1: Chain to which the yokes are attached.
2: How I was released will be described later.
3: This was the order. When General de Wet passed through Slabbert's Nek, the following arrangement was decided on: General de Wet was to proceed on the 15th to Heilbron, and General Roux the day after to the south of the State. It was further arranged that General Marthinus Prinsloo should remain in command of a small body of men stationed on the Roodebergen from Commando Nek to Nauwpoort in order to guard the grain districts. General Crowther had on the same day as General Roux to go to Witkop and stay there until he could join General Hattingh, under whom he was then to operate in the districts of Vrede and Harrismith. The unfortunate spirit, however, which, immediately after the departure of the President, arose among the officers at Nauwpoort upset all these arrangements.
4: A week later, when the two men met each other again, General Fourie declared that he had sent someone to tell General de Villiers that he was going forward, and that therefore the fault did not lie with him. Speaking to General Fourie, subsequently, I learned that the messenger was sent early in the evening; and I remember that the man did come to us. But the message he brought was a request that General de Villiers should act in accordance with the agreement. This person remained behind, and it may be that he purposely delivered a wrong message in order to induce General de Villiers and his burghers to remain there, and thus swell the numbers of those remaining behind.
5: So the ridge was named near Zwartlapberg ever since the famous passage of the 14th December 1900. Sprinkhaans Nek proper lies somewhat farther north.
6: At Ventersburg I had a cart lent me by General Botha.
7: General Fourie had a short time previously been arrested on the charge of carrying on unlawful correspondence with the English.
8: Ceylon. The original of this song is in Dutch, of which the above is but a feeble rendering.
9: This was not the officer who had removed Mrs. Ecksteen.
10: That letter was as follows:—
Government Office, on the Field, 10th May 1901.
His Honour, the Government Secretary, O.F.S.,
Honoured Sir,—Herewith I have the honour to inform you that on this day the following officers have met the Government here, viz.: His Honour the Commandant-General, General B. J. Viljoen, General J. C. Smuts (State-Attorney), the latter representing the western districts. Our condition was fully discussed, and the following points considered:—
First. That small groups of burghers are still constantly surrendering to the enemy, and that this danger is becoming a more and more serious one, whereby we are exposed to the risk of our cause coming to a dishonourable conclusion, because the result may be, that the Government and the officers may be left in the veld without any burghers. This imposes a heavy responsibility upon the Government and the officers, seeing that they represent the people, and not themselves.
Secondly. That our supply of ammunition is so exhausted that no battle of any importance can any more be fought, and that we shall thereby be reduced to the condition of hopelessly fleeing hither and thither before the enemy. Owing to this also it is becoming impossible for us to protect our people with their cattle, who thus are becoming poorer and more and more despondent, and we shall soon be unable to supply our forces with food.
Thirdly. For the reasons above stated, the authority of the Government is gradually being weakened, and the danger has arisen that the people will lose all respect and obedience for their lawful leaders, and lapse into a state of disorder, and our further persistence in such a struggle can only tend more and more to ruin our people, and to make it apparent to them that it is only the enemy who has authority in the land.
Fourthly. Not only is our people being disintegrated in the way above stated, but it will also surely happen that the leaders of the people whose personal influence has hitherto kept them together will fall into total disrepute, and will lose all influence, by which every hope of the revival of the national spirit in the future will be lost.
Fifthly. The people constantly insist upon an answer to the question, what prospect there exists of carrying on the war to a successful issue, and they have a right to expect that when it is become clear to the Government and the leaders that there is no longer any sound reason to be hopeful for our cause, this shall be honestly and candidly made known to them. Hitherto the Government had expected that through the efforts of our Deputation and European complications there might be some hope for our cause.
And this Government feels strongly that before taking any final resolution another effort should be made to arrive at certainty with regard to this.
Taking into consideration the above-named points, the Government, with the officers already named, has resolved as follows:—
1. That a request shall at once be made to Lord Kitchener that by means of delegates to be sent by us to Europe, the condition of our country shall be communicated to President Kruger, which delegates should then return as speedily as possible.
2. That if this request be refused, or should lead to negative results, an armistice should then be asked for, whereby an opportunity shall be afforded, in conjunction with your Government, to consult the people of both States, in order finally to decide what is to be done.
This is, however, subject to any suggestion that your Government, bearing in mind the above-stated difficulties, may be able to offer.
This Government feels very earnestly that the time is gone by for allowing this matter to drift, and that the time has come for taking decisive steps, and would therefore be glad to receive an answer from your Government.—I have the honour to be,
Your Obedient Servant,
(Signed) F. W. Reitz, State Secretary.
11: This Proclamation runs as follows:—
By His Excellency, Baron Kitchener of Khartoum, G.C.B., K.C.M.G., General Commander-in-Chief of His Majesty's forces in South Africa, High Commissioner for South Africa, Administrator of the Transvaal, etc. etc. etc.
Whereas the late Orange Free State and South African Republics have been annexed to His Majesty's dominions:
And whereas His Majesty's forces have for a considerable time been in full possession of both territories aforesaid, together with their public offices and all the machinery of administration, as well as of all the principal towns, and of the railways:
And whereas the great majority of the burghers of the two late Republics, to the number of 35,000, not counting those who have been killed in the war, are now prisoners of war, or have submitted to His Majesty's Government, and are now living quietly in villages or camps under the protection of His Majesty's forces:
And whereas the burghers of the late Republics who are now under arms against His Majesty's forces are not only few in number, but have lost almost all their guns and munitions of war, and are without proper military organisation, and therefore unable to carry on regular warfare, or to offer any organised opposition to His Majesty's forces in any portion of the country:
And whereas the burghers who are now still under arms, although unable to carry on regular warfare, continue to make attacks on small and isolated posts, and bodies of His Majesty's forces, to rob and destroy property and to damage railway and telegraph lines, as well in the Orange River Colony as in the Transvaal, and other portions of His Majesty's South African dominions:
And whereas the country is thereby kept in a state of unrest, and the carrying on of agriculture and commerce is prevented:
And whereas His Majesty's Government has resolved to put an end to a condition which causes the useless shedding of blood, and needless destruction of property to continue, and is causing the ruin of the large majority of the population, who are desirous of living in peace, and to earn a livelihood for themselves and their families:
And whereas it is right to take steps against those who still resist, and especially against those persons who, having authority, are responsible for the continuance of the existing condition of affairs, and who are urging their fellow-burghers to persist in their hopeless resistance to His Majesty's Government:
Therefore it is that I, Horatio Herbert, Baron of Khartoum, K.C.B., K.C.M.G, General Commander-in-Chief of His Majesty's forces in South Africa, High Commissioner of South Africa, by order of His Majesty's Government, proclaim and make known as follows:—
All Commandants, Field-Cornets, and Leaders of armed bands, being burghers of the late Republics, who still continue to resist His Majesty's forces in the Orange River Colony and Transvaal, or any other portion of His Majesty's South African Possessions, and all members of the Governments of the late Orange River Colony and the South African Republic shall, unless they surrender before the 15th of September next, be for ever banished from South Africa; the cost of support of families of burghers still in the field who shall not have surrendered before the 15th of September shall be claimable against such burghers, and shall be a charge upon their properties movable as well as immovable.
God save the King!
Given under my hand at Pretoria this 7th day of August 1901.
Kitchener, General, High Commissioner of South Africa.
12: This happened during a fight.
13: The Extract was as follows:—
Let the Boers know that de Wet's assertions re Peace and Arbitration are utter falsehoods, and that it is my opinion that de Wet and Steyn, having nothing to lose, wish to ruin the Boers utterly. If they (the Boers) desire to have peace, we are ready; and the only means I can see to bring this about is for the burghers to take this matter into their own hands, and to elect about two or three representatives to meet me on this subject, when I feel assured we could so arrange it that they should not lose the rest of their property and cattle. We shall be glad, when the war is over, to help them as far as possible with their farming operations. It is my wish to see the burghers with their wives and children back at their farms. Their losses are the fault of their leaders, who are responsible for urging them on to continue a struggle which they know to be useless. If they follow these men, further destruction of their property is unavoidable; if they take the matter into their own hands, I feel certain that we can arrange matters; and we have the best wish to help the Boers, who have constantly been misled. I do not wish individuals to surrender, as I prefer that those who are dissatisfied shall remain out with their commandos, and should use their influence to bring about a complete and not a partial peace, so that all may return to their farms.... But if Boers surrender, they will not be sent away, and they will retain their property and cattle. A corporal must bring in ten armed men, a field-cornet twenty-five, and a commandant fifty men, to entitle them or admit them to such considerations.
14: Reuter's correspondent at Hamilton, Bermudas, writing on the 14th September 1901.
15: We found a report here, fixed on a board, of an address delivered by Lord Kitchener at Belfast on the 18th and 19th of December 1901, with this heading: Burghers, read this! The contents were for the most part the same as those of the extract of the letter already given. Lord Kitchener declared that the behaviour of the Boers in the veld seemed very foolish to him. It was not war that was now being carried on, for the operations rather resembled police operations, seeing that the troops had to capture the burghers. He said that the English captured between four and five hundred burghers every week. The Boers in the veld seemed to him like sheep without a shepherd. He feared that the present leaders were animated by other motives than the welfare of their country at heart, and that, unless the Boers acted for themselves, they would be led to complete ruin. The destruction of property which still continued was to be deplored, but it was the fault of the present leaders, who misled the people by assuring them that they would receive help from abroad. The burghers should judge for themselves, Lord Kitchener advised. They ought to convene meetings and vote, not by a show of hands, but by ballot, so that they might not be accused of so-called high treason—whether they would continue the war or not. If the majority were in favour of continuing the war, let them do so; but he warned them that in that case the responsibility would rest on the burghers themselves. If, however, the majority were in favour of peace, the burghers should choose other leaders in the place of those who had held them in the veld by means of lies and threats. Lord Kitchener believed that if the Boers in the field chose a committee, and sent this committee to him, he would receive them; and he felt convinced that, before they left, they would have agreed on a peace acceptable to both parties. Voluntary surrenders would be accepted, if the men came in in parties, and their cattle and property would be guaranteed. They would, however, do better work by remaining on the veld and using their influence with the leaders to bring this about. Officers surrendering with their men would not be banished. Lord Kitchener further indulged in the spiteful remark that President Steyn and General de Wet (he called them "Steyn" and "de Wet") profited financially by the continuance of the war.
16: I accepted the post of acting-secretary not for the position, but in order to get material for my book.
17: Here is a sketch of the camp— Orange Free State.
1' Tents of Delegates. 2
2' Tents of members of Government. 3
3' Dining-room of Delegates. 4
4' Dining-room of members of Government. 5
5 Tent for the conference. 6
6' Tents of English officers who had the duty of providing for the Delegates.