Major General Baden-Powell's new appointment—His successor —My tour of inspection—Hard work and fitness—A capable factotum—Crocodiles—Chief Matoppo's kraal—His eleven queens—Not too old at fifty—Reform in the judicial system —The War Claims Commission—The census—Baseless rumours—The plagues—President Kruger's funeral—Politics—The Chinese labour question—Chinese outrages—An ingenious excuse—Colonel Nicholson's generosity—Visit of the Duke and Duchess of Connaught—The guarding of the Rand—The Royal Commission—My recommendations —Boer officers—My resignation—The Simmer and Jack Mine—We leave for England—My wife's illness—"Home" again—A pleasant time in England—Back to Canada—In harness again—The new west—The pioneers' reward


In February, 1903, Major General Baden-Powell was appointed Inspector General of Cavalry in Great Britain and Ireland, and was succeeded by Colonel Nicholson, chief staff officer of the S.A.C.

When Colonel Nicholson returned from England in June and took over command of the S.A.C., I was able to report to him that, during bis absence in England, I had made a complete tour on horseback of my division, inspected the different district headquarters, the outposts, men, horses, arms, accoutrements, kits, clothing, police records, all books, ammunition, messing ; had spoken to every member of the division to ascertain if he had any complaints, or if there was anything that I could do for him. I found the discipline very good, and that the removal from the division of every man who had misbehaved himself in public or had been a disgrace to the corps, had a good effect, leaving the division with as fine and respectable a body of men as anyone could desire to command. I had found officers and men keen on their work and well acquainted with their districts and the inhabitants, and the officers with a sound knowledge of the character and capabilities of the N.C.O.’s and men under their command. They knew the country so well that they could take me over any by-path, trail or mountain to any place in the district. The officers and men were respected by the inhabitants of the country, all of whom made a practice of coming to them when they were in need of advice or help. The horses were in good condition for the work they had to do, and, as directed by me in the spring, care had been taken to select places for the outposts which would be fairly free from horse-sickness, in fact, many posts were perfectly safe. In some parts of the Zoutpansberg they could be kept out at grass night and day.

I worked hard those days and rode some of the longest •distances travelled on horseback. It would be tedious to give details of the tour and of the work at all the posts visited, but in each case the inspection was of the most searching character, even to the nails in the horses’ shoes. To show the condition I was in, I may say that I lost only two pounds in the 1,800 mile trek, and as I rode a horse with a different pace and gait every day it made the work more difficult. No other officer could or did stay with me on those trips without a great deal of fatigue. The total mileage of my tour was 1,800 miles on horseback and 1000 by rail. This work was done over again every year.

Although I do not propose to give a detailed account of the tour, there were a few incidents and episodes that, I think, are worth recording.

At one farm, that of Mr. Shepstone, a son of the late Sir Theophilus Shepstone, at one time governor of the Transvaal, we found the owner away from home. He had invited us to stay at his place at any time when I or any of the S.A.C. officers were passing there, and he had left orders with his stalwart Zulu factotum that we were to be given the best in the house when we arrived. The Zulu met us at the door, ordered the Kaffir servants to take our horses, showed us to our rooms, and when dinner was ready announced the fact in good English. The meal was served by native girls in snow-white garments, while the big Zulu watched every move, and when we retired asked us when we should like breakfast.

During the whole of the war when the “ baas ” was away the Zulu had held the place, and, although there was much valuable plate in his charge, not a spoon or other article was missing when Mr. Shepstone returned. If any commandoes came near during hostilities, he sent the native boys round to them to say that the British were occupying the place in force. He certainly must have had some mysterious way of holding the farm, for it was left untouched by Boer and Briton, and the house was one of the best that I saw in the country parts of the Transvaal.

Near one of our halting-places a native woman and child were devoured by a crocodile, which was afterwards killed and found to contain the remains of the poor creatures. I have never been able to understand why the inhabitants of a civilized country, with the natives under control, took no steps to destroy those hideous, loathsome reptiles, which are so rapacious that they will eat their own young. The natives, especially the women and children, run great risks where the rivers are infested by them. Cages have to be made of stakes driven into the mud of the banks to protect the women while they are washing clothes or getting water. The reptiles have been known to seize mules and horses even when they are harnessed and being driven across the fords. A short time before he joined the S.A.C. one of the officers, at a great risk of his life, rescued a native woman who had been seized by a crocodile and was being taken away to its lair.

We visited the stronghold of Chief Matoppo, who at the time was in banishment. We found the kraal situated in a wildlooking spot surrounded by enormous, irregular rocks, to gain an entrance between which we had to creep on all fours. Within the enclosure there was a large, complete and clean Kaffir kraal of many huts and one corrugated iron building, which was perched on an eminence and dominated the ronda- vels in the kraal. As soon as we entered we were welcomed by Matoppo’s Induna, who had charge of the chief’s eleven queens, of all ages from eighteen years and upwards, and were conducted to the big council rondavel, which was very clean like the rest, but without any seats. These were soon provided for us, however, and the Induna, with a large number of others, sat on the hard mud floor, with their backs against the wall, and after a talk, in which I explained that the S.A.C. were in the country to protect both Europeans and natives, the queens came into the hut on all fours, although the door was high enough for a tall man, and passed round to us large gourds full of fresh Kaffir beer, which we tasted, and it was then given to the natives. When this ceremony was over we went outside and were photographed with the queens by Jarvis and de Havilland in turn, as neither of them would miss the opportunity of being snapshotted with the dusky maidens.

The natives in this kraal, both male and female, were of very fine physique and of a rich brown colour. More perfectly proportioned people it would be difficult to meet anywhere. They seemed to be equal to the Zulus, and the men were said to be very warlike and, previous to the British occupation of the country, difficult to manage, being unwilling to pay the hut tax, which, as a matter of fact, the Boers found it almost impossible to collect, the chiefs merely handing over a few hundred pounds to the commissioner. That day was past and gone, however; we had disarmed the natives, and under our escort every hut was visited and had to be paid for promptly on the spot.

When we left the kraal we descended the hill through fine crops of mealies and Kaffir com. The latter is a sort of millet which the natives find useful for the manufacture of their beer. We saw the eleven queens again, busy collecting and storing the grain, which they placed in egg-shaped holes in the ground, and then covered over carefully with the leaves and earth. The women were working under the direction of the eldest queen, who kept them well occupied, and it was remarkable how easily and gracefully they walked with upwards of 50 pounds on their heads.

Most of the Kaffir kraals are, for sanitary reasons, perched on the high ground of the kopjes, and, as the women carry the water to the kraal while their lazy mates loaf the livelong day, it does not matter to the men how far the kraal is distant from the wells or spruits.

When we got back to Pretoria from one part of our tour we found invitations awaiting us for a ball that was to be held that evening. We had had a hard day, including 50 miles fast riding, and had only arrived at Pretoria at 6.30 p.m., but 8.30 found us at the ball. To ride 50 miles and go to a ball the same evening at the age of 50 is another indication that I was in pretty good condition.

In other lines of work, also, there was much to do. The justices of the peace had no power to try cases and, when the resident magistrates convicted law-breakers for offences, however trifling, the guard-rooms at the headquarters of districts and sub-districts could not be used to incarcerate them even for short terms of imprisonment, but all had to be sent to Pretoria, our men having to escort them for many miles by road and train, to the great wear and tear of horseflesh on the hard trails and much worry on the trains when there were many of them. This state of affairs was brought to the notice of the law department, but that section was at that time so strongly entrenched in old customs that Lord Milner in person had to be interviewed before anything was done to mend matters. The desired changes were then made, and later on resident justices of the peace were appointed to deal with cases as in other parts of the Empire, and as time went on, as a measure of economy and to promote greater efficiency, the officers of our force, as in the N.W.M.P., were gazetted as justices, and all members of the constabulary were permitted to prosecute in the resident magistrates’ courts.

It took time to effect those reforms, and they only came about through the influence of the High Commissioner after persistent efforts at first to enlist the law department had failed, even after it had been represented that it would save much worry and annoyance to farmers, who often had to ride or drive 60 or 70 miles to appear before the resident magistrate, and to constabulary troopers who had to escort Kaffirs, who were, of course, on foot, for very long distances. When these changes were brought the benefit of the system was palpable even to the law department.

The War Claims Commission finished its very important duties about the end of 1903, with only one joke recorded against them, which was that when a farmer in the southwestern Transvaal applied for compensation for the loss of some pigs and fowls which had been used by the soldiers, he was awarded damages for the loss of the hogs, but not for the fowls, because the troops derived no appreciable benefit from fowls!

Although the natives had been disarmed, they could still be a menace to the farmers and isolated persons, and needed careful watching, as the latter had very few rifles. I had a very long section of the Portuguese border carefully patrolled to prevent gun-running, and we could take care of the game quite as well as the game wardens posted in the low country, who were constantly objecting to any patrols. They did not seem to recognize the fact that to prevent the natives from having facilities for murdering the farmers or starting a rebellion was quite as important as the preservation of the game and the lions and other beasts of prey, which, being undisturbed, were increasing so fast as to be a danger to the isolated settlements. Of course I paid no attention to the remonstrances of the game wardens which came to me, and kept the patrols moving in that Tegion.

The Boers were very friendly and anxious to have our detachments near them, and they made at first a good deal of the reported risings of the natives, but all the time they knew better, and were only making excuses to get rifles to shoot game, and one cannot blame them, for they had always done so, and from the day their ancestors settled in the colony every Dutchman had the best and latest pattern rifle in his house.

In February, 1904, the question of taking a census came up. When it was decided upon and the news of it spread -throughout the divisions, some evil-disposed persons, and they were many, circulated a story amongst the Boer farmers to the -effect that the census was a plan of the British to cause the \ Dutch to be in their homes at a given date, so that the natives ■could fall upon them and finish the burghers and their families at one fell swoop, thus settling the political question for all lime. Of course there were not many who would believe this foolish and wicked story, but there were some who did, and took to the woods and kopjes for protection on the night they were expected to be at home !

During the same year cattle and horse diseases prevailed to a frightful extent. East Coast fever and Rhodesian Red- water for the former, and the dreadful sickness for the latter.

Cattle diseases became prevalent where they had never been before, and our veterinary surgeons and those of the hard- worked and useful department of agriculture were kept busy. Ours had much of their time occupied in teaching our officers, N.C.O.’s and men how to mix and apply the wash and dip- required to prevent the spread of the cattle disease. But these matters, though bad for the country, were not all; there were enemies to good-will who had come from afar to destroy the good name of their countrymen in peace as they had in war, spreading falsehood through the land, about the humane government, as they previously had when vilifying the truehearted British officers and soldiers. Following this plague came the locusts from German East Africa. Of course the S.A.C. had to take a hand to show the farmers how to use the fungi provided for their destruction. The attempts made were useless, however, for the breeding grounds were beyond our reach and control, and, as long as the barren wastes to the west of the Transvaal are allowed to breed these pests, there will be a certainty of their periodical visits.

Following the locusts came the bubonic plague, brought into the country by rats which came by sea, and our patrols were kept busy preventing people from moving into or out of the isolation camps which were established for the sick. This disease did not last long, and the people who caught it were fortunately few. It came in during the month of March, and had entirely disappeared in a couple of months, but had great care not been taken it might have been serious.

In April there were more reports of native unrest circulated by alarmists who always saw war or rebellion in the air. Those people could never get it into their heads that unarmed natives could not make a successful rising. They had not even an assegai, and the patrols along the border were so careful that nothing in the shape of arms and ammunition could be brought in.

The native census was completed in May, 1904, and it was found that my district commands had a much better idea of their numbers than the native commissioners who were in charge of them. Captain Jarvis estimated the natives in the Zoutpansberg at 300,000 in round numbers; the native commissioner put the estimate at 250,000; the actual census was 309,000. When this census was over my officers made reports and maps of their districts, showing as accurately as possible without a regular survey the roads, rivers, spruits, mountain ranges, hills, kopjes, Kaffir kraals, forests, marshes, farm-houses, Kaffir locations, the resources of the districts, and the supplies available in time of trouble. These reports were made carefully and proved to be of great use to me.

On December 17, 1904, I took 200 of my men, mounted, to assist in keeping order at the obsequies of the late President Kruger. The remains had been brought from Europe, and were interred in Pretoria cemetery with great pomp. Many thousands of persons from all parts of South Africa, especially the two colonies, were present, and the leading Boer generals wrere there. Everything went off in a way very creditable to all concerned, and on the day following the funeral I received a very courteous letter of thanks from the Boer committee of arrangements and also from the City Council, expressing their great satisfaction with the way our duties were performed.

In August our preparations were being made to get the voters’ lists of the two colonies prepared, as the work was in our hands. Politics ran high; Het Volk meetings were being held and many persons, who were not in the confidence of the government, thought it was rebellion, but it was merely organization by the Dutch so as to be ready for the elections. At the same time some prominent Anglo-Saxons were perched on the political boundary fence, ready to change their allegiance. The worst enemies of the government were British-born persons, agitators who made it their business to fool the electorate, but, as the great Abraham Lincoln said, “ You cannot fool all the people all the time,” and seven years have disposed of those gentry who promised that the new government, especially if it were Dutch, would give the skilled miners, poor creatures, higher wages—they were suffering at from £50 to £100 a month !

The Dutch people had a real grievance in the Chinese question, and a handle was made of it “ at home.” The mines employed tens of thousands of coolies, who were subject to what wus called the foreign labour department, and it, very shortsightedly, did not compel the mining magnates to take proper precautions to maintain order, with the result that it was some time before the government took steps to back up the police force of Johannesburg and the S.A.C. in their efforts for the maintenance of order.

In the homeland politicians were clamouring that the Chinese were slaves, but the truth of the matter was that they were more free than any domestic in the King’s dominions, and if it had been intended that the employment of Chinese on the mines of the Rand was to be made so unpopular with the inhabitants outside the Rand that they would demand their removal from the country, the mine owners could not have done more to attain the object. The roll call at the compounds was only once a week, with the natural result that ere long there were large parties of Chinese wandering about the country, robbing houses and murdering and maiming any persons, black or white, who resisted them. Dwellings were blown up with dynamite, which those wretches soon learned how to use. They were inveterate gamblers, and it seemed to be a religion with them that money must be obtained somehow to pay their gambling losses, or death at the hands of the winners would be their portion. There were many criminals amongst them, and some, who had served in the Chinese army, were able to lead their parties in pursuit of plunder. These people were not the miserable, puny specimens that one usually sees in towns in America, working in laundries or as domestics ; they were, on the contrary, a well-built, athletic class, many of them over six feet in height and proportionally built.

This condition of affairs soon threw the whole rural population into a state of alarm, and towards the end of 1905 some of the farmers around the Rand were abandoning their homes to get further away from it. Very soon it was estimated that thousands of Chinese were wandering about the country. I think the number was exaggerated, but many thousands were out at a time, and several parties were captured as far north as the confines of the Transvaal. They made the excuse that they were on their way back to China by the overland route! In September, 1905, the marauders had become such a menace that I had to place an extra number of posts to watch the Rand and intercept any who were going north, and eventually there were mobile troops placed around to assist the districts.

Late in 1905 a Royal Commission was appointed, at the request of a prominent member of the Inter-Colonial Council, to investigate the S.A.C. Good though the reputation of the force was, it was enhanced by the findings of the commission, and the object of the gentleman who brought the matter up was totally defeated, in spite of the fact that a large number of subalterns had been called upon to express their opinions, and their seniors and, one might say, their betters from a military or constabulary and public point of view, left out. The evidence of the people at large, and the Boer farmers in particular, was unanimously favourable to the force. They were taken haphazard, wherever found, and one and all stated that the duties of the force were well performed, the officers and men minded their own business, did not mix up with the little affairs of the neighbourhood, were moral, temperate and helpful to all.

Shortly after this it was arranged that the force should be reduced to the lowest possible limits, and my division wa9 absorbed. I was offered the command of the Orange River Colony division of the force, its commandant having gone on leave, but, believing that he desired to return, I refused to take it.

Colonel Nicholson gave up the command at the redistribution, and I was appointed inspecting staff officer, which office I was to hold until my leave had expired. The force at this time was at its best, and before he left the colonel informed me that he considered my division as near perfection as it could be, and that it was my work which brought about that result. He said even more which it is not necessary for me to mention, and, in connection with this, I wish to say that no man can make anything perfect without the assistance of others ; the main thing is to get it started in the right direction. I had done so, and had the support and assistance of as good and sound a lot of officers as anyone could desire. There were no better in the country, and I look back with pleasure and great satisfaction to the loyal support which I received.

Colonel Nicholson left behind him a good name. He was a kind friend to the force and a capable officer. I had often the pleasure of talking over matters with him, and have had him say to me that if any of the officers or their families needed a change for the benefit of their health, his purse was at my disposal to draw upon to give them a trip “ home,” or if officers convalescing after illness required a rest, they could go home at his expense, or unmarried officers could come and stay with him for a time until they were better, and he asked me not to let any know the source from which the funds were drawn. I do not think, however, that I am violating a confidence at this date, and I believe distinctly in doing justice to the living as well as to the dead.

In January, 1906, their Royal Highnesses the Duke and Duchess of Connaught and Princess Patricia visited the South African Colonies. Their reception from all nationalities was most enthusiastic, and from none more than the Dutch people, who vied with those of British birth or descent to show their appreciation of the visitors.

In Pretoria there were garden parties, a horse show, reviews of the troops, a grand military tattoo and torchlight procession, which took place on the great square before the government buildings, where, owing to the removal of the old Dutch Reformed Church to another site, there was ample space for the massed bands, and other ceremonies. At that time I was very busy with the suppression of the Chinese outrages, and could not spare much time to attend many of the functions to which my wife and I were invited.

We had to consider the arrangement of a cordon of posts around the Rand and the necessity for the taking of further measures to put an end to the wanderings of the Chinese. I was requested to take charge of the work as a special case, and command posts as well as the mobile squadrons. I asked for time to think it over, as my time was almost up and I had arranged to return to Canada. I then called upon Lord Selbome in connection with that and other matters, and ais he also asked me to take command I consented, on account of the importance of the duty.

I submitted to him a memorandum on the subject. I considered that the compounds were not properly supervised, and recommended that the Chinese labourers should be placed under police supervision; that a roll, or a count, of all the labourers should be made every day and any absentees reported at once ; that telephones should be established between compounds and police posts and, if possible, along the whole chain of posts. I also recommended that the compounds be so constructed that when the labourers went out they filed cut through the same channel.

The recommendations with regard to the compounds and telephones were considered impracticable. I quite understood that if wear and tear of horseflesh and men did not matter we could do without the telephones; but to put an end to the Chinese outrages and other depredations without carrying out what I suggested about the compounds meant that we might have to maintain a chain of posts around the Rand area at great expense to the country as long as the Chinese were employed in the mines. There was no help for it, however, and as I had already a number of posts I went on with the placing of others to make the cordon complete. The Rand was so extensive that my detachments had to be posted so that they formed an irregular oval of not less than 300 miles in circumference, and on an average about 10 miles from the mines, so that the deserters could be seen by the day patrols and, if they left at night they would have a long walk from the mines to the farm-houses nearest the Rand, or to pass our chain cf posts before daylight.

The detachments consisted, as a rule, of five men and averaged five miles apart, with a regular system and connections. Each one sent out patrols during the day and night. The first patrols would go out towards the Rand, and on their return the relief would patrol outwards from the line of posts for some hours, to capture any who might have passed through the line during the night, and to visit farms, orchards and plantations where some of them might be concealed, waiting for an opportunity to take some farm by surprise. Patrols had to move about at night in the vicinity of the farms and on roads leading to the Rand. They had orders to make themselves acquainted with all the farmers and storekeepers and call upon them frequently; they were to be asked for information and were expected to report the presence of any Chinese.

When I took over the duty a number of farmers and their families were absent from their homes through fear of the Chinese, and I gave orders to have them advised that they could return and would be protected, and need have no fear after the new posts were out; in the event of any of the farmers being away on business, they could have one of our men to take charge during their absence. It was suggested, from headquarters that they could stay in the houses that they were protecting but, as the Chinese were likely to take them by surprise or blow up the houses over their heads, and a man in the house would be in equal danger, I directed the few that I placed to remain outside and move around.

This work was strenuous for all of us. I was out every morning at five or six o’clock, except when I had to be in Pretoria or at headquarters on duty, and during the time I had command of the cordon, in addition to complete tours to visit all outposts, I inspected at least 800 farm-houses and showed the occupants how they could make them secure, took the names and addresses of all, ascertained if they had firearms or if they needed any, and made typewritten reports for headquarters. When I made the complete tour of inspection round the chain of posts without seeing many of the farmers, I covered the ground at the average rate of 60 miles per day, but on my trip to call on all of the farmers as I went along I only averaged about half that speed.

On my way round I learned that there were no more popular people in the colony than the South African Constabulary. The Boers are, as all the world knows, good scouts, no better anywhere, and when they were asked if they had any suggestions to make with regard to the scouting and patrolling, they invariably stated that the men were doing splendid work, no men could do better, and that they were kind and civil to them and their families. I found the people hospitable, always ready to offer at least a cup of coffee and a slice of bread and. butter and some fruit.

On one of my trips I noticed that the farmer and two little children were the only persons in sight at one of the houses and I asked if his wife was at home, as I should like to find out her view of the trouble we were having. He replied that his wife was dead. She had left the two children with another woman and went to the front during the late war to fight beside her husband; nothing could dissuade her from going. She wore men’s clothes, fought in several of the hardest battles, and was killed in one of them ! It was a sad case, but I believe there were similar ones.

By the middle of March the mobile troops and detachments of the districts round the Rand had captured the whole of the wandering Chinese, the murderers had been brought to justice, and a great deal of skill displayed by Captain Trew and his officers and men working up the cases and prosecuting, but for all that the coolies continued their efforts, and our patrols were kept busy night and day. The neglect of our suggestions by the foreign labour department and the looseness of the discipline at the compounds made it a hopeless task to prevent the Chinese from getting out, all that we could do was by constant vigilance to protect the inhabitants from outrages. Several conflicts had occurred when arrests were being made, and coolies had to be shot in self-defence.

On my rounds the Boer farmers, anxious to keep within the law, used to ask me what they should do if the Chinese came upon, their premises at any time, and I advised them that they must not on any account, or with any excuse, no matter how plausible, permit one of them to approach. They should shoot if they kept coming, either day or night, after being warned back.

The necessity for such drastic measures had been evident to me from the first, but I had given no instructions as yet to any of the Boer farmers. There had been proof already that the Chinese should be treated as burglars or highwaymen, and there was more added to what we already had in our possession when an outrage was committed on a farm on Klipriversberg, a part of the Rand patrolled by the Transvaal Town Police of Johannesburg. A large party of Chinese had attacked the house, robbed it and maltreated everyone of the occupants by breaking their limbs, and the victims, when found, were at the point of death. Had they made a fight of it all would have been murdered. This crime brought me a letter from the Inspector General, who had been asked by the High Commissioner how such an outrage could be committed, how it might be prevented, and if it had occurred within the area patrolled by the S.A.C.

I replied that such an outrage was quite possible under the present system of Chinese management unless every farmer was properly armed and his house made secure with bolts, bars and shutters. In all cases where the habitation was isolated from other dwellings I advised that there should be at least two men at night, one of them, if possible, a policeman, and both well armed. I also recommended the posting of other troops at various spots.

I pointed out that the root of the evil was at the mines. It is well known that 20 per cent, of the coolie labourers were absent at one time from the majority of the mines on the Rand, which did not speak well for the management of the compounds.

It was clear to me that if something were not done soon to put a stop to the crimes of the coolies they would have to be deported from South Africa.

My letter bore fruit at once. The posts suggested were placed and a mobile troop patrolled the kopjes. The new posts were able to send men to guard the isolated farms, and all that was needed was for the discipline at the compounds to be improved and the farmers who had no arms to be supplied with them. We could not, however, compel the mine owners to fence the compounds as I had suggested previously, and many times since, although it was decidedly their desire to retain the coolies.

On April 11, however, Lord Selbome appointed a Royal Commission, presided over by Mr. Rose Innes, K.C., Resident Magistrate of Pretoria. I appeared before them armed with a great deal of sound information with regard to the coolies at home, in the Dominion of Canada, and in the United States, which had been collected by travellers, soldiers, missionaries and consuls. I had my own personal knowledge of the habits, manners and customs of the coolies as coal, metal and placer miners in America, as navvies in British Columbia and the United States, and I had in my pocket the blue book containing the report of the Royal Commission which had met in 1902 in British Columbia to inquire into the Chinese question in that province. Captain Sampson, of the T.T.P., a friend of the days in Macleod district when he had a large ranch on Mosquito Creek, Alberta, was also before the commission to give evidence.

In my evidence I suggested all that I had mentioned in previous letters, except telephones, and laid stress on the necessity for fencing the mining compounds, having guards, lights, very few exits, and cells for deserters. I recommended that there should be a uniform system of passes, that the area within which the coolies could be given passes should be much smaller, and that a Chinaman misapplying his pass by going in any other direction within that area should be arrested as a deserter. I advised that revolvers or shot guns, the latter with buck shot ammunition, should be issued free to the farmers whose names I had submitted to the Inspector General, with the cost that would be necessary to put the houses in a defensible state, and informed the commission that I had personally visited 800 farms around the Rand, examined the houses, talked to the people, and knew that the rural population, and even the Kaffirs, were in a state of alarm that would not have existed in war time. I explained the merciless character of the Chinese coolie and his disregard for the sufferings he inflicted upon his victims, his slim ways, which enabled him to enter houses with such stealth in the night that the inmates would hear nothing until purposely aroused. I concluded by recommending a careful roll call and check rounds, and insisted that the trouble was aggravated by the lack of supervision at the compounds.

After this I received authority to purchase shot guns and buck shot cartridges for the farmers, but, as might have been expected, the whole of the recommendations of the board were not brought into effect. There was a roll call daily at the compounds, but, except in a very few cases, they were not fenced.

While these affairs were interesting the inhabitants of the Transvaal the war in Natal had become serious, and it was decided to have the mobile troops sent into the districts where our natives were numerous, such as Lydenberg, Swaziland, the Zoutpansberg, etc., and I was authorized to man the Chinese cordon with special constables selected from amongst the Boer farmers around the country, but recruits for that service came in very slowly, horses being difficult to get. It was the winter of that part of the world, and many of the farmers had their horses in the low country. In the meantime the mobile troops had to hold all their stations except the few posts nearest the mines.

The special constables were to be paid five shillings per day and their horses one shilling, but in time it was found that the men could not maintain themselves on those rates, and they were increased to a fairly good amount. The whole of the cordon was not filled with Dutch farmers until the month of July, and the mobile troops relieved and dispatched to their destinations, but many detachments of Boers had been already placed.

During this reorganization I saw much of Sir Richard Solomon, who was at the time Acting Lieutenant Governor of the Transvaal, and from him I received the officers who were to serve under me on the chain of outposts. They had been recommended to him by General Louis Botha, and were Major Pretorius and Captain Kruger, of the Boer artillery, well- trained soldiers; Mr. Key ter, of Schoongezicht, who had under him the Heidelberg commando at the siege of Ladysmith; Mr. van Dam, commandant of the Zarps or Johannesburg Police before and during the war; Mr. Kroon, a Hollander, and Mr. Beignault, a Boer, both of whom had served on commando. Of the three first named I saw most, and I formed a favourable impression of them. They were faithful workers and most hospitable. Mr. Key ter lived at a pretty spot near the kopjes about three hours’ drive from Johannesburg, and I often spent the week-end with him and learned much of the doings of both sides during the war. His commando had been kept busy around Ladysmith, and he had been sent away from there to annoy Lord Roberts’ advance, when it was found impossible to prevent the relief of the beleaguered city. Six thousand men were withdrawn, but there was a sufficient force left to equal Sir Redvers Buller’s and endeavour to hold the line.

As we all know, and the general said, there was “ no way round,” and the obstacles to Sir Redvers Buller’s advance were enormous. I was very naturally pleased to know what a high opinion the Boers had of Sir Redvers Buller as a fighting man. They themselves said, “It is not only the burghers who respected Sir Redvers Buller, but their wives and families ; both considered him not only one of the best of soldiers, but one of the most chivalrous of men.” As Keyter said, it was impossible to turn the Boer flanks in the advance from the Tugela to Ladysmith, but in other parts of the theatre of war they had no sooner taken up a position than it was turned by superior numbers.

I had many interesting conversations with Captain Kruger, who had commanded the Creusot guns of the Boers, about everything in his experience, and found him to be a very well- informed, bright, frank young fellow. He had been trained by German artillerymen, and informed me that before the war they had very naturally told him that their army was the best in the world and their soldiers the best, and that, even after the war was in full swing, he thought it was possible that they might be right, but when he was with the Germans in the campaign against the Hereros he changed his opinion entirely, and he had no doubt that the British officer and soldier had more resource. The soldiers were well treated by their officers, which was not the case with the others; the treatment the German soldier received was cruel in comparison, and it destroyed his initiative. To their prisoners of war, too, the British were always as kind as could be.

After the Boers were posted in the chain of outposts I was constantly amongst them, made long treks and was much pleased with the way they met my wishes. Everything was done well, the S.A.C. system being continued and found to be the best. The work was as hard as ever ; constant vigilance had to be exercised, and some of the Chinese got into the kopjes near Heidelberg, and I had to get more special constables for detachments which I had to place at least 35 miles from the Rand. The district men of the S.A.C. were kept going night and day, but outrages were kept down, for no sooner did we find the trail of the wretches than they were captured and punished. The immunity could not last long, however, for the compounds had been improved but little. There were tens of thousands of Chinese in the mines, and, although the great majority were inclined to behave well and save money, there were large numbers who gambled and would break out to rob the farms. One night the house of a Mr. Smit, of Klipriversberg, was attacked by nine of the miscreants, who had, with their usual patience, lain in some kopjes not far distant for the whole day, watching the house. Two constables from a detachment which had not yet been relieved by the Boers had been sent to guard it, and lay in the orchard watching the building. They saw two of the Chinese place dynamite cartridges, one at the end and the other at the side of the house next them, and after setting their fuses prepare to light their matches, whereupon one of the constables fired two shots, killing both. Mr. Smit, aroused by the sounds, came out rifle in hand, and the other seven were captured in the act of dragging the dead away. While the fiends were placing the dynamite cartridges one of the gang had set fire to the thatch, but the constables extinguished it before it had gained headway.

On May 30 I went with Sir Richard Solomon to the office of the Chamber of Mines, Johannesburg, and, after a great deal of discussion about all matters, it was ordered that, as I had suggested before, the area to which the Chinese were restricted would be reduced in size and posts placed round to define it. The compounds were to be enclosed ; five men to be in charge of them, and have a lock-up for delinquents, and one of them to be on gate duty all the time. The members present stated that there was a roll call, as had been arranged before at the meeting of the commission.

When everything had got into proper working order, the Chinese wanderings had been reduced to almost nothing and every marauder and deserter either on his way back to China or in prison, I sent in my resignation. I made a final tour of the chain of detachments, and said good-bye to every man of the force, Briton and Boer, and wished him good luck. All expressed regret that I was going, and many of the Boers said they were sorry, because I understood them.

I went over to see Key ter on Saturday, September 8, and was busy with him next day until ten o’clock. A number of his men were there in their Sunday dress with arms, and I asked him if they were going to church, and he replied, “No, they are going to escort you to near Klip River, and from there they will ride straight back to their posts.’’ I thanked him for the kind thought and mounted for my last trek with the Boers. Mrs. Keyter and a friend of hers, Miss van der Merwe, came with us in a carriage, and Keyter with his men formed a strong travelling escort beyond Klip River post, about two hours’ drive. Then the ladies alighted, and Keyter formed up his men on the side of the road, and addressed me on behalf of himself and his men, saying that I had come out to fight for the crown, and, that duty having been done well with the “ Big Stirrups ” and the S.A.C., I had worked with success to reconcile Briton and Boer, and if all would do the same there would not be an enemy of the King in the whole of South Africa. He added that I had understood the Boers and that the South African Constabulary had been by far the greatest factor of all the government departments in conciliating the Boers and teaching them what good people Britons were.

On September 18 I went to Johannesburg to visit headquarters and settle up my affairs with the force, and the same forenoon went to the Simmer and Jack mine on the invitation of the manager and Mr. Stokes, an ex-officer of the S.A.C., who had a billet there. After lunch Mr. Stokes conducted me round the compounds, in which 4,000 Chinese lodged; all were well cared for and disciplined under the direction of my friend Stokes, and a perfect system was maintained to prevent desertions. Those coolies were as well fed and treated as the very best I have seen anywhere, either black or white men. Large bath-rooms with hot baths were provided, ample sleeping accommodation, the food was plentiful and well cooked by steam, as that was the way the coolies desired it, and they used only three-fourths of their allowance. The kitchens were commodious and clean, in the comer of each mess-room huge boxes of tea grown in China and of their own choice were placed, and each labourer helped himself.

In addition to the regular kitchens there were others in which the coolies could cook any special tit-bit of their own, and I saw several of them busy there. After the messing I saw the system of pay, which was by card; each labourer had two, one pink and the other white ; the latter was marked at the end of the shift by the white shift boss with the number of inches that the Chinaman had drilled, and that was presented with the pink ticket at the pay office, and the value of the work done marked on the latter by a clerk. At the end of the month both tickets were presented, and the coolie paid his earnings, which were, I was informed, about double that of a Kaffir, which, from what I had observed, was a correct statement.

After seeing the compounds I visited the quarters and reading-rooms provided for the European miners who superintend the Chinese at their work. There was a very large supply of the latest papers and periodicals, and the men seemed to be comfortable and contented, earning from £50 to £100 per month.

The Simmer and Jack is the largest single gold mine in the world. There were 47 miles of underground workings, and 60,000 tons of ore were crushed every month. The yield for the previous month was £97,000 sterling in gold, and the mine had 360 stamps working steadily. The manager was an American and the underground mining engineer a Canadian. The salary of the former was £7,000 a year and of the latter £5,000 and I was informed that the deepest workings were 4,000 feet beneath the surface, and that at such great depths the mines are cooler than in any other part of the world.

It was a pleasure to go over this great property and see what could be done when a perfect system prevails. If the same could have been brought into force when the Chinese were first employed, there would have been no annoyance given to the inhabitants of the Transvaal, and the Chinese, if desired, could have been retained. I was informed before I left for Pretoria that the Simmer and Jack mine had at that date 33 years of life before it, and probably 50, when all ground is worked.

On September 30 my wife and I went to Johannesburg to say good-bye to the Earl and Countess of Selborne. Lord Selbome was kind enough to say that I had done “ marvellously good work,” and thanked me heartily for it.

We returned to Pretoria next day. My wife by that time was very ill; she had suffered for at least two months with dreadful headaches, which the worry of leaving for England had aggravated to a very great extent, and, had her mother not been on a visit to us, I should have been in sore straits. We received hundreds of kind letters from all parts of South Africa, and many came to call and say good-bye. We left on October 2 in a violent storm of rain, but many friends came to see us off in spite of the weather.

We sailed on the Suevic on October 7. I had thought that a sea voyage would do my wife good, but it was not so, for long before we reached England she became insensible and remained so for at least a month after we landed. She would certainly have died on the voyage had it not been that Miss Dudley, an army nurse, happened to be on board, and her care and that of my wife’s mother, Mrs. Harwood, saved her life. Everyone else was most solicitous and kind ; a very pretty young German lady, Miss Hasenrahm, of Hamburg, gave up her berth, which suited my wife better than the one she was in, and others were so kind on her behalf that we owe them a lifelong debt of gratitude.

We landed in England at Tilbury Docks on November 1, 1906, and left the ship for the train, with my wife in a stretcher. There was no provision for sick people, and I had to put my wife in the baggage car amongst cans of milk for London. There were no seats, so we stood until we arrived, the monotony of the journey being broken very often by the advent of more cans of milk. Until my wife was fit to be moved I took a comfortable flat in Kensington, and the children were sent to school as soon as possible.

When I was in Africa Sir Frederick Borden, always considerate to me, had arranged that I could be permitted by the War Office to be attached for duty with the Inspector General of Cavalry, Major General Baden-Powell, who was finishing the last year of his appointment, and it gave me much pleasure to have the privilege of being with him. My wife’s illness prevented me from being as much with him as I should have liked, but I took advantage of a great deal, and it was pleasant to find that he was so well thought of by every cavalry officer I met. In addition to my experience with him I took lectures and read and re-read every book which could be of use, visited Woolwich Arsenal under the auspices of Major H. Bland Strange, the son of one of my very best friends. General Strange, who showed me everything, and, as I always admired the artillery service and have kept up my studies in it, I was glad of the opportunity afforded me to go over that remarkable place.

Mrs. Harwood and the children saw a good deal of the metropolis, and when my wife was fully restored to health we had the pleasure of meeting General and Mrs. T. Bland Strange at their hospitable home at Camberley, and enjoyed a couple of week-ends there. We also met Sir George and Lady French and their daughters. It was like old times on the plains of the then wild west to meet those who had done so much for me, and I was indeed delighted to find the man who “ made ” the Canadian Artillery in such splendid health and taking such a deep interest in the affairs of the country.

My wife and I paid a delightful visit to my relatives in Abergavenny and Blaenavon. We stayed a while in both places and enjoyed every moment of the time. In April I visited Scotland, and with the most delightful weather made a long stay with friends. I had a glorious time. We visited every important battlefield, inspected the bottle dungeon of St. Andrew’s, saw the golf course with its thousands of braw people, and, in fact, almost everything from Holyrood to the “ bore stone ” and the home of the Fair Maid of Perth. We visited farms, castles, picture galleries and cathedrals, just the thing I liked, and the only thing to mar the occasion was the thought that at that time my wife felt that it would not be wise for her to undertake the journey while she was not quite strong.

In London the first to call upon us was the High Commissioner, Lord Strathcona, who was so kind as to offer to write the foreword to this book. He has, since I met him in Canada, departed to his reward, full of years and honours, leaving a great and honoured name and reputation behind him. During our stay in London no one could have been more kind and sympathetic than he, and when my wife had recovered we saw much of him and Lady Strathcona, who pre-deceased him but a short time.

During the latter part of the winter Sir Frederick Borden was in London, and was so good as to give me the command of Military District No. 13, with headquarters at Calgary. In May I left England with my family for Montreal, and after a delightful trip up the noble St. Lawrence, and a short but pleasant stay in Montreal and Ottawa, I went west in time to take command of the camp of training at Calgary, which had assembled a few days before, in the last week of July, 1907.

Subsequently I was transferred to Winnipeg, and have devoted myself to the work of organizing new units, a pleasant task when the officers of my staff, the permanent force and the officers and men of the militia are so keen and work so harmoniously. The force over the whole of the western districts has increased to a remarkable but absolutely necessary extent in the last few years. Two valuable assets to the country have sprung into being and are watched over by the Departments of Militia and Education. They are the cadet movement and the physical training of boys and girls in the public schools, and the qualification of teachers for the work of instructing. They are making great progress, the improvement in the bearing and physique of the teachers and children being very remarkable. The cadets are allowed to spend a week in camp, a delightful outing for the boys, with their instructors, teachers and clergy, and under a good staff of officers, who instruct them in the best of the Boy Scout work and military drill. The physical training is compulsory in all schools in Canada, but the military training for cadet service is voluntary.

At Calgary I met many whom I had known from the days when the buffalo roamed and the city of Calgary, with its 75,000 inhabitants, was not even a name. Amongst the officers was the doyen of them all, Colonel James Walker, on whose powerful shoulders the winters of the north and the struggles with the forces of nature had no effect, whose hearty hand clasp and frank, kindly gaze said, “You can depend upon me."

The changes which had taken place during my absence of

412                   FORTY    YEARS    IN   CANADA

seven years made me rub my eyes and wonder if I were dreaming. Hundreds of thousands of settlers had come into the great west. It seemed impossible that Winnipeg, with its 200,000 citizens, its fine stores, palatial residences and well-paved, wide streets, was the hamlet of 40 houses and less than 300 persons that I remembered. Regina, whose site I had driven and ridden over when the nearest habitation was the Hudson’s Bay Company’s post at Fort Qu’appelle, 50 miles distant, was now a railway centre, a beautiful city with parks, fine residences, magnificent public buildings, and encircled by smiling farms. There were similar changes at Moosejaw, no longer “ Moosejaw bone,” but a lively railway town with fine farms in every direction. Swift Current had sprung into existence and, with Maple Creek, Medicine Hat and other places, was growing fast. I was not long in visiting Edmonton on duty, and found a bustling and beautiful place, towering above the fine river, with stores and residences that would be a credit to a place a hundred years old. It was hardly credible that this was the place where we wintered in 1875, with only half a dozen poplar log houses in sight, and later, during the rebellion, only a village !

It was the same all over western Canada, and we, who had been the pioneers of this glorious change, were permitted by Providence to see the fruits of our labours and our hardships.