The Government of the South African Republic feels itself compelled to refer the Government of Her Majesty the Queen of Great Britain and Ireland once more to the Convention of London, 1884, concluded between this Republic and the United Kingdom and which in its XIVth Article secures certain specified rights to the white population of this Republic, namely, that "All persons, other than natives, conforming themselves to the laws of the South African Republic (a) will have full liberty, with their families, to enter, travel, or reside in any part of the South African Republic; (b) they will be entitled to hire or possess houses, manufactories, warehouses, shops, and premises; (c) they may carry on their commerce either in person or by any agents whom they may think fit to employ; (d) they will not be subject, in respect of their persons or property, or in respect of their commerce or industry, to any taxes, whether general or local, other than those which are or may be imposed upon citizens of the said Republic." This Government wishes further to observe that the above are only rights which Her Majesty's Government have reserved in the above Convention with regard to the Uitlander population of this Republic and that the violation only of those rights could give that Government a right to diplomatic representations or intervention while, moreover, the regulation of all other questions affecting the position or the rights of the Uitlander population under the above-mentioned Convention is handed over to the Government and the representatives of the people of the South African Republic. Amongst the questions the regulation of which falls exclusively within the competence of the Government and of the Volksraad, are included those of the franchise and representation of the people in this Republic, and although thus the exclusive right of this Government and of the Volksraad for the regulation of that franchise and representation is indisputable, yet this Government has found occasion to discuss in a friendly fashion the franchise and the representation of the people with Her Majesty's Government, without, however, recognizing any rights thereto on the part of Her Majesty's Government. This Government has also, by the formulation of the now existing Franchise Law and the Resolution with regard to representation, constantly held these friendly discussions before its eyes. On the part of Her Majesty's Government, however, the friendly nature of these discussions has assumed a more and more threatening tone, and the minds of the people in this Republic and in the whole of South Africa have been excited and a condition of extreme tension has been created, while Her Majesty's Government could no longer agree to the legislation respecting franchise and the Resolution respecting representation in this Republic, and finally, by your note of 25th September, 1899, broke off all friendly correspondence on the subject, and intimated that they must now proceed to formulate their own proposals for a final settlement, and this Government can only see in the above intimation from Her Majesty's Government a new violation of the Convention of London, 1884, which does not reserve to Her Majesty's Government the right to a unilateral settlement of a question which is exclusively a domestic one for this Government and has already been regulated by it.
On account of the strained situation and the consequent serious loss in and interruption of trade in general which the correspondence respecting the franchise and representation in this Republic carried in its train, Her Majesty's Government have recently pressed for an early settlement and finally pressed, by your intervention, for an answer within forty-eight hours (subsequently somewhat modified) to your note of the 12th September, replied to by the note of this Government of the 15th September, and your note of the 25th September, 1899, and thereafter further friendly negotiations broke off and this Government received the intimation that the proposal for a final settlement would shortly be made, but although this promise was once more repeated no proposal has up to now reached this Government. Even while friendly correspondence was still going on an increase of troops on a large scale was introduced by Her Majesty's Government, and stationed in the neighborhood of the borders of this Republic. Having regard to occurrences in the history of this Republic which it is unnecessary here to call to mind, this Government felt obliged to regard this military force in the neighborhood of its borders as a threat against the independence of the South African Republic, since it was aware of no circumstances which could justify the presence of such military force in South Africa and in the neighborhood of its borders. In answer to an inquiry with respect thereto, addressed to His Excellency the High Commissioner, this Government received, to its great astonishment, in answer, a veiled insinuation that from the side of the Republic (van Republikeinsche zyde) an attack was being made on Her Majesty's Colonies and at the same time a mysterious reference to possibilities whereby it was strengthened in its suspicion that the independence of this Republic was being threatened. As a defensive measure it was therefore obliged to send a portion of the burghers of this Republic in order to offer the requisite resistance to similar possibilities. Her Majesty's unlawful intervention in the internal affairs of this Republic in conflict with the Convention of London, 1884, caused by the extraordinary strengthening of troops in the neighborhood of the borders of this Republic, has thus caused an intolerable condition of things to arise whereto this Government feels itself obliged, in the interest not only of this Republic but also of all South Africa, to make an end as soon as possible, and feels itself called upon and obliged to press earnestly and with emphasis for an immediate termination of this state of things and to request Her Majesty's Government to give it the assurance
(a) That all points of mutual difference shall be regulated by the friendly course of arbitration or by whatever amicable way may be agreed upon by this Government with Her Majesty's Government.
(b) That the troops on the borders of this Republic shall be instantly withdrawn.
(c) That all reinforcements of troops which have arrived in South Africa since the 1st June, 1899, shall be removed from South Africa within a reasonable time, to be agreed upon with this Government, and with a mutual assurance and guarantee on the part of this Government that no attack upon or hostilities against any portion of the possessions of the British Government shall be made by the Republic during further negotiations within a period of time to be subsequently agreed upon between the Governments, and this Government will, on compliance therewith, be prepared to withdraw the armed burghers of this Republic from the borders.
(d) That Her Majesty's troops which are now on the high seas shall not be landed in any port of South Africa.
This Government must press for an immediate and affirmative answer to these four questions, and earnestly requests Her Majesty's Government to return such an answer before or upon Wednesday the 11th October, 1899, not later than 5 o'clock p.m., and it desires further to add that in the event of unexpectedly no satisfactory answer being received by it within that interval it will with great regret be compelled to regard the action of Her Majesty's Government as a formal declaration of war, and will not hold itself responsible for the consequences thereof, and that in the event of any further movements of troops taking place within the above-mentioned time in the nearer directions of our borders this Government will be compelled to regard that also as a formal declaration of war.
REPLY OF GREAT BRITAIN.
October 10, 1899.
Her Majesty's Government have received with great regret the peremptory demands of the Government of the South African Republic conveyed in your telegram of 9th October, No. 3. You will inform the Government of the South African Republic, in reply, that the conditions demanded by the Government of the South African Republic are such as Her Majesty's Government deem it impossible to discuss.