So the year dragged on with its one little glimmer of light and its big black clouds of disappointment, and it was Christmas-time when the spark came to the waiting tinder. What a bloody bill could the holidays and holy days of the world tot up! On the Sunday night before Christmas a British subject named Tom Jackson Edgar was shot dead in his own house by a Boer policeman. Edgar, who was a man of singularly fine physique and both able and accustomed to take care of himself, was returning home at about midnight when one of three men standing by, who as it afterwards transpired was both ill and intoxicated, made an offensive remark. Edgar resented it with a blow which dropped the other insensible to the ground. The man's friends called for the police and Edgar, meanwhile, entered his own house a few yards off. There was no attempt at concealment or escape; Edgar was an old resident and perfectly well known. Four policemen came, who in any circumstances were surely sufficient to capture him. Moreover, if that had been considered difficult, other assistance could have been obtained and the house from which there could have been no escape might have been watched. In any case Edgar was admitted by the police to have sat on the bed talking to his wife, and to have been thus watched by them through the window. It is not stated that they called upon him to come out or surrender himself, but they proceeded immediately to burst in his door. Hearing the noise he came out into the passage. He may or may not have known that they were police: he may or may not have believed them to be the three men by one of whom he had been insulted. There is not a word of truth in the statement since made that Edgar had been drinking. It was not alleged even in defence of the police, and the post-mortem examination showed that it was not so. A Boer policeman named Jones (There are scores of Boers unable to speak a word of English, who nevertheless own very characteristic English, Scotch, and Irish names—many of them being children of deserters from the British army!) revolver in hand burst the door open. It is alleged by the prisoner and one of the police that as the door was burst open, Edgar from the passage struck the constable on the head twice with an iron-shod stick which was afterwards produced in Court. On the other hand Mrs. Edgar and other independent witnesses—spectators—testified that Edgar did not strike a blow at all and could not possibly have done so in the time. The fact, however, upon which all witnesses agree is that as the police burst open the door Constable Jones fired at Edgar and dropped him dead in the arms of his wife, who was standing in the passage a foot or so behind him. On the following morning, the policeman was formally arrested on the charge of manslaughter and immediately released upon his comrades' sureties of £200.

As gunpowder answers to the spark so the indignation of the Uitlander community broke out. The State Attorney to whom the facts were represented by the British Agent in Pretoria immediately ordered the re-arrest of the policeman on the charge of murder. The feeling of indignation was such among British subjects generally, but more especially among Edgar's fellow-workmen, that it was decided to present a petition to her Majesty praying for protection. British subjects were invited to gather in the Market Square in order to proceed in a body to the office of the British Vice-Consul and there present the petition, but in order to avoid any breach of the Public Meetings Act they were requested to avoid speech making and to refrain in every way from any provocation to disorder. Some four or five thousand persons gathered together. They listened to the reading of the petition and marched in an orderly manner to the office of the British Vice-Consul where the petition was read and accepted.

This was the first direct appeal to her Majesty made by British subjects since the protests against the retrocession eighteen years before. Not very many realized at the time the importance of the change in procedure. There could be no "As you were" after the direct appeal: either it would be accepted, in which event the case of the Uitlanders would be in the hands of an advocate more powerful than they had ever proved themselves to be, or it would be declined, a course which would have been regarded as sounding the death-knell of the Empire in South Africa. The time was one of the most intense anxiety; for the future of the Uitlanders hung upon the turn of the scale.

It was late one night when those who had been called to Pretoria to receive the reply of her Majesty's Government returned to the Rand. The real reply then was known only to three men; it was simply, point blank refusal to accept the petition. There were no reasons and no explanations. It was done on the authority of Sir William Butler, the Commander-in-Chief in South Africa and acting High Commissioner; for Sir Alfred Milner was at that time in England, as also was Mr. Conyngham Greene. But the faith was in these men that it could not be true, that it could not have happened had Sir Alfred Milner not been absent, and thus came the suggestion to 'explain it away.' On the following day British subjects on the Rand learned that a breach of diplomatic etiquette had been committed, that the petition should never have been published before being formally presented to her Majesty, and that thus it would be necessary to prepare and present another in proper form. The petition was redrawn and in the course of the following weeks upwards of 21,000 signatures were obtained by that loyal and enthusiastic little band of British subjects who form the Johannesburg branch of the South African League.

In the meantime other things had been happening. Messrs. Thomas R. Dodd and Clement Davies Webb had been arrested under the Public Meetings Act for having organized an illegal meeting in the Market Square, Johannesburg, for the purpose of presenting the petition to the British Vice-Consul. They were released upon bail of £1,000 each. Whether this was a fair example of the judicial perspective in the Transvaal, or whether it was a concession to the feelings of the Boers it is impossible to say, nor does it much matter. The fact is that for the crime of killing a British subject the bail was £200; and for the crime of objecting to it the bail was £1,000. This action only added fuel to the fire and a public meeting was immediately convened to be held in a circus building known as the Amphitheatre. Meetings are permitted under the Act provided they are held in an enclosed building. The object of the meeting was to record a protest against the arrest of Messrs. Dodd and Webb. A great many of the more ardent among the British subjects were of opinion that the time for protests and petitions was past, and they would not attend the meeting. A great many others feeling that it was more or less a formality leading to nothing else, did not trouble to attend. Not one of those who did attend had the least suspicion of any organized opposition. The following dispatch from the High Commissioner to the Secretary of State for the Colonies sufficiently describes the sequel:—

April 5, 1899.

SIR,—I have the honour to forward herewith the certified and attested copies of affidavits which form an enclosure to Mr. Wyberg's letter, transmitted to you in my dispatch of the 28th March, but which did not reach me in time to catch the last mail steamer.

From these affidavits, the number of which and the manner in which they confirm one another seem to me to leave no doubt of their general trustworthiness, it appears:

1. That early on the morning of Saturday, the 14th January, the foremen in charge of the various camps along the Main Reef Road were instructed to tell a certain number of their workmen to be at the Amphitheatre in Johannesburg at 2 p.m., where they would be addressed by an official of the Public Works Department, Mr. P.J. Malan (Hoofd van Afdeeling Wegen).

2. That the affair had been planned beforehand, and that Acting Road Inspector Papenfus and others systematically visited the various camps on that morning in order to beat up recruits, and that inquiry was made in some cases to ensure that the persons sent should be 'treu,' i.e., Boer or Afrikander workmen who might be expected to take the side of the Government. The Russian workmen were not asked to go.

3. That the men were paid two hours earlier than usual, and that those men who were ordered to go were told, if they could not get Government carts, they should hire and recover afterwards.

4. That in some cases, as that of the Boksburg section, the men were conveyed the greater part of the way by Government carts.

5. That when the men arrived at the Amphitheatre, about 2 p.m., a man who was either Mr. Bosman, Second Landdrost's Clerk, or Mr. Boshof, Registrar of the Second Criminal Court, and perhaps both of them, told them to go to the Police Station.

6. That on arriving at the Police Station, they were addressed by Mr. Broeksma, Third Public Prosecutor, and told they were there to break up the meeting when he gave them certain signals.

7. That they then went into the Amphitheatre, and that there were present, besides Mr. Broeksma, Mr. Papenfus, Mr. Jacobs, Special Road Inspector, Mr. de Villiers, Second Public Prosecutor, and Mr. Burgers, also an official, as well as several prominent members of the Town and Special Police in plain clothes.

8. That the different sections of the Road party men were placed in various parts of the building, under their respective foremen, and that several Government officials assisted in locating them.

9. That a number of the men did not understand what they were there for.

10. That the proceedings on the part of the promoters of the meeting, which, as you are aware, had been sanctioned by the Government, were perfectly regular.

11. That on the first appearance of the promoters of the meeting there was a concerted disturbance, which rendered it totally impossible to go on with the proceedings.

12. That in the riot which followed several people were seriously injured, the sufferers in every case being bonâ fide sympathizers with the object of the meeting, and the aggressors being persons who had come there with the object of breaking it up.

13. That the Police did not make the smallest effort to check the disturbances though it would have been easy to do so, and that, when appealed to, they maintained an attitude of indifference.

14. That Broeksma, Third Public Prosecutor, and Lieutenant Murphy, of the Morality Police, actually assisted in breaking chairs, and encouraged the rioters.

I have, &c.,
Governor and High Commissioner.

With affairs of this kind stirring up race hatred and feeling among the class from whom the juries have to be selected, what chance was there of securing an impartial trial of the policeman charged with the murder of Edgar? The Acting British Agent Mr. Edmund Fraser in his dispatch of December 23 tells what he thought of the prospect before these affairs took place. 'As to the ultimate charge to be brought against the policeman, the State Attorney was doubtful whether the charge had not better be one of culpable homicide, for the reason that in the presence of a Boer jury his counsel would have a much easier task in getting him off under a charge of murder than for culpable homicide. But the chances of a Boer jury convicting him at all are so small that I said I should not assent to either charge until I had seen what rebutting evidence the Public Prosecutor brought.'

But this was not all. Immediately after the murder of Edgar, Mr. J.S. Dunn the editor of the Critic newspaper, recited the facts of the case as they were known to him and passed some severe strictures upon Dr. Krause, the First Public Prosecutor, who was responsible for determining the charge against policeman Jones and fixing his bail in the first instance. The steps now taken by Dr. Krause no doubt were within his legal rights, but they do not appear to a layman calculated to ensure justice being done. Before proceeding with the murder trial Dr. Krause took criminal action against Mr. Dunn for libel, and in order to prove the libel he, whose duty it was to prosecute Jones for murder, entered the witness-box and swore that under the circumstances as known to him he did not consider that Jones had been guilty of murder, and had therefore faithfully performed his duty in charging him with the minor offence and releasing him on bail. Further, he called upon the Second Public Prosecutor to testify in a similar strain; and finally he directly and deliberately associated with himself as witness on his side the man Jones himself who was charged with the murder. All this ostensibly to prove a paltry libel which could have been dealt with quite as effectively and infinitely more properly after the trial for murder had taken place; indeed it is incontestable that the verdict in the murder trial should properly have been relied upon to a large extent to determine the gravity of Mr. Dunn's offence. It had appeared to the British population that the chance of an impartial trial, with the jury drawn exclusively from the burgher class, was sufficiently remote without any proceedings so ill considered as these. The result fulfilled anticipations. In due course the constable Jones was indicted for culpable homicide and acquitted; and the presiding judge (Mr. Kock, who as already described had claimed a judgeship as a 'son of the soil') when discharging the prisoner said, 'With that verdict I concur and I hope that the police under difficult circumstances will always know how to do their duty.'

After the preliminary examination of Jones the Acting British Agent had written to the Acting High Commissioner (December 30, 1898): 'I will only remark that the enclosed report ... seems to show that the Public Prosecutor (Krause), who has been deeply offended by the slur cast upon his judgment through the orders from Pretoria to keep the accused in prison instead of out on bail, was more inclined to defend than to prosecute and showed an extraordinary desire to incriminate either the British Vice-Consul or the South African League for what he termed contempt of court in connection with the publication of certain affidavits in the Star.'

That was indeed the position. In this as in the Cape Boys case (the Lombaard inquiry) the aim of the prosecution appeared to be to prove that the British Vice-Consul had investigated and reported cases of injustice suffered by British subjects; and the establishment of such proof seemed to be considered a sufficient and triumphant answer to the original complaint. Such action drew the following spirited protest from Mr. Emrys Evans to the British Agent: 'He (Krause) seems generally to suppose that I have no right to do anything in the way of assisting British subjects, and that my action as Vice-Consul is nothing more nor less than officious meddling.' That well describes the position of Great Britain's representative in the Transvaal, and it has been the same for so many years that among the Uitlanders it creates no feeling of surprise; but imagine the representative of—let us say—the United States being so treated!

While these matters were proceeding an opportunity occurred to raise fresh funds for the Uitlander Education Council. The scheme had been perilously near collapse on several occasions, but by a little generous and timely help actual abandonment had been averted. The possibility of a return of better times had been foreseen by some of those interested in education, and the appeals which were made in the months of February and March resulted in raising a fund of over £100,000. The companies were also applied to for assistance in the form of annual grants for maintenance; and guarantees were given amounting in all to about £16,000 a year. A final effort was made by the Government party and the allies of Dr. Mansvelt, the Superintendent of Education, to show that the Government had made ample provision for the education of English-speaking children, and that the Uitlanders' scheme was unnecessary. Even Mr. Reitz, the State Secretary, it is to be regretted, undertook a public defence of the system which he has frequently expressed his disapproval of; but the more favourable construction which he endeavoured to place upon the law was immediately removed by a plain statement from the President to the exact contrary effect.

The Uitlanders consider that, if the intentions of the Government were as good as they desire them to be thought, firstly, they should not object to have the conditions permanently established and not leave them liable to alteration at the sweet will of the Superintendent, as they are to-day; and secondly, as there has been nothing to hinder the carrying out of benevolent intentions—had they existed—there is no reason why there should be five or six thousand Uitlander children without any facilities for education in their own language except such as are provided by private enterprise or charity. And this is so; notwithstanding the expenditure by the State of nearly a quarter of a million per annum, ostensibly upon education, nine-tenths of which sum is contributed by the Uitlander population.

The spirit in which the State aid is given and the aim which the Government have in view are entirely revealed in the conditions, a brief reference to which will be sufficient.

The Government capitation grant of £4 per annum may be earned on the conditions:—

(a) That the child be over six years of age.

(b) That it shall have a sufficient knowledge of the Dutch language and South African history.

(c) That it be not the child of Dutch or Hollander parents.

(d) That a qualified Dutch teacher must be retained by the school.

The first condition excludes all the children of the kindergarten schools, and also a class who form a considerable percentage in the elementary schools. The third condition excludes all those who have in early years any chance of satisfying the inspectors under the second condition. Obviously the amount earned by the few who would satisfy all the conditions could not possibly pay for the salary of a Dutch teacher. It was an actual experience in several schools that the acceptance of State aid involved a direct loss; a good example of the 'something for nothing' policy.

English is permitted to be the medium of instruction in Government schools on the conditions, among others—

That Dutch be taught for one hour a day during the first year, two hours a day during the second year, three hours a day during the third year; and that in the fourth year Dutch shall become the sole medium of instruction.

The characteristic trickery and cunning which mark so many of the Boer-Hollander enactments are again apparent here. The proposal is made to appear reasonable, but it is clearly impossible for a child to attain within the time named such proficiency in a foreign language as to be able to receive all instruction in it. The effect and the design are to place English-speaking children at a grave disadvantage compared with Dutch-speaking children; either they would have to devote a great deal more time to the study of Dutch in the first three years so as to be able to receive all instruction in that tongue, or they would suffer in the higher standards through their imperfect knowledge of the medium of instruction. It was not to be supposed that the Uitlanders, after an experience extending over a decade and a half of all sorts of promises, not one of which had been kept in the spirit in which it was intended to be construed, would consent to abandon their scheme at the behest of Dr. Mansvelt and the misguided few who judged his proposals by appearances. President Kruger speaking at Rustenburg as lately as March last laid particular emphasis upon the stipulation in the Law that in the fourth year Dutch should be the sole medium of instruction, and explained that his determination was to make Dutch the dominant language.

In the month of February the Transvaal Government received a dispatch from her Majesty's Government with reference to the dynamite concession. It referred to the announcement already recorded, that in the course of the coming session of the Raad a proposal would be submitted for the extension of the monopoly for fifteen years. Mr. Chamberlain pointed out that her Majesty's Government were advised that the dynamite monopoly in its present form constitutes a breach of the Convention; he expressed the hope that the Transvaal Government might see its way voluntarily either to cancel the monopoly or to so amend it as to make it in the true sense a State monopoly operating for the benefit of the State; and he suggested that in any case no attempt should be made to extend the present concession, as such a proposal would compel her Majesty's Government to take steps which they had hitherto abstained from taking in the hope and belief that the Transvaal Government would itself deal satisfactorily with the matter. It was with this despatch, so to say in his pocket, that the President introduced and endeavoured to force through the Raad the proposal to grant a fifteen years' extension of the monopoly.

That representations had been made by the British Government on the subject of the dynamite monopoly, had been known for some time before the Peace Negotiations (as they have been called) between the Government and the Capitalists were proposed. On February 27{49} Mr. Edouard Lippert, the original dynamite concessionaire, who it was known would receive the further sum of £150,000 if the monopoly remained uncancelled for five years, opened negotiations on behalf of the Government with certain representatives of the capitalist groups on the Rand; and it was immediately seen that the main—one might almost say sole—object of the negotiations was to safeguard the dynamite monopoly. The Government had, in fact, been placed in a very awkward position. One of the excuses for not expropriating the monopoly had been that the State had not been successful in raising a loan. In order to deal with this objection the Chamber of Mines had, in the month of February, 1899, made an offer, guaranteed by all the principal firms on the Rand, to provide the sum of £600,000 to compensate the monopolists for their actual expenditure up to date upon buildings, plant, machinery, &c., so that there should be no semblance of injustice in the treatment meted out to them. The conditions of the offer were that the dynamite monopoly should be cancelled and importation of explosives permitted under an import duty which would give the State a very large revenue at once and which in the course of a few years would provide a sinking fund sufficient to extinguish the loan of £600,000. The offer was so favourable to the State that it placed the Government in a quandary.{50} The attitude of the Volksraad, too, was distinctly hostile to the dynamite monopoly; and on top of all came the representations of the Imperial Government upon the subject. It became necessary to do something to save the threatened 'cornerstone'; hence the Peace negotiations between the Government and the capitalists.

This was another and one of the clearest examples of the 'something for nothing' policy, for it will be observed that of all the things mentioned dynamite alone was the matter to be definitely settled—and that to the satisfaction of Mr. Kruger. Long years of experience had taught the Uitlanders to examine any proposals coming from the Government with the utmost care; and the representatives of the mining industry were soon of one mind in regarding these negotiations as nothing but a trap.

Of the five men who represented the Government, viz., the President, the State Secretary (Mr. Reitz), the State Attorney (Mr. Smuts), the Foreign Plenipotentiary (Dr. Leyds), and the 'disinterested intermediary,' Mr. Lippert, it was easy enough to account for three. The President had frequently pledged himself to maintain the monopoly, and always referred to it as the corner-stone of the independence. Dr. Leyds had chosen to associate himself with the defence of the concessionaires upon all occasions, and had even gone so far, as evidence given at the Industrial Commission showed, as to misrepresent the facts in their defence. The difficulty was how to explain the association of the State Attorney and State Secretary, in whose good intentions and integrity there was a general belief. The solution was to be found in the illusory promises of reform under the heading of franchise and reorganization of the finances and other matters. These proposals, it was believed by Mr. Kruger and his party, would secure the support of the two above-named officials, as well as entice the capitalists into the trap set for them. But there were other points of advantage for Mr. Kruger. The whole scheme was in accordance with the divide et impera policy. The first impression, if the scheme were accepted, would be that the capitalists had secured something for themselves by bartering away the rights of the public; so there would have been a division in Johannesburg. Another effect to be brought about by the proposed action regarding the Indians would have been to divide the Uitlanders from the Imperial Government, and the net result of it all would have been that neither the public nor the capitalists would have got anything but illusory promises and Mr. Kruger would have secured his dynamite; for had he been able to extract from the Industry an expression of approval or acquiescence, it would have given him his majority in the Volksraad in favour of the monopoly.

The following is the correspondence which passed:—

27th March, 1899.

To the Honourable the State Secretary, Pretoria.


Before communicating to you and the representatives of the Government whom we met the expression of our opinion and that of our London friends on the proposals submitted to us by Mr. Lippert on behalf of the Government of the S.A.R., we deem it advisable to recite shortly how we have arrived at the present position.

On the 27th of February Mr. E. Lippert called together Messrs. A. Brakhan, E. Birkenruth, and G. Rouliot, to whom he submitted a certain programme concerning the settlement of some pending questions forming the subject of grave differences between the Government of the S.A.R., on the one part, and the whole Uitlander population and the mining industry on the other part, with a view to ascertain whether these gentlemen were willing to open negotiations on the basis suggested, in order to try to come to a settlement. Upon the affirmative answer of these gentlemen, Mr. Lippert obtained an equal expression of approval from Dr. Leyds, the State Secretary, the State Attorney, and also of President Kruger. The preliminary programme at Mr. Lippert's request was then communicated by cable to our London friends. Upon receipt of a reply to the effect that our London friends were in favour of any arrangement which would produce harmony and secure administrative and financial reform, which was communicated to Mr. E. Lippert, a meeting was arranged with Dr. Leyds, Messrs. Reitz, Smuts, and Lippert, as representing the Government, on the 9th of March; but as Messrs. Brakhan, Birkenruth, and Rouliot had repeatedly mentioned that they did not consider themselves qualified to discuss matters on behalf of the general body of Uitlanders, and seeing that the programme submitted was to be considered as a whole, and either adopted or rejected as such, therefore it would be necessary to obtain the views, on the franchise question, of prominent citizens more able to express the wishes of Uitlanders on this subject; Mr. Lippert, on behalf of the Government, invited in addition Messrs. Pierce and Pistorious to be present at the meeting.

At this meeting several points were discussed, but as no definite proposal regarding franchise could be submitted, no decision was arrived at, it being made clear, however, that this was only a preliminary conversation with the object of exchanging views, and that in any case the opinion of the Uitlander population, and also that of our friends in Europe, would have to be fully ascertained.

On the 12th instant, at the request of Mr. Lippert, Messrs. Brakhan, Birkenruth, Rouliot, Pierce, Pistorious and Fitzpatrick met, and Mr. Lippert communicated to us the definite proposals of the S.A.R. Government, which were duly cabled the same day to our friends, requesting a reply before the end of the week, as the Government would have to submit the whole matter to the Raad, and we were requested to sign an agreement with the Government, and a declaration binding on ourselves and our London friends.

Their answer, suggesting a further conference with Dr. Leyds in London, was duly communicated to his Honour the State President. His Honour's reply, stating that the exchange of views had better take place here, was communicated to our European friends.

Now they have cabled us a full précis of the proceedings and resolutions passed at the meeting held in London on the 16th instant, and the following is therefore the expression of our opinion as well as that of our European friends, upon the subjects which have already been discussed between the representatives of the S.A.R. Government, and ourselves.

It having been stipulated by the Government that the various matters herein dealt with shall be taken as parts of one whole plan, we have bowed to that decision, and we beg now to reply under the various heads on the understanding that no one portion may be judged as apart from the whole.


In furtherance of the general settlement, those of us directly concerned in the mining industry would be prepared to recommend a modification of the claims of the surface holder and a final settlement of the question on the lines suggested as preferable to the continued uncertainty, on the understanding that the basis for valuation should be arrived at by fixing, after consultation, a maximum price upon the best situated bewaarplaatsen or water-right, and that the price of all other mining rights under bewaarplaatsen, machine stands or water-rights be valued by competent engineers on the basis and in relation to the above maximum value, taking into consideration the comparative value of the outcrop claims and the diminishing value in depth; the surface holder having the preferent right to acquire the undermining rights at the price thus arrived at.


The appointment of a suitable man with efficient control and assured status would undoubtedly meet one of the most serious of the grievances, and would be universally accepted as satisfactory. The financier, in order to enjoy the confidence of all concerned, and with a view to avoid as far as possible ulterior discussion of his recommendations, should be approved of by some person belonging to a firm of well-known independent standing, such as Lord Rothschild, for instance. The financier to be a member of the Executive Council, and to formulate and approve every scheme of taxation should further or other taxation become necessary.


Any loan offered at reasonable rates and approved by the Finance Minister for the common good would undoubtedly receive our support; we understanding, on the other hand, that no new taxation will be imposed on the general population or the mining industry pending the appointment of the financier.


There having been, as far as we know, no organized press agitation, it is impossible for us to deal with this matter, but it is clear that the criticism which has been provoked by a certain condition of affairs here would necessarily cease upon the causes of complaint being removed, and we would be prepared, in case of our coming to a settlement with the Government, to declare that the solution of the questions arrived at meets with our approval as a whole, so as to discourage further agitation in newspapers on these subjects.


We shall at all times be willing to publicly discourage and repudiate any political organization having for its object the stirring up of strife or promoting dissension between the different nationalities inhabiting this State, and we would and will in any case do this freely and upon principle, and entirely apart from other considerations connected with this Conference, but it should be clearly understood that this declaration must not be construed as repudiating or deprecating any legitimate representations which the community or any section of them may see fit to make in matters which concern them as inhabitants of this State.


We well appreciate the dangers of uncontrolled, indiscriminate immigration of the lower class Indians, Chinese, and other coloured races, and the necessity for provision for sanitary control, and shall be most willing to aid the Government in the above objects; but we consider it impossible for us to intervene in this matter, which is governed by the London Convention with the British Government. We suggest that for the purpose of guarding against the dangers above referred to, this matter be explained to the Imperial Government as part of the whole scheme for the settlement of differences, and claim therefore an especially favourable consideration, for, in the success of this scheme, all who desire peace and prosperity in this country must be deeply concerned and willing to co-operate on generous lines. We suggest that this representation be made in such manner as may be deemed less calculated to provoke unfavourable comment, or offend susceptibilities in any quarter, and that the suggestion be viewed by all parties in its true proportions as one part of the whole scheme of settlement. Unless so viewed we should be unable to put ourselves forward in a matter at issue between the two Governments, nor of course could the proposals of the Government be taken to suggest this.


With the principle of granting a monopoly to individuals, agencies, or corporations it is impossible for us to agree, and whatever arrangement be effected, we should have to make it clear that in this instance we are viewing the question solely as a burden—a tax which the mines are asked to definitely accept in order that an amelioration of the general conditions affecting the whole Uitlander population may be secured.

The difference between the cost at which dynamite could be imported (exclusive of Transvaal duty) and the price we are now compelled to pay amounts to over £600,000 per annum on the present rate of consumption, a sum which will increase steadily and largely in the immediate future.

Whether the mining industry should voluntarily accept such an immense burden as a set-off against terms which, whilst they would doubtless eventually favourably affect the industry, are in their immediate effects designed to satisfy the Uitlander population in their personal rights as distinct from the mining industry as a business, is a matter which would in the first place have to be submitted to the recognized elected representatives of the mining industry, and would in the second place depend upon whether the people in whose interest such sacrifice is required would accept the terms which the Government would be willing to concede as satisfying their reasonable aspirations.

It is also a matter of grave and general concern that a sum so enormous, when compared with the revenue requirements of the State, should be taken annually from the mines with little, if any, benefit to the country, when it might be utilized in part or entirely in supplementing the State revenue, and thus afford relief in other directions to every taxpayer in the country.

Notwithstanding the above considerations, however, we feel that a great monetary sacrifice might be made to secure a peaceful and permanent solution of vexed questions, and that the subject of dynamite should be submitted to the Chamber of Mines and discussed in that spirit.

Whilst we are willing, in order to bring about a general settlement of all pending questions, to recommend such a heavy sacrifice to be made, and adopt the proposal made by the Government, it would be a condition that there shall not be any extension of the concession, and that the terms of the contract shall be rigidly enforced; that the Dynamite Company shall reduce the price of dynamite to 70s. per case, giving to the Government the 5s. per case and the share of the profits to which it is entitled; and that at the end of the present agency the factory shall be taken over at a valuation which shall not include compensation for goodwill or for loss of future business.


This is the vital point upon which a permanent and peaceful settlement must hinge, and if a satisfactory solution can be arrived at on this point, as well as on the others raised, we shall be prepared to recommend to the Industry to make the sacrifices involved in accepting the Government proposals.

We note that—

(a) the proposals do not include a substantial recognition of past residence;

(b) that the period is seven years;

(c) that it is proposed that those who acquire citizenship under the law, if changed as proposed, shall not have the vote for the office of President, and that the oath of allegiance would be required seven years before the acquisition of limited burgher rights;

(d) that the proposed new law would have to be published for a year and receive the assent of two-thirds of the enfranchised burghers of the Republic.

Whilst declaring ourselves willing to accept and recommend the acceptance of any fair scheme on constitutional reforms, we consider that such a scheme must first be laid before, and approved by, the unenfranchised community, as the rights, liberties, and privileges of the community would depend absolutely on the nature of the reform.

We have repeated on many occasions that business houses are not qualified to discuss this question on behalf of the general body of Uitlanders, and that we would not presume that we were appointed by the whole community to discuss it on their behalf. It will therefore be necessary to find means to bring the whole question before those directly affected, who are the only ones entitled to finally dispose of the matter, their acquiescence to the scheme having to be first obtained before we recommend the sacrifices which we contemplate in order to ensure a general permanent and peaceful settlement.

For your guidance we enclose an expression of opinion which has been furnished to us by some of the most prominent Uitlanders, and places before you the views of a very large and influential section of the community.

The above subjects are only those which have been discussed between the Government representatives and ourselves, but, in order to arrive at a final permanent settlement, we think that we ought to endeavour to remove all other causes of disagreement, and treat as well several other important questions left untouched; and we would beg that the Government will take the necessary steps, as far as lies in their power, to assist the industry by bringing native labourers to the goldfields, and to this end will be willing to confer with the Chamber of Mines as to the best means to be adopted; that the law relating to the sale of intoxicating liquor at present in force shall be maintained and strictly enforced. We may further state that we have every confidence in the probity and honour of the Judges of the S.A.R., and wish to place on record our desire that the independence of the Bench should be assured and maintained inviolate in the highest interests of all the inhabitants of the Republic.

We enclose copy of the cable which we sent, embodying the proposals of the Government of the S.A.R. as communicated to us by Mr. Lippert, and copy of the précis and resolution passed at the meeting held in London, when the above cable was considered.

This letter conveys to you our opinion as well as that of our friends in Europe, and we should be most happy to arrange a meeting with you and any other representatives of the Government to consider and discuss the points contained therein.

We beg to assure you once more that we, as well as our European friends, are most sincerely desirous to arrive at a satisfactory settlement, securing a peaceful future and promoting the welfare of the country and the people, and trust that you will regard the expression of our opinion in that light.

We remain, honourable Sir,
Yours obediently,

The foregoing embodies our views as well as that of our London houses.

(Signed) J.G. HAMILTON.

The following memorandum—the one referred to in the above letter—was prepared by well-known Uitlanders whom the Government, owing to the refusal of the capitalists to deal with the franchise, had been obliged to select in order to get some pronouncement upon that question. The little ironies of life have two properties: the humour for the winner, and the hurt for the worsted. The Uitlanders had for three years enjoyed a singularly monotonous experience in ironies, but a turning came in the long lane when it became necessary for the President to suspend the operation of his three years' ban on two of the Reformers in order to get their advice upon the franchise question.

24th March, 1899.


In response to the invitation from the Government of the South African Republic conveyed to us by Mr. E. Lippert, we beg to submit the enclosed memorandum upon the franchise question.

Yours faithfully,

To Messrs. G. Rouliot,
E. Birkenruth,
A. Brakhan,
J.M. Pierce,
H.F.E. Pistorius


After such investigation as the restrictions imposed have permitted, we are of opinion that it would be quite useless to approach the Uitlander population with the Government proposal in its present form, chiefly for the following reasons:—

1. No consideration is given to the term of residence already completed.

2. The alteration of the franchise law according to lately prescribed procedure, whereby two-thirds of the burghers must signify approval, is a practical impossibility,—witness the fact that at the last Presidential election, surpassing in excitement and interest all other occasions of general voting, with the three recognized leaders in the field, and every agency at work to stimulate activity, less than two-thirds of the burghers on the register recorded their votes.

3. The present form of oath would be regarded as humiliating and unnecessary, in support of which view we instance that quite recently the Volksraad of the Orange Free State rejected upon the same grounds the proposed introduction of the same oath of allegiance.

4. The period of disqualification, during which the Uitlander would have given up his own citizenship by naturalizing and have acquired nothing in return, would be found most objectionable—especially with the experience that rights have in the past been legislated away as they were on the point of maturing.

5. In view of the unique conditions of this country, extension of the franchise without some approach to equitable redistribution of representatives would be regarded as no solution of the question and might even provoke doubts as to the bonâ fides of the proposal, which would be a deplorable beginning, yet one easily to be avoided.

Regard being had to the points raised in paragraphs 1, 2, 3, and 4, we consider that as restrictive franchise legislation, apparently designed to exclude for ever the great bulk of the Uitlander population, dates its beginning from the Session of 1890, and as the various enactments bearing upon this question have been passed by successive Volksraads exercising their power to alter, add to, or revoke, previous enactments, and as the same powers are to the full enjoyed by the present Volksraad, it would be both possible and proper for the present Volksraad to annul all the legislation upon this subject from that date, and to restore and confirm the status prior to 1890, and thus satisfy the indisputable claims of those who settled in this country under certain conditions from the benefits of which they could not properly be excluded.

With regard to paragraph 5, a moderate proposal designed to give a more equitable distribution of representatives in the Volksraad would be necessary.

The above suggestions are not put forward as the irreducible minimum, nor are they designed for public use, nor intended as a proposal acceptable to the eye but impossible in fact, and thus sure of rejection. They are put forward in good faith as indicating in our opinion the lines upon which it would be possible to work towards a settlement with a reasonable prospect of success.

If the difficulties appear great the more reason there is not to put forward an unalterable proposal foredoomed to failure, but rather to try and find points of agreement which, however few and small to begin with, would surely make for eventual and complete settlement. In any case it is clear that the mere fact of a proposal to extend the franchise having been made by the Government, thus frankly recognizing the need to deal with the subject, will be hailed as a good omen and a good beginning by all fair-minded men.

The determination of the negotiators to have the position clearly stated in writing, and their fear that the use of intermediaries would end in the usual unhappy and unpleasant result—namely, repudiation of the intermediary in part or entirely—were not long wanting justification. The following is a translation of Mr. F.W. Reitz's reply:—

PRETORIA, 8th April, 1899.

Messrs. G. Rouliot, H.F.E. Pistorius, A. Brakhan, E. Birkenruth, and John M. Pierce, Johannesburg.


I have the honour to acknowledge receipt of your letter dated 27th March last, referring to certain proposals to the Government from representatives of the mining industry.

In order to understand the natural position it is necessary to state the facts more extensively than given in your letter.

It is wrong to say, as you do in the first paragraph of your communication, that Mr. Lippert came to you with certain proposals from the Government.

It appears also from the second paragraph of the same that Mr. Lippert came to you suo motu with the object, as he informed me afterwards, to see 'if it was not possible to obtain a better understanding between the Government on the one side and the mining industry on the other.' He acted in no wise as the agent of the Government, or in the name of the Government, to make any proposals to you, but only as a friendly mediator to see how far unnecessary differences and misunderstandings could be removed.

When Mr. Lippert came to Dr. Leyds and myself, and informed us that you and other gentlemen were agreeable to his mediation, we at once agreed with his plan, being aware that there was a warm desire and continued struggle on the part of this Government to remove out of the way all friction and trouble, and that in this case especially it was our object to leave no stone unturned to get all differences settled. We were the more anxious to meet you, because his Honour the State President had decided to lay before the Volksraad certain proposals of law, which are of great importance not only for the people of the Republic, but especially for the mining population and industry. We gave Mr. Lippert to understand that should the leaders of the mining industry have no objection to his mediation, we would not be unwilling to make use of his good services in this matter.

Mr. Lippert then went to Johannesburg, and returned to us with the assurance that there was no objection to his acting as mediator, and gave us some of the subjects on which it appeared to him that it was possible to arrive at a friendly understanding.

In consequence of this, and acting on our own initiative, and not as representatives of the Government, Dr. Leyds, Mr. Smuts, and myself, met some of your leading men, as set forth in your letter.

At this meeting we informed you of the intention of the President to alter certain laws for the general good. Only with reference to the franchise we gave you no definite proposal, the matter being then still under consideration. From your side we requested only a more friendly attitude from the Press, as we were convinced that the excessive Press campaign carried on by the newspapers, which are generally considered to be owned by you, or influenced by you, however much they may forward certain interests, still, in the end, did infinite harm to the existing interests of all sections of the population. Through the continual and incessant agitation and creation of suspicion on the part of the papers, the public mind was constantly in a state of insecurity, and the fanning of the race hatred made it impossible for the Government as well as the legislature to improve the relations between the so-called Uitlanders and the old population.

We requested your friendly assistance also in the settlement of the coolie question, not because we wanted to cause friction between you and other foreign governments, but only because the policy which refers to the native and coloured questions is of the utmost importance to South Africa.

Mr. Lippert had in his programme the granting of a promise on your side that you would support the Government in the obtaining of a loan which the Government may deem necessary, and that you should bind yourselves in writing to abstain from all political organizations inimical to the Government.

These matters we did not discuss, as we considered them unnecessary and inadvisable. From your side you deemed it necessary, before answering us, first to receive the instructions of your foreign principals. Before you could give us the result the President explained his intentions at Heidelberg, and afterwards at Rustenburg and Johannesburg.

Your letter, now under consideration, contains practically a definite answer to our communication to you. I shall now consider the points of your answer separately.


With reference to this matter, we think that the undermining rights under bewaarplaatsen, machine stands, and water-rights should be valued on a reasonable basis, independently by the Government, and by the owner of the surface rights (should there be a difference which cannot be settled amicably, then the value can be fixed by arbitration), and that the surface owner shall have the preferent right to purchase the affected under-mining right at such a valuation. From your communication I understand that you suggest a special method of valuation. That is a detail which can be settled when the valuation is actually commenced, and which experts are better able to judge over than I am. Therefore I shall say no more on this subject.


On this subject our opinion was that the auditor should be independent of the Government, and alone responsible to the Volksraad to appoint as financier a man of standing, with a seat in the Executive Council, to advise on all matters affecting finances.

I am glad to see that you are with us, and that it gives you great satisfaction. I must express my surprise, however, over your proposal that previous to the appointment this Government must first get the approval of Lord Rothschild or any other capitalist. I can only answer that it is in no wise the intention of the Government to frame the future financial policy of this State on a capitalistic basis, and thus your request cannot be agreed to. It is quite possible to make such an appointment which will carry general approval without being subjected to such a mutual condition.


With reference to these matters, I have already made it plain to you that in following the proposals of Mr. Lippert by cabling to your principals, you acted under a misunderstanding. We requested no binding declaration from you, only a moral understanding, which would be easy for you to maintain, if it was in the interests of the Uitlanders as well as the burghers of the Republic. I regret that the mistake has arisen, otherwise I cannot see that any objection can come from your side to approve of the plans of the President.


On this question there is a small difference between the proposed policy of the President and your answer.

I only wish to add that his Honour goes further than you do, as he has declared his readiness to expropriate the Dynamite Company, under agreement with its representatives, as soon as possible. If the expropriation takes place after the expiration of the present concession then it will naturally not be on the basis of a going concern.


On this subject I can well understand that you do not wish to take upon your shoulders the responsibility of speaking and acting for the whole of the new population. It was more your personal opinions as men of position that we wished to know. Then again, according to your assurance at the aforementioned meeting, you do not take any personal interest in the franchise question, and that you would rather leave the question to the public; your answer is therefore perfectly fair. His Honour has therefore already acted in accordance with your idea, for he has brought the question of the franchise very prominently before the public, not only at Heidelberg and Rustenburg, but also at Johannesburg.

In conclusion, I wish to refer to one matter which has caused me much pain. It was clearly and distinctly agreed and understood by you all as well as by us that both sides would treat this matter as confidential and secret, as discussions of such important matters cannot be carried on with any results on the tops of houses. What has happened? On the 28th of March I received your letter, and on the 3rd of April, whilst I was yet giving it earnest consideration and had taken all the measures to keep it secret, the contents of the same appeared in the London Times, while some days later your answer appeared in full in the Cape Times, the Diamond Fields Advertiser, and other papers under the influence of the capitalists. The manner in which these papers favourable to you, or controlled by you, have dealt with me in this matter has caused me (I admit it with regret) to doubt for one moment your good faith. Thinking, however, of the great interest as it were in the balance, and believing, moreover, that you never for private or party purposes intended to play with the true and lasting interests of all sections of the community, I cannot help thinking that the reply has been published through one of your subordinates, and regret that the publication has not been immediately repudiated by you publicly as a grave breach of faith. I would regret it, while there exists so few points of difference between us, that these things should bar the way through careless and wrong tactics to a permanent understanding, and trust that the hand extended to the Industry in absolute good faith will not be slighted purposely and wilfully. Owing to the publication of your reply, there exists no further reason for secrecy, and I shall hand my reply to the press.

Your obedient servant,
State Secretary.

The repudiation of Mr. Lippert's "official" character; the contention that the State Secretary, State Attorney, and Dr. Leyds could divest themselves of all responsibility in negotiations such as these, and claim to have been acting in their private capacity only; and the extraordinary anxiety to keep secret matters which deeply affected the public, and to the settlement of which the Government designed that the public should be committed, compelled the negotiators to produce evidence that the statements and conclusions of the Government were not warranted by the facts. The following letter, which was formally acknowledged but never answered, practically concluded the negotiations:—

JOHANNESBURG, S.A.R., April 14, 1899.

To the Honourable the State Secretary, Pretoria.


We have the honour to acknowledge the receipt of your communication of the 8th April, 1899.

Certain of our statements being doubted and described as erroneous in your letter, we deem it advisable to go more fully into the facts which have preceded and led to this correspondence.

It may be that communications exchanged through an intermediary have been transmitted in a manner liable to convey a different impression from what was actually meant, and in order to clear any possible misunderstanding, we beg to enclose copies of all documents supplied to us by Mr. Lippert, whom we, at all times, considered as your authorized agent.

From these it will be apparent that during the negotiations we acted in perfect good faith, communicating and discussing what we justly considered were the wishes and proposals of the Government, and it will also be clear to you that every one of our statements is based on documents which we had every reason to believe were approved of by the Government.

On February 27th Mr. Lippert called together Messrs. E. Birkenruth, A. Brakhan, and G. Rouliot, to whom he stated that a settlement of certain pending questions could probably be arrived at. He said that he had ascertained the views of Dr. Leyds, Messrs. Reitz and Smuts, who had agreed to a certain programme, and he wanted to know whether we would be willing to open negotiations on that basis, in which case the three officials mentioned would see the State President and ascertain whether he would be prepared to adopt their views.

If the State President's approval could be obtained, Mr. Lippert suggested that a conference should be held to discuss the subjects mentioned in his memorandum.

This memorandum (Annexure 'A'), as explained to us by Mr. Lippert, enumerates under Clauses 1 to 5 inclusive the points which the Government expected us to concede, and the other clauses are what the Government proposed doing in return.

We were then informed that the programme must be considered as a whole, and either adopted or rejected as such, no question being considered separately, and that the matter must be kept absolutely secret.

Upon our statement that we personally would be willing to open negotiations on the basis suggested, Mr. Lippert went to Pretoria and informed the high officials above-named.

On March 1st Mr. Lippert informed us that the State President was viewing the matter favourably, and requested us to acquaint our friends by cable.

Our replies having been communicated to Mr. Lippert, a meeting was arranged on March 9th, as recited in our previous letter, at which, Mr. Lippert informed us, no new subject outside of those mentioned in his memorandum could be discussed.

Messrs. Pistorius and Pierce, being invited by Mr. Lippert to attend the meeting, were each supplied by him with a list of the questions to be discussed, forming part of the proposed settlement (Annexure 'B').

On March 12th Mr. Lippert communicated to us what he termed the definite proposals of the Government of the S.A.R., which were duly cabled to our friends in Europe (a copy of this cable has already been sent to you).

He also read to us the declaration, which he suggested we should sign on behalf of ourselves and our European friends (Annexure 'C').

A speedy reply to our cable was asked for, as Mr. Lippert had informed us that, if any settlement could be arrived at, the agreement had to be submitted to the Honourable the First Volksraad before the closing of the extraordinary session which was drawing near.

We beg to point out to you that by cabling these proposals to Europe, we could not possibly conceive that we were acting under a misconception, as the day on which they were made to us, the 12th of March, being a Sunday, the Telegraph Office was specially kept open for the purpose of dispatching the cables, which were duly received and forwarded upon production of an order from Mr. Lippert.

In our letter of March 17th to his Honour the State President, conveying the nature of our friends' reply, we mentioned the fact that the communication made to us by Mr. Lippert on behalf of the Government had been fully cabled; we stated that our friends no doubt based their suggestion to further discuss the whole of the proposals with Dr. Leyds upon the fact that the Government had stipulated that they should become parties to the proposed settlement.

In your reply of March 18th, no exception is taken to these statements; you tell us, on behalf of his Honour the State President, 'that the exchange of views can best take place direct with the Government, and here, within the Republic,' pointing out the fact 'that the session of the Volksraad was close at hand, and that therefore further delay is undesirable.'

You will thus see that we were perfectly justified in thinking that the communications made to our European friends, embodied the proposals of the Government of the South African Republic, were cabled with the knowledge and approval of the Government, and that we were requested to sign a declaration on behalf of ourselves and our friends, which declaration had to be made public.

Our letter of the 27th March conveyed to you our opinion and that of our friends, upon the subjects comprised in the programme which was submitted to us, and it is unnecessary to go over them in detail again. We beg only to offer a few remarks upon certain points raised in your letter of 8th April:—Bewaarplaatsen: We suggest a basis for the valuation of bewaarplaatsen, machine stands, and water-rights, which in our opinion ought to be adopted, in order to have a uniform and easy method of valuing these places.

Financier: Being fully aware of the complexity of financial problems and questions of taxation in this State, we are anxious that the financier appointed should be of such a standing as to command the confidence of all, so that his recommendations cannot raise any ulterior discussion. For that reason we expressed the opinion that, before making the appointment, the Government should be guided in its choice by someone belonging to a firm of well-known independent standing. We have no desire to see this Government base its future financial policy on any particular line, in the interest of, or directed against, any special section of the people. We only wish to see the financial policy established on sound recognized economic principles, with fair and equitable taxation calculated according to the proper requirements of the State.

Press Agitation—Political Organizations: We have already informed you, that so far as we know, there has been no organized press agitation, and that we should be willing at all times to deprecate the stirring up of strife between nationalities caused by any agency whatsoever. We consider it desirable to see that feeling more general, as we are convinced that exaggerated press campaigns conducted by newspapers generally reported to be influenced by the Government, and tending to create dissension amongst the various classes of the community, are calculated to cause an infinite amount of harm to the vested interests of all sections of the population.

Dynamite: In your letter of the 8th April, you appear to have lost sight of the fact that the proposed settlement was submitted to us as a whole. Mr. Lippert made it clear that, in consideration of the Government granting the measures enumerated in his memorandum, it was expected that we should abandon our present contentions, and declare ourselves satisfied with the settlement proposed by the Government. Under ordinary circumstances this would be far from meeting our desires, but we intimated to you that we should be willing to recommend to the mining industry the adoption of the proposals made to us on this subject, if by so doing we could promote a permanent satisfactory solution of all pending questions.

In conclusion, we beg to refer to the publication of our previous letter to you. It took place here on the 6th inst., in the afternoon; we immediately instituted an inquiry, and on the 8th inst., in the morning, we wrote that we were in a position to assure you that we could in no way be held responsible for the publication. We never for a moment doubted your good faith, nor that of the other gentlemen for whom the letter was meant, but thought that possibly the communication could have been made through one of your subordinates. However, not being certain of the fact, we merely repudiated any responsibility on our part, and regret that you should have publicly laid the blame on our side, without having communicated with us, asking for an explanation, if you had any suspicion.

We beg to assure you that we are as willing as ever to co-operate with you in arriving at a settlement of all pending differences in order to secure peace and prosperity in this country, and we shall be ready at all times to meet and discuss with you, or any other delegates of the Government, any matter likely to bring about a speedy and permanent solution of all questions, still bearing in mind what we mentioned in our previous correspondence, that we are not qualified to speak on behalf of the whole community.

As you have informed us that you have no objection to it, we shall give a copy of this letter to the press.

We have the honour to be, honourable Sir,

Your obedient servants,

(Mr. Pistorius, being absent from town, could not sign this letter.)



1. Cessation of press agitation here and in Europe.

2. Support on the coolie question.

3. Settlement of the dynamite question.

4. Loan (if required).

5. Severance from the S. A. League.

6. Appointment of State Financier and State Auditor, of European reputation, with a seat and vote on the Executive in all questions of finance.

7. No new taxation of mines until submitted by Minister of Finance.

8. Moderate valuation of bewaarplaatsen.

9. Burgher rights—five years—property test.


Cessation of press agitation here and in Europe.

Support to the Government in its treatment of the coolie question.

Settlement of the dynamite question.

Deprecate the objects of the S.A. League.

Support the placing of a loan if Government wishes it.

Appointment of a financial adviser to the Government, of European reputation, and of an Auditor, both with seats and votes in the Executive Council on all financial matters. (This has been amended by the Government, so far as the Auditor is concerned, to retain the present Auditor, and to give him, re dismissal, the same status as a Judge, and to make him directly responsible to the Volksraad.)

No fresh taxation to be levied on the mines until the Financial Adviser has laid his proposals before the Government.

Sale of the undermining rights to the holders of surface rights (bewaarplaatsen, &c.), at a moderate valuation.

Extension of the franchise by granting burgher rights after ... years of registration, coupled with a property test.



... Thereupon the subscribed parties from Johannesburg, for themselves, and for the parties they represent here and in Europe, declared:—

'The passing by the Volksraad of the laws to be submitted by the Government during this session,—

'For the appointment during the present year of a Financial Adviser to the Government, of European reputation, who shall have a seat and a vote in the Executive Council on all financial matters.

'For placing the Auditor-General on the same status re dismissal as the Judges, and for making him responsible directly to the Volksraad, it being agreed that until such Financial Adviser has laid his budget proposals before the Government, no fresh taxation shall be laid upon the mining industry, nor any other direct taxation.

'For granting the undermining rights under bewaarplaatsen, machine stands, and water-rights, to the present holders of the licences, covering such reserved areas at a moderate valuation; such valuation to be arrived at in the following manner: The Government to appoint a valuator, with instructions to value these rights at a fair and moderate valuation, the holder of the surface licence to appoint a valuator; if they agree, then the surface licence holder shall have the first right to the undermining rights at such valuation; if the two valuators cannot agree about a valuation, they shall appoint together an umpire; if they cannot agree about an umpire, the Chief justice of the High Court shall be asked to appoint an umpire; the decision of such umpire shall be final as to the value of the area under arbitration. If the holder of the surface licence refuses to purchase at the said valuation, the Government shall be at liberty to dispose of it elsewhere.

'For a permanent settlement of the dynamite question on one or the other bases following, namely, that the status quo remain in force till the end of the contract period, the Government making use of its right to revise the prices under the terms of the agreement or that the Dynamite Company reduce the price by 5s. to 70s. for No. 1 and to 90s. for blasting gelatine, the Government undertaking to take over the works of the Dynamite Company at the end of the agreement at a valuation as provided by the offer now before the Volksraad.

'For an extension of the franchise to all white aliens in this State, in the following manner: That naturalization be granted to all seeking it, who have resided in the State for two years and who are of good behaviour and who have not suffered any dishonourable sentence by any Court, upon taking the oath of allegiance as prescribed by the existing law; upon such naturalization he shall be entitled to elect a member to the Second Volksraad, and two years after shall be entitled to be elected as a member of the Second Volksraad. A period of seven years having elapsed after naturalization, he shall by virtue of that lapse of time and without further hindrance obtain full burgher rights, the Government, however, reserve to themselves the right (in order to secure the passing of such law through the Volksraad of this and that of the session of 1900) to extend the period of naturalization for the right of voting for the election of a President. Children of naturalized aliens, who attain their majority when their father has obtained full burgher rights, have ipso facto the same rights as the father. The Government shall also have the right to attach a moderate property qualification to the obtaining of these extended franchise rights. It is understood that by the laws of the State, this extended franchise can only finally be granted by the Volksraad in session 1900, after the law has been submitted to the people for twelve months, but that the period of 9 resp. 7 years shall date from the passing of the resolution to be passed by the Volksraad now in session.

will be hailed by us with great satisfaction as removing all obstacles to a friendly and peaceful development of mutual understanding and co-operation; it is our wish, and in the interest of those we represent, that the public in Europe and in South Africa be made fully aware hereof by means of the press, and that hostile agitation by means of the press here and elsewhere shall be avoided in future.

'We deprecate all attempts that may be made by political agencies to stir up strife between the different nationalities inhabiting this State, and shall not be parties to any such organizations.

'Seeing the many evils springing from indiscriminate immigration of coloured races, and having been assured that the Government will do all in its power to facilitate in other ways the supply of labour, we support the Government in its contention that the regulations concerning the treatment of "coolies and other coloured races" had best be left to them as a matter of internal concern.

'We will support the placing of a State loan recommended by the Financier in the European markets at reasonable rates, if the Government should desire us to do so in the common interest.

'Seeing the great value the Government evidently sets upon a friendly and permanent settlement of the dynamite question, which has contributed so much to disturbing the good relations, we declare ourselves satisfied with the final settlement arrived at.

'And should, after the passing of the above proposals of law as a whole by the Volksraad, the Government desire us to give publicity to this our declaration for the promotion of peace and goodwill, such publicity as the Government may desire shall be given thereto.'

While the negotiations were actually in progress, and while the Imperial Government were awaiting a reply to their dispatch, the President made two determined attempts to rush the confirmation of the dynamite monopoly through the Raad. The first proposal was for the fifteen years' extension, and the second provided for condonation of all breaches of the concession in the past and for compensation upon the expiry of the concession.

The Uitlanders had not failed to perceive that the pit dug for them might conceivably serve another purpose. They ignored these two breaches of faith on the part of the President, and pursued the negotiations; and Mr. Kruger overreached himself. Having failed with Johannesburg, and having failed in the Raad, he appealed to his burghers with the scheme of mock reform. His hope was to get such support in the country that the Volksraad in its May session would have to spare the monopoly. He did not realize that he would have to make good the things which he had offered as shams. His greed had given the opening: his hand had provided the weapon. It is not good to be too clever; and the luck had turned.

The publication of the correspondence between the Government and the capitalists created a profound impression. The series of speeches delivered by the President in support of his sham reforms only deepened that impression by providing more and more convincing evidence as to who the real intriguers and mischief-makers were. To the Uitlander public one thing became quite clear, and that was that it was the Government who wished to barter their rights away and the capitalists—the abused capitalists—who refused to do so. An attempt was immediately made to hold a large public meeting for the purpose of endorsing the attitude taken by the negotiators, but the Government refused permission to hold an open-air meeting. In their attempt to hold a meeting indoors, the Uitlanders were defeated by the building being condemned as unsafe. The Government yielded, however, before the storm of disapproval which followed their prohibition, and the State Secretary, Mr. Reitz, suggested that the Uitlanders should hold a series of small indoor meetings in different localities. The meetings were accordingly held, and they provided unmistakable evidence of the gravity of the position. By their numbers, their unanimity, their enthusiasm, and their moderation, the Uitlanders carried conviction to some and roused the grave apprehension of others. Among the latter, it is fair to infer, were President Kruger and his sympathizers in the Free State and Cape Colony.

There is one disability the existence of which the advocates of the Uitlander cause are always painfully conscious of. They know as well as any of their critics that it is no picture which is all black—that you get no perspective, no effects, without contrasts! Yet it has not been believed that they were willing to acknowledge the good that there was, and that a politic instinct no less than a sense of justice prompted a diligent effort to discover and make much of the genuinely hopeful signs. The monotony was none of their making; it was in the nature of the facts, and not of the recital; but monotony there was, and it was productive of one very bad result. The conditions, admittedly bad, came to be regarded by a good many as being only as bad as they had for a long time been known to be, leaving little hope except through the long slow influence of time, but causing no immediate anxiety or alarm. Someday a grubbing historian may read the back files of South African newspapers and marvel that such warnings should have passed unheeded, but the fact is that the Transvaal Government and its sympathizers had become indifferent to warnings followed by no results and accustomed to prophecies unfulfilled. To say that they were 'fiddling while Rome burned' is to a great extent true of those of the South African Dutch who were sincerely desirous that the Transvaal Government should reform its ways and who were not consciously aiding in the republicanizing movement; but even of them it is not an adequate description,—as the answers given to two questioners by the most prominent and one of the most prominent Bondsmen indicate. Both of them had in private conversation on different occasions acknowledged the soundness of the Uitlander cause. To the suggestion, 'Then why not say so publicly?' the less important of the two replied, 'People would only say that I am climbing down and ratting on my party.' And the more important of the two, answering a similar question, said, 'Yes, the Rev. S.J. Du Toit did that. He was the founder of the Bond; and to-day he is—nothing! If I did it, I should fall as he did.' 'Then,' said his British friend, 'what is influence worth if it cannot be used for good? Can there be said to be influence when it cannot be used at all?' 'No,' was the reply, 'I have no influence as against the cry of race: blood is thicker than water; and I have no influence at all with Kruger.' The answer to this contained the crux of the question. 'Indeed you have; but you have not the courage to exercise it. The influence of advice has failed, dare you try the influence of repudiation?' The answer was a shake of the head and 'Blood is thicker than water.' That is it! The Piper pipes and the children follow.

It is too much to believe that the conference between the High Commissioner and President Kruger was a suggestion to which the latter had to be won over either by President Steyn or Mr. Hofmeyr. It is, indeed, well-known that the idea of a meeting for the purpose of discussing matters at issue between the two Governments had been considered in Pretoria for some months before it actually took place.{51}

The news that, upon the invitation of President Steyn, the High Commissioner and President Kruger had agreed to meet at Bloemfontein, was received by the Uitlanders with relief; not hope, because it was believed that the President's object was to get something, not to give something; but sheer relief, because, come what might, the position could never again be the same as it was before the conference. Something must change; someone must yield; the unbearable strain must cease. Sir Alfred Milner—wise and just and strong—commanded the entire confidence of the Uitlanders. It was not hoped that he would succeed in effecting a settlement at such a meeting, because in the circumstances such an achievement was believed not to be humanly possible; but it was not feared that he would fail in his duty to his country and to his trust.

It is no part of the object of this volume to deal with the negotiations which took place at Bloemfontein or with the terms of settlement at the present moment under discussion; the object is to recite the circumstances and conditions which made these negotiations necessary, and which, if they fail, must lead to bloodshed.

With a barrier of insurmountable race feeling before them, the Uitlanders are hopeless of effecting a peaceful redress of their grievances except by the aid of the Suzerain power. The President and his party will not yield one iota except upon the advice of those who have the will and the power to see that that advice is followed. Such power rests in two quarters. It rests with the progressive Dutch of South Africa. They have the power, but unfortunately they have not as yet the will or they have not the courage to use it. Time after time have they been stultified by rallying to the cry of race and defending Mr. Kruger's attitude on certain points, only to find the President abandoning as untenable the position which they have proclaimed to be proper. To them have been addressed most earnest and most solemn appeals to be up and doing whilst there was yet time. From them have been extracted—in times of peace—the amplest admissions of the justice of the Uitlander case. But there is a point beyond which they will not go. They will not say to the President and his party: 'We cannot extol in you what we would condemn in ourselves. The claim of kindred cannot for ever be the stalking-horse for injustice.' That they cannot do; and thus are they bonded to the one who will raise the race cry without scruple. There is no more hopeless feature for the peaceful settlement of the Transvaal question from within than the unanimity which marks the public utterances of those who are claimed as representing Afrikander sentiment in the present crisis. Those expressions, ranging from the most violent denunciations by politicians and ministers of the gospel down to the most illogical and hysterical appeals of public writers, all, all are directed against the injured. Not a warning, not a hint—not a prayer even—addressed to the offender. They have not the sense of justice to see or they have not the courage to denounce the perpetrators of evil, but direct all their efforts to hushing the complaints of the victims. Truly it would almost appear that there is some guiding principle running through it all; something which recognizes the real sinner in the victim who complains and not in the villain who perpetrates; the something which found a concrete expression when bail was fixed at £200 for the murder of a British subject and at £1,000 for the crime of objecting to it.

No civilized body of men ever had more just cause for complaint than the Uitlanders of the Transvaal have, but they carry on their reform movement under very difficult and discouraging conditions. Those who have petitioned their Sovereign to secure for them some amelioration of their lot are branded by the head of the State as rebels for so doing, and his example is followed by all his party. Those men who organized or addressed the public meetings which were suggested by Mr. Reitz, the State Secretary, and held for the purpose of discussing a proposal publicly made by the Government, are the men whom Messrs. Dieperink and Viljoen, the members representing Johannesburg in the First and Second Volksraads, denounced as traitors who should be summarily dealt with by the Government. British subjects associated with the Uitlander cause who venture to call upon the British Agent in Pretoria or the High Commissioner in Cape Town are regarded as conspirators and are watched by spies and all their movements are reported to the Transvaal Government.{52} The recognized leaders among the Uitlanders are black-listed in the Dutch press, their names, addresses, and occupations given so that they may be identified,—marked down in the newspapers supported by the Government—as men to be dragged out and shot without trial. Uitlander newspapers have been suppressed for mere political reasons, without even the allegation that there was incitement to violence or disorder, and it is therefore not unreasonable that the impunity with which the Dutch newspapers continue this campaign month after month should be taken as the measure of the Government's complicity.

It is in these circumstances that appeal has been made to England, the only other quarter in which there rests the power to see that justice shall be done. It is an appeal which might well be based upon the broad and acknowledged right of a subject to claim in case of injustice the good offices of his own Government. But here it is based upon a special right. It is the spirit{53} of the Pretoria Convention which the Uitlander has invoked for many years, only to be told that the spirit is as it may be interpreted from the letter. But it is not so! Will it be suggested that the British Government contemplated such license when they granted the charter of self-government to the Transvaal or that they would have granted it had they foreseen the interpretation? Can it be said that Mr. Kruger and his colleagues contemplated it or would have dared to avow the intention if it were ever entertained? No! And he will be a bolder man than Mr. Kruger who will dispute that answer; for the President's own defence is, not that he had the intention or has the right to differentiate between races and between classes; but—that he does not differentiate. So that the issue is narrowed to this, that it is merely a question of fact!

But the appeal of British subjects in the Transvaal will claim a hearing for other reasons too! Only the blindest can fail to realize how much is at stake, materially and morally, or can fail to see what is the real issue, and how the Mother Country stands on trial before all her children, who are the Empire. Only those who do not count will refuse to face the responsibility in all seriousness, or will fail to receive in the best spirit the timely reminder of past neglect. If the reproaching truth be a hard thing to hear, it is, for those whose every impulse jumps towards championing the great Home Land, a far, far harder thing to say. Unpleasant it may be, but not without good, that England's record in South Africa—of subjects abandoned and of rights ignored, of duty neglected and of pledge unkept, of lost prestige and slipping Empire—should speak to quicken a memory and rouse the native sense of right, so that a nation's conscience will say 'Be just before you are generous! Be just to all—even to your own!'

Footnotes for Chapter XI

{49} It is stated that President Kruger, ever since the signing of the London Convention on Majuba Day—February 27—1884, has believed in certain lucky days, and has a kind of superstitious regard for anniversaries. If that be so, the incidence of events has given him something to ponder over during the last three years. Three notable schemes conceived by himself and carefully designed to strengthen his position, have by a curious coincidence matured upon dates of certain interest in Transvaal history. All three have failed disastrously. The first anniversary of the Reformers' sentence day was the occasion of the Reformers giving evidence before the Industrial Commission, which so strongly justified their case. The Peace Negotiations with the Capitalists were opened by Mr. Lippert upon the anniversary of Majuba. The Bloemfontein Conference was opened upon the Reformers' emancipation day, the expiry of the three years' silence. That his Honour really attaches importance to these things was shown when over two hundred ministers representing the Dutch Reformed Church in the Transvaal met in Pretoria to urge upon him the suppression of the Illicit Liquor trade. In all innocence they had chosen May 24 on which to present their address. Their astonishment was great when Mr. Kruger, passing lightly by the liquor question, gave the assembled pastors a thorough wigging for finding fault with his administration at all, but chiefly for their unpatriotic conduct in selecting the Queen's birthday of all days on which to expose internal differences in their country.

{50} In addressing a meeting of burghers in Heidelburg three months later the President showed to what lengths he was prepared to go in defending the monopoly when in reply to a question he denied that any such offer had been received 'by the Executive.' The explanation, which he did not give, is that the Government, i.e., the President and State Secretary, had received it—and withheld it from the Executive!

{51} In March the writer made the suggestion to a representative of the Pretoria Government in the hope of getting rid by a 'square talk' of the many and ever-increasing differences, and was informed that the idea had often been discussed and as often abandoned, because it contained the objectionable feature of establishing a precedent for England's interference in internal affairs.

{52} When on a visit to Cape Town in April, the writer called several times upon the High Commissioner, and learning by private advice that his movements were being reported in detail through the Secret Service Department, he informed Sir Alfred Milner of the fact. Sir Alfred admitted that the idea of secret agents in British territory and spies round or in Government House was not pleasant, but expressed the hope that such things should not deter those who wished to call on him, as he was there as the representative of her Majesty for the benefit of British subjects and very desirous of ascertaining for himself the facts of the case.

{53} Since this was written, Mr. Chamberlain, speaking in the House of Commons on July 28, 1899, has thus disposed of the question:—

'It has been broken in the spirit more than it has been broken in the letter. The whole spirit of the convention is the preservation of equality as between all the white inhabitants of the Transvaal, and the whole policy of the Transvaal has been to promote a position of inferiority on the part of certain classes. There is something even more striking than that. The conventions were, of course, the result of a previous conference. At that conference definite promises were made which made it impossible to doubt with what object the convention was signed. On May 10, 1881, at a conference between representatives of her Majesty and representatives of the Transvaal the President, Sir Hercules Robinson, asked this question:—

'"Before annexation had British subjects complete freedom of trade throughout the Transvaal? Were they on the same footing as citizens of the Transvaal?

'"Mr. Kruger replied: They were on the same footing as the burghers. There was not the slightest difference in accordance with the Sand River Convention.

'"Sir Hercules Robinson: I presume you will not object to that continuing?

'"Mr. Kruger: No. There will be equal protection for everybody.

'"Sir Evelyn Wood: And equal privileges.

'"Mr. Kruger: We make no difference so far as burgher rights are concerned. There may, perhaps, be some slight difference in the case of a young person who has just come into the country."

(Cheers.) 'Now, there is a distinct promise given by the man who is now President of the Transvaal State that, so far as burgher rights were concerned, they made and would make no difference whatever between burghers and those who came in. The root of the difficulty which I have been describing lies in the fact that this promise has not been kept.'