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A Review of the South African Question.

[Sidenote: Religious Intolerance of the Boers]

The South African War of 1899 grew out of racial conditions and national considerations far apart from, and long precedent to, the growth of Kimberley and Johannesburg or the discovery of diamonds and gold. It arose, primarily, from racial tendencies which had grown more and more opposed to each other as the climate and conditions of South Africa accentuated their peculiarities. History and tradition had early driven into the Boer's heart an intense intolerance of religious thought to which the isolation of the veldt added an almost incomprehensible ignorance. A wider survey of the world and a fuller grasp of the essentials of liberty had, meanwhile, developed in the Englishman's mind[1] a love for free religious thought and practice to which his belief in schools and his affection for literature and the press added strength and character. The Dutchman was nomadic in life, pastoral in pursuit, lazy and sluggish in disposition. The Englishman was at times restless in seeking wealth or pleasure, but upon the whole he liked to settle down in a permanent home and with surroundings which he could make his own in ever-increasing comfort and usefulness. He drew the line at no single occupation and made, as the case might be, a good farmer, or artisan, or labourer, or merchant. And he was usually of active mind as well as body.

[1] I use the word Englishman here in a general sense, and inclusive of the Scotchman or Irishman.

[Sidenote: Two Opposite Views of Liberty]

The Dutchman in South Africa wanted liberty to do as he liked and to live as he chose, but he did not wish to accord that liberty to inferior races, or to attempt the training of them in its use and application. The Englishman, on the other hand, loved liberty in a broad way, and wanted nothing better than to see it applied to others as freely and fully as to himself. The one race looked upon the negro as only fitted to be a human chattel and as not being even a possible subject for improvement, education or elevation. The other, in all parts of the world as well as in the Dark Continent, believed in the humanity of the coloured man, whether black, or red, or brown, and looked upon him as fitted for civilization, for Christianity and for freedom. He considered him as material for good government and for fair play. Both views, however, have been carried to an extreme in South Africa and upon either side evil resulted. The Boer treated the native from the standpoint of an intolerant and ignorant slave-owner. The Colonial Office tried to treat him solely from the standpoint of the sympathizing and often prejudiced missionary. Hence, in part, the Great Trek; hence some of the Kaffir raids and consequent sufferings of the early settlers; hence an addition to the growing racial antagonism.

[Sidenote: Two Opposing Views of Government]

The principles of government believed in and practiced by the Dutch and British in South Africa have been and are diametrically opposed. The one took territory from the natives wherever and whenever he could and used it without scruple, and without return in the form of just government, for his own purposes. The latter, time and again, avoided the acquisition of territory; experienced war after war which might have been averted by the prompt expression of authority and strength; gave up regions to native chiefs which had afterwards to be conquered by force of arms; tried every phase of policy in the form of alliances, protectorates and "buffer" states in order to avoid increased responsibilities; gave up the Orange Free State to an independent existence under circumstances of almost incredible insistence; annexed the Transvaal with indifference, and gave it up without serious thought; in later days allowed German East Africa to be established, and at one time practically declined the acquisition of Delagoa Bay; permitted the Boers of the Transvaal to annex part of Zululand and to take almost the whole of Swaziland at the expense, even, of possible injustice to the natives. And all this from an honest though mistaken desire to avoid unnecessary expansion of authority or extension of territory. In those departments of Government which are apart from questions of acquiring or ruling dependent states there was the same antagonism. [Sidenote: Boer Ideas of Democracy] Equality being an unknown principle to the Boer, it was, perhaps, natural that he should endeavor to make his own language and laws and institutions the pivot of administration in any country under his control; that he should regard with suspicion and fear any attempt to raise the status of surrounding natives; and should reject with contempt, in the Transvaal at least, later efforts on the part of civilized aliens to obtain equality of political rights. The Dutchman in South Africa knew, in earlier days as well as at the present time, absolutely nothing of democracy in the British sense of the word. Republicanism, in the sense of Government by the majority, he does not even now understand--unless the majority be Dutch. To dream of convincing, or trying to convince others, by argument and discussion that some particular policy is better than another has always been far from his point of view. He has been too long accustomed to using the shot-gun or whip upon inferior races to deem such a policy either desirable or possible.

[Sidenote: Varied Opportunities for Settlers]

The region these two races were destined to dominate was, and is, a splendid one. It had an infinite variety of resource and tropical production and temperate growth. Within the million and a half square miles of South African territory were room and verge for a vastly greater white population than has yet touched its shores; while every racial peculiarity or pursuit could find a place in its towns and farms and mines and upon its rolling veldt. To the lover of quiet village life and retirement nothing could be more pleasant than parts of Natal and Cape Colony, and of the two Republics. To the keen business man, eager for gain and intent upon quick returns, the rapid and wealth-producing progress of the great mining towns gave all that could be desired. To the adventurous spirit, willing to suffer hardships and endure labor in its severest form for a possibly glittering return, the diamond and gold fields offered untold opportunities. To the hunter and tourist and traveller the myriad wild animals of the interior gave a pleasure only second to that felt by the Kaffir and the Boer when hunting the lion to his lair or the elephant in its native jungle. To the man fond of country life the vast plains, stretching in varied degrees of value and elevation from Cape Town to the Zambesi, afforded room for pastoral occupation and the raising of cattle and sheep upon a veritable thousand hills. To the seeker after new industries, ostrich farming, mohair, the feather industry and diamond mining have from time to time proved the greatest attraction. To the farmer or planter parts of the region were eminently fitted for the raising of wheat and other cereals, and the cultivation of tobacco, cotton, sugar and rice. To the restless and wandering Boer, South Africa seems to have given for a time everything that his spirit desired--isolation, land, wild animals to hunt, independence of control, freedom from the trammels of education and taxation and civilization. To the quieter Dutchman of Cape Colony has been given every element of British liberty and privilege of British equality; as well as land in plenty, and for thirty years, at least, the pledge of internal peace.

[Sidenote: Statistics and Finances of South Africa]

According, also, to the latest figures[2] the material progress and recent position of all these countries has been good. Cape Colony, in 1897-98, had a revenue of $36,940,000, an expenditure of $34,250,000 and an indebtedness of $136,400,000; a tonnage of British vessels, entered and cleared, amounting to 12,137,000, together with 2,835 miles of railway and 6,609 miles of telegraph; exports of $108,300,000, and imports of $90,000,000; and 132,000 scholars in its schools. Natal and Zululand, combined, had a revenue of $11,065,000, an expenditure of $8,120,000 and an indebtedness of $38,720,000; a tonnage of British vessels, entering and clearing, of 2,132,000, together with 487 miles of railway and 960 of telegraph; exports of $8,100,000 and imports of $30,000,000; and 19,222 scholars in its schools. The exports of Basutoland, under purely native control, had grown to $650,000 and its imports to half a million. The length of railway in the Bechuanaland Protectorate was 586 miles and in Rhodesia 1,086 miles; while the telegraph lines of the former region covered 1,856 miles. The South African Republic, or Transvaal, had a revenue of $22,400,000, an expenditure of $21,970,000 and an indebtedness of $13,350,000; announced imports of $107,575,000 and no declared exports; railways of 774 miles in total length and telegraph lines of 2,000 miles; and scholars numbering 11,552. The Orange Free State had a revenue of $2,010,000, an expenditure of $1,905,000 and an indebtedness of $200,000; imports of $6,155,000--chiefly from Cape Colony--and exports of $8,970,000, which were divided principally between Cape Colony and the Transvaal; 366 miles of railway, 1,762 miles of telegraph and 7,390 scholars in its schools. The following table[3] gives an easily comprehended view of South Africa as divided amongst its Kaffir, Dutch and English communities in respect to mode of government and measure of British responsibility:

[2] British Empire Series. Vol. II. Kegan Paul, Trench, Trübner 4 Co., Limited. London, 1809.

[3] South Africa. By W. Basil Worsfold, M.A. London, 1895.

MODE OF GOVERNMENT.

                                               MODE OF GOVERNMENT.
                          {  Cape Colony    }  Responsible Government
  Three British Colonies  {  Natal          }
                          {
                          {  Bechuanaland   }  Crown Colony.
                          {  South African  }  Full internal freedom
                          {  Republic       }  within terms of
           Two Republics  {  or             }  Conventions of 1852-54
                          {  Transvaal      }  and 1881-84.
                          {  Free State.    }
                          {  Basutoland,    }  Officers under High
                          {  Zululand,      }  Commissioner.
                          {  Tongaland,     }
      Native Territories  {
                          {  Transkei,      }  Officers under Cape
                          {  Tembuland,     }  Government.
                          {  Griqualand,    }
                          {  Pondoland.     }
         Territories of   }                 {  Administrator who
         the Chartered    }  . . . . . . .  {  represents the Directors
         Company          }                 {  and Secretary of State
                          }                 {  jointly.

Yet, with all the varied advantages and evidences of substantial progress and prosperity given above, the present war has broken out in a result which could not have been different had the whites of South Africa been dwelling amidst limited areas, restricted resources, few liberties and a crowded population of competitive classes. Some of the reasons for this situation have been pointed out, and they include natural racial differences; a quality which Lord Wolseley described in a speech at the Author's Club on November 6, 1899, when he declared that "of all the ignorant people in the world that I have ever been brought into contact with I will back the Boers of South Africa as the most ignorant;" the inherent desire of the Dutch population for native slave labor and intense aversion to principles of racial equality; mistakes of administration and more important errors of judgment in territorial matters made by the British Colonial Office; a Dutch pride of race born from isolation, ignorance and prejudice and developed by various influences into an aggressive passion for national expansion and a vigorous determination to ultimately overwhelm the hated Englishman, as well as the despised Kaffir, and to thus dominate South Africa. [Sidenote: Afrikander Bund] Of the elements entering into this last and perhaps most important evolution the Afrikander Bund has been the chief. The formation of this organization really marks an epoch in South African history, and has proved, in the end, to be one of the most effective and potent forces in the creation of the present situation. Nominally, it was organized in 1881 amongst the Dutch farmers of Cape Colony for the purpose of promoting agricultural improvement and co-operation and for the increase of their influence in public business and government. In 1883 it swallowed up the Farmer's Protective Association--also a Dutch organization. Practically, it was a product of the feeling of racial pride, which developed in the heart and mind of every Boer in South Africa as a result of Majuba Hill and the surrender of 1881. The openly asserted influence of their Transvaal brethren, and of this triumph, had prevailed with the Cape Boers to such an extent that the latter were able to compel the rejection of Lord Carnarvon's federation scheme although they did not at the time possess a large vote in the Cape Legislature or a single member in the Government. The same influence created a desire for racial organization, and the result was the Afrikander Bund.

Its chief individual and local promoter was Mr. Jan Hendrik Hofmeyr, a man whose record is one of a loyalty to the British Crown which seems, in some peculiar fashion, to have equalled his loyalty to his race. In the beginning of the Bund, and during its earlier years, he could easily harmonize the two principles. How he could do so at a later period is one of the puzzles of history and of personal character. Incidentally, it may be said that Mr. Hofmeyr attended the Colonial Conference of 1887, in London, and contributed to its proceedings the then novel proposition that each part of the Empire should levy a certain duty upon foreign products--above that imposed upon goods produced in and exported to British dominions--and that the proceeds should be devoted to the maintenance and improvement of the Imperial Navy. He also attended the Colonial Conference at Ottawa in 1894, and had, consequently, received all the knowledge of Imperial development and power which travel and experience and association with the rulers of its various countries could afford. He has, since 1881, always declined office at the Cape, and it is, therefore, apparent that the solution of the personal problem must, in his case, be left to the future--with, perhaps, the further intimation that he is looked upon with great suspicion by local loyalists, and is considered to be the owner, or controlling influence, of Our Land, the chief anti-British organ in Cape Colony.

[Sidenote: An Imperium in Imperio]

From the first the Bund was regarded with suspicion by not only English politicians in the Colony, but by a few of the more sober and statesmanlike leaders amongst the Dutch. They were, however, won over, as time passed, except the President of the Orange Free State. Sir John Brand--he had accepted knighthood from the Queen as an evidence of his British sympathies--absolutely refused to have anything to do with it. "I entertain," said he, "grave doubts as to whether the path the Afrikander Bund has adopted is calculated to lead to that union and fraternization which is so indispensable for the bright future of South Africa. According to my conception the institution of the Bund appears to be desirous of exalting itself above the established Government and forming an imperium in imperio." But, wise and far-seeing as were these views, the Free State President could not hold back his own people from sharing in the movement. Mr. F. W. Reitz, then a Judge at Bloemfontein, afterwards President in succession to Sir John Brand, and, finally, State Secretary of the Transvaal under President Kruger, joined enthusiastically in its organization, and soon had many branches in the Free State itself. Of this period in the history of the Bund, Mr. Theodore Schreiner, son of a German missionary, brother of the Cape Premier and of Olive Schreiner--the bitter anti-British writer--has described an interesting incident in the Cape Times. [Sidenote: Mr. Reitz and the Present War] He says that in 1882 Mr. Reitz earnestly endeavored to persuade him to join the organization, and that the conversation which took place upon his final refusal was so striking as to indelibly convince him that in the mind of Reitz and of other Dutch leaders it constituted, even then, a distinct and matured plot for the driving of British authority out of South Africa. "During the seventeen years that have elapsed," says Mr. Schreiner, "I have watched the propaganda for the overthrow of British power in South Africa being ceaselessly spread by every possible means--the press, the pulpit, the platform, the schools, the colleges, the Legislature--until it has culminated in the present war, of which Mr. Reitz and his co-workers are the origin and the cause. Believe me, sir, the day on which F. W. Reitz sat down to pen his Ultimatum to Great Britain was the proudest and happiest moment of his life, and one which has, for long years, been looked forward to by him with eager longing and expectation."

Branches of the Bund, within a few years, were established all over Cape Colony and the Free State, and, by 1888, the slow-moving mind of the Cape Dutch had grasped the racial idea thus presented with sufficient popular strength to warrant the holding of a large and general Congress. In his opening address the President spoke of a "United South Africa under the British flag;" but at the meeting held on March 4, 1889, at Middleburg, while much was said about the future Afrikander union, references to Britain and the flag were conveniently omitted. The platform, as finally and formally enunciated at this gathering, included the following paragraphs:

"1. The Afrikander National Party acknowledge the guidance of Providence in the affairs of both lands and peoples.

2. They include, under the guidance of Providence, the formation of a pure nationality and the preparation of our people for the establishment of a United South Africa.

3. To this they consider belong--

a. The establishment of a firm union between all the different European nationalities in South Africa.

b. The promotion of South Africa's independence."

[Sidenote: Dutch and English not Harmonious]

There was also a clause of gratuitous impertinence towards the Imperial country--through whose grant of absolute self-government in 1872 the Bund was now beginning to aim, with practical effort, at the racial control of the Colony--in the declaration that "outside interference with the domestic concerns of South Africa shall be opposed." Under the general principles of the platform these "domestic concerns" meant, of course, the relation of the different States toward each other, and the growing rivalry of Dutch and English in matters of Colonial Government, as well as the old-time question of native control and the newer one of territorial extension on the part of Cape Colony. So long as President Brand lived and ruled at Bloemfontein there remained, however, some check upon the Bund as well as upon President Kruger. If he had opposed the Bund actively, as he certainly did in a passive and deprecatory sense, the result might have been a serious hindrance to its progress. Brand's policy was to, indirectly and quietly, keep the Cape Colony and the Free State in harmonious and gradually closer co-operation instead of promoting that closer union of the two republics which was one of the ideals of the Bund leaders. He refused to accept Kruger's proposal of isolating their countries from the British possessions, and thus promoting the policy which, without doubt, had, since 1881, been shaping itself in the latter's mind. But, in 1888, Sir John Brand died, and was succeeded by F. W. Reitz. The influence of the new régime became at once visible in the platform above quoted, and in the whole succeeding policy of the Free State. It now assumed a more and more intimate alliance with the Transvaal, and frequently, during these years, the question of a union of the two countries was discussed. In 1896 Reitz resigned and accepted the State Secretaryship of the Transvaal--a position analogous in personal power, though not in the matter of responsibility to the people, with that of a Colonial Premier. Mr. M. T. Steyn became President of the Free State and the triumvirate of Kruger, Steyn and Reitz formed, with Mr. W. P. Schreiner and Mr. J. W. Sauer, in the Cape Parliament and Afrikander Bund, a very strong Dutch combination. Just where Mr. Hofmeyr stood it is hard to say now, but the probabilities are that, he was pretty well acquainted with the plots and schemes of these leaders.

[Sidenote: Mr. Cecil Rhodes to the Front]

Meanwhile Mr. Cecil Rhodes had come to the front in mining, in speculation, in wealth, in financial organization, in politics, and in a great policy of Empire expansion. He had studied South Africa from the Cape to the Zambesi as few or no Englishmen have ever been able to do. He understood its Governments, its peoples and its racial complexities with the innate thoroughness of genius or of a woman's intuition. To him the looming menace of the Afrikander Bund was as clear as it had been to President Brand, and, from the time when he entered the Cape Parliament in 1880 and became Premier in 1890 until his retirement from the latter post in 1895, his whole heart and ambition was devoted to preventing Dutch expansion and to checkmating the new Dutch organization with its clever manipulators at Pretoria, Bloemfontein and Cape Town. To this end he founded the famous British South Africa Company, and, by acquiring control over the vast areas of Mashonaland and Matabeleland, effectually checked Dutch expansion to the north of the Transvaal. With this in view he urged upon British statesmen the annexation of Bechuanaland, a huge strip of country to the west of the same Republic; and supported with his influence the annexation of Zululand on the south-east coast, into which many Boers had trekked and for the possession of which they had an intense ambition as opening the way to the sea. His reasons seldom appeared on the surface, and some of them were not fully comprehended in South Africa itself until long after their accomplishment. But there is no doubt that as Mr. Rhodes' power at the Cape became felt, as the great interests of the Chartered Company grew more manifest in their importance to the Empire, and as the wealth and ability of its Chairman became a factor in London as well as in the Colony, so also his influence at the Colonial Office was enhanced.

[Sidenote: Rhodes' Policy of Conciliation]

At the same time he developed this line of action for many years in conjunction with a policy of public conciliation toward the Dutch everywhere. If, eventually, a system of kindly co-operation could be evolved and the principles of the Afrikander Bund rendered comparatively harmless by the winning over of its strongest men at the Cape to his side, and to the continuous expansion of British power in the common interest of a United South Africa, so much the better. If he failed in this he did not, however, propose that the Empire should some day find itself face to face with the problem of a thin line of English settlement--mixed with Dutch--along the sea-coast, in rivalry or conflict with a united Afrikander nation holding all the keys of the interior to the north and stretching from the Delagoa region on the east to the German possessions on the west. Hence his continuous acquisition of territory, and hence the present position of the two republics--surrounded by British soil except for the small strip of Portuguese possessions to the east of the Transvaal. Hence, also, his hope that as British power grew in South Africa the Bund would eventually see the futility of its effort to make the whole country a Dutch republic, and would meet his policy of conciliation at least half way. Between 1890 and 1895, when the Jameson Raid and his resignation of the Premiership took place, Mr. Rhodes' speeches teemed with expressions of friendliness toward the Dutch, of appreciation of their rights in South Africa, of sympathy with all legitimate aspirations, of appeals for co-operation. In his Ministry, from time to time, he managed to include leaders of the roll such as W. P. Schreiner, J. W. Sauer, T. N. G. Te Water, and so prominent a Boer supporter of later days as J. X. Merriman. But it seems to have become gradually apparent to his mind that conciliation was practically useless; that the influence and power of the Afrikander movement was daily growing stronger; that Kruger had become too great a force with the Dutch of the Cape for him to be checkmated by friendly demonstrations or appeals; and that the oppression of the Uitlanders in the Transvaal was a growing evidence of Boer unity and arrogance just as the increasing electoral strength of the Cape Boers was a proof of their developing power. [Sidenote: England's Ignorance of the Situation] And, above all, he was aware that while this web of inter-state Dutch conspiracy was building up the Afrikander Bund into a great anti-British force, England was profoundly ignorant of the whole matter and was resting in the belief, expressed by passing travellers and presented by the usual number of superficial political theorists, that the Dutch and English of South Africa were not only dwelling together in amity, but were developing increased sympathy, and that the Uitlander trouble, of which vague reports were beginning to reach the British public, was more or less the creation of a transition period of development and would soon settle itself.

To meet the dulled vision of the British people, to settle the Transvaal issue without war between the Republic and the Empire, to play with President Kruger at his own game and overthrow him by an internal rebellion, Rhodes approved the general idea of the Jameson Raid and of external assistance to the people of Johannesburg. The policy was carried out rashly and prematurely by his deputy, the Uitlanders were not ready and did not redeem their promises, it failed and he had to retire from office. But one important result was achieved. The eyes of the British public were in some measure opened to the seriousness of the situation in South Africa. Mr. Chamberlain and the members of the Imperial Ministry no doubt knew something already of the general position from private advices--if in no other way--and it was for this reason that they stood by Mr. Rhodes when the Raid came before a Parliamentary Committee for investigation. They had not, of course, known of the Raid itself or supported its aggressive action. The code of honor, personal and political, is too high amongst British statesmen to permit of anyone but a sensational journalist or an unusually violent partisan accepting such a supposition for a moment. But they did understand the motive and were not prepared to punish the self-confessed originator, although obliged to allow the legal punishment of the active participators. Mr. Rhodes could not defend himself, and Mr. Chamberlain could not publicly support him in connection with the matter, without avowing their belief in the disloyalty of a portion of the population of Cape Colony and their knowledge of a secret conspiracy shared in by the chiefs of two nominally friendly republics. The former would have involved the making of unwise charges which, in the nature of things, could hardly have been proved, and if proved would have done more harm than good; the latter would have meant a war which it might still be possible to avert.

[Sidenote: Efforts and Conciliation not Successful]

Mr. Hofmeyr, the nominal leader of the Bund in Cape Colony, might at almost any time during recent years have become Premier and, through his reputation for moderate views, might, perhaps, have done good service to the cause of compromise and conciliation. On the other hand, it is doubtful whether he could have succeeded in this respect when Mr. Rhodes, between 1890 and 1895, failed. The latter did everything that man could do to hold the racial elements together and checkmate the Kruger influence, and it seems probable that Hofmeyr could not in the end have resisted the power of Pretoria over the Afrikanders any more effectively than did Mr. W. P. Schreiner in the two years preceding the outbreak of war. His Ministry would have been a Bund Government just as that of Schreiner is to-day; his principal co-workers would have been instruments of Kruger in much the same degree as members of the Schreiner Cabinet have been; and his participation in the general Afrikander movement, or conspiracy, or whatever it may be called, would have been more dangerous than that of Mr. Schreiner because his loyalty has always been asserted, and would have been used, consciously or unconsciously as a cloak for the action of his colleagues and friends. [Sidenote: Kruger's Auspicious Opportunity] In 1898, however, Mr. Schreiner took office; the Bund was triumphant at the polls in Cape Colony and in Parliament; and had a weak Government or vacillating Colonial Secretary been in power in London, Mr. Kruger's day would have indeed come. He undoubtedly built upon this latter possibility and upon his personal experiences of Mr. Gladstone, Lord Kimberley and Lord Derby. To demand, even in the days of Transvaal weakness, had been to receive, and now, with the Uitlander population under the heels of an ironclad law and of enactments allowing them less liberty than was given the Kaffir; with great guns guarding Pretoria and commanding Johannesburg--coupled with the consciousness of other and more extensive military preparations; with the policy of the Imperial Government hampered by the rash aggressiveness of the Jameson Raid; with the Orange Free State in close defensive and offensive alliance and its President a mere tool in his own hands; with clever advisers and unscrupulous helpers such as Reitz and Leyds; with the certainty of European sympathy, the expectation of American support and the hope of active interposition on the part of France, or Russia, or Germany; with the Cape Colonial Government in tacit sympathy with his aims and in occasional active support of his policy; with the assurance of an extensive support from the Boers of the Colony itself; it is not surprising that President Kruger entered the lists at the Bloemfontein Conference with great confidence, and ultimately faced the might of Britain with assurance that the weakness of a British Ministry, the power of a European combination, the interposition of the United States, or some other providential aid, would secure the abrogation of that British suzerainty which was the bane of his life and the chief apparent element in preventing the supremacy in South Africa of the Dutch race in general and the Transvaal Republic in particular.

[Sidenote: Chamberlain's Strong Policy]

But he knew not Mr. Chamberlain or the changed conditions of British thought. He did not realize that the days of indifference to the Colonies had passed away, and that the Colonial Office had become one of the greatest posts in the British Government and had been deliberately selected by one of the most ambitious and able of modern statesmen as a suitable field for achievement and labor. He had no idea that the retention and extension of British territory was no longer a party question, and that the days of Granville at the Foreign Office had as completely passed away as had those of Derby at the Colonial Office. His very knowledge of British political life and its see-saw system was turned into a source of error through the rapid developments of an epoch-making decade. It must have been a shock to him to find that an insult to the Imperial Government in the form of his ultimatum was looked upon as an insult to a dozen other British Governments throughout the world, and that the invasion of the soil of Natal and Cape Colony was regarded as an assault upon the interests of Canada and Australia as well as of Great Britain. The days of weakness had indeed departed, and despite all the conciliatory slowness and caution of Mr. Chamberlain during weary months of controversy the iron hand was concealed beneath the glove of velvet and there was nowhere a thought of surrendering that right of suzerainty which preserved and ensured British supremacy in South Africa. The inevitable war has now come--the struggle which the Gladstone Government shrank from in days when the Boer Power was weak, and which Sir George Grey spoke of in its wider sense when he declared, in 1858, after the abandonment of the Orange River State, that "many questions might arise, in which it might be very doubtful which of the two Governments the great mass of the Dutch population (in Cape Colony) would obey."

[Sidenote: Uitlander's Many Grievances]

Its more immediate cause has not been the chief reason, though, of course, the more prominent and pronounced. The position of the Uitlander was bad enough, and the facts which have been drilled into the public mind and explained in the dispatches of Mr. Chamberlain and Sir Alfred Milner are sufficiently explicit. Since 1895 the hundred thousand aliens--chiefly British subjects--established in Johannesburg and at the mines have been subjected to every restriction of liberty which is conceivably possible. None of the rights of self-government pledged in the Conventions of 1881 and 1884 have been given them or rendered possible in any succeeding period worthy of consideration. The press had been gagged and public discussion prevented; the Courts had been made subservient to the Boer Volksraad and the money raised in taxes applied upon armaments directed against Great Britain and the Uitlander. No attention had been paid to industrial development or financial security and the drink traffic amongst the natives had been openly encouraged. No protection had been given to individual Englishmen and their families by the Boer Police and education had become a matter of Dutch language and Dutch methods. Roman Catholics were excluded from even the faintest chance of obtaining the franchise and monopolies were publicly sold to Hollander favorites and adventurers. Heavier and heavier burdens of taxes have been laid upon the Uitlanders--poll tax, railway tax, road tax, miner's claims, digger's license, prospector's license. An enactment made in 1894, in addition to the five years' residence required of adult aliens, declared that the children of such, though born in the Transvaal, must wait fourteen years after making claim for the right to vote. The respectable, educated Hindoo merchants had been classed with and treated with the same contempt as the indentured coolies. These things were surely cause enough for Mr. Chamberlain's intervention, and more than cause for his sustained effort to obtain equal rights for British men.

[Sidenote: Causes of the War]

Nominally, therefore, the failure to modify these grievances and abuses of the Uitlander was the cause of the condition out of which war came. Practically, the cause was in the distant past, in the character of the Boer, the development of his peculiar history, the British mistakes of 1836, 1852 and 1877, the aggressive Dutch pride of recent years, the historical hatred of the English, the growth of military resources in the Transvaal, the evolution of the Afrikander Bund, the determination to create a Dutch South Africa. The means for success, even to the most utterly ignorant and intensely vain Dutchman, were not apparent until the gold mines of the Witwatersrand paved the way and the revenues of the little State rose in the following ratio from $889,000 in 1885--the year preceding the discoveries--to nearly $25,000,000 in the year 1897:

1886 ............... $1,902,165

1892 ............... $6,279,145

1887 ............... 3,342,175

1893 ............... 8,513,420

1888 ............... 4,422,200

1894 ............... 11,238,640

1889 ............... 7,887,225

1895 ............... 17,699,775

1890 ............... 6,145,300

1896 ............... 22,660,970

1891 ............... 4.835.955

1897 ............... 24,432,495

[Sidenote: Misappropriation of Taxes]

For an assumed Boer population of little more than 200,000, the expenditure of this large sum would have been difficult under ordinary and honest conditions of government. Nothing, practically was expended upon the Uitlanders, from whom the revenue came, and nothing upon the 800,000 Kaffirs in the country. Nothing was spent upon the development of natural resources, and but little upon the extension of railways, etc. Of this $120,000,000, in round numbers, it might be fair to allow $3,000,000 per annum for ordinary purposes of administration and development during the twelve years, or one million per annum more than had been spent by the Free State in any year of the same period. It would then be reasonably safe to assume that the remaining $84,000,000, and the acquired indebtedness of $13,000,000, have been spent upon fortifications, armament, subsidies to foreign papers and politicians and salaries to Hollander adventurers. It is in this connection a curious fact that the imports to the Transvaal in 1898 were over a hundred millions in value, with no recorded exports--except gold, of which the production in 1897 was over $85,000,000. These imports must have consisted very largely of ammunition and military supplies, as the Boers are not a people who use extraneous products or luxuries. Of course, the Uitlanders were responsible for a portion; but the great bulk must have been made up of articles very different from the usual commodities of peaceful commerce. Such was the state of affairs, in a brief summary, which led up to the diplomatic crash between Mr. Chamberlain and President Kruger, to the negotiations conducted by Sir Alfred Milner and the two Presidents, and to the invasion of the British Colonies on the eleventh of October, 1899.

[Illustration: LT.-COL. T. D. B. EVANS, Canadian Mounted Rifles in South Africa. LT.-COL. F. L. LESSARD, Commanding Royal Canadian Dragoons in South Africa. LIEUT. JAMES C. MASON, First Canadian Contingent in South Africa. LIEUT.-COL. A. M. COSBY Commanding 48th Royal Highlanders, Toronto, and his two sons in the Second Contingent in South Africa--Lieut. F. Lorne Cosby and Norman W. Cosby]

[Illustration: COLONEL BADEN-POWELL. GENERAL FRENCH]

Parent Category: Books
Category: Hopkins and Halstead: South Africa and the Boer-British War
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