A CENTURY OF INJUSTICE
Once more in the annals of our bloodstained history has the day dawned when we are forced to grasp our weapons in order to resume the struggle for liberty and existence, entrusting our national cause to that Providence which has guided our people throughout South Africa in such a miraculous way.
The struggle of now nearly a century, which began when a foreign rule was forced upon the people of the Cape of Good Hope, hastens to an end; we are approaching the last act in that great drama which is so momentous for all South Africa; we have reached a stage when it will be decided whether the sacrifices which both our fathers and we ourselves have made in the cause of freedom have been offered in vain; whether the blood of our race, with which every part of South Africa has been, as it were, consecrated, has been shed in vain; and whether, by the grace of God, the last stone will now be built into the edifice which our fathers began with so much toil and so much sorrow.
The hour has struck which will decide whether South Africa, in jealously guarding its liberty, will enter upon a new phase of its history, or whether our existence as a people will come to an end,
whether we shall be exterminated in the deadly struggle for that liberty which we have prized above all earthly treasures, and whether South Africa will be dominated by Capitalists without conscience, acting in the name and under the protection of an unjust and hated Government 7,000 miles away from here.
In this hour it behooves us to cast a glance back at the history of this great struggle. We do so not to justify ourselves, because liberty, for which we have sacrificed everything, has justified us and screened our faults and failings, but we do so in order that we may be, as it were, sanctified and prepared for the conflict which lies before us, bearing in mind what our people have done and suffered by the help of God. In this way we may be enabled to continue the work of our fathers, and possibly to complete it. Their deeds of heroism in adventures with Bantu and Briton shine forth like guiding stars through the history of the past, in order to point out the way for posterity to reach that goal for which our sorely tried people have made such great sacrifices, and for which they have undergone so many vicissitudes.
The historical survey will, moreover, aid in bringing into stronger relief those naked truths to which the tribunal of impartial history will assuredly testify hereafter, in adjudging the case between ourselves and our enemy. And the questions which present themselves for solution in the approaching conflict have their origin deep in the history of the past; it is only by the light of that history that it becomes possible to discern and appreciate the drifting straws which float on the currents of to-day. By its light we are more clearly enabled to compre-
hend the truth, to which our people appeal as a final justification for embarking upon the war now so close at hand.
History will show convincingly that the pleas of humanity, civilization, and equal rights, upon which the British Government bases its actions, are nothing else but the recrudescence of that spirit of annexation and plunder which has at all times characterized its dealings with our people.
The cause for which we are about to take up arms is the same, though in somewhat different form, as that for which so many of our forefathers underwent the most painful experiences centuries ago, when they abandoned house and fatherland to settle at the Cape of Good Hope. In the beautiful valleys lying between the blue mountains of the Cape of Good Hope they planted the seed-germ of liberty, which sprang up and has since developed with such startling rapidity into the giant tree of to-day—a tree which not only covers a considerable area in this part of the world, but will yet, in God's good time, we feel convinced, stretch out its leafy branches over the whole of South Africa. In spite of the oppressive bonds of the East India Company, the young settlement, containing the noblest blood of old Europe as well as its most exalted aspirations, grew so powerfully that, in 1806, when the Colony passed into the hands of England, a strong national sentiment and a spirit of liberty had already been developed.
As is forcibly expressed in an old document dating from the most renowned period of our history, there grew out of the two stocks of Hollanders and French Huguenots "a united people, one in religion, united in peaceful reverence for the law, but with a feeling of liberty and independence equal to the wide expanse of territory which they had rescued as a labor of love from the wilderness of nature, or from its still wilder aboriginal inhabitants." When the Dutch Government made way for that of Great Britain in 1806, and, still more, when that change was sealed in 1814, the little settlement entered upon a new phase of its history, a phase, indeed, in which its people were destined, by their heroic struggle for justice, to enlist a world-wide sympathy on their behalf.
Notwithstanding the wild surroundings and the innumerable savage tribes in the background, the young Afrikander nation had been welded into a white aristocracy, proudly conscious of having maintained its superiority notwithstanding arduous struggles. It was this sentiment of just pride which the British Government well understood how to wound in its most sensitive part by favoring the Natives as against the Afrikanders. So, for example, the Afrikander Boers were forced to look with pained eyes on the scenes of their farms and property devastated by the Natives without being in the position of defending themselves, because the British Government had even deprived them of their ammunition. In the same way the liberty-loving Afrikander burgher was coerced by a police composed of Hottentots, the lowest an most despicable class of the aborigines, whom the Afrikanders justly placed on
a far lower social level than that of their own Malay slaves.
No wonder that in 1815 a number of the Boers were driven into rebellion, a rebellion which found an awful ending in the horrible occurrence on the 9th of March, 1816, where six of the Boers were half hung up in the most inhuman way, and in the compulsory presence of their wives and children. Their death was truly horrible, for the gallows broke down before the end came; but they were again hoisted up in the agony of dying, and strangled to death in the murderous tragedy of Slachter's Nek. Whatever opinions have been formed of this occurrence in other respects, it was at Slachter's Nek that the first bloodstained beacon was erected which marks the boundary between Boer and Briton in South Africa, and the eyes of posterity still glance back shuddering through the long vista of years at that tragedy of horror.
This was, however, but the beginning. Under the cloak of religion British administration continued to display its hate against our people and nationality, and to conceal its self-seeking aims under cover of the most exalted principles. The aid of religion was invoked to reinforce the policy of oppression in order to deal a deeper and more fatal blow to our self-respect. Emissaries of the London Missionary Society slandered the Boers, and accused them of the most inhuman cruelties to the Natives. These libellous stories, endorsed as they were by the British Government, found a ready ear among the English, and the result was that under the pressure of powerful philanthropic opinion in England, our unfortunate people were more bitterly persecuted
than ever, and were finally compelled to defend themselves in courts of law against the coarsest accusations and insults. But they emerged from the ordeal triumphantly, and the records of the criminal courts of the Cape Colony bear indisputable witness to the fact that there were no people among the slave-owning classes of the world more humane than the Afrikander Boers. Their treatment of the Natives was based on the theory that Natives ought not to be considered as mature and fully developed people, but that they were in reality children who had to be won over to civilization by just and rigid discipline; they hold the same convictions on this subject to-day, and the enlightened opinion of the civilized world is inclining more and more to the same conclusion. But the fact that their case was a good one, and that it was triumphantly decided in their favor in the law courts, did not serve to diminish, but rather tended to sharpen, the feeling of injustice with which they had been treated.
A livelier sense of wrong was quickened by the way in which the emancipation of the slaves—in itself an excellent measure—was carried out in the case of the Boers.
Our forefathers had become owners of slaves, chiefly imported in English ships and sold to us by Englishmen. The British Government decided to abolish slavery. We had no objection to this, provided we received adequate compensation. Our slaves had been valued by British officials at three millions, but of the twenty millions voted by the Imperial Government for compensation, only one and a quarter millions was destined for South Africa; and this sum was payable in London. It was
impossible for us to go there, so we were forced to sell our rights to middlemen and agents for a mere song; and many of our people were so overwhelmed by the difficulties placed in their way that they took no steps whatever to receive their share of the compensation.
Grayheads and widows who had lived in ease and comfort went down poverty-stricken to the grave, and gradually the hard fact was borne in upon us that there was no such thing as justice for us in England.
Froude, the English historian, hits the right nail on the head when he says:—
"Slavery at the Cape had been rather domestic than predial; the scandals of the West India plantations were unknown among them.
"Because the Dutch are a deliberate and slow people, not given to enthusiasm for new ideas, they fell into disgrace with us, where they have ever since remained. The unfavorable impression of them became a tradition of the English Press, and, unfortunately, of the Colonial Office. We had treated them unfairly as well as unwisely, and we never forgive those whom we have injured."
But this was not all. When the English obtained possession of the Cape Colony by convention, the Fish River formed the eastern boundary. The Kaffirs raided the Colony from time to time, but especially in 1834, when they murdered, plundered, and outraged the helpless Colonists in an awful and almost indescribable manner. The Governor was ultimately prevailed upon to free the strip of territory beyond the Fish River from the raids of the Kaffirs, and this was done by the aid of the Boers.
But Lord Glenelg, the Colonial Secretary, reversed this policy and restored the whole territory to the natives. He maligned the Boers in even more forcible terms than the emissaries of the London Missionary Society, and openly favored the Kaffirs, placing them on a higher pedestal than the Boers. The latter had succeeded in rescuing their cattle from the Kaffirs, but were forced to look on passively while the very same cattle, with the owner's brand marks plainly visible, were sold by public auction to defray the cost of the commando. It was useless to hope for justice from Englishmen. There was no security for life and property under the flag of a Government which openly elected to uphold Wrong. The high-minded descendants of the proudest and most stubborn peoples of Europe had to bend the knee before a Government which united a commercial policy of crying injustice with a veneer of simulated philanthropy.
But it was not only in regard to the Natives that the Boers were oppressed and their rights violated. When the Cape was transferred to England in 1806, their language was guaranteed to the Dutch inhabitants. This guarantee was, however, soon to meet the same fate as the treaties and conventions which were concluded by England with our people at later periods.
The violator of treaties fulfilled its obligation by decreeing in 1825 that all documents were for the future to be written in English. Petitions in the language of the country and complaints about bitter grievances were not even acknowledged. The Boers were excluded from the juries because their knowledge of English was too faulty, and their causes and
actions had to be determined by Englishmen, with whom they had nothing in common.
After twenty years' experience of British administration it had become abundantly clear to the Boers that there was no prospect of peace and prosperity before them, for their elementary rights had been violated, and they could only expect oppression. They were without adequate guarantees of protection, and their position had become intolerable in the Cape Colony.
They decided to sell home, farm, and all that remained over from the depredations of the Kaffirs, and to trek away from British rule. The Colony was at this time bounded on the north by the Orange River.
At first, Lieutenant-Governor Stockenstrom was consulted; but he was of opinion that there was no law which could prevent the Boers from leaving the Colony and settling elsewhere. Even if such a statute existed, it would be tyrannical, as well as impossible, to enforce it.
The Cape Attorney-General, Mr. Oliphant, expressed the same opinion, adding that it was clear that the emigrants were determined to go into another country, and not to consider themselves British subjects any longer. The same thing was happening daily in the emigration from England to North America, and the British Government was and would remain powerless to stop the evil.
The territory to the north of the Orange River and to the east of the Drakensberg lay outside the sphere of British influence or authority, and was, as far as was then known, inhabited by savages; but the Boers decided to brave the perils of the wilder-
ness and to negotiate with the savages for the possession of a tract of country, and so form an independent community, rather than remain any longer under British rule.
In the words of Piet Retief, when he left Grahamstown:
"We complain of the severe losses which we have been forced to sustain by the emancipation of our slaves, and the vexatious laws which have been enacted respecting them.
"We complain of the continual system of plunder which we have for years endured from the Kaffirs and other colored classes, and particularly by the last invasion of the Colony, which has desolated the frontier district and ruined most of the inhabitants.
"We complain of the unjustifiable odium which has been cast upon us by interested and dishonest persons, under the name of religion, whose testimony is believed in England to the exclusion of all evidence in our favor; and we can foresee, as the result of this prejudice, nothing but the total ruin of the country.
"We quit this Colony under the full assurance that the English Government has nothing more to require of us and will allow us to govern ourselves without its interference in future.
"We are now leaving the fruitful land of our birth,
in which we have suffered enormous losses and continual vexation, and are about to enter a strange and dangerous territory; but we go with a firm reliance on an all-seeing, just and merciful God, whom we shall always fear and humbly endeavor to obey.
"In the name of all who leave the Colony with me,
We journeyed then with our fathers beyond the Orange River into the unknown north, as free men and subjects of no sovereign upon earth. Then began what the English member of parliament, Sir William Molesworth, termed a strange sort of pursuit. The trekking Boer followed by the British Colonial Office was indeed the strangest pursuit ever witnessed on earth.
The British Parliament even passed a law in 1836 to impose punishments beyond their jurisdiction up to the 25th degree south, and when we trekked further north Lord Grey threatened to extend this unrighteous law to the Equator. It may be remarked that in this law it was specially enacted that no sovereignty or overlordship was to be considered as established thereby over the territory in question.
The first trek was that of Trichardt and the Van Rensburgs. They went to the north, but the Van Rensburgs were massacred in the most horrible way by the Kaffirs, and Trichardt's party reached Delagoa Bay after indescribable sufferings in a poverty-stricken condition, only to die there of malarial fever.
The second trek was equally unfortunate. After Piet Retief had duly paid for and obtained possession from Dingaan, Chief of the Zulus, of that tract of territory now known as Natal, the latter, incited by some Englishmen, treacherously murdered him and his party on the 6th February, 1838; 66 Boers and 30 of their followers perished. The Great Trek thus lost its most courageous and noble-minded leader.
Dingaan then sent two of his armies, and they overcame the women and children and the aged at Boesmans River (Blaauw-krantz), where the village of Weenen now stands; 282 white people and 252 servants were massacred.
Towards the end of the year we entered the land of this criminal with a small commando of 464 men, and on the 16th December, 1838—since known as "Dingaan's Day," the proudest in our history—we overthrew the military might of the Zulus, consisting of 10,000 warriors, and burned Dingaan's chief kraal.
After that we settled down peaceably in Natal and established a new Republic. The territory had been purchased with our money and baptized with our blood. But the Republic was not permitted to remain in peace for long. The Colonial Office was in pursuit. The Government first of all decided upon a military occupation of Natal, for, as Governor Napier wrote to Lord Russell on the 22d June, 1840, "it was apparently the fixed determination of Her Majesty's Government not to extend Her Colonial
possessions in this quarter of the Globe." The only object of the military occupation was to crush the Boers, as the Governor, Sir George Napier, undisguisedly admitted in his dispatch to Lord Glenelg, of the 16th January, 1838. The Boers were to be prevented from obtaining ammunition, and to be forbidden to establish an independent Republic. By these means he hoped to put a stop to the emigration. Lord Stanley instructed Governor Napier, on the 10th April, 1842, to cut the emigrant Boers off from all communication, and to inform them that the British Government would assist the savages against them, and would treat them as rebels.
Twice we successfully withstood the military occupation; more English perished while in flight from drowning than fell by our bullets.
Commissioner Cloete was sent later to annex the young Republic as a reward for having redeemed it for civilization.
The annexation, however, only took place under strong protest. On the 21st February, 1842, the Volksraad of Maritzburg, under the chairmanship of Joachim Prinsloo, addressed the following letter to Governor Napier:
"We know that there is a God, who is the Ruler of heaven and earth, and who has power, and is willing to protect the injured, though weaker, against oppressors. In Him we put our trust, and in the justice of our cause; and should it be His will that total destruction be brought upon us, our wives and children, and everything we possess, we will with due submission acknowledge to have deserved from Him, but not from men. We are aware of the power of Great Britain, and it is not our object to defy that
power; but at the same time we cannot allow that might instead of right shall triumph without having employed all our means to oppose it."
The Boer women of Maritzburg informed the British Commissioner that, sooner than subject themselves again to British sway, they would walk barefoot over the Drakensberg to freedom or to death.
And they were true to their word, as the following incident proves. Andries Pretorius, our brave leader, had ridden through to Grahamstown, hundreds of miles distant, in order to represent the true facts of our case to Governor Pottinger. He was unsuccessful, for he was obliged to return without a hearing from the Governor, who excused himself under the pretext that he had no time to receive Pretorius. When the latter reached the Drakensberg on his return, he found nearly the whole population trekking over the mountains away from Natal and away from British sway. His wife was lying ill in the wagon, and his daughter had been severely hurt by the oxen, which she was forced to lead.
Sir Harry Smith, who succeeded Pottinger, thus described the condition of the emigrant Boers: "They were exposed to a state of misery which he had never before seen equalled, except in Massena's invasion of Portugal. The scene was truly heart-rending."
This is what we had to suffer at the hands of the British Government in connection with Natal. We trekked back over the Drakensberg to the Free State, where some remained, but others wandered northwards over the Vaal River.
Giving effect to Law 6 and 7 William IV., ch. 57, the English appointed a Resident in the Free State. Pretorius, however, gave him forty-eight hours' notice to quit the Republic. Thereupon Sir Harry Smith mobilized an army, chiefly consisting of blacks, against us white people, and fought us at Boomplaats, on the 29th August, 1848. After an obstinate struggle a Boer named Thomas Dreyer was caught by the blacks of Smith's army, and to the shame of English reputation was killed by the English Governor for no other crime than that he was once, though years before, a British subject, and had now dared to fight against Her Majesty's flag.
Another murder and deed of shame in South Africa's account with England.
In the mean time Sir Harry Smith had annexed the Free State as the "Orange River Sovereignty," on the pretext that four-fifths of the inhabitants favored British dominion, and were only intimidated by the power of Pretorius from manifesting their wishes.
But the British Resident soon came into collision with Moshesh, the great and crafty head chieftain of the Basutos.
The Boers were called up to assist, but only 75 responded out of the 1,000 who were called up. The English had then to eat the leek. The Resident informed his Government that the fate of the Orange River Sovereignty depended upon Andries Pretorius, the very man on whose head Sir Harry Smith had
put a price of 2,000 pounds. Earl Grey censured and abandoned both Sir Harry Smith and the Resident, Major Warden, saying in his dispatch to the Governor, dated 15th December, 1851, that the British Government had annexed the country on the understanding that the inhabitants had generally desired it. But if they would not support the British Government, which had only been established in their interests, and if they wished to be freed from that authority, there was no longer any use in continuing it.
The Governor was clearly given to understand by the British Government that there was in future to be no interference in any of the wars which might take place between the different tribes and the inhabitants of independent states beyond the Colonial boundaries, no matter how sanguinary such wars might happen to be.
In other words, as Froude says: "In 1852 we had discovered that wars with the Natives and wars with the Dutch were expensive and useless, that sending troops out and killing thousands of Natives was an odd way of protecting them. We resolved then to keep within our own territories, to meddle no more beyond the Orange River, and to leave the Dutch and the Natives to settle their differences among themselves."
"Grown sick at last of enterprises which led neither to honor nor peace, we resolved, in 1852, to leave Boers, Kaffirs, Basutos and Zulus to themselves and make the Orange River the boundary of British responsibilities. We made formal treaties with the two Dutch States, binding ourselves to in-
terfere no more between them and the Natives, and to leave them either to establish themselves as a barrier between ourselves and the interior of Africa, or to sink, as was considered most likely, in an unequal struggle with warlike tribes, by whom they were infinitely outnumbered."
The administration of the Free State cost the British taxpayer too much. There was an idea, too, that if enough rope were given to the Boer he would hang himself.
A new Governor, Sir George Cathcart, was sent out with two Special Commissioners to give effect to the new policy. A new treaty between England and the Free State was signed, by which full independence was guaranteed to the Republic, the British Government undertaking at the same time not to interfere with any of the Native tribes north of the Orange River.
As Cathcart remarked in his letters—the Sovereignty bubble had burst and the silly Sovereignty farce was played out.
It must not be forgotten that as long as the Free State was English territory it was supposed to include that strip of ground now known as Kimberley and the Diamond Fields; English title deeds had been issued during the Orange River Sovereignty in respect of the ground in question, which was considered to belong to the Sovereignty and to be under the jurisdiction of one of the Sovereignty magistrates. At the re-establishment of the Free State it consequently became a part of the Orange Free State.
Not fifteen years had elapsed since the Convention between England and the Free State before it
was broken by the English. It had been solemnly stipulated that England would not interfere in Native affairs north of the Orange River. The Basutos had murdered the Free Staters, plundered them, ravished their wives, and committed endless acts of violence. After a bitter struggle of three years the Free Staters had succeeded in inflicting a well-merited chastisement on the Basutos, when the British intervened in 1869 in favor of the Natives, notwithstanding the fact that they had reiterated their declaration of non-interference in the Aliwal Convention.
To return to the Diamond Fields, as Froude remarks: "The ink on the Treaty of Aliwal was scarcely dry when diamonds were discovered in large quantities in a district which we had ourselves treated as part of the Orange Territory." Instead of honestly saying that the British Government relied on its superior strength, and on this ground demanded the territory in question, which contained the richest diamond fields in the world, it hypocritically pretended that the real reason of its depriving the Free State of the Diamond Fields was that they belonged to a Native, notwithstanding the fact that this contention was falsified by the judgment of the English courts.
"There was a notion also," says Froude, "that the finest diamond mine in the world ought not to be lost to the British Empire."
The ground was thereupon taken from the Boers, and "from that day no Boer in South Africa has been able to trust to English promises."
Later, when Brand went to England, the British Government acknowledged its guilt and paid 90,000 pounds for the richest diamond fields in the world, a sum
which scarcely represents the daily output of the mines.
But notwithstanding the Free State Convention, notwithstanding the renewed promises of the Aliwal Convention—the Free State was forced to suffer a third breach of the Convention at the hands of the English. Ten thousand rifles were imported into Kimberley through the Cape Colony and sold there to the Natives who encircled and menaced the two Dutch Republics. General Sir Arthur Cunynghame, the British Commander-in-Chief in South Africa, admits that 400,000 guns were sold to Kaffirs during his term of office. Protests from the Transvaal and the Free State were of no avail. And when the Free State in the exercise of its just rights stopped wagons laden with guns on their way through its territory, it was forced to pay compensation to the British Government.
"The Free State," says the historian Froude, "paid the money, but paid it under protest, with an old-fashioned appeal to the God of Righteousness, whom, strange to say, they believed to be a reality."
It seems thus that there is no place for the God of Righteousness in English policy.
So far we have considered our Exodus from the Cape Colony and the way in which we were deprived of Natal and the Free State by England. Now for the case of the Transvaal.
The disastrous fate of the Trichardt Trek has already been told. The Trichardts found the Transvaal overrun by the warriors of Moselikatse, the King of the Matabele and father of Lobengula. The other tribes of the Transvaal were his "dogs," according to the Kaffir term.
As soon as he heard of the approach of the emigrant Boers he sent out an army to exterminate them. This army succeeded in cutting off and murdering one or two stragglers, but it was defeated at Vechtkop by the small laager of Sarel Celliers, where the Boer women distinguished themselves by deeds of striking heroism.
Shortly afterwards the emigrant Boers journeyed across the Vaal River, and after two battles drove Moselikatse and his hordes across the Limpopo right into what is now Matabeleland. Andries Pretorius had come into the Transvaal after the annexation of Natal and lived there quietly, notwithstanding the price which had been put on his head after Boomplaats. The British Resident in the Free State, which at this time still belonged to England, was compelled to admit in a letter to the English Governor that the fate of the Free State depended upon the self-same Pretorius. It was owing to his influence that Moshesh had not killed off the English soldiers. People had decided in England—to quote Froude once more—to abandon the Afrikanders and the Kaffirs beyond the borders to their fate, in the hope that the Kaffirs would exterminate the Afrikanders.
According to Molesworth, the English member of parliament, the Colonial Office was delighted when the Governor received a letter in 1851 from Andries Pretorius, Commandant-General of the Transvaal Boers, in which he offered on behalf of his people to enter into negotiations with the British Government for a Treaty of Peace and Friendship.
The price put on his head was promptly cancelled, and when Sir Harry Smith was recalled in disgrace, Governor Cathcart was sent out to recognize the independence of the Boers. The Aberdeen Ministry declared through its representative in the House of Commons that they regretted having crossed the Orange River, as the Boers were hostile to British rule, and that Lord Grey had permitted it out of deference to the views of Sir Harry Smith, against his own better judgment and convictions. This policy was almost unanimously endorsed by the House of Commons.
The proposal of Pretorius was then accepted, and two assistant commissioners, Hogge and Owen, were sent out with Governor Cathcart, and met the Boer representatives at Sand River, a meeting which resulted in the Sand River Convention, respectively signed by both the contracting parties.
In this Convention, as in the later Free State Treaty, the Transvaal Boers were guaranteed in the fullest way against interference or hindrance on the part of Great Britain, either in regard to themselves or the Natives, to whom it was mutually agreed that the sale of firearms and ammunition should be strictly forbidden. The British commissioners reported that the recognition of the independence of the Transvaal Boers would secure great advantages, as it
would ensure their friendship and prevent any union with Moshesh. It would also be a guarantee against slavery and would provide for the extradition of criminals.
On the 13th May, 1852, great satisfaction was expressed by the Governor, Sir George Cathcart, in his proclamation that one of the first acts of his administration was to approve and fully confirm the Sand River Convention. On the 24th June, 1852, the Colonial Secretary also signified his approval of the Convention.
The Republic was now in possession of a Convention, which from the nature of its provisions seemed to promise a peaceful future. In addition to Great Britain it was recognized in Holland, France, Germany, Belgium, and especially in the United States of America. The American Secretary of State at Washington, writing to President Pretorius on the 19th November, 1870, said: "That his Government, while heartily acknowledging the Sovereignty of the Transvaal Republic, would be ready to take any steps which might be deemed necessary for that purpose."
But no reliance could be placed on England's word, even though it was embodied in a Convention duly signed and ratified, for when the Diamond Fields were discovered, barely seventeen years later, England claimed a portion of Transvaal territory next to that part which had already been wrested from the Free State. Arbitration was decided upon. As the arbitrators could not agree, the umpire, Governor Keate, gave judgment against the Transvaal. Thereupon it appeared that the English arbitrator had bought 12,000 morgen (of the ground in dispute)
from the native Chief Waterboer for a mere song, and also that Governor Keate had accepted Waterboer as a British subject, which was contrary to the Convention. Even Dr. Moffat, who was no friend of the Boers, entered a protest in a letter to the Times, on the ground that the territory in question had all along been the property of the Transvaal.
But this was only one of the breaches of the Convention. When the 400,000 guns, about which Cunynghame and Modie testify, were sold to the Kaffirs, the Transvaal lodged a strong protest in 1872 with the Cape High Commissioner. Their only satisfaction was an insolent reply from Sir Henry Barkly.
As a crowning act in these deeds of shame came the annexation of the Transvaal by Shepstone on the 12th April, 1877. Sir Bartle Frere was sent out as Governor to Cape Town by Lord Carnarvon to carry out the confederation policy of the latter. Shepstone was also sent to the Transvaal to annex that state, in case the consent of the Volksraad or that of the majority of the inhabitants could be obtained. The Volksraad protested against the annexation. The President protested. Out of a possible 8,000 burghers 6,800 protested. But all in vain.
Bishop Colenso declared that: "The sly and underhand way in which the Transvaal has been annexed appears to be unworthy of the English name."
The Free State recorded its deepest regret at the Annexation.
Even Gladstone, in expressing his regret, admitted that England had in the Transvaal acted in such a way as to use the free subjects of a kingdom to oppress the free subjects of a Republic and to
compel them to accept a citizenship which they did not wish to have.
But it was all of no avail.
Sir Garnet Wolseley declared: "As long as the sun shines the Transvaal will remain British territory." He also stated that the Vaal River would flow backward to its source over the Drakensberg before England would give up the Transvaal.
Shepstone's chief pretexts for the annexation were that the Transvaal could not subdue Secoecoeni, and that the Zulus threatened to overpower the Transvaal. As far as Secoecoeni is concerned, he had shortly before sued for peace, and the Transvaal Republic had fined him 2,000 head of cattle. With regard to the Zulus, the threatened danger was never felt by the Republic. Four hundred burghers had crushed the Zulu power in 1838, and the burghers had crowned Panda, Cetewayo's father, in 1840.
Sir Bartle Frere acknowledged in a letter to Sir Robert Herbert, dated 12th January, 1879, that he could not understand how it was that the Zulus had left Natal unmolested for so long, until he found out that the Zulus had been thoroughly subdued by the Boers during Dingaan's time. Just before the Annexation a small patrol of Boers had pursued the Chief Umbeline into the very heart of Zululand. But Bishop Colenso points out clearly what a fraudulent stalking horse the Zulu difficulty was. There had been a dispute of some years' standing between the Transvaal and the Zulus about a strip of territory along the border, which had been claimed and occupied by the Boers since 1869. The question was referred to Shepstone before the Annexation while he was still in Natal, and he gave a direct de-
cision against the Boers and in favor of the Zulus. There was thus no cause on that account for the fear of a Zulu attack upon the Transvaal. But scarcely had Shepstone become administrator of the Transvaal when he declared the ground in dispute to be British territory, and discovered that there was the strongest evidence for the contention of the Boers that the Zulus had no right to the ground. Bulwer, Governor of Natal, appointed a Boundary Commission, which decided in favor of the Zulus, but Shepstone vehemently opposed their verdict, and Bartle Frere and the High Commissioner (Wolseley) followed him blindly. The result was that England sent an ultimatum to the Zulus, and the Zulu war took place, which lowered the prestige of England among the Natives of South Africa.
It will thus be seen that Shepstone's two chief reasons for the Annexation were devoid of foundation. It was naturally difficult for the Secretary of State to justify his instructions that the Annexation of the Transvaal was only to take place in case a majority of the inhabitants favored such a course, in face of the fact that 6,800 out of 8,000 burghers had protested against it.
But both Shepstone and Lord Carnarvon declared without a shadow of proof that the signatures of the protesting petitions were obtained under threats of violence. The case, indeed, was exactly the reverse. When the meeting was held at Pretoria to sign this petition, Shepstone caused the cannons to be pointed at the assemblage. As if this were not enough, he issued a menacing proclamation against the signing of the petition.
When these pretexts were thus disposed of, they
relied on the fact that the Annexation was a fait accompli.
Delegates were sent to England to protest against the Annexation, but Lord Carnarvon told them that he would only be misleading them if he held out any hope of restitution. Gladstone afterwards endorsed this by saying that he could not advise the Queen to withdraw her Sovereignty from the Transvaal.
When it was represented that the Annexation was a deliberate breach of the Sand River Convention, Sir Bartle Frere replied, in 1879, that if they wished to go back to the Sand River Convention they might just as well go back to the Creation!
It is necessary here not to lose sight of the fact that the ground, which, according to the Keate award in 1870, had been declared to lie beyond the borders of the Republic, was now included by Shepstone as being part of the Transvaal.
There were, however, other matters which under Republican administration were branded as wrong, but which under English rule were perfectly right. In the Secoecoeni war under the Republic the British High Commissioner had protested against the use of the Swazies and Volunteers by the Republic in conducting the campaign.
Under British administration the war was carried on at first by regulars only, but when these were defeated by the Kaffirs an army of Swazies as well as Volunteers was collected. The number of the former can be gathered from the fact that 500 Swazies were killed. The atrocities committed by these Swazi allies of the English on the people of Secoecoeni's tribe were truly awful.
Bishop Colenso, who condemned this incident, said, with regard to the results of the Annexation of the Republic, that the Zululand difficulty, as well as that with Secoecoeni, was the direct consequence of the unfortunate Annexation of the Transvaal, which would not have happened if we had not taken possession of the country like a lot of freebooters, partly by "trickery," partly by "bullying." Elsewhere he said: "And in this way we annexed the Transvaal, and that act brought as its Nemesis the Zulu difficulty."
That the British Government had all along considered the Zulus as a means of annihilating the Transvaal when a favorable opportunity occurred is clear from a letter which the High Commissioner, Sir Bartle Frere, wrote to General Ponsonby, in which he says:
"That while the Boer Republic was a rival and semi-hostile power, it was a Natal weakness rather to pet the Zulus as one might a tame wolf who only devoured one's neighbors' sheep. We always remonstrated, but rather feebly, and now that both flocks belong to us we are rather embarrassed in stopping the wolf's ravages."
And again in a letter to Sir Robert Herbert:
"The Boers were aggressive, the English were not; and were well inclined to help the Zulus against the Boers. I have been shocked to find how very close to the wind the predecessors of the present Government here have sailed in supporting the Zulus against Boer aggression. Mr. John Dunn, still a salaried official of this Government, thinking himself bound to explain his own share in supplying rifles to the Zulus in consequence of the revelation
in a late trial of a Durban gun-runner, avows that he did so with the knowledge, if not the consent, and at the suggestion of (naming a high Colonial Official) in Natal. There can be no doubt that Natal sympathy was strongly with the Zulus as against the Boers, and, what is worse, is so still."
Under such circumstances did the Annexation take place. The English did not scruple to make use of Kaffir aid against the Boers, as at Boomplaats, and it was brought home in every possible way to the British Nation that a great wrong had been committed here; but even the High Commissioner, though he heard the words issue from our bleeding hearts, wished that he had brought some artillery in order to disperse us, and misrepresented us beyond measure.
Full of hope we said to ourselves if only the Queen of England and the English people knew that in the Transvaal a people were being oppressed they would never suffer it.
But we had now to admit that it was of no use appealing to England because there was no one to hear us. Trusting in the Almighty God of righteousness and justice, we armed ourselves for an apparently hopeless struggle in the firm conviction that whether we conquered or whether we died the sun of freedom in South Africa would arise out of the morning mists. With God's all-powerful aid we gained the victory, and for a time at least it seemed as if our liberty was secure.
At Bronkorst Spruit, at Laing's Nek, at Ingogo, and at Majuba, God gave us victory, although in each case the British troopers outnumbered us, and were more powerfully armed than ourselves.
After these victories had given new force to our arguments, the British Government, under the leadership of Gladstone, a man whom we shall never forget, decided to cancel the Annexation and to restore to us our violated rights.
An ordinary person would have thought that the only upright way of carrying a policy of restitution into effect would have been for the British Government to have returned to the provisions of the Sand River Convention. If the Annexation was wrong in itself—without taking the Boer victories into consideration—then it ought to have been abolished with all its consequences, and there ought to have been a restitutio in integrum of that Republic; that is to say, the Boers ought to have been placed in exactly the same position as they were in before the Annexation. But what happened? With a magnanimity which the English press and English orators are never tired of vaunting, they gave us back our country, but the violation of the Sand River Convention remained unredressed. Instead of a sovereign freedom, we obtained free internal administration, subject to the suzerain power of Her Majesty over the Republic. This occurred by virtue of the Convention of Pretoria, the preamble of which bestowed self-government on the Transvaal State with the express reservation of suzerainty. The articles of that Convention endeavored to establish a modus vivendi between such self-government and the aforesaid suzerainty. Under this bilateral arrangement the Republic was governed for three
years by two heterogeneous principles—that of representative self-government and that represented by the British agent. This system was naturally unworkable; it was also clear that the arrangement of 1881 was not to be considered as final.
The suzerainty was above all an absurdity which was not possible to reconcile with practical efficacy. So with the approval of the British Government a Deputation went to London in 1883, in order to get the status of the Republic altered and to substitute a new Convention for that of Pretoria. The Deputation proposed to return to the position as laid down by the Sand River Convention, and that was in fact the only upright and statesmanlike arrangement possible. But according to the evidence of one of the witnesses on the British side, the Rev. D. P. Faure, the Ministry suffered from a very unwholesome dread of parliament; so it would not agree to this, and submitted a counter-proposal which eventually was accepted by the Deputation, and the conditions of which are to-day of the greatest importance to us.
This Draft was constructed out of the Pretoria Convention with such alterations as were designed to make it acceptable to the Deputation. The preamble under which complete self-government, subject to the suzerainty, was granted to the Republic was deliberately erased by Lord Derby, then Secretary of State for the Colonies, so that the suzerainty naturally lapsed when the Draft was eventually accepted. In order to make it perfectly clear that the status of the Republic was put upon another basis, the title "Transvaal State" was altered to that of the "South African Republic." All articles in the Pretoria Convention which gave the British Govern-
ment any authority in the internal affairs of this Republic were done away with. As far as foreign affairs were concerned, a great and far-reaching change was made. It was stipulated in Article 2 of the Pretoria Convention that "Her Majesty reserves to herself, her heirs and successors (a), the right from time to time to appoint a British Resident in and for the said State, with such duties and functions as are hereinafter defined; (b), the right to move troops through the said State in time of war or in case of the apprehension of immediate war between the Suzerain Power and any Foreign State or Native tribe in South Africa; and (c), the control of the external relations of the said State, including the conclusion of treaties and the conduct of diplomatic intercourse with Foreign Powers, such intercourse to be carried on through Her Majesty's diplomatic and consular officers abroad."
This was superseded by Article 4 of the Convention of London, which was to the following effect:
"The South African Republic will conclude no treaty or engagement with any State or Nation other than the Orange Free State, nor with any Native tribe to the eastward or westward of the Republic, until the same has been approved by Her Majesty the Queen.
"Such approval shall be considered to have been granted if Her Majesty's Government shall not, within six months after receiving a copy of such treaty (which shall be delivered to them immediately upon its completion), have notified that the conclusion of such treaty is in conflict with the interests of Great Britain, or any of Her Majesty's possessions in South Africa."
The right of the British Government to exercise control over all our foreign relations and to conduct all our diplomatic negotiations through its own Agent was thus replaced by the far more slender right of approving or disapproving of our treaties and conventions after they were completed, and then only when it affected the interests of Great Britain or Her Majesty's possessions in South Africa.
It was this Article 4 which gave an appearance of truth (and an appearance only) to Lord Derby's declaration in the House of Lords that although he had omitted the term of suzerainty, the substance thereof remained. It would have been more correct to have said that owing to the lapse of suzerainty the South African Republic no longer fell under the head of a semi-suzerain State, but that it had become a free, independent, sovereign international State, the sovereignty of which was only limited by the restriction contained in Article 4 of the Convention. Sovereignty need not of necessity be absolute. Belgium is a sovereign international State, although it is bound to observe a condition of permanent neutrality. The South African Republic falls undoubtedly under this category of States, the sovereignty of which is limited in one or other defined direction. But the fact of its sovereignty is nevertheless irrefutable. It will be pointed out later how this position, which is undoubtedly the correct one, has been consistently upheld by the Government of the South African Republic, but it is necessary now to revert to the historical development.
In 1886 gold was discovered in great quantities and in different parts of the South African Republic, and with that discovery our people entered upon a new phase of their history. The South African Republic was to develop within a few years from a condition of great poverty into a rich and prosperous State, a country calculated in every respect to awaken and inflame the greed of the Capitalistic speculator. Within a few years the South African Republic was ranked among the first gold-producing countries of the world. The bare veldt of hitherto was overspread with large townships inhabited by a speculative and bustling class brought together from all corners of the earth. The Boers, who had hitherto followed pastoral and hunting pursuits, were now called upon to fulfil one of the most difficult tasks in the world—namely, the management of a complicated administration and the government of a large digging population which had sprung up suddenly under the most extraordinary circumstances. And how have they acquitted themselves of the task? We quote the following from a brilliant pamphlet by Olive Schreiner, who possesses a deeper insight into the true condition of affairs in South Africa than has been vouchsafed to any other writer on the same subject:
"We put it to all generous and just spirits, whether of statesmen or thinkers, whether the little Republic does not deserve our sympathy, which wise minds
give to all who have to deal with new and complex problems, where the past experience of humanity has not marked out a path—and whether, if we touch the subject at all, it is not necessary that it should be in that large, impartial, truth-seeking spirit in which humanity demands we should approach all great social difficulties and questions?
"It is sometimes said that when one stands looking down from the edge of this hill at the great mining camp of Johannesburg stretching beneath, with its heaps of white sand and débris mountain high, its mining chimneys belching forth smoke, with its seventy thousand Kaffirs and its eighty thousand men and women, white or colored, of all nationalities, gathered here in the space of a few years on the spot where, fifteen years ago, the Boer's son guided his sheep to the water, and the Boer's wife sat alone at evening at the house door to watch the sunset, we are looking upon one of the most wonderful spectacles on earth. And it is wonderful; but as we look at it the thought always arises within us of something more wonderful yet—the marvellous manner in which a little nation of simple folk, living in peace in the land they loved, far from the rush of cities and the concourse of men, have risen to the difficulties of their condition; how they, without instruction in statecraft or traditionary rules of policy, have risen to face their great difficulties, and have sincerely endeavored to meet them in a large spirit, and have largely succeeded. Nothing but that curious and wonderful instinct for statecraft and the organization and arrangement of new social conditions which seem inherent as a gift of the blood to all those peoples who took their rise in the little
deltas on the northeast of the Continent of Europe where the English and Dutch peoples alike took their rise could have made it possible. We do not say that the Transvaal Republic has among its guides and rulers a Solon or a Lycurgus, but it has to-day among the men guiding its destiny, men of brave and earnest spirit, who are seeking manfully and profoundly to deal with the great problems before them in a wide spirit of humanity and justice. And we do again repeat that the strong sympathy of all earnest and thoughtful minds, not only in Africa, but in England, should be with them."
If one compares the gold fields of the Witwatersrand with those of other countries, it is certain that the former can claim to be the best governed mining area in the world. This is the almost unanimous verdict of people who have had a lengthy experience of the gold fields of California, Australia and Klondike.
As far as South Africa is concerned, it is only necessary to instance the diamond fields of Griqualand West when they were directly administered by the British Government. They then afforded a continual spectacle of rebellion, rioting and indescribable uncertainty of and danger to life and property.
The evidence of eye witnesses can be quoted as to the chaos which characterized the condition of the diamond fields when under British rule—a condition which differs from that of the Witwatersrand gold fields as night from day. Reference will be made later on to the administration of the gold fields of the South African Republic. For the present it is necessary to glance at certain forces which had been developed on the diamond fields of the Cape Colony
and which have introduced a new factor of overwhelming importance into the South African situation.
The development of British policy in South Africa had hitherto been influenced at different times, and in a greater or less degree by the spirit of Jingoism and by that zeal for Annexation which is so characteristic of the trading instincts of the race. It was, however, a policy that had been conducted in other respects on continuous lines, and it might be justified by the argument that it was necessary in the interests of the Empire. But Capitalism was the new factor which was about to play such an important rôle in the history of South Africa. The natural differences in men find their highest expression in the varieties of influence which one man exercises over another; this influence can either be of a religious, moral, political, or purely material nature. Material influence generally takes the form of money, or the financial nexus, as an English writer has termed it. An unusual combination of this form of influence leads to Capitalism just as an unusual combination of political influence leads to tyranny, and an unusual combination of religious influence to hierarchical despotism. Capitalism is the modern peril which threatens to become as dangerous to mankind as the political tyranny of the old Eastern world and the religious despotism of the Middle Ages were in their respective eras.
In a part of the world so rich in minerals of all descriptions as the Transvaal, it is natural that Capitalism should play a considerable rôle. Unfortunately in South Africa it has from the very first attempted to go far beyond its legitimate scope; it
has endeavored to gain political power and to make all other forms of government and influence subservient to its own ends. The measure of its success can be clearly gauged by the fact that all South Africa is standing to-day on the brink of a great precipice, and may be hurled into the abyss before the ink on these pages is dry.
The spirit of Capitalism found its incarnation in Mr. Cecil Rhodes, who was able to amalgamate the pressing and conflicting interests of the Diamond Fields into the one great corporation of which he is the head.
Although he probably had no exceptional aptitude for politics, he was irresistibly drawn toward them by the stress of his interests. By means of his financial influence, together with a double allowance of elasticity of conscience, he succeeded so far as to become Prime Minister of the Cape Colony, and was powerfully and solidly supported by the Afrikander party. The Afrikanders believed in him because they were really and deeply imbued with the necessity of the co-operation and fusion of the two white races in South Africa, and he, as a loyal Englishman, but fully possessing the confidence of Colonial Afrikanderdom, seemed to them just the very person to realize their ideal.
To a careful observer the alliance between Afrikanderdom and Capitalism was bound to lead to a rupture sooner or later. Deeply rooted and pure national sentiment as well as burning conviction form the basis of Afrikander policy, and it was obvious that in the long run it would be discovered that this policy could never be made subservient to purely financial interests.
But there was another factor. There was that debased form of patriotism called Jingoism. It is a form of party politics without solid convictions or real beliefs, which puffs itself out with big words and with the froth of high-sounding ideas and principles. It is a policy, nevertheless, which appeals most strongly to the instincts of self-interest and to the illegal appropriation of other people's property. It revels in the lust of boasting, so deeply engraved in human nature. In a word, it is a policy which is in direct opposition to the true spirit of religion, to the altruistic ideals of humanity, and to that sentiment of humility and moderation which is the natural basis of all morality.
Here, indeed, were the elements of an enduring alliance—an alliance between Capitalism, with its great material influence, but barren of any one single exalted idea or principle on the one hand, and Jingoism, sterile, empty, soulless, but with a rich stock-in-trade of bombastic ideas and principles, prompted by the most selfish aspirations, on the other hand.
The one was eminently calculated to form the complement of the other, thus creating a natural alliance which is rapidly becoming a menace all the world over to the best and most enduring interests of humanity.
This capitalistic Jingoism is the tree from which it is the lot of our unfortunate South Africa to gather such bitter fruit to-day.
Mr. Rhodes, with that treacherous duplicity which is an enduring characteristic of British policy in South Africa, co-operated publicly, and in the closest relationship, with the Colonial Afrikanders, while he
was secretly fomenting a conspiracy with Jingoism against the Cape Afrikanders and the South African Republics. He already had the Afrikanders in the Cape Colony under his sway; his aim was now to gain the same influence in the South African Republic, with its rich gold mines—not so much, perhaps, for himself personally as for Capitalism, with which his interests were so closely identified. In case of success he would obtain his personal aim, and Capitalism would be absolutely despotic in South Africa. With an eye to this end he, with other capitalists, began in 1892 to foment a political agitation in Johannesburg against the Republic. In a place like Johannesburg, where drink is consumed in great quantities, and where the high altitude and the stress of business all tend to keep people's spirits in a constant state of excitability, it was easy enough, with the aid of money, to bring about a state of political ferment in a very short time, especially as just that measure of grievances existed to give a color of truth to the imaginary ones.
Under these conditions the National Union movement originated in 1892. Its adherents were entirely composed of the creatures and parasites of the capitalists, with a few honest fools and enthusiasts who naturally did not think deeply enough to discern the aim and the trend of this hypocritical movement.
The capitalists at this time certainly kept well in the background, in order that the movement might have the appearance of being a popular one. The capitalists of Johannesburg were, however, a theatrical lot, and the desire to play a prominent rôle was too intense to be suppressed for any length of time,
so that after the lapse of a couple of years they naturally took the leading part in the opera bouffe agitation which followed.
They began, by means of the lowest and most repulsive methods, to undermine the Boer policy in order to gain the mastery of the mining legislation and administration. They had persuaded themselves and the rest of the world that the Boers were as a body corrupt and tainted, so they armed themselves with the power of money in order to overthrow them.
Lionel Phillips wrote in this spirit on the 16th June, 1894, to Beit in London:
"I may here say that, as you, of course, know, I have no desire for political rights, and believe as a whole that the community is not ambitious in this respect. The bewaarplaatsen question will, I think, be settled in our favor, but at a cost of about 25,000 pounds. It is proposed to spend a good deal of money in order to secure a better Raad, but it must be remembered that the spending of money on elections has, by recent legislation, been made a criminal offence, and the matter will have to be carefully handled."
On the 15th July, 1894, he wrote again to the same correspondent: "Our trump card is a fund of 10—15,000 pounds to improve the Raad. Unfortunately the companies have no secret service fund. I must divine a way. We don't want to shell out ourselves."
Here we catch a glimpse behind the scenes, and we observe how the Capitalists in 1894 had already endeavored to lower and vitiate our public life by methods which did not even recoil before the criminal law of the land, to say nothing of elementary morality.
And did they succeed? Were the people and the Volksraad as corrupt as they thought and as they still endeavor to make the world believe? Their failure is the best and most complete answer to this calumny.
If corruption on a large scale, however, failed to ensure the triumph of Capitalism over the community, the other trump card of Jingoism still remained. The pulse of the High Commissioner was felt by Mr. Lionel Phillips, and what was the answer of Sir Henry Loch, Her Majesty's representative in South Africa? We extract from the same secret letter book from which we have already quoted the following letter, dated 1st July, addressed to Wernher, a member of the influential firm of Wernher, Beit & Co.:
"Sir Henry Loch (with whom I had two long private interviews alone) asked me some very pointed questions, such as what arms we had in Johannesburg, whether the population could hold the place for six days until help could arrive, etc., etc., and stated plainly that if there had been three thousand rifles and ammunition here he would certainly have come over."
And so on in the same strain. Sir Henry Loch endorsed the truth of these statements two years later by boasting openly in the House of Lords about his plans for organizing a raid into the South African Republic.
And all this happened while he (Sir Henry Loch) was the guest of our Government and engaged in friendly negotiations about the interests of British subjects. To what a depth had British policy in South Africa already degenerated. Within two years, however, a deeper abyss was to open.
The secret conspiracy of the Capitalists and Jingoes to overthrow the South African Republic began now to gain ground with great rapidity, for just at this critical period Mr. Chamberlain became Secretary of State for the Colonies. In the secret correspondence of the conspirators reference is continually made to the Colonial Office in a manner which, taken in connection with later revelations and with a successful suppression of the truth, has deepened the impression over the whole world that the Colonial Office was privy to, if not an accomplice in, the villainous attack on the South African Republic.
It is unnecessary to dwell at length on the Jameson Raid; the world has not yet forgotten how the Administrators of a British province, carrying out a conspiracy headed by the Prime Minister of the Cape Colony, attacked the South African Republic with an armed band in order to assist the Capitalist revolution of Johannesburg in overthrowing the Boer Government; how this raid and this revolution were upset by the vigilance of the Boers; how Jameson and his filibusters were handed over to England to stand their trial—although the Boers had the power and the right to shoot them down as robbers; how the whole gang of Johannesburg Capitalists pleaded guilty to treason and sedition; how, instead of confiscating all their property and thus dealing a death blow to Capitalistic influence in South Africa, the Government dealt most leniently with them (an act of magnanimity which was rewarded by their aiding and abetting a still more dangerous agitation three years later).
Nor has the world forgotten how, at the urgent instance of the Afrikander party in the Cape Colony,
an investigation into the causes of the conflict was held in Westminster; how that investigation degenerated into a low attack upon the Government of the sorely maligned and deeply injured South African Republic, and how at the last moment when the truth was on the point of being revealed and the conspiracy traced to its fountain head in the British Cabinet, the Commission decided all of a sudden not to make certain compromising documents public.
Here we see to what a depth the old great traditions of British Constitutionalism had sunk under the influence of the ever-increasing and all-absorbing lust of gold, and in the hands of a sharp-witted wholesale dealer, who, like Cleon of old, has constituted himself a statesman. Treachery and violence not having been able to attain their objects, "Constitutional means" were to be invoked (as Mr. Rhodes openly boasted before the aforesaid Commission), so as to make Capitalistic Jingoism master of the situation in South Africa.
The foregoing sketch has shown how deeply our people felt and resented the wrong that was done to them. It was to be expected that such a treacherous attack on the Republics, emanating from their own leader, would awaken the Afrikanders even in the remotest districts, and would bring fresh energy into the arena of politics. To give an instance of the measure of the feeling which had been quickened by the Raid, a short extract is given below from an article published in the organ of the Afrikander
party, Our Land, a few months after the Raid, an article which undoubtedly expressed the feeling of Afrikanders:
"Has not Providence overruled and guided the painful course of events in South Africa since the beginning of this year (1896)? Who can doubt it?
"The stab which was intended to paralyze Afrikanderdom once and for all in the Republics has sent an electric thrill direct to the national heart. Afrikanderdom has awakened to a sense of earnestness and consciousness which we have not observed since the heroic war for Liberty in 1881. From the Limpopo as far as Cape Town the Second Majuba has given birth to a new inspiration and a new movement among our people in South Africa. A new feeling has rushed in huge billows over South Africa. The flaccid and cowardly Imperialism, that had already begun to dilute and weaken our national blood, gradually turned aside before the new current which permeated our people. Many who, tired of the slow development of the national idea, had resigned themselves to Imperialism, now paused and asked themselves what Imperialism had produced in South Africa? Bitterness and race hatred, it is true! Since the days of Sir Harry Smith and Theophilus Shepstone and Bartle Frere to the days of Leander Jameson and Cecil Rhodes, Imperialism in South Africa has gone hand in hand with bloodshed and fraud. However wholesome the effects of Imperialism may be elsewhere, its continual tendency in this country during all these years has been nothing else but an attempt to force our national life and national character into foreign grooves; and to seal this pressure with blood and tears.... This is truly a critical
moment in the existence of Afrikanderdom all over South Africa. Now or never! Now or never the foundation of a wide-embracing nationalism must be laid. The iron is red hot, and the time for forging is at hand....
"...The partition wall has disappeared. Let us stand manfully by one another. The danger has not yet disappeared; on the contrary, never has the necessity for a policy of a Colonial and Republican Union been greater; now the psychological moment has arrived; now our people have awakened all over South Africa; a new glow illuminates our hearts; let us now lay the foundation stone of a real United South Africa on the soil of a pure and all-comprehensive national sentiment."
Such language caused the Jingoes to shudder—not because it was disloyal, because that it certainly was not, but because it proved that the Jameson Raid had suddenly awakened the Afrikanders, and that owing to this defeat of the Jingoes a vista of further and greater defeats widened out in the future. The Colonial Afrikanders would certainly have to be reckoned with in case an Annexation policy were followed with regard to the Republics.
For some time the Jingoes cherished the hope that they would gain the majority in the Cape Parliament under an amended Redistribution Act. The General Election of 1898 took place, with the result that the Afrikander party obtained a small majority, and later, under a Redistribution Act, forced upon them by the Jingoes, the majority of the former was considerably increased.
Instead of honestly admitting that the Afrikander victory was the natural result of the Jameson Raid,
the Jingoes began, not only in South Africa, but also in England, to shout that the rule and supremacy of England in South Africa was menaced.
They contended that South Africa would be lost to England unless energetic intervention took place without delay, and that this menace to English rule was due to the Republican propaganda which the South African Republic had set in motion. That as long as the South African Republic refused to humiliate itself before British authority, but, on the contrary, kept its youthful head on high with national pride, other parts of South Africa would be inclined to follow its example, and there would thus be no certainty for British supremacy in this quarter of the globe. The South African Republic would have to be humiliated and to be crushed into the dust; the Afrikanders in other parts of South Africa would then abandon their alleged hope of a more extensive Republican South Africa.
But how was this humiliation to be brought about, and how, above all, was it to be brought about by those "Constitutional means," which, since the failure of the conspiracy, had become a sine quâ non?
The new Governor of the Cape Colony and High Commissioner of South Africa, who had enjoyed the distinction of a brilliant university career, who had learned humility and moderation at the feet of Mr. W. T. Stead, and who had learned by his experience with the fellaheen in Egypt how to govern the descendants of the Huguenots and the "Beggars of the Sea," would know very well how to evolve "Constitutional means" in order to humiliate the South African Republic and to crush it into the dust.
There was at any rate the burning question of suzerainty, which the South African Republic had unconsciously and innocently raised in the following way:
After the Jameson Raid the Volksraad had passed certain laws with a view of removing some of the causes of that movement, as, for example, the law by which dangerous individuals could be expelled from the state, and the law by which paupers and people suffering from contagious diseases could be prevented from entering the Republic. These laws were declared to be in conflict with Article XIV of the London Convention. Violations of Article IV were also said to have taken place in regard to certain extradition and other treaties which had been concluded between the South African Republic and Foreign Powers. On the 7th May, 1897, the Government of the South African Republic despatched a very important reply to these accusations, in which, after fully stating the reasons why the Government differed from Her Majesty's Government, an appeal was made for arbitration as being the most suitable method of settling the dispute.
This appeal was couched in the following language:
"While it respects the opinion of Her British Majesty's Government, it takes the liberty, with full confidence in the correctness of its own views, to propose to Her British Majesty's Government the principle of arbitration, with which the honorable the First Volksraad agreed, in the hope that it will be taken in the conciliatory spirit in which it is made. It considers that it has every reason for this proposal, the more so because the principle of
arbitration is already laid down in that Convention in the only case in which, according to its opinion at the time, a difference could be foreseen—to wit, with regard to Article I; because it has already been proposed by Her British Majesty's Government and accepted by this Government with regard to the difference in respect of Article XIV of the Convention arising in the matter of the so-called Coolie question, which was settled by arbitration; because the Right Honorable the Secretary of State, Mr. Chamberlain, himself, in his letter of the 4th September, 1895, to His Excellency the High Commissioner at Cape Town, favors this principle in the same question, where he says: 'After 1886, as time went on, the manner in which the law was interpreted and was worked, or was proposed to be worked, gave rise to complaints on the part of the British Government, and as it seemed impossible to come to an agreement by means of correspondence, the Marquis of Ripon took what is the approved course in such cases, of proposing to the South African Republic that the dispute should be referred to arbitration. This was agreed to...;' because the principle of arbitration in matters such as this appears to the Government to be the most impartial, just, and most satisfactory way out of the existing difficulty, and, lastly, because one of the parties to a Convention, according to all principles of reasonableness, cannot expect that his interpretation will be respected by the other party as the only valid and correct one. And although this Government is firmly convinced that a just and impartial decision might be obtained even better in South Africa than anywhere else, it wishes, in view of the conflicting
elements, interests and aspirations which are now apparent in South Africa, and in order to avoid even the appearance that it would be able or desire to exercise influence in order to obtain a decision favorable to it, to propose that the President of the Swiss Bondstate who may be reckoned upon as standing altogether outside the question, and to feel sympathy or antipathy neither for the one party nor for the other, be requested to point out a competent jurist, as has already often been done in respect of international disputes. The Government would have no objection that the arbitration be subject to a limitation of time, and gives the assurance now already that it will willingly subject itself to any decision if such should, contrary to its expectation, be given against it. The Government repeats the well-meant wish that this proposal may find favor with Her British Majesty's Government; and inasmuch as the allegations of breaches of the Convention find entrance now even in South Africa, and bring and keep the feelings more and more in a state of suspense, this Government will be pleased if it can learn the decision of Her British Majesty's Government as soon as possible."
To this the British Government replied that according to the Convention of 1884, taken in conjunction with the preamble of the Convention of 1881, the South African Republic was under the suzerainty of Her Majesty, and that it was incompatible with the subordinate position of the South African Republic to submit to arbitration any matters in dispute as to the construction of the Convention between it and the suzerain Power.
In order to avoid any misunderstanding as to this
very remarkable document, the exact wording of the British despatch is given: "Finally, the Government of the South African Republic propose that all points in dispute between Her Majesty's Government and themselves relating to the Convention should be referred to arbitration, the arbitrator to be nominated by the President of the Swiss Republic. In making this proposal the Government of the South African Republic appear to have overlooked the distinction between the Conventions of 1881 and 1884 and an ordinary treaty between two independent powers, questions arising upon which may properly be the subject of arbitration. By the Pretoria Convention of 1881 Her Majesty, as Sovereign of the Transvaal Territory, accorded to the inhabitants of that territory complete self-government, subject to the suzerainty of Her Majesty, her heirs and successors, upon certain terms and conditions and subject to certain reservations and limitations set forth in 33 articles; and by the London Convention of 1884, Her Majesty, while maintaining the preamble of the earlier instrument, directed and declared that certain other articles embodied therein should be substituted for the articles embodied in the Convention of 1881. The articles of the Convention of 1881 were accepted by the Volksraad of the Transvaal State, and those of the Convention of 1884 by the Volksraad of the South African Republic. Under these Conventions, therefore, Her Majesty holds towards the South African Republic the relation of a suzerain who has accorded to the people of that Republic self-government upon certain conditions, and it would be incompatible with that position to submit to Arbitration the construction of the
conditions on which she accorded self-government to the Republic."
In its celebrated reply of the 16th April, 1898, the Government of the South African Republic proved with unanswerable force that the preamble of the Convention of 1881 had been abolished, that Lord Derby had himself in 1884 proposed a draft Convention, in which the preamble was erased, and that by the ultimate acceptance of that proposal the suzerainty had ceased to exist.
On this account, as well as for other reasons, it contended that as no suzerainty existed between the two countries, the objection to arbitration as a means of settling disputes would disappear, and the Government reiterated their appeal to have such differences or disputes disposed of by arbitration.
Naturally this was exactly what Mr. Chamberlain did not want. He was opposed to arbitration because it would have probably led to the humiliation of the British and not of the Boer Government. The suzerainty question was introduced in the mean while as a "constitutional proposal," which might be used for the purpose of humiliating the South African Republic.
In his answer to the arguments put forward by the South African Republic, Mr. Chamberlain could only persist in repeating his contention that suzerainty still existed, and did not even attempt to refute the statement that Lord Derby had himself erased the preamble of the Convention of 1881. It was clearly his opinion that Lord Derby had, through stupidity and thoughtlessness, abandoned the suzerainty in 1884, just as Lord Russell had abandoned the idea of obtaining the South African Republic in
1852, so that he would now, just as Shepstone in 1877, have to try and disconcert the Republic by a display of force and inflexible determination, so as not to be deprived of these eminently "constitutional means."
His arguments in this despatch, that both the suzerainty of Her Majesty and the right of the South African Republic to self-government were dependent upon the preamble of the Pretoria Convention, and that, if the preamble were null and void, not only would the suzerainty but also the right to self-government disappear, were clearly designed to intimidate the South African Republic; but in other respects the argument was perfectly correct. Accordingly the Government of the South African Republic replied that it did not base its claim to self-government on the preamble of the Convention of 1881, nor on the Convention of 1884 (for no mention is made of self-government in that document), but simply on the ground of its being a sovereign international State.
In other words, it contended that the Convention of London implied that the South African Republic was a sovereign international State, and that it was, therefore, superfluous in that Convention to specify or define its rights. Into this answer, which is not only juridically and historically correct, but which rests on the basis of common sense, the astute High Commissioner was able to read a menace to Her Majesty's Government, although the Government of the Republic distinctly stated in that reply that it adhered to the Convention of London, an assurance which it had already made hundreds of times.
This is the whole history of the suzerainty dispute
between the two Governments. The South African Republic had asked for arbitration on certain questions, and England, with Mr. Chamberlain as spokesman, had refused, because a suzerain power could not be expected to settle disputes with its vassal by means of arbitration. So that, according to the new principles of International Law, based on the "screw" ethics of Birmingham, it was to be judge and jury in its own disputes with other people.
The position taken up by our Government in this remarkable controversy is substantiated by the actions of Lord Derby during the negotiations about the Conventions, as well as by the following telegram which he sent to the High Commissioner for communication to the two Republics:
"HIGH COMMISSIONER CAPE TOWN.
"To BRITISH RESIDENT PRETORIA.
"Please inform Transvaal Government that I have received the following from the Secretary of State: 27th February.—Convention signed to-day. New southwestern boundary as proposed, following trade road. British Protectorate country outside Transvaal established with delegates' consent. They promise to appoint Border Commissioner inside Transvaal, co-operate with ours outside; Mackenzie—British Resident. Debt reduced to quarter million. Same complete internal independence in Transvaal as in Orange Free State. Conduct and control diplomatic intercourse Foreign Governments conceded. Queen's final approval treaties reserved. Delegates appear well satisfied and cordial feeling two governments. You may make the above known."
This contention is also substantiated by the
express declarations of Lord Rosmead and the Rev. D. P. Faure to the effect that it was clearly understood at the time the London Convention was concluded that the suzerainty was abolished. It is unnecessary to add anything about the evidence of the members of the Transvaal deputation. The suzerainty has thus not the slightest shadow of existence; and yet, as will be proved, Mr. Chamberlain is prepared to go to war with the South African Republic over this question, a war which will, according to his intentions, result in annexation.
While the two Governments were occupied with this question the Capitalists were not idle. They were busy fanning the flame in another direction. It was not only a fact that Rhodesia was an unexpected failure, but it had proved far richer in native wars than in payable gold mines. The Capitalist groups possessing the greatest interests in the Witwatersrand gold mines were also the most deeply interested in Rhodesia, and it naturally occurred to them that their Transvaal mines ought also to bear the burden of their unprofitable investments in Rhodesia—an adjustment which would, however, necessitate the amalgamation of the two countries, especially when the interests of the shareholders were considered.
In order to attain this object a continual agitation was kept up at Johannesburg, so that English shareholders living far away should be prepared for the day when the annexation would take place on constitutional lines.
The argument which was calculated to impress these European shareholders was that the administration of the South African Republic had created a
situation which was most prejudicial to the financial interests of the mining industry. Viewed from this standpoint the Uitlander grievances were an inexhaustibly rich and payable mine.
This agitation first of all emanated directly from the Capitalists, and had assumed such proportions in 1897 that the Government decided to appoint a Commission of officials and mining magnates in order to inquire searchingly into the alleged financial grievances. As far as the Government was concerned, the chief findings of the Commission were:
(1) That the price of dynamite (85 shillings per case of fifty pounds) was too high under the existing concession, and that a diminution in price was desirable either by cancellation of the concession, or by testing the legality of the concession in the High Court.
(2) That the tariffs of the Netherlands Railway Company for the carriage of coal and other articles were too high, and that it was necessary to expropriate the railway.
(3) That the import duties on necessaries of life were too high, and that the cost of living in Johannesburg for workmen was too high.
(4) That stringent measures ought to be adopted in order to prevent gold thefts, and that the law for the total prohibition of drink to native laborers ought to be more strictly enforced, and that there ought to be a more stringent application of the Pass Law (under which the traffic of the native laborers was regulated).
(5) With the object of carrying out the measures specified in Section 4, the Commission recommended that an Advisory Board should be nominated for the
Witwatersrand gold fields for the purpose of advising the Government as to the enforcement of the said regulations.
To what extent was effect given to these recommendations?
As far as dynamite is concerned, it appeared that there was no chance of contesting the concession in the law courts with any success. Nor did the Volksraad or the Government feel justified in cancelling, without the consent of the owners, a contract which had been solemnly entered into and upon which enormous sums of money had been expended. The mining industry was naturally eager for cancellation, even without adequate compensation; but the public were not at that time aware of a fact which was made public some months later—namely, that the De Beers Corporation intended to erect a dynamite manufactory, and that this agitation of the Capitalists was intended to obtain for themselves the control of this great source of income. People, however, knew that the Messrs. Chamberlain were interested in the English ammunition and dynamite house of Kynoch, but they hesitate to assume that the Colonial Secretary was actuated in his Transvaal policy by considerations of private financial interest.
The Government and Volksraad of the South African Republic adopted the wiser plan of lowering the price of dynamite to such an extent as to make it about equal to the local European price plus a protective tariff of 20 shillings per case. It may here be remarked that Mr. Chamberlain, knowing how unpopular the dynamite concession was in the South African Republic, intimated to the Government of the South African Republic, in a
very threatening manner, that the concession was in conflict with the London Convention.
The answer of the Government to this communication was so crushing that Mr. Chamberlain did not again return to the subject. In this he was, no doubt, also actuated by the fact that the most renowned English and European jurists had advised that the concession was in no sense a breach of the Convention. This, however, only became known later, and it is merely referred to now so as to show that no stone was left unturned in order to find a means of humiliating the South African Republic.
With regard to the Netherlands South African Railway Company it would appear that the Capitalists have altered their opinion, and now think that the administration of the Company is as good as can reasonably be expected, and that expropriation is now unnecessary. Perhaps from their point of view, it would be better to buy up the shares of the Company, and thus become themselves masters, instead of the Government, of this source of income.
Respecting the railway tariff, it is fair to assume that the cause of dissatisfaction has disappeared, for no complaints are now heard since the tariff was lowered in accordance with the recommendations of the Commission.
This change in the tariff, together with the abolition of duties on nearly all necessaries of life, have made a difference of about 700,000 pounds in the income of the State during the last year. It will be admitted that this is an enormous item in comparison with the total income of the South African Republic. The above tends to show how anxious the Government of the South African Republic has been to remove
all grievances as soon as it was proved that they actually existed. As regards the administration of the Liquor Law, the Pass Law, and the Law dealing with Gold thefts, neither the Government nor the Volksraad felt at liberty to adopt the recommendations as to constituting an Advisory Board on the Witwatersrand. They decided to go deeper to the roots of the evil, and so altered the administration of the laws that the evidences of dissatisfaction have disappeared. Indeed, no one ever hears of gold thefts now, and the representative bodies of the mining industry have repeatedly expressed their satisfaction with the administration of the Pass Law, and especially with that of the Liquor Law.
In this very Liquor Law we have a test of a good administration. From the very nature of the drink question it is one of the most difficult laws that a Government can be called upon to administer, and the measure of success which has attended the efforts of the Government and its officials proves conclusively that the charges of incompetency so frequently brought against the Government of the South African Republic were devoid of truth and were only intended to slander and to injure the Republic. A combined meeting of the Chamber of Mines, the Chamber of Commerce, and the Association of Mine Managers—the three strongest and most representative bodies on the Witwatersrand gold fields—passed the following resolutions, which speak for themselves:
"1. This combined meeting, representing the Chamber of Mines, the Chamber of Commerce, and the Mine Managers' Association, desires to express
once more its decided approval of the present Liquor Law, and is of opinion that prohibition is not only beneficial to the natives in their own interest, but is absolutely necessary for the mining industry, with a view of maintaining the efficiency of labor.
"2. This meeting wishes to express its appreciation of the efforts made to suppress the illicit liquor trade by the Detective Department of this Republic since it has been placed under the administration of the State Attorney, and is of opinion that the success which has crowned these efforts fully disproves the contention that the Liquor Law is impracticable."
The first resolution was carried by an overwhelming majority, and the second unanimously.
Compare this declaration of the representatives of the mining and commercial interests of the Witwatersrand with the allegation repeated by Mr. Chamberlain in his great "grievance" despatch of the 15th May, 1899—that the Liquor Law had never been strictly enforced, but that this law was simply evaded, and that the natives at the mines were supplied with drink in large quantities.
When Mr. Chamberlain wrote these words, they were absolutely untrue, and, like all his grievances, are of an imaginary character,
The results have clearly shown that the Government was quite correct in its conclusion that it was better to alter the administration of the laws complained of than to adopt a principle (the Advisory Board), the consequences and eventual outcome of which no one was able to foresee. The agitation in connection with the report of the Industrial Commission was followed by a great calm.
If it had not been that the handling of the Swazi difficulty by the British Government gave color to suspicion, one might have thought that there was no cloud upon the horizon. To a superficial observer the two Governments seemed to be on the best and most friendly footing, and some of us actually began to think that the era of the fraternal co-operation of the two races in South Africa had actually dawned, and that the cursed Raid and its harvest of race hatred and division would be forgotten. Certain circumstances, however, indicated clearly that the enemy was occupied in a supreme effort to cause matters to culminate in a crisis.
The South African League, a political organization which sprang up out of and owed its origin to the race hatred which the Jameson Raid had called into being, and at the head of which Mr. Rhodes himself stands (a fact which places Capitalistic influence in a very clear light), began towards the latter part of last year to agitate against the Government in the most unheard-of way.
The individuals who stood at the head of this institution in Johannesburg (the chairman was a prizefighter, and the secretary had formerly been a Socialistic demagogue in London) were such that very little attention was paid to the League. It was, however, soon clearly shown that not only was the movement strongly assisted by the Capitalists, and strongly supported all along the mines, but that there was a close relationship in a mysterious way with Cape Town and London. The events of the last few months have brought this out very clearly. Meetings were arranged, memorials to Her Majesty about grievances were drawn up, and an active propaganda
was preached in the press; this all proved in a convincing way that a carefully planned campaign had been organized against the Republic. As the Government of the South African Republic has set forth the trend of the agitation, as well as the connection of the British Government with it, in an official despatch, it is desirable to quote the language itself:
"But this Government wishes to go further. Even in regard to those Uitlanders who are British subjects it is a small minority which, under the pretext of imaginary grievances, promotes a secret propaganda of race hatred, and uses the Republic as a basis for fomenting a revolutionary movement against this Government. Ministers of Her Majesty have so trenchantly expressed the truth about this minority that this Government wishes to quote the very words of these Ministers, with the object of bringing the actual truth to the knowledge of Her Majesty's Government, as well as to that of the whole world, and not for the purpose of making groundless accusations.
"The following words are those of the Ministers of the Cape Colony, who are well acquainted with local conditions and fully qualified to arrive at a conclusion:
terms of which disclose the spirit which informs and inspires them.
"'His Excellency's Ministers are one in their earnest desire to do all in their power to aid and further a policy of peaceful progress throughout South Africa, and they cannot but regard it as an unwise propagandism, hostile to the true interests of the Empire, including this Colony as an integral part, that every possible occasion should be seized by the League and its promoters for an attempt to magnify into greater events minor incidents, when occurring in the South African Republic, with a prospect thereby of making racial antagonism more acute, or of rendering less smooth the relations between Her Majesty's Government or the Government of this Colony and that Republic.
"'Race hatred is, however, not so intense in South Africa as to enable a body with this propaganda, aiming at revolutionary objects, to obtain much influence in this part of the world; and one continually asks oneself the question, "How is it that a body, so insignificant both in regard to its principles and its membership, enjoys such a large measure of influence?" The answer is that this body depends upon the protection and the support of Her Majesty's Government in England, and that both its members and its organs in the press openly boast of the influence they exert over the policy of Her Majesty's Government. This Government would ignore such assertions but when it finds that the ideas and the shibboleths of the South African League are continually echoed in the speeches of members of Her Majesty's Government, when it finds that blue books are compiled chiefly from documents
prepared by officials of the South African League, as well as from reports and leading articles containing "malignant lies" taken from the press organs of that organization, thereby receiving an official character, then this Government can well understand why so many of Her Majesty's right-minded subjects in this part of the world have obtained the impression that the policy advocated by the South African League is supported by Her Majesty's Government, and is thus calculated to contribute to the welfare and blessing of the British Empire.
"'If this mistaken impression could be removed and if it could be announced as a fact that the South African League, as far as its actions in the South African Republic are concerned, is only an organization having as its object the fomentation of strife and disorder and the destruction of the independence of the country, then it would very soon lose its influence and the strained relations existing between the two Governments would quickly disappear. The Afrikander population of this country would not then be under the apprehension that the interests of the British Empire imperatively demand that the Republic should be done away with and its people be either enslaved or exterminated. Both sections of the white inhabitants of South Africa would then return to the fraternal co-operation and fusion which was beginning to manifest itself when the treacherous conspiracy at the end of 1895 awakened the passions on both sides."'
instances of the Uitlander grievances. To give the world a clear insight into the nature of the grievances in general, extracts are given from the official accounts of the British and from the Republican account of these occurrences. There were three—the "Lombard affair," with reference to the maltreatment of colored British subjects at Johannesburg; the "Edgar case," in connection with the shooting of an English subject by a police official; and the "Amphitheatre occurrence," in regard to a disorderly meeting of the South African League.
With regard to the "Lombard incident" Mr. Chamberlain says:
"Unfortunately this case is by no means unparalleled. Other British subjects, including several from St. Helena and Mauritius, have been arbitrarily arrested, and some of them have been fined, without having been heard in their own defence, under a law which does not even profess to have any application to persons from those colonies.
"However long-suffering Her Majesty's Government may be in their anxious desire to remain on friendly terms with the South African Republic, it must be evident that a continuance of incidents of this kind, followed by no redress, may well become intolerable."
"About a month after the occurrence the South African League came to hear of it, some of its officials sent round to collect evidence from the parties who were alleged to have been ill-treated, and some sworn declarations were obtained by the help of Her Majesty's Vice-Consul at Johannesburg (between
whom and this League a continual and conspicuous co-operation has existed). Even then no charge was lodged against the implicated officials with the judicial authorities of the country, but the case was put in the hands of the Acting British Agent at Pretoria.
"When the allegations were brought under the notice of this Government, they at once appointed a commission of inquiry, consisting of three members—namely: Landdrost Van der Berg, of Johannesburg; Mr. Andries Stockenstrom, barrister-at-law, of the Middle Temple, head of the Criminal Section of the State Attorney's Department 7 and Mr. Van der Merwe, Mining Commissioner, of Johannesburg; gentlemen against whose ability and impartiality the Uitlander population of the Republic have never harbored the slightest suspicion, and with whose appointment the Acting British Agent also expressed his entire satisfaction. The instructions given to those officials were to thoroughly investigate the whole case and to report the result to the Government; and they fulfilled these instructions by sitting for days at a time, carefully hearing and sifting the evidence of both sides. Every right-minded person readily acknowledges that far greater weight ought to be attached to the finding of this Commission than to the declarations of the complainants, who contradicted one another in nearly every particular, and who caused the whole inquiry to degenerate into a farce.
"According to the report, nothing was proved as to the so-called ill-treatment; the special instances of alleged ill-treatment turned out to be purely imaginary; but it was clearly proved and found that the complainants had acted contrary to law, and the
Commission only expressed disapproval of the fact that the arrests and the investigation had taken place at night and without a proper warrant. It fills this Government with all the greater regret to observe that Her Majesty's Government bases its charges on ex parte, groundless, and, in many respects, false declarations of complainants who have been set in motion by political hatred, and that it silently ignores the report of the Commission."
case cannot but increase the general feeling of insecurity among the Uitlander population and the sense of injustice under which they labor. It may be pointed out that the allegation that Edgar assaulted the police was emphatically denied by his wife and others, and that the trial was conducted in a way that would be considered quite irregular in this country, the witnesses for the defence being called by the prosecution, and thereby escaping cross-examination."
"A certain Foster, an Englishman, was assaulted and felled to the ground, without any lawful cause, by a man named Edgar during the night of the 18th December, 1898; he lay on the ground as if dead, and ultimately died in the hospital. Edgar escaped to his room, and some police came on the scene, attracted by the screams of the bystanders. Among the police was one named Jones. When they saw the man who had been assaulted lying as if dead, they went to Edgar's apartment in order to arrest him as a criminal (he had, indeed, rendered himself liable for manslaughter, and apparently for murder).
As he was caught in the very act, the police officers were, according to the laws, not only of this Republic, but of all South Africa and of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, justified in breaking open the door in order to arrest the culprit.
"While doing so Edgar, with a dangerous weapon, struck Jones a severe blow. Under the stress of necessity the latter shot Edgar, from the effects of which he died. The question is not if Jones was justified in taking this extreme step, for the State Attorney of the Republic had already given effect to his opinion that this was a case for the jury by prosecuting him for manslaughter. The question is solely whether any jury in any country in the world would have found a man guilty of any crime under the circumstances set forth, and whether, if they did not find him guilty, the fact of their doing so would have been stamped and branded as a flagrant and remarkable instance of the maladministration of justice.
"This Government is convinced that the English judicial administration affords numberless instances where the facts are as strong as in this case, and it cannot see why an occurrence which could happen in any part of the world would be especially thrown in their teeth in the form of an accusation.
"This Government does not wish to pass over in silence the censure which has been passed by Her Majesty's Government on the Public Prosecutor of Johannesburg, by whom the prosecution of this case was conducted; the fact that being of pure English blood, that he received his legal training in London, that he is generally respected by the Uitlander population on account of his ability, impartiality, and general character, will naturally not be of any weight
with Her Majesty's Government against the facts of his action in calling witnesses for the prosecution who were intended for the defence, and thus rendering an imaginary cross-examination abortive.
"This Government only wishes to point out that the fact that the Edgar case is the strongest which Her Majesty's Government has been able to quote against the administration of justice in this Republic affords the strongest and most eloquent proof possible that, taking it in general, the administration of justice on the gold fields of this Republic not only compares favorably with that on other and similar gold fields, but even with that of old and settled countries.
"The untrue representations of this occurrence in the press prove conclusively that the newspapers of the Witwatersrand, the atrocity-mongering tactics of which constitute a share of the organized campaign against the Republic and its Government, have been compelled to resort to mendacious criticisms on imaginary instances of maladministration, which were often simply invented. Where the Press is forced to adopt such methods, the true grievances must of necessity be unreal."
of January in the Amphitheatre of Johannesburg. The Government were previously apprised of the objects of the meeting, and their assent obtained, though this was not legally necessary for a meeting in an inclosed place. The organizers of the meeting state, that they were informed by the State Secretary and the State Attorney that any one who committed acts of violence or used seditious language would be held responsible, and in proof of the peaceful objects of the meeting those who attended went entirely unarmed, by which it is understood that they did not even carry sticks. So little was any disturbance apprehended that ladies were invited to attend, and did attend. Yet, in the result, sworn affidavits of witnesses of different nationalities agree in the statement that the meeting was broken up almost immediately after its opening, and many of the persons attending it were violently assaulted by organized bands of hostile demonstrators, acting under the instigation and guidance of persons in Government employ, without any attempt at interference on the part of the police, and even in some cases with their assistance or loudly expressed sympathy.
"The Government of the South African Republic has been asked to institute an inquiry into these disgraceful proceedings, but the request has been met with a flat refusal."
police of the Witwatersrand are to fulfil their duties and to preserve order. The League meeting was held at the so-called Amphitheatre at Johannesburg, with the knowledge of the State Secretary and State Attorney, and the accusation is that in spite of that fact the uproar which arose at that meeting was not quelled by the police. The following are the true facts: Mr. Wybergh and another, both in the service of the South African League, informed the State Secretary and the State Attorney that they intended to call this meeting in the Amphitheatre, and asked permission to do so. They were informed that no permission from the authorities was necessary, and that as long as the meeting did not give rise to irregularities or disturbances of the peace they would be acting entirely within their rights. Their attention was then drawn to the fact that owing to the action and the propaganda of the South African League, this body had become extremely unpopular with a large section of the inhabitants of Johannesburg, and that in all probability a disturbance of the peace would take place if a sufficient body of the police were not present to preserve order. To this these gentlemen answered that the police were in very bad odor since the Edgar case, that the meeting would be a very quiet one, that the presence of the police would contribute or give rise to disorder, and that they would on those grounds rather have no police at all.
"The State Secretary and State Attorney thereupon communicated with the head officials of the police at Johannesburg, with the result that the latter also thought that it would be better not to have any considerable number of police at the meeting.
The Government accordingly, on the advice of these officials of the League as well as their own police officials, gave instructions that the police should remain away from this meeting; they did this in perfect good faith and with the object of letting the League have its say without let or hindrance. The proposed meeting was, however, advertised far and wide. As the feeling among a section of the Witwatersrand population was exceedingly bitter against the League, a considerable number of the opponents of that body also attended the meeting. The few police who were present were powerless to quell the disorder, and when the police came on the scene in force some few minutes after the commencement of the uproar, the meeting was already broken up. Taken by itself, this occurrence would not be of much importance, as it is an isolated instance as far as the gold fields of this Republic are concerned and even in the best organized and best ordered communities irregularities like the above occasionally take place.
"The gravity of the matter, however, lies in the unjust accusation of Her Majesty's Government that the meeting was broken up by officials of this Republic, and that the Government had curtly refused to institute an inquiry.
"This Government would not have refused to investigate the matter if any complaints had been lodged with it, or at any of the local Courts, and this has been clearly stated in its reply to Her Majesty's request for an investigation.
"This Government objects strongly to the systematic way in which the local authorities are ignored and the continual complaints which are lodged with
the representatives of Her Majesty about matters which ought to be decided by the courts of this Republic. Instead, however, of complaining to Her Majesty's Government after all other reasonable means of redress have been vainly invoked, they continually make themselves guilty of ignoring and treating with contempt the local courts and authorities by continually making all sorts of ridiculous and ex parte complaints to Her Majesty's Government in the first instance; Her Majesty's Government is also thereby placed in the equivocal and undesirable position of intermeddling in the internal affairs of this Republic, which is in conflict with the London Convention. Had the complaints been lodged with this Government, or with the proper officials or courts, the facts could have been easily arrived at, and it would have been proved that the few officials who were present at the meeting as a section of the public had done their best to prevent the irregularities, and that some of them had been hurt in their endeavors to preserve order. Instead of expressing their disapproval of such complaints and referring the petitioners to the local courts, Her Majesty's Government accepts those complaints and gives them an official character by forwarding them for the information of this Government and by publishing them in blue books for the information of the world.
"Her Majesty's Government will readily acknowledge that there is no state in the world with any sense of dignity, however weak and insignificant it may be, which can regard such matters with an indifferent eye; and when the relations of the two Governments are strained, then the mainspring must
be looked for in this action of its subjects, which is not disapproved of by Her Majesty's Government, and not in imaginary or trumped-up grievances."
Can it be contended with the slightest shadow of right and fairness that these grievances afford a reason for intervention? What crimes have been committed here against humanity or the law of nations? Do not the recorded grievances and abuses find a parallel in occurrences which are taking place every day in the most civilized countries? One can with perfect justice apply to the present circumstances the language which the Russian Government used in stigmatizing the illegal intervention of the British Government in the internal affairs of the Kingdom of Naples:
"We would understand that as a consequence of friendly forethought, one Government should give advice to another in a benevolent spirit; that such advice might even assume the character of exhortation; but we believe that to be the furthest limit allowable. Less than ever can it now be allowed in Europe to forget that sovereigns are equal among themselves, and that it is not the extent of territory, but the sacred character of the rights of each, which regulates the relations that exist between them. To endeavor to obtain from the King of Naples concessions as regards the internal government of his states
by threats, or by a menacing demonstration, is a violent usurpation of his authorities, an attempt to govern in his stead; it is an open declaration of the right of the strong over the weak."
In spite of all its hypocritical accusations, the British Government is perfectly well aware that, notwithstanding the unparalleled difficulties with which the Government and the Legislature have had to contend, the administration of the South African Republic is on a sound basis, and can, indeed, be favorably compared with that of other countries in a similar position.
It knows full well that the grievances which are used, by means of blue books, to stir up and excite the altruistic and humane feelings of the British public are for the most part imaginary, and that even if they were perfectly genuine they nevertheless afford no ground for a justifiable interference in the internal affairs of the Republic. It is therefore necessary to have recourse to "Constitutional means" of another description.
The third and last "Constitutional" method which Mr. Chamberlain has had recourse to in order to forcibly intermeddle in the internal affairs of the South African Republic is the claim of equal rights for all the white inhabitants of the South African Republic. In this claim he has also followed the inspiration of Mr. Rhodes, for after the Jameson Raid Mr. Rhodes was prepared with a new programme for the "progressive policy" of South Africa, and made use of the formula, "Equal rights for all white people south of the Zambesi." Mr. Rhodes altered this cry afterwards, with an eye to the colored vote in the Cape Colony, to "Equal
rights for all civilized persons south of the Zambesi."
In due time the echo resounded from Downing Street, "Equal political rights for all persons in the South African Republic." This formula may be either desirable or undesirable as a political aspiration in South Africa. But it is somewhat strange that Mr. Chamberlain should be one of the leaders of the party in England which has strenuously opposed the policy of manhood suffrage. In our case, however, Mr. Chamberlain does not confine himself to friendly advice, but he demands the franchise for all Uitlanders.
The South African Republic already possesses a franchise law, according to which every person is entitled to the full franchise after a seven years' residence in the Republic. But Mr. Chamberlain goes much further, and claims a far more extensive franchise. On what grounds does he base his claim?
He appeals to the discussions which formed a prelude to the Convention of 1881. In the discussions, however, mention is only made of burgher rights or civil rights, with reference to which all possible equality has continuously existed since the Sand River Convention. To safeguard the equality of those civil as distinguished from political rights, Art. 12 of the Pretoria Convention provides "all persons (Her Majesty's loyal subjects) will have full liberty to reside in the country with the enjoyment of all civil rights, and protection for their persons and property."
The period of the franchise was increased in 1882 from one year to five years, without, however, any protest from Her Majesty's Government, and in
1884 it was provided in the new Convention of that year in the most express and clear way possible that:
The Government of the South African Republic, however, took up a higher position; the State
President went to Bloemfontein for the purpose of discussing even internal affairs in a friendly spirit with the High Commissioner—inter alia—the question of the franchise, as he was actuated by the wish to consolidate and promote the peace of South Africa.
Sir Alfred Milner said there: "If the question could be settled upon a broad and firm basis, the tension would disappear and everything come right in time." He has done his best latterly to prove that he did not say or mean anything of the kind, that the franchise question was only one of the burning internal matters in which Her Majesty's Government interested itself, and that a favorable understanding about the franchise would in no way pave the way to an agreement as to the other points of difference.
The attitude of Sir Alfred Milner in this and other questions is, however, of such a nature that it is better to say nothing about his conduct, but to leave him to the judgment of public opinion and history. No agreement being possible between the parties, President Kruger left Bloemfontein and amended the Franchise Law in such a way that the Orange Free State, the Afrikanders of Cape Colony, and even Mr. Schreiner, Premier of the Cape Colony, publicly signified their approval of the amendment which had been made.
Mr. Chamberlain now discarded the appearance of friendliness, and began to adopt a menacing tone in his communications to the Government of the South African Republic. He proposed that the question as to whether the new Franchise Law was satisfactory or not should be discussed by a Joint Commission.
In the mean while, owing to informal conversations between the State Attorney and the British Government, there seemed to be a reasonable prospect of a speedy and satisfactory settlement. The British Government, on being sounded by its agent, announced that if a five years' franchise, unhampered by complicated conditions, and with a quarter representation for the gold fields, were conceded, it would be prepared to consider the conditions upon which the proposal depended, on their merits, and would not consider such a proposal as a refusal to accept the Joint Inquiry. The conditions were that (a) no further interference should take place; (b) that the claim of suzerainty should drop; and (c) that further disputes should be settled by Arbitration. As soon, however, as the proposal was formally made the British Government refused to accept the condition with regard to the dropping of the suzerainty claim, notwithstanding the fact that the High Commissioner had declared in an official dispatch that the suzerainty controversy appeared to him to be etymological and not political. Shortly afterward the British Government made what was practically the same proposal, but without the condition as to the dropping of the suzerainty claim.
As the Government of the South African Republic attached a vital importance to this condition, in view of maintaining its international status, it refused to accept the proposal in this form; it, however, now reverted to the invitation for a joint inquiry, which it agreed to accept, but the British Government replied that it was too late, and that as a matter of fact it no longer adhered to the invitation.
Here we see in the clearest light—
(1) That although the High Commissioner had stated that the suzerainty was only a question of etymological importance, and although the British Government had never been able to refute the arguments advanced by the South African Republic as to the abolition of the suzerainty in 1884, the British Government was nevertheless determined not to abandon its pretension, and is now prepared to make war in South Africa over this point.
(2) That the British Government invites the South African Republic to a joint inquiry, and when this invitation, which had never been withdrawn, is accepted, the acceptance is refused with every mark of contempt.
Is there any instance in the history of civilized diplomacy of such trickery and such callous jugglery with the highest interests of South Africa?
Can any one wonder that South Africa has lost all confidence in British statesmanship?
The British name has been sullied in this part of the world by many perfidious actions, but of a truth I cannot instance any more despicable and repellent incidents than those which have marked the course of events during the last few months.
And the consequence of this trickery will be written with the blood and the tears of thousands of innocent people.
I have now given the facts of a Century of Oppression and Persecution. They are not air-born assumptions, but are taken from the mouth of the most trustworthy historical witnesses, nearly all of
them of British nationality; they are facts admitted as incontestable before the court of history. As to the more recent events, since 1898, I have personal knowledge of all negotiations and differences described, and I can state that I have confined myself to facts that will be more clearly elucidated in coming years, when the curtain will rise and the events of the last two years in this deeply stricken country will be fully published.
Arrived at this terrible turning-point in the history of South Africa, at the eve of a struggle wherein our people are threatened with total extinction, it behooves us to speak—with what may, perhaps, be our last word to the world—the truth, so that even if we should perish, truth may triumph through us over our victors, and may continue to eat like a cancer in their public life, until it will be their turn to sink down into the night of oblivion.
Hitherto our people have kept silent, the enemy has calumniated, slandered and struck our people, and treated us with contempt and hatred. But with dignity that may remind the world of a suffering still greater and deeper, our people have borne the insult and contempt of the enemy, and impelled by the conscientiousness of their duty, have tried to remove the errors and abuses that might have been committed by their State Government in moments of less watchfulness. Even this was called weakness and cowardice. Upon hundreds of platforms in Great Britain and by the most prominent statesmen our people have been, of late, called incompetent, uncivilized, faithless, corrupt, bloodthirsty, void of honor, treacherous, and the like, until not only the British public, but nearly the entire civilized world, has
commenced to believe that we are wellnigh the equals of wild beasts. Those insults, those defiances, we have passed them in silence.
From the official blue books of Her Majesty's Government, from the dispatches of Her Majesty's High Commissioner in South Africa, we were compelled to hear that our corrupt State Government and our unjust, unprincipled, and disorderly administration were running sores, putrefying like a pestilence the moral and political atmosphere of South Africa. And we have kept silent. In numerous newspapers we have been accused of all possible crimes against civilization and humanity; crimes have been laid at our door, the mere mentioning of which make the heart shudder. If the reading public believed only one-hundredth part of the enormities told about our people and Government, it must have come to the conclusion that this Republic was a den of murderers and brigands; that we were a people, the mere existence of which was a blot upon humanity. Nobody has seen any effects of the enormous sums which we were alleged to spend from the secret fund in order to buy the public opinion of the world, but the slander went its course like an all-destroying hurricane. But our people kept silent, partly from ignorance and partly from a feeling of despairing helplessness; partly because, as a simple agricultural people, they do not read newspapers, and thus could not realize how the feelings of the entire world were aroused against us with malignant rage. The practical result was that our cause was lost by default before the tribunal of public opinion. For these reasons I have now deemed it my duty to state the facts that have characterized the British policy
toward our people during the nineteenth century. Naboth's title upon his vineyard was to be annulled, and, according to the hypocritical British policy, that result could be best attained by showing him up as a scoundrel and Ahab as an angel. I have elucidated the facts of Ahab's career and will now proceed to draw my conclusions—conclusions that must irresistibly appeal to the mind of every just and unbiased man.
During this century there are three periods, each of them characteristic of the policy of the British Government toward us.
The first period commenced in 1806 and lasted until the second half of this century. During this period contempt, pure and simple, constitutes the essential feature of the British policy. "The stupid and dirty Dutch" was, during that time, the prevailing opinion of the Britisher toward our poor people. But the hypocritical nature of the British policy found ways to express this contempt in terms of the most sublime ideas then ruling the civilized world. A sentimental philanthropy ruled over the civilized world and was used by the British Government to show up the Boers to the world as the oppressors of the poor, peaceful natives, which were susceptible of religion and civilization, and who were likewise our brethren. If it should appear inconceivable that the power who, under the treaty of Utrecht, acted as the shameless champion of slavery, should show a sickly affection for the natives in South Africa, it is to be borne in mind that in this case its action was not so much dictated by love for the native as by its hatred and contempt for the Boer, which was the distinguishing characteristic of
its policy. As a consequence of this hatred for the Boer, concealed under the pretext of love for the native, the natives were used as police against us, they were provided with arms and ammunition against us, they were incited to fight us and where ever possible to murder and rob us. It was compelled by this hatred that we had to leave the Cape Colony and all that was dear to us and to seek a shelter in the unknown wilderness in the North, and as a consequence of that hatred we had to continue our martyrs' crusade through South Africa, until every part of the country was dyed red with blood, not so much of men capable of bearing arms, but of women and children.
The second period runs up to 1881. During this period the foundation of the British policy toward our people was not in the first place the hatred of the Afrikander. The result had already shown that this hatred was powerless to subject the Afrikander; on the contrary, it had caused the Afrikanders to spread over the whole of South Africa as the reigning people. In a moment of despondency and thoughtless disinterestedness England had concluded a treaty with the Boers (1852 and 1854) whereby they were given full possession of certain wild and apparently valueless parts of the country. The main feature of the policy during the second period was a feeling of spite on account of this mistake and the deliberate purpose to neutralize its consequences. The wild and valueless territory ceded to the Boers appeared to be very valuable after the Boers had saved it and opened it to civilization; these territories had again to shine as pearls in Her Majesty's crown, notwithstanding the treaties concluded with
the Boers. This was the secret purpose; as regards the ways to attain it, in harmony with the inherent hypocrisy of the British policy, they were partly concealed and partly open, and there was a very wide difference between the two kinds. The concealed way was to arm the Kaffir tribes against us and to incite them to attack us in violation of the solemn treaties and promises. If successful in this, England could conceal its true purpose and means, and could openly interfere for the preservation of peace and order and to protect civilization in this part of the world, and under these pretexts the Republics could be annexed. With regard to the Orange Free State this policy was not successful, as, notwithstanding the unlawful detention of their firearms and ammunition by the British Government, the brave Burghers of our neighboring Republic, after a hard struggle, succeeded in defeating Moshesh. In this case, England was compelled to confine itself to the protection of its Basuto instruments, to prevent the Boers from attaining any benefit from their victories, and to the unlawful annexation of the diamond fields.
As to the South African Republic, unfortunately, its citizens were not careful enough to guard against the shrewd policy of the enemy. The Transvaal Boers had vanquished the most powerful Kaffir tribes and did not realize for a moment that the small Kaffir wars, which had been brought about by English intrigues, and which they did not prosecute with all possible energy, could ever be used as a pretext to annex their country to the British empire. Thus the wars with Magato and Secoecoeni were prolonged to the greatest satisfaction of Sir Theophile Shepstone and his principals. And thus came
the Annexation, "with the extension to the South African Republic of Her Majesty's authority and protection, by which means only the unity of purpose and action could be assured, and a happy prospect of peace and prosperity could be opened for the future." These words of the Shepstone proclamation reveal in all its horrible nakedness the hypocrisy which secretly plunges the dagger into the Boer Republic and openly played the part of the disinterested and merciful Samaritan.
The third period of our history is characterized by the combination of the old well-known policy of deceit with the new power of capitalism, born from the mineral treasures of the South African Republic. Both our national and our political independence are now threatened by an unrivalled complication of powers and influences. We are now confronted by the numbers, the British public opinion seeking blood and vengeance, the capital of the world and all powers that can only be called together under the banner of rapaciousness and cupidity. During the last year our situation has become gradually more precarious. The cordon of beasts and birds of prey has, during the last ten years, been gradually tightened around our poor doomed people.
Like the wounded goat feeling the approach of the lion, the fox, or the buzzard, our people all over South Africa are surrounded by the intrigues, vindictiveness, hatred, and cupidity of its enemies. Every ocean carries the vessels laden with British troops from all parts of the world to crush this handful of people. Even Xerxes, with his millions moving against little Greece, does not furnish a more unnatural spectacle to the surprised world than this
sweet mother of nations, holding the sharpened knife in her hands and using all her power, all her treasures, all her high traditions, to kill this poor baby crawling in the dust. This is no war, but an attempt at infanticide.
And when the thought of the spectator is struck by horror and his brain refuses to work, then rises before him, as a dream in the near future, the scene of Bantu children playing in the gardens and the ruins of the sunny South, over the graves wherein the children of the heroes of faith and liberty of all Europe are slumbering. And the Bantu bands of brigands and murderers again roam where the dwelling of the white European used to stand. And if he asks why all this has happened; why the heroic children of an heroic race, to which civilization owes its highest possessions, were murdered in this remote part of the world, an invisible satyr will answer: "Civilization is a failure, the Caucasian has gone under;" and then he will wake up with the screeching of the word Gold! Gold! Gold! in his ears.
The orchids of Birmingham are yellow. The traditions of the greatest empire of the world have faded and become yellow. The laurels fought for by the British legions in South Africa are yellow. But the heaven over South Africa will always remain blue. And justice invoked by Piet Retief when our fathers left the Cape Colony; invoked by Joachim Pinsloo in the Volksraad of Natal, at the time of the annexation by England, and to which the Burghers of the Transvaal devoted their cause at Paardekraal, in 1880, remains unchanged and is like a rock, against which the rushing waves of British diplomacy will break.
It works according to eternal laws, unaffected by human pride or change. As the old Greek poet said, it allows the tyrant and his brutal bride to climb higher and higher, to increase his honor and power until he reaches the zenith allotted to him, and then he plunges down into the bottomless precipice.
Africans, I call upon you! Act as Leonidas and his 300 men, who faced Xerxes and his followers at Thermopylæ, and do not fear men like Milner, Rhodes, and Chamberlain, and not even the British Empire, but rely upon the God of our fathers and that justice which sometimes acts slowly but never slumbers or forgets. Our fathers did not pale before the Spanish Inquisition, but commenced the great struggle for freedom and right, even with the mighty Philip, regardless of any consequences. Neither torture nor the murderous bands of Louis XIV. could break the spirit of our fathers.
No Alva, no Richelieu succeeded in rendering tyranny victorious over the spirit of freedom and independence of our forefathers, nor will a Chamberlain make the power of capitalism triumph in our lands.
If it is so disposed that we, no matter how small we may be, must be the first of all nations to take up the struggle with the new world tyrant of capitalism, we will be found ready, even if this tyrant is supported by all the power of Jingoism.
May the hope that animated us in our struggle of 1880 be also indelibly engraved upon our hearts in the present supreme moment. May that hope be a beacon of light on our path, wading through blood and tears, that will guide us to a truly United South
Africa. And like in 1880 we now confidently lay our cause before the whole world. Whether we conquer, whether we die, liberty will rise in South Africa like the sun rises from the morning clouds, and like it rose in the United States of America, and then it will be from the Zambesi to Simons Bay—