have not been lost upon us, and that with the general awakening to the foreign menace there is every likelihood that we shall more than hold our own in the future, provided our manufacturers are not handicapped by the exactions of labour, the excessive cost of which, and the general disinclination of the Trades Unions to adopt modern labour-saving machinery, being the two principal factors in determining whether competition with other countries shall be effective or not.


Photo by Barnett & Co., Johannesburg

It may not be without interest to put on record the values of the principal articles imported into South Africa in 1901 from all sources. They were as follow:—

Animals, Live £71,771
Articles of Food and Drink 9,641,809
Articles of Personal Use 6,120,903
Builders’ Materials 1,245,609
Drugs and Chemicals 437,610
Electrical Goods 136,964
Explosives and Weapons 119,379
Hardware, Cutlery, and Ironmongery 1,276,041
Household Requisites 1,969,724
Iron and Steel 596,928
Leather and Manufactures 394,525
Machinery, &c. 859,685
Paper, Books, &c. 689,216
Textile Manufactures 2,104,245
Vehicles and Vehicular Material 968,210
Other Articles 1,943,465
Goods by Parcels Post 520,265
Stores for Government 2,498,983
Total £31,595,332

[Pg 177]

The purely British (i.e. the United Kingdom’s) share in this trade was as follows:

Animals, Living £29,306
Arms, Ammunition, &c. 143,697
Articles of Food and Drink 2,533,163
Articles of Personal Use 3,528,907
Builders’ Materials, &c. 175,078
Drugs and Chemicals 423,190
Household Requisites 1,600,763
Ironmongery and Hardware 275,245
Leather and Manufactures 1,762,438
Machinery, Millwork, &c. 1,210,151
Metals and Manufactures 1,762,438
Oils, other than Essential 55,076
Paper and Stationery 577,228
Textile Manufactures 2,387,666
Vehicles and Parts 635,153
Vessels (Ships and Boats) 23,214
Wood and Timber 108,034
Miscellaneous Articles 965,655
Total £20,648,529

It is not without instruction to those who are unaware of the potential character of South Africa’s buying capacity, the reasons for which will be more clearly set forth later on, to compare the amount spent on the purchase of oversea goods by the white and black population with those of our other colonies and India:—

  White Population. Native Population. Total Population. British Exports to.
Australia 3,577,000 200,000 3,777,000 21,329,965
Canada 5,170,000 201,000 5,371,000 8,153,815
India 275,000 294,000,000 294,295,000 39,753,348
New Zealand 767,000 52,000 819,000 5,601,979
South Africa 1,007,000 3,000,000 4,007,000 20,326,006
  Per Head White. Per Head Native. Per Head Total.
  £ s. d. £ s. d. £ s. d.
Australia 5 19 0 106 12 0 5 13 0
Canada 1 11 6 40 11 2 1 10 4
India 144 0 0 0 2 9 0 2 8
New Zealand 7 6 0 107 14 3 6 16 0
South Africa 20 3 7 6 15 6 5 1 6

In other words, with the exception of India, where the European population is not numerous, each white inhabitant in South Africa spends vastly more in proportion to its population than any of our other Colonies, or exactly £20, 3s. 7d. per head as against £7, 6s. for Australia, the next highest, and £1, 11s. 6d. for Canada, the lowest, or, with black and white combined, £5, 1s. 6d. per head of the total population, as against 2s. 8d. for India, £1, 10s. 4d. for Canada, £5, 13s. for Australia, and £6, 16s. for New Zealand. A reference to the above table clearly shows what an important customer the South African native is for oversea goods, his annual purchases amounting to £6, 15s. 6d., which it will be seen is even[Pg 178] more per head than that of the Australian white population. This latter assumption is, of course, purely deductive, but it is in the main fairly accurate.

Not only this, but it will surprise many to learn that of the total British exports to our Colonies and India, South Africa is our third best market. Moreover, in certain classes of goods, specified below, she is also far and away our most important customer. For instance, of the total exports from the United Kingdom to our Colonies and dependencies, there were shipped in 1901:—

Boots and Shoes.

To South Africa £881,266
" Australia 223,516
" India 125,256
" New Zealand 105,671

Of these South Africa took one-half of the total British exports.

Apparel and Slops.

To South Africa £2,198,235
" Australia 1,353,878
" New Zealand 376,582
" Canada 281,100
" India 195,762

Of these South Africa took two-fifths of the total exports.

Haberdashery and Millinery.

To Australia £341,241
" South Africa 310,372
" India 142,341
" New Zealand 137,080
" Canada 125,401

Of these South Africa took one-fifth of the total exports.

Mining Machinery.

To Australia £129,704
" South Africa 108,365
" India 74,714
" New Zealand 11,272

South Africa took one-fifth of the total mining machinery exports, but had 1901 been a normal year, the exports would unquestionably have exceeded those of all our other Colonies and India combined.

Agricultural Machinery (excluding Engines).

To Australia £30,829
" South Africa 26,833
" New Zealand 18,654
" India 14,294

[Pg 179]

Manufactures of Steel, &c.

To India £268,377
" South Africa 108,187
" Australia 57,990
" New Zealand 20,189


To India £535,115
" Australia 311,616
" South Africa 281,158
" New Zealand 38,712

Unenumerated Engines.

To India £274,257
" Australia 232,563
" South Africa 128,786

Cast and Wrought Iron.

To India £848,857
" Australia 746,155
" South Africa 599,018
" New Zealand 202,451
" Canada 53,212

Galvanized Sheets.

To Australia £730,952
" India 586,023
" South Africa 358,353
" New Zealand 125,828
" Canada 113,015

This brief digest will doubtless be sufficient to prove that South Africa, as a market, is to-day one of the best customers of the Motherland, and, as will be shown later, when dealing with the future outlook for Imperial trade with that country, bids fair to speedily overtop in her demands upon the United Kingdom and her Colonies and dependencies that of any single member of the Imperial family, India—of all our possessions at present our best customer—not even excepted. And what will readily be conceded is a satisfactory feature in our commercial relations with South Africa is the remarkable growth which has characterised the exports thither from British possessions and Protectorates other than the Mother Country itself, the total proportion in 1901 being £4,733,800, as against £4,590,681, the value of the combined trade with South Africa in that year of Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Holland, Switzerland, and the United States.

Why South Africa must, for many years to come, remain our best customer, ever increasing its demands upon our industries, is[Pg 180] not difficult of comprehension to those who are acquainted with its circumstances. Although it is more than capable in proper hands and with the assistance of capital of being self-supporting, beyond its gold, diamonds, and coal, it produces little or nothing to speak of. It has one of the finest climates in the world; its soil is more than ordinarily fertile, and only requires water to yield a harvest more than sufficient for its consumptive needs, which could easily be obtained if the ample rainfall were properly conserved and irrigation resorted to on an intelligent principle. Incredible as it may seem, even the mealies or maize, which it could grow in sufficient quantity, without recourse to irrigation, to supply its own wants and leave a margin for export, are imported to the amount of something like £350,000 annually. Its iron deposits are probably unequalled elsewhere; its seas teem with fish, and its orchards and vineyards groan with the yield which nature lavishes with but little assistance from man. Yet on the shelves of every store throughout the country will be found imported canned fish and fruit, mainly from America; and while it is true that here and there jam factories are to be found, and the sugar cane grows almost wild in Natal, probably more than half a million yearly is disbursed on imported jams, confectionery, syrups, and the like. Tea likewise flourishes in Natal, but South Africa imports nearly £200,000 worth yearly; fresh and preserved vegetables, to its shame, are actually landed to the value of £80,000 annually, although, like most other foodstuffs, the soil grows them in luxuriant profusion; and of wine, despite the fact that the huge quantities made at the Cape, if properly treated according to European methods, would be unsurpassed in the world, the oversea product stands for nearly £300,000.

Moreover, as a cattle country many parts of South Africa are probably unrivalled, notwithstanding which both live and dead stock are freely imported, and while it could support millions of sheep it prefers the frozen mutton of New Zealand and the Argentine. Whoever is to blame for this state of things, which, happily, under the new regime and with the influx of population from European countries will gradually be altered, it is certain that, until the old order changes (and this will probably be a work of decades), South Africa must rely upon oversea goods for the maintenance of its growing population, as also for the means wherewith to extract its marvellous mineral wealth. According to Mr. W. Willcocks, C.M.G., if the irrigation schemes which are projected in the Transvaal and Orange River Colonies are ever carried into effect, they will add something like £200,000,000 to the value of the agricultural land, a consummation which, in its own interests as well as for our own industries, is devoutly to be wished. If it be true,[Pg 181] as is repeatedly asserted by those most competent to judge, that South Africa’s vast mineral deposits have only been “scratched,” how much more does this remark apply to its agriculture, which, after all, is the staple wealth of all countries, and which has made the United States and Canada what they are to-day?

Enough has probably been said of the South African trade of the past and present, although the subject is of such profound interest to the student that it deserves greater space than is possible within the scope of a single article. It is to the future that we have now to direct our attention, and it is in attempting to forecast the probable trend of the trade in the years to come that speculation becomes positively fascinating. In making this endeavour, it is well to bear in mind that assumption will be based upon such facts as are within our common knowledge, and therefore may be accepted as a reliable, although not infallible, guide as to what may safely be expected of South African commerce in the future. Setting aside for the moment the possibility of the soil being made to yield any greater abundance than is now the case, or that other than its existing insignificant industries will be promoted or developed, we will first of all confine our investigations to how far South Africa’s mineral wealth will beneficially affect trade pure and simple. Altogether, irrespective of the Cape, Natal, Rhodesia, and the Orange River Colony, the mining, exploration, and investment companies at present in existence in the Transvaal alone, or connected therewith, number something like 350, representing a capital of £250,000,000, or about what the war has cost us. Many attempts have been made by competent experts in the past to forecast what the several sections of the Witwatersrand only will yield in gold as interest on this huge sum before the mines at present in working or in process of being worked are exhausted, but few approximate with such exactitude the recent estimates of Messrs. Frederick H. Hatch and T. H. Leggett, both of whom are authorities whose views are entitled to the greatest respect. They have had many years’ practical experience of the Transvaal mines, and owing to the uniformity of the yield, tested at a depth of nearly 5000 feet, to which they limit themselves in their calculations, they are of opinion that the gold yet to be extracted from Randfontein on the west to Modderfontein on the east amounts to the almost incalculable total of £1,310,323,000, and that the life of this section is forty-two and a half years.

Now, as it is indisputable that South African trade is in the main practically dependent upon the country’s mineral wealth, it is not a matter of supreme difficulty to arrive at some definite conclusion as to what effect the extraction of this stupendous amount[Pg 182] will have upon its consumptive requirements. Herein lies its supreme significance to manufacturers, and particularly to those who are our countrymen. The experts cited are of opinion that by June 1906 the annual output of gold from this section alone will amount to £30,000,000, which compares with £20,000,000, the estimated yield for 1899, had not the war intervened. According to figures taken from the reports issued by the Johannesburg Chamber of Mines, something like 75 per cent. of the yearly output of but seventy-four of the mining companies producing the £20,000,000 referred to has been spent in the past on machinery, stores, development, labour, &c., which would mean a local disbursement alone of £22,500,000 in 1906 to win the £30,000,000 estimated as the yield in that year by Messrs. Hatch and Leggett. But, according to Mr. A. R. Goldring, secretary to the Johannesburg Chamber of Mines, who bases his data upon information supplied by the leading Rand engineering experts, in 1907 no fewer than 17,000 head of stamps will be at work, being an increase of 11,000 on the number in operation just previous to the outbreak of the war. If the annual output of £20,000,000 involved the expenditure of £15,000,000 on stores, machinery, wages, &c., Mr. Goldring’s estimate of the number of stamps that will be at work in 1907 means the disbursement of the gigantic sum of £42,500,000 as the total contribution which the Rand gold industry alone will expend for the benefit of the merchants and manufacturers of the Mother Country and the world at large. If to this estimate be added the expenditure necessitated by the numerous diamond and copper mines and collieries in the Cape Colony, Orange River Colony, Natal, and the Transvaal, coupled with that of the Rhodesian gold mines and collieries, as well as the gold mines in districts other than the Witwatersrand, such as Barberton and Zoutpansberg, &c., a reasonable estimate should place the total disbursements of the entire mining industry in South Africa in, say, five years at £50,000,000 sterling, which, added to the normal requirements of the country apart from those of mining, would mean an annual outlay of at least £60,000,000 for the benefit of commerce.

It will be seen that no allowance is here made for possible developments in agriculture and kindred pursuits, which may not unreasonably be expected to ensue as the result of the fostering care of the administrations, under the Imperial Government, of the Transvaal and Orange River Colonies, although large disbursements might with perfect safety be placed to the credit of these and other industries which may safely be assumed to be promoted during the interval between the present and the year to which these estimates relate. That the Rand gold industry can never be checked again,[Pg 183] short of another war, which is extremely improbable, is as certain as that the sun shines, and the same remark applies to the other mineral propositions. It is therefore well within the bounds of probability to predict that the total purchasing capacity of South Africa five years hence will be at least £60,000,000 sterling per annum (which is an exceedingly moderate computation in view of the fact that the estimated total in 1902 is £42,000,000), a sum which, assuming our other colonies and possessions do not advance in the same ratio, will make that country an easy first as Great Britain’s best market. If Messrs. Hatch and Leggett be correct in their surmise that the life of the Rand is forty-two and a half years—and in the main they are supported by other competent authorities—excluding altogether the possibility of other discoveries of precious metals and minerals in that long interval, and eliminating for the moment, what is improbable, that the remainder of the three hundred and fifty mining and exploration companies above referred to remain idle meantime, or that their number is not hugely increased, we arrive at a total expenditure of two thousand five hundred and fifty millions sterling as South Africa’s contribution to trade in the period in question. As it would be futile to dilate upon what this overwhelming sum means to British industries, it must be left to the imagination. It is worth thinking about nevertheless.

There is, however, always the pessimist to be considered in these matters. While no doubt he will content himself with the satisfactory outlook for British trade which is here unfolded, he may, in anticipation of time, begin to worry himself as to what will happen when the Rand is no more, and when its thousands of stamps are lying idle for the want of further quartz to crush. If one cared or dared to venture upon the hazardous ground of prophecy, one might easily foretell the possibility of other Rands being discovered meanwhile, with the practical certainty that a hundred years hence South Africa’s gold yield, instead of showing diminution, will largely exceed even present anticipations; and here it is justifiable to intrude the remark that every expert, without exception, who is connected with its gold industry, is unanimous in asserting that mining has hardly been begun, and that the future will exceed the expectations of even the most optimistically inclined. But, granted that the pessimist be correct that in fifty years the gold will cease to yield and the Rand be a barren, silent waste, is it quite safe to conclude that meanwhile the country has remained at a standstill except for its mining activities? Are the £200,000,000 sterling which Mr. W. Willcocks, C.M.G., the distinguished irrigation expert, asserts will add to the value of the country as agricultural land if irrigation be resorted to, to be counted as nothing;[Pg 184] and is there not the remote possibility of South Africa taking its natural place among the world’s producers of other staples than gold? What of its vast coal and iron deposits, its saltpetre, its petroleum, and its countless other products which to-day are but waiting the advent of capital to bring into being, all of which, like its gold, have yet to astonish the world? Gold or no gold, the country must, as the years unfold, become a teeming hive of industry, the only approximation to which is that of the United States of America. South Africa, then, is no place for the pessimist, and the sooner that is understood, the greater the peace of mind of that misguided individual.

As to the trend of the gigantic trade that is before South Africa, it has been incontestably shown that the proportion enjoyed by the Mother Country, and that of its colonies and possessions, is immeasurably in advance of that of all other nations combined, despite the ravings of the alarmists as to the alleged incursions of our rivals on what are pre-eminently our own domains. This fact must not, however, lull us into the false security of our peaceful slumbers of twenty, or even ten, years ago, when we had the field to ourselves, and which we might have retained even now but for our ignorance of its potentialities. The competition to be faced is a keen one; the trade is there and must remain there, in all human probability, for all time, in increasing quantity—for it can never retrograde; and only the alertness, the unceasing activity of those who are interested in retaining it, will preserve the major portion to our own industries. In endeavouring to show that the future outlook for South African trade is one which our manufacturers cannot possibly ignore, by reason of its incalculable vastness, it is reasonable to suppose that each member of the Imperial family, whether it be the Mother Country, its offsprings, or the humblest citizen of either, will strain every nerve to conserve to it the spoils for which such sacrifices in blood and treasure have been made, thus handing down to our children a heritage of wealth which is their right equally as it is our duty.

Photo: Russell. London.


The names, reading from left to right, are: Back row—Sir Alfred Bateman, Sir Francis Hopwood, Hon. W. S. Fielding. Sir M. Ommanney. Middle row—Mr W. Holderness, Sir J. Anderson, Sir J. Forrest, Sir W. Mulock, Lord Onslow, Hon. W. Patterson, Rear-Admiral Custance, Lord Selborne, Mr Gerald Balfour. Front row—Sir Robert Bond, Mr R. J. Seddon, Sir Wilfrid Laurier, Mr Chamberlain, Sir Edmund Barton, Sir A. Hime, Mr Fuller.

Much might be written in confutation of the many alarmist reports as to the decadent condition into which British trade has fallen of late years, but, after all, is this worth while? Admitted that, inflated with our past prosperity, we have slumbered on undisturbed by the thought of what the to-morrow will bring, it would need greater imagination than the prospective garnering of the two thousand five hundred millions sterling which it has been shown is likely to fall into the lap of the world’s traders as the result of the future expansion of South Africa in less than fifty years, to suppose that our manufacturers have sud[Pg 185]denly become bereft of their senses not to seize the most of their opportunities. It is easy to decry their enterprise, to compare their alleged shortcomings with the activities and the asserted “pushful” tendencies of their competitors—thus advertising the latter at their expense—but how much of foundation is there in such reports? The brief statistics with which this article is accompanied—and they have been confined to the narrowest possible limits—conclusively show that, so far as South African trade is concerned, British manufacturers are more than holding their own; and there cannot be the least doubt that they will continue to do so in the years of prosperity and expansion that are before the sub-continent, provided they are assisted by the ungrudging efforts of labour. This is a matter which need not be intruded here, but it is one upon which the maintenance of our supremacy in the world’s markets will depend, and it is one, too, which could be more profitably discussed by those whose apparent mission is to belittle everything that is British in favour of those who, in South Africa as elsewhere, are striving to wrest our commerce from us. As has been shown, the future outlook for trade in that country is of the brightest, and that we shall not prove equal to the task of maintaining our position there is a contemplation that does not come within the scope of probability.

[Pg 186]



Believing that a short account of the origin and object of the force known as the South African Constabulary for the Orange River and Transvaal would be interesting to those anxious for the prosperity of the new Colonies, General Baden-Powell, the originator of the highly-practical scheme, was invited to contribute to this volume a brief resumé of his important work. The General in his reply said, “I am very sorry that it is quite impossible for me, under present pressure of work, to contribute an article;” but he kindly furnished an outline of his scheme, which serves to enlighten home-staying people regarding the importance of this irregular arm of the British service.

In brief the General writes:—

“I can only say of the South African Constabulary that it is not formed on lines exactly identical with any other Police Force, although in many respects similar to some.

“A Military Mounted Police is a bugbear to most administrators, as being an expensive luxury; but I think that it is rather like what a steam-engine is to a Boer farmer—once he knows how to apply it to the many uses of which it is capable, independent of what has been the practice of his predecessors—it will be found to be an economy in place of a luxury.

“I have schemed the South African Constabulary to that end, viz., as the machinery for performing many duties not hitherto included in the province of Police; and my one hope is that it may be found effective for the purpose.

“It is the best paid force of its kind, and by careful selection and elimination I expect it to be the best in quality.

“It numbers at present 10,000 whites and 1000 natives, but these numbers will be liable to alterations as the country progresses.

“It is divided into four separate self-contained Divisions carrying out the duties of District and Town Police in the Transvaal and Orange River Colony, together with their subordinate departments of Criminal Investigation and Intelligence, and many minor and temporary duties, such as medical, agricultural, and veterinary, postal and customs, sanitary, public works, &c. &c.

“With a good Reserve, as the Force will shortly have, of men settled in the country in civil situations, and with its married establishment of 600 families, the South African Constabulary will also take an important share in the development of the Colony, and will at the same time be in a position to supply a well-trained mounted force for military work should emergency arise.”

This force has been formed for the maintenance of order and public security in the Orange River Colony and the Transvaal, but is available for service in any part of British South Africa. It acts as a District Mounted Police in time of peace, and as a military force in time of war. At one period drafts of about 80 men per month were despatched from Great Britain and Ireland, but now,[Pg 187] owing to the cessation of the war, recruiting is closed. From time to time new blood may yet be in demand. Candidates had to be good readers, writers, spellers, riders, and shots. Single men were preferred, and recommendations, particularly as to sobriety, had to be forthcoming. The term of engagement was for three years for those recruited in the British Isles, with the possibility, for non-commissioned officers and men, of re-engaging on increased pay. The term of service for men enlisted in South Africa (who had not been given a passage) was two years. Promotion by merit and commissions are obtainable from the ranks. The age of candidates is not under 20 nor over 35. The standard of height, without boots, is not over 6 ft. 2 ins. nor under 5 ft. 4 ins. The chest measurement, deflated, is not under 34 inches, and the weight, without clothes, is not over 13 stone 7 lbs. nor under 9 stone.

The following is the scale of pay:—

  s. d.  
Sergeant (Staff-Sergeant) 10 0 per diem.
Sergeant 9 0 "
Second Class Sergeant 8 0 "
Corporal 7 6 "
First Class Trooper 7 0 "
Second Class Trooper 6 0 "
Third Class Trooper 5 0 "

Pay commenced from date of attestation in South Africa.

Pay, as well as promotion, is largely in accordance with a man’s efficiency and behaviour, troopers being divided into three classes, and non-commissioned officers into four, for this purpose. Promotion from one class to another among troopers depends on their qualifying in Constabulary duties, musketry, signalling, language, and other tests, and on their continuing efficient in these subjects. Men of all grades entered at the lowest pay of their grade. Men selected in Great Britain and Ireland joined as third-class troopers. Promotion in the non-commissioned officers’ ranks will generally only be granted to those who qualify in colloquial Dutch. Men desirous of marrying while in the South African Constabulary need to obtain the sanction of the Officer Commanding Division to their doing so, they are then entitled to an allowance to cover lodging and other expenses, such as rations, fuel, light, &c., at the consolidated rate of 3s. a day. On completion of the first three years’ service a man may, if approved by the Officer Commanding Division, re-engage for a further term of two years, at 3d. a day extra. On completion of his five years he may re-engage for further service by the year, if the Officer Commanding Division approves, at 6d. a day for every additional year, until the total increase of pay for re-engagement shall have reached 2s. per diem. Rations, horse, forage, clothing, equipment, arms, quarters, and medical attendance are supplied free. In exceptional circumstances, where rations cannot be supplied, a ration allowance will be made of 2s. per diem.

A non-commissioned officer or man may be discharged at any time by order of the Officer Commanding Division with or without gratuity. Discharge may be purchased, with consent of Officer Commanding Division, for £20 during first year, £15 during second year, and £10 during third year.

Any Non-commissioned Officer or Trooper may, with the approval of his[Pg 188] Commanding Officer, be transferred to the Reserve, provided that there is a vacancy for him, at the end of his first engagement (three years), or if he re-engages, at the end of any period of re-engagement, up to the completion of five years from his first entry into the service. Every man transferred to the Reserve is required to remain in it and have his permanent residence in the Orange River Colony or the Transvaal, unless discharged, up to the end of seven years from the date of his first entry into the service. A man wishing to purchase his discharge from the Reserve may do so on payment of £12 at any period of his service in the Reserve. He will receive while in the Reserve pay at the rate of £1 per month. He will be liable to be called out annually for not more than ten consecutive days for training, and shall also be liable to be called out for active service at any time by the proclamation of the administrator, governor, or other person exercising for the time being supreme authority in the Transvaal or Orange River Colony, declaring the existence of a state of war, or of such serious menace to the peace as to render mobilisation necessary. While on training or on active service he will receive full pay at the same rate which he was enjoying when transferred to the Reserve. In addition to their pay, Reservists, if they desire to settle on the land, will receive special consideration in any Government-aided scheme of settlement.

Proposals are at present under consideration, whereby suitable settlers may be assisted to acquire land, and be aided at starting by Government advances, the purchase price and capital advanced being repayable on easy terms. If any plan of this kind is found to be practicable, a certain number of farms annually will be offered in the first instance to members of the South African Constabulary, who, having borne a good character, may be desirous of being transferred to the Reserve with a view to actually settling on the land as farmers. Similar privileges will, if the opportunity offers, be extended to Non-commissioned Officers and men who may quit the South African Constabulary after five or more years’ continuous service, bearing a good character.

Any man having served at least five years continuously in the South African Constabulary (not including Reserve service) with a good character will be entitled, on retiring, to a gratuity of one month’s pay for every year of service. Men on the Reserve may, with approval of Officer Commanding Division, be taken on to full pay again at any time for a term of two years at 3d. a day extra pay.

Where a number of men joined from one place they were squadded together as far as possible in the South African Constabulary. Leave of absence will where possible be granted to all ranks for one month in each year, cumulative, on full pay, special conditions ruling shooting leave, and leave to England or out of South Africa. After four years without leave six months on full pay will be granted.

Candidates were given a free passage in a transport to South Africa, and a free railway voucher from their place of residence to the port of embarkation. They were liable to further medical examination on arrival at the place of attestation. Any candidate found unsuitable was given a free passage back to England, provided that he was not rejected for any misrepresentation, misconduct, or serious fault of his own. After five years’ total service a free third-class passage home will be granted to men recruited in the United Kingdom.

The full strength of the Constabulary will in future be six thousand men: the four thousand enrolled for the war contingency will shortly be disbanded.

These particulars serve to show the nature of the new Force, and give some idea of its value in preserving the future peace of the King’s new dominions.

[Pg 189]



Soon after the conclusion of the war Generals Botha, De Wet, and Delarey, in the hope of making favourable arrangements with the Government on behalf of their fellow-countrymen, sailed for England. They were greeted by the British people with unusual cordiality, not because of any sympathy with the Republics they came to represent, but because it is a characteristic of the British people to honour brave men, even when they are defeated foes. General Botha was received by Mr. Chamberlain, and the Boer future was discussed. A few days later the public was startled to read in the daily journals the following manifesto entitled, “Appeal of the Boer Generals to the Civilised World.”

“It is still fresh in the memory of the world how the Boers, after a terrible struggle lasting more than two and a half years, were at last obliged to accept through their representatives at Vereeniging the terms of peace submitted to them by the Government of King Edward VII. At the same time the representatives commissioned us to proceed to England in order, in the first place, to appeal to the new Government to allay the immense distress everywhere devastating the new colonies. If we did not succeed we were to appeal to the humanity of the civilised world for charitable contributions. As we have not succeeded up to the present in inducing the British Government to grant further assistance to our people in their indescribable distress, it only remains for us to address ourselves to the peoples of Europe and America.

“During the critical days through which we have passed it was sweet for us and ours to receive constant marks of sympathy from all countries. The financial and other assistance given to our women and children in the concentration camps, and to the prisoners of war in all parts of the earth contributed infinitely to mitigate the lot of those poor sufferers, and we take advantage of this opportunity to express in the name of the people of the late Republics our fervent thanks to all those who have charitably assisted us in the past. The small Boer nation can never forget the help it received in its dark hours of suffering.

“The people of the Republics were ready to sacrifice everything for their independence, and now the struggle is over and our people are completely ruined. Though we have not had the opportunity of drawing up an exact inventory of the destruction done, we have the conviction, based on personal experience, that at least thirty thousand houses on Boer farms and a number of villages were burnt or destroyed by the British during the war. Our homes with their furniture were burned or destroyed, our orchards were ruined, all[Pg 190] our agricultural implements broken, our mills were destroyed, every living animal was carried off or killed. Nothing, alas, remained to us. The country is laid waste. The war demanded many victims, and the land was bathed in tears. Our orphans and widows have been abandoned. Besides, it is needless to recall the fact how much will be needed in the future for the education of the children of the Burghers, who are in great distress.

“We address ourselves to the world, with the prayer to help us by charitable contributions for our widows and orphans, for the maimed and other needy ones, and for the satisfactory education of our children. We allude to the terrible results of the war in order to bring to the knowledge of the world our urgent needs, by no means to inflame people’s minds. The sword is now sheathed, and all differences are silent in presence of such great misery. The ruin caused by the war is indescribable, so that the small amount which Great Britain is to give us, in accordance with the terms of surrender, even were it multiplied tenfold, would be wholly insufficient even to cover the war losses alone. The widows, orphans, maimed, needy, and children, on whose behalf alone we appeal, will receive little of this sum, and in most cases nothing.

“All contributions will be assigned to a fund to be called ‘General Fund of Help for the Boers,’ which will be devoted solely to supplying the wants of those for whom we are collecting, and to provide for their future. We solicit the hearty co-operation of the committees existing in the various countries of Europe and in America. We are now on the point of visiting these countries in succession with the object of establishing a satisfactory organisation.

De Wet.

The lamentable representations of this manifesto naturally caused a profound impression—and the effect of them was not removed till late in the year when Mr. Chamberlain’s correspondence in relation to the matter was published. This correspondence merits more than superficial study by those truly interested in the pacification of the new Colonies, for the evil done by the pronouncements of the Boer “appeal” will live after them, while the good effected by the tardy publication of the Colonial Secretary’s refutation will probably be interred in the official mausoleum. To this end the opening despatch from Mr. Chamberlain to General Louis Botha, dated Downing Street, the 6th of November, is here appended:—

“Since the interview which you had with me at this office on the 5th of September an ‘Appeal of the Boer Generals to the Civilised World’ has been issued, many of the statements in which have, according to Press reports, been repeated and enlarged on in the speeches delivered by yourself and General Delarey and General De Wet during your tour on the Continent.

“The appeal, I regret to say, appears to me to convey an incorrect and exaggerated impression of the circumstances to which it refers, and though I have no desire at this time to enter into controversy, I cannot allow it to pass altogether in silence.

“In the first place I am at a loss to understand why the appeal should open[Pg 191] with a statement that you have not up to the present succeeded in inducing the British Government to grant further assistance to your people. It is not, indeed, the intention of his Majesty’s Government to ask Parliament to authorise any addition to the free grant of £3,000,000—a grant which is itself without any precedent in the history of the world—but the promise of further assistance by way of loan on very easy terms, as provided by Article 10 of the Terms of Surrender, has never been withdrawn; and I think you will agree, on again consulting the record of our conversation, that there is nothing in the language which I then used which indicates any intention on the part of his Majesty’s Government to withdraw it.

“Further, the expenditure on the Burgher camps which, since the conclusion of peace, have to a great extent been transformed into organisations for enabling the people to return to their homes, and the cost of which has been about £200,000 a month, is being borne by his Majesty’s Government, and constitutes in effect a very considerable addition to the free grant.

“The cost of the camps since their establishment has exceeded £3,000,000, and there is no room for reasonable doubt that they have been the means of preserving the lives of thousands of women and children, and of providing the latter with a better education than they ever had the opportunity of enjoying before.

“I observe that in an article signed by you in this month’s Contemporary Review you make it a complaint that the concentration camps are still being maintained.

“It must be self-evident that, on the score of expense alone, it is the interest of his Majesty’s Government to abolish these camps at the earliest possible moment, and it is only in the cause of humanity that they continue to maintain this costly organisation.

“If they were to accept the inferences to be drawn from your statement they would turn out into the veldt thousands of men, women, and children whom it has been impossible to return to their farms immediately on the termination of the war, owing to the absence of sufficient transport and the scarcity of stock.

“They have, however, already provided for the return of large numbers of the population of the camps which had been reduced from 116,000 at end of May to about 34,000 in the last week of October.

“I observe that you are reported in the Press to have suggested in a speech at Paris that the British military authorities deliberately used the sufferings of women and children to induce their relatives in the field to lay down their arms, and in the resolution passed at Vereeniging on the 31st of May the sufferings of the women and children were given as a reason for surrender.

“No one deplores more than the British Government the high mortality in the camps during the epidemic of measles and pneumonia, but nothing was spared that money or science could afford to reduce it, and for the last six months the average total death-rate in the camps has been about 21 per 1000 per annum, a rate which must be much lower than any which obtained before the war in normal conditions.

“It is, therefore, clear from the statistics that at the actual time of the surrender there could have been no cause for anxiety as to the condition of the women and children then in the British camps; and in confirmation of this view I may remind you that neither at the time of your conferences with Lord Kitchener in February 1901 nor in the discussions which preceded the[Pg 192] acceptance of the Terms of Surrender was any request made for special provision for widows and orphans.

“On the contrary, the request made on both these occasions was that the sums offered as a free grant by the British Government should be applied to the payment of notes and receipts for goods requisitioned by the Boer commandoes, in many cases from persons of considerable means. To this proposal his Majesty’s Government objected, and while willing that these notes and receipts should be accepted as evidence of war losses, they stipulated that the grant should be applied for the benefit of the destitute, or, in the words of the Terms of Surrender, ‘for the purpose of assisting the restoration of the people to their homes and supplying those who, owing to war losses, are unable to provide themselves with food, shelter, and the necessary amount of seed, stock, implements, &c., indispensable to the resumption of their normal occupation.’ As at present advised, I believe that the sum allotted will be amply sufficient for the purpose; but, should more be required, there is one source from which a substantial addition may be fairly expected.

“His Majesty’s Government are aware that large sums were remitted from the Transvaal to Europe during the war to be expended in the interests of the South African Republic.

“They have no desire to question the expenditure of this money so far as it was legitimately devoted to the purposes for which it was intended, but they cannot doubt that a large balance still remains which would properly come to them as the successors of the late South African Republic, and which they would be prepared to add to the fund provided for the relief of the distressed burghers and their families. I venture to think that in this matter your wishes will coincide with mine, and that you will give me any assistance in your power to discover the persons to whom the money was entrusted, and to obtain from them a statement of account showing the expenditure and the amount of the balance which remains over.

“I may add, with regard to the camps, that the reference in the manifesto to the pecuniary assistance furnished by foreign sympathisers appears to rest on a misconception. It consisted in the Transvaal of 2646 bales and packages, chiefly containing clothing and miscellaneous stores, which were brought up from the coast at military expense, and in the sum of £562, 2s. 2d. received and distributed through the Burgher Relief Fund. I have not yet received exact information as to the money contributions to the camps in Orange River Colony, but it was on a similar scale, and provides no ground whatever for an unfavourable contrast with British liberality.

“On the general question of your appeal for help for the widows and orphans, the maimed and the needy, and for assistance in the education of the children, I desire to say that the Colonial Government is making itself entirely responsible for the maintenance of all destitute orphans, including their food, clothing, supervision, and education. Large orphanages are already in existence at Irene in the Transvaal, and Brandfort and Springfontein in the Orange River Colony; and suitable provision is also being made for widows.

“The Government have been, and are, making themselves responsible for the education of the children. In the last year of the war £100,000 was spent on education in the Transvaal, and £32,500 in the Orange River Colony. At the date of the signing of peace the number of children in Government schools in the Transvaal was 28,000, and in the Orange River Colony 14,500. As a[Pg 193] contrast to these figures it may be mentioned that under the late Governments the total number of children being educated never exceeded 15,000 and 9000, in the South African Republic and Orange Free State respectively.

“With regard to your statements as to the desolation caused by the war, I would point out that it was inevitable that much damage should be caused in consequence of the prolongation of hostilities long after there had ceased to be any reasonable doubt as to the issue of the war. Though the principal centres, such as Bloemfontein, Kroonstad, Winburg, Heilbron, Harrismith, Bethlehem, Ficksburg, Ladybrand, Thaba N’chu, Bethulie, Fauresmith, Jagersfontein, Koffyfontein, Boshof, in the Orange River Colony, and Johannesburg, Pretoria, Potchefstroom, Klerksdorp, Heidelberg, Standerton, Middelburg, Lydenburg, Pietersburg, Nylstroom, Lichtenburg, Zeerust, Rustenburg, in the Transvaal, are practically untouched, it is no doubt the case that a large number of farmhouses and buildings have been damaged or destroyed by one or other of the belligerents or by natives. The value of such buildings in South Africa is, however, in most instances not very great, and the pecuniary loss is probably more than compensated by the increased value of the land. The heaviest loss, and that temporarily pressing most hardly on the people is, no doubt, the loss of their stock; but the statement that every living animal was taken away or killed is a great exaggeration. A recent census taken in the Orange River Colony shows that, excluding animals belonging to the military and Repatriation Department, there are now in the colony over 120,000 head of cattle, 700,000 sheep and goats, and 27,000 horses. Similar figures for the Transvaal are not yet available, but the local government is spending very large sums to supply stock in both colonies. The Repatriation Department in the Transvaal is using 36,000 animals for transport alone. It has already issued some 20,000 head of stock to the farmers, and is in a position to issue another 35,000 by December 1. Assistance is being given in the Orange River Colony on a like scale, and ploughs and implements are being supplied as far as it is possible. So far, indeed, from being a desert the country will, if rain is abundant, be extensively cultivated at the end of the year; and it is the earnest hope of his Majesty’s Government that the strenuous efforts now being made by the local governments, seconded by the co-operation of the people themselves, will result in bringing back a degree of prosperity in no way inferior to that existing before the war.”

This despatch satisfactorily disposed of many vexed questions, and comfortable corroboration of the statements made therein is to be found within the pages of General De Wet’s account of the “Three Years’ War.” There, though the General complains of the hardships endured by women and children, he can offer no suggestion as to how these sufferings might have been averted. On May 16 General Botha is reported to have said:—

“Throughout this war the presence of the women has caused me anxiety and much distress. At first I managed to get them into the townships, but later on this became impossible because the English refused to receive them. I then conceived the idea of getting a few of our burghers to surrender and sending the women in with them.”

[Pg 194]

On the 29th of May, General De Wet, speaking in favour of continuing the war, said:—

“I am asked what I mean to do with the women and children. That is a very difficult question to answer. We must have faith. I think also we might meet the emergency in this way. A part of the men should be told off to lay down their arms for the sake of the women, and then they could take the women with them to the English in the towns.”

Later, General Botha said:—

“When the war began we had plenty of provisions, and a commando could remain weeks in one spot without the local supply running out. Our families, too, were then well provided for. But now all is changed. One is only too thankful nowadays to know that our wives are under English protection. The question of our women folk is one of our greatest difficulties. What are we to do with them? One man answers that some of the burghers should surrender themselves to the English and take the women with them.”

It is gratifying to note how the horrible charges of barbarity, brought by persons ignorant of the real state of affairs in South Africa at the time of the war, are disposed of by this one sentence from the mouth of General Botha, “One is only too thankful nowadays to know that our wives are under English protection.” We owe General De Wet some gratitude for his book, bitter as it is, since he makes evident that a main reason for the surrender of May 31 was to ensure the safety of the women who were not in the concentration camps, and whom they feared could not be placed in those positions of security. It is plain that if the Boers could have charged the British Government with the protection of those women they would have held out for some time longer. In discussing the question of the destruction done, we have only again to turn to General De Wet’s history to discover how necessary was the burning of certain farms which, worked by Kaffirs under the direction of the women, were provision bases of the Boers; and how imperative too was the shooting of horses, since, to quote the General himself, the Boer is only half a man without his horse. Indeed, though De Wet complains of the methods of the British in carrying on the war, his own narration of his exploits—the wrecking of trains, the destruction of railways, the burnings of the veldt, and the stripping of prisoners—offers the “best explanation yet published of the necessity for the measures of which he complains.”

To return to General Botha. In reply to Mr. Chamberlain he wrote from Horrex’s Hotel, Norfolk Street, Strand, on the 12th of November, stating:—

“... That there were some misunderstandings as to the reasons which led to the appeal to the world on behalf of their fellow-countrymen, which he wished[Pg 195] to try to remove. In the first place, however, he sincerely shared Mr. Chamberlain’s desire to avoid controversy, the more so as there were some assurances in the Colonial Secretary’s recent speech—which he (General Botha) was privileged to hear—of a kind to gratify all who had the fortunes of his destitute fellow-countrymen at heart. He wished also to say that he and his colleagues welcomed Mr. Chamberlain’s decision to visit South Africa, and his determination to see the condition of their country with his own eyes, and form a first-hand judgment on its needs.”

Dealing then with the “misunderstandings” which he wished to remove, General Botha wrote:—

“We made no secret in accepting the Terms of Surrender that the compensation or assistance therein promised would be totally inadequate to enable the Burghers of the late Republics who remained in the field or were in the prisons and concentration camps to make a fair start in life again. On the contrary it was made clear by us that in the absence of further help from the British Government we would have at once to appeal to the charity of the civilised world for further help for the widows and orphans of our Burghers, and for those who had been rendered unfit for work by wounds or sickness during the war....

“It was only from your speech of November 5th that we learnt that the grant was intended entirely for all who are destitute, or who cannot make a fresh start in life without help. We always understood that the £3,000,000 were to be given in partial compensation for war losses, and that that was also understood by Lord Milner is clear from his despatch of June 11th (published in Blue Book, Cd. 1163, page 141), in which he expresses his intention of distributing it pro rata to those who can prove losses through the war.

“It therefore appeared to us that the free grant made no general provision for widows, orphans, and the destitute except in so far as they could prove war losses, and we distinctly gathered from your remarks that you could do no more for them. Under these circumstances we issued our appeal. We were, I need not say, highly gratified to learn from your recent speech that the Government would undertake a fuller responsibility for those needing their help, and particularly for the information that if more money than has been voted should be needed, the loan would be increased accordingly. We feel sure that it will ultimately be found that the £3,000,000 already assigned will by no means suffice to meet what is required as a free gift. Meanwhile, the needs of the sufferers are pressing, and we are glad to think that the sums which, through the generosity of the public, we have been able to collect, will to some extent minister to them without any delay, while they will also supplement what is being done by the Government.

“In regard to the loan, the provision lately made and the promise that the amount would be augmented if necessary came as a great relief after the months of waiting and suspense, when we were continually being told of those who, from lack of timely assistance, were compelled to part with their property to meet the urgent wants of themselves and their families. Some further and more detailed information as to the terms and conditions under which loans will be obtainable would be gratefully welcomed by the people interested.

“With regard to your reference to the free grant of three millions as something ‘without any precedent in the history of the world,’ I wish to say nothing[Pg 196] that can excite or prolong controversy. You must only allow me to remark that the whole circumstances are unprecedented; that the gift of £3,000,000 was one of the conditions upon which the burghers laid down their arms; and that our view is, that having taken the assets of our Governments, you may fairly be expected to meet their liabilities, not in part, but in full.

“In regard to the large sums of money alleged by you to remain unexpended in Europe out of sums remitted by the Transvaal to Europe during the war, I can only assure you that I have no knowledge of any such remittances, and should be surprised to find that any were made. There is no sum of money belonging to the late Government known to me over which I have any authority whatever. I can only say that should any such sums exist I personally should be very glad to see them devoted to the objects mentioned.”

Passing to the subject of the concentration camps, General Botha said it was not his intention in the references he had made to them to suggest that they ought to be broken up before the people could be brought back to their farms. He proceeded:—

“We recognise that towards the close of the war improvements were introduced into them, in consequence of which the death-rate fell to an ordinary figure; but we do not know on what grounds you asserted that a death-rate of 21 per 1000 was lower than that which obtained before the war in normal conditions, and we are not prepared to agree that that was the case. My remark at Paris about the sufferings of the women and children had reference more particularly to those remaining outside the camps, who had their dwellings, with the furniture, food, and all that they contained, burnt or destroyed by British troops; their herds killed or removed, and themselves left destitute on the veldt. These were certainly sufferings, and they did carry great weight with us, among other reasons, in inducing us to surrender.”

While admitting that the Government was making great efforts to carry on the work of education in the camps, General Botha said he could not help sharing with his colleagues many objections to the large orphanages which had been referred to. He also wished to point out with reference to the pecuniary and other assistance given to the Boers in their misfortunes by “foreign” sympathisers, that in cash and in kind they totalled a value more than a hundredfold what Mr. Chamberlain had been led to suppose. On the subject of the desolation caused by the war, General Botha continued:—

“You are about to proceed to South Africa yourself, and if—as I have no reason to doubt will be the case—you get some of our own people to go over the country of the late Republics with you, you will be able to judge for yourself whether the description of the ruin and desolation as given by myself and others of us was—nay, I might almost say, if it could be—exaggerated.... If your allusion to ‘one or other of the belligerents’ is meant to suggest that the destruction of houses was practised by us you have been misinformed. My orders were definite that no houses should be destroyed; I know of only four cases where the orders were contravened, and in those instances every endeavour was made to trace the perpetrators, and where known they were promptly punished.”

[Pg 197]

General Botha further stated that he had no definite information relative to the increase in the selling value of the land, but the figures quoted showed to any one who knew the country before the war the fearful loss which had taken place in cattle, sheep, and horses. He concluded:—

“I regret to have to dwell on these points, and have done so only to remove misunderstandings as to the grounds for our appeal for aid. I do not doubt your desire to restore peace and the elements of prosperity to our unhappy country, and I would wish that we might so far as possible avoid controversy as to the past, and address ourselves entirely to the necessities of the present.”

To this letter Mr. Chamberlain replied, on the 15th of November, as follows:—

“I have the honour to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 12th of November, in reply to my comments on statements contained in the ‘Appeal of the Boer Generals to the Civilised World,’ and in their speeches on the Continent.

“I appreciate the spirit of the last paragraph of your letter, and share the wish which you express therein, and in view of my approaching visit to South Africa I will not prolong the present correspondence.

“I trust that during my tour I may gain much valuable information which will assist his Majesty’s Government in their efforts to restore peace and prosperity to the countries which have suffered by the war.”

On the 18th of November, General Botha wrote the following answer:—

“I have to thank you for your letter of 15th instant, and wish only to say, in reply, that I cordially join in the hope that your visit to South Africa may be a step towards that restoration of peace and prosperity to our desolate country, which I am sure that it is your desire to promote.”

[Pg 198]


[Pg 199]

The above map shows the position of the three Powers mainly concerned with the future of South Africa. The total mileage of German territory is said to be about 931,460 miles; that of Portuguese territory about 790,240 miles. The British possessions include the following:—

  Sq. miles
Basutoland 10,293
Bechuanaland 213,000
Cape Colony 221,311
Central African Protectorate 42,217
East Africa 1,000,000
Zanzibar Protectorate 1,020
Natal 29,200
Nigeria 400,000
Orange River Colony 48,326
Rhodesia, Southern 144,000
Rhodesia, North-Eastern 120,000
Somaliland 68,000
Transvaal 119,139
Swaziland 8,500
Gold Coast 40,000
Lagos 28,910
Gambia 4,500
Sierra Leone 30,000
Total area 2,528,416

These figures are taken from The Statesman’s Year Book for 1902. The areas of Barotseland, Adansi, and Ashanti are not included in the list, as the figures for these areas are not given.


General: Variable hyphenation of gold(-)fields, over(-)sea, food(-)stuffs and break(-)down as in the original text

General: Variable accenting of regime as in the original text

Page 8: millitary corrected to military

Page 10: some corrected to same after "for South Africa generally,"

Page 60: hundered corrected to hundred

Page 64: Winkie standardised to Wankie after "being constructed through the"

Page 72: comphrehensive corrected to comprehensive

Page 84: intercouse corrected to intercourse

Page 101: The last part of the caption for the illustration of DRIVING AN "END" IN MAY CONSOLIDATED MINE, JOHANNESBURG is illegible and has been omitted.

Page 125: Oliphants as in the original text

Page 131: Kafirs as in the original text

Page 147: Candian corrected to Canadian in "The Canadian Pacific Railway"

Page 150: Machadadorp standardised to Machadodorp after "A line from Springs to"

Page 154: employées as in the original text

Page 159: Teneriffe as in the original text

Page 162: redwater standardised to red-water

Page 169: toxines as in the original text

End of the Project Gutenberg EBook of South Africa and the Transvaal War,
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