Selected Official Documents of the
South African Republic
A documentary perspective of the causes of the war in South Africa.
Edited by Hugh Williams, M.A., B.L.S., Library of Congress, and Frederick Charles Hicks, Ph.B., Library of Congress.
The universal interest in the affairs of the South African Republic is responsible for the idea that a selection of documents illustrative of the South African controversy will be appreciated by American readers. The documents which are here reprinted are by no means unobtainable; but, to the general reader, they have been hitherto quite inaccessible. Only the largest public libraries have the proper sources of information, and even with these books at hand the student has been forced to delve in a mass of irrelevant material for the hidden object of his desire.
The present compilation has been made in the hope of meeting the immediate demands of the public. To avoid cumbersomeness, many important documents have necessarily been omitted; yet as far as possible, the editors have given a complete series of documents. The arrangement is partly chronological, and we hope altogether logical. Commencing with the London Convention of 1884, which defines the status of the South African Republic in its relations with Great Britain, we follow with the revised Constitution of 1889, and its complementary law of June 23, 1890, which granted representation in a second Volksraad to burghers of two years' standing. The latest legislation concerning the right of franchise is given in the enactment of July, 1899. This law, together with negotiations looking toward further concessions to the Uitlander population forms the subject of our third chapter. No agreement having been reached, and numerous complications having arisen, conspicuously the movements of British troops, the Ultimatum of President Kruger on October 9, precipitated a state of war.
In presenting this Ultimatum President Kruger knew that the Republic would not have to fight alone, but that there would be practically a war of the South African Dutch against the English. The declaration of the Orange Free State to Great Britain will therefore be of interest, as expressing the grounds of sympathy between the South African Republic and the Orange Free State, and the latter's view of the causa belli. Lastly we add the constitution of the Orange Free State that the political status of the two republics may be appreciated by comparison of their constitutions.
The documents have been compiled from the Codex van de Locale Wetten der Zuid-Afrikaansche Republiek. Gröningen, 1894; The Political Laws of the South African Republic. London and Cape Town, 1896; and the State Papers of Great Britain, London, 1884-99.
Washington, February 10, 1900.