The Annexation of the Transvaal.
[Sidenote: Dangers Without, Difficulties Within]
In the years immediately following 1872 the disorganization and public weakness of the Transvaal Boers became dangerous to themselves and inimical to the peace of all South Africa. The emigrant farmers had for two decades been living in a chronic state of war with the ever-increasing number of natives around them and, while successful in their raids upon individual Bantu kraals, were entirely unsuccessful in the subjection of the tribes as a whole. They would not submit to taxation, what little paper money they possessed had in 1870 depreciated to a quarter of its face value, and the few business transactions indulged in were carried out on lines of barter not dissimilar to the aboriginal customs around them. No public improvements were made and no administrative system existed further than a nominal Presidency which was helpless in the face of the surrounding disorganization. The accession of Mr. Burghers to the position, in 1872, did not remedy matters and the repulse of the Boers from the stronghold of Sekukuni on their north-eastern border, in 1876, precipitated a situation which resulted in the British annexation of the Republic.
[Sidenote: Authoritative Questions]
So much of the subsequent discussion regarding this policy turns upon the then existing internal situation of the Transvaal that a couple of authoritative quotations may be given here. Mr. James Bryce, who has since made himself unpopular in England by his opposition to the War of 1899, states in his Impressions of South Africa that: "The weakness and disorders of the Republic had become a danger not only to the British subjects who had begun to settle in it but also to the neighbouring British territories and especially Natal." Dr. George M. Theal, a recognized authority upon South African affairs, despite a pronounced tendency to sympathize with the Dutch, refers in the Story of the Nations Series, to the troubles with Sekukuni and then proceeds; "But the country was quite unable to bear the strain. The ordinary charges of government and the interest on the public debt could not be met, much less an additional burden. And so the whole administrative machinery broke down. The Republic was really in a pitiable state, without money or an army, with rebellion triumphant and a general election approaching that was feared might be attended with civil war."
[Sidenote: A Great Peril]
National bankruptcy and the danger arising from 300,000 threatening natives surrounding, within the Transvaal, some 30,000 people of Dutch descent were also added to by the possibility of external attack from the Zulus. There can be no doubt of the reality of this peril although the events which followed led the Dutch to minimize its extent. Cetywayo, in 1876, had a large army of trained and physically powerful warriors numbering at least 30,000 men. He had immense reserves of savage population, in the event of war, both in the Transvaal and Natal, and all were bound together by a bond of hatred against the Boer--the only tie recognized by native tribes. He had his men in threatening positions upon the frontier from time to time and had announced that his Impis must have an opportunity of wetting their spears in the blood of an enemy. But at this point the Zulu chieftain touched British interests. If he attacked the Boers and was successful it meant a future onslaught with increased power upon Natal, and, in any case, might easily involve the hundreds of thousands of related tribes in the Colony. For the safety of the scattered British settlements it was therefore necessary to protect the now almost helpless Boer. Of course, the commandos of the latter would have put up a good fight against the invading hordes and the enmity of surrounding natives, but, without provisions, without ammunition, without fortifications, and without money (the Transvaal Treasury was so empty in 1876 that it could not pay for the transportation of some ammunition from Durban to Pretoria) the result must have been extremely disastrous.
[Sidenote: The Federation Policy of Lord Carnarvon]
It was at this junction that the Federation policy of Lord Carnarvon, Colonial Secretary in the Beaconsfield Government, combined with the apparent local necessities of the case to cause the intervention of the Imperial authorities. Lord Beaconsfield was an Imperialist of the strongest type, imaginative yet practical, initiative in policy and also courageous in execution. His Government had bought the Suez Canal shares in order to ensure the trade route of the Empire to India, and had made the Queen an eastern Empress and the Prince of Wales the centre of Oriental hospitality and magnificence, in order to appeal to the sentiment of those vast regions and teeming populations. Lord Carnarvon had, in 1867, as Colonial Secretary, presided over the Confederation of British America, and his present great ambition was to help in creating a federated South Africa. But it was too late so far as South Africa was concerned; too early so far as Imperialistic sentiment at home was concerned. When Sir Bartle Frere reached Cape Town he found that the Transvaal had just been annexed, and that one great apparent difficulty had been removed from his path. At the same time, however, he found the Orange Free State opposed to federation though ready for a customs union; and two years later the malcontents in the Transvaal, roused and encouraged by Mr. Gladstone's public sentiments as Leader of the Liberal Opposition and in defence of the Boer right to independence, were in rebellion and able to influence their racial allies at Cape Town in the vetoing of the Commissioner's general policy of federation. Such was the story in a brief summary.
[Sidenote: Threatened Anarchy]
The details are both interesting and important. In 1876 the Boer attack on Sekukuni--a not very strong Kaffir chief upon the Transvaal border--had, as already stated, been repulsed, and the High Commissioner of the moment in South Africa, Sir Henry Barkly, wrote to Lord Carnarvon, under date of October 30th, describing the ensuing situation of the Transvaal at some length, and concluded with the following expressive words:
"In short, the whole state of things borders very closely upon anarchy; and, although in other parts of the Republic lawlessness and inhumanity are less rampantly exhibited, the machinery of administration is everywhere all but paralyzed, and the Republic seems about to fall to pieces through its own weakness. In that event the Boers in each district would either have to make their own terms with the adjacent Kaffir tribes or trek onwards into the wilderness, as is their wont, whilst the position of the large number of British subjects scattered about on farms, or resident in the towns, or at the gold fields, might fairly claim the humane consideration of Her Majesty's Government even if there were not other reasons to save so fine a country from so miserable a fate."
There was more, however, to be thought of than the mere paralysis of the functions of Government, bad as it was. Then as now, the Transvaal was the Turkey of South Africa in its treatment of other races as well as in a Mahommedan-like superciliousness of religious view. Writing a few months after the above despatch from the High Commissioner, Lord Carnarvon--January 25, 1877--in referring to the Boer method of warfare on the native tribes as particularly illustrated in the Sekukuni struggle, declared that: "Her Majesty's Government, after having given full consideration to all the information attainable on the subject, and with every desire to view matters in the most favorable light, deeply regret that they are forced to come to the conclusion that the barbarities alleged to have been committed, though denied by the Transvaal Government, have, in fact, occurred."
[Sidenote: Sir T. Shepstone's Arrival in Pretoria]
Meanwhile, on October 5, 1876, Sir Theophilus Shepstone, who, during forty years of life and administration in South-eastern Africa had won the general respect of Englishmen, Boers and natives, received a Royal Commission to inquire into the Transvaal disturbances and to exercise power and jurisdiction in the matter subject to the will and welfare of the people. He arrived at Pretoria on January 22d, after a slow progress through the country and accompanied only by a small personal staff and 25 Natal Mounted Police. He had, during this period, in different parts of the Transvaal and to various portions of the people, explained his policy of annexation and the necessity of doing something for the preservation of personal property as well as real liberty. Everywhere he had been well received, and, for a month after his Proclamation annexing the Republic to the Empire had been issued on April 12th, he remained at Pretoria without the support of a single soldier of the Queen. The general position of the country was well explained in a despatch to Lord Carnarvon dated at Pretoria on March 6th. The white population was made up, at the outside estimate, of 8,000 men capable of bearing arms, and of these more than 6,000 were farmers scattered in isolated homesteads over a surface equal to that of the British Isles. It was patent, he declared, to every observer that:
[Sidenote: Boer Government's Weakness]
"The Government was powerless to control either its white citizens or its native subjects, and that it was incapable of enforcing its laws or collecting its taxes; that the Treasury was empty; that the salaries of officials had been and are for months in arrears; and that sums payable for the ordinary and necessary expenses of Government cannot be had; that payment for such services as postal contracts were long and hopelessly overdue; that the white inhabitants had become split into factions; that the large native population within the boundaries of the State ignore its authority and its laws, and that the powerful ruling king, Cetywayo, is anxious to seize upon the first opportunity of attacking a country the conduct of whose warriors at Sekukuni's mountain has convinced him that it can be easily conquered by his clamoring regiments."
[Sidenote: Kruger's Visit to London]
President Burgers himself recognized the situation, and a month before the annexation was consummated told the assembled Volksraad that "matters are as bad as they ever can be; they cannot be worse." Practically, he supported the policy of Sir T. Shepstone, and shortly afterwards retired on a pension to live at Cape Town. The Hollanders, who stood to lose heavily by the supremacy of British ideas and intelligence in the country, did their utmost to arouse the fanaticism of the farmers by printed manifestoes and memorials of the most inflammatory character, but without much success. In the end the only practical opposition made was the appointment by the expiring Executive Council, on the day before the Proclamation, of a delegation to England composed of Mr. Paul Kruger, Vice-President, and Dr. E. J. P. Jorrissen, Attorney-General. These gentlemen went to London and were well received personally, and a similar result followed from a second deputation headed by, Mr. Kruger in 1878. One evil, however, came from these visits. Instead of the astute Paul Kruger being impressed by the power of Great Britain, or conciliated by the courtesy of political leaders, he seems to have been interested chiefly in the study of party tactics and of the disintegrating influence of politics when carried into the field of Colonial government and foreign affairs. Coupled with the knowledge thus gained of a Radical faction which was already denouncing Lord Carnarvon's Confederation scheme, and of the anti-expansion views of Mr. Gladstone, Mr. John Morley and Sir William Harcourt, was a keen appreciation of the strength of the Home Rule issue then evolving such incipient power in the field of partisan battle. It was not hard for Mr. Kruger to discern, or hope for, the coming fall of the Beaconsfield Government; the growing power of a Radical element which would parallel the case of the Transvaal with that of Ireland; and a future in which some strong movement in the now quiet and peace-environed Boer country would result in a reversal of British policy.
But the annexation was now a fact. In England it was received with comparative indifference by the Tories and with a sort of passive hostility by the Liberals. No one seemed to know very much of the real state of affairs, and when, in the autumn of 1879, Mr. Gladstone practically urged the independence of the Boers as a portion of Liberal policy, his party opponents did not themselves realize the greatness of the issue involved or the inevitable consequences of playing with Empire questions as with measures for the building of a local bridge or the amending of some local law. In South Africa the English element rejoiced greatly at the annexation, and never dreamt of its reversal.
[Sidenote: Dr. Moffat's Joy Over Annexation]
The Rev. Dr. Robert Moffat, writing privately on July 27, 1877, with all his long accumulated experience in the South African missionary field, declared that: "I have no words to express the pleasure the annexation of the Transvaal Territory has afforded me. It is one of the most important measures our Government could have adopted as regards the Republic as well as the aborigines. I have no hesitation in pronouncing the step one fraught with incalculable benefit to both parties, i.e., the settlers and the native tribes. A residence of more than half a century beyond the Colonial boundary is quite sufficient to authorize me to write with confidence that Lord Carnarvon's action will be the commencement of an era of blessing to South Africa." Such was the general view of the English element at the Cape, and such would have been the expressed view of Dutchmen like President Brand of the Free State if they could have ventured to explain their own sentiments. But Lord Carnarvon proposed, and Mr. Kruger's astute perception, combined with Hollander scheming and the fickleness of British party policy, disposed.
 Letter to Alexander McArthur, M.P., published in the English Independent of August 16, 1877.
[Sidenote: Dutch Appeal to Gladstone]
Slowly but surely Kruger played upon Boer ignorance and local prejudices, intense aversion to taxation and dislike of the English. Slowly and steadily he worked upon the racial sentiment of the Dutch at the Cape, until, in 1880, they largely signed an address to Mr. Gladstone asking his support for the "liberties" of their kinsmen. Eventually, he defeated, by indirect means, Sir Bartle Frere's policy of federating Cape Colony, Natal, Griqualand West and the Transvaal when it came before the Cape Legislature in June, 1880. Carefully, but with certainty, he built upon the shifting sands of England's Colonial policy that later structure of personal supremacy so well described by Kipling:
"Cruel in the shadow, crafty in the sun,
Far beyond his border shall his teaching run.
Sloven, sullen, savage, secret, uncontrolled,
Laying on a new land evil of the old."
For a couple of years, however, matters went on without open rebellion. The administration of Sir T. Shepstone was, upon the whole, a wise one. The former officials were largely retained, provision was made for a dual official language, the finances were got into fairly good shape, and the natives were conciliated. Sir Bartle Frere, looking on from Cape Town, wished to establish complete responsible government, and had his policy been carried out, it is possible that the war might have been averted, and certain that the growing influence of Kruger would have been checked. Two Dutch deputations had gone to London, and the restoration of independence had been refused them by both the Beaconsfield Government and the succeeding one of Mr. Gladstone. High officials of all kinds--Frere, Wolseley, Shepstone and Lanyon--had declared that it was an absolute impossibility, and, certainly, no overt attempts were made to obtain it while British troops were present in South Africa in large numbers engaged in crushing the Zulu enemy or the lesser power of the Sekukuni.
[Sidenote: Encouragement from England]
Unofficially, however, the Boer idea of independence received substantial encouragement from England. Before coming into power Mr. Gladstone, in his famous Midlothian speeches, proclaimed that "if those acquisitions were as valuable as they are worthless, I would repudiate them because they are obtained by means dishonorable to the character of the country." When he came into office he practically repudiated his own statements; but they had meanwhile done the mischief which so often accompanies demagogic or thoughtless oratory when uttered by highly-placed public men. In 1880 Colonel Sir Owen Lanyon became Administrator of the Transvaal in place of Sir T. Shepstone, who was paying a visit to England. He has been described as an "orthodox military man, somewhat pompous and a trifle haughty to inferiors," and, in reality, was the worst possible personage to be placed at the head of affairs in a country now seething with discontent and ripe for insurrection.
[Sidenote: Taxation the Cause of War in 1880-81]
One of the real and immediate causes of the war of 1880-81 was the question of taxation--not in any constitutional sense, as it might have been in an English community, but in the personal objection of the Boer to paying taxes of any kind to any person or any Government. The proceedings of the Volksraad from 1868 to 1877 teem with references to the difficulty of obtaining payment of the most ordinary and necessary taxes until, in March of the latter year, and just before the annexation was consummated, that body declared that the greater amount of the taxes had not been paid, that the Government of the country could not be carried on, and that the Government be authorized "to collect all outstanding taxes by summary process." There was, however, no personal objection to the drawing of money from the Government to any obtainable limit. Sir Owen Lanyon stated, as an illustration of this fact, and in a despatch to Lord Kimberley on December 5, 1880, that "Mr. Kruger's case exemplifies this (the avoidance of paying taxes on the ground of conscientious scruples against the Government), for he continued to draw salary as a member of the Executive Council for a period of eight and a half months after the annexation. In fact, he would doubtless be drawing it now, for notwithstanding his term of office expired on the 4th of November, 1877, he applied for and received pay up to the close of the year." Whatever the immediate cause of the rebellion, however, there can be no doubt of many of the collateral issues. Love of independence was one, and the careful manipulation of this sentiment by Mr. Kruger was perhaps as important a factor as any other. Hardly less so, in his hands and in those of clever Hollander intriguers, were the party utterances of English leaders. The men of the veldt knew nothing of England or English life, and how should they comprehend the complex character of partisan statements and eloquent platform vagaries? Hence it was that they were only too willing to believe that a show of force and the shock of a sudden revolt would break the back of the Gladstone Government's new-found objection to a recognition of their complete independence.
[Sidenote: Sudden Coming of the War]
The war came with apparent suddenness to the unprepared authorities--lack of preparation being, however, a not uncommon condition of South African history. Yet there was really ample warning. At a great mass meeting in December, 1879, the strongest possible sentiment had been expressed in favor of independence. Mr. M. W. Pretorius, a former President, had been arrested for sedition, and several others were in prison for the same reason. Passive resistance had everywhere become the order of the day, and a proclamation against seditious meetings was necessarily issued. Later on, Sir Garnet Wolseley, who had been recently appointed High Commissioner for South-eastern Africa, wrote to the Colonial Office (October 29, 1880) regarding the "continuance of grave discontent," and added: "I am informed on all sides that it is the intention of the Boers to fight for independence. There is no doubt, I think, that the people are incited to discontent and rebellion by ambitious agitators, ... and that the main body of the Dutch population is disaffected to our rule." Nothing of importance was done, however. Of course, Sir Garnet Wolseley did all he could in the careful disposition of his small force; but at home there was only wavering and uncertainty. The fact is, that the Gladstone Government was afraid to give way and did not want to hold on. They cared nothing for the Transvaal, but were face to face with repeated official pledges regarding its retention, as well as with their own unofficial advocacy of its abandonment. So they waited, and events drifted into the inevitable rebellion. The first overt action was the forcible resistance of a farmer, named Bezuidenhout, who had been served with a notice and then with an attachment for the sum of £27 5s., unpaid taxes.
[Sidenote: Armed Boers Take Possession of Town]
Then a great public meeting was announced for January 8, 1881, but was held instead on December 15th at Paardekraal. Armed Boers came in thousands, and, on the succeeding day, took possession of the Town of Heidelberg, declared their independence, and established a republican government, with Paul Kruger as President, Piet Joubert as Commandant-General, E. J. P. Jorrissen as Attorney-General, and a man named Bok as Acting State Secretary. Four days later a portion of the 94th Regiment, consisting of some 250 men, were surprised and shot down to the number of 120. Owing to the clever ruse of the Boers in announcing their mass-meeting for nearly a month ahead of its real date, the breaking out of active rebellion had not been expected for some weeks.
The British force was so small in the Transvaal that the Boers had it all their own way. The tiny garrisons were shut up and closely besieged, and the rebels advanced into Natal and occupied a favorable position in the mountains at a place called Laing's Nek. It was attacked on January 27th by Major-General Sir George Colley, commanding the troops in the Colony, with about a thousand men. He was driven back with heavy losses, owing partly to a lack of artillery and partly, on his own admission, to attempting a flank movement with inadequate means. Another unsuccessful fight took place at Ingogo, and then, on February 26th, he occupied Majuba Hill, and on the succeeding day met his second and famous defeat. Death buries mistakes, but there is no doubt that, once more, over-confidence had led a British officer into disaster. The results were more serious than those which usually follow such passing incidents.
[Sidenote: Attitude of Gladstone's Government]
The Gladstone Government did not want the Transvaal; did not like the preceding situation of suspended sedition; did not understand or care for the necessity and vital import of the country to a future united South Africa; did not desire to fight the Boers in any way, shape or form; did not know anything practical regarding the nature of Dutch politics and racial cohesion in South Africa, except to have vague fears of a general war; did not understand how greatly peace in such regions depends upon prestige or at how low an ebb British military reputation in South Africa already was. To them these little defeats were an excuse and a means to an end. Telegram followed telegram, after Majuba Hill, urging Sir Evelyn Wood--who had succeeded to the military command--to obtain a meeting with the Boer leaders for the discussion of terms of peace. On March 5th, Sir Evelyn Wood telegraphed to Lord Kimberley, Colonial Secretary, that: "In discussing settlement of country, my constant endeavors shall be to carry out the spirit of your orders; but, considering the disasters we have sustained, I think that the happiest result will be that, after accelerating successful action which I hope to fight in about fourteen days, the Boers should disperse without any guarantee, and then many, now undoubtedly coerced, will readily settle down." But the Government was not willing to wait even fourteen days, and Mr. Gladstone had already stated in the House of Commons that he hoped to come to terms with the Boers. Accordingly, on March 12th, Lord Kimberley telegraphed Wood as follows:
 Sir Garnet Wolseley had returned to England some months before the outbreak of the war in order to take up the Quartermaster-Generalship of the Forces.
[Sidenote: Proposition for Peace]
"Inform Boer leaders that if Boers will undertake to desist from armed opposition and disperse to their homes we are prepared to name the following as Commissioners: Sir H. Robinson (High Commissioner), Chief Justice de Villiers (of Cape Colony) and yourself. President Brand would be asked to be present at proceedings as representing friendly State. Commission would be authorized to consider following points: Complete self-government under British suzerainty with British Resident and provisions for protection of native interests and as to frontier affairs. Control over relations with foreign Powers to be reserved."
[Sidenote: Self-Government, but not Independence]
Four days later the meeting took place under the shadow of Laing's Nek, and President Kruger accepted the terms of Lord Kimberley's telegram. On March 21st, the armistice having meanwhile been prolonged and President Brand not having turned up, a new meeting of President Kruger, Sir E. Wood and others was held and a draft treaty drawn up. Schedule 2d stated that: "We, Kruger, Pretorius and Joubert, declare our readiness to accept the suzerainty of the reigning Sovereign of Great Britain and Ireland according to the explanation given by Sir E. Wood." Schedule 3d declared that: "I, Sir Evelyn Wood, acknowledge the right of the Transvaal people to complete self-government, subject to the Suzerain rights." Everywhere throughout these negotiations the phrase "self-government" is used as contradistinguished from "independence." Not even the Boer leaders then suggested the latter as a possible policy. They were willing to accept the supremacy of the Queen, the British control of their foreign policy, the management of their relations with the natives and even the control of their border policy. But whatever they did ask for they received. The Lydenberg District, for instance, was distinctly debatable ground, with a mainly British and white population, and covering the region once ruled by Sekukuni and subdued by British troops on behalf of the Boers. This region the latter now demanded, though not very strenuously, and on March 31st Lord Kimberley telegraphed to the Royal Commissioners, in the concluding words of a somewhat fatuous discussion of the question, that: "Her Majesty's Government are averse, on general grounds of policy, to the extension of British territory in South Africa." Of course Lydenberg was ultimately given up and the Boer position further strengthened and consolidated. On June 13th the Royal Commission--Robinson, Wood and De Villiers--met the new Boer Government at Pretoria, and on August 3d the Convention of 1881 was signed and made public.
[Illustration: THE GOVERNMENT BUILDING, PRETORIA, TRANSVAAL. A VIEW OF MAJUBA HILL FROM THE RAILWAY]
[Illustration: PRESIDENT KRUGER WORSHIPPING IN CHURCH]
[Sidenote: Suzerainty of the Queen]
The document carefully guarded the Queen's supremacy, and declared in its important preamble that: "Her Majesty's Commissioners for the settlement of the Transvaal Territory, duly appointed as such by a Commission passed under the Royal Sign Manual and Signet bearing date April 5, 1881, do hereby undertake and guarantee on behalf of Her Majesty that, from and after the 8th day of August, 1881, complete self-government, subject to the suzerainty of Her Majesty, her heirs and successors, will be accorded to the inhabitants of the Transvaal Territory." Then follow the Articles of the Convention giving terms and conditions, reservations and limitations. [Sidenote: Rights Guaranteed Residents] Control was preserved over the natives; a British Resident was to be appointed at Pretoria; the right to move British troops through the State was acceded; "the control of the external relations of the said State, including the conclusion of treaties and the conduct of diplomatic intercourse with foreign Powers," was given to Britain; no slavery or "apprenticeship partaking of slavery" was to be tolerated; complete freedom of religion was promised; boundaries were defined and the independence of the Swazis "fully recognized." Finally, Article 26 declared that "All persons other than natives conforming themselves to the laws of the Transvaal State will have full liberty, with their families, to enter, travel or reside in any part of the Transvaal State; they will be entitled to hire or possess houses, manufactories, warehouses, shops and premises; they may carry on their commerce either in person or by any agents whom they may think fit to employ; they will not be subject in respect to their persons or property, or in respect to their commerce or industry to any taxes, whether general or local, other than those which are, or may be, imposed upon Transvaal citizens." This Article, reaffirmed in the same words by the ensuing Convention of 1884, and taken in conjunction with the guarantee of self-government to all the inhabitants of the Transvaal--not to the Boers alone--constitutes the charter of right to the Uitlander of a later day. Another point must also be considered in the same connection. Prior to the signing of the Convention a discussion took place as to the existing rights of aliens or British subjects in the new State and in the following terms:
 See British Government Blue Book c. 3219, pp. 24 and 53.
[Sidenote: What the Rights of Uitlanders were]
"Question 239. Sir H. Robinson. Before annexation had British subjects complete freedom of trade throughout the Transvaal? were they on the same footing as citizens?
" 240. Mr. Kruger. They were on the same footing as the burghers; there was not the slightest difference, in accordance with the Sand River Convention.
" 241. Sir H. Robinson. I presume you will not object to that continuing?
" 242. Mr. Kruger. No, there will be equal protection for everybody.
" 243. Sir E. Wood. And equal privileges?
" 244. Mr. Kruger. We make no difference as far as burgher rights are concerned. There may perhaps be some slight difference in the case of a young person who has just come into the country.
" 245. There are no disabilities with regard to trade, are there?
" 246. Mr. Kruger. No.
"1037. Dr. Jorissen. At No. 244 the question was: 'Is there any distinction in regard to the privileges or rights of Englishmen in the Transvaal?' and Mr. Kruger answered, 'No, there is no difference;' and then he added, 'There maybe some slight difference in the case of a young person just coming into the country.' I wish to say that that might give rise to a wrong impression. What Mr. Kruger intended to convey was this: according to our law a newcomer has not his burgher rights immediately. The words young person do not refer to age, but to the time of residence in the Republic. According to our Grondwet (Constitution) you have to reside a year in the country.
"1038. Sir H. de Villiers. Is the oath of allegiance required from a person, not being born in the Transvaal, coming to reside there, who claims burgher rights?
"1039. Dr. Jorissen. In the law relating to the franchise there is a stipulation for the oath of allegiance to be taken to the State.
"1040. Then it is not every burgher who has a vote; it is only the burghers who have taken the oath of allegiance that have a vote?
"1041. Dr. Jorissen. Yes, the last revision of that law was made in 1876."
[Sidenote: Complete Equality of Races]
It is therefore plain that when the re-cession of the Transvaal took place complete equality of races existed and was pledged to continue; while a fair system of franchise was in force which required only a year's residence and the usual oath of allegiance--similar to that always used in the Orange Free State, and not like the one afterwards created which compelled a repudiation in set terms of allegiance to the Queen. The very term "self-government" naturally involved freedom of franchise under similar conditions for both Boer and Briton, and not even Kruger himself then claimed otherwise; whilst the British Government and the Commissioners took it as a matter of course that Englishmen would be kept upon the same level in the Transvaal as they always had been and as were the Dutch in Cape Colony and Natal.
[Sidenote: Effort to Get Rid of British Suzerainty]
However, results were still a matter of the future, and in the meantime the Convention, as signed by S. J. P. Kruger, M. W. Pretorius and P. J. Joubert, was ratified, on October 20th, by the Volksraad, though under protest from Joubert and others, and with the remarkable statement from Lord Kimberly that "no proposals for its modification could be entertained until it was ratified." This statement, coupled with the hostility secretly raised in the Volksraad by Kruger, and openly expressed as representative of public opinion, paved the way for a reconsideration of its terms along ultimate lines which should limit the Queen's Government to a supervision of the Transvaal's foreign affairs instead of their direction and control; which should abrogate the clause permitting interference with internal legislation, or with the policy pursued towards native tribes; and should strip the Resident of any authority other than that of a Minister or Consul. The aim was to get rid of British suzerainty by degrees, and Kruger, from his study of British political parties, believed he could eventually succeed.
Bold preliminary steps were taken. In open disregard of the Convention, a law was passed in 1882 providing that a newcomer must reside five years in the country, become duly registered and pay a sum of $125 before obtaining the privilege of naturalization. In 1884 President Kruger again visited London, accompanied by two other Delegates--Messrs. S. J. du Toit and N. J. Smit, and a clever Hollander lawyer named Van Blockland. Mr. Gladstone was still Premier, and Lord Derby, the weakest and most vacillating of modern British Ministers, was Colonial Secretary. As the hero of a retirement which had practically killed the Government of Lord Beaconsfield and of a New Guinea fiasco which had merited and received the execration of Australians, he was eminently fitted to become an instrument for trouble in South Africa under the shrewd manipulation of Kruger.
[Sidenote: British Power Relinquished]
The new Convention was duly negotiated, and all reference to the suzerainty omitted. Practically every power retained by the British Government in 1881 was now given up. As a "matter of convenience" the authority of the British Resident was wiped off the slate, and the right of the British Sovereign to move troops through the State in time of war with bordering natives was abrogated. The right to conduct diplomatic negotiations was also freely given up, and the only shred of authority visibly maintained was the power to veto treaties publicly entered into.
[Sidenote: Loophole in the New Arrangement]
Fortunately the declaration of suzerainty was not abrogated in set terms, and, of course, until that was done the British authority under which the first Convention was signed and sealed and the second Convention created remained the same. Moreover, the terms of the preamble to the second agreement simply stated that "the following Articles of the new Convention ... shall be substituted for the Articles embodied in the Convention of August 3, 1881," so that there was no direct substitution of authority. However, the new arrangement, through not definitely reasserting the suzerainty, gave President Kruger the opening he desired for some future period when he might claim that there was no longer any such authority; and in making possible this technical and vague claim the indifferent Lord Derby laid one of the foundation stones of great future trouble. The Transvaal State now became the South African Republic, and its Delegates negotiated treaties in Berlin, Paris and Lisbon. Gold soon began to be produced in great quantities, the revenues swelled into millions of pounds sterling, salaries of officials grew apace, President Kruger became one of the wealthy men of the world, alien settlers were treated like native inferiors, the oppressed Uitlander came into prominence, and presently the British Empire found itself face to face with an organized, compact, wealthy and powerful enemy.