Finding us without a "Leader" for the Day, Lord Stanley writes one.
"The Friend" of April 3rd began its reading matter with a leader by the Censor. When he came to look over our proofs on that day he learned that we had not been able to find time to write an editorial. The value of a series of leading articles calculated either to inspire the army or to pacify or instruct the Boers had been newly impressed upon us by Sir Alfred Milner, and had, without doubt, been discussed at the headquarters of the Field Marshal.
"I will see if I can write one," said Lord Stanley, and, seating himself by the smaller table, where pens and paper were at hand, he began and finished the editorial here reproduced, without even one of the "false starts" which even we who are most practised so often make; and, so far as I recollect, without more than two or three erasures of words. This gave me a new view of the capabilities of our censor--a view in which he appeared more than ever the fittest man in all the army for his exacting post.
W. B. Wollen, R.I. Mr. Maxwell, of the Standard. Mr. Melton Prior. Mr. Rennet, of "Laffan's Bureau."
Lord Stanley Censoring Reports of a Battle. Photographed by Mr. H. Mackern, of "Scribner's Magazine."]
Perhaps the reader will see at this date and stage of the discussion over the lessons of the war that the practical, and with him wholly original, words spoken by Lord Dundonald in London on December 15th, were in some measure anticipated by Lord Stanley in this editorial. Both these noblemen set the same high value upon the services of the men of England without regard to class. Lord Dundonald said they would fight when called upon, but the best of them would not willingly or comfortably undergo the exactions of long-sustained military discipline. Our Censor was, at that time, for making their service an instantly ready organised source of strength to the Empire.
Though there is little to republish from the columns of THE FRIEND of that day, the newspaper was a very complete and excellent collation of news of South Africa, the war, and the world. On this particular day, April 3rd, we published one of Mr. G. W. Steevens's artistic letters from the Natal front, taken from the Daily Mail; we copied an important article on the lessons of the war written by Mr. Amery for the Times, and altogether the army found the number very readable.
(Edited by the War Correspondents with Lord Roberts' Force.)
No. 15.] BLOEMFONTEIN, TUESDAY, APRIL 3, 1900. [Price One Penny.
A LESSON LEARNED.
BY LORD STANLEY.
This war, with the opportunity it has offered to all branches of the service to see how the military machinery works when running at high pressure, must teach not only those who are out here superintending and running the machine, but also those at home who are paying for its running, many a useful lesson.
That the machine has worked smoothly nobody for one minute will assert--but it certainly has run sufficiently smoothly to show that, with some alteration which experience alone could suggest to be desirable, our military engine may very easily be made as perfect as those of the Continental Powers are popularly supposed to be.
But it is not our intention to show what failings have been discovered, and what lessons in manoeuvring--in transport--in equipment--are required to be learned. Our object to-day is to congratulate ourselves that one lesson at least which had to be learned has been partially learned--and that is that England must look not to one class or two classes of men for her soldiers and sailors, but must be able to draw upon all sorts and conditions of men, the rich alike with the poor, when she has to defend her honour at home or abroad.
The first part of the lesson has been learned, and men of all ranks in life are vying with each other in their desire to serve their country in any capacity, however humble. This is good, but the lesson has not been entirely taken to heart yet. It will not do for England to have to wait for an hour of danger before these men come to the front. They must always be there at hand when required, and it behoves the Government at home to so legislate as to make permanent in the ranks of our army those classes of men who are now in it temporarily.
Conscription may be a nasty pill for some to swallow. But what is in a name? Let us call it universal service, and let us ask our fellow countrymen at home to be prepared to emulate the example of those who are on service here and to be ready at all times and in all places to guard and defend the national flag--the symbol of British prestige and integrity.
POOR OLD CRONJE.
Driven from pillar to post,
Battered with shot and shell,
Knowing full well his cause was lost,
When the last of his burghers fell.
Surrounded on every hand,
He and his Army lay,
Determined to make a final stand,
Like a wounded stag at bay.
When the British guns belched forth,
The burghers held their breath,
And down in the trenches deep they hid
From these Messengers of Death.
But the British had the range,
And their lyddite and shrapnel fell
Into their trenches till they thought
We'd opened the gates of hell.
Then Cronje had enough,
And a message came to say
That he and his army surrendered,
And this on Majuba Day:
The day that the Boers held
And rejoiced with might and main,
The day they laid their arms on the veldt;
The day they'll ne'er hold again.
For Cronje's day is done,
The despot's rule is o'er,
Their hell-fire on the Women
And the Red-cross is no more.
For under escort he jogs along
With never a word to say;
He and his army four thousand strong
All bound for Table Bay.
And Cronje can pray as long as he may,
Till his poor old knees are sore;
But it seems Lord Roberts has found the way
To outwit the wily Boer,
And St. Helena is his quarters
Till the Transvaal War is o'er.
JAS. L. WATSON, 1st Scots Guards.
Below we give a translation of a Dutch proclamation issued by Sir George Cathcart nearly half a century ago. The Capetown Argus says that it shows a marked similarity to Lord Roberts' recent proclamation explaining the cause of the present war, but this we confess we are not so certain of, as that the proclamation is of interest in and for itself.
By His Excellency Lieutenant-General the Hon. George Cathcart, Commander-in-Chief of the Colony of the Cape of Good Hope in South Africa, and Territories and Dependencies thereof, and Vice-Admiral of the same; and Her Majesty's High Commissioner for the execution and adjustment of affairs of the Territory in South Africa bordering on and annexed to the Eastern and Northern Boundaries of the said Colony, and Governor of the Orange River Territory, &c., &c.
Be it hereby made known to all leaders and people of all classes and nationalities within Her Majesty's borders of the Orange River Territory that I have come amongst you to offer equal rights and justice to all in the name of Her Majesty. I have come not to make War, but to settle all disputes and to establish the blessings of Peace.
I therefore instruct and command all of you to remain quiet, every one of you in your own territory, and to await my judgment and decision.
I have with me a sufficient number of troops of the Queen to command obedience, and to punish severely and punctually any Leader, Class, or Tribe who would dare to resist my lawful authority.
All loyal subjects of Her Majesty will be prepared to join me, if I deem it necessary to call upon them for co-operation against any stubborn culprits.
GOD SAVE THE QUEEN!
Given under my Hand and Seal, at Graham's Town, this 15th day of November, 1852.
By order of His Excellency the Governor,
WM. F. LIDDLE,