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Title: Lord Milner's Work in South Africa - From its Commencement in 1897 to the Peace of Vereeniging in 1902
Author: Worsfold, W. Basil (William Basil), 1858-1939
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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     "What would have been the position to-day in South Africa if
     there had not been a man prepared to take upon himself
     responsibility; a man whom difficulties could not conquer, whom
     disasters could not cow, and whom obloquy could never
     move?"--LORD GOSCHEN _in the House of Lords, March 29th, 1906_


_This Edition enjoys copyright in all countries signatory to the Berne
Convention, as well as in the United Kingdom, Ireland, and all British
Colonies and Dependencies._

_Printed by Hazell, Watson & Viney, Ld., London and Aylesbury._


In sending this book to press I have only two remarks to make by way
of preface.

The first is wholly personal. It has been my good fortune to reside
twice for a considerable period in South Africa--first in the
neighbourhood of Capetown (1883-5), and afterwards in Johannesburg
(1904-5). During these periods of residence, and also during the long
interval between them, I have been brought into personal contact with
many of the principal actors in the events which are related in this
book. While, therefore, no pains have been spared to secure accuracy
by a careful study of official papers and other reliable publications,
my information is not derived by any means exclusively from these

My second remark is the expression of a hope that the contents of this
book may be regarded not merely as a chapter of history, but also as a
body of facts essential to the full understanding of the circumstances
and conditions of South Africa, as it is to-day. Since the restoration
of peace--an event not yet five years old--a great change has been
wrought in the political and economic framework of this province of
the empire. None the less, with a few conspicuous exceptions, almost
all of the principal actors in these pages are still there; and,
presumably, they are very much the same men now as they were before,
and during, the war. And in this connection it remains to notice an
aspect of the South African struggle which transcends all others in
fruitfulness and importance. It was a struggle to keep South Africa
not a dependency of Great Britain, but a part of the empire. The
over-sea Britains, understanding it in this sense, took their share in
it. They made their voices heard in the settlement. The service which
they thus collectively performed was great. It would have been
infinitely greater if they had been directly represented in an
administration nominally common to them and the mother country. No
political system can be endowed with effective unity--with that
organic unity which is the only effective unity--unless it is
possessed of a single vehicle of thought and action. To create this
vehicle--an administrative body in which all parts of the empire would
be duly represented--is difficult to-day. The forces of disunion,
which are at work both at home and beyond the seas, may make it
impossible to-morrow.

                                   W. B. W.

  _October 19th, 1906_


CHAPTER I                                               Page





  A YEAR OF OBSERVATION.................................. 75


  UNDER WHICH FLAG?..................................... 130


  PLAYING FOR TIME...................................... 188


  THE ULTIMATUM......................................... 253


  THE FALL OF THE REPUBLICS............................. 300


  THE REBELLION IN THE CAPE COLONY...................... 341


  THE "CONCILIATION" MOVEMENT........................... 373




  PREPARING FOR PEACE................................... 470


  THE SURRENDER OF VEREENIGING.......................... 536

INDEX................................................... 585


  PORTRAIT OF LORD MILNER                      _Frontispiece_
    _From a photograph by Elliott & Fry (Photogravure)_

                                            FACING PAGE

  LORD MILNER AT SUNNYSIDE.............................. 473

  MAP OF SOUTH AFRICA........................... _At the End_




The failure of British administration in South Africa during the
nineteenth century forms a blemish upon the record of the Victorian
era that is at first sight difficult to understand. If success could
be won in Canada, Australia and New Zealand, in India and in Egypt,
why failure in South Africa? For failure it was. A century of wars,
missionary effort, British expansion, industrial development, of lofty
administrative ideals and great men sacrificed, had left the two
European races with political ambitions so antagonistic, and social
differences so bitter, that nothing less than the combined military
resources of the colonies and the mother-country sufficed to compel
the Dutch to recognise the British principle of "equal rights for all
white men south of the Zambesi." Among the many contributory causes of
failure that can be distinguished, the two most prominent are the
nationality difficulty and the native question. But these are problems
of administration that have been solved elsewhere: the former in
Canada and the latter in India. Or, to turn to agencies of a
different order, is the cause of failure to be found in a grudging
nature--the existence of physical conditions that made it difficult
for the white man, or for the white and coloured man together, to
wring a livelihood from the soil? The answer is that the like material
disadvantages have been conquered in Australia, India, and in Egypt,
by Anglo-Saxon energy. We might apply the Socratic method throughout,
traversing the entire range of our distinguishable causes; but in
every case the inquiry would reveal success in some other portion of
the Anglo-Saxon domain to darken failure in South Africa.

Nevertheless, in so far as any single influence can be assigned to
render intelligible a result brought about by many agencies, various
in themselves and operating from time to time in varying degrees, the
explanation is to be found in a little incident that happened in the
second year of the Dutch East India Company's settlement at the Cape
of Good Hope. The facts are preserved for us by the diary which
Commander Van Riebeck was ordered to keep for the information of his
employers. Under the date October 19th, 1653, we read that David
Janssen, a herdsman, was found lying dead of assegai wounds, inflicted
by the Beechranger Hottentots, while the cattle placed under his
charge were seen disappearing round the curve of the Lion's Head. The
theft had been successfully accomplished through the perfidy of a
certain "Harry," a Hottentot chief, who was living on terms of
friendship with the Dutch--a circumstance which was sufficiently
apparent from the fact that the raid was timed to take place at an
hour on Sunday morning when the whole of the little community, with
the exception of two sentinels and a second herdsman, were assembled
to hear a sermon from the "Sick-Comforter," Wylant. It was the first
conflict between the Dutch and the natives; for Van Riebeck had been
bidden, for various excellent reasons, to keep on good terms with the
Hottentots, and to treat them kindly. But the murder of a white man
was a serious matter. Kindness scarcely seemed to meet the case; and
so Van Riebeck applied to the Directors, the famous Chamber of
Seventeen, for definite instructions as to the course which he must

[Sidenote: Van Riebeck's difficulty.]

He was told that only the actual murderer of David Janssen (if
apprehended) was to be put to death; that cattle equal in amount to
the cattle stolen were to be recovered, but only from the actual
robbers; and that "Harry," if necessary, should be sent to prison at
Batavia. But he was not otherwise to molest or injure the offending
Hottentots. Excellent advice, and such as we should expect from the
countrymen of Grotius in their most prosperous era. But unfortunately
it was quite impossible for Van Riebeck, with his handful of soldiers
and sailors, planted at the extremity of the great barbaric continent
of Africa, to think of putting it into effect. He replied that he had
no means of identifying the individual wrong-doers, and that the
institution of private property was unknown among the Hottentots. The
only method by which the individual could be punished was by punishing
the tribe, and he therefore proposed to capture the tribe and their
cattle. But this was a course of action which was repugnant to the
Directors' sense of justice. It aroused, besides, a vision of
reinforcements ordered from Batavia, and of disbursements quite
disproportionate to the practical utility of the Cape station as an
item in the system of the Company. In vain Van Riebeck urged that a
large body of slaves and ten or twelve hundred head of cattle would be
a great addition to the resources of the settlement. The Chamber of
Seventeen refused to sanction the proposals of the commander, and, as
its own were impracticable, nothing was done. The Beechranger tribe
escaped with impunity, and the Hottentots, as a whole, were emboldened
to make fresh attacks upon the European settlers.

[Sidenote: The Afrikander stock.]

This simple narrative is a lantern that sheds a ray of light upon an
obscure subject. Two points are noticeable in the attitude of the home
authority. First, there is its inability to grasp the local
conditions; and second, the underlying assumption that a moral
judgment based upon the conditions of the home country, if valid, must
be equally valid in South Africa. By the time that the home authority
had become Downing Street instead of the peripatetic Chamber of
Seventeen, the field of mischievous action over which these
misconceptions operated had become enlarged. The natives were there,
as before; but, in addition to the natives, there had grown up a
population of European descent, some thirty thousand in number, whose
manner of life and standards of thought and conduct were scarcely more
intelligible to the British, or indeed to the European mind, than
those of the yellow-skinned Hottentot or the brown-skinned Kafir. A
century and a half of the Dutch East India Company's government--a
government "in all things political purely despotic, in all things
commercial purely monopolist"--had produced a people unlike any other
European community on the face of the earth. Of the small original
stock from which the South African Dutch are descended, one-quarter
were Huguenot refugees from France, an appreciable section were
German, and the institution of slavery had added to this admixture the
inevitable strain of non-Aryan blood. But this racial change was by no
means all that separated the European population in the Cape Colony
from the Dutch of Holland. A more potent agency had been at work. The
corner-stone of the policy of the Dutch East India Company was the
determination to debar the settlers from all intercourse--social,
intellectual, commercial, and political--with their kinsmen in Europe.
One fact will suffice to show how perfectly this object was attained.
Incredible as it may seem, it is the case that at the end of the
eighteenth century no printing-press was to be found in the Cape
Colony, nor had this community of twenty thousand Europeans the means
of knowing the nature of the laws and regulations of the Government by
which it was ruled. So long and complete an isolation from European
civilisation produced a result which is as remarkable in itself as it
is significant to the student of South African history. This
phenomenon was the existence, in the nineteenth century, of a
community of European blood whose moral and intellectual standards
were those of the seventeenth.

[Sidenote: The nationality difficulty.]

Our dip into the early history of South Africa is not purposeless. It
does not, of course, explain the failure of British administration;
but it brings us into touch with circumstances that were bound to make
the task of governing the Cape Colony--a task finally undertaken by
England in 1806--one of peculiar difficulty. The native population was
strange, but the European population was even more strange and
abnormal. If we had been left to deal with the native population alone
we should have experienced no serious difficulty in rendering them
harmless neighbours, and have been able to choose our own time for
entering upon the responsibilities involved in the administration of
their territories. But, coming second on the field, we were bound to
modify our native policy to suit the conditions of a preexisting
relationship between the white and black races that was not of our
creation, and one, moreover, that was in many respects repugnant to
British ideas of justice. Nor was this all. The old European
population, which should have been, naturally, our ally and
fellow-worker in the task of native administration, gradually changed
from its original position of a subject nationality to that of a
political rival; and, as such, openly bid against us for the
mastership of the native African tribes.

Now when two statesmen are pitted against each other, of whom one is a
man whose methods of attack are limited by nineteenth-century ideas,
while the morality of the other, being that of the seventeenth
century, permits him greater freedom of action, it is obvious that the
first will be at a disadvantage. And this would be the case more than
ever if the nineteenth-century statesman was under the impression that
his political antagonist was a man whose code of morals was identical
with his own. When once he had learnt that the moral standard of the
other was lower than, or different from, his own, he would of course
make allowance for the circumstance, and he would then be able to
contest the position with him upon equal terms. But until he had
grasped this fact he would be at a disadvantage.

Generally speaking, the representatives of the British Government,
both Governors and High Commissioners, soon learnt that neither the
natives nor the Dutch population could be dealt with on the same
footing as a Western European. But the British Government cannot be
said to have thoroughly learnt the same lesson until, in almost the
last week of the nineteenth century, the three successive defeats of
Stormberg, Magersfontein, and Colenso aroused it to a knowledge of the
fact that we had been within an ace of losing South Africa. Many,
indeed, would question whether even now the lesson had been thoroughly
learnt. But, however this may be, it is certain that throughout the
nineteenth century the Home Government wished to treat both the
natives and the Dutch in South Africa on a basis of British ideas; and
that by so doing it constantly found itself in conflict with its own
local representatives, who knew that the only hope of success lay in
dealing with both alike on a basis of South African ideas.

As the result of this chronic inability of British statesmen to
understand South Africa, it follows that the most instructive manner
of regarding our administration of that country during the nineteenth
century is to get a clear conception of the successive divergences of
opinion between the home and the local authorities.

At the very outset of British administration--during the temporary
occupation of the Cape from 1795 to 1808--we find a theoretically
perfect policy laid down for the guidance of the early English
Governors in their treatment of the Boers, or Dutch frontier farmers.
It is just as admirable, in its way, as were the instructions for the
treatment of the Hottentots furnished by the Directors of the Dutch
East India Company to Van Riebeck. In a despatch of July, 1800, the
third Duke of Portland, who was then acting as Secretary for the
Colonies, writes:

[Sidenote: Non-interference.]

     "Considering the tract of country over which these border
     inhabitants are dispersed, the rude and uncultivated state in
     which they live, and the wild notions of independence which
     prevail among them, I am afraid any attempts to introduce
     civilisation and a strict administration of justice will be slow
     in their progress, and likely, if not proceeded upon with caution
     and management, rather to create a spirit of resistance, or to
     occasion them to emigrate still further from the seat of
     government, than answer the beneficent views with which they
     might be undertaken. In fact, it seems to me the proper system of
     policy to observe to them is to interfere as little as possible
     in their domestic concerns and interior economy; to consider them
     rather as distant communities dependent upon the Government than
     as subjects necessarily amenable to the laws and regulations
     established within the precincts of Government. Mutual advantages
     arising from barter and commerce, and a strict adherence to good
     faith and justice in all arrangements with them, joined to
     efficient protection and occasional acts of kindness on the part
     of the Government, seem likely to be the best means of securing
     their attachment."

Who would have thought that this statement of policy, admirable as it is
at first sight, contained in itself the germ of a political heresy of
the first magnitude? Yet so it was. The principle of non-interference,
here for the first time enunciated and subsequently followed with fatal
effect, could not be applied by a nineteenth-century administration to
the case of a seventeenth-century community without its virtually
renouncing the functions of government. Obviously this was not the
intention of the home authority. There remained the difficulty of
knowing when to apply, and when not to apply, the principle; and
directly a specific case arose there was the possibility that, while the
local authority, with a full knowledge of the local conditions, might
think interference necessary, the home authority, without such
knowledge, might take an opposite view.

[Sidenote: Slaghter's Nek.]

A very few years sufficed to show that the most ordinary exercise of
the functions of government might be regarded as an "interference with
the domestic concerns and interior economy" of the European subjects
of the British Crown in South Africa. At the time of the permanent
occupation of the Cape (1806) the population of the colony consisted
of three classes: 26,720 persons of European descent, 17,657
Hottentots, and 29,256 returned as slaves. One of the first measures
of the British Governor, Lord Caledon, was the enactment of a series
of regulations intended to confer civil rights on the Hottentots,
while at the same time preventing them from using their freedom at the
expense of the European population. From the British, or even
European point of view, this was a piece of elementary justice to
which no man could possibly take exception. As applied to the
conditions of the Franco-Dutch population in the Cape Colony it was,
in fact, a serious interference with their "domestic concerns and
internal economy." And as such it produced the extraordinary protest
known to history as the "Rebellion" of Slaghter's Nek. There was no
question as to the facts. Booy, the Hottentot, had completed his term
of service with Frederick Bezuidenhout, the Boer, and was therefore
entitled, under the Cape law, to leave his master's farm, and to
remove his property. All this Bezuidenhout admitted; but when it came
to a question of yielding obedience to the magistrate's order, the
Boer said "No." In the words of Pringle, "He boldly declared that he
considered this interference between him (a free burgher) and _his_
Hottentot to be a presumptuous innovation upon his rights, and an
intolerable usurpation of tyrannical authority."

And the danger of allowing the Boers to pursue their
seventeenth-century dealings with the natives became rapidly greater
when the European Colonists, Dutch and English, were brought, by their
natural eastward expansion, into direct contact with the masses of
military Bantu south and east of the Drakenberg chain of
mountains--the actual dark-skinned "natives" of South Africa as it is
known to the people of Great Britain. The Boer frontiersman, with his
aggressive habits and ingrained contempt for a dark-skin,
disintegrated the Bantu mass before we were ready to undertake the
work of reconstruction. And therefore the local British authority soon
learnt that non-interference in the case of the Boer generally meant
the necessity of a much more serious interference at a subsequent date
with both Boer and Kafir. And so non-interference, in the admirable
spirit of the Duke of Portland's despatch, came to bear one meaning in
Downing Street and quite another in Capetown.

[Sidenote: D'Urban's policy.]

The earliest of the three crucial "divergences of opinion," to which
collectively the history of our South African administration owes its
sombre hue, was that which led to the reversal of Sir Benjamin
D'Urban's frontier policy by Charles Grant (afterwards Lord Glenelg)
at the end of the year 1835. The circumstances were these. On
Christmas Day, 1834, the Kafirs (without any declaration of war,
needless to say) invaded the Cape Colony, murdering the settlers in
the isolated farms, burning their homesteads, and driving off their
cattle. After a six months' campaign, in which the Dutch and British
settlers fought by the side of the regular troops, a treaty was made
with the Kafir chiefs which, in the opinion of D'Urban and his local
advisers, would render the eastern frontier of the Colony secure from
further inroads. The Kafirs were to retire to the line of the Kei
River, thus surrendering part of their territory to the European
settlers who had suffered most severely from the invasion; while a
belt of loyal Kafirs, supported by a chain of forts, was to be
interposed between the defeated tribes and the colonial farmsteads. In
addition to these measures, D'Urban proposed to compensate the
settlers for the enormous losses[1] which they had incurred; since, as
a contemporary and not unfriendly writer[2] puts it, the British
Government had exposed them for fourteen years to Kafir depredations,
rather than acknowledge the existence of a state of affairs that must
plainly have compelled it to make active exertions for their

         [Footnote 1: The official returns showed that 456 farm-houses
         had been wholly, and 350 partially, destroyed; and that 60
         waggons, 5,715 horses, 111,930 head of horned cattle, and
         161,930 sheep had been carried off by the Kafirs. And this
         apart from the remuneration claimed by the settlers for
         services in the field, and commandeered cattle and supplies.]

         [Footnote 2: Cloete. See note, p. 16.]

The view of the home authority was very different. In the opinion of
His Majesty's ministers at Downing Street the Kafir invasion was the
result of a long series of unjustifiable encroachments on the part of
the European settlers. D'Urban was instructed, therefore, to reinstate
the Kafirs in the districts from which they had retired under the
treaty of September, 1835, and to cancel all grants of land beyond the
Fish River--the original eastern boundary of the Colony--which the
Colonial Government had made to its European subjects from 1817
onwards; while, as for compensation, any indemnity was altogether out
of the question, since the colonists had only themselves to thank for
the enmity of the natives--if, indeed, they had not deliberately
provoked the war with a view to the acquisition of fresh territory.

The divergence between these two opinions is sufficiently well marked.
To trace the precise agencies through which two diametrically opposed
views were evolved on this occasion from the same groundwork of facts
would be too lengthy a business; but, by way of comment, we may recall
two statements, each significant and authentic. Cloete, writing while
the events in question were still fresh in his mind, says of Lord
Glenelg's despatch: "A communication more cruel, unjust, and insulting
to the feelings not only of Sir Benjamin D'Urban ... but of the
inhabitants ... could hardly have been penned by a declared enemy of
the country and its Governor." And Sir George Napier, by whom D'Urban
was superseded, stated in evidence given before the House of Commons:
"My own experience, and what I saw with my own eyes, have confirmed me
that I was wrong and Sir Benjamin D'Urban was perfectly right; that if
he meant to keep Kafirland under British rule, the only way of doing
so was by having a line of forts, and maintaining troops in them."

[Sidenote: The Great Trek.]

This settlement of a South African question upon a basis of British,
or rather non-South African, ideas was followed by events as notorious
as they were disastrous. It must be remembered that in 1819-20 the
first and only effort to introduce a considerable British population
into South Africa had been successfully carried out when the "Albany"
settlers, to the number of some five thousand, were established in
this and other districts upon the eastern border of the Cape Colony.
The colonial farmers who suffered from the Kafir invasion of 1834-5
were not exclusively Boers. Among them there were many members of the
new British population, and the divergence of opinion between D'Urban
and Lord Glenelg was all the more significant, since in this case the
British settlers were in agreement with the Boers. It was no longer
merely a divergence of views as between the local and the home
authority, but as between the British in Britain and the British in
South Africa. It must also be remembered that, in the same year as the
Kafir invasion, a social revolution--the emancipation of slaves--had
been accomplished in the Cape Colony by an Act of the British
Parliament, in comparison with which the nationalisation of the
railways or of the mines in England would seem a comparatively
trifling disturbance of the system of private property to the
Englishman of to-day. The reversal of D'Urban's arrangements for the
safety of the eastern frontier was not only bad in itself, but it came
at a bad time. Whether the secession of the Emigrant Farmers would in
any case have taken place as the result of the emancipation of slaves
is a matter which cannot now be decided. But, however this may be, the
fact remains that two men so well qualified to give an opinion on the
subject as Judge Cloete and Sir John Robinson, the first Prime
Minister of Natal, unhesitatingly ascribe the determining influence
which drove the Boers to seek a home beyond the jurisdiction of the
British Government to the sense of injustice created by the measures
dictated by Lord Glenelg, and by the whole spirit of his despatch.[3]
And this judgment is supported by the fact that the wealthier Dutch of
the Western Province were much more seriously affected by the
emancipation of slaves than the "Boers" of the eastern districts of
the Colony; yet it was these latter, of course, who provided the bulk
of the emigrants who crossed the Orange River in the years of the
Great Trek (1835-8) We shall not therefore be drawing an extravagantly
improbable conclusion, if we decide that the movement which divided
European South Africa was due to a well-ascertained divergence of
opinion between the home and local authorities--both British.

         [Footnote 3: For the benefit of those who may desire to read
         the passages in which these opinions are expressed, I append
         the references. Cloete's opinion is to be found in his "Five
         Lectures on the Emigration of the Dutch Farmers," delivered
         before the Natal Society and published at Capetown in 1856. A
         reprint of this work was published by Mr. Murray in 1899. Sir
         John Robinson's opinion, which endorses the views of Mrs.
         Anna Elizabeth Steenekamp as expressed in _The Cape Monthly
         Magazine_ for September, 1876, is to be found at pp. 46, 47
         of his "A Lifetime in South Africa" (Smith, Elder, 1900).]

[Sidenote: The birth of the republic.]

[Sidenote: Sir George Grey.]

The results of this secession of something like one-fourth of the
Franco-Dutch population are common knowledge. Out of the scattered
settlements founded by the Emigrant Farmers beyond the borders of the
Colony were created, in 1852 (Sand River Convention) and 1854
(Bloemfontein Convention), the two Boer Republics, which half a century
later withstood for two years and eight months the whole available
military force of the British Empire. The first effect of the secession
was to erect the republican Dutch into a rival power which bid against
the British Government for the territory and allegiance of the natives.
Secession, therefore, made the inevitable task of establishing the
supremacy of the white man in South Africa infinitely more costly both
in blood and treasure. The British nation accepted the task, which fell
to it as paramount power, with the greatest reluctance. The endless and
apparently aimless Kafir wars exhausted the patience of the country, and
the destruction of an entire British regiment by Ketshwayo's[4] _impis_
created a feeling of deep resentment against the great High
Commissioner, whose policy was held--unreasonably enough--responsible
for the military disaster of Isandlhwana. Two opportunities of
recovering the lost solidarity of the Europeans were presented before
the republican Dutch had set themselves definitely to work for the
supremacy of South Africa through reunion with their colonial kinsfolk.
That both were lost was due at bottom to the disgust of the British
people at the excessive cost and burden of establishing a civilised
administration over the native population in South Africa. But in both
cases the immediate agency of disaster was the refusal of the Home
Government to listen to the advice of its local representative. Sir
George Grey would have regained the lost solidarity of the Europeans by
taking advantage of the natural recoil manifested among the Free State
Dutch from independence and responsibility towards the more settled and
prosperous life assured by British rule. His proposal was to unite the
Cape Colony, Natal, and the Free State in a federal legislature,
consisting of representatives chosen by popular vote in the several
states. In urging this measure he took occasion to combat the
pessimistic views of South African affairs which were prevalent in
England. The country was not commercially useless, but of "great and
increasing value." Its people did not desire Kafir wars, but were well
aware of the much greater advantages which they derived from the
peaceful pursuits of industry. The colonists were themselves willing to
contribute to the defence of that part of the Queen's dominions in which
they lived. And, finally, the condition of the natives was not hopeless,
for the missionaries were producing most beneficial effects upon the
tribes of the interior. But the most powerful argument which Grey used
was his ruthless exposure of the futility of the Conventions. By
allowing the Boer emigrants to grow into independent communities the
British Government believed that not only had they relieved themselves
of responsibility for the republican Dutch, but that they had secured,
in addition, the unfaltering allegiance of the larger Dutch population
which remained behind in the Cape Colony. Grey assured the Home
Government that in both respects it was the victim of a delusion bred of
its complete ignorance of South African conditions. The Boer Republics
would give trouble. Apart from the bad draftsmanship of the
conventions--a fertile source of disagreement--these small states would
be centres of intrigue and "internal commotions," while at the same time
their revenues would be too small to provide efficiently for their
protection against the warlike tribes. The policy of _divide et
impera_--or, as Grey called it, the "dismemberment" policy--would fail,
since the political barrier which had been erected was wholly

         [Footnote 4: Cetewayo.]

     "Although these European countries are treated as separate
     nations," he wrote, "their inhabitants bear the same family names
     as the inhabitants of this Colony, and maintain with them ties of
     the closest intimacy and relationship. They speak generally the
     same language--not English, but Dutch. They are for the most part
     of the same religion, belonging to the Dutch Reformed Church.
     They have the same laws--the Roman Dutch. They have the same
     sympathies, the same prejudices, the same habits, and frequently
     the same feelings regarding the native races....

     "I think that there can be no doubt that, in any great public, or
     popular, or national question or movement, the mere fact of
     calling these people different nations would not make them so,
     nor would the fact of a mere fordable stream running between them
     sever their sympathies or prevent them from acting in unison....
     Many questions might arise in which, if the Government on the
     south side of the Orange River took a different view from that on
     the north side of the river, it might be very doubtful which of
     the two Governments the great mass of the people would obey."[5]

         [Footnote 5: Despatch of November 19th, 1858, to Sir E. B.

The "divergence of opinion" between Capetown and Downing Street was
complete. Grey was charged with "direct disobedience" for listening to
the offers of the Free State inhabitants. Recalled by a despatch of
June 4th, 1859, he was reinstated in August on condition that "he felt
himself sufficiently free and uncompromised," both with the Cape
Legislature and the people of the Free State, to be able personally to
carry out the policy of the Home Government, which, said the despatch,

     "is entirely opposed to those measures, tending to the resumption
     of sovereignty over that State, of which you have publicly
     expressed your approval in your speech to the Cape Parliament,
     and in your answers to the address from the State in question."

Nor was that all. In his endeavours to establish a simple but
effective system of European magistrates over the Kafirs beyond the
eastern border of the Colony, he was hampered by the short-sighted
economy of the Home Government. It seems incredible that a Colonial
Governor, even at that epoch, should have been looked upon by Downing
Street as a sort of importunate mendicant. But Grey's language shows
that this was the attitude against which he had to defend himself.

[Sidenote: The burden of the empire.]

     "I would now only urge upon Her Majesty's Government," he writes
     on September 8th, 1858, "that they should not distress me more
     than is absolutely necessary for the government and control of
     the people of the country which lies beyond the Colony of the
     Cape of Good Hope. Stripping the country as I am of troops [to
     serve in putting down the Indian Mutiny], some great disaster
     will take place if necessary funds are at the same time cut off
     from me. I am sure, if the enormous reductions I have effected in
     military expenditure are considered, the most rigid economists
     will feel that the money paid by Great Britain for the control of
     this country has been advantageously laid out."

These extracts are not pleasant reading. They were written at the time
when the Imperial spirit was at its nadir. In the plain language of
the Secretary of State for the Colonies[6] in 1858, it was a time when
ministers were "compelled to recognise as fact the increased and
increasing dislike of Parliament to the maintenance of large military
establishments in our colonies at Imperial cost." Yet one more passage
must be cited, not so much because it is tinged by a certain grim
humour--although this is a valuable quality in such a context--as
because it affords an eminently pertinent illustration in support of
the contention that the refusal of the Home Government to follow the
advice of the "man on the spot" has been the operative cause of the
failure of British administration in South Africa. The reply to the
charge of "direct disobedience," which Grey formulates in one
leisurely sentence, runs as follows:

         [Footnote 6: Sir E. B. Lytton.]

     "With regard to any necessity which might exist for my removal on
     the ground of not holding the same views upon essential points of
     policy as Her Majesty's Government hold, I can only make the
     general remark that, during the five years which have elapsed
     since I was appointed to my present office, there have been at
     least seven Secretaries of State for the Colonial Department,
     each of whom held different views upon some important points of
     policy connected with this country."

[Sidenote: The discovery of diamonds.]

Grey was not by any means the only Governor of the Cape to show the
home authorities how impossible it was to govern South Africa from
Downing Street, and to urge upon them the necessity of allowing their
representative, the one man who was familiar with local conditions, to
decide by what methods the objects of British policy could be most
effectively advanced. But it was not until some considerable time
after the Colonial Department had been placed under a separate
Secretary of State, and the Colonial Office had been constituted on
its present basis, with a staff of permanent officials, that these
protests produced any appreciable effect. What really aroused an
interest in South Africa--that is to say a practical interest, as
distinct from the interest created by the stories of missionary
enterprise and travel, and by the records of Kafir warfare--was the
discovery of diamonds in Griqualand West in 1870, and the subsequent
establishment of the diamond industry at Kimberley. It was the first
time that anything certain had occurred to show that the vast
"hinterland" of the Cape might prove to be a territory of industrial
possibilities. The earnings of the diamond mines provided the Cape
Colony with a revenue sufficient to enable it to link together its
main towns by a tolerable railway system. The industry, once
established, attracted British capital and British population, and by
so doing it did what Blue-books and missionary reports had failed to
do: it brought the every-day life of the British Colonist in South
Africa within the purview of the nation. Thanks to the Kimberley mines
the Cape ceased to be thought of as a country whose resources were
exclusively pastoral and agricultural.

The epoch of the next great divergence of opinion was a more hopeful
time from an Imperialist point of view. Lord Beaconsfield, who was the
first statesman to give practical expression to the belief that the
maintenance of empire was not inconsistent with the welfare of the
masses of the home population, was in power. British statesmen, and
the class from which British statesmen are drawn, had begun to study
Colonial questions in a more hopeful and intelligent spirit. Something
had been learnt, too, of the actual conditions of South Africa. And
yet it was at this epoch that what was, perhaps, the most ruinous of
all the divergences of opinion between Capetown and Downing Street

[Sidenote: Sir Bartle Frere.]

When Sir Bartle Frere was sent out to South Africa to carry out a
definite scheme for the union of the Republics with the British
colonies in a federal system, British statesmen and the educated
classes in general had adopted the views expressed by Grey twenty
years before. Tardily they had learnt to recognise both the essential
unity of the Dutch population and the value of the country as an
industrial asset of the empire. But, in the meantime, the centre of
political power had shifted in England. The extension of the franchise
had placed the ultimate control of British policy in South Africa in
the hands of a class of electors who were, as yet, wholly uneducated
in the political and economic conditions of that country. The
divergence of opinion between the home and the local authority became
in this case wider than ever. In short, it was the will of the nation
that caused Frere to be arrested midway in the accomplishment of his
task, and gave a mandate in 1880 to the Liberal party to administer
South Africa upon the lines of a policy shaped in contemptuous
indifference of the profoundest convictions and most solemn warnings
of a great proconsul and most loyal servant of the Crown.

The facts of Frere's supersession and recall are notorious: the story
is too recent to need telling at length. We know now that, apart from
the actual discovery of the Witwatersrand gold-mines, all that he
foresaw and foretold has been realised in the events which culminated,
twenty years later, in the great South African War. The military power
which at that time (1877-80) stood in the way of South African unity
under the British flag was the Zulu people. The whole adult male
population of the tribe had been trained for war, and organised by
Ketshwayo into a fighting machine. With this formidable military
instrument at his command Ketshwayo proposed to emulate the sanguinary
career of conquest pursued by his grandfather Tshaka;[7] and he had
prepared the way for the half-subdued military Bantu throughout South
Africa to co-operate with him in a general revolt against the growing
supremacy of the white man. Frere removed this obstacle. But in doing
so he, or rather the general entrusted with the command of the
military operations, lost a British regiment at Isandlhwana. This
revelation of the strength of the Zulu army was, in fact, a complete
confirmation of the correctness of Frere's diagnosis of the South
African situation. His contention was that England must give evidence
of both her capacity and her intention to control the native
population of South Africa before she could reasonably ask the
republican Dutch to surrender their independence and reunite with the
British colonies in a federal system under the British flag. A native
power, organised solely for aggressive warfare against one of two
possible white neighbours, constituted therefore, in his opinion, not
only a perpetual menace to the safety of Natal, but an insuperable
obstacle to the effective discharge of a duty by the paramount Power,
the successful performance of which was a condition precedent to the
reunion of the European communities. The only point in dispute was the
question whether the powers of Ketshwayo's _impis_ had been
exaggerated. To this question the disaster of Isandlhwana returned an
emphatic "No."

         [Footnote 7: Chaka.]

[Sidenote: The recall of Frere.]

The divergence of opinion between Frere and Lord Beaconsfield's
cabinet was trivial as compared with the profound gulf which separated
his policy from the South African policy of Mr. Gladstone. After the
return of the Liberal party to power in the spring of 1880, Frere was
allowed to remain in office until August 1st, when he was recalled by
a telegraphic despatch. But, as Lord Kimberley pointed out to him,
there had been "so much divergence" between his views and those of the
Home Government that he would not have been allowed to remain at the
Cape, "had it not been for the special reason that there was a
prospect of his being able materially to forward the policy of
confederation." This prospect, of course, had then been removed by the
failure of the Cape Government, on June 29th, to bring about the
conference of delegates from the several States, which was the initial
step towards the realisation of Lord Carnarvon's scheme of federal

The vindication of Frere's statesmanship has been carried, by the
inexorable logic of events, far beyond the sphere of Blue-book
arguments. But it is impossible to read this smug despatch without
recalling the words which Mr. Krüger wrote to Mr. (now Lord) Courtney
on June 26th of the same year: "The fall of Sir Bartle Frere will ...
be useful.... We have done our duty and used all legitimate influence
to cause the conference proposals to fail." That is to say, it was
known to these faithful confederates of that section of the Liberal
party of which Mr. Courtney was the head, that the Gladstone
Government had determined to recall Sir Bartle Frere three days before
"the special reason" for maintaining him at the Cape had disappeared.

[Sidenote: Frere's forecast.]

But what we are really concerned with is the nature of the opinions
upon the central question of South African administration which Frere
put forward at this critical period. With these before us, the most
elementary acquaintance with the events of the last ten years will
suffice to indicate the profound degree in which his knowledge of
South African conditions surpassed the knowledge of those who took
upon themselves to reverse his policy. What, above all, Frere realised
was, that a point had been reached at which the whole of South Africa
must be gathered under the British flag without delay. He had noted
the disintegrating influences at work in the Cape Colony and the
strength of the potential antagonism of the republican Dutch. The
annexation of the Transvaal was not his deed, nor did either the time
or the manner in which it was done command his approval. But he
asserted that British rule, once established there, must be maintained
at all costs. With this end in view, he urged that every
responsibility incurred by England in the act of annexation must be
fulfilled to the letter. Utilising the information which he had gained
by personal observation during his visit to the Transvaal in 1879, and
availing himself of the co-operation of President Brand, of the Free
State, and Chief Justice de Villiers, in the Cape Colony, he drafted a
scheme of administrative reform sufficient to satisfy the legitimate
aspirations of the Boers for self-government without endangering the
permanency of British rule. It included proposals for administrative
and financial reforms framed with a view of reducing the cost of
government to the lowest point consistent with efficiency, for the
reorganisation of the courts of law, for the survey of the proposed
railway line to Delagoa Bay, and full details of a system of
representative government. This measure he urged upon the Colonial
Office as one of immediate necessity, since it embodied the fulfilment
of the definite promises of an early grant of self-government made to
the Boers at the time of annexation.[8]

         [Footnote 8: The receipt of the despatch in which these
         valuable recommendations were made was not even acknowledged
         by the Colonial Office. Frere himself gives the outlines of
         his proposals in an article published in _The Nineteenth
         Century_ for February, 1881.]

He recognised the value of Delagoa Bay as an essential factor in the
political and commercial system of a united South Africa, and he
earnestly recommended its acquisition by purchase from the Portuguese
Government. His perception of the extreme importance of satisfying all
legitimate claims of the Boers, and his acute realisation of the
danger of allowing the Transvaal to become a "jumping-off ground"
either for foreign powers or Afrikander Nationalists, are exhibited in
due relationship in a private memorandum which he wrote from the Cape
at the end of July, 1879:

     "Any reliance on mere force in the Transvaal must react
     dangerously down here in the old colony, and convert the Dutch
     Country party, now as loyal and prosperous a section of the
     population as any under the Crown, into dangerous allies of the
     small anti-English Republican party, who are for separation, thus
     paralysing the efforts of the loyal English party now in power,
     who aim at making the country a self-defending integral portion
     of the British Empire. Further, any attempt to give back or
     restore the Boer Republic in the Transvaal must lead to anarchy
     and failure, and probably, at no distant period, to a vicious
     imitation of some South American Republics, in which the more
     uneducated and misguided Boers, dominated and led by better
     educated foreign adventurers--Germans, Hollanders, Irish Home
     Rulers, and other European Republicans and Socialists--will
     become a pest to the whole of South Africa, and a most dangerous
     fulcrum to any European Power bent on contesting our naval
     supremacy, or injuring us in our colonies.

     "There is no escaping from the responsibility which has already
     been incurred, ever since the British flag was planted on the
     Castle here. All our real difficulties have arisen, and still
     arise, from attempting to evade or shift this responsibility....
     If you abdicate the sovereign position, the abdication has always
     to be heavily paid for in both blood and treasure.... Your object
     is not conquest, but simply supremacy up to Delagoa Bay. This
     will have to be asserted some day, and the assertion will not
     become easier by delay. The trial of strength will be forced on
     you, and neither justice nor humanity will be served by
     postponing the trial if we start with a good cause."

Could not the man who foresaw these dangers have prevented them? It is
impossible to resist the momentum of this thought.

[Sidenote: The retrocession.]

The events by which this forecast was so closely realised are not
likely to be effaced from the memory of this generation. Frere had
scarcely left the Colony from which he had been recalled by the joint
efforts of Mr. Krüger and Lord (then Mr.) Courtney before the former,
with his fellow triumvirs, had raised the Vier-kleur upon the still
desolate uplands of the Witwatersrand. The attempt to put down by
force the Boer revolt of 1880-81 failed. Mr. Gladstone's cabinet
recoiled before the prospect of a war in which the Boers might have
been supported by their kinsmen in the Free State and the Cape Colony.
The retrocession of the Transvaal under the terms of the Pretoria
Convention (1881) was followed by further concessions embodied in the
London Convention of 1884. It is absolutely established as fact that
Mr. Gladstone's Government intended, by certain articles contained in
both conventions, to secure to all actual and potential British
residents in the Transvaal the enjoyment of all the political rights
of citizenship possessed by the Boers. But it is equally certain that
the immediate contravention of Article XVI. of the Pretoria
Convention, when in 1882 the period of residence necessary to qualify
for the franchise was raised from two to five years, was allowed to
pass without protest from the Imperial Government. And thus a breach
of the Convention, which the discovery of the Witwatersrand
gold-fields (1886) and the subsequent establishment of a great British
industrial community made a matter of vital importance, was condoned.
A few years more and the country which prided itself upon being the
home of liberty and of free institutions was confounded by the
spectacle of a South Africa of its own making, in which a British
majority denied the franchise in a Dutch Republic, contrasted with a
Dutch minority dominating and controlling the machinery of responsible
government in a British colony.

This situation brings us (to use a military phrase) within striking
distance of the objective of the present work--the personality and
efforts of the man who administered South Africa in the momentous
years of the struggle for equal rights for all white men from the
Zambesi to Capetown.

If the records set out in the preceding pages leave any impression
upon the mind, it is one that must produce a sense of amazement,
almost exasperation, at the thought of the many mistakes and disasters
that might have been avoided, if only greater weight had been attached
to the advice tendered to the British Government by its local
representative in South Africa. And with this sense of amazement a
generous mind will associate inevitably a feeling of regret for the
injustice unwittingly, but none the less irreparably, inflicted upon
loyal and capable servants of the Crown--an injustice so notorious
that it has made South Africa the "grave of reputations." Apart from
the pre-eminence with which the period of Lord Milner's administration
is invested by the occurrence within it of a military conflict of
unparalleled magnitude, Lord Milner stands out in the annals of South
Africa as the first High Commissioner whose knowledge of South African
conditions was allowed to inspire the policy of the Home Government,
and who himself was recognised by the Government and people of Great
Britain as voicing the convictions and aspirations of all loyal
subjects of the Crown in that province of the empire.

The state of affairs with which Lord Milner was called upon to deal
was in its essence the situation sketched by Frere twenty years before
in the memorable forecast to which reference has been made. But the
working of the forces indicated by Frere as destined, if unchecked, to
drive England one day to a life-and-death struggle for her supremacy
in South Africa, had been complicated by an event which cannot be
omitted altogether from a chapter intended, like a Euripidean
prologue, to prepare the mind of the spectator for the proper
understanding of the characters and action of the drama. This event is
the Jameson Raid.

[Sidenote: The Jameson raid.]

[Sidenote: Rhodes.]

In order to see the Jameson Raid in its true perspective, it is not
sufficient to place it in relationship to those familiar and notorious
events by which it was followed. It must also be placed in relationship
to the no less clearly defined events by which it was preceded. Thus
placed it becomes the direct outcome of the refusal of the Imperial
Government to use the advice of its local representative--or, more
precisely, of the refusal to base its policy on South African instead
of British conditions: and, as such, it convinced the Imperial
Government of the need of reviving the power of its local
representative. In other words, it is a connecting link between the High
Commissionerships of Frere and Milner. The events which followed the
recall of Frere were accepted by the British inhabitants of South Africa
as a practical demonstration of the inherent viciousness of the system
under which the decision of cardinal questions of South African
administration was left in the hands of the House of Commons, a body in
which they were not represented; which met 6,000 miles away; whose
judgment was liable to be warped by irrelevant considerations of English
party politics; and one which was admittedly unfamiliar with the country
and peoples whose interests were vitally affected by the manner in which
these questions were decided. The lesson of the retrocession was taken
to heart so earnestly that, fifteen years later, the majority of the
British residents in the Transvaal refused to support a movement for
reform which involved the re-establishment of Imperial authority, while
among those who were loyal to the British connection throughout South
Africa its effect was to make them think, as did Rhodes, that the
machinery of the various local British governments must be dissociated
as much as possible from the principles and methods of the Home
Government. Hence the necessity for what Rhodes called the "elimination
of the Imperial factor." The expression, as he afterwards explained,
was in no way inconsistent with attachment to the British connection. As
read in the context in which it was originally used, it meant merely
that the European population of Bechuanaland,[9] being mainly Boer
immigrants, could be administered more successfully by officers
responsible to a government which, like that of the Cape Colony, was
well versed in South African conditions, than by officers directly
responsible to the Imperial Government. The phrase was a criticism of
Downing Street, and still more of English party government. In short,
Rhodes was convinced that if a system of British administration, based
on South African conditions, was ever to be carried on successfully, the
local British authority, and not the Home Government, must be the
machine employed; and in order to allow it to work freely, its action
must be made as independent as possible of Downing Street. For Downing
Street was an authority which blew hot or cold, in accordance with the
views of the party for the time being in power.[10]

         [Footnote 9: The Crown Colony--not the Protectorate--annexed
         by the Cape Colony in 1895.]

         [Footnote 10: Rhodes's words were: "If we do not settle this
         [_i.e._ the question of Bechuanaland] ourselves, we shall see
         it taken up in the House of Commons on one side or the other,
         not from any real interest in the question, but simply
         because of its consequences to those occupying the
         Ministerial benches. We want to get rid of Downing Street in
         this question, and to deal with it ourselves, as a
         self-governing colony."]

[Sidenote: New forces.]

And, in point of fact, both parties in England acquiesced in this
judgment of the South African British. During the years between
Frere's recall and the appointment of Lord Milner (1880-1897) the High
Commissioner was a decreasing force. Both Lord Rosmead and Lord Loch
did little to mould the destiny of South Africa: not because they
lacked capacity, but because it was the determination of the Home
Government to leave the difficult problem of South African unity to
local initiative. On the other hand, the progress which was made in
this direction by local initiative, aided as it was by the fortuitous
discovery of the Witwatersrand gold-fields, was considerable. The
highlands of South Central Africa were acquired for the British race,
and the Boer was effectively prevented from carrying the Vier-kleur
beyond the Limpopo; the railway, drawn through the Free State by the
magnet of the Rand, disturbed the retirement of the republican Dutch;
and finally the Cape Colony and Natal were linked together with the
Free State in a Customs Union. But the development of the mineral
resources of the country led to the appearance of a new factor in
South African politics. The comparative decline in the activity of the
High Commissioner had been accompanied by the establishment and growth
of powerful industrial corporations. It is easy to understand how a
man like Rhodes, with the wealth and influence of De Beers and the
Chartered Company at his command, might seek, by an alliance with the
"great houses" of the Rand, to find in private effort an instrument
for remedying the deficiencies of the Imperial Government even more
appropriate than the local governmental action upon which he had
previously relied. For the work of these industrial corporations had
powerfully enlisted the interest and sympathy of the British public.
The Jameson Raid was an illegitimate and disastrous application of an
otherwise meritorious and successful effort to strengthen the British
hold upon South Africa by private enterprise. It was at once the
measure of Imperial inefficiency, and its cure.

One other circumstance must be recalled in estimating the extent to
which the Home Government had earned the distrust of the British
population in South Africa. Only eighteen months[11] before the Raid
the High Commissioner, Lord Loch, had gone to Pretoria carrying a
despatch in which the grant of a five years' franchise was advocated
on behalf of the Uitlanders. His instructions were to present this
despatch, and press upon President Krüger personally the necessity for
giving effect to its recommendations. These instructions were
cancelled at the last moment by Lord Ripon, because the German
Ambassador had made representations in London that such action would
be regarded as an interference with the _status quo_ in South Africa,
and, as such, detrimental to German interests in that country. And six
months later[12] President Krüger, in attending a "Kommers" given by
the German Club at Pretoria in honour of the Kaiser Wilhelm II.'s
birthday, alluded to Germany as a grown-up power that would stop
England from "kicking" the child Republic.

         [Footnote 11: June, 1894.]

         [Footnote 12: January 28th, 1895.]

[Sidenote: Rhodes's Plan.]

The Raid was, therefore, a short cut to baffle German intrigue and
solve the problem of South African unity at one blow. For to Rhodes
the enfranchisement of the Uitlanders meant the withdrawal of the
Transvaal Government from its opposition to his scheme of commercial
federation. It is obvious that one ground of justification, and one
only, can be found for the usurpation of the functions of government
by a private individual, or group of individuals. This justification
is success. It has been the custom to represent Dr. Jameson's decision
to "ride in" as "an act of monumental folly," alike from a political
and a military point of view. But this opinion overlooks the fact that
the affair may have been so planned in Rhodes's mind that success did
not depend upon the victory of the Uitlanders, aided by Jameson's
troopers, but on the presence of the High Commissioner in the
Transvaal under such conditions as would make the intervention of the
Imperial Government at once imperative and effectual. The
representative of the Imperial Government, backed by a Johannesburg in
armed revolt against the Boer oligarchy, would find himself--so Rhodes
thought--in a position highly favourable to the successful prosecution
of the demands which had already been put forward on behalf of
British subjects resident in the Transvaal. And in order that this
essential part of the plan might be carried out without a moment of
unnecessary delay, Rhodes kept a train, with steam up, in the station
at Capetown ready to speed Lord Rosmead northwards directly the news
of Dr. Jameson's arrival at Johannesburg should have reached him. Once
Jameson's force had "got through," he relied upon the Reform
Committee, however incomplete its preparations, being able to hold
Johannesburg for a couple of days against any force the Boers could
bring.[13] Nor in the light of what happened, during the war, both at
Mafeking and Kimberley, can this expectation be thought extravagant.
Here his responsibilities would have ended. The High Commissioner and
the Imperial Government would have done the rest. To indulge in
metaphor, the Imperial locomotive was to be set going, but the lines
on which it was to run were those laid down by Mr. Rhodes.

         [Footnote 13: It is worth noticing that even the presence of
         the German Marines at Delagoa Bay was
         counterbalanced--whether by chance or design--by the
         coincidence of the arrival of a British troopship with
         time-expired men from the Indian garrison, off Durban.]

If this was the essence of Rhodes's plan, it would matter
comparatively little whether the Reformers had, or had not, completed
their preparations, or whether Dr. Jameson had 1,200 or 500 men.
Certainly some such assumption is necessary to account for the fact
that Rhodes treated his confederates at Johannesburg as so many pawns
on a chess-board. It is equally necessary to account for Dr. Jameson's
action. "Twenty years friends, and now he goes in and ruins me," was
Rhodes's comment on the news that Dr. Jameson had "ridden in," in
spite of his own orders to the contrary and the message to the same
effect which Captain Heany had delivered on behalf of the Reformers.
But what if Dr. Jameson knew, or thought that he knew, that Rhodes's
object in forcing the insurrection was not to make the Uitlanders
reduce Krüger, but to compel the Imperial Government to step in? In
this case he may well have thought that what was essential was not
that the rising should be successful, but that there should be a
rising of any kind; provided that it was sufficiently grave to arrest
the attention of the world, and claim the interference of the Imperial

According to Mr. Chamberlain the continued inaction of the Imperial
Government in the eighteen months that had passed since Lord Loch's
visit to Pretoria in June, 1894, was due to two circumstances. In the
first place, "the Uitlanders and their organs had always deprecated
the introduction into the dispute of what is called in South Africa
the 'Imperial factor'"; and in the second, the "rumours" of violent
measures "were continually falsified by the event." Obviously, if
Rhodes forced an insurrection with the intention of removing these
obstacles--if, that is to say, the intervention of the Imperial
Government, and not the success of the insurrection, was his primary
object--the temerity of Dr. Jameson's invasion is materially
diminished. Now Mr. Chamberlain's statement, made under date February
4th, 1896, _i.e._ five weeks after the Raid, is perfectly consistent
with the view of the attitude of the Reformers expressed by Rhodes on
the day before the Raid took place.

[Sidenote: The reformers divided.]

Dr. Jameson's force, it will be remembered, started on the evening of
Sunday, December 29th, 1895. Up to three days before--the
26th--nothing had occurred to interfere with the final arrangement,
telegraphed to Dr. Jameson from Capetown, that the movement in
Johannesburg would take place on Saturday, the 28th. The circumstances
which caused the Reformers to alter their plans were explained by
Rhodes in an interview with Sir Graham Bower, the Imperial Secretary,
at Capetown on the same Saturday, the 28th, with his accustomed
vivacity. The Johannesburg insurrection, he said--

     "had fizzled out as a damp squib. The capitalists financing the
     movement had made the hoisting of the British flag a _sine quâ
     non_. This the National Union rejected, and issued a manifesto
     declaring for a republic. The division had led to the complete
     collapse of the movement, and it was thought that the leaders
     would make the best terms they could with President Krüger."

The telegrams which reached Dr. Jameson between the 26th and 29th
contained the same facts, with the further information that Captain
Heany was travelling by special train to him with a message direct
from the Reformers. In these circumstances it is said that Rhodes at
Capetown imagined as little as the Reform leaders at Johannesburg that
Dr. Jameson would cross the frontier. That, however, there was another
point of view from which the situation might present itself to Dr.
Jameson is shown by the fact that Mr. Chamberlain, in reply to the
High Commissioner's telegram reporting the substance of Rhodes's
statement to Sir Graham Bower, at once[14] inquired of Lord Rosmead,
"Are you sure Jameson has not moved in consequence of the collapse?"

         [Footnote 14: Afternoon of Monday, December 30th.]

Was Mr. Chamberlain right? Did Dr. Jameson see in the fact that the
Reformers were divided on such an issue only an additional reason for
carrying out a plan which had for its object to compel the Imperial
Government to intervene in the affairs of the Transvaal before it was
too late; that is to say, before the British population had definitely
committed itself to the policy of a purged republic, but a republic
under any flag but that of Great Britain? Such a policy was not merely
possible. It seemed inevitable to the vivacious French observer who
wrote, not from hearsay, but "with his eyes upon the object," in
December, 1893:

     "The Transvaal will never be an English colony. The English of
     the Transvaal, as well as those of Cape Colony and Natal, would
     be as firmly opposed to it as the Boers themselves, for they have
     never forgiven England for letting herself be beaten by the Boers
     at Majuba Hill and accepting her defeat, a proceeding which has
     rendered them ridiculous in the eyes of the Dutch population of
     South Africa.... With me this is not a simple impression, but a
     firm conviction."[15]

         [Footnote 15: "John Bull & Co.," by "Max O'Rell," 1894.]

[Sidenote: Jameson's decision.]

If these were the considerations which weighed with Dr. Jameson, his
decision to "ride in" was inconsistent neither with friendship nor
with patriotism. When Captain Heany had read from his pocket-book the
message from the Reformers, Jameson paced for twenty minutes outside
his tent. Having re-entered it, he announced his determination to
disregard Heany's message no less than Rhodes's telegram. It was a
momentous decision to take after twenty minutes' thought. Had he a
reasonable expectation of carrying out the plan as Rhodes conceived
it, in spite of the change in the position of affairs at Johannesburg?
Had he any reason to believe that Rhodes desired him to force the
insurrection in spite of his telegrams to the contrary? It is the
answers to these questions that make the Raid, as far as Dr. Jameson
is concerned, an "act of monumental folly," or a legitimate assumption
of personal responsibility that is part of the empire-builder's
stock-in-trade. The answer to the second question remains a matter of
speculation. The answer to the first is to be found in the record of
the expedition. Dr. Jameson reached Krügersdorp at three o'clock on
Wednesday, January 1st. A few hours before a cyclist had brought him
congratulatory messages from the Reform leaders. The goal was almost
within sight. What prevented Sir John Willoughby from taking his
little force safely over the remaining twenty miles from Krügersdorp
to Johannesburg was the merest accident: the few hours' delay caused,
naturally enough, by Dr. Jameson's desire that his force should be met
and escorted by a small body of volunteers from the Rand. He did not
want, as he said, to go to Johannesburg as "a pirate." Sir John
Willoughby's evidence is perfectly definite and conclusive on the
point. If the force had pushed on by road from Krügersdorp to
Johannesburg on Wednesday evening--had not, in Willoughby's words,
"messed about" at Krügersdorp in expectation of the welcoming
escort--Johannesburg would have been reached in safety on Thursday
morning. With Dr. Jameson in Johannesburg and Lord Rosmead speeding
northwards in his special train, the way would have been prepared for
that decisive and successful action on the part of the Imperial
Government which Rhodes had desired to bring about.

[Sidenote: Why the raid failed.]

But, unsuccessful as was the actual expedition, the decision to "ride
in" had secured the intervention of the Imperial Government. If
intervention could have done what Rhodes expected of it, Dr. Jameson's
decision to "ride in" would have gained, at the cost of few lives and
no increase of the national debt, what the war gained four years later
at the cost of twenty thousand lives and £220,000,000. As it was, it
failed to win the franchise for the Uitlanders. Why did not Lord
Rosmead, with so strong a Colonial Secretary as Mr. Chamberlain at his
back, brush the Raid aside, and address himself to the removal of the
greater wrong that gave it birth? If Lord Rosmead had acted in the
spirit of Mr. Chamberlain's despatches; if he had reminded the
Government of the Republic from the first "that the danger from which
they had just escaped was real, and one which, if the causes which led
up to it were not removed, might recur, although in a different form";
if he had used "plain language" to President Krüger; and if, above
all, he had remembered--as Mr. Chamberlain reminded him--that "the
people of Johannesburg had surrendered in the belief that reasonable
concessions would have been arranged through his intervention, and
until these were granted, or were definitely promised to him by the
President, the root-causes of the recent troubles would
remain,"--might he not yet have saved South Africa for the empire
without subjecting her to the dread arbitrament of the sword?

[Sidenote: Mr. Chamberlain.]

It is in the answer to this question that we find the actual cause of
the utter failure of Rhodes's plan. The truth is that success in any
real sense--that is to say, success which would have strengthened
British supremacy and promoted the union of European South Africa--was
impossible. The sole response which Lord Rosmead returned to Mr.
Chamberlain's counsels was the weary confession: "The question of
concessions to Uitlanders has never been discussed between President
Krüger and myself." The methods employed by Rhodes were so
questionable that no High Commissioner could have allowed the Imperial
Government to have derived any advantage from them. To have gained the
franchise for the Uitlanders as the result of violent and unscrupulous
action, would have inflicted an enduring injury upon the British cause
in South Africa for which the enfranchisement itself would have been
small compensation. The disclosure of these methods and, with them, of
the hollowness of Rhodes's alliance with the Afrikander Bond, alarmed
and incensed the whole Dutch population of South Africa. What this
meant Lord Rosmead knew, and Mr. Chamberlain did not know. The ten
years' truce between the forces of the Afrikander nationalists and the
paramount Power was at an end. To combat these forces something better
than the methods of the Raid was required. _Non tali auxilio, nec
defensoribus istis!_ No modern race have excelled the Dutch in courage
and endurance. In Europe they had successfully defended their
independence against the flower of the armies of Spain, Austria, and
France. The South African Dutch were not inferior in these qualities
to the people of the parent stock. If such a race, embarked upon what
it conceived to be a struggle for national existence, was to be
overcome, the hands of the conqueror must be clean as well as strong.
None the less the active sympathy with the Uitlanders exhibited in Mr.
Chamberlain's despatches was welcomed by the British as evidence that
the new Colonial Secretary was more alert and determined than his
predecessors. For the first time in the history of British
administration in South Africa, Downing Street had shown itself more
zealous than Capetown. It was the solitary ray of light that broke the
universal gloom in which South Africa was enshrouded by the
catastrophe of the Raid.



         [Footnote 16: "This is our Afrikander character. The
         descendants of Hollanders, Germans and Frenchmen
         inter-married, and are only known at present by their
         surnames. They form the Afrikander nationality, and call
         themselves Afrikanders. The Afrikanders are no more
         Hollanders than Englishmen, Frenchmen, or Germans. They have
         their own language, own morals and customs; they are just as
         much a nation as any other."--_De Patriot_, in the course of
         an article headed "A Common but Dangerous Error"--the error
         in question being the assertion that "the Cape Colony is an
         English colony" (translated and reproduced in _The Cape
         Times_, September 3th, 1884).]

In the face of the colossal resistance offered to the British arms by
the Boers and their colonial kinsmen in the South African War, it may
seem unnecessary to produce any evidence in support of the contention
that the military strength then displayed by the Dutch in South Africa
was the result of long and careful preparation. But the same inability
to grasp the facts of the South African situation which kept the Army
Corps in England three months after it should have been sent to the
Cape, is still to be met with. This attitude of mind--whether it be a
consciousness of moral rectitude, or a mere insular disdain of looking
at things from any but a British point of view--is still to be
observed in the statements of those politicians who will even now deny
that any trace of a definite plan of action, or of a concerted
purpose, which could properly be described as a "conspiracy" against
British supremacy was to be found among the Dutch population of South
Africa as a whole, prior to the outbreak of the war. It is for the
benefit of such politicians in part, and still more with a view of
bringing the mind of the reader into something approaching a direct
contact with the actual working of the Afrikander mind, that I
transcribe a statement of the pure doctrine of the Bond, as it was
expounded by the German, Borckenhagen, and his followers in the Free
State. It will, however, be convenient to preface the quotation with a
word of explanation in respect both of the text and the personality of

[Sidenote: Carl Borckenhagen.]

The passage, which is taken _verbatim_ from a work entitled, "The
Origin of the Anglo-Boer War Revealed," is a collection of sentences
gathered from Dutch pamphlets and articles "emanating from Holland,"
and translated literally into the somewhat uncouth English of the
text. The author of the work, Mr. C. H. Thomas, was for many years a
burgher of the Free State, where he shared the opinions of President
Brand, and subsequently supported Mr. J. G. Fraser in opposing the
policy of "closer union" with the South African Republic, advocated by
Brand's successor, Mr. F. W. Reitz. The point of view from which the
Dutch of Holland regarded the nationalist movement in South Africa was
succinctly stated in an article published by the Amsterdam
_Handelsblad_ in 1881.

     "The future of England lies in India, and the future of Holland
     in South Africa.... When our capitalists vigorously develop this
     trade, and, for example, form a syndicate to buy Delagoa Bay from
     Portugal, then a railway from Capetown to Bloemfontein,
     Potchefstroom, Pretoria, Delagoa Bay will be a lucrative
     investment. And when, in course of time, the Dutch language shall
     universally prevail in South Africa, this most extensive
     territory will become a North America for Holland, and enable us
     to balance the Anglo-Saxon race."[17]

         [Footnote 17: Quoted by Du Toit in _De Patriot_: translation
         from the English reprint of _De Transvaalse Oorlog_.]

Carl Borckenhagen, who, with Mr. Reitz,[18] advocated the
establishment of the Bond in 1881, was a German republican. His name
has been associated with Mr. Thomas's summary of the Bond propaganda
in the Free State, because, as editor of _The Bloemfontein Express_ up
to the time of his death, early in 1898, he was probably the most
consistent of all the South African exponents of the nationalist
creed. Certainly it is no exaggeration to say that he converted the
Free State of Brand into the Free State of Steyn.

         [Footnote 18: Then Judge, afterwards President of the Free
         State, and State-Secretary of the South African Republic in
         succession to Dr. Leyds.]

[Sidenote: The doctrine of the Bond.]


     "The Afrikander Bond has as final object what is summed up in its
     motto of 'Afrika voor de Afrikaners.' The whole of South Africa
     belongs by just right to the Afrikander nation. It is the
     privilege and duty of every Afrikander to contribute all in his
     power towards the expulsion of the English usurper. The States of
     South Africa to be federated in one independent Republic.

     The Afrikander Bond prepares for this consummation.

     Argument in justification:--

     (_a_) The transfer of the Cape Colony to the British Government
     took place by circumstances of _force majeure_ and without the
     consent of the Dutch nation, who renounced all claim in favour of
     the Afrikander or Boer nation.

     (_b_) Natal is territory which accrued to a contingent of the
     Boer nation by purchase from the Zulu king, who received the
     consideration agreed for.

     (_c_) The British authorities expelled the rightful owners from
     Natal by force of arms without just cause.

     The task of the Afrikander Bond consists in:

     (_a_) Procuring the staunch adhesion and co-operation of every
     Afrikander and other real friend of the cause.

     (_b_) To obtain the sympathy, the moral and effective aid, of one
     or more of the world's Powers.

     The means to accomplish those tasks are:

     Personal persuasion, Press propaganda, legislation and diplomacy.

     The direction of the application of these means is entrusted to a
     select body of members eligible for their loyalty to the cause
     and their abilities and position. That body will conduct such
     measures as need the observance of special secrecy. Upon the rest
     of the members will devolve activities of a general character
     under the direction of the selected chiefs.

     One of the indispensable requisites is the proper organisation of
     an effective fund, which is to be regularly sustained. Bond
     members will aid each other in all relations of public life in
     preference to non-members.

     In the efforts of gaining adherence to the cause it is of
     importance to distinguish three categories of persons:

     (1) The class of Afrikanders who are to some extent deteriorated
     by assimilative influences with the English race, whose
     restoration to patriotism will need great efforts, discretion,
     and patience.

     (2) The apparently unthinking and apathetic class who prefer to
     relegate all initiative to leaders whom they will loyally follow.
     This class is the most numerous by far.

     (3) The warmly patriotic class, including men gifted with
     intelligence, energy, and speech, qualified as leaders, and apt
     to exercise influence over the rest.

            *       *       *       *       *

     Among these three classes many exist whose views and religious
     scruples need to be corrected. Scripture abounds in proofs and
     salient analogies applying to the situation and justifying our
     cause. In this, as well as in other directions, the members who
     work in circulating written propaganda will supply the correct
     and conclusive arguments accessible to all.

     Upon the basis of our just rights the British Government, if not
     the entire nation, is the usurping enemy of the Boer nation.

     In dealing with an enemy it is justifiable to employ, besides
     force, also means of a less open character, such as diplomacy and

[Sidenote: Anti-british methods.]

     The greatest danger to Afrikanderdom is the English policy of
     Anglicising the Boer nation--to submerge it by the process of

     A distinct attitude of holding aloof from English influences is
     the only remedy against that peril and for thwarting that
     insidious policy.

     It is only such an attitude that will preserve the nation in its
     simple faith and habits of morality, and provide safety against
     the dangers of contamination and pernicious examples, with all
     their fateful consequences to body and soul.

     Let the Dutch language have the place of honour in schools and

     Let alliances of marriage with the English be stamped as

     Let every Afrikander see that he is at all times well armed with
     the best possible weapons, and maintains the expert use of the
     rifle among young and old, so as to be ready when duty calls, and
     the time is ripe for asserting the nation's rights and being rid
     of English thraldom.

     Employ teachers only who are animated with truly patriotic

     Let it be well understood that English domination will also bring
     English intolerance and servitude, for it is only a very frail
     link which separates the English State Church from actual
     Romanism, and its proselytism _en bloc_ is only a matter of short

     Equally repugnant and dangerous is England's policy towards the
     coloured races, whom she aims, for the sake of industrial profit,
     at elevating to equal rank with whites, in direct conflict with
     spiritual authority--a policy which incites coloured people to
     rivalry with their superiors, and can only end in common

     Whilst remaining absolutely independent, the ties of blood,
     relationship, and language point to Holland for a domestic base.

     As to commerce, Germany, America, and other industrial nations
     could more than fill the gap left by England, and such
     connections should be cultivated as a potent means towards
     obtaining foreign support to our cause and identification with

     If the mineral wealth of the Transvaal and Orange Free State
     becomes established--as appears certain from discoveries already
     made--England will not rest until these are also hers.

     The leopard will retain its spots. The independence of both
     Republics is at stake on that account alone, with the risk that
     the rightful owners of the land will become the hewers of wood
     and drawers of water for the usurpers.

     There is no alternative hope for the peace and progress of South
     Africa except by the total excision of the British ulcer.

     Reliable signs are not wanting to show that our nation is
     designed by Providence as the instrument for the recovery of its
     rights, and for the chastisement of proud, perfidious

         [Footnote 19: P. 64 _et seq._ of _The Origin of the
         Anglo-Boer War Revealed_ (Hodder & Stoughton).]

These brief and disjointed sentences present in their shortest form
arguments and exhortations with which the Dutch population of the Free
State, the Transvaal, and the Cape Colony, were familiarised through
the Press, the pulpit, the platform, and through individual
intercourse and advocacy, from the time of the Retrocession in 1881
onwards. It is in effect the scheme of a Bond "worked out more in
detail by some friends at Bloemfontein," as published by Borckenhagen
in his paper, _The Bloemfontein Express_, on April 7th, 1881, to which
Du Toit, the founder of the Bond in the Cape Colony, referred in the
pamphlet, _De Transvaalse Oorlog_ (The Transvaal War), which he issued
from his press at the Paarl later on in the same year. The nationalist
creed, as thus formulated, was preached consistently in the Free
State; but in the Cape Colony it was modified by Hofmeyr to meet the
exigencies of Colonial politics.

None the less it was in the Cape Colony that the Bond, as a political
organisation, was destined to find its chief sphere of action. In the
Free State it was discouraged by President Brand, and in point of fact
the British population was too insignificant a factor in the politics
of the central republic to make it necessary to maintain a distinct
organisation for the promotion of nationalist sentiment. In the
Transvaal, again, the Bond maintained no regular organisation. And
this for two reasons. Every burgher of the northern Republic was
sufficiently animated by the anti-British sentiments which it was
intended to promote; and the only "constitution" which the Transvaal
Dutch would accept was one which embodied principles so flagrantly
inconsistent with submission to British authority that it could not be
adopted by the branches of the Bond in the Cape Colony without
exposing its members to immediate prosecution for high treason.[20]

         [Footnote 20: Under the changed conditions of to-day the Boer
         population is organised in the Transvaal into _Het Volk_, and
         in the Orange River Colony into the _Oranjie Unie_; both
         practically identical with the Bond in the Cape Colony.]

[Sidenote: The origin of the Bond.]

In the politics of the Cape Colony, however, the Bond became the
predominant force; and any picture, however briefly sketched, of South
Africa as it was when Lord Milner's administration commenced, must
include some account of the origin and methods of this remarkable

The origin of the Afrikander Bond is to be found in the articles
written by the Rev. S. J. du Toit, a Dutch predikant, in _De Patriot_,
a newspaper published at the Paarl, of which he was the editor. Mr. du
Toit's political standpoint is sufficiently revealed by the fact that
in 1881 he claimed that _De Patriot_ had done more than any other
single agency to secure the successful revolt of the Boers from
British authority accomplished in that year. The inspiration which
drove his pen to advocate the founding of a political organisation,
that should serve to prepare the way for a more general and complete
"war of independence," was the defeat of the British troops by the
Transvaal burghers.

     "This is now our time," he wrote, in the same year, "to establish
     the Bond, while a national consciousness has been awakened
     through the Transvaal War. And the Bond must be our preparation
     for the future confederation of all the States and Colonies of
     South Africa. The English Government keeps talking of a
     confederation under the British flag. That will never happen. We
     can assure them of that. We have often said it: there is just one
     hindrance to confederation, and that is the English flag. Let
     them take that away, and the confederation under the free
     Afrikander flag would be established. But so long as the English
     flag remains here the Afrikander Bond must be our confederation.
     And the British will, after a while, realise that Froude's advice
     is the best for them: they must just have Simon's Bay as a naval
     and military station on the road to India, and give over all the
     rest of South Africa to the Afrikanders."[21]

         [Footnote 21: Reprint of a pamphlet (found with the first
         leaf torn) containing an English translation of _De
         Transvaalse Oorlog_, p. 8.]

This general statement of the purpose of the Bond was supported by
reiterated appeals to racial passion:

     "The little respect which the Afrikander had for British troops
     and cannons [up to the Majuba defeat]," he writes, "is utterly
     done away. And England has learnt so much respect for us
     Afrikanders that she will take care not to be so ready to make
     war with us again.... The Englishman has made himself hated,
     language and all. And this is well."

[Sidenote: The objects of the Bond.]

When, by the use of these and even more violent expressions, the mind
of the Dutch population had been sufficiently aroused, Du Toit
proceeded to unfold his plan of campaign. His _modus operandi_ is
similar to that of Borckenhagen in its main features. The Bond, says
_De Patriot_, must boycott all English traders, except only those who
are ready to adopt its principles. English signboards, advertisements,
shops and book-keepers, must be abolished. The English banks must be
replaced by a National Bank. No land must be sold to Englishmen. The
Republics must "make their own ammunition, and be well supplied with
cannon, and provide a regiment of artillery to work them." And he
cheerfully notices that "at Heidelberg there are already 4,000
cartridges made daily, and a few skilful Afrikanders have begun to
make shells, too. This is right: so must we become a nation." For the
Cape Colony, however, "such preparations are not so especially
necessary." But, most of all, Du Toit insists upon the need of
combating the growing use of the English language. "English
education," he laments, "has done more mischief to our country and
nation than we can express." And, therefore, he urges "war" against
the English language. In the schools, in the Church, and "in our
family life above all," it must be considered a "disgrace to speak
English.... Who will join the war? All true Afrikanders, we hope."

Thus was the Bond, the child of Majuba, quickened into conscious being
by the fiery pen of the predikant, Du Toit. Poor Du Toit! His after
life was a strange commentary upon this early triumph of his brain,
won in the drowsy solitudes of the Paarl. Summoned to be Director of
Education in the Transvaal, he was quickly disillusioned of his love
of his Dutch mother-country by actual intercourse with the
contemptuous Hollanders whom Krüger had invited to serve the Republic.
Later, again, he was rejected by the Bond which he had himself
created, and driven to find comfort in the broad freedom of allegiance
to an Empire-state.

The object of the Bond, as stated by Du Toit in _De Transvaalse
Oorlog_, was the "creation of a South African nationality ... through
the establishment of this Bond in all states and colonies of South
Africa." Its organisation was to consist of a central governing body
(_bestuur_), with provincial, district, and ward _besturen_. The
central _bestuur_ was to be composed of five members, two for the Cape
Colony, and one each for the Transvaal, Natal, and Free State, who
were "to meet yearly in one or other of the chief towns of the
component states." The provincial _besturen_, consisting of one
representative from each of the district _besturen_, were to meet
every six months at their respective colonial or state capitals.[22]

         [Footnote 22: _De Transvaalse Oorlog_, pp. 7 and 8.]

The first Congress of the Afrikander Bond was held at Graaf Reinet in
1882. In the draft constitution then drawn up for the approval of its
members, the relationship of the Bond to the British Government in
South Africa was defined with commendable frankness. In the "Programme
of Principles" was the article:

     In itself acknowledging no single form of government as the only
     suitable form, and whilst acknowledging the form of government
     existing at present, [the Bond] means that the aim of our
     national development must be a united South Africa under its own

[Sidenote: Hofmeyr's influence.]

And it was upon the basis of this "Programme of Principles" that the
earliest Bond organisations were formed in the Transvaal, the Free
State, and the Cape Colony. In the year following the Graaf Reinet
Congress, however, the "Farmers' Protection Association" was
amalgamated with the Bond in the Cape Colony, and the influence of Mr.
J. H. Hofmeyr led the joint organisation to adopt a modified
"programme." Mr. Hofmeyr, who was destined afterwards to assume the
undisputed headship of the Bond, was an economist as well as a
nationalist. He was intensely interested in the development of the
country districts, and he saw that the conditions of agriculture could
hardly be improved without the co-operation of the British and more
progressive section of the farming class. He also knew that an
organisation, professing to forward aims of avowed disloyalty, would
rapidly find itself in collision with the Cape Government. With the
growth of Mr. Hofmeyr's influence the policy, though not the aims, of
the Bond was changed. All declarations, such as the clause "under its
own flag," inconsistent with allegiance to the British Crown were
omitted from the official constitution, and its individual members
were exhorted to avoid any behaviour or expressions likely to prevent
Englishmen from joining the organisation. As early as 1884 the Bond
secured the return of twenty-five members to the Cape Parliament, and
it was their support that enabled the Upington Ministry to maintain
itself in office against an opposition which consisted of the main
body of the representatives elected by the British population; and
from this date onwards it was the recognised aim of Mr. Hofmeyr to
control the Legislature of the Colony by making it impossible for any
ministry to dispense with the support of the Bond members, although he
refrained from putting a ministry of Bondsmen into office. To have
done this latter might have united the British population and their
representatives in a solid phalanx, and endangered the success of the
effort to separate the British settlers in the country districts from
the more recent arrivals from England--mostly townsmen--which remained
a fruitful source of Afrikander influence up to the time of the
Jameson Raid. By representing the new British population, which
followed in the wake of the mineral discoveries, as "fortune-seekers"
and adventurers and not genuine colonists, the Bond endeavoured, not
merely to widen the natural line of cleavage between the townsman and
the countryman, but actually to detach the older British settlers from
sympathy with the mother country, and, by drawing them within the
sphere of Afrikander nationalist aspirations, to make them share its
own antagonism to British supremacy.

[Sidenote: Merriman and the Bond.]

But, in spite of the change of policy due to Mr. Hofmeyr, the old
leaven of stalwart Bondsmen remained sufficiently in evidence to draw
from Mr. J. X. Merriman--then a strong Imperialist in close
association with Mr. J. W. Leonard--a striking rebuke. The speech in
question was made, fittingly enough, at Grahamstown, the most
"English" town in South Africa, in 1885. It was reprinted with
complete appropriateness, in _The Cape Times_ of July 10th, 1899. The
struggle which Mr. Merriman had foreseen fourteen years before was
then near at hand; while Mr. Merriman himself had become a member of a
ministry placed in power by the Bond for the avowed purpose of
"combating the British Government."

     "The situation is a grave one," he said. "It is not a question of
     localism; it is not a question of party politics; but it is a
     question whether the Cape Colony is to continue to be an integral
     part of the British Empire.... You will have to keep public men
     up to the mark, and each one of you will have to make up his mind
     whether he is prepared to see this colony remain a part of the
     British Empire, which carries with it obligations as well as
     privileges, or whether he is prepared to obey the dictates of the
     Bond. From the very first time, some years ago, when the poison
     began to be instilled into the country, I felt that it must come
     to this--Is England or the Transvaal to be the paramount force in
     South Africa?... Since then that institution has made a show of
     loyalty, while it stirred up disloyalty.... Some people, who
     should have known better, were dragged into the toils under the
     idea that they could influence it for good, but the whole
     teaching of history goes to show that when the conflict was
     between men of extreme views and moderate men, the violent
     section triumphed. And so we see that some moderate men are in
     the power of an institution whose avowed object is to combat the
     British Government. In any other country such an organisation
     could not have grown; but here, among a scattered population, it
     has insidiously and successfully worked.... No one who wishes
     well for the British Government could have read the leading
     articles of the _Zuid Africaan_, and _Express_, and _De Patriot_,
     in expounding the Bond principles, without seeing that the
     maintenance of law and order under the British Crown and the
     object they have in view are absolutely different things. My
     quarrel with the Bond is that it stirs up race differences. Its
     main object is to make the South African Republic the paramount
     power in South Africa."

This was plain speaking. The rare insight revealed in such a sentence
as this--"in any other country such an organisation could not have
grown, but here, _among a scattered population_, it has insidiously
and successfully worked"; the piquant incident of the reproduction of
the speech on the eve of the war; the fact that the man who made this
diagnosis was to drink the poison whose fatal effects he described so
faithfully, was indeed to become the most bitter opponent of the great
statesman that "kept South Africa a part of the British
Empire,"--these things together make Mr. Merriman's Grahamstown speech
one of the most curious and instructive of the political utterances of
the period.

[Sidenote: Change of Bond policy.]

In the year following (1886) the Bond met officially, for the first
and only time, as an inter-state organisation. Bloemfontein was the
place of assemblage, and in the Central Bestuur, or Committee, the
South African Republic, the Free State, and the Cape Colony were each
represented by two delegates. This meeting revealed the practical
difficulties which prevented the Cape nationalists from adopting the
definitely anti-British programme of the Bond leaders in the
Republics; and the conflict of commercial interests between the Cape
Colony and the Transvaal, already initiated by the attempt of the
latter to secure Bechuanaland in 1884-5, confirmed the Cape delegates
in their decision to develop the Bond in the Cape Colony upon colonial
rather than inter-state lines. The result of the divergences of aim
manifested at Bloemfontein was speedily made apparent in the Cape
Colony. In 1887 Mr. T. P. Theron, then Secretary of the Bond,
delivered an address in which the new, or Hofmeyr, programme was
formulated and officially adopted. In recommending the new policy to
the members of the Bond, Mr. Theron made no secret of the nature of
the considerations by which its leaders had been chiefly influenced.

     "You must remember," he said, "that the eyes of all are directed
     towards you. The Press will cause your actions, expressions, and
     resolutions to be known everywhere. You cannot but feel how much
     depends on us for our nation and our country. If we must plead
     guilty in the past of many an unguarded expression, let us be
     more cautious and guarded for the future."

And he then proceeded to sketch a picture of racial conciliation, when
all "differences and disagreements" between Dutch and English would be
merged in the consciousness of a new and common nationality--pointing
out, however, that the advent of that day depended on "you and me, my
fellow Bond members."

[Sidenote: Rhodes and Hofmeyr.]

Assuming that the predominance of Afrikander ideals could be secured
only by the complete separation of the local governments from the
Government of Great Britain, nothing could be more masterly than the
manner in which the Bond approached the task of reuniting the European
communities of South Africa--the task which the Imperial Government
had abandoned as hopeless. As inspired and controlled by Hofmeyr
during the years between this date (1887) and the Jameson Raid, the
Bond embodied a volume of effort in which the most sincere supporter
of the British connection could co-operate. It was the assistance
afforded by the Bond in moulding British administration in South
Africa upon South African lines that provided the common ground upon
which Rhodes and Hofmeyr met in their long alliance. Hofmeyr probably
never abandoned his belief that a republican form of government was
the inevitable _dénouement_ to which the administration of South
Africa on a basis of South African ideas must lead. Rhodes never
wavered in his loyalty to the British connection. But there was a
great body of useful work which both men could accomplish in common,
which each desired to see accomplished, which, when accomplished,
would leave each free to choose the path--Republican or Imperial--by
which the last stage was to be traversed and the goal of South
African unity finally attained.

The character and career of Rhodes afford material for a study of such
peculiar and engrossing interest that any adequate treatment of the
subject would require a separate volume. Fortunately, the broad facts
of his life are sufficiently well known to make it unnecessary to
attempt the almost impossible task of condensing a volume within the
limits of a few pages. None the less, there is one incident in his
political career which must be recalled here, and that for the simple
reason that it establishes two facts, each of which is essential to
the complete understanding of the situation in the Cape Colony as it
developed immediately after the Raid. First, that all through the
years of the Rhodes-Hofmeyr alliance the Bond remained at heart true
to the aim which it had at first openly avowed--the aim of
establishing a united South Africa under its own flag. And second,
that Rhodes was equally staunch in maintaining his ideal of a united
South Africa under the British flag. The incident which exhibits both
these facts in the clearest light is the refusal by Rhodes of the
overtures made to him by Borckenhagen. At the time when these
overtures were made Rhodes was Prime Minister of the Cape Colony, the
Chartered Company had been successfully launched, and the alliance
between himself and Hofmeyr was in full operation. The occasion which
led to them was the opening of the railway at Bloemfontein in 1890--a
railway constructed by the Cape Government under a friendly
arrangement with the Free State. And it was one, therefore, which
afforded a conspicuous example of the value of the Bond influence as a
means of securing progress in the direction of South African unity.
The story was told by Rhodes himself in a speech which he made in the
Cape Colony on March 12th, 1898.

[Sidenote: Rhodes and Borckenhagen.]

     "I remember," he said, "that we had a great meeting at
     Bloemfontein, and in the usual course I had to make a speech. I
     think I was your Prime Minister. And this speech pleased many
     there, and especially--and I speak of him with the greatest
     respect--a gentleman who is dead, Mr. Borckenhagen. He came to me
     and asked me to dictate to him the whole of my speech. I said, 'I
     never wrote a speech, and I don't know what I said; but I will
     tell you what I know about it.' He wrote it down, and afterwards
     came to Capetown with me.... He spoke very nicely to me about my
     speech. 'Mr. Rhodes, we want a united South Africa.' And I said,
     'So do I; I am with you entirely. We must have a united South
     Africa.' He said, 'There is nothing in the way.' And I said, 'No;
     there is nothing in the way. Well,' I said, 'we are one.' 'Yes,'
     he said, 'and I will tell you: we will take you as our leader,'
     he said. 'There is only one small thing, and that is, we must, of
     course, be independent to the rest of the world.' I said, 'No;
     you take me either for a rogue or a fool. I would be a rogue to
     forget all my history and traditions; and I would be a fool,
     because I would be hated by my own countrymen and mistrusted by
     yours.' From that day he assumed a most acrid tone in his
     _Express_ towards myself, and I was made full sorry at times by
     the tone. But that was the overpowering thought in his mind--an
     independent South Africa."[23]

         [Footnote 23: _Cecil Rhodes: His Political Life and
         Speeches._ By Vindex; p. 533. Borckenhagen had just died.]

The facts here disclosed explain how it was that the apparently
satisfactory situation in South Africa before the Raid so rapidly
developed into the dangerous situation of the years that followed it.
The Raid tore aside the veil which the Rhodes-Hofmeyr alliance had
cast over the eyes alike of Dutch and British, and left them free to
see the essential antagonism of aim between the two men in its naked
truth.[24] From that moment Rhodes was recognised by the Bond as its
chief and most dangerous enemy; and as such he was pursued by its
bitterest hostility to the day of his death; while Rhodes, on the
other hand, was driven to seek support solely in the people of his own
nationality. From that moment the Bond fell back upon the policy of
1881. The Dutch Press, pulpit, and platform commenced an active
nationalist propaganda on the old racial lines; and the advocacy of
anti-British aims increased in boldness and in definiteness as the
Transvaal grew strong with its inflowing armaments.

         [Footnote 24: _Ons Land_, reputed to be controlled by Hofmeyr
         himself, and certainly the recognised organ of the Bond,
         published a pæan of triumph over the surrender of Dr.
         Jameson's troopers at Doornkop. "Afrikanderdom has awakened
         to a sense of earnestness which we have not observed since
         the heroic war of liberty in 1881. From the Limpopo, as far
         as Capetown, the second Majuba has given birth to a new
         inspiration and a new movement amongst our people in 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 that permeated
         our people.... Now or never the foundation of a
         wide-embracing nationalism must be laid.... The partition
         wall has disappeared ... 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 illumines our
         hearts; let us lay the foundation-stone of a real United
         South Africa on the soil of a pure and all-comprehensive
         national sentiment."]

[Sidenote: Effects of the raid.]

We are now in a position to sum up the main features of the situation
in South Africa as Lord Milner found it. British administration,
controlled from Downing Street, had quickly led to what Sir George
Grey called the dismemberment of European South Africa. The Imperial
Government, having found out its mistake, had endeavoured to regain
the lost solidarity of the European communities and its authority over
them, by bringing the Republics into a federal system under the
British Crown. It had been thwarted in this endeavour by the military
resistance of the Boers in the Transvaal, and the fear of a like
resistance on the part of the Dutch population throughout South
Africa. Its impotency had invited, and in part justified, the efforts
made by local British initiative to solve the problem of South African
unity on South African lines, but in a manner consistent with the
maintenance of British supremacy. The early success of these efforts,
prosecuted mainly through the agency of Rhodes, had been obliterated
by the Jameson Raid. All attempts to secure the reunion of South
Africa under the British flag having failed alike under Imperial and
local British initiative, the way was open for the Afrikander
nationalists once more to put forward the alternative plan of a united
South Africa under its own flag, which they had formulated in the year
immediately following the retrocession of the Transvaal.

In proportion as the friends and supporters of British supremacy were
discredited and depressed by the catastrophe of the Raid, the
advocates and promoters of Afrikander nationalism were emboldened and
encouraged. It was not Sir Gordon Sprigg, the Prime Minister of the
Cape who succeeded the discredited Rhodes (January 13th, 1896), but
Mr. Hofmeyr, the veteran leader of the Afrikander Bond, that dictated
the policy which Lord Rosmead must pursue to re-establish the
integrity of the Imperial Government in the minds of its Dutch
subjects. At the next presidential election in the Free State (March
4th, 1896), Mr. J. G. Fraser, the head of the moderate party which
followed in the steps of President Brand, was hopelessly beaten by Mr.
Marthinus Steyn, an Afrikander nationalist of the scientific school of
Borckenhagen, and a politician whose immediate programme included the
"closer union" of that state with the South African Republic, the
terms of which were finally settled at Bloemfontein on March 9th,
1897. In the Cape Colony the Bond organised its resources with a view
of securing even more complete control of the Cape Legislature at the
general election of 1898. And lastly, President Krüger, who had
ceased to rely upon Holland for administrative talent, and opened the
lucrative offices of the South African Republic to the ambitious and
educated Afrikander youth of the Free State and Cape Colony, commenced
methodically and secretly to supply arms and ammunition to the
adherents of the nationalist cause in the British Colonies.

[Sidenote: Situation in 1896.]

But disastrous as was the Jameson Raid in its method of execution and
immediate effects, it produced certain results that cannot be held to
have been prejudicial to the British cause in South Africa, if once we
recognise the fact that the English people as a whole were totally
ignorant, at the time of its occurrence, of the extent to which the
sub-continent had already slipped from their grasp. Something of the
long advance towards the goal of nationalist ambition, achieved by the
Bond, was revealed. The emphatic cry of "Hands off" to Germany, for
which the Kaiser's telegram of congratulation provided the occasion,
was undoubtedly the means of arresting the progress of that power, at
a point when further progress would have gained her a foot-hold in
South Africa from which nothing short of actual hostilities could have
dislodged her. And more important still was the fact that the Raid,
with its train of dramatic incidents, had published, once and for all,
the humiliating position of the British population in the Transvaal
throughout the length and breadth of the Anglo-Saxon world, and
compelled the Imperial Government to pledge itself to obtain the
redress of the "admitted grievances" of the Uitlanders.

[Sidenote: Mr. Chamberlain's policy.]

Against the rallying forces of Afrikander nationalism Mr. Chamberlain,
for the moment, had nothing to oppose but the vague and as yet unknown
power of an awakened Imperial sentiment. Lord Rosmead's attitude at
Pretoria had convinced him of the uselessness of expecting that any
satisfactory settlement of the franchise question could be brought
about through the agency of the High Commissioner. He, therefore,
invited President Krüger to visit England in the hope that his own
personal advocacy of the cause of the Uitlanders, backed up by the
weight of the Salisbury Government, might remove the "root causes" of
Transvaal unrest. But President Krüger refused to confer with the
Colonial Secretary upon any other than the wholly inadmissible basis
of the conversion of the London Convention into a treaty of amity such
as one independent power might conclude with another. Mr. Chamberlain,
therefore, having put upon record that the purpose of the proposed
conference was to give effect to the London Convention and not to
destroy it, proceeded to formulate a South African policy that would
enable him to make the most effective use of the authority of Great
Britain as paramount Power. His purpose was to win Dutch opinion in
the Free State and the Cape Colony to the side of the Imperial
Government, and then to use this more progressive Dutch opinion as
the fulcrum by which the lever of Imperial remonstrance was to be
successfully applied to the Transvaal Government. In the speech[25] in
which he sketched the main lines of this policy he declared
emphatically that the paramount power of England was to be maintained
at all costs, that foreign intervention would not be permitted under
any pretence, and that the admitted grievances of the Uitlanders were
to be redressed:

         [Footnote 25: 1896.]

     "We have," he continued, "a confident hope that we shall be able
     in the course of no lengthened time to restore the situation as
     it was before the invasion of the Transvaal, to have at our backs
     the sympathy and support of the majority of the Dutch population
     in South Africa, and if we have that, the opinion--the united
     opinion--which that will constitute, will be an opinion which no
     power in Africa can resist."

With the record of the last ten years before us it seems strange that
Mr. Chamberlain should ever have believed in the efficacy of such a
policy: still more strange that he should have spoken of his
"confident hope" of winning the Afrikander nationalists to support the
paramount Power. But it must be remembered that the evidence of the
real sentiments and purposes of the nationalists here set forth in the
preceding pages, and now the common property of all educated
Englishmen, was then known only to perhaps a dozen journalists and
politicians in England; and if these men had attempted to impart
their knowledge to the general public, they would have failed from the
sheer inability of the average Englishman to believe that "British
subjects" under responsible government could be anything but loyal to
the Imperial tie.

But little as Mr. Chamberlain knew of the real strength of the forces
of Afrikander nationalism, he discerned enough of the South African
situation to realise that this policy would have no chance of success,
unless the maintenance of the British cause in South Africa was placed
in the hands of a personality of exceptional vigour and capacity.
When, therefore, Lord Rosmead intimated his desire to be relieved of
the heavy responsibility of the joint offices of High Commissionship
for South Africa and Governor of the Cape Colony no attempt to
dissuade him was made. His health had been enfeebled for some time
past, and he did not long survive his return to England. Both in
Australia and at the Cape he had devoted his strength and ability to
the service of the Empire. In the years 1883-5 he had resolutely and
successfully opposed the attempt of the Transvaal Boers to seize
Bechuanaland. His failure to control his powerful and impatient Prime
Minister is mitigated by the circumstance that it was solely on the
ground of public interest that, upon the retirement of Lord Loch in
1895, he had allowed himself, in spite of his advanced years and
indifferent health, to assume the office of High Commissioner for a
third time.



Lord Rosmead retired early in 1897. It is said that three men so
different in character as Lord Salisbury, Mr. Chamberlain, and Mr.
Stead, each separately fixed upon the same name as being that of the
man most capable of undertaking the position of High Commissioner in
South Africa--a position always difficult, but now more than ever
arduous and responsible. To nine out of every ten men with whom he had
been brought into contact there was little in Sir Alfred Milner--as he
then was--to distinguish him from other high-principled, capable, and
pleasant-mannered heads of departments in the Civil Service. His
_métier_ was finance, and his accomplishment literature. Commencing
with journalism and an unsuccessful contest (in the Liberal interest)
for the Harrow division of Middlesex, he had been private secretary to
Lord Goschen, Under-Secretary for Finance in Egypt, and Head of the
Inland Revenue. In this latter office he had given invaluable
assistance to Sir William Harcourt, then Chancellor of the Exchequer,
in respect of what is perhaps the most successful of recent methods
of raising revenue--the death duties. The principle of the graduated
death duties was Harcourt's; but it was Milner who worked out the
elaborate system which rendered his ideas coherent, and enabled them
eventually to be put into effect. Academic distinctions, however
ample, cannot be said to-day to afford a definite assurance of
pre-eminent capacity for the service of the State. Yet it was
certainly no disadvantage to Sir Alfred Milner to have been a scholar
of Balliol, or a President of the Oxford Union.[26] Whatever direct
knowledge the educated public had of him was based probably upon the
impression created by his book _England in Egypt_. This was a work
which indicated that its author had formed high ideals of English
statesmanship, and that his experience of a complex administrative
system, working in a political society full of intrigue and
international jealousy, had developed in him the rare qualities of
insight and humour. Some of his readers might have reflected that an
active association with so accomplished a master of financial and
administrative method as Lord Cromer was in itself a useful equipment
for a colonial administrator.

         [Footnote 26: Mr. Bodley, in his _Coronation of King Edward
         VII._, remarks that of the seventy Balliol scholars elected
         during the mastership of Jowett (1870-1893) only three had at
         that time (1902) "attained eminence in any branch of public
         life." These three were Mr. H. H. Asquith, Dr. Charles Gore
         (then Bishop of Worcester), and Lord Milner.]

[Sidenote: Sir Alfred Milner.]

But the British public, both in England and South Africa, took their
view of the appointment from the opinions expressed by the many
prominent men to whom Sir Alfred Milner was personally known. The
leaders and the Press of both parties were unstinted in approval of
the choice which Mr. Chamberlain had made. The banquet given to Sir
Alfred Milner three weeks before his departure to the Cape (March
28th, 1897) provided an occasion for an expression of unrestrained
admiration and confidence unique in the annals of English public life.
"He has the union of intellect with fascination that makes men mount
high," wrote Lord Rosebery. And Sir William Harcourt, "the most
grateful and obliged" of Milner's "many friends and admirers,"
pronounced him to be "a man deserving of all praise and all
affection." Mr. Asquith, who presided, stated in a speech marked
throughout by a note of intimate friendliness that "no appointment of
our time has been received with a larger measure both of the
approbation of experienced men and of the applause of the public." The
office itself was "at the present moment the most arduous and
responsible in the administrative service of the country." Not only
"embarrassing problems," but "formidable personalities" would confront
the new High Commissioner for South Africa:

     "But," he added, "we know that he takes with him as clear an
     intellect and as sympathetic an imagination, and, if need should
     arise, a power of resolution as tenacious and as inflexible as
     belongs to any man of our acquaintance."

Milner's reply is significant of the spirit in which he had undertaken
his task. Like Rhodes, he had found in his Oxford studies the reasoned
basis for an enlightened Imperialism. Chief among his earliest
political convictions was the belief that--

     "there was no political object comparable in importance with that
     of preventing a repetition of such a disaster [as the loss of the
     United States]: the severance of another link in the great
     Imperial chain.... It is a great privilege to be allowed to fill
     any position in the character of what I may be, perhaps, allowed
     to call a 'civilian soldier of the Empire.' To succeed in it, to
     render any substantial service to any part of our world-wide
     State, would be all that in any of my most audacious dreams I had
     ever ventured to aspire to. But in a cause in which one
     absolutely believes, even failure--personal failure, I mean, for
     the cause itself is not going to fail--would be preferable to an
     easy life of comfortable prosperity in another sphere."

[Sidenote: Personal traits.]

This was the man who was sent to maintain the interests of the
paramount Power in a South Africa shaken by racial antagonism, and
already feverish with political intrigue and commercial rivalry. Of
all the tributes of the farewell banquet, Sir William Harcourt's was
closest to the life--"worthy of all praise and all affection." The
quality of inspiring affection to which this impressive phrase bore
witness was one which had made itself felt among the humblest of those
who were fortunate enough to have been associated with Lord Milner in
any public work. Long after Milner had left Egypt, the face of the
Syrian or Coptic Effendi of the Finance Department in Cairo would
light up at the chance mention of the genial Englishman who had once
been his chief. And in remote English counties revenue officials still
hang his portrait upon the walls of their lodgings. Such men had no
claim to appraise his professional merit or his gifts of intellect;
but their feelings were responsive to the charm of his nature. "He was
so considerate": that was their excuse for retaining his name and
personality among the pleasant memories of the past. But the other
side of Milner's character, the power of "tenacious and inflexible
resolution," of which Mr. Asquith spoke, was destined to be brought
into play so prominently during the "eight dusky years" of his South
African administration, that to the distant on-looker it came to be
accepted as the characterising quality of the man. To some Milner
became the "man of blood and iron"; determined, like Bismarck, to
secure the unity of a country by trampling with iron-shod boots upon
the liberties of its people: even as in the view of others his clear
mental vision--never more clear than in South Africa--became clouded
by an adopted partisanship, and he was a "lost mind." Nothing could be
further from the truth. If the man lived who could have turned the
Boer and Afrikander from hatred and distrust of England and English
ideas by personal charm and honourable dealing, it was the man who
had universally inspired all his former associates, whether equals or
subordinates, with admiration and affection. Whatever bitterness was
displayed against Lord Milner personally by the Boer and Afrikander
leaders after the issue of the war was decided was due to their
perception that he was then--as always--a source of strength and an
inspiration for renewed effort to those whom they regarded as their
rivals or opponents. They hated him just as the French hated
Bismarck--because he was the strong man on the other side.

Lord Milner's inflexibility was, in its essence, a keener perception
of duty than the ordinary: it was a determination to do what he
believed to be for the good of South Africa and the Empire,
irrespective of any consideration of personal or party relationship.
It was in no sense the incapacity to measure the strength of an
opponent, still less did it arise from any failure to perceive the
cogency of an opinion in conflict with his own. Before the eight years
of his administration had passed, Lord Milner's knowledge of the needs
of South Africa and the Empire had become so profound that it carried
him ahead of the most enlightened and patriotic of the home statesmen
who supported him loyally to the end. Through the period of the war,
when the issues were simple and primitive, they were wholly with him.
But afterwards they supported him not so much because they understood
the methods which he employed and the objects at which he aimed, as
because they were by this time convinced of his complete mastery of
the political and economic problems of South Africa. It is to this
inability to understand the facts of the South African situation, as
he had learnt them, that we must attribute the comparative feebleness
shown by the Unionist leaders in resisting the perverse attempt which
was made by the Liberal party, after the General Election of 1906, to
revoke the final arrangements of his administration. The interval that
separated Lord Milner's knowledge of South Africa from that of the
Liberal ministers was profound; but even the Unionist chiefs showed
but slight appreciation of the unassailable validity of the
administrative decisions with which they had identified themselves,
when the "swing of the pendulum" brought these decisions again, and
somewhat unexpectedly, before the great tribunal of the nation.

[Sidenote: Arrival at Cape Town.]

Lord Milner sailed for the Cape on April 17th, 1897. At the actual
moment of his arrival the relations between the Home Government and
the South African Republic were strained almost to the breaking point.
In a peremptory despatch of March 6th, Mr. Chamberlain had demanded
the repeal of the Aliens Immigration and Aliens Expulsion Laws of
1896--the former of which constituted a flagrant violation of the
freedom of entry secured to British subjects by Article XIV. of the
London Convention. This virtual ultimatum was emphasised by the
appearance of a British squadron at Delagoa Bay, and by the despatch
of reinforcements to the South African garrisons. The evident
determination of the Imperial Government induced the Volksraad to
repeal the Immigration Law and to pass a resolution in favour of
amending the Expulsion Law. The crisis was over in June, and during
the next few months the Pretoria Executive showed a somewhat more
conciliatory temper towards the Government of Great Britain. And in
this connection two other facts must be recorded. In August, 1896, Sir
Jacobus de Wet had been succeeded as British Agent at Pretoria by Sir
William (then Mr.) Conyngham Greene, and the Imperial Government was
assured, by this appointment, of the services of an able man and a
trained diplomatist. The Parliamentary Committee of Inquiry into the
Raid, promised in July, 1896, met on February 16th, 1897, and reported
on July 13th of the same year. Its report did little more than
reassert the findings of the Cape Parliamentary Inquiry, which had
been before the British public for the last year. It was otherwise
remarkable for the handle which it gave (by the failure to insist upon
the production of certain telegrams) to some extreme Radicals to
assert Mr. Chamberlain's "complicity" in the "invasion" of the
Transvaal as originally planned by Mr. Rhodes.

[Sidenote: Milner's thoroughness.]

Lord Milner had expressed his intention of acquainting himself with
the conditions of South Africa by personal observation before he
attempted to take any definite action for the solution of the
problems awaiting his attention. Nor, after the first month of
anxious diplomatic controversy with the Pretoria Executive, was there
anything either in the political situation in the Cape Colony, or in
the attitude of the Transvaal Government, to prevent him from putting
his purpose into effect. Apart from the circumstance that the
reorganisation of the Chartered Company's Administration--a question
in which the political future of Mr. Rhodes was largely involved--was
a matter upon which his observation and advice were urgently required
by the Colonial Office, Lord Milner had no intention, as he said, of
"being tied to an office chair at Capetown." He had resolved,
therefore, to visit at the earliest opportunity, first, the country
districts of the colony which formed the actual seat of the Dutch
population, and, second, the two protectorates of Bechuanaland and
Basutoland, which were administered by officers directly responsible
to the High Commissioner, as the representative of the Imperial
Government. In point of fact he did more than this. Within a year of
his arrival he had travelled through the Cape Colony (August and
September, 1897), through the Bechuanaland Protectorate and Rhodesia
(November and December, 1897), and visited Basutoland (April, 1898).
And with characteristic thoroughness he set himself to learn both the
Dutch of Holland and the "Taal"--the former in order that he might
read the newspapers which the Afrikanders read, and the latter to
open the way to that intercourse of eye and ear which most helps a
man to know the character of his neighbour.

Lord Milner's year of observation may be said to have ended with the
speech at Graaf Reinet (March 3rd, 1898), which held his first clear
and emphatic public utterance. During the greater part of this period
he was by no means exclusively occupied with the shortcomings of
President Krüger. The discharge of his official duties as Governor of
the Cape Colony required more than ordinary care and watchfulness in
view of the disturbed state of South African politics. And as High
Commissioner he was called upon to deal with a number of questions
relative to the affairs of Rhodesia and the Protectorates, of which
some led him into the new and unfamiliar field of native law and
custom, while others involved the exercise of his judgment on delicate
matters of personal fitness and official etiquette. But an account of
these questions--questions which he handled with equal insight and
decision--must yield to the commanding interest of the actual steps by
which he approached the two central problems upon the solution of
which the maintenance of British supremacy in South Africa
depended--the removal of the pernicious system of race oligarchy in
the Transvaal, and the preservation of the Cape Colony in its
allegiance to the British Crown.

[Sidenote: His friendliness to the Boers.]

The position which Lord Milner took up in his relations with the
Transvaal Government was one that was consistent alike with his
personal characteristics and with the dictates of a high and
enlightened statesmanship. Within the first few weeks of his arrival
he let it be known, both through the British Agent at Pretoria, and
through those of the Afrikander leaders in the Cape Colony who were on
terms of intimacy with President Krüger, that he desired, as it were,
to open an entirely new account between the two governments. He, a new
High Commissioner with no South African past, with no errors to
retrieve, no failures to rankle, could afford to bury the diplomatic
hatchet. There was nothing to prevent him from approaching the
discussion of any questions that might arise in a spirit of perfect
friendliness, or from believing that the President would be inspired,
on his side, by the same friendly feelings. It was his hope,
therefore, that much of the friction incidental to formal diplomatic
controversy might be avoided through the settlement of all lesser
matters by amicable and informal discussion between President Krüger
and himself.

This was no mere official pose. Milner never posed. He, too, desired
to eliminate the Imperial factor in his own way. He saw from the first
the advantage of limiting the area of dispute between Downing Street
and Pretoria; and he made it his object to settle as many matters as
possible by friendly discussion on the spot. The desire to avoid
unnecessary diplomatic friction, and to make the best of President
Krüger, was manifested in all he did at this time. In the course of
the preparations for the celebration of the Diamond Jubilee by the
British community on the Rand, the new High Commissioner was asked to
decide whether the toast of Queen Victoria, or that of President
Krüger, should come first upon the list at the public banquet. He
replied unhesitatingly that the courtesy due to President Krüger, as
the head of the State, must be fully accorded. On this occasion, of
all others, British subjects, he said, "should be most careful to
avoid anything which might be regarded as a slight to the South
African Republic or its chief magistrate."[27]

         [Footnote 27: The incident is otherwise interesting as
         affording the first sign of that confidence of the British
         population in Lord Milner, which, steadily increasing as the
         final and inevitable struggle approached, earned for him at
         length the unfaltering support of British South Africa. After
         the Rand celebrations were over, he was informed that his
         advice had been put into effect with "very considerable
         difficulty." The argument which had prevailed was this: "The
         new High Commissioner is a tested man of affairs; we all look
         to him to put British interests on a solid basis; and as we
         do this, let us obey him in a matter like this."]

[Sidenote: Milner and the Conventions.]

While to President Krüger Lord Milner said, "Let us see if we cannot
arrange matters by friendly discussion between ourselves"; to the
Colonial Office he said, "Give them time; don't hurry them. Reform
there must be: if by no other means, then by our intervention. But
before we intervene, let us be sure that they either cannot, or will
not, reform themselves. Therefore let us wait patiently, and make
things as easy as possible for President Krüger." More than this, he
had almost as little belief in the utility of the Conventions[28] as
Grey had in those of his epoch. Whether the Boers did, or did not,
call the Queen "Suzerain" seemed to him to be a small matter--an
etymological question, as he afterwards called it. What was essential
was that men of British blood should not be kept under the heel of the
Dutch. Moreover, the grievances for which the observance of the London
Convention, however strictly enforced, could provide a remedy, were
insignificant as compared with the more real grievances, such as the
attack upon the independence of the law courts, the injury to
industrial life caused by a corrupt and incompetent administration,
and the denial of elementary political rights, which no technical
observance of the Convention would remove. Nor did it escape Lord
Milner's notice that a policy of rigid insistence upon the letter of
the Conventions might place the Imperial Government in a position of
grave disadvantage. If any breach of the Conventions was once made the
subject of earnest diplomatic complaint, the demand of the Imperial
Government must be enforced even at the cost of war. The Conventions,
therefore, should be invoked as little as possible. For, if the Boers
denied the British Law Officers' interpretation of the text, the
Imperial Government might find itself on the horns of a dilemma.
Either it must beat an undignified retreat, or it must make war upon
the Transvaal for a mere technicality, a proceeding which would gain
for the Republic a maximum, and for the Imperial Government a minimum
of sympathy and support. Therefore, he said, "Keep the Conventions in
the background. If we are to fight let it be about something that is
essential to the peace and well-being of South Africa, and not a mere
diplomatic wrangle between the Pretoria Executive and the British

         [Footnote 28: Apart from the question of the validity of the
         preamble to the Pretoria Convention (1881), two
         Conventions--the London Convention (1884), and the Swaziland
         Convention (1894)--were in force between the South African
         Republic and Great Britain. The relations of the Imperial
         Government to the Free State were regulated by the
         Bloemfontein Convention (1854). This latter and the Sand
         River Convention (1852), were the Conventions of Grey's

[Sidenote: Transvaal affairs.]

Lord Milner's hope that President Krüger might meet him half-way,
although it was shown by subsequent events to have been devoid of
foundation, had for the moment superficial appearances in its favour.
After their retreat on the question of the Aliens Immigration Law the
attitude of the Pretoria Executive remained for some time outwardly
less hostile to the Imperial Government. Woolls-Sampson and "Karri"
Davies were released from Pretoria gaol in honour of Queen Victoria's
Jubilee,[29] and at the same period the first and only step was taken
that offered a genuine promise of reform from within. The Industrial
Commission, appointed earlier in the year by the Executive at the
request of President Krüger, surprised the Uitlander community by
conducting its inquiry with a thoroughness and impartiality that left
no ground for complaint. Its report, reviewing in detail the
conditions of the mining industry, was published in July. It afforded
a complete confirmation of the fiscal and administrative complaints
put forward by the Uitlanders against the Government; and as Mr.
Schalk Burger, the Chairman of the Commission, was both a member of
the Executive and the leader of the more progressive section of the
Boers, there seemed to be a reasonable prospect of the recommendations
of the Report being carried into effect. Scarcely more than six months
later President Krüger proved conclusively that the hope of these, or
of any other, reforms was entirely unfounded; but so long as there
remained any prospect of the Uitlanders and the Transvaal Government
being able to settle their differences by themselves, Lord Milner
consistently pursued his intention of "making things easy" for the
Transvaal Government. And this although the Pretoria Executive soon
began to make heavy drafts upon his patience in other respects.[30]

         [Footnote 29: These two men, now Colonel Sir Aubrey
         Woolls-Sampson and Major W. D. "Karri" Davies, had refused to
         sign the petition of appeal--an act of submission which
         President Krüger required of the Johannesburg Reformers,
         before he released them from Pretoria gaol. They did so on
         the ground that the Imperial Government had made itself
         responsible for their safety; since they and the other
         Reformers, with the town of Johannesburg, had laid down their
         arms on the faith of Lord Rosmead's declaration that he would
         obtain reasonable reforms from President Krüger for the

         [Footnote 30: In the question of the Swaziland border, the
         affair of Bunu, and the continued and increasing
         ill-treatment of the Cape Boys, the Boer Government
         manifested its old spirit of aggression and duplicity. All
         these matters involved Lord Milner in anxious and wearisome
         negotiations, which, however, he contrived by mingled
         firmness and address to keep within the limits of friendly

If Lord Milner was prepared to make the most of Paul Krüger and the
Boers, he showed himself no less ready to see the best side of the
Dutch in the Cape Colony. As we have already had occasion to notice,
the year of his appointment was that of the Diamond Jubilee
celebration; and on June 23rd he sent home a brief despatch in which
he dwelt with evident satisfaction upon the share taken by the Dutch
in the general demonstrations of loyalty called forth by the occasion
in the Cape Colony. After a reference to the number of loyal addresses
or congratulatory telegrams which had been sent to the Colonial
Secretary for transmission to the Queen, he continued:

     "The enthusiasm evoked here ... seems to me to be of peculiar
     interest ... in view of recent events, which, as you are aware,
     have caused a feeling of considerable bitterness among different
     sections of the community. All I can say is that, so far as I am
     able to judge, these racial differences have not affected the
     loyalty of any portion of the community to Her Majesty the Queen.
     People of all races, the English, the Dutch, the Asiatics, as
     well as the African natives, have vied with one another in
     demonstrations of affection for her person and devotion to the
     throne. When every allowance is made for the exaggeration of
     feeling caused by the unparalleled scale and prolonged duration
     of the present festivities, and for the contagious excitement
     which they have produced, it is impossible to doubt that the
     feeling of loyalty among all sections of the population is much
     stronger than has sometimes been believed. In my opinion, the
     impression made by the world-wide celebration of Her Majesty's
     Jubilee has strengthened that feeling throughout South Africa,
     and is likely to have a permanent value."[31]

         [Footnote 31: This short despatch has been given practically
         _in extenso_. It was not published in the Blue-books, but it
         was communicated to the Press some three months after it had
         been received.]

[Sidenote: First impressions of the Dutch.]

It has been urged that the opinion here recorded is inconsistent with
the charge of anti-British sentiment subsequently brought by Lord
Milner against the Dutch leaders in the Cape Colony, and the despatch
itself has been cited as affording evidence of the contention that the
unfavourable view subsequently expressed in the Graaf Reinet speech,
and more definitely in the despatch of May 4th, 1899, was not the
result of independent investigation, but was a view formed to support
the Imperial Government in a coercive policy towards the Transvaal.
This criticism, which is a perfectly natural one, only serves to
establish the fact that Lord Milner actually did approach the study of
the nationality difficulty in complete freedom from any preconceived
notions on the subject. As he said, he went to South Africa with an
"open mind." So far from having any prejudice against the Dutch, his
first impression was distinctly favourable, and as such he recorded
it, suitably enough, in this Jubilee despatch. But it must be
remembered that the opinion here recorded was based upon a very
limited field of observation. At the time when this despatch was
written Lord Milner had not yet been quite two months in South
Africa, and his experience of the Dutch of the Cape Colony had been
confined to intercourse with the Dutch of the Cape peninsula; that is
to say, he had only come into contact with that section of the Cape
Dutch which is, as indeed it has been for a century, closely
identified, from a social point of view, with the official and
mercantile British population of Capetown and its suburbs.

What the Jubilee despatch really shows is that Lord Milner was
prepared to make the best of the Dutch. The contrast between its tone
of ready appreciation and the note of earnest remonstrance in the
Graaf Reinet speech is apparent enough. The despatch is dated June
23rd, 1897; the speech was delivered on March 3rd, 1898. What had
happened in this interval of nine months to produce so marked a change
in the mind of the genial, clear-sighted Englishman, who, as Mr.
Asquith said, took with him to South Africa "as sympathetic an
imagination" as any man of his acquaintance? _Nemo repente fuit
turpissimus._ Whether the diagnosis of his Graaf Reinet speech was
right or wrong, something must have happened to turn Lord Milner from
ready appreciation to grave remonstrance.

The circumstances which provide the answer to this question form an
element of vital importance in the volume of evidence upon which
posterity will pronounce the destruction of the Dutch Republics in
South Africa to have been a just and necessary, or a needless and
aggressive, act. But to see them in true perspective, the reader must
first be possessed of some more precise information of the political
situation in the Cape Colony at this time.

[Sidenote: The Sprigg ministry.]

At the period of Lord Milner's appointment the political forces set in
motion by the Raid were operating already to prepare the way for the
new and significant combinations of persons and parties in the Cape
Colony that took definite form in the parliamentary crisis of May,
1898. The Ministry now in office was that formed by Sir Gordon Sprigg
upon Mr. Rhodes's resignation of the premiership after the Raid
(January 6th, 1896). Like every other Cape Ministry of the last
thirteen years, it was dependent upon the support of the Afrikander
Bond, which supplied two out of the six members of the cabinet--Mr.
Pieter Faure, Minister of Agriculture, and a moderate Bondsman, and
Dr. Te Water, the intimate friend of Mr. Hofmeyr, and his direct
representative in the Ministry. Another minister, Sir Thomas Upington,
who had succeeded Mr. Philip Schreiner as Attorney-General, had been
himself Prime Minister in the period 1884-6, when he and Sir Gordon
Sprigg (then Treasurer-General), had opposed the demand for the
intervention of the Imperial Government in Bechuanaland, successfully
and strenuously advocated by Mr. J. W. Leonard and Mr. Merriman. It
was, therefore, eminently, what would be called in France "a Ministry
of the Centre." Sir Gordon Sprigg's regard for British interests was
too lukewarm to command the confidence of the more decided advocates
of British supremacy; while, on the other hand, his more or less
friendly relations with Mr. Rhodes aroused the suspicions of the Dutch
extremists. But Dr. Te Water's presence in the Ministry, offering in
itself a sufficient assurance that no measures deemed by Mr. Hofmeyr
to be contrary to the interests of the Bond would be adopted, had
secured for the Government the votes of the majority of the Dutch
members of the Legislative Assembly. An example of the subserviency of
the Sprigg Ministry to the Bond at this date was afforded upon Lord
Milner's arrival. As we have seen, the Home Government determined to
reinforce the South African garrison, in order to strengthen its
demand upon the Transvaal Government for the repeal of the Aliens
Immigration Law. Although no direct opposition was offered by the
Ministry to this measure, the insufficiency of barrack accommodation
in the Cape Colony was used as a pretext for placing obstacles in the
way of its accomplishment. These difficulties were successfully
overcome by Lord Milner, and in the end the reinforcements arrived
without giving rise to any political excitement.[32]

         [Footnote 32: By August the South African garrison had been
         raised to the very moderate strength of rather more than
         8,000 troops.]

[Sidenote: Navy contribution bill.]

A more disagreeable incident was the covert attempt made by the Bond
to obstruct the business of the Cape Parliament, in order that Sir
Gordon Sprigg might be prevented from taking his place among the other
prime ministers of the self-governing colonies at the Colonial
Conference, and representing the Cape in the Jubilee celebrations in
England.[33] This was the beginning of a disagreement between the
Ministry and the Bond, which gradually increased in seriousness after
Sir Gordon's return from England, until it culminated in the
resignation of Dr. Te Water (May, 1898). The offer of an annual
contribution to the cost of the British Navy, which was affirmed in
principle by the Cape Parliament at this time, was understood in
England to be a mark of Afrikander attachment to the British
connection. In point of fact the measure received practically no
support from the Bondsmen in Parliament; while, outside of Parliament,
on Bond platforms and in the Bond Press, the Government's action in
the matter was employed as an effective argument to stimulate
disaffection in the ranks of its Dutch supporters. Mr. Hofmeyr,
however, was careful not to allow the Bond, as an organisation, to
commit itself to any overt opposition to the principle of a
contribution to the British Navy--an attitude which would have been
obviously inconsistent with the Bond's profession of loyalty--and with
characteristic irony the third reading of the Navy Contribution Bill
was eventually passed, a year later, without a division in the
Legislative Assembly by a Ministry[34] placed in office by Bond votes
for the declared purpose of opposing the policy of the Imperial
Government on the one question--the reform of the Transvaal
Administration--upon the issue of which depended the maintenance of
British supremacy in South Africa.

         [Footnote 33: Sir Gordon Sprigg's long service as a minister
         of the Crown fully entitled him to this honour; nor was his
         presence rendered any the less desirable by the fact that Sir
         Henry de Villiers, the Chief Justice, was also attending the
         Jubilee in England.]

         [Footnote 34: The Schreiner Ministry.]

[Sidenote: Rhodes's position.]

But circumstances of deeper significance contributed to deprive the
Sprigg Ministry of the support of the Bond, causing its majority to
dwindle, and driving Sir Gordon himself, in an increasing degree, into
the opposite camp. The British population for the first time showed a
tendency to organise itself in direct opposition to the Bond. As Sir
Gordon Sprigg grew more Imperialist, the Progressive party was formed
for parliamentary purposes; while for the purpose of combating the
Afrikander nationalist movement in general an Imperialist
organisation, called the South African League, was established with
the avowed object of maintaining British supremacy in South Africa.
Mr. Cecil Rhodes, immediately after the Raid, announced his intention
of taking no further part in the politics of the Cape Colony, and of
devoting himself, for the future, to the development of Rhodesia. But
upon his return from England, after giving evidence before the
Committee of Inquiry into the Raid, he was received with so much
warmth by the British population at Capetown in July, 1897, that he
had retracted this decision, and determined to assume the same
position of real, though not nominal, leadership of what was
afterwards the Progressive party as Mr. Hofmeyr held in the Bond. Mr.
Rhodes's return to political life, following, as it did, upon the
report of the Committee of Inquiry, aroused the most bitter hostility
against him on the part of his former associates in the Bond. And the
Sprigg Ministry, by their increasing reliance upon the new party of
which he was the leader, incurred the distrust of its Dutch supporters
to a corresponding extent. In the meantime the Bond leaders had
adopted Mr. Philip Schreiner, who was not a member of the Bond, as
their parliamentary chief in the place of Rhodes, and this new
combination was strengthened by the accession of Mr. J. X. Merriman
and Mr. J. W. Sauer. Thus the opening months of the new year, 1898,
found the population of the Cape Colony grouping itself roughly, for
the first time, into two parties with definite and mutually
destructive aims. On the one side there was the Sprigg Ministry, now
almost exclusively supported by the British section of the Cape
electorate, soon to be organised on the question of "redistribution"
into the Progressive party, with Rhodes as its real, though not its
recognised, leader; and on the other there was the Bond party, with
Schreiner as its parliamentary chief and Hofmeyr as its real leader,
depending in no less a degree upon the Dutch population of the
Colony, and naturally opposed to an electoral reform that threatened
to deprive this population of its parliamentary preponderance. And in
a few months' time, as we shall see, the Schreiner-Bond coalition took
for its immediate aim the prevention of British interference in the
Transvaal; while the Progressive party came, no less openly, to avow
its determination to promote and support the action of the Imperial
Government in seeking to obtain redress for the Uitlander grievances.

The movements here briefly indicated were, of course, perfectly well
known to Lord Milner as constitutional Governor of the Colony. But at
Graaf Reinet he probes the situation too deeply, and speaks with too
authoritative a tone, to allow us to suppose that the remonstrance
which he then addressed to the Cape Dutch was based upon any sources
of knowledge less assured than his own observation and experience. For
the Graaf Reinet speech is not an affair of ministers' minutes or
party programmes; it is the straight talk of a man taught by eye and
ear, and informed by direct relationships with the persons and
circumstances that are envisaged in his words. To restate our
question, which among these facts of personal observation and
experience produced the change from the ready appreciation of the Cape
Dutch, shown in the Jubilee despatch, to the earnest remonstrance of
the Graaf Reinet speech? The historian cannot claim, like the writer
of creative literature, to exhibit the working of the human mind. In
the terms of the Aristotelian formula, he can relate only what "has"
happened, leaving to the craftsman whose pen is enlarged and ennobled
by the universal truth of art to tell what "must" happen. But such
satisfaction as the lesser branch of literature can afford is at the
disposal of the reader, in "good measure, pressed down, and running
over." Without assuming, then, the philosophic certainty of poetry, we
know that between the Jubilee despatch and the Graaf Reinet speech the
development of the great South African drama reached its
"turning-point" in the Transvaal; while in the Cape Colony Lord Milner
was learning daily more of the "formidable personalities" and the
"embarrassing problems" to which Mr. Asquith had referred.

[Sidenote: No reform in the Transvaal.]

The more hopeful situation in the Transvaal that followed upon the
determined action of the Imperial Government in May was succeeded by a
period punctuated by events which, taken collectively, obliterated all
prospect of "reform from within." The treatment accorded to the report
of the Industrial Commission, which, as we have noticed, established
the truth of practically all the fiscal and administrative complaints
of the Uitlanders, was a matter of especial significance. The
Commission was created by President Krüger; it was in effect the
fulfilment of his promises, made after the Raid, to redress the
grievances of the Uitlanders. The Commissioners were his own
officials, Boers and Hollanders; men who had no prejudice against the
Government, and no sympathy with the new population, yet their
recommendations, if carried into effect, would have removed the most
serious of the industrial grievances of the British community. The
Report had raised great expectations. It was thought that, not all,
but a substantial proportion of its recommendations would be put into
effect. Here, then, was an opportunity for reform which involved no
loss of prestige, entailed no danger to the independence of the
Republic, and held not the slightest threat to the stability of
burgher predominance. If what President Krüger was waiting for was a
convenient opportunity, he had such an opportunity now. This
reasonable forecast was utterly falsified by the event. Mr. Schalk
Burger, the Chairman of the Commission, was denounced by Mr. Krüger in
the Volksraad as a traitor to the Republic, because he had dared to
set his hand to so distasteful a document. The report itself was
thrown contemptuously by the grim old President from the Volksraad to
the customary committee of true-blue "doppers," whose ignorance of the
industrial conditions of the Rand was equalled only by their personal
devotion to himself. Here the adverse findings of the commissioners on
the dynamite and railway monopolies were reversed; and the
recommendation for a Local Board for the Rand was condemned as
subversive of the authority of the State. At length, after the report
had been tossed about from Volksraad to committee, and from committee
to Volksraad, until very little of the original recommendations
remained, the Government took action. In addition to an immaterial
reduction of the exorbitant rates charged by the Netherlands Railway
Company--a concession subsequently alleged to have been the price paid
by the Hollander Corporation to avoid further inquiry into its
affairs--it was announced that, with the object of lessening the cost
of living on the Rand, the import duties upon certain necessaries in
common use would be reduced, in accordance with the recommendations of
the Commissioners on this point; but that, since it was obviously
inexpedient to diminish the revenue of the Republic, the duties upon
certain other articles of the same class would be raised to an extent
more than counterbalancing the loss upon the reduction. _Parturiunt
montes; nascitur ridiculus mus._

[Sidenote: Krüger re-elected president.]

This singular display of mingled effrontery and duplicity marked the
closing months of the year (1897). In the February following Mr.
Krüger was elected to the presidency of the South African Republic for
the fourth time. It was generally recognised that the success of his
candidature was inevitable, but few, within or without the Transvaal,
had expected him to secure so decisive a victory over his competitors.
The figures--Krüger 12,858, Schalk Burger 3,750, and Joubert
(Commandant-General) 2,001--were additional evidence of the impotency
or lukewarmness of the reform party among the burghers. The first act
of President Krüger, on his return to power, was to dismiss Chief
Justice Kotzé. Mr. Kotzé's struggle for the independence of the law
courts, thus summarily closed, had commenced a year before with what
was known as the "High Court crisis." At that time President Krüger
had obtained power from the Volksraad by the notorious law No. 1 of
1897 to compel the judges, on pain of dismissal, to renounce the
right, recently exercised, to declare laws, which were in their
opinion inconsistent with the Grondwet (Constitution), to be, to that
extent, invalid. As a protest against this autocratic proceeding the
entire bench of judges threatened to resign, and the courts were
adjourned. The deadlock continued until a compromise was arranged
through the intervention of Chief Justice de Villiers. The President
undertook to introduce a new law providing satisfactorily for the
independence of the Courts, and the judges, on their side, pledged
themselves not to exercise the "testing" right in the meantime. In
February, 1898, Chief Justice Kotzé wrote to remind President Krüger
that his promise remained unfulfilled,[35] withdrawing at the same
time the conditional pledge not to exercise the "testing" right given
by himself. The President then dismissed Mr. Kotzé under Law No. 1,
compelled a second judge, Mr. Justice Amershof (who had supported the
Chief Justice in the position he had taken up) to resign, and
appointed, as the new Chief Justice, Mr. Gregorowski, who, as Chief
Justice of the Free State, had presided at the trial of the Reformers
in 1896, and at the time of the crisis a year before had declared that
"no honourable man could possibly accept the position of a judge so
long as Law No. 1 remained in force." The judicature was now rendered
subservient to the Executive, and the Uitlanders were thus deprived of
their last constitutional safeguard against the injustice of the Boer
and Hollander oligarchy.

         [Footnote 35: There appears to have been some question as to
         whether the terms of the President's undertaking bound him to
         introduce the proposed measure into the Volksraad in 1897, or
         in 1898. Chief Justice de Villiers held that the latter date
         was contemplated by the President. But the point is
         immaterial, since President Krüger denied in the Volksraad,
         after the dismissal of Mr. Kotzé, that he had ever given an
         undertaking at all to Chief Justice de Villiers or to anybody

[Sidenote: His reactionary policy.]

This was the position in the Transvaal in February, 1898. President
Krüger had demonstrated by his refusal to carry out the
recommendations of the Industrial Commission, and by the dismissal of
Chief Justice Kotzé, that he was determined not merely to set himself
against all measures of reform, but to increase the disabilities under
which the Uitlanders had hitherto lived. He had been placed, for the
fourth time, at the head of the Republic by an overwhelming majority;
he had refused to sacrifice a penny of revenue, and he was in
possession of ample resources, which were being sedulously applied in
increasing his already disproportionate supply of munitions of war.
Through Dr. Leyds, who had returned from his mission to Europe, he
had opened up communications with European Powers, that placed him in
a position to avail himself to the full of the possible embarrassment
of Great Britain through international rivalries or disagreements. In
South Africa he had carried through a treaty of offensive and
defensive alliance with the Free State, and he had received more than
one recent assurance that the flame of Afrikander nationalism had been
kindled anew by the Bond in the Cape Colony.

These events were disquieting enough in themselves; but what made the
disappearance of any prospect of spontaneous reform in the Transvaal
still more serious to the High Commissioner for South Africa, was the
complaisance with which President Krüger's reactionary policy was
regarded by the Dutch subjects of the Crown. It was just here that
Lord Milner's observations must have yielded the most startling
results. We know that the days which had passed since the Jubilee
despatch was written had brought him constant and varied opportunities
for seeing "things as they really were" in South Africa; we know that
he was keenly alert in the accomplishment of his mission, and we may
presume, therefore, that few, if any, of these opportunities were

In September Lord Milner had travelled right round the Colony. At
every little town and _dorp_--wherever, in fact, he went--he conversed
with the Dutch, whom his pleasant manner quickly won to friendliness;
and all the speeches that he made in reply to the addresses of
welcome were extremely conciliatory in tone. This was the time when
there were hopeful anticipations of the good results that were to come
from the Industrial Commission; and Lord Milner often began his speech
with an expression of the sense of relief which he felt--a feeling
which his audience must share--that now there was to be peace in South
Africa. These conciliatory utterances of the new High Commissioner
were almost completely ignored by the Dutch Press. An exception to
this rule of silence was significant. The High Commissioner was
accompanied by the Minister of Agriculture, Mr. (now Sir Pieter)
Faure. On one occasion Mr. Faure made some remarks in the same spirit
as that in which Lord Milner had spoken. "People," he said, "talk of
Africa for the Afrikanders; but what I say is, Africa for all." The
expression of this moderate sentiment drew down upon Mr. Faure a sharp
reproof from _Ons Land_. From this and many other such incidents it
must have begun to dawn upon Lord Milner's mind that what the Dutch of
the Cape Colony wanted was not conciliation but domination.

[Sidenote: Attitude of the Cape Dutch.]

[Sidenote: "Hands off" the Transvaal.]

And so it came about that in the months that President Krüger was busy
shutting the door against reform, Lord Milner was learning to realise
that on this all-important matter there was nothing to hope from the
Cape Dutch. When once the question of reform, or no reform, in the
Transvaal came up, all conciliatory speeches were useless. It made no
difference whether the Transvaal was right or wrong; it was always,
"_Our_ Transvaal, good or bad." In short, all that happened both in
the Transvaal and the Cape Colony during this (South African) spring
and summer was of the nature to impress conclusively upon Lord
Milner's mind that on the crucial issue between the Imperial
Government and the Transvaal, the leaders of Dutch opinion in the Cape
Colony were against the British cause. The rank and file of the Dutch
population, if left to themselves, might be indifferent, possibly
friendly; but the Bond organisation had placed them under the control
of the Bond leaders; and the Bond was hostile. What, more than
anything else, would serve to confirm this impression was Lord
Milner's constant study of the Dutch Press. Among these journals, _Ons
Land_ presented the most authoritative and significant expression of
the Bond policy, as directed by Mr. Hofmeyr's astute brain and
unrivalled experience. The editorial columns of _Ons Land_ rarely
contained a sentence that, standing alone, could be quoted as evidence
of its advocacy of anti-British action. Its method was far more
subtle. In everything in which Great Britain was concerned the
attitude which it adopted was one of profound alienation, rather than
of aggressive hostility. England's position in the world was presented
and discussed as though "Afrikanders" were no more interested in it
than they were in that of any foreign country. And, in South African
matters, the tone of the Dutch Press, and of the Bond leaders, was not
merely discouraging; at any hint of possible British action for the
improvement of the administrative conditions of the Transvaal, it took
a note of menace. "Hands off" the Transvaal: that was the sum and
substance of Bond policy.

Between the Jubilee despatch and the Graaf Reinet speech, then, the
Transvaal Government had shown that it had set its face definitely
against reform, and Lord Milner had had time to realise the true state
of political feeling in the Colony of which he was Governor. While
there was anger among the British at the hopeless situation in the
Transvaal, among the Dutch was a fixed determination not to allow the
Transvaal to be interfered with. And there was something else that
Lord Milner would have observed during his travels throughout the
Colony. It was the utter despondency of the British population, and
the condition of abasement to which they had been reduced. Nor can he
have failed to observe that everywhere among the British there was a
constant apology for the Raid; while, on the part of the Dutch, there
was no recognition of all that the British had done to wipe out its
stain and to mitigate its effects: in a word, that the moral conquest
of the Colony by the Dutch was practically complete.

[Sidenote: Milner at Graaf Reinet.]

It was with this accumulated evidence in his mind that Lord Milner
travelled down, on March 2nd, 1898, from Capetown to Graaf Reinet,
expecting to take part in a Governor's function of the ordinary sort
at the opening of the railway on the following day. The conventional
expressions of loyalty to the Queen, and the scarcely veiled hypocrisy
and defiance with which the Dutch reiterated them, at the time when
the whole weight of their influence was thrown against Great Britain
on the only South African question that really mattered, had become
nauseating even to his serene temper and generous disposition. He was
wearied, too, of receiving a frivolous or unfriendly reply from the
Pretoria Executive to the most reasonable proposals of the Imperial
Government. Late at night there was brought to him, in the train, a
copy of an address from the Graaf Reinet branch of the Afrikander
Bond, which was to be presented to him on the morrow. It contained, in
more than usually pointed language, a protest against "the charges of
disloyalty made against the Bond," and a request that the High
Commissioner would "convey to the Queen the expression of its
unswerving loyalty." As he read on we can imagine how, in ominous
contrast to the superficial protestations of the text, something
exceptionally aggressive in the tone of the address, something which
emphasised the inconsistency of these formal professions of attachment
to the throne with the very practical hostility of their authors to
British policy, struck the High Commissioner with peculiar force. The
Dutch, who, under British rule, enjoyed--one might almost say
abused--every privilege of citizenship in the Cape Colony, were quite
prepared to see the British excluded, under Dutch rule, from these
same privileges in the Transvaal. More than that, they were determined
to employ all the agencies at their command to prevent any effective
interference with the Transvaal oligarchy. Lord Milner evidently felt
that the time had come for remonstrance, so, gathering up the
impressions which had been accumulating in his mind, he wrote down
then and there his answer, which was delivered on the following day.

     "Of course, I am glad to be assured that any section of Her
     Majesty's subjects is loyal, but I should be much more glad to be
     allowed to take that for granted. Why should I not? What reason
     could there be for any disloyalty? You have thriven wonderfully
     well under Her Majesty's Government. This country, despite its
     great extent and its fine climate, has some tremendous natural
     disadvantages to contend against, and yet let any one compare the
     position to-day with what it was at the commencement of Her
     Majesty's reign, or even thirty years ago. The progress in
     material wealth is enormous, and the prospects of future progress
     are greater still. And you have other blessings which by no means
     always accompany material wealth. You live under an absolutely
     free system of government, protecting the rights and encouraging
     the spirit of independence of every citizen. You have courts of
     law manned by men of the highest ability and integrity, and
     secure in the discharge of their high functions from all external
     interference. You have--at least as regards the white
     races--perfect equality of citizenship. And these things have not
     been won from a reluctant sovereign. They have been freely and
     gladly bestowed upon you, because freedom and self-government,
     justice and equality, are the first principles of British policy.
     And they are secured to you by the strength of the power that
     gave them, and whose navy protects your shores from attack
     without your being asked to contribute one pound to that
     protection unless you yourselves desire it. Well, gentlemen, of
     course you are loyal; it would be monstrous if you were not.

     "And now, if I have one wish, it is that I may never again have
     to deal at any length with this topic. But in order that I may
     put it aside with a good conscience, I wish, having been more or
     less compelled to deal with it, to do so honestly, and not to
     shut my eyes to unpleasant facts. The great bulk of the
     population of the Colony--Dutch as well as English--are, I firmly
     believe, thoroughly loyal, in the sense that they know they live
     under a good constitution, and have no wish to change it, and
     regard with feelings of reverence and pride that august lady at
     the head of it. If we had only domestic questions to consider; if
     political controversy were confined to the internal affairs of
     the country, there would, no doubt, be a great deal of hard
     language used by conflicting parties, and very likely among the
     usual amenities of party warfare somebody would call somebody
     else disloyal; but the thing would be so absurd--so obviously
     absurd--that nobody would take it seriously, and the charges
     would be forgotten almost as soon as uttered.

[Sidenote: The loyalty of the Bond.]

     "What gives the sting to the charge of disloyalty in this case,
     what makes it stick, and what makes people wince under it, is the
     fact that the political controversies of this country at present
     unfortunately turn largely upon another question--I mean the
     relations of Her Majesty's Government to the South African
     Republic--and that, whenever there is any prospect of any
     difference between them, a number of people in the Colony at once
     vehemently, and without even the semblance of impartiality,
     espouse the side of the Republic. Personally I do not think that
     they are disloyal. I am familiar at home with the figure of the
     politician--often the best of men, though singularly
     injudicious--who, whenever any disputes arise with another
     country, starts with the assumption that his own country must be
     in the wrong. He is not disloyal, but really he cannot be very
     much surprised if he appears to be so to those of his
     fellow-citizens whose inclination is to start with the exactly
     opposite assumption. And so I do not take it that in this case
     people are necessarily disloyal because they carry their sympathy
     with the Government of the Transvaal--which, seeing the close tie
     of relationship which unites a great portion of the population
     here with the dominant section in that country, is perfectly
     natural--to a point which gives some ground for the assertion
     that they seem to care much more for the independence of the
     Transvaal than for the honour and the interests of the country to
     which they themselves belong.

     "For my own part, I believe the whole object of those people in
     espousing the cause of the Transvaal is to prevent an open
     rupture between that country and the British Government. They
     loathe, very naturally and rightly, the idea of war, and they
     think that, if they can only impress upon the British Government
     that in case of war with the Transvaal it would have a great
     number of its own subjects at least in sympathy against it, that
     is a way to prevent such a calamity.

     "But in this they are totally wrong, for this policy rests on the
     assumption that Great Britain has some occult design on the
     independence of the Transvaal--that independence which it has
     itself given--and that it is seeking causes of quarrel in order
     to take that independence away. But that assumption is the exact
     opposite of the truth. So far from seeking causes of quarrel, it
     is the constant desire of the British Government to avoid causes
     of quarrel, and not to take up lightly the complaints (and they
     are numerous) which reach it from British subjects within the
     Transvaal, for the very reason that it wishes to avoid even the
     semblance of interference in the internal affairs of that
     country, and, as regards its external relations, to insist only
     on that minimum of control which it has always distinctly
     reserved, and has reserved, I may add, solely in the interests of
     the future tranquillity of South Africa. That is Great Britain's
     moderate attitude, and she cannot be frightened out of it. It is
     not any aggressiveness on the part of Her Majesty's Government
     which now keeps up the spirit of unrest in South Africa. Not at
     all. It is that unprogressiveness--I will not say the
     retrogressiveness--of the Government of the Transvaal and its
     deep suspicion of the intentions of Great Britain which makes it
     devote its attention to imaginary external dangers, when every
     impartial observer can see perfectly well that the real dangers
     which threaten it are internal.

[Sidenote: Milner's appeal to the Dutch.]

     "Now, I wish to be perfectly fair. Therefore, let me say that
     this suspicion, though absolutely groundless, is not, after all
     that has happened, altogether unnatural. I accept the situation
     that at the present moment any advice that I could tender, or
     that any of your British fellow-citizens could tender in that
     quarter, though it was the best advice in the world, would be
     instantly rejected because it was British. But the same does not
     apply to the Dutch citizens of this colony, and especially to
     those who have gone so far in the expression of their sympathy
     for the Transvaal as to expose themselves to these charges of
     disloyalty to their own flag. Their good-will at least cannot be
     suspected across the border; and if all they desire--and I
     believe it is what they desire--is to preserve the South African
     Republic, and to promote good relations between it and the
     British Colonies and Government, then let them use all their
     influence, which is bound to be great, not in confirming the
     Transvaal in unjustified suspicions, not in encouraging its
     Government in obstinate resistance to all reform, but in inducing
     it gradually to assimilate its institutions, and, what is even
     more important than institutions, the temper and spirit of its
     administration, to those of the free communities of South Africa,
     such as this Colony or the Orange Free State. That is the
     direction in which a peaceful way out of these inveterate
     troubles, which have now plagued this country for more than
     thirty years, is to be found."[36]

         [Footnote 36: _Cape Times_, March 4th, 1898.]

Here was a bolt from the blue! All South Africa stood to attention. No
such authoritative and inspiring utterance had come from the High
Commissioners for South Africa since Frere had been recalled, now
eighteen years ago. The Afrikander nationalists saw that their action
and policy were exposed to the scrutiny of a penetrating intellect,
and grew uneasy.

The position which Lord Milner had taken up was impregnable. What is
the good of your loyalty, he said in effect to the Cape Dutch, if you
refuse to help us in the one thing needful? And this the one thing of
all others the justice of which you Afrikanders should feel--that the
Transvaal should "assimilate its institutions ... and the tone and
temper of its administration, to those of the free communities of
South Africa such as this Colony and the Orange Free State."

The impact of these words was tremendous. The weight behind them was
the weight of inevitable truth.

A week later Mr. J. X. Merriman wrote to President Steyn to beg him to
urge President Krüger to be careful. Under date March 11th, 1898, he

     "You will, no doubt, have seen both Sir Alfred Milner's speech at
     Graaf Reinet and the reported interview with Mr. Rhodes in _The
     Cape Times_. Through both there runs a note of thinly veiled
     hostility to the Transvaal and the uneasy menace of trouble

     "Yet one cannot conceal the fact that the greatest danger to the
     future lies in the attitude of President Krüger and his vain hope
     of building up a State on a foundation of a narrow, unenlightened
     minority, and his obstinate rejection of all prospect of using
     the materials which lie ready to his hand to establish a true
     Republic on a broad Liberal basis. The report of recent
     discussions in the Volksraad on his finances and their
     mismanagement fill one with apprehension. Such a state of affairs
     cannot last. It must break down from inherent rottenness, and it
     will be well if the fall does not sweep away the freedom of all
     of us.

     "I write in no hostility to republics; my own feelings are all in
     the opposite direction.... Humanly speaking, the advice and
     good-will of the Free State is the only thing that stands between
     the South African Republic and a catastrophe."[37]

         [Footnote 37: Cd. 369.]

[Sidenote: Sprigg and the Bond.]

Still more striking and salutary was the effect produced upon the
British population in the Cape Colony. All who were not utterly abased
by the yoke of Bond domination stood upright. Those whose spirit had
been cowed by the odium of the Raid took heart. Never had the
essential morality of England's dealings with the Dutch been
vindicated more triumphantly. The moral right of the Power which had
done justice to the Dutch in its own borders to require the Dutch to
do justice to the British within the borders of the Republic was
unassailable. We have noticed before how in the year 1897 the
different sections of the British population were manifesting a
tendency to draw closer together. After the Graaf Reinet speech this
movement rapidly developed into a general determination to challenge
the long domination of the Bond. It had been recognised for some time
past that the recent and considerable growth of the urban population
of the Colony, which was mainly British, had not been accompanied by
any corresponding increase in the number of its parliamentary
representatives. In February (1898), the anomalous condition of the
Cape electoral system was brought before the Ministry. The
indignation caused by the dismissal of Chief Justice Kotzé, and the
growing evidence of President Krüger's determination to ride
rough-shod over the British population in the Transvaal, contributed
to unite the Colonial British of all sections, with the exception of
the one or two men who were wholly identified with the Bond, in the
common aim of obtaining a fair representation for the chief centres of
British population in the Cape Colony; and the practically solid
British party thus formed adopted the title of "Progressives." The
Ministry knew, of course, that any such measure would be displeasing
to Mr. Hofmeyr; but Sir Gordon Sprigg, being now assured of the almost
united support of the British members in the Colonial Parliament,
resolved to bring forward a Redistribution Bill. The draft Bill was
approved by the Executive Council on May 13th, and Dr. Te Water, Mr.
Hofmeyr's representative in the Ministry, thereupon resigned.[38]

         [Footnote 38: He was succeeded in the Colonial Secretaryship
         by Dr. Smartt, a former member of the Bond, but now a
         Progressive, and at the same time Sir Thomas Upington, who
         had resigned from ill-health, was succeeded by Mr. T.
         Lynedoch Graham, as Attorney-General.]

[Sidenote: Redistribution.]

Sir Gordon Sprigg had now done a thing unprecedented in the
parliamentary history of the Cape Colony in the last fifteen years. He
had defied the Bond. He knew that the Bond was quite able to turn his
Ministry out of Office. But he had made up his mind, in this event, to
throw in his lot with the Progressive party, of which Mr. Rhodes was
the actual chief. Mr. Hofmeyr did not leave him long in doubt. On the
resignation of Dr. Te Water all the Bond artillery was at once turned
on to the Ministry. On May 31st Mr. Schreiner gave notice of a vote of
"no confidence." It was put off until June 13th, and in the meantime
the second reading of the Redistribution Bill was met by the "previous
question" moved by Mr. Theron, the Chairman of the Provincial Council
of the Bond. No attempt was made, either in Parliament or in the
Press, to conceal the fact that, under the question of redistribution,
wider and more momentous issues were at stake. The counts in the
Bond's indictment of the Ministry, as set out in _Ons Land_, were (1)
its Imperialist tendencies as evidenced by the proposed gift of a
warship to the British Navy; and (2) its lack of sympathy with the
South African Republic. Against these crimes it had nothing to place,
except that it had permitted the employment of the captured Bechuanas,
as indentured labourers[39]--its sole merit, in the opinion of the
Bond journal. _The Cape Times_, on the other hand, declared with equal
frankness that the real point to be decided was, whether the interests
of President Krüger and the South African Republic, or those of the
Cape Colony, as part of the British Empire, had the greater claim upon
the Government and Parliament of the Colony. And Mr. Schreiner, when,
on June 13th, he introduced the "no confidence" motion, asked the
House to condemn the Ministry on the ground that it had not shown any
"sympathy" with, or made any "conciliatory approach" towards, the
"sister Republic." On Monday, June 20th, the second reading of the
Redistribution Bill was carried by a majority of seven, but two days
later, June 22nd, the Ministry found itself in a minority of five on
Mr. Schreiner's motion of "no confidence."[40] In these circumstances
Sir Gordon Sprigg determined not to resign, but to appeal to the
electorate--a course justified by constitutional usage--and Parliament
was dissolved.

         [Footnote 39: These were prisoners taken in the suppression
         of the revolt in Bechuanaland in 1897.]

         [Footnote 40: The little group of six, of which Sir James
         Innes was the head--including Sir R. Solomon and four
         others--voted _with_ the Ministry for the Redistribution
         Bill, but _against_ it on the "no confidence" motion (with
         the exception of Sir James himself). Also one moderate
         Bondsman voted for "redistribution," but went against the
         Ministry on the "no confidence" motion.]

[Sidenote: The general election, 1898.]

The election which ensued was fought with great determination and no
little bitterness. Both the Progressive party and the Bond were
supplied with ample funds; the former had the purse of Mr. Rhodes and
other Englishmen to draw upon, while the latter was subsidised by
President Krüger and his agents from the revenues of the
Transvaal.[41] Mr. Schreiner's election utterances were studiously
moderate; indeed, his letter of thanks to the electors of the
Malmesbury division, by whom he was returned to Parliament, contained
a reference to "the noble empire which was theirs, and to which they
belonged." But such pronouncements by no means represented the
sentiment of the party with which he had identified himself. The
objects of the Afrikander party, as presented in their most attractive
form by _Ons Land_, were to overthrow Rhodes and all his works, to
oppose the "Chartered clique" and "the influence of Mammon in
politics," and to secure a "pure administration" and "the cultivation
of friendly relations with the neighbouring states:" in other words,
to give every possible encouragement to the Transvaal in the
diplomatic struggle with Great Britain. The Dutch press in general
preached the creed of Afrikander nationalism without disguise. The
under-current of anti-British feeling which prevailed among the Dutch
population may be understood from the fact that the following frank
appeal from a republican nationalist to the Cape Afrikanders was
published in the columns of _Ons Land_:

         [Footnote 41: Mr. Rhodes was opposed at Barkly West by a
         candidate financed from Pretoria.]

     "When one considers the state of affairs in the Cape Colony, it
     must be confessed the future does not appear too rosy. The
     majority of the Afrikander nation in the Cape Colony still go
     bent under the English yoke. The free section of the two
     Republics is very small compared to that portion subject to the
     stranger, and, whatever may be our private opinion, one thing at
     least is certain, namely, that without the assistance of the Cape
     Colonial Afrikanders the Afrikander cause is lost. The two
     Republics by themselves, surrounded as they are by the stranger
     [_i.e._ British] are unable to continue the fight. One day the
     question of who is to be master will have to be referred to the
     arbitrament of the sword, and then the verdict will depend upon
     the Cape Colonial Afrikanders. If they give evidence on our side
     we shall win. It does not help a brass farthing to mince matters.
     This is the real point at issue; and in this light every
     Afrikander must learn to see it. And what assistance can we
     expect from Afrikanders in the Cape Colony?... The vast majority
     of them (Afrikanders) are still faithful, and will even gird on
     the sword when God's time comes."[42]

         [Footnote 42: As translated in _South Africa_, October 15th,

At the same period the Dutch Reformed Church in the Colony had become
what was, to all intents and purposes, a vehicle for the advocacy of
rebellion. The manner in which the principles of Afrikander
nationalism were combined with religious doctrine may be gathered from
certain extracts from the _Studenten Blad_ of the Theological Seminary
of Burghersdorp, which were translated and published by _The Albert
Times_. The passage following appeared on May 26th, 1899; and by
November 16th the Seminary was closed, since the bulk of the students
had at that date joined the Boer forces:

[Sidenote: Anti-british sentiment.]

     "Must we love this people [the English] who robbed our ancestors
     of their freedom, who forced them to leave a land dear to them as
     their heart's blood--a people that followed our fathers to the
     new fatherland which they had bought with their blood and
     snatched from the barbarians, and again threatened their freedom?
     Our fathers fought with the courage of despair, and retook the
     land with God's aid and with their blood. But England is not
     satisfied. Again is our freedom threatened by the same people,
     and not only our freedom, but our language, our nationality, our
     religion! Must we surrender everything, and disown our fathers? I
     cannot agree with this. The thought is hateful to me--the thought
     of trampling on the bodies of our fathers as we extend the hand
     of friendship to those who have slain our fathers in an
     unrighteous quarrel.... But some may say that the Bible teaches
     us to love our enemies. I think, however, that the text cannot be
     here applied. Race hatred is something quite distinct from
     personal enmity. When I meet an Englishman as a private
     individual I must regard him as my fellow-creature; if, however,
     I meet him as an Englishman, then I, as an Afrikander, must
     regard him as the enemy of my nation and my religion--as a wolf
     that is endeavouring to creep into the fold. This is the chief
     reason why we must regard them as our enemies; they are the
     enemies of our religion."

At the beginning of September, when the bulk of the elections were
over, 40 Afrikander members and 36 Progressives had been returned.
Three seats remained to be filled. Mr. Rhodes, who had been returned
both for Barkly West and Namaqualand, decided to sit for the former
constituency, and the decision of the Bond to contest the seat thus
vacated caused a delay in the new election for Namaqualand. The return
of the two representatives of the Vryburg division was not to take
place until the 15th. As all three constituencies were expected to
elect Progressives--an expectation which was fulfilled--the result of
the general election was to give the Bond a bare majority of one, and
this in spite of the fact that a considerably larger total of votes
had been cast for the Progressive than for the Bond candidates.[43]

         [Footnote 43: In a house of 79, 40 Afrikander and 39
         Progressive members were returned. A very careful and
         reliable calculation showed that, of an aggregate of 82,304
         votes polled, 44,403 were cast for Progressive, and 37,901
         for Afrikander candidates. More than this, while no
         Progressive member was returned by a majority of less than
         137, three Afrikanders won their seats by respective
         majorities, of two, ten, and twenty. The Progressives,
         therefore, were entitled, on their aggregate vote, to a
         majority of six.]

[Sidenote: Milner's impartiality.]

These somewhat unusual circumstances gave rise to an incident which is
significant of the absolute impartiality with which Lord Milner
discharged the duties of his office as constitutional Governor of the
Cape Colony. In view of the circumstance that the Progressives had
polled a majority of the electorate, although they were actually in a
minority in the Assembly, Mr. Rhodes was of opinion that the Ministry
should remain in office, and postpone the meeting of Parliament until
the Namaqualand election had been held. He believed, further, that in
the period of grace thus obtained it would be found possible to induce
one or other of the Bond members to change sides, and thereby put the
Ministry again in a majority. The immediate obstacle to the execution
of this plan of action was the necessity of obtaining "supply." The
partial appropriation made by Parliament before the dissolution was
exhausted, and the only method by which funds could be provided
without the authority of Parliament was the issue of Governor's
warrants on the Treasury. Lord Milner was willing to sign warrants to
enable the Ministry to carry on the administration during the
unavoidable interval between the exhaustion of the last appropriation
and the commencement of the new session. But, in view of the
constitutional principle that no ministry which cannot obtain supply
is justified in remaining in office, he absolutely refused to issue
warrants for any longer period. He held, moreover, that as the
Namaqualand election was a bye-election, the new Parliament would be
completed, and therefore competent to transact business, so soon as
the two members for Vryburg had been duly returned. Lord Milner was,
no doubt, aware that the Sprigg Ministry would have had a fair
prospect of retaining office if Mr. Rhodes had been allowed time to
put his tactics into effect. On the other hand, he can scarcely have
failed to observe that there was another aspect of the question. A
loyalist ministry, by showing an undue desire to cling to office, with
or without the employment of questionable political methods, would run
the risk of alienating the more scrupulous of the British members, and
of failing to obtain the support of the moderate Afrikander, who might
otherwise have been won to the Progressive and Imperialist side. But,
as Governor of the Colony, he refused to allow any considerations of
party interest, on this or on any subsequent occasion, to influence
his judgment. While he conceived it to be his duty to give advice and
criticism to public men of all shades of political opinion, he showed
himself inexorably opposed to the thought of straining his
constitutional powers in the slightest degree for the benefit of one
side or the other.[44] Accordingly provision for the expenses of
administration was made by Governor's warrants up to September 30th,
and on the day following the Vryburg election (September 16th), a
proclamation summoning Parliament for October 7th was issued.

         [Footnote 44: Mr. Rhodes had obtained an interview with Lord
         Milner for the purpose of laying his views before him. But,
         it is said, the unwonted sternness of the Governor's
         expression at once convinced him of the hopelessness of his
         mission; and he withdrew without any attempt to argue his
         case. As Rhodes was a man of great personal magnetism, the
         incident is not without significance.]

[Sidenote: Schreiner, prime minister.]

On October 11th the Government was again defeated on a vote of "no
confidence" by a majority of two.[45] On the 17th the House assembled
with an Afrikander Ministry formed by Mr. Schreiner. In addition to
the Premier it contained Dr. Te Water and Mr. Herholdt, both members
of the Bond; Messrs. Merriman and Sauer, who were now in close
association with the Bond; and Mr. (now Sir) Richard Solomon. The
latter, who had been defeated in the general election, was provided
with a seat upon his accepting office as Attorney-General. The
Progressives continued to be led in opposition by Sir Gordon Sprigg.
Mr. (now Sir) James Rose Innes was returned as an "independent," since
he had found himself unable to work in association with a party in
which Mr. Rhodes had a dominant influence. The new Ministry was not
strong enough to resist the continued demand of the Progressives for a
measure of electoral reform; but the Redistribution Bill, as now
passed, took the form of a compromise so disastrous to the British
population that the Bond majority was increased to eight by the new
elections held in April, 1899.[46]

         [Footnote 45: Both sides were one short of their full
         strength, but a Progressive, Dr. (now Sir William) Berry, was
         chosen Speaker of the House.]

         [Footnote 46: The second reading of the Navy Contribution
         Bill, giving effect to Sir Gordon Sprigg's pledge, was
         carried on December 2nd, 1898, without a division.]

Mr. Chamberlain's policy, as we have seen, was based upon the belief
that it was possible to win over the Dutch in the Cape Colony and the
Free State to the side of the Imperial Government. But here, in
October, 1898, was an Afrikander ministry in power in the Cape Colony
pledged to prevent the intervention of the Imperial Government in the
affairs of the Transvaal. From that moment the issue became more and
more one not of right, but of might. In the Free State, as we have
seen, what was virtually an offensive and defensive alliance with the
northern Republic had been ratified by the Volksraad. In the Transvaal
the work of armament was proceeding apace, and Dr. Leyds had been
despatched to Europe, as Envoy Extraordinary of the Republic, with
authority and funds calculated to enable him to enlist the active
sympathy of the Continental powers on behalf of the Pretoria
Executive. His place as State Secretary had been filled, in July, by
Mr. Reitz, the former President of the Free State, and one of the
actual founders of the Afrikander Bond; and Mr. Smuts, a younger and
even more enthusiastic believer in the nationalist creed, was
appointed to the office of State Attorney.[47] With the exception of
Rhodesia and Natal and the native territories immediately under the
control of the Imperial Government, the Afrikander nationalists
dominated the whole of South Africa. Nor is it surprising that, in
these circumstances, the tone of the communications passing between
the Transvaal Government and the paramount Power should have become
increasingly unsatisfactory.[48]

         [Footnote 47: The State-Secretaryship was offered first to
         Mr. Abraham Fischer, of the Free State, by whom it was
         declined (_Memoirs of Paul Krüger_, vol. ii., p. 297). The
         Cape Afrikanders desired the appointment of Mr. Smuts.]

         [Footnote 48: On May 7th, 1897, President Krüger had formally
         requested the Imperial Government to allow all questions at
         issue between the two Governments under the Convention to be
         submitted to the arbitration of the President of the Swiss
         Republic. To this proposal Mr. Chamberlain replied, on
         October 10th, that the relationship of Great Britain to the
         South African Republic being that of a suzerain Power, it
         would be impossible for the Imperial Government to permit the
         intervention of a foreign Power. On April 16th, 1898, in a
         despatch embodying the legal opinions of Mr. Farelly,
         President Krüger claims that the South African Republic is an
         independent State, and denies the existence of any
         "suzerainty" on the part of Great Britain. In forwarding this
         despatch Lord Milner made the apposite comment that the
         propriety of employing the term suzerainty to express the
         rights possessed by Great Britain is an "etymological
         question," and Mr. Chamberlain, replying on December 15th,
         accepts President Krüger's declaration that he is willing to
         abide by the articles of the Convention, reasserts the claim
         of suzerainty, declines to allow foreign arbitration, and
         demands the immediate fulfilment of Article IV. In a despatch
         of May 9th, 1899, Mr. Reitz asserts that the Republic is "a
         sovereign international State"; and on June 13th Mr.
         Chamberlain replies that he has no intention of continuing
         the discussion.]

[Sidenote: Milner's visit to England.]

In the (English) winter of 1898-9 Lord Milner paid a visit to England.
Sir William Greene, who had left Pretoria on a holiday on June 29th,
was also at home during the same period. Lord Milner's visit was due
in part to the necessity for medical treatment;[49] but, in any case,
it had become desirable that he should be able to communicate fully to
Mr. Chamberlain the grave views which he had formed on the South
African situation. He left for England on November 2nd, landed on the
19th, sailed on January 28th, and reached Capetown again on February
14th. During the whole of the two months that he was in England he was
engaged in an endeavour to impress upon Mr. Chamberlain, and everybody
else with whom he could converse, that the existing state of affairs
was one which, if allowed to remain unchanged, would end in the loss
of South Africa.

         [Footnote 49: Owing to a slight affection of the eye.]

During nineteen months of close observation and earnest, patient
study, Lord Milner had grasped the situation in its completeness. What
he saw was the demoralising effect of the spectacle of the Dutch
ruling in the Cape Colony, and the British being tyrannised over in
the Transvaal. Looking at South Africa as a whole, there was the fact,
as indisputable as it was grotesque, that the British inhabitant was
in a position of distinct inferiority to the Dutch; and this although
the Cape and Natal were British colonies, while the Transvaal and the
Free State were states subject to the authority of Great Britain as
paramount Power. It was an impossible position. What Lord Milner urged
upon the Imperial Government was the plain necessity of putting an end
to an intolerable state of things which showed no capacity of righting
itself; of pressing for justice to the British population of the
Transvaal, with an absolute determination to obtain it. That such a
policy might result in war, he knew; though neither he nor any one
else realised, in the beginning of 1899, how near war actually was.
The reliance of the Transvaal oligarchy on the Orange Free State, now
bound to them by a formal alliance, and on the party of the Bond now
in power at the Cape, might tempt them to resist even the most
moderate demands. But Milner no doubt hoped that, if the British
Government grasped the nettle firmly, and, while treating the
Transvaal with all possible diplomatic courtesy, yet left no doubt
whatever of its inflexible resolution, war might still be avoided. And
in any case he felt that there was no option for the British
Government but to take up the case of the Transvaal British, if a
shred of respect for the power and name of Britain was to be preserved
in South Africa. To embark on such a policy involved two dangers: the
danger of war, and what in Milner's eyes was perhaps even greater,
the danger that, by advancing just claims and then, letting ourselves
be "bluffed" out of them, we might yet further lessen, and indeed
totally destroy, what hold we still possessed upon the affection of
the South African British or on the respect either of British or
Dutch. In the light of past experience the second danger may well have
seemed to him the greater of the two. But, with perils on both hands,
he still felt that there was nothing for it but to go forward, to make
one supreme effort to save a situation which was rapidly becoming a
hopeless one. To have remained quiescent, with the forces which were
gradually edging us out of the Sub-Continent growing on every side,
could only have ended in the overthrow, or at best, the euthanasia of
British dominion in South Africa.

[Sidenote: His verdict.]

It was in the course of this visit that Lord Milner realised the
magnitude of the task that lay before him. To save England in spite of
herself; to keep South Africa a part of the Empire in spite of
ignorance at home, in the teeth of an armed Republic and an Afrikander
ministry, required not merely an iron will and mastership in
statecraft, but a reasoned and unfaltering belief in the justice of
the British cause. "Certainly I engaged in that struggle with all my
might," he said long afterwards in his farewell speech at
Johannesburg, "because I was, from head to foot, one mass of glowing
conviction of the rightness of our cause."



Upon his return Lord Milner found that the storm clouds had gathered
in the Transvaal. In a despatch of January 13th, 1899, Mr. Chamberlain
had informed the Pretoria Executive that the proposed extension of the
dynamite contract in its new form (_i.e._ as, in effect, a "privileged
importation by one firm," although nominally "a State undertaking")
was held by the law officers of the Crown to be as much a violation of
the Convention as the original monopoly, which had been cancelled on
the representations of the Imperial Government in 1892. Mr. Reitz's
reply, which Lord Milner transmitted to the Colonial Office not long
after his arrival at Capetown, was a blunt assertion that, in the
opinion of his Government, the Imperial Government had no right to
interfere. But in the meantime the whole question of the position of
the British residents in the Transvaal had been raised directly by the
agitation which had arisen out of the shooting of Edgar at
Johannesburg on December 18th, 1898.[50] This event was followed by
the petition for protection, which Sir William Butler (who was
General-in-Command, and during Lord Milner's absence Acting High
Commissioner) refused to transmit to the Secretary of State (January
4th, 1899); by the arrest of Messrs. Webb and Dodd and the breaking up
of the Amphitheatre meeting (January 14th); by the attempt of the
Pretoria Executive to buy off the capitalists (February 27th-April
14th); by the presentation of the second petition to the Queen (March
24th); by the agitation on the Rand in favour of the reforms for which
it prayed; and lastly by the public meetings held in the Cape Colony
and Natal for, and against, the intervention of the Imperial

         [Footnote 50: "On the Sunday night before Christmas, a
         British subject named Tom Jackson Edgar was shot dead in his
         own house by a Boer policeman. Edgar, who was a man of
         singularly fine physique, and both able and accustomed to
         take care of himself, was returning home at about midnight,
         when one of three men standing by, who, as it afterwards
         transpired, was both ill and intoxicated, made an offensive
         remark. Edgar resented it with a blow which dropped the other
         insensible to the ground. The man's friends called for the
         police, and Edgar, meanwhile, entered his own house a few
         yards off. There was no attempt at concealment or escape;
         Edgar was an old resident and perfectly well known. Four
         policemen came.... The fact, however, upon which all
         witnesses agree is that, as the police burst open the door,
         Constable Jones [there are scores of Boers unable to speak a
         word of English who, nevertheless, own very characteristic
         English, Scotch, and Irish names] fired at Edgar and dropped
         him dead in the arms of his wife, who was standing in the
         passage a foot or so behind him."--FITZPATRICK'S _The
         Transvaal from Within_.]

         [Footnote 51: For particulars of these events the reader is
         referred to _The Transvaal from Within_.]

[Sidenote: The Uitlanders' petition.]

Within three months of his return Lord Milner cabled the masterly
statement in which he endorsed the petition of the Uitlanders[52] with
the memorable words: "The case for intervention is overwhelming."
Like the Graaf Reinet speech, this despatch of May 4th was written at
white heat, but the opinions which it expressed were in no less a
degree the mature and measured judgments of a mind fully informed upon
every detail germane to the issue. So much is this the fact that all
that is essential for the full comprehension of the second Reform
Movement at Johannesburg--the salient features of which have been
outlined above--is to be found within the limits of this brief and
notable State document:

         [Footnote 52: The petition, with its 21,684 signatures,
         reached Lord Milner through Sir W. (then Mr.) Greene, the
         British Agent at Pretoria, on March 27th. It was forwarded by
         the High Commissioner to England in the mail of March 29th.
         The same ship, the _Carisbrook Castle_, carried Dr. Leyds,
         who was returning to Europe after a visit to Pretoria. Sir W.
         Greene had returned to South Africa in the same ship with
         Lord Milner (February 14th), and had stayed at Government
         Cottage (Newlands) with him for some days, discussing
         Transvaal matters, before proceeding to Pretoria on February

[Sidenote: The intervention despatch.]

     "Having regard to the critical character of the South African
     situation and the likelihood of an early reply by Her Majesty's
     Government to the Petition, I am telegraphing remarks which under
     ordinary circumstances I should have made by despatch. Events of
     importance have followed so fast on each other since my return to
     South Africa, and my time has been so occupied in dealing with
     each incident severally, that I have had no time for reviewing
     the whole position.

     "The present crisis undoubtedly arises out of the Edgar incident.
     But that incident merely precipitated a struggle which was
     certain to come. It is possible to make too much of the killing
     of Edgar. It was a shocking and, in my judgment, a criminal
     blunder, such as would have caused a popular outcry anywhere. It
     was made much worse by the light way in which it was first dealt
     with by the Public Prosecutor and then by the judge at the
     trial. By itself, however, it would not have justified, nor, in
     fact, provoked the present storm. But it happened to touch a
     particularly sore place. There is no grievance which rankles more
     in the breasts of the Uitlander population than the conduct of
     the police, who, while they have proved singularly incompetent to
     deal with gross scandals like the illicit liquor trade, are harsh
     and arbitrary in their treatment of individuals whom they happen
     to dislike, as must have become evident to you from the recurrent
     ill-treatment of coloured people. There are absolutely no grounds
     for supposing that the excitement which the death of Edgar caused
     was factitious. It has been laid to the door of the South African
     League, but the officials of the League were forced into action
     by Edgar's fellow-workmen. And, the consideration of grievances
     once started by the police grievance, it was inevitable that the
     smouldering but profound discontent of the population who
     constantly find their affairs mismanaged, their protests
     disregarded, and their attitude misunderstood, by a Government on
     which they have absolutely no means of exercising any influence,
     should once more break into flame.

     "We have, therefore, simply to deal with a popular movement of a
     similar kind to that of 1894 and 1895 before it was perverted and
     ruined by a conspiracy of which the great body of the Uitlanders
     were totally innocent. None of the grievances then complained of,
     and which then excited universal sympathy, have been remedied,
     and others have been added. The case is much stronger. It is
     impossible to overlook the tremendous change for the worse, which
     has been effected by the lowering of the status of the High Court
     of Judicature and by the establishment of the principle embodied
     in the new draft Grondwet that any resolution of the Volksraad
     is equivalent to a law. The instability of the laws has always
     been one of the most serious grievances. The new Constitution
     provides for their permanent instability, the judges being bound
     by their oath to accept every Volksraad resolution as equally
     binding with a law passed in the regular form, and with the
     provisions of the Constitution itself. The law prescribing this
     oath is one of which the present Chief Justice said that no
     self-respecting man could sit on the Bench while it was on the
     Statute Book. Formerly the foreign population, however bitterly
     they might resent the action of the Legislature and of the
     Administration, had yet confidence in the High Court of
     Judicature. It cannot be expected that they should feel the same
     confidence to-day. Seeing no hope in any other quarter, a number
     of Uitlanders who happen to be British subjects have addressed a
     petition to Her Majesty the Queen. I have already expressed my
     opinion of its substantial genuineness and the absolute _bona
     fides_ of its promoters. But the petition is only one proof among
     many of the profound discontent of the unenfranchised population,
     who are a great majority of the white inhabitants of the State."

     "The public meeting of the 14th January was indeed broken up by
     workmen, many of them poor burghers, in the employment of the
     Government and instigated by Government officials, and it is
     impossible at present to hold another meeting of a great size.
     Open-air meetings are prohibited by law, and by one means or
     another all large public buildings have been rendered
     unavailable. But smaller meetings are being held almost nightly
     along the Rand, and are unanimous in their demand for
     enfranchisement. The movement is steadily growing in force and

[Sidenote: The movement not artificial.]

     "With regard to the attempt to represent that movement as
     artificial, the work of scheming capitalists or professional
     agitators, I regard it as a wilful perversion of the truth. The
     defenceless people who are clamouring for a redress of grievances
     are doing so at great personal risk. It is notorious that many
     capitalists regard political agitation with disfavour because of
     its effect on the markets. It is equally notorious that the
     lowest class of Uitlanders, and especially the illicit liquor
     dealers, have no sympathy whatever with the cause of reform.
     Moreover, there are in all classes a considerable number who only
     want to make money and clear out, and who, while possibly
     sympathising with reform, feel no great interest in a matter
     which may only concern them temporarily. But a very large and
     constantly increasing proportion of the Uitlanders are not birds
     of passage; they contemplate a long residence in the country, or
     to make it their permanent home. These people are the mainstay of
     the reform movement as they are of the prosperity of the country.
     They would make excellent citizens if they had the chance.

     "A busy industrial community is not naturally prone to political
     unrest. But they bear the chief burden of taxation; they
     constantly feel in their business and daily lives the effects of
     chaotic local legislation and of incompetent and unsympathetic
     administration; they have many grievances, but they believe all
     these could gradually be removed if they had only a fair share of
     political power. This is the meaning of their vehement demand for
     enfranchisement. Moreover, they are mostly British subjects,
     accustomed to a free system and equal rights; they feel deeply
     the personal indignity involved in a position of permanent
     subjection to the ruling caste, which owes its wealth and power
     to their exertion. The political turmoil in the Transvaal
     Republic will never end till the permanent Uitlander population
     is admitted to a share in the government, and while that turmoil
     lasts there will be no tranquillity or adequate progress in Her
     Majesty's South African dominions.

     "The relations between the British Colonies and the two Republics
     are intimate to a degree which one must live in South Africa in
     order fully to realise. Socially, economically, ethnologically,
     they are all one country. The two principal white races are
     everywhere inextricably mixed up; it is absurd for either to
     dream of subjugating the other. The only condition on which they
     can live in harmony, and the country progress, is equality all
     round. South Africa can prosper under two, three, or six
     Governments; but not under two absolutely conflicting social and
     political systems--perfect equality for Dutch and British in the
     British Colonies side by side with the permanent subjection of
     the British to the Dutch in one of the Republics. It is idle to
     talk of peace and unity under such a state of affairs.

     "It is this which makes the internal condition of the Transvaal
     Republic a matter of vital interest to Her Majesty's Government.
     No merely local question affects so deeply the welfare and peace
     of her own South African possessions. And the right of Great
     Britain to intervene to secure fair treatment to the Uitlanders
     is fully equal to her supreme interest in securing it. The
     majority of them are her subjects, whom she is bound to protect.
     But the enormous number of British subjects, the endless series
     of their grievances, and the nature of those grievances, which
     are not less serious because they are not individually
     sensational, makes protection by the ordinary diplomatic means
     impossible. We are, as you know, for ever remonstrating about
     this, that, and the other injury to British subjects. Only in
     rare cases, and only when we are very emphatic, do we obtain any
     redress. The sore between us and the Transvaal Republic is thus
     inevitably kept up, while the result in the way of protection to
     our subjects is lamentably small. For these reasons it has been,
     as you know, my constant endeavour to reduce the number of our
     complaints. I may sometimes have abstained when I ought to have
     protested from my great dislike of ineffectual nagging. But I
     feel that the attempt to remedy the hundred-and-one wrongs
     springing from a hopeless system by taking up isolated cases, is
     perfectly vain. It may easily lead to war, but will never lead to
     real improvement."

[Sidenote: Enfranchisement the remedy.]

     "The true remedy is to strike at the root of all these
     injuries--the political impotence of the injured. What diplomatic
     protests will never accomplish, a fair measure of Uitlander
     representation would gradually but surely bring about. It seems a
     paradox, but it is true, that the only effective way of
     protecting our subjects is to help them to cease to be our
     subjects. The admission of the Uitlanders to a fair share of
     political power would no doubt give stability to the Republic.
     But it would, at the same time, remove most of our causes of
     difference with it, and modify and, in the long run, entirely
     remove that intense suspicion and bitter hostility to Great
     Britain which at present dominates its internal and external

     "The case for intervention is overwhelming. The only attempted
     answer is that things will right themselves if left alone. But,
     in fact, the policy of leaving things alone has been tried for
     years, and it has led to their going from bad to worse. It is not
     true that this is owing to the Raid. They were going from bad to
     worse before the Raid. We were on the verge of war before the
     Raid, and the Transvaal was on the verge of revolution. The
     effect of the Raid has been to give the policy of leaving things
     alone a new lease of life, and with the old consequences.

     "The spectacle of thousands of British subjects kept permanently
     in the position of helots, constantly chafing under undoubted
     grievances, and calling vainly to Her Majesty's Government for
     redress, does steadily undermine the influence and reputation of
     Great Britain, and the respect for the British Government within
     the Queen's dominions. A certain section of the Press, not in the
     Transvaal only, preaches openly and constantly the doctrine of a
     republic embracing all South Africa, and supports it by menacing
     references to the armaments of the Transvaal, its alliance with
     the Orange Free State, and the active sympathy which, in case of
     war, it would receive from a section of Her Majesty's subjects. I
     regret to say that this doctrine, supported as it is by a
     ceaseless stream of malignant lies about the intentions of the
     British Government, is producing a great effect upon a large
     number of our Dutch fellow-colonists. Language is frequently used
     which seems to imply that the Dutch have some superior right,
     even in this Colony, to their fellow-citizens of British birth.
     Thousands of men peacefully disposed, and, if left alone,
     perfectly satisfied with their position as British subjects, are
     being drawn into disaffection, and there is a corresponding
     exasperation on the side of the British.

     "I can see nothing which will put a stop to this mischievous
     propaganda but some striking proof of the intention of Her
     Majesty's Government not to be ousted from its position in South
     Africa. And the best proof alike of its power and its justice
     would be to obtain for the Uitlanders in the Transvaal a fair
     share in the government of the country which owes everything to
     their exertions. It could be made perfectly clear that our
     action was not directed against the existence of the Republic. We
     should only be demanding the re-establishment of rights which now
     exist in the Orange Free State, and which existed in the
     Transvaal itself at the time of, and long after, the withdrawal
     of British sovereignty. It would be no selfish demand, as other
     Uitlanders besides those of British birth would benefit by it. It
     is asking for nothing from others which we do not give ourselves.
     And it would certainly go to the root of the political unrest in
     South Africa, and, though temporarily it might aggravate, it
     would ultimately extinguish the race feud, which is the great
     bane of the country."[53]

         [Footnote 53: C. 9,345.]

It was Lord Milner's intention that the text of this despatch should
have been made public upon its receipt in England. It contained the
essential facts of the South African situation; and, what is more, it
exhibited with perfect frankness the connection between Dutch
ascendancy in the Cape Colony and Dutch tyranny in the Transvaal--a
matter which was very imperfectly understood. The circumstance that
these essential facts were before the British people, and, moreover,
the circumstance that President Krüger knew that they were before the
British people, would, he believed, greatly increase the effect of the
strong demand for reforms which the Imperial Government had determined
to address to the Pretoria Executive in response to the petition to
the Queen.

[Sidenote: Hofmeyr's intervention.]

Nor was he alone in this opinion. Mr. Hofmeyr knew that a despatch of
grave importance had gone home. He had gathered, no doubt, a fairly
accurate notion of its tenor from Mr. Schreiner, whom Lord Milner had
warned some time before of "the gravity of the situation."[54] It is
not going beyond the limits of probability to assume that the Master
of the Bond realised the effect which the publication of these plain
truths, backed by the authority of the High Commissioner, would
produce upon the mind of the English people, and that he thereupon
determined to take steps to prevent a turn of affairs which, as he
conceived, would be most unfavourable to the nationalist cause.
Surmises apart, it is certain, at least, that five days sufficed to
place Mr. Hofmeyr in a position to ask Lord Milner if he would
favourably consider an invitation to meet President Krüger in
conference at Bloemfontein; and that within three days more (May 12th)
a definite proposal to this effect had been made through the agency of
President Steyn and accepted by Mr. Chamberlain. Nor, is it any less
certain that, in view of the friendly discussion which was to take
place so soon, the Secretary of State decided to postpone the
publication of Lord Milner's despatch. This is the short history of
the Bloemfontein Conference. It was a counter-stroke dealt by one of
those "formidable personalities" of which Mr. Asquith spoke, and in
all respects worthy of Mr. Hofmeyr's statesmanship. Indeed, the
methods which he employed for paralysing the machinery of British
administration in South Africa were always subtle: infinitely more
subtle than those which Parnell adopted in the not very dissimilar
circumstances of the Home Rule campaign.

         [Footnote 54: C. 9,345. See forward, p. 155.]

The decision to postpone the publication of Lord Milner's despatch of
May 4th was a serious mistake, the injurious effect of which was felt
both at the Conference and afterwards. But before we observe the
incidents by which this central event was immediately preceded, it is
necessary to examine more fully the political environment in which
Lord Milner found himself established now that the April elections[55]
had given the Afrikander party an assured tenure of power, and, at the
same time, the moment had arrived for the Imperial Government to
fulfil the pledge given on February 4th, 1896, for the redress of the
"admitted grievances" of the Uitlanders.

         [Footnote 55: See p. 125.]

[Sidenote: The Bond and the ministry.]

The Schreiner Ministry was the agent of the Bond; it could not exist
for a day if the Bond withdrew its support. The Bond majority in the
Legislative Assembly had been returned by the Dutch inhabitants of the
Colony for the avowed purpose of preventing the intervention of the
Imperial Government in the affairs of the Transvaal. The Ministry and
its supporters had begun by ranging themselves definitely on the side
of the Transvaal. And, therefore, in all that was done by either
party from the Bloemfontein Conference to the Ultimatum, it followed,
_ex hypothesi_, that, in their opinion, the Transvaal was right, and
England was wrong. Twice, as we shall see, Mr. Schreiner, on behalf of
the Cape Ministry, hastened to declare publicly that the proposals of
the Transvaal were all that was satisfactory, before he even knew what
those proposals were. The Cape nationalists represented themselves as
"mediators." They had as little intention of mediating between the
Pretoria Executive and the British Government as a barrister, heavily
feed and primed with his client's case, has of mediating between his
client and his client's opponent at the hearing of a case in court.

But the Bond was "loyal." The Bond members of the Cabinet--T. Nicholas
German Te Water, and Albertus Johannes Herholdt, no less than William
Philip Schreiner, John Xavier Merriman, Jacobus Wilhelmus Sauer, and
Richard Solomon--had sworn, upon taking office, "to be faithful and
bear true allegiance to Her Majesty."

[Sidenote: The Schreiner ministry.]

The situation in which Lord Milner now found himself was thus one of
so extraordinary a character that it would be difficult to find a
parallel to it in the annals of our colonial administration. As High
Commissioner, he had advocated in the most emphatic terms the exercise
of the authority of Great Britain, as paramount Power, in the
Transvaal. As Governor of the Cape Colony, he was bound to administer
the affairs of the Colony in accordance with the advice tendered by
his ministers. And the advice which ministers were pledged to give him
was the direct opposite of that which he himself, as High
Commissioner, had given to the Imperial Government. To dismiss his
ministers--the alternative to accepting this advice--would have been
an extreme measure, to be justified only upon clear evidence that they
had failed in the duty which they, no less than he himself, owed to
the Crown. Whether Mr. Schreiner's Cabinet did so fail is a matter
that the reader must determine for himself; possibly it would be
difficult to show that, collectively or individually, the Cape
ministers did anything more injurious to British interests than was
done by the Liberal Opposition--again collectively or individually--in
England. One thing is certain: the action of the Afrikander Cabinet,
whether within or beyond the letter of its allegiance, lessened--and
was intended to lessen--the force of an effort on the part of the
Imperial Government, which might otherwise have averted the necessity
for war.

And here certain questions which will arise inevitably to the mind
that pursues the narrative of the next few months, must be
anticipated. What was the position of Mr. Schreiner? What was his real
standpoint, and what was his relationship to Lord Milner? How was it
that two Englishmen, Mr. Merriman and Sir (then Mr.) Richard Solomon,
came to be in this Afrikander Cabinet, and what were their respective
motives in thus associating themselves with the objects of the Bond?

[Sidenote: The prime minister.]

Mr. Philip Schreiner was the son of a German by birth, a missionary of
the London Missionary Society, who had married an Englishwoman, and
afterwards settled in the Orange Free State. He had himself married a
sister of Mr. F. W. Reitz, formerly President of the Free State, and
now State Secretary of the South African Republic. The Schreiner
family was remarkable for intellectual power. Of his sisters one is
the authoress of _The Story of an African Farm_, and a second, Mrs.
Lewis, like her brother Theophilus, was an active Imperialist and a
determined opponent of the Bond. Mr. Schreiner himself was educated at
the South African College at Capetown, and subsequently at Cambridge,
where he was placed first in the First Class of the Law Tripos, and
afterwards elected a Fellow of Downing. After a successful career at
the Cape Bar he was appointed Attorney-General in Mr. Rhodes's
Ministry, a position which he held at the time of the Raid. He was
prevented by his strong disapproval of the part then played by Mr.
Rhodes from joining the Progressive party; and, having accepted the
position of Parliamentary leader of the Bond, he had become, as we
have seen, Prime Minister through the Bond victory in the Cape General
Election of 1898. It is characteristic alike of Mr. Schreiner and of
his political position that the only word of sympathy with the British
connection, uttered from first to last during this election by the
Bond candidates or their supporters, was the conventional reference to
the greatness of the British Empire which, as we have noticed,
occurred in his address to the electors of Malmesbury. With these
political and social ties, Mr. Schreiner was compelled to be a South
African first and a British subject second. His is precisely the kind
of case where true allegiance can be expected only when a federal
constitution has been created for the Empire.

     "See," said Lord Milner, in his farewell speech at Johannesburg,
     "how such a consummation would solve, and, indeed, can alone
     solve, the most difficult and most persistent of the problems of
     South Africa; how it would unite its white races as nothing else
     can. The Dutch can never own a perfect allegiance merely to Great
     Britain. The British can never, without moral injury, accept
     allegiance to any body politic which excludes their motherland.
     But British and Dutch alike could, without loss of integrity,
     without any sacrifice of their several traditions, unite in loyal
     devotion to an empire-state, in which Great Britain and South
     Africa would be partners, and could work cordially together for
     the good of South Africa as a member of that greater whole."[56]

         [Footnote 56: _The Johannesburg Star_, April 1st, 1905.]

With Schreiner, and such as he, loyalty to the Crown was for the
moment the product of intellectual judgment or considerations of
policy. All, or almost all, the instinctive feelings, born of
pleasant associations with persons and places, which enter so largely
into the sentiment of patriotism seem to have drawn him, as they drew
his sister, Mrs. Cronwright-Schreiner, into sympathy with the cause of
Afrikander nationalism. What his view was upon the particular issue
now agitating South Africa may be gathered from an answer which he
gave to a question put to him by Mr. Chamberlain in the course of the
inquiry into the Raid (1897):

     MR. CHAMBERLAIN: I suppose your view is that the Imperial
     Government should adopt the same policy as the Cape Government,
     and should refrain from even friendly representations as not
     being calculated to advance the cause of the Uitlanders?

     MR. SCHREINER: Yes, decidedly, so far as purely internal concerns
     are concerned.[57]

         [Footnote 57: Proceedings of the Select Committee on British
         South Africa (Q. 4,385).]

In other words, Mr. Schreiner was a consistent and convinced opponent
of Imperial intervention. But there was a difference between his
motive and that of the Bond leaders. Schreiner desired to prevent
intervention, not because he did not recognise the justice of the
claims of the Uitlanders, but because he believed that the Imperial
Government was devoid of any right to intervene under the Conventions;
while, at the same time, his instinctive sympathy with the Afrikander
nationalists made him blind to the existence of any moral right of
interference that England might possess, as the Power responsible for
the well-being of South Africa as a whole. And so, partly by force of
environment and partly by a narrow and erroneous interpretation of the
principles of international law,[58] the Boer and Hollander oligarchy
in the Transvaal, with all its moral obliquity and administrative
incompetence, had become, as it were, a thing sacrosanct in his eyes.
Mr. Hofmeyr and the Bond leaders, on the other hand, desired to
prevent intervention because they were perfectly satisfied to see the
British Uitlanders in a position of political inferiority, and
perfectly content with the whole situation, the continuance of which,
as they knew, was directly calculated to bring about the supremacy of
the Dutch race in South Africa. Therefore Hofmeyr made no effort to
improve the state of affairs in the Transvaal until he saw the storm
bursting. And when, at a later stage, he set himself to work in
earnest to induce President Krüger to grant reforms, he did so to save
the cause of Afrikander nationalism and not to assist the British
Government in winning justice for the Uitlanders.

         [Footnote 58: For the position of Great Britain from the
         point of view of international law see some remarks in the
         note on page 580 (Chapter XII.).]

[Sidenote: Sir Richard Solomon.]

Sir Richard Solomon, who was a nephew of Saul Solomon, the prominent
radical politician chiefly instrumental in carrying the vote for
Responsible Government through the Legislative Council of the Cape
Colony (1872), was the leader of the Bar at Kimberley. His presence,
at first sight, formed a wholly incongruous element in such a
ministry. On the native question, in his fiscal views, as a supporter
of the Redistribution Bill, and in his sympathy with the Uitlanders,
he was in direct conflict with the characteristic principles of the
Bond. His one link with the Afrikander party was his distrust of
Rhodes; and in view of his unquestioned loyalty to the British
connection, his decision to join the Schreiner Ministry is probably to
be attributed to his personal friendship for the Prime Minister. On
the other hand, his ability, detachment from local parties, and the
respect which he commanded, made him a valuable asset to Mr.

[Sidenote: Messrs. Merriman and Sauer.]

Mr. Merriman, whose close political associate was Mr. Sauer, had twice
held office under Mr. Rhodes (1890-96); but his separation from
Rhodes, consequent upon the Raid, had thrown him into the arms of the
Bond. Some of the more striking incidents in Mr. Merriman's political
career have been already mentioned.[59] Fifteen years ago more
Imperialist than Rhodes, he was soon to show himself more Bondsman
than the Bond. Once the resolute, almost inspired, castigator of the
separatist aims of that organisation, he was now in close and
sympathetic association with the leaders of Afrikander nationalism in
the Republics and the Cape Colony. The denunciations of "capitalism"
and "capitalists" with which he now regaled his Afrikander allies, had
an ill savour in the mouth of the man who had tried to amalgamate the
Diamond Mines at Kimberley--failing where Rhodes and Beit afterwards
succeeded--and who, attracted by the magnet of gold discovery, for a
short time had acted as manager of the Langlaagte Estate and Mr. J. B.
Robinson's interests at Johannesburg. With political principles thus
unstable and a mind strangely sensitive to any emotional appeal, it is
not surprising that Mr. Merriman displayed the proverbial enthusiasm
of the convert in his new political creed. His original perception of
the imprudence and administrative incompetency of President Krüger's
_régime_ was rapidly obliterated by a growing partizanship, which in
turn gave place to an unreasoning sympathy with the Boer cause,
combined with a bitter antipathy against all who were concerned,
whether in a civil or military capacity, in giving effect to the
intervention of the Imperial Government on behalf of the British
industrial community in the Transvaal. Mr. J. W. Sauer was destined to
exhibit his political convictions in a manner so demonstrative that
his words and acts, as recorded in the sequel, will leave the reader
in no doubt as to the reality of his sympathy with the Boer and
Afrikander cause. For the moment, therefore, it is sufficient to
notice that, although he shared Mr. Merriman's present abhorrence of
"capitalism" and "capitalists," he was for many years of his life a
promoter and director of mining and other companies.

         [Footnote 59: See pp. 61, 69, and 93.]

Of the two Bondsmen in the Cabinet, Mr. Herholdt was a member of the
Legislative Council, and a Dutch farmer of moderate views and good
repute; while Dr. Te Water was the friend and confidant of Mr.
Hofmeyr, and, as such, the intermediary between the Bond and the
Afrikander nationalists in the Free State and in the Transvaal.

The Schreiner Cabinet was the velvet glove which covered the mailed
hand of Mr. Hofmeyr. Dr. Te Water had been Colonial Secretary in the
Sprigg Ministry up to the crisis of May, 1898. He was now "minister
without portfolio" in the Schreiner Ministry. His presence was the
sign and instrument of the domination of the Bond; and the domination
of the Bond was as yet the permanent and controlling factor in the
administration of the Colony under Responsible Government. The fact
that only two out of six members of the Ministry were Bondsmen, is to
be referred to the circumstance that the actual business of
administration had been hitherto mainly in the hands of a small group
of British colonial politicians, who were prepared to bid against each
other for the all-important support of the Dutch vote. With the
majority of these men, to be in office was an object for the
attainment of which they were prepared to make a considerable
sacrifice in respect of their somewhat elastic political principles.
The denial of political rights to the British population in the
Transvaal, by threatening the maintenance of British supremacy in
South Africa, had now for the first time created a British party in
the Cape Colony--the Progressives--strong enough to act in
independence of the Bond. The existence of this British party, not
only free from the Bond, but determined (although it was in a
minority) to challenge the Bond predominance, was a new phenomenon in
Cape politics. In itself it constituted an appreciable improvement
upon the previously existing state of affairs; since the British
population was thus no longer hopelessly weakened by being divided
into two parties of almost equal strength, nor were its leaders any
longer obliged to subordinate their regard for British interests to
the primary necessity of obtaining office by Bond support.

[Sidenote: Policy of the ministry.]

Mr. Schreiner's Ministry, however, in spite of a difference of motives
on the part of its individual members, was unanimous in its desire to
prevent that intervention of the Imperial Government for which, in
Lord Milner's judgment, there was "overwhelming" necessity. The idea
of inducing President Krüger to grant such a "colourable measure of
reform"[60] as would satisfy the Imperial Government, or at least
deprive it of any justification for interference by force of arms,
was in contemplation some months before the Bloemfontein Conference
took place. On January 1st, 1899, Mr. Merriman wrote to President
Steyn with this object in view. "Is there no opportunity," he
said,[61] "of bringing about a _rapprochement_ between us, in which
the Free State might play the part of honest broker? We, _i.e._, the
Colony and Free State, have common material interests in our railway,
apart from our anxiety to see the common welfare of South Africa
increase from the removal of the one great cause of unrest and the
pretext for outside interference."

         [Footnote 60: Mr. Merriman's expression. See his letter to
         Mr. Fischer at p. 161.]

         [Footnote 61: Cd. 369.]

And Lord Milner, very soon after his return from England, was sounded
by Mr. Schreiner as to the possibility of settling the franchise
question by means of a South African Conference. Early in March--when
Mr. Smuts was in Capetown, and the Pretoria Executive was engaged in
the abortive attempt to separate the leaders of the mining industry
from the rank and file of the Uitlander population by offering them
certain fiscal and industrial reforms, if only they would undertake to
discourage the agitation for political rights--the same subject was
brought before the High Commissioner by Mr. Merriman himself. In
pursuance of the real purpose of the Afrikander Ministry--_i.e._ to
obtain a fictitious concession from President Krüger, instead of the
"fair share in the government of the country" required by the
Imperial Government--it was proposed originally to exclude Lord Milner
altogether from the negotiations by arranging that the Transvaal
Government should bring forward proposals for reform at an inter-State
Conference consisting of representatives of the governments of the two
Republics and the self-governing British Colonies. But Lord Milner
was, happily, High Commissioner as well as Governor of the Cape. As
High Commissioner, he declared that at any such Conference the
Imperial Government must be separately represented. Neither the
Transvaal nor the Free State was willing to enter a Conference on
these terms, although they were acceptable to the Cape Government; and
the plan fell to the ground.

It was then that Mr. Hofmeyr intervened, in view of Lord Milner's
despatch of May 4th; and President Steyn, persuaded with dramatic
swiftness to accept the rôle of peace-maker, which his predecessor,
Sir John Brand, had played with such success in 1881, secured the
grudging consent of President Krüger to meet the High Commissioner at

[Sidenote: Hofmeyr's _tour de force_.]

The incidents which led to the accomplishment of Hofmeyr's _tour de
force_ are singularly instructive. Lord Milner's despatch was
telegraphed from Capetown about midday on May 4th. It was soon
apparent that there was a leakage, legitimate or illegitimate, from
the Colonial Office. On Saturday, the 6th, Mr. Schreiner received
warning telegrams from trusted sources in London, including "Hofmeyr's
best friends"; and on this day he wrote a letter to President Steyn
containing a "proposition" of so confidential a character that it
could not be telegraphed in spite of the urgent need of haste.[62] On
Monday, the 8th, Mr. Schreiner received more warning telegrams, and
Dr. Te Water, in writing to President Steyn, expressed his hope that
the proposition, made by Schreiner in his letter of Saturday, might by
this time "have been accepted, or that something had been done which
would achieve the same purpose."[63] On the same day the Cape papers
published an alarming telegram reproducing from _The Daily
Chronicle_[64] a statement that the South African situation was very
serious, and that the British Government was prepared to "take some
risk of war." On Tuesday, the 9th, Lord Milner was present at a dinner
given by the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly; and Mr. Hofmeyr, who
was among the guests, in the course of a long conversation with him
after dinner, broached the idea of his meeting President Krüger at
Bloemfontein. On Wednesday, the 10th, Lord Milner sent for Mr. Hofmeyr
and discussed the subject more at length; and, a little later, when he
had gone to the Governor's Office, Mr. Schreiner came in with a
telegram from President Steyn, in which the Cape Prime Minister was
requested to ascertain formally whether the High Commissioner would be
willing to accept an invitation to meet President Krüger. This
telegram Lord Milner forwarded to Mr. Chamberlain, adding that the
Cape Cabinet was "strongly" in favour of acceptance, and that
Schreiner himself had declared that the invitation was the result of
the "influence which he (Schreiner) had been using with the Transvaal
Government ever since I had warned him of the gravity of the
situation."[65] Mr. Chamberlain's reply (May 12th), authorised Lord
Milner to accept President Steyn's invitation, and in doing so, to
state that a despatch was already on its way which contained a similar
proposal made by the Imperial Government--

         [Footnote 62: Letter of Te Water to Steyn. See forward, p.
         162, where this letter is given.]

         [Footnote 63: _Ibid._]

         [Footnote 64: Then under the editorship of Mr. Massingham.]

         [Footnote 65: C. 9,345.]

[Sidenote: The conference arranged.]

     "in the hope that, in concert with the President, you may arrive
     at such an arrangement as Her Majesty's Government could accept
     and recommend to the Uitlander population as a reasonable
     concession to their just demands and a settlement of the
     difficulties which have threatened the good relations"

between the two Governments. This was the famous despatch of May 10th,
in which Mr. Chamberlain reviewed carefully and exhaustively the whole
situation as between the Transvaal and the Imperial Government, and
formally accepted the Uitlanders' Petition to the Queen. It was not
published until June 14th, _i.e._, after the Bloemfontein Conference
had been held. It was then issued, together with Lord Milner's
despatch of May 4th, in a Blue-book containing the complete record of
all discussions of Transvaal affairs subsequent to Lord Milner's

In the course of the next few days communications passed rapidly
between Lord Milner, Mr. Chamberlain, President Steyn, and President
Krüger, with the result that, on May 18th, President Steyn's
invitation was formally accepted, and on the following day it was
arranged that the Conference should begin on May 31st. Never was
intervention more effective, or less obtrusive. Mr. Hofmeyr's part in
the affair was confined apparently to an after-dinner conversation
with the High Commissioner. Nor was the directing hand of the Master
of the Bond revealed more fully until Lord Roberts's occupation of
Bloemfontein placed the British authorities in possession of part of
the communications which passed at this time, and during the four
succeeding months, between the Cape nationalists and their republican
confederates. And even in these documents Hofmeyr's name is rarely
found at the end of a letter or telegram. It is Schreiner or Te Water
who writes or telegraphs to Steyn or Fischer, adding sometimes, by way
of emphasis, "Hofmeyr says" this or that. In the meantime (May 22nd),
Lord Milner had telegraphed, for "an indication of the line" which Mr.
Chamberlain wished him to take at the Conference. He himself
suggested that the franchise question should be put in the foreground;
since it would be useless to discuss other matters in dispute until a
satisfactory settlement of this all-important question had been
achieved. Mr. Chamberlain replied (May 24th), agreeing with the line
indicated by Lord Milner:

     "I think personally that you should lay all the stress," he
     telegraphed, "on the question of the franchise in the first
     instance. Other reforms are less pressing, and will come in time
     if this can be arranged satisfactorily, and the form of oath

Mr. Chamberlain at the same time authorised Lord Milner to inform the
Uitlander petitioners that they might rely upon obtaining the general
sympathy of the Imperial Government in the prayers which they had
addressed to the Queen.

[Sidenote: Motives of Afrikander leaders.]

There was no doubt in Lord Milner's mind as to the real motives which
had prompted the Afrikander nationalist leaders to make this effort.
They recognised at length that he was in earnest, and that Mr.
Chamberlain was in earnest, and they desired, above all things, to
avoid a crisis which would force a conflict before their ultimate
plans had fully matured. Lord Milner knew that any delay which
involved the continuance of the present position--a position which was
one of moral superiority for the Dutch--would unite the whole of the
Dutch, with a section of the British population, against Great Britain
within a measurable period. He recognised that the franchise question
was the one issue which could be raised between the paramount Power
and the South African Republic in which the whole of the Cape Dutch
would not throw in their lot bodily with their republican kinsmen.
This very anxiety on the part of Mr. Hofmeyr to prevent the decisive
action of the Imperial Government was evidence of the truth of his
estimate. But as a response to the appeal of the Graaf Reinet speech,
this Afrikander mediation came too late. "Hands off" the Transvaal was
the first plank in the platform of the Schreiner Ministry; "reform"
was a second and subsidiary plank, adopted in place of the first only
when they had been driven to abandon it by Lord Milner's resolution
and statesmanship. But the purpose of the Ministry now, no less than
before, was to hinder, and not to help, the British Government in
obtaining justice for the Uitlanders. Moreover, the Transvaal
armaments were well advanced, and the Pretoria Executive was too
deeply committed to a policy of defiance to allow it to draw back
without humiliation. Nevertheless, Lord Milner felt bound to avail
himself of any prospect of peace that the Conference might afford.
When, however, Mr. Schreiner, in bringing President Steyn's telegram,
had said that he regarded the proposal as "a great step in advance on
the part of President Krüger," Lord Milner had replied that he could
"hardly take that view, as the invitation did not emanate from
President Krüger himself," and contained no indication of "the basis
or subject of discussion."

[Sidenote: Krüger's obduracy.]

The High Commissioner was right. The slight degree in which any appeal
adequate to the occasion was likely to prove acceptable to President
Krüger may be gathered from a passage in a letter of Sir Henry de
Villiers to President Steyn (May 21st), in which the Chief Justice of
the Cape refers to his recent experience in Pretoria when he was on
this very errand of "mediation":

     "On my recent visit to Pretoria I did not visit the President, as
     I considered it hopeless to think of making any impression on
     him; but I saw Reitz, Smuts, and Schalk Burger, who, I thought,
     would be amenable to argument: but I fear that either my advice
     had no effect on them, or else their opinion had no weight with
     the President.

     "I urged upon them to advise the President to open the Volksraad
     with promises of a liberal franchise and drastic reforms.

     "It would have been so much better if these had come voluntarily
     from the Government, instead of being gradually forced from them.
     In the former case, they would rally the greater number of the
     malcontents around them; in the latter case, no gratitude will be
     felt to the Republic for any concessions made by it. Besides,
     there can be no doubt that, as the alien population increases, as
     it undoubtedly will, their demands will increase with their
     discontent, and ultimately a great deal more will have to be
     conceded than will now satisfy them. The franchise proposal made
     by the President seems to be simply ridiculous.

     "I am quite certain that if in 1881 it had been known to my
     fellow-Commissioners that the President would adopt his
     retrogressive policy, neither President Brand nor I would ever
     have induced them to consent to sign the Convention. They would
     have advised the Secretary of State to let matters revert to the
     condition in which they were before peace was concluded; in other
     words, to recommence the war....

     "I should like to have said a word about the dynamite monopoly,
     but I fear I have already exhausted your patience. My sole object
     in writing is to preserve the peace of South Africa. There are,
     of course, many unreasonable demands; but the President's
     position will be strengthened, and, at all events, his conscience
     will be clear in case of war, if he has done everything that can
     reasonably be expected from him. I feel sure that, having used
     your influence to bring him and Sir Alfred together, you will
     also do your best to make your efforts in favour of peace
     successful. I feel sure also that Sir Alfred is anxious to make
     his mission a success; but there can be no success unless the
     arrangement arrived at is a permanent one, and not merely to tide
     over immediate difficulties."

And again, in writing to his brother, Mr. Melius de Villiers, Chief
Justice of the Free State, at a later date (July 31st), he says, in
allusion to this same visit to Pretoria:

     "From an intimate acquaintance with what was going on, I foresaw,
     three months ago, that if President Krüger did not voluntarily
     yield he would be made to do so, or else be prepared to meet the
     whole power of England. I accordingly begged of Krüger's friends
     to put the matter to him in this way: On the one side there is
     war with England; on the other side there are concessions which
     will avoid war or occupation of the country. Now, decide at once
     how far you will ultimately go; adopt the English five years'
     franchise; offer it voluntarily to the Uitlanders, make them your
     friends, be a far-sighted statesman, and you will have a majority
     of the Uitlanders with you when they become burghers. The answer
     I got was: We have done too much already, and cannot do more. Yet
     afterwards they did a great deal more. The same policy of doing
     nothing except under pressure is still being pursued. The longer
     the delay, the more they will have to yield."

[Sidenote: Afrikander advice.]

This was plain speaking and sound statesmanship. Nor was Mr.
Merriman's appeal, written almost concurrently (May 26th) with Sir
Henry's letter to President Steyn, any less emphatic. It was addressed
to Mr. Abraham Fischer, a member of the Free State Executive and a
convinced nationalist; and it is otherwise remarkable for an estimate
of the economic conditions of the Boers which subsequent experience
has completely justified:

     "I most strongly urge you," he writes, "to use your utmost
     influence to bear on President Krüger to concede some colourable
     measure of reform, not so much in the interests of outsiders as
     in those of his own State. Granted that he does nothing. What is
     the future? His Boers, the backbone of the country, are perishing
     off the land; hundreds have become impoverished loafers, landless
     hangers-on of the town population. In his own interests he should
     recruit his Republic with new blood--and the sands are running
     out. I say this irrespective of agitation about Uitlanders. The
     fabric will go to pieces of its own accord unless something is
     done.... A moderate franchise reform and municipal privileges
     would go far to satisfy any reasonable people, while a
     maintenance of the oath ought to be sufficient safeguard against
     the swamping of the old population."[66]

         [Footnote 66: All these letters are in Cd. 369.]

But the Schreiner Cabinet contained, as we have seen, a representative
of Mr. Hofmeyr in the person of Dr. Te Water. Mr. Merriman could see
that the position in the Transvaal was one that could not go on
indefinitely--that "the fabric would go to pieces of its own accord,
unless something was done." Dr. Te Water was blind even to this aspect
of the question. The correspondence found after the occupation of
Bloemfontein (March 13th, 1900), from which these letters are taken,
contains also certain letters to President Steyn that disclose both
the nature of the Afrikander mediation, as it was understood by the
nationalist leaders of the Cape Colony, and the faithfulness with
which Dr. Te Water served them.

The Te Water correspondence, as we have it,[67] consists of three
letters written respectively on May 8th, 17th, and 27th, from "the
Colonial Secretary's Office, Capetown," to President Steyn. The
replies of the latter have been withheld, not unnaturally, from the
public eye. In the first of these letters Dr. Te Water "hopes
heartily" that Schreiner's "proposition" for the Conference has been
accepted, and then proceeds to impress upon him the advisability of
President Krüger's yielding on the ground, not of justice, but of
temporary expediency. In so doing, this Minister of the Crown
completely identifies himself with the aspirations of the Afrikander
nationalists, and he concludes by asking for "a private telegraphic
code. The absence thereof was badly felt on Saturday, when Schreiner
was obliged to write instead of telegraphing."

         [Footnote 67: Cd. 369.]

     "Circumstances appear to me now," he writes, "to be such that our
     friends in Pretoria must be yielding; with their friends at the
     head of the Government here, they have a better chance that
     reasonable propositions made by them will be accepted than they
     would have had if we had been unsuccessful at the late elections
     and our enemies were advisers.

[Sidenote: "Play to win time".]

     "Schreiner, who knows more than any one of us, feels strongly
     that things are extremely critical.

     "Telegrams from people in London, whom he thoroughly trusts, such
     as J. H.'s[68] best friends, received by him on Saturday and this
     morning, strengthen him in his opinion. We must now play to win
     time. Governments are not perpetual, and I pray that the present
     team, so unjustly disposed towards us, may receive their reward
     before long. Their successors, I am certain, will follow a less
     hateful policy towards us. When we hear that you have succeeded
     in Pretoria, then we must bring influence to bear here."

         [Footnote 68: Mr. Hofmeyr.]

In the second letter Dr. Te Water regrets that he cannot share
President Steyn's view that "all the noise about war is bluff." Then
there follows a passage showing that Mr. Steyn had entertained
expectations of assistance from the Schreiner Cabinet that even Dr. Te
Water could not reconcile with his ideas of ministerial allegiance:

     "But now I should like a few words of explanation," he writes,
     "as to what you mean by saying that 'The Cape Ministry will be
     able to do much more good.' In what respect do you think that we
     can be of more use than before?"

Assuming, for the moment, that President Steyn had written, "In the
event of war becoming inevitable, or having broken out, the Cape
Ministry will be able to do much more good than it is doing now," or
words to this effect, it would appear that he shared the erroneous
views of Mr. Reitz, against which Sir Henry de Villiers had protested
during his visit to Pretoria. In the letter to Mr. Melius de Villiers,
from which we have quoted above, Sir Henry writes:

     "When I was in the Transvaal three months ago, I found that Reitz
     and others had the most extraordinary notions of the powers and
     duties of a Cape Ministry in case of war. They are ministers of
     the Crown, and it will be their duty to afford every possible
     assistance to the British Government. Under normal conditions, a
     responsible Ministry is perfectly independent in matters of
     internal concern, but in case of war they are bound to place all
     the resources of the Colony at the disposal of the British Crown;
     at least if they did not do so they would be liable to

Dr. Te Water then continues:

     "I would very much like to know your views, and if we are not
     already working in that direction I will try, as far as possible,
     to do what I can to give effect to your wishes, which may be for
     the welfare of all. Please let me hear immediately and fully
     about this."

[Sidenote: Te Water and Steyn.]

The last letter, written on the eve of the Conference, opens with a
curiously significant passage. There were some things discussed
between Steyn and Te Water that Mr. Schreiner was not to know.
President Steyn has been getting nervous. Dr. Te Water, therefore,
reassures him:

     "Yours received on my return this morning from Aberdeen. Telegram
     also reached me. I keep all your communications strictly private:
     naturally you do not exclude my colleagues and our friend
     Hofmeyr. I have often read extracts to them, but do not be
     afraid; I shall not give you away."

It also contains the information that, as President Steyn had no
private code available, Dr. Te Water has borrowed the private
telegraphic code of the Cabinet for President Steyn's use.

     "To-day, by post, I send you personally our private telegraphic
     code for use. I borrowed one from Sauer; we have only three, and
     I must, therefore, ask you to let me have it back in a couple of
     weeks. Please keep it under lock, and use it yourself _only_. It
     is quite possible that you will have to communicate with us, and
     the telegraphic service is not entirely to be trusted. I am
     afraid that things leak out there in one way or another."

And he then drives home the advice given before: "It is honestly now
the time to yield a little, however one may later again tighten the

One other letter must be given to complete this view of the
circumstances in which the conference met. It was written on May 9th,
1899--that is to say, on the day on which Mr. Hofmeyr proposed to Lord
Milner that he should accept President Steyn's good offices to arrange
the conference with President Krüger. It is addressed to President
Steyn, and, translated, runs as follows:

                         "GOVERNMENT OFFICES, PRETORIA.
                                   "_May 9th_, 1899.


     "I am sorry that I could not earlier fulfil my promise as to the
     ammunition. The reason of it is that his honour the
     Commandant-General [General Joubert] was away, and I could
     consequently not get the desired information earlier.

     "The General says that he has 15 to 20 (twenty) million Mauser
     and 10 to 12 million Martini-Henry cartridges, and if needed will
     be able to supply you with any of either sort.

     "On that score your Excellency can accordingly be at rest.

     "The situation looks very dark indeed, although nothing is as yet
     officially known to us. I trust that some change may still come
     in it through your proposed plan. The copies _re_ dynamite will
     be sent to you at the earliest opportunity. With best greeting,

     "Your humble servant and friend,
                                   "P. GROEBLER."[69]

         [Footnote 69: The original of this letter is now in the
         possession of Mr. E. B. Iwan Müller, by whom it was published
         in his work, _Lord Milner and South Africa_. The translation
         is that of the Department of Military Intelligence.]

The Cape nationalists had asked the Republics to "play for time,"
because they believed that, with the return of the Liberal party to
power in England, it would be possible to achieve the aims of their
policy without the risk of a conflict in arms. The Republics were
"playing for time," but in another sense. They were waiting until
their military preparations were sufficiently complete to allow them
to defy the British Government.

[Sidenote: The Bloemfontein conference.]

It was in these circumstances that the High Commissioner met President
Krüger in conference at Bloemfontein (May 31st--June 5th). He was
accompanied only by his staff: Mr. G. V. Fiddes (Imperial Secretary),
Mr. M. S. O. Walrond (Private Secretary), Colonel Hanbury Williams
(Military Secretary) and Lord Belgrave (A.D.C.),[70] with Mr.
Silberbauer (the interpreter) and a shorthand writer. Mr. Schreiner
had been very solicitous to attend the Conference; but Lord Milner,
following his usual practice, had determined to keep the affairs of
the High Commissionership completely distinct from those in which he
was concerned as Governor of the Cape Colony. The absence both of the
Prime Minister and Mr. Hofmeyr was not unnaturally a matter of
"sincere regret" to Dr. Te Water, as he informed President Steyn on
the eve of the Conference.[71] Nor did Lord Milner avail himself of
President Steyn's willingness to take part in the proceedings; but, at
the High Commissioner's suggestion, Mr. Fischer (who was a member of
the Free State Executive) was invited to act as interpreter--a duty
which he discharged to the satisfaction of both parties. With
President Krüger there went to Bloemfontein Mr. Schalk Burger and Mr.
A. D. Wolmarans (members of the Transvaal Executive), Mr. J. C. Smuts
(the State Attorney), and two other officials. All of these, the High
Commissioner's Staff, and Mr. Fischer were present at the meetings of
the Conference; but the actual discussion was confined to Lord Milner
and President Krüger.[72] As regards the business in hand, the
failure to publish the despatch of May 4th had deprived Lord Milner of
what would have proved a helpful influence. Mr. Hofmeyr's action had
procured an opportunity for "friendly discussion." But the
friendliness was to be all on the side of the Imperial Government. For
the purpose of the Afrikander leaders was, as we have seen, to secure
a fictitious concession on the part of President Krüger. Lord Milner's
aim was to obtain by friendly discussion a genuine and substantial
measure of reform; and the prospect of his success would have been
greatly increased if this despatch and Mr. Chamberlain's reply to it
had been before the public when the Conference took place. It was
written with the object of making the British people and President
Krüger alike aware how grave was the judgment which he had formed of
the existing situation. With England alive to the near danger which
threatened her supremacy in South Africa, and President Krüger brought
to understand that the man with whom he had to deal was one who held
these opinions, Lord Milner could have been "friendly" without the
risk of having his friendliness mistaken for a readiness to accept the
illusory concession which was all that the Afrikander mediation was
intended to secure.

         [Footnote 70: 2nd. Lieut. Royal Horse Guards. Exactly one
         year after the last day of the Conference (June 5th), he
         (then A.D.C. to Lord Roberts and Duke of Westminster) ran up
         the British flag over the Raadzaal at Pretoria.]

         [Footnote 71: Letter of May 27th (in Cd. 369).]

         [Footnote 72: Lord Milner left Capetown by special train at
         8.30 a.m. on Monday, May 29th, and reached Bloemfontein
         punctually at 5 p.m. on Tuesday. Here he was met by President
         Steyn and various officials of the Free State; and an address
         of welcome was presented to him by the Mayor of Bloemfontein
         upon his arrival at the private house which had been provided
         for his accommodation during the Conference. At eleven
         o'clock on the following morning, Wednesday, the 31st, the
         High Commissioner went to the Presidency, where he was
         introduced by Mr. Steyn to President Krüger, Mr. Schalk
         Burger and Mr. Wolmarans. The first meeting of the Conference
         took place in the afternoon at 2.30, in the new offices of
         the Railway Department. In the evening a largely attended
         reception was given by President Steyn, at which Mr. Krüger
         was present for a short time and Lord Milner for about an
         hour. The Conference closed on the afternoon of Monday, June
         5th, and Lord Milner then paid a farewell visit to President
         Steyn. The High Commissioner's special train left
         Bloemfontein on the following morning at 10.30, and reached
         Capetown at 6.45 on the evening of Wednesday, the 7th, where
         he was received by a large crowd, including three of the Cape
         Ministers and a number of Progressive Members of Parliament.
         President Steyn, who was present at the station on Tuesday
         morning to see the High Commissioner off, did everything
         possible for the comfort and convenience of his state guest
         during the week that he was in Bloemfontein. The proceedings
         of the Conference, with the High Commissioner's report upon
         them, are published in C. 9,404.]

[Sidenote: Lord Milner's attitude.]

As it was, Lord Milner was placed in a position of great
embarrassment. If he "used plain language" he exposed himself to the
charge of entering upon the discussion in an aggressive spirit,
calculated to make agreement difficult. If he adopted a conciliatory
tone, his arguments seemed to be nothing more than the abortive
protests with which the grim old President had cheerfully filled the
republican waste-paper basket for the last ten years. It has been
suggested that Lord Milner might have obtained a better result if he
had shown himself less "inflexible"; if, in short, he had been willing
to accept a "compromise." But any such criticism is based upon an
entire misunderstanding of the method which the High Commissioner did,
in fact, adopt. The five years' franchise--the Bloemfontein
minimum--was in itself a compromise. What Lord Milner said, in effect,
to President Krüger was this: "I have a whole sheaf of grievances
against you: the dynamite monopoly, excessive railway rates,
interference with the independence of the judiciary, a vicious police
system, administrative corruption, municipal abuses, and the rest. I
will let all these go in exchange for one thing--a franchise reform
which will give at once to a fair proportion of the Uitlander
population some appreciable representation in the government of the
Republic." Lord Milner not only offered a compromise, but a compromise
that enormously reduced the area of dispute. His "inflexibility" arose
from the simple fact that, having readily and frankly yielded all that
could be yielded without sacrificing the paramount object of securing
a permanent settlement of the Uitlander question, he had nothing
further to concede, and said so.

[Sidenote: President Krüger.]

No two men more characteristic of the two utterly unlike and
antagonistic political systems, which they respectively represented,
could have been found. At the evening reception given by President
Steyn on the opening day of the Conference, a big man, in a tightly
buttoned frock-coat, stood just inside the door for ten minutes, and
then moved awkwardly away. Above the frock-coat was a peasant's face,
half-shrewd, half-furtive, with narrow eyes and a large, crooked mouth
which somehow gave the man a look of power. This was President Krüger,
_ætat._ 74. Once, doubtless, Paul Krüger's large and powerful frame
had made him an impressive figure among a race of men as stalwart as
the Boers. But he was now an old man: the powerful body had become
shapeless and unwieldy; he had given up walking, and only left his
stoep to drag himself clumsily into his carriage, and although he
retained all his old tenacity of purpose, his mind had lost much of
its former alertness. It needed all Mr. Smuts' mental resources--all
that the young Afrikander had so recently learnt at Cambridge and the
Temple--to enable the old President to maintain, even by the aid of
his State-Attorney's ingenious paper pleadings, a decent show of
defence against the perfect moderation and relentless logic with which
the High Commissioner presented the British case. Lord Milner went to
the Conference to make "one big straightforward effort to avert a
great disaster"; Krüger to drive a "Kafir bargain." The end was as
Lord Milner had foreseen. To yield the necessary instalment of reform
seemed to President Krüger, in this mind, "worse than annexation"; and
on June 5th Lord Milner declared, "The Conference is absolutely at an
end, and there is no obligation on either side arising out of it."

The Bloemfontein Conference made retreat for ever impossible. Lord
Milner himself was perfectly conscious that in holding President
Krüger to the franchise question he had made the conference the
pivotal occasion upon which turned the issue of peace or war. He knew,
when he closed the proceedings with a declaration that his meeting
with President Krüger had utterly failed to provide a solution of the
franchise question, that from this day forward there could be no
turning back for him or for the Imperial Government. But he knew, too,
that poor as was the prospect of obtaining the minimum reforms by any
subsequent negotiation, nothing could contribute more to the
attainment of this object than the blunt rejection of the makeshift
proposals put forward by President Krüger at Bloemfontein.

[Sidenote: After the conference.]

The result of the Conference, from this point of view, and its effect
upon the British population in South Africa, may be gathered from the
address presented to Lord Milner on his return to Capetown, and from
his reply to it. By the mouth of Mr. Alfred Ebden, a veteran colonist,
the British population of the Colony then (June 12th) expressed their
"admiration" of Lord Milner's "firm stand" on behalf of the
Uitlanders, offered him their "earnest support," and declared their
"entire confidence in his fairness and ability to bring these unhappy
differences to a satisfactory settlement." The essence of Lord
Milner's reply lies in the words, "some remedy has still to be found."
The nationality problem would be solved if the principle of equality
could be established all round. The Transvaal is "the one State where
inequality is the rule, which keeps the rest of South Africa in a
fever." It is inconsistent, he says, with the position of Great
Britain as paramount Power, and with the dignity of the white race,
that a great community of white men "should continue in that state of
subjection which is the lot of the immigrant white population of the
Transvaal." And he concludes:

     "I see it is suggested in some quarters that the policy of Her
     Majesty's Government is one of aggression. I know better than any
     man that their policy, so far from being one of aggression, has
     been one of singular patience, and such, I doubt not, it will
     continue. But it cannot relapse into indifference. Can any one
     desire that it should? It would be disastrous that the present
     period of stress and strain should not result in some settlement
     to prevent the recurrence of similar crises in the future. Of
     that I am still hopeful. It may be that the Government of the
     South African Republic will yet see its way to adopt a measure
     of reform more liberal than that proposed at Bloemfontein. If
     not, there may be other means of achieving the desired result. In
     any case, it is a source of strength to those who are fighting
     the battle of reform, and will, I believe, contribute more than
     anything else to a peaceful victory, to feel that they have
     behind them, as they perhaps never had before, the unanimous
     sympathy of the British people throughout the world."[73]

         [Footnote 73: C. 9,415.]

In the four months that followed the Bloemfontein Conference a burden
of toil and responsibility was laid upon Lord Milner which would have
crushed any lesser man into utter passivity or resignation. An
Afrikander Cabinet, with a nationalist element reporting its
confidential councils with the Governor to Mr. Hofmeyr, the Bond
Master, and President Steyn, the secret ally of President Krüger,
would have been sufficient in itself to paralyse the faculties of any
ordinary administrator at such a crisis. But this was not the only
adverse influence with which circumstances brought Lord Milner into
collision. Incredible as it may seem, it is none the less the fact
that Sir William Butler, the General-in-Command of the British forces
in South Africa, and the military adviser of the High Commissioner,
was in close political sympathy with Mr. Merriman and Mr. Sauer, and
in complete agreement with their views. For General Butler held that a
war to compel the Boer oligarchy to grant the elementary political
rights to the British in the Transvaal, which even Mr. Gladstone's
Cabinet intended to secure for them, would be the "greatest calamity
that ever occurred in South Africa." And more than this, that if the
Home Government did make war, it would be merely playing the game of
"the party of the Raid, the South African League."[74]

         [Footnote 74: Evidence before War Commission. Cd. 1,791.]

[Sidenote: Milner and Butler.]

It is generally supposed that Lord Milner's disagreement with General
Butler had its origin in the conduct of the latter, when Acting High
Commissioner, in refusing the first Uitlander petition. This is quite
untrue. Lord Milner's view of the Uitlander grievances was, of course,
different from that of General Butler, who treated the appeal to the
Queen as an unnecessary and artificial agitation against the Transvaal
Government, and thereby placed the Acting British Agent, Mr. Edmund
Fraser, in a position of extreme difficulty; since Mr. Fraser was, of
course, desirous of carrying out his duties upon the general lines
followed by Sir William Greene in accordance with the instructions of
the Home Government. But the Transvaal question had never been
discussed between Lord Milner and General Butler; and at the time of
the Edgar incident Lord Milner was in England, and he had no means,
therefore, of forming an opinion as to the significance which attached
to this event, or the agitation to which it gave rise. On this
particular point there was no opportunity for a conflict of opinion.
Had Lord Milner been in South Africa he would, no doubt, have accepted
the first petition to the Queen; but he made no complaint of General
Butler's refusal to receive it. For the moment it was General Butler's
business, as Acting High Commissioner, and not Lord Milner's. From a
wider point of view, General Butler's action was injurious. It was one
of the many instances in which their English sympathisers have led the
Boers to destruction. But there was no friction, or argument, or
unfriendliness between him and the High Commissioner on this account.
This arose at a much later period; and arose, not on the general
question of policy, but on the question of the necessity of military
precautions in view of the imminence of war.

[Sidenote: Reinforcements requested.]

The friction between the High Commissioner and the General-in-Command
in South Africa was the most disastrous manifestation of a disregard
of the necessity for timely military preparations on the part of the
Imperial Government, which, when war broke out, jeopardised the
success of the British arms. For quite distinct reasons both General
Butler and the Imperial Government were opposed to any preparations
for war. The Salisbury Cabinet were reluctant to take any step that
might seem to indicate that they considered that the door to a
peaceful solution of the dispute was closed. In thus subordinating the
needs of the military situation to those of the political, they acted
in direct opposition to the maxim _si pacem vis, bellum para_. They
carried this policy to such a point that they disregarded the advice
of Lord Wolseley, the Commander-in-Chief, and that of the Intelligence
Department,[75] with the result that when the war did break out the
available British forces in South Africa were found to be in a
position of grave disadvantage. The motive of General Butler's
opposition was entirely different. His view was that what made the
situation dangerous was not President Krüger's obduracy, but what he
called the "persistent effort" to "produce war" made by the British
inhabitants who desired Imperial intervention in the Transvaal. And
he, therefore, held that any reinforcements sent by the Home
Government would "add largely to the ferment which he (General Butler)
was endeavouring to reduce by every means."[76] The position in June
and July, from a military point of view, was as extraordinary as it
was harassing to Lord Milner. In England the civil authority, the
Cabinet, was refusing to make the preparations which its military
adviser declared to be necessary. In South Africa the civil authority,
the High Commissioner, was provided with a military adviser who cabled
to the Home Government political reasons for not sending the
reinforcements which the High Commissioner then urgently required. In
these circumstances it is obvious that nothing but the supreme efforts
of Lord Milner could have saved England from an overwhelming military
defeat, or from a moral catastrophe even more injurious to the
interests of the empire.

         [Footnote 75: See p. 319 (note 2).]

         [Footnote 76: Cd. 1,791.]

When Lord Milner saw, before the Bloemfontein Conference, that the
situation was becoming dangerous--and still more after the
Conference--he desired that preparations for war should be made by the
Imperial Government as a precautionary measure. Between December 1st,
1896, and December, 1898, the South African garrison had been raised
from 5,409 to 9,593 men.[77] It remained at a little under 10,000 up
to the end of August, 1899. Lord Milner had repeatedly impressed upon
the Home Government, from the middle of 1897 onwards, that 10,000 men
was the minimum force consistent with safety. In view of the increased
tension after Bloemfontein and of the enormous armament of the South
African Republic, he felt that this minimum had become inadequate, and
that it was desirable, and would strengthen the chance of a peaceful
submission of the Boers, to steadily but unostentatiously increase the
garrison. And what he desired especially was that the general on the
spot should do, locally and quietly, all that could be done to advance
these preparations. The measures which he urged were that plans should
be prepared for the defence of Kimberley and other towns on the
colonial borders, and that all supplies and material of war necessary
to put these plans into effect should be accumulated, and, as far as
possible, distributed.

         [Footnote 77: War Commission, Cd. 1,791.]

[Sidenote: General Butler's objections.]

General Butler, as we have seen, was opposed to all preparations for
war; and it is not surprising, therefore, that everybody who offered
assistance, or advice on the military situation, was coldly received
by him. Mr. (now Sir) Aubrey Wools-Sampson, who, after the failure of
the Bloemfontein Conference, threw up lucrative civil employment in
Rhodesia in order to come to the Cape and place himself, as a
volunteer, at the service of the military authorities in the event of
war, was so completely discouraged that he went to Natal to form the
nucleus of the splendid fighting force afterwards known as the
Imperial Light Horse. When Colonel Nicholson, then head of the British
South Africa Police in Rhodesia, suggested that, in the same event, an
attack on the Transvaal, launched from the north, might prove valuable
as a means of diverting a portion of the Burgher forces from
employment against the Cape Colony and Natal, General Butler is said
to have looked upon his proposal as another Jameson Raid.[78] And
when, after the Bloemfontein Conference had been held, the Home
Government, in response to Lord Milner's repeated appeals, proposed to
send out the very inadequate reinforcements which formed its first
effort to strengthen the British military position in South Africa,
General Butler immediately represented to the War Office that these
additional troops were unnecessary, and protested against their being

         [Footnote 78: This was precisely the _rôle_ played by
         Mafeking, only defensively, not offensively.]

General Butler's action at this crisis is so remarkable, and so
unprecedented, that the circumstances must be related with some
precision. In 1896, and again in 1897, General Goodenough had
submitted to the War Office schemes for the defence of the British
colonies, in which both the enormous extent of the frontiers to be
protected and the great numerical superiority of the burgher forces to
the then existing British garrison were fully exhibited. A memorandum
of the Department of Military Intelligence, dated September 21st,
1898, urged "that defence schemes should be drawn up locally for the
Cape and Natal"; that "the arrangements which would be made for the
despatch of reinforcements from England, and for the provision of
supplies and transport, be worked out fully in the War Office; and
that the General Officer Commanding, South Africa, be informed what
action under these arrangements would be required of him on the
outbreak of war."[79] On December 21st, 1898, General Butler, upon
succeeding to the South African command, was requested to furnish, at
an early date, a fresh scheme of defence embodying his own proposals
for the distribution of the 9,500 British troops then in South Africa
in the event of war. At the same time the latest information as to
the military strength of the two Republics--showing, among other
things, a total of 40,000 burghers[80]--was forwarded to him, and his
attention was directed to the fact that the troops under his command
must be considered as a purely defensive force, whose _rôle_ would be
to repel invasion pending the arrival of reinforcements from England.
In the absence of any reply to this communication General Butler was
again requested, on June 6th, 1899 (_i.e._ after the failure of the
Bloemfontein Conference), to report on the defence of the British
colonies. He then sent his scheme of defence, cabling the substance in
cipher, on June 9th, and sending the text by despatch on June 14th. On
June 21st he received a War Office telegram informing him that it had
been decided to "increase the efficiency of the existing force" in
South Africa. And to this communication was added the question: "Do
you desire to make any observations?"

         [Footnote 79: Cd. 1,789 (War Commission).]

         [Footnote 80: These were the figures of the D. M. I.
         "Military Notes" of June, 1898; in the revised "Military
         Notes" of June, 1899, the estimated total of the Boer force
         was considerably greater--some 50,000 exclusive of colonial

[Sidenote: "Ringing the War Office bell".]

The sequel can be given in General Butler's words: "I looked on the
one side," he said, in giving evidence before the War Commission, "and
I saw what seemed to me a very serious political agitation going on
with a Party that I had not alluded to yet, whom I had always looked
upon as a Third Party; they were pressing on all they knew. The
Government did not seem to be aware of that, and this telegram
brought matters to such a point that I thought it gave me the
opportunity to speak. So I took these words 'any observations,' and
answered in a way which I thought would at least ring the War Office

The telegram with which General Butler "rang the War Office bell" was

     "You ask for my observations: present condition of opinion here
     is highly excited, and doubtless the news _quoting_ preparations
     referred to in your telegram, if it transpires, will add largely
     to the ferment which I am endeavouring to reduce by every means.
     Persistent effort of a party to produce war forms, in my
     estimation, gravest elements in situation here. Believe war
     between white races, coming as sequel to Jameson Raid, and
     subsequent events of last three years, would be greatest calamity
     that ever occurred in South Africa."

This telegram elicited the following reply from the Home Government:

     "You cannot understand too clearly that, whatever your private
     opinions, it is your duty to be guided in all questions of policy
     by the High Commissioner, who is fully aware of our views, and
     whom you will, of course, loyally support."

In the course of his evidence before the War Commission General Butler
gave some further explanation of the motives which had prompted his
reply to the telegram of June 21st. In response to the question, "It
was never in your contemplation that Mr. Krüger would declare war?"
he replied:

[Sidenote: General Butler's view.]

     "My view was this, that as long as I held the neck of the bottle,
     so to speak, there would be no war ... but to my mind the minute
     there was the least indication of the Imperial Government coming
     in, in front of, or behind, that party [_i.e._ "the party of the
     Raid, the South African League"], there would be a serious state
     of things. Until then there was, to my mind, no probability--no
     possibility--of an invasion. That was the state of my mind at the
     time ... [and] I wished to point it out before final decisions
     were arrived at."

And in a note which he desired to be appended to his evidence before
the War Commission, General Butler wrote with reference to his failure
to endorse Lord Milner's request for immediate reinforcements, that in
his opinion "such a demand at such a time would be to force the hands
of the Government, play into the hands of the 'Third Party,' and
render [himself] liable to the accusation in the future that [he] had
by this premature action produced or hastened hostilities."[81]

         [Footnote 81: All of these extracts will be found in Cd.

Here was an impasse from which obviously there was but one method of
extrication. Either the High Commissioner or his military adviser must
be recalled. That the Imperial Government did not recall General
Butler then and there cannot be attributed to any ignorance on their
part of Lord Milner's extreme anxiety for adequate military
preparations. It arose, no doubt, from the circumstance that General
Butler was known to be favourably inclined to the Boer cause, and
that, therefore, his removal at this juncture would have been
represented by the friends of the Boers in England, and by the
official leader of the Opposition, as evidence of Mr. Chamberlain's
alleged determination to force a war upon the Transvaal. General
Butler was allowed, in these circumstances, to remain at the Cape
until the latter part of August, when fresh employment was found for
him, and Lieutenant-General Forestier-Walker was appointed to the Cape
command. How General Butler was able to reconcile the opinions which
he had expressed to the War Office with the discharge of his duties as
military adviser to Lord Milner during these two critical months is a
matter which need not be discussed. The decision to retain him in the
South African command would seem, on the face of it, to have been a
grave administrative error. It is enough for us to record the
undoubted facts that Lord Milner was supremely dissatisfied with the
action of General Butler as his military adviser, and that whereas the
High Commissioner had requested the Home Government to provide him
with a new military adviser in June, General Butler did in fact remain
at the Cape until the latter part of August.

General Butler is reputed to be both an able man and a good soldier.
It is interesting, therefore, to know what was his view, and to
compare it with that of Lord Milner. In these opinions, which
dominated General Butler during the period in question (May to August,
1899), there was only one point in which he and Lord Milner found
themselves at one. This was the danger of the war; that is to say, the
seriousness of the military task which would await Great Britain in
the event of war with the Dutch in South Africa.

[Sidenote: What Lord Milner thought.]

As a great deal has been written on the subject of the military
unpreparedness of England, and it has, moreover, been frequently
stated in this connection that Sir William Butler was the only man to
form a just estimate of the military strength of the burgher forces,
it is very desirable to place on record what was really in Lord
Milner's mind at this time. He agreed with General Butler in his
estimate of the formidable character of the Boers; but he differed
from him in everything else. To Lord Milner's mind the situation
presented itself primarily from a political, and not from a military
point of view. He believed that England was bound to struggle at least
for political equality between the British and Dutch throughout South
Africa. He felt that, after our bad record in the past, it would be
absolutely fatal to begin to struggle for this equality unless we were
prepared to carry our efforts to a successful issue. He thought that
such a claim as this for the enfranchisement of the Uitlanders was one
that admitted of only two alternatives--it must never be made, or,
being made, it must never be abandoned. The whole weakness of our
position in South Africa was a moral weakness. The contempt which the
Dutch had learnt for England was writ large over the whole social and
political fabric of South Africa. Englishmen could not look the Dutch
in the face as equals. If, after all our previous humiliations and
failures; after Majuba, and after the Raid, we were going to commence
a struggle for equality--nothing more, and then not to get it, the
shame would be too grave for any great Power to support, or for those
who sympathised with us in South Africa to endure. We had raised the
British party in South Africa from the dust by the stand which we had
made against Dutch tyranny in the Transvaal. If we were going to
retreat from that position, the discredit of our action would compel
England to resign her claim to be paramount Power, and with the
resignation of that claim England's rights in South Africa would
inevitably shrink to the narrow limits of a naval base at Simon's
Town, and a sub-tropical plantation in Natal. What was fundamental was
not the possibility of war, but the impossibility of retreat.

[Sidenote: Retreat impossible.]

Lord Milner still thought it possible, though not probable, that, if
the British Government took a perfectly strong and unwavering line,
the Dutch would yield, not indeed everything, but something
substantial. He also foresaw that it was possible, perhaps probable,
that they would not yield, and that in this case a state of tension
would be created which must end in war. His position was, therefore,
definite and consistent from the first. As we are pursuing a policy
from which we cannot retreat--a policy that may lead to war--it is
wholly unjustifiable, he said, to remain unprepared, unarmed, without
a plan, as if war were quite out of the question. And so far from
thinking that the preparations which he urged upon the Imperial
Government, and more especially upon General Butler, would make war
more likely, he believed that they would make it less likely. But even
if they did lead the Dutch to fight, it was not war but "retreat" that
must be avoided at all costs.



On June 8th, 1899, Mr. Chamberlain declared in the House of Commons,
that with the failure of the Bloemfontein Conference, a "new
situation" had arisen. If the Imperial Government had translated this
remark into action, the South African War would have been less
disastrous, less protracted, and less costly. But the same order of
considerations which prevented the Salisbury Cabinet from recalling
General Butler in June, caused it to withhold its sanction from the
preparations advised by the Commander-in-Chief, Lord Wolseley. From
the political point of view it was held to be desirable that the
British Government should have an absolutely good case as before the
world--a case which would not only ensure the whole-hearted support of
the great bulk of the nation, and the active sympathy of the over-sea
British communities; but one that would be so strong in justice as to
overcome, or at least mitigate, the natural repugnance with which
international opinion regards a great and powerful state that imposes
its will upon a small and weak people by force of arms. Above all, it
had become a cardinal principle in Mr. Chamberlain's South African
policy to refrain to the last moment from any step which would
necessarily close the door to a peaceful solution of the differences
which had arisen between the South African Republic and the Imperial

[Sidenote: Policy of Home Government.]

Influenced by these considerations, the Government refused to give
effect to the measures demanded by the military situation, as it
existed after the failure of the Bloemfontein Conference, except in so
far as these demands could be satisfied without prejudice to the
dominating political objects which it had in view. As to the nature of
these measures there could be no reasonable doubt. It was necessary to
raise the British forces in the Cape Colony and Natal to a point
sufficient for defensive purposes, and to prepare an additional
force--an army corps--for any offensive movement against one or both
of the Republics. And as 6,000 miles of sea separated the seat of war
from the chief base of the army, the United Kingdom, it was obvious
that the defensive force should be despatched at once, and the
offensive force prepared no less speedily, in order that it might be
held in readiness to embark at the earliest moment that its services
were required.

To Lord Milner's reiterated warnings of the last two years, there was
now added the definite advice of Lord Wolseley and the Department of
Military Intelligence. In a memorandum dated June 8th, 1899,[82] and
addressed to the Secretary of State for War, the Commander-in-Chief
advised the mobilisation in England of a force consisting of one
complete army corps, one cavalry division, one battalion mounted
infantry, and four infantry battalions for lines of communication; the
collection of transport in South Africa; and the immediate initiation
of all subsidiary arrangements necessary for conveying these
additional troops and their equipment to the seat of war. This advice
was disregarded; but in place of the immediate mobilisation of the
Army Corps the Cabinet decided to increase the efficiency of the
existing force in South Africa, and General Butler was informed of
this decision, as we have seen, on June 21st. On July 7th,[83] Lord
Wolseley recommended, in addition to the mobilisation of the offensive
force--which he still deemed necessary--that "the South African
garrisons should be strengthened by the despatch of 10,000 men at a
very early date." Instead of adopting these measures, the Government
confined itself to doing just the few necessary things, both for
defence and offence, that could be done without creating any belief in
its warlike intentions, and without involving any appreciable
expenditure of the public funds. Undoubtedly this latter
consideration--the desire to avoid any expenditure that might
afterwards prove to have been unnecessary--added weight to the purely
political argument against immediate military preparation.

         [Footnote 82: Cd. 1,789.]

         [Footnote 83: Cd. 1,789.]

[Sidenote: Preparations delayed.]

The course actually taken by the Salisbury Cabinet was this. Instead
of the immediate mobilisation of the offensive force, Lord Wolseley
was instructed to prepare a scheme for the "constitution,
organisation, and mobilisation" of such a force; and to do this in
consultation with Sir Redvers Buller, the General Officer commanding
at Aldershot, who had been selected to lead the British forces in
South Africa in the event of war. Instead of the immediate despatch of
additional troops sufficient to render the South African garrisons
capable of repelling invasion--which was what Lord Milner had
especially desired--the actual deficiencies of the existing Cape
garrison[84] were made good by the despatch in July of small additions
of artillery and engineers, and by directing General Butler to provide
the fresh transport without which even this diminutive force was
unable to mobilise. At the same time certain special service
officers,[85] including engineers and officers of the Army Service
Corps, were sent out to organise the materials, locally existing, for
the defence of the eastern frontier of the Cape Colony and the
southern districts of Rhodesia; and generally to make preliminary
preparations for the provisioning, transport, and distribution of any
British forces that might be despatched subsequently to the Cape

         [Footnote 84: Three battalions, 6 guns, and a company of
         Royal Engineers were all the troops available for the defence
         of the Cape frontiers at this time (_i.e._ June).]

         [Footnote 85: Most of these came by mail boats on July 18th
         and 25th. Col. Baden-Powell (who was entrusted with the
         important duty of organising a force for the defence of
         Southern Rhodesia, and subsequently of raising the mounted
         infantry corps which held Mafeking) arrived on the latter

These were the utterly inadequate reinforcements sent in response to
Lord Milner's urgent appeal, and in disregard of General Butler's
protest that they were wholly undesirable--an opinion which was
endorsed in England by Sir H. Campbell-Bannerman, when, on June 17th,
1899, he declared that there was nothing in the South African
situation to justify even preparations for war.

During the interval between the Bloemfontein Conference and General
Butler's recall in the latter part of August Lord Milner's position
was one of unparalleled difficulty. The Cape and Natal garrisons were
maintained in a state of perilous weakness by the policy of the Home
Government. The measures to be undertaken locally for the defence of
the colonies, which the Cabinet had sanctioned, were wholly
insufficient in Lord Milner's opinion. And the general execution of
these wholly insufficient local measures was left in the hands of a
General Officer who had told the Secretary of State that he absolutely
disapproved of them on political grounds, since the mere announcement
of their being made would "add largely to the ferment," which he "was
[then] endeavouring to reduce by every means." The Cape Ministry,
with whom rested the disposal of the colonial forces, was a ministry
placed in office by the Bond for the especial purpose of opposing
British intervention in the Transvaal. In these circumstances it
needed all Lord Milner's mastery of South African conditions, and all
his tact and address, to make the relations between himself and his
Afrikander Cabinet tolerable; and, above all, in view of the refusal
of the Imperial Government to sanction the military preparations
advised by the Commander-in-Chief, it required ceaseless vigilance on
his part to prevent the acceptance of an illusory settlement which
would have sounded the death-knell of British supremacy in South

[Sidenote: President Krüger's proposals.]

On the last day of the Conference President Krüger had put in a
memorandum in which he expressed his intention of introducing his
franchise scheme to the Volksraad, and his hope that the High
Commissioner would be able to recommend this, and a further proposal
for the settlement of disputes by arbitration, to the favourable
consideration of the Imperial Government. Lord Milner had replied that
any such proposals would be considered on their merits; but that the
President must not expect them to be connected in any way with the
proceedings of the Conference, out of which, as he then declared, no
obligation had arisen on either side.

The Raad met on Friday, June 9th; and on Monday, the 12th--the day on
which Lord Milner received the Ebden address[86]--President Krüger
laid the draft Franchise law, containing his revised Bloemfontein
scheme, before it. On Tuesday, 13th, Mr. Chamberlain's despatch of May
10th, on the position of the Uitlanders and the petition to the Queen,
was delivered to the Transvaal Government by the British Agent; and on
Wednesday, June 14th, as we have already noticed, the Blue-book
containing this despatch, Lord Milner's despatch of May 4th, and the
whole story of the franchise controversy up to the Bloemfontein
Conference, was published in England. As the conditions under which
Lord Milner's despatch had been telegraphed to England were now
changed, it would have been better if it had remained unpublished, and
the stage of fighting diplomacy, reached through the failure of the
Bloemfontein Conference, had been at once opened--and opened in
another way. What Lord Milner had learnt at Bloemfontein was not
merely that President Krüger was unwilling to yield, but that he was
psychologically incapable of yielding. He had learnt, that is to say,
not that Krüger was determined to refuse the particular reform which
the Imperial Government demanded, but that his whole system of thought
was irreconcilably opposed to that of any English statesman. It is the
knowledge which can be obtained only by personal dealings with the
Boers, and no one who has had such personal dealings can fail to
remember the sense of hopelessness that such an experience brings with
it. The Boer may be faithful to his own canons of morality; but his
whole manner of life and thought is one that makes his notion of the
obligations of truth and justice very different from that of the
ordinary educated European. He is not devoid of the conception of
duty, but he applies this conception in methods adapted to the narrow
and illiberal conditions of his isolated and self-centred life.

         [Footnote 86: Expressing approval of the position Lord Milner
         had taken up at Bloemfontein. See p. 173.]

As for the mediation of the Cape Afrikanders, Lord Milner estimated it
at its real value. The Cape nationalists believed that war would
result in disaster to their cause; the Republican nationalists did
not. They both hated the British in an equal degree. But the
Afrikander leaders at the Cape knew that they had the game in their
own hands. "For goodness' sake," they said, "keep quiet until we have
got rid of this creature, Milner; and the Salisbury Cabinet--the
'present team so unjustly disposed to us'--is replaced by a Liberal

[Sidenote: Lord Milner's task.]

That was the meaning of their mediation--nothing more. Lord Milner
acquiesced in the negotiations after Bloemfontein, but what he wanted
was a polite but absolutely inflexible insistence upon the
Bloemfontein minimum, and at the same time such military preparations
as, in view of the clear possibility of a failure of negotiations,
seemed to him absolutely vital. This, however, was not the course
which the Salisbury Cabinet thought right to adopt; and the problem
that now lay before him was to convert the illusory concessions, which
were all that Afrikander mediation was able or even desirous to wring
from President Krüger, into the genuine reform that the British
Government had twice pledged itself to secure.

But Lord Milner had also grasped the fact that the one issue which
could drive a wedge into Dutch solidarity was the franchise question.
He had determined, therefore, that nothing that transpired at the
Bloemfontein Conference should permit President Krüger to change the
ground of dispute from this central issue. During the negotiations
between the Home Government and the Pretoria Executive that followed
the Conference, and especially during the period of Mr. Hofmeyr's
active intervention, his most necessary and pressing task was to
prevent the Salisbury Cabinet from being "jockeyed" by Boer diplomacy
out of the advantageous position which he had then taken up on its
behalf. The pressure of the Hofmeyr mediation increased the difficulty
of this task by driving President Krüger into a series of franchise
proposals of the utmost complexity. The danger was that Mr.
Chamberlain and his colleagues in the Cabinet, in their earnest desire
to avoid war, might recognise some illusory measures of reform as
satisfactory, and then, after further consideration, finding them to
be worthless, be driven by their previous admission to make war, after
all, not on the single issue of "equality all round," but on an issue
that might be plausibly represented to South Africa and the world as
the independence of the Boers.

[Sidenote: The Draft Franchise Law.]

The period is crowded with demonstrations, despatches, mediations,
petitions, and incidents of all kinds. A tithe of these--disentangled
from the Blue-books, but vitalised by a knowledge of the master facts
that lie behind the official pen--will serve, however, to present the
play of the mingling, conflicting, and then frankly opposing forces.
The "formidable personalities" are all in motion. At first it seemed
as though the whole weight of the Schreiner Cabinet, acting in
conjunction with General Butler's political objection to military
preparation on the part of the Imperial Government, was to be thrown
into the scale against Lord Milner's efforts. On June 12th President
Krüger laid the draft of his new Franchise Law before the Raad, which
then (the 15th) adjourned, in order that the feeling of the burghers
might be ascertained. On the 17th a great assemblage of Boers met at
Paardekraal, and, among the warlike speeches then delivered was that
of Judge Kock,[87] a member of the Transvaal Executive, who "dwelt
upon the doctrine of 'what he called Afrikanderdom,' and said that he
'regarded the Afrikanders, from the Cape to the Zambesi as one great
family. If the Republics are lost,' he continued, 'the Afrikanders
would lose. The independence of the country was to them a question of
life and death. The Free State would stand by the Transvaal, even to
the death. Not only the Free State, but also the Cape Colony.'" Nor
was this boast without some foundation. A week before (June 10th), Mr.
Schreiner had requested Lord Milner to inform Mr. Chamberlain that, in
ministers' opinion, President Krüger's franchise proposal was
"practical, reasonable, and a considerable step in the right
direction."[88] Four days later (June 14th) he further informed the
Governor that, in ministers' opinion, there was nothing in the
existing situation to justify "the active interference of the Imperial
Government in what were the internal affairs of the Transvaal."[89]
And this expression of opinion the Prime Minister also desired Lord
Milner, as the only constitutional medium of communication between the
Cape Ministry and the Secretary of State, to convey to Mr.
Chamberlain. On the day (June 10th) on which the first of these
interviews between Lord Milner and Mr. Schreiner took place, a meeting
of five thousand persons--in Sir William Greene's words, "the largest
and most enthusiastic ever held at Johannesburg"--passed three
resolutions which sufficiently exhibit the extent to which the views
of the Cape Ministry differed from those of the Transvaal British.
After affirming the principle of equal political rights for all white
inhabitants of South Africa, and declaring that President Krüger's
Bloemfontein proposals were "wholly inadequate," this great meeting
proceeded to place on record its "deep sense of obligation" to Lord
Milner for his endeavour to secure the redress of the Uitlander
grievances, and its willingness, in order to "support his Excellency
in his efforts to obtain a peaceful settlement," to endorse "his very
moderate proposals on the franchise question as the irreducible
minimum that could be accepted."

         [Footnote 87: C. 9,415.]

         [Footnote 88: C. 9,415.]

         [Footnote 89: _Ibid._]

[Sidenote: Action of Schreiner ministry.]

In other words, the Schreiner Cabinet, immediately after the failure
of the Conference, used its influence unreservedly to assist the
Pretoria Executive in refusing the franchise reform put forward by the
High Commissioner--a reform which, in the opinion of the community
most concerned and most capable of judging of its effect, constituted
an "irreducible minimum" only to be accepted in deference to Lord
Milner's judgment, and in the hope of avoiding war. Mr. Schreiner's
action on this occasion was characteristic of the blind partizanship
of the Cape Ministry. On June 10th, when the Prime Minister pressed
his and his colleagues' favourable view of President Krüger's
proposals upon Lord Milner and Mr. Chamberlain, the draft Franchise
Law, with its intricate provisions, had not been laid before the
Volksraad. Mr. Schreiner, therefore, had made haste to bless before
he knew what he was blessing. And a few weeks later, as we shall
notice, he let his zeal for the Boer oligarchy outrun his discretion
in an even more amazing manner.

In these difficult circumstances Lord Milner displayed the highest
address in his relations with the Schreiner Cabinet. Thanks to his
mingled tact and firmness, aided by the outspoken support which he
received from Mr. Chamberlain, his intercourse with his ministers
remained outwardly friendly, while at the same time he had the
satisfaction of seeing that during the next few weeks the
considerations of policy, which he laid before them with absolute
frankness, appreciably modified their original attitude. He had at
once availed himself of the one point on which he and they were in
agreement. With reference to the first interview with Mr. Schreiner
(June 10th), he telegraphed to the Colonial Secretary:

     "In reply I told him [Mr. Schreiner] I was prepared to
     communicate this expression of his opinion, although I strongly
     held an opposite view, as he was aware.

     "He admitted, in subsequent conversation, that the President of
     the South African Republic's scheme could, in his opinion, be
     improved in detail; for instance, by immediately admitting men
     who had entered the country previous to 1890, and by making
     optional the period of naturalisation....

     "In reply, I told him that these were points of first-rate
     importance and not of detail, especially the latter; and that,
     since after all he seemed to agree with me more than with the
     President of the South African Republic, he had better address
     his advice to the latter, and not to Her Majesty's Government."

And at the long and rather unpleasant interview of June 14th,
although, as we have seen, Mr. Schreiner desired Lord Milner to inform
Mr. Chamberlain that the Cape Ministry considered the "active
interference" of the British Government unjustified, yet he also said
"that he and his colleagues were agreed that there were two respects
in which the Government of the South African Republic might better
their franchise scheme: (1) By admitting to the full franchise at once
persons who had entered the country before 1890; and (2) By making it
optional to obtain the full franchise without previous naturalisation
after seven years' residence."[90]

         [Footnote 90: C. 9,415.]

Mr. Chamberlain's reply (June 16th), contained a more direct
admonition. Lord Milner was instructed to inform the Cape Ministers
that the Government trusted that they would "use all the influence
they could to induce the Transvaal Government to take such action as
would relieve Her Majesty's Government from the necessity of
considering the question of being obliged to have recourse to
interference of such a nature."[91]

         [Footnote 91: _Ibid._]

[Sidenote: Mr. Chamberlain's speech.]

This was admirable backing, and precisely what Lord Milner required to
aid him in his two-fold task of bringing both the Cape Ministry and
the Pretoria Executive to a more reasonable frame of mind. But Mr.
Chamberlain's next step was one of questionable utility.

In his speech at Birmingham (June 26th), after reviewing the relations
of Great Britain with the Transvaal Boers during the last twenty
years, Mr. Chamberlain declared that the Imperial Government, although
deeply anxious not to use force, must somehow see that things were put
right in South Africa.

     "We have tried waiting, patience, and trusting to promises which
     are never kept," he said; "we can wait no more. It is our duty,
     not only to the Uitlanders, but to the English throughout South
     Africa, to the native races, and to our own prestige in that part
     of the world, and in the world at large, to insist that the
     Transvaal falls into line with the other states in South Africa,
     and no longer menaces the peace and prosperity of the whole."

This was the kind of speech which would have been suitable and
effective, if the South African garrison had been 20,000 instead of
10,000 strong, and the expeditionary force had been mobilised on
Salisbury Plain. It was unsuitable and ineffective under the existing
circumstances; when, that is to say, the British Government, by
refusing to sanction the measures advised by the Commander-in-Chief,
had elected to put themselves at a military disadvantage for the sake
of prolonging the stage of friendly discussion and in the hope of
gaining their point by diplomatic means. In these circumstances such
speeches were merely food for President Krüger to use in feeding the
enthusiasm of his burghers. What Lord Milner desired of the Home
Government was, as we have seen, a polite but inflexible demand for
the Bloemfontein minimum, coupled with unostentatious, but effective,
military preparations. The Home Government, as the sequel will show,
were driven by the unpatriotic attitude of the Liberal Opposition into
a precisely opposite course in both these respects. Their demand was
vague in substance, and irritating in manner; while their inadequate
defensive preparations were more than neutralised by the loudness with
which, in deference to the views of the Liberal Opposition, they
proclaimed their reluctance to undertake military measures on a scale
that would really have made an impression on the Boers.[92]

         [Footnote 92: _E.g._ Mr. Balfour's statement in the House of
         Commons that the object of the despatch of the special
         service officers, and the small additions of engineers and
         artillery was "to complete the existing garrison." The
         purchase of transport, he said, had been long ago decided

[Sidenote: The Fischer-Hofmeyr mission.]

One result which Mr. Chamberlain's speech produced was to bring Mr.
Hofmeyr once more upon the scene. Before this date (June 26th) Mr.
Fischer, apparently considering that the failure of the Bloemfontein
Conference cast a reflection upon the statesmanship and influence of
the Free State Government, had commenced a second essay in mediation.
Early in June he had paid a visit to Capetown, where he was in close
communication with Mr. Hofmeyr and the Cape Ministers, and had twice
called upon the High Commissioner. He had left Capetown on the 19th
for Bloemfontein; and then proceeded to Pretoria, which he reached on
the 25th. At the Transvaal capital he entered into negotiations with
the Executive, calling upon the British Agent on the 26th, and again
on the 28th, and maintaining communication, through him, with Lord
Milner. From Pretoria Mr. Fischer returned to Bloemfontein in company
with Mr. Smuts and Mr. Groebler,[93] on July 1st. Here he met Mr.
Hofmeyr, who, leaving Capetown with Mr. Herholdt, on the same day
(July 1st), reached Bloemfontein early on the following morning.

         [Footnote 93: Under State-Secretary of the Transvaal.]

Mr. Hofmeyr was in Bloemfontein, because the events of the last few
days had convinced him that the only hope of saving the
situation--saving it, that is, from the Afrikander nationalist point
of view--lay in prompt and energetic action on his part. On June 23rd
Mr. Schreiner had been informed by the High Commissioner of the
intention of the Home Government to "complete" the Cape garrison; and
shortly afterwards the despatch of the special service officers was
publicly announced in England. Mr. Chamberlain's speech at Birmingham
on the 26th, cabled almost _in extenso_ to the High Commissioner, was
communicated to the local press on the 28th. On the same evening a
mass meeting, held in the Good Hope Hall at Capetown, declared its
strong approval of the action of the Imperial Government on behalf of
the British population in the Transvaal. With these signs of an
approaching Armageddon before his eyes, Mr. Hofmeyr had overcome his
objection to personal dealings with President Krüger, and had resolved
to go to Pretoria to confer with the leaders of the Boer oligarchy.
But, in order to protect himself from the risk of a useless rebuff, he
had first arranged to meet Mr. Fischer at Bloemfontein, and obtain
through him and President Steyn some definite assurance that his
counsels would be treated with respect, before finally proceeding to
the Transvaal.

On Sunday, July 2nd, and in these circumstances, a conference was held
between the Master of the Bond and Mr. Fischer and Mr. Smuts--two men
not unworthy to represent the cause of Afrikander nationalism in their
respective republics. As the result of their discussions, carried on
almost uninterruptedly from the early morning until nearly midnight,
Mr. Fischer, Mr. Smuts, and Mr. Groebler, in the words of _Ons Land_,
"knew precisely what had to be done, in the opinion of the Colonial
representatives, to gain the moral support of Colonial Afrikanders and
to lead in the direction of peace."[94]

         [Footnote 94: Article on "The Mission of Messrs. Hofmeyr and
         Herholdt" in _Ons Land_, of July 11th, 1899, as reproduced in
         the _South African News_ of the same date. This account of
         Mr. Hofmeyr's proceedings is presumed to have been published
         with his approval. C. 9,518.]

[Sidenote: Hofmeyr at Bloemfontein.]

On the following day (Monday, the 3rd) Mr. Fischer and his companions
arrived again in Pretoria; but Mr. Hofmeyr remained at Bloemfontein,
since he had decided not to go to the Transvaal capital, unless "he
was assured of achieving something of importance there." Up to the
afternoon of Tuesday (the 4th) no such assurance had been received;
and, says _Ons Land_, "as it seemed the assurance was almost in a
contrary direction, preparations were already made for the homeward
journey." But a little later on in the day Mr. Hofmeyr and his
companion "received a hint that, although their chances of success at
Pretoria were but slight, they were not altogether hopeless." The
facts thus far provided by _Ons Land_ must now be supplemented by a
reference to the telegrams which fell into the hands of the British
authorities a year later upon the occupation of Bloemfontein. From
these documents we know that President Krüger at first telegraphed to
President Steyn a polite refusal of Mr. Hofmeyr's mediation. This was
followed, on Tuesday morning, by a telegram from Mr. Fischer himself,
informing President Steyn that the Transvaal Government "would be glad
to meet Mr. Hofmeyr and Mr. Herholdt, but that he could not say what
chance there was of their mission succeeding until the Volksraad had
been consulted." This, as we have seen, was by no means sufficient for
Mr. Hofmeyr. But later on there came a second telegram--the telegram
which _Ons Land_ delicately calls a "hint"--in which Mr. Fischer said
that President Krüger "was willing to see Mr. Hofmeyr before he
brought the matter before the Raad," and that he himself "hoped to
obtain certain concessions from the Executive Council, with the
members of which he was in consultation."

Thus encouraged, Mr. Hofmeyr and Mr. Herholdt at once left
Bloemfontein by special train, and, travelling all night, reached
Pretoria on Wednesday, the 5th, at seven o'clock.

"From the station," says _Ons Land_, "they were escorted by various
officials and friends to the Transvaal Hotel, where rooms had been
engaged for them as guests of the State. Even before they had taken
breakfast they had an audience with President Krüger. On the
invitation of His Honour they accompanied Mr. Fischer to three
meetings of the Executive Council--two on Wednesday and one on
Thursday. They had the opportunity, too, of meeting the greater part
of the Volksraad members, and of conversing with them. What occurred
on this occasion is, of course, private, and not for publication."

Mr. Hofmeyr and Mr. Herholdt left Pretoria on Friday, the 7th, and
reached Capetown on Monday, the 10th.

[Sidenote: Lord Milner and the mission.]

[Sidenote: Bid for "moral support".]

Lord Milner did everything possible to secure the success of the
Fischer-Hofmeyr mission. Provided President Krüger was induced to give
the Uitlanders an appreciable share in the government of the
Transvaal, it made no difference to the Imperial Government whether he
did so from a desire to secure the "moral support" of the Cape
Afrikander party, or from any other motive of political expediency.
What was essential was that the existing franchise scheme should be so
far improved as to become a genuine, and no longer a fictitious,
measure of reform. On the understanding that the "mission" had no less
an object in view--an understanding which he gained from conversation
with Mr. Fischer himself as well as from Mr. Schreiner and Mr.
Hofmeyr--Lord Milner placed the British Government code at the
disposal of Mr. Fischer and the Prime Minister, and further arranged
with the former to communicate with him (Lord Milner) through the
British Agent at Pretoria. But Lord Milner especially impressed, alike
upon Mr. Fischer, Mr. Hofmeyr, and Mr. Schreiner, the necessity of
urging President Krüger to discuss any proposed modifications in the
Draft Law with the Imperial Government or its representatives, before
they were submitted to the Raad. The objection to the adoption of this
course, which, according to Mr. Fischer's statement,[95] the Pretoria
Executive did in fact make, was their inability to "recognise the
right of the British Government to be consulted on the franchise,
which was an internal matter." This objection, however, as Lord Milner
pointed out to the members of the Pretoria Executive, both directly
through Sir William Greene,[96] and indirectly through Mr. Hofmeyr and
Mr. Fischer, was a mere pretext. "The whole world," he said in
effect, "knows that whatever alterations you make in the Draft
Law--and indeed the Law itself--will be the result of the pressure
brought to bear upon you by the British Government. That being so, to
refuse to discuss these alterations with us privately, and in a
friendly manner, because the franchise is an 'internal matter,' is to
strain at a gnat while you are all the while swallowing a camel." But
neither at this time, nor at any other period in the three months'
negotiations, did President Krüger desire to come to an agreement with
the British Government at the price of granting a genuine measure of
reform. As a bid for the "moral support" of the Cape Ministry, but
without the slightest attempt to consult with the British Government
or its representatives, he recommended to the Volksraad, on July 7th,
certain amendments, the effect of which was to confer the franchise
upon a very small body of Uitlanders, and that only if they succeeded
in complying with certain cumbersome and protracted formalities.[97]
On the following morning the Bond Press announced, with a great
flourish of trumpets, that Mr. Hofmeyr's mission had been remarkably
successful, and set out the amendments of "The Great Reform Act" as
representing the fruit of his and Mr. Fischer's efforts. This was for
the public. To Mr. Fischer, Hofmeyr himself telegraphed on his return
journey to Capetown, that he "deplored the failure" of his mission,
when he "thought he had reason to expect success." Mr. Schreiner, on
the other hand, was no less ready to bless the "Hofmeyr compromise"
than Krüger's original scheme. Upon receiving by telegram the bare
heads of the proposed amendments, and without waiting to learn what
practical effect they would have upon the position of the Uitlanders,
he hastily authorised _The South African News_ to announce (July 8th)
that the Cape Government considered the proposals of the amended law
"adequate, satisfactory, and such as should secure a peaceful
settlement."[98] This opinion he subsequently modified; and, at Lord
Milner's request, he advised Mr. Fischer (July 11th) to urge his
friends at Pretoria to delay the passage of the bill through the
Volksraad. And Lord Milner was authorised by Mr. Chamberlain to
instruct Sir William Greene to offer the same advice to the Transvaal
Government, with the more precise intimation that "full particulars of
the new scheme" ought to be furnished officially to the Imperial
Government, if the proposals which it embodied were to form "any
element in the settlement of the differences between the two
Governments."[99] The High Commissioner's object was, of course, to
reduce the area of formal negotiations, and therefore the risk of
official friction, to its narrowest limits. But this was not President
Krüger's object. His principle was the very opposite of that of the
Imperial Government. They abstained from preparations for war in
order to improve the prospect of a peaceable settlement. The force
upon which he relied was the warlike temper of his burghers, and the
answering enthusiasm which the spectacle of the Republic, prepared to
defy the British Empire, would arouse among the whole Dutch population
of South Africa. Mr. Reitz was, therefore, instructed to decline Mr.
Chamberlain's request on the ground that "the whole matter was out of
the hands of the Government";[100] meaning, thereby, that it had
already been submitted to the Volksraad. This, again, was the thinnest
of excuses, since President Krüger had never yet shown any scruple in
modifying or withdrawing proposals already laid before the Volksraad,
when it suited him to do so.

         [Footnote 95: C. 9,415.]

         [Footnote 96: Then Mr. Conyngham Greene.]

         [Footnote 97: C. 9,415.]

         [Footnote 98: C. 9,415.]

         [Footnote 99: _Ibid._]

         [Footnote 100: C. 9,415.]

[Sidenote: The Bogus Conspiracy.]

[Sidenote: War fever in the Transvaal.]

It may be questioned, however, whether, even at this time, the "whole
matter" had not passed, in another and more serious sense, "out of the
hands" both of the Pretoria Executive and the British Government. The
political atmosphere of South Africa had become electric. The
Uitlanders themselves cherished no illusion on the subject of
President Krüger's proposals. Amended and re-amended, the Franchise
Law, as the Uitlander Council then and there declared, left the
granting of the franchise at the discretion of the Boer officials or
the Pretoria Executive, and as such it was "a most dangerous measure,
and apparently framed with the object of defeating the end it was
presumed to have in view."[101] Further and convincing evidence of the
utterly vicious and depraved character of the _personnel_ of the Boer
administration was afforded by the proceedings arising out of the
alleged "conspiracy" against the Republic, of which the unfortunate
Englishman Nicholls was the innocent victim (May 18th to July
25th).[102] In this disgraceful affair the gravest offences against
international comity were committed; high officials, including Mr.
Tjaart Krüger, the President's youngest son, were implicated in a
gross and scandalous prostitution of the machinery of justice; and yet
no apology was offered to the Imperial Government, nor any
compensation awarded to Nicholls for the two months' imprisonment and
continuous persecution by the agents-provocateurs, to which he had
been subjected. The impassioned speeches delivered at the Paardekraal
meeting was only one among many signs of the dangerous hostility to
England and everything English that had taken possession of the
Republic. The British residents who had petitioned the Queen were
denounced as "revolutionaries," and threatened with the vengeance of
the burghers. "If war breaks out," wrote _De Rand Post_,"[103] the
Johannesburg agitators are the real instigators, and to these
ringleaders capital punishment should be meted out." In the Volksraad
discussion of the Franchise Law the same passionate hatred of the
Uitlanders was manifested. "Is it the English only who have the right
to make conditions?" asked Mr. Lombard on July 15th. "If it comes to
be a question of war, there will be a great destruction. And who will
be destroyed if it comes to a collision? Why, the subjects of Her
Majesty in Johannesburg."[104]

         [Footnote 101: C. 9,415.]

         [Footnote 102: On May 15th, 1899--_i.e._ a fortnight before
         the Bloemfontein Conference met--five persons alleged to be
         British subjects were arrested on a warrant, signed by Mr.
         Smuts as State-Attorney, on a charge of high treason. All of
         them, except one man--Nicholls, who was innocent--were agents
         of the secret service. The statement that the men were
         ex-British officers, and that one of them alleged that he was
         acting under direct instructions from the War Office, was
         disseminated through the Press by the Transvaal Government,
         with the object of discrediting (1) the South African League,
         and (2) the British Government, in the eyes of the civilised
         world. The whole of the alleged "conspiracy against the
         independence of the Republic," thanks to the endurance of
         Nicholls and the persistence of the Imperial authorities in
         South Africa, was shown to be the work of the Transvaal
         police, favoured by the negligence or political bad faith of
         certain Government officials. The prosecution was abandoned
         on July 25th. Mr. Duxbury, the counsel for the defence
         retained by the British Government, in reviewing the case and
         the proceedings, wrote (August 9th): "It seems abundantly
         clear, from all the facts which have come to light, that the
         whole of this disgraceful prosecution found its inception in
         the minds of Mr. Schutte, the Commissioner of Police, and
         Acting Chief Detective Beatty.... I must direct your
         attention to the very grave accusation contained in Thomas
         Dashwood Bundy's affidavit against Mr. Tjaart Krüger. This
         gentleman is the son of President Krüger, and is the Chief of
         the Secret Service department of this State." And of Mr.
         Smuts he writes: "I believe he was deceived by the
         detectives, and yet at the same time I fail to understand
         why, in a matter of such-magnitude, he allowed himself to
         sign warrants for the arrest of persons charged with such a
         serious crime as high treason on the strength of an affidavit
         signed by a detective, who, on the very day such affidavit
         was signed, had been denounced by the Chief Justice from the
         Bench of the High Court as a perjurer." C. 9,521 (which
         contains a full record of the whole affair).]

         [Footnote 103: The words are quoted by Mr. M. P. C. Walter,
         the editor, in a letter of protest published in the Transvaal
         _Leader_ of July 7th, 1899. C. 9,521.]

         [Footnote 104: _Ibid._]

These expressions scarcely do justice to the spirit of vindictiveness
with which certain of the republican leaders regarded the British
population of the Rand. On May 22nd, 1900, less than a year after the
date of the Volksraad discussion of the Franchise Bill, and when Lord
Roberts was advancing rapidly upon Johannesburg, a conversation took
place with Mr. Smuts in Pretoria, which was reported in _The Times_.
In the course of this conversation the State Attorney said, with
reference to the proposed destruction of the mines, that "he greatly
regretted that Johannesburg should suffer, but that the Government had
no choice in the matter, as the popular pressure upon them was too
great to be resisted." This determination is rightly characterised by
Mr. Farrelly, the late legal adviser to the Government of the South
African Republic, as the "fiendish project of wrecking the mines and
plunging into hopeless misery for years tens of thousands of innocent
men, women, and children." But that is not all. He has put upon
record[105] the sinister fact that the man entrusted with the
execution of this infamous design was Mr. Smuts himself. The mines
were saved, therefore, not by the Boer Government, but in spite of it,
and solely through the independent action of Dr. Krause, the
Acting-Commandant of Johannesburg, who "arrested the leader of the
wreckers, sent by Mr. Smuts, the day before the surrender to Lord

         [Footnote 105: _The Settlement after the War_, p. 218.]

         [Footnote 106: _Ibid._]

[Sidenote: Action of the British.]

The British population, although it provided no such displays of
racial passion, was in an equally determined mood. Undismayed by the
threats of the Boers, the Uitlander Council continued calmly to
analyse the Franchise Bill in each successive phase--an unostentatious
but very useful service, which materially assisted Lord Milner in
following the windings and doublings of Boer diplomacy. After the
great meeting at Johannesburg (June 10th), the British centres in the
Cape Colony, Natal, and Rhodesia gave similar demonstrations of their
confidence in Lord Milner's statesmanship, and their conviction of the
justice and necessity of the five years' franchise demanded by the
Imperial Government. On the other hand, the irritation against British
intervention was growing daily in the Free State; and the Dutch
Reformed Church and the Bond had organised a counter-demonstration in
the Cape Colony. The Synod of the former, meeting on June 30th, drew
up an address protesting that the differences between Lord Milner's
franchise proposals and those of President Krüger were not sufficient
to justify the "horrors of war," and requested the Governor to forward
it to the Queen. At Capetown (July 12th) and in the Dutch districts
throughout the Colony, Bond meetings were held at which resolutions
were passed in favour of a "compromise" as between Lord Milner's five
years' franchise and the scheme embodied in President Krüger's law.
More sinister was the circumstance that the information, that a
consignment of 500 rifles and 1,000,000 cartridges, landed at Port
Elizabeth on July 8th, had been permitted by the Cape Government to be
forwarded through the Colony to the Free State, only came to the ears
of the High Commissioner by an accident. In the meantime, more
definite evidence of the almost unanimous approval of Lord Milner's
policy by the British population in South Africa was forthcoming. In
all three British colonies petitions to the Queen praying for justice
to the Uitlanders, and affirming absolute confidence in Lord Milner,
were signed. The Natal petition contained the names of three-fourths
of the adult male population of the Colony, while the signatures to
the joint petition of the Cape and Rhodesia had already reached a
total of 40,500 before the end of July. In other respects the
testimony of Natal was clear and unmistakable. In this predominantly
English Colony identical resolutions supporting the action and policy
of the Imperial Government, were carried unanimously in both Chambers
of the Legislature.

[Sidenote: Hofmeyr's warning.]

In the middle of July the situation improved in a slight degree
through the influence which Lord Milner had exercised upon the
Afrikander leaders in the Cape Colony. On the 14th the Cape Parliament
met, and on this day Mr. Hofmeyr, chagrined at a suggestion for
further support which he had received from the republican
nationalists at Pretoria, despatched a telegram to Mr. Smuts, in which
he, as the recognised head of the Afrikander Bond, reminded the
members of President Krüger's Executive that the promised co-operation
of the Cape Government with them had been definitely limited to "moral
support." And he plainly hinted that, unless greater deference was
shown to his advice, even this "moral support" might be withdrawn.

     "The most important suggestions sent from here will apparently
     not be adopted. The independence of the Republics is in danger.
     As to the Colony, the utmost prospect held out was moral support.
     The Ministry and the Bond have acted up to that. If Parliament
     [_i.e._ the Cape Parliament] goes too strongly in the same
     direction, there may be a change of Ministry, with Sprigg or
     Rhodes backed by Milner. Would your interests be benefited
     thereby? _Verb. sat. sap._"[107]

         [Footnote 107: Secured by the Intelligence Department. The
         telegrams thus referred to, in this and the following
         chapter, have not been published in the Blue-Books. They were
         published, however, in _The Times History of the War_. Their
         authenticity is undoubted. Sir Gordon Sprigg had held a
         conversation with the Governor on the 13th.]

As President Krüger wanted to retain the "moral support" of the Cape
Government for a few weeks longer, he listened to Mr. Fischer's
advice[108] to humour their prejudices, and forthwith recommended a
further modification of the Franchise Bill to the Volksraad. This
final amendment, under which a uniform seven years' retrospective
franchise was substituted for a nine years' retrospective franchise,
alternate with a seven years' retrospective franchise taking effect
five years after the passing of the law (_i.e._ in 1904), was accepted
on July 18th, and the new Franchise Law was passed on the 19th and
promulgated on the 26th. Its provisions were so obscure that it was
accompanied by an explanatory memorandum furnished by the State
Attorney, Mr. Smuts. But even assuming that the legal pitfalls could
be removed, and the law, thus simplified, would be worked in the most
liberal spirit by the officials of the Republic, President Krüger's
proposals failed to provide the essential reform which Lord Milner had
pledged himself and the Imperial Government to obtain. That reform was
the immediate endowment of a substantial proportion of the British
residents in the Transvaal with the rights of citizenship. To use his
own words,[109] "the whole point" of his Bloemfontein proposal was "to
put the Uitlanders in a position to fight their own battles, and so to
avoid the necessity of pressing for the redress of specific

         [Footnote 108: Mr. Fischer was still at Pretoria. C. 9, 415.]

         [Footnote 109: C. 9,415.]

No one in South Africa had any doubt as to the entire inadequacy of
the Franchise Bill to fulfil this essential object. In the opinion of
the Uitlander Council it was[110] "expressly designed to exclude
rather than admit the newcomer." Sir Henry de Villiers complained[111]
to Mr. Fischer:

         [Footnote 110: _Ibid._]

         [Footnote 111: On July 31st, Cd. 369.]

     "Then there is the Franchise Bill, which is so obscure that the
     State Attorney had to issue an explanatory memorandum to remove
     the obscurities. But surely a law should be clear enough to speak
     for itself, and no Government or court of law will be bound by
     the State Attorney's explanations. I do not know what those
     explanations are, but the very fact that they are required
     condemns the Bill. That Bill certainly does not seem quite to
     carry out the promises made to you, Mr. Hofmeyr, and Mr.

[Sidenote: An illusory measure.]

And Lord Milner, in his final analysis of the law on July 26th,
concludes[112] that "the Bill as it stands leaves it practically in
the hands of the Government to enfranchise, or not to enfranchise, the
Uitlanders as it chooses." And he then draws attention to the very
grave consideration that if the paramount Power once accepts this
illusory measure, it will deprive itself of any future right of
intervention on the franchise question.

         [Footnote 112: C. 9,518.]

     "And the worst of it," he wrote, "is that should the Bill,
     through a literal interpretation of its complicated provisions,
     fail to secure the object at which it avowedly aims, no one will
     be able to protest against the result."

For one moment it seemed to the anxious warden of British interests in
South Africa as though the Home Government might be caught in
President Krüger's legislative net. The incident is one that well
exhibits the tireless effort and unflinching resolution with which
Lord Milner discharged the duties of his office.

President Krüger's Bloemfontein scheme was a maze of legal pitfalls.
What these pitfalls were the reader may learn from the analysis of the
scheme which was published in _The Cape Times_ of June 10th, 1899.
When the Franchise Bill was before the Volksraad this complicated
scheme, as we have seen, was amended and re-amended; and each new
provision was as intricate in its working as the parent scheme. It is
obvious that nothing short of a commission of inquiry could have
determined with certainty the manner in which the representation of
the Uitlanders was affected by each successive amendment. While these
changes were in progress in the Raadzaal at Pretoria--changes so
"numerous and so rapid," as Lord Milner said,[113] that it was
"absolutely impossible at any given moment to know what the effect of
the scheme, as existing at that moment, was likely to be"--Lord Milner
himself at Capetown was at one and the same time overwhelmed with
detailed criticisms from Uitlanders, anxious that no legal pitfall or
administrative obstacle should remain undetected, and besieged with
cables from the Colonial Office requesting precise information upon
any point upon which an energetic member of the House of Commons might
have chosen to interrogate the Secretary of State. And, in addition to
this rain of telegrams, people on the spot were constantly calling at
Government House to ask if the High Commissioner had observed this or
that defect or trap in clauses, the text of which he had not yet had
time to receive, still less to read or comprehend. All this, too, was
over and above the heavy administrative and official duties of the
Governor and High Commissioner--duties which Lord Milner was called
upon to perform with more than usual care, in view of the political
ascendancy of the Dutch party in the Cape Colony.

         [Footnote 113: August 23rd, C. 9,521.]

[Sidenote: Mr. Chamberlain's assumption.]

On July 13th, Lord Milner sent warning telegrams to Mr.
Chamberlain,[114] pointing out specific defects in the Franchise Bill,
and showing how seriously President Krüger's proposals fell short of
the Bloemfontein minimum. Five days later the Volksraad accepted the
final amendments. The face value of the Bill, as it now stood to be
converted into law, was a seven years' franchise, prospective and
retrospective. When, therefore, Mr. Chamberlain heard this same day
(July 18th) that the Volksraad had accepted the bill in this form with
only five dissentients, he seems to have assumed that a really
considerable concession had been made by President Krüger at the last
moment, and that, with the President and the Volksraad in this mood,
still further concessions would be forthcoming. Under this impression
he informed the House of Commons lobby correspondent of _The Times_
that "the crisis might be regarded as at an end." His words were
reproduced in _The Times_ on the day following (July 19th), and at
once cabled to South Africa.

         [Footnote 114: C. 9,415.]

It is impossible for any one who has not lived in South Africa to
realise the sickening distrust and dread produced in the minds of the
loyal subjects of the Crown by this statement. War they were ready to
face. But to go back to every-day life once again bowed down with the
shame of a moral Majuba, to meet the eyes of the Dutch once more
aflame with the light of victory, to hear their words of insolent
contempt--was ignominy unspeakable and unendurable. The Uitlander
Council at once cabled an emphatic message of protest[115] to Mr.
Chamberlain, and every loyalist that had a friend in England
telegraphed to beg him to use all his influence to prevent the
surrender of the Government. How near the British population in South
Africa were to this ignominy may be gathered from the fact that on
this day Lord Milner received a telegram in which Mr. Chamberlain
congratulated him upon the successful issue of his efforts. Lord
Milner's reply was one that could have left no doubt in Mr.
Chamberlain's mind as to the gravity of the misconception under which
he laboured. It was, of course, beyond the High Commissioner's power
to prevent the Home Government from accepting the Franchise Bill; but
he could at least remove the impression that he was anxious to
participate in an act, which would have made the breach between the
loyalists of South Africa and the mother country final and

         [Footnote 115: "The Uitlander Council is keenly disappointed
         at the _Times_' announcement that the seven years' franchise
         is acceptable to the Imperial Government. We fear few will
         accept the franchise on this condition, so the result is not
         likely to abate unrest and discontent, nor redress pressing
         grievances. Such a settlement would not even approximate to
         the conditions obtaining in the Orange Free State and the
         [British] colonies, and would fail to secure the recognition
         of the principle of racial equality. We earnestly implore you
         not to depart from the High Commissioner's five years'
         compromise, which the Uitlanders accepted with great
         reluctance. The absolute necessity for a satisfactory
         settlement with an Imperial guarantee is emphasised by the
         insincerity and bad faith persistently shown during the
         Volksraad discussion of the Franchise Law."--C. 9,415.]

[Sidenote: The relapse in England.]

It is scarcely possible to believe that Mr. Chamberlain, with Lord
Milner's telegrams before him, was himself prepared to accept
President Krüger's illusory franchise scheme. The source of the
weakness of the Government in the conduct of the negotiations, no less
than in its refusal to make adequate preparations for war, is to be
found in the inability of the mass of the people of England to
understand how completely British power in South Africa had been
undermined by the Afrikander nationalists during the last twenty
years. How could the average elector know that the refusal or
acceptance of the Volksraad Bill, differing only from the Bloemfontein
minimum in an insignificant--as it seemed--particular of two years,
would, in fact, make known to all European South Africa whether
President Krüger or the British Government was master of the
sub-continent? In view of this profound ignorance of South African
conditions, and the consequent uncertainty of any assured support,
even from the members of their own party, the Salisbury Cabinet may
well have argued: "Here is something at last that we can represent as
a genuine concession. Let us take it, and have done with this
troublesome South African question; or leave it to the next Liberal
Government to settle."

If the Cabinet did so reason to themselves, what English statesman
could have "cast the first stone" at them? But how profound is the
interval between the spirit of the policy of "the man on the spot,"
with his eyes upon the object, and the spirit of the policy of the
island statesman with one eye upon the hustings and the other strained
to catch an intermittent glimpse of an unfamiliar and distant Africa!

[Sidenote: Lord Milner's anxiety.]

This 19th of July was a dark day for the High Commissioner. In the
morning came Mr. Chamberlain's telegram with its ominous suggestion of
a change for the worse in the attitude of the Home Government. And
this change in the Cabinet was, as Lord Milner knew, only the natural
reflection of a wider change, which had manifested itself among the
supporters of the Government and in the country at large since the
publication, on June 14th, of his despatch of May 4th. Private letters
had made him aware that to men to whom Dutch ascendancy at the Cape
and Boer tyranny in the Transvaal, Afrikander nationalism and Boer
armaments, were meaningless expressions, his resolute advocacy of the
Uitlanders' cause and his frank presentation of the weakness of Great
Britain had seemed the work of a disordered imagination or a violent
partisanship. Nor was his knowledge of the relapse in England limited
to the warnings or protests of his private friends. _The South African
News_, the ministerial organ, which of late had filled its columns
with adverse criticisms taken from the London Press, this morning
contained a bitter article on him reprinted from _Punch_, which had
arrived by the yesterday's mail. After all, it seemed, the long
struggle against mis-government in the Transvaal was going to end in
failure; and the British people would once more be befooled. With such
thoughts in his mind, Lord Milner must have found the work of making
up the weekly despatches for the Colonial Office--for it was a
Wednesday[116]--a wearisome and depressing task. The mail was detained
until long past the customary hour. But before it left, in spite of
discouragement and anxiety, Lord Milner had gathered together into a
brief compass all the documents necessary to put Mr. Chamberlain in
possession of every material fact relative to the new law--passed only
on the day before--and to the proceedings of the Transvaal Executive
and the Volksraad between the 12th and the 19th. And, in addition to
this, he had written a fresh estimate of the Franchise Bill in its
latest form, in which he emphasised his former verdict that the
proposals which it contained were not such as the Uitlanders would be
likely to accept. And in particular he pointed out that the fact of
the final amendment being thus readily adopted by the Volksraad
disposed of the contention, upon which President Krüger had laid so
much stress at Bloemfontein, that his "burghers" would not permit him
to make the concessions which the British Government required. He

         [Footnote 116: The English outward mail-boat arrived on
         Tuesday, and the homeward boat left on Wednesday.]

     "On July 12th Her Majesty's Government requested the Government
     of the South African Republic to give them time to consider the
     measure and communicate their views before it was proceeded with.
     To this the Government of the South African Republic replied, on
     July 13th, with a polite negative, saying that 'the whole matter
     was out of the hands of the Government, and it was no longer
     possible for the Government to satisfy the demands of the
     Secretary of State.' The State-Attorney informed Mr. Greene[117]
     at the same time that 'the present proposals represented
     absolutely the greatest concession that could be got from the
     Volksraad, and could not be enlarged. He personally had tried
     hard for seven years' retrospective franchise, but the Raad would
     not hear of it, and it was only with difficulty that the present
     proposals were obtained.' This was on the 12th, but within a week
     the seven years' retrospective franchise had been adopted.
     Indeed, the statement of the absolute impossibility of obtaining
     more than a particular measure of enfranchisement from the
     Volksraad or the burghers has been made over and over again in
     the history of this question--never more emphatically than by the
     President himself at Bloemfontein--and has over and over again
     been shown to be a delusion."[118]

         [Footnote 117: Sir W. Greene became a K.C.B. after the war
         had broken out.]

         [Footnote 118: C. 9,518.]

[Sidenote: Mr. Chamberlain's statement.]

But this full record of the shifts and doublings of Boer diplomacy
would not reach London for another two weeks and a half. It was
necessary, therefore, to use the cable. Early the next morning Lord
Milner sent a telegram to the Secretary of State, in which he warned
the Home Government of the extreme discouragement produced among all
who were attached to the British connection by _The Times_ statement
of their readiness to accept the Franchise Bill. On that afternoon
(July 20th), Mr. Chamberlain made a statement in the House of Commons
in which he took up a much more satisfactory position. The Government,
he said, were led to hope that the new law "might prove to be a basis
of settlement on the lines laid down" by Lord Milner at the
Bloemfontein Conference. They observed, however, that "a number of
conditions" which might be used "to take away with one hand what had
been given with the other" were still retained. But they--

     "felt assured that the President, having accepted the principle
     for which they had contended, would be prepared to reconsider any
     detail of his schemes which could be shown to be a possible
     hindrance to the full accomplishment of the objects in view, and
     that he would not allow them to be nullified or reduced in value
     by any subsequent alterations of the law or acts of

That is to say, Mr. Chamberlain was no longer willing to take the bill
at its face value, but in accordance with his determination to exhaust
every possible resource of diplomacy before he turned to force, he
gave President Krüger credit for a genuine desire to promote a
peaceable settlement. A week later he formulated the method by which
the President was to be allowed an opportunity of justifying this
generous estimate of his intentions. In the meantime Lord Milner had
sent lengthy telegrams to the Secretary of State on the 23rd, and
again on the 26th, and the Salisbury Cabinet had determined to make a
definite pronouncement of its South African policy, and to endeavour
to arouse the country to a sense of the seriousness of the situation
with which President Krüger's continued obduracy would bring it face
to face. On July 27th Mr. Balfour declared, in addressing the Union of
Conservative Associations, that--

     "If endless patience, endless desire to prevent matters coming to
     extremities, if all the resources of diplomacy, were utterly
     ineffectual to untie the knot, other means must inevitably be
     found by which that knot must be loosened."

On the day following (July 28th) the Transvaal question was debated in
both Houses of Parliament. In the House of Lords the Prime Minister,
Lord Salisbury, delivered a moderate and almost sympathetic speech.
After making all allowance for the natural apprehension experienced by
President Krüger at the sudden inrush of population caused by the
discovery of the Witwatersrand gold-fields, he expressed the opinion
that an attempt "to put the two races fairly and honestly on the same
footing" would bring a peaceful solution of the crisis. But, he

     "How long we are to consider that solution, and what patience we
     are bound to show, these things I will not discuss. We have to
     consider not only the feelings of the inhabitants of the
     Transvaal, but, what is more important, the feelings of our
     fellow-subjects.... Whatever happens, when the validity of the
     Conventions is impeached, they belong from that time entirely to
     history. I am quite sure that if this country has to make
     exertions in order to secure the most elementary justice for
     British subjects,--I am quite sure [it] will not reinstate a
     state of things that will bring back the old difficulties in all
     their formidable character at the next turn of the wheel. Without
     intruding on his thoughts, I do not think President Krüger has
     sufficiently considered this."

[Sidenote: The Joint Commission.]

In the House of Commons Mr. Chamberlain announced that he had proposed
to the Transvaal Government that a joint commission should be
appointed to test the efficacy of the scheme of electoral reform
embodied in the new Franchise Law. This proposal was set out in detail
in a despatch already addressed to the High Commissioner, the
substance of which had been telegraphed[119] to him on the preceding
day (July 27th). The British Government assumed that "the concessions
now made to the Uitlanders were intended in good faith to secure to
them some approach to the equality which was promised in 1881"; they
proposed that the "complicated details and questions of a technical
nature" involved in the new law should be discussed in the first
instance by delegates appointed by the High Commissioner and by the
South African Republic; and if, and when, a "satisfactory agreement"
had been reached on these points, they further proposed that all
disputes as to the terms of the Convention should be settled by a
"judicial authority, whose independence ... would be above suspicion,"
and all remaining matters in respect of the political representation
of the Uitlanders by "another personal Conference" between the High
Commissioner and President Krüger.

         [Footnote 119: C. 9,518.]

Although the position which the Salisbury Cabinet had now taken up was
one which placed them beyond the danger of accepting an illusory
franchise scheme in lieu of an adequate measure of reform, it was not
the course of action which was best to follow, except from the point
of view of opening the eyes of the British public. In itself further
delay was dangerous. It gave the Boers more time to arm, while we, for
this very reason for which it was necessary to protract the
negotiations, were prevented from arming vigorously. It discouraged
our friends in South Africa, and made them even begin to doubt whether
Great Britain "meant business." It was good policy to offer the Joint
Inquiry, given the truth of the assumption upon which this offer was
based--namely, that the Bill represented an honest desire on the part
of President Krüger to provide a peaceable settlement of the Uitlander
question. Lord Milner knew, within the limits of human intelligence,
that this assumption was wholly unwarranted. The Home Government
apparently did not. As the result of this difference, Lord Milner's
policy was again deflected to the extent that two months of
negotiation were devoted to a purely futile endeavour to persuade the
Pretoria Executive to prove the good faith of a proposal, which was
never intended to be anything more than a pretext for delay. And, as
before, the injury to British interests lay in the fact that, while
the Home Government was prevented from making any adequate use of this
delay by its determination not to make preparations for war until war
was in sight, the period was fully utilised by President Krüger, who
since Bloemfontein had been resolutely hastening the arrangements
necessary for attacking the British colonies at a given moment with
the entire burgher forces of the two Republics.

[Sidenote: Krüger urged to accept.]

The offer of the Joint Inquiry was formally communicated to the
Pretoria Executive in an eminently friendly telegram[120] from Lord
Milner on August 1st. Efforts were made on all sides to induce
President Krüger to accept it. Chief Justice de Villiers wrote
strongly in this sense to Mr. Fischer,[121] and to his brother Melius,
the Chief Justice of the Free State. Mr. Schreiner telegraphed to Mr.
Fischer, and Mr. Hofmeyr to President Steyn, both urging that the
influence of the Free State should be used in favour of the proposal.
The Dutch Government advised the Republic "not to refuse the English
proposal";[122] and further informed Dr. Leyds that, in the opinion of
the German Government, "every approach to one of the Great Powers in
this very critical moment will be without any results whatever, and
very dangerous to the Republic."[123] Even the English sympathisers of
the Boers were in favour of acceptance. Mr. Montagu White, the
Transvaal Consul-General in London, cabled that "Courtney, Labouchere,
both our friends, and friendly papers without exception," recommended
this course; and that "refusal meant war and would estrange friends."
The letter which he wrote to Mr. Reitz on the same day (August 4th),
possesses an independent interest, as revealing the degree in which
the friends of the Boers in England had identified themselves with the
policy of the Afrikander party in the Cape Colony.

         [Footnote 120: C. 9,518.]

         [Footnote 121: See p. 218 for this letter.]

         [Footnote 122: Cd. 547.]

         [Footnote 123: _Ibid._]

     "The essence of friendly advice," said Mr. White,[124] "is:
     Accept the proposal in principle, point out how difficult it will
     be to arrive at a satisfactory conclusion as to statistics, etc.,
     and how undesirable it would be to have a miscarriage of the
     Commission. In other words: Gain as much time as you can, and
     give the public time here to get out of the dangerous frame of
     mind which Chamberlain's speeches have created.... Labouchere
     said to me this morning: 'Don't, for goodness' sake, let Mr.
     Krüger make his first mistake by refusing this; a little skilful
     management, and he will give Master Joe another fall.' He further
     said: 'You are such past-masters of the art of gaining time; here
     is an opportunity; you surely haven't let your right hands lose
     their cunning, and you ought to spin out the negotiations for
     quite two or three months.'"

         [Footnote 124: Cd. 369.]

A week later (August 11th), President Krüger received a telegram[125]
in which fifty Afrikander members of the Cape Parliament advanced the
same argument. The acceptance of the Joint Commission, they pointed
out, would provide a way out of a crisis "which might prove fatal to
the best interests, not only of our Transvaal and Free State brethren,
but also of the Afrikander party." They, therefore, begged his Honour
to "lay their words privately" before the Executive and the Volksraad.

         [Footnote 125: Secured by the Intelligence Department.]

[Sidenote: Krüger resolved on war.]

But President Krüger, like Lord Milner, had his eyes fixed upon the
object. He looked beyond the Afrikander leaders to the rank and file
of the Dutch population in the British colonies, with whom he had been
in direct communication through his agents for many months past.[126]
He knew that any such inquiry as Mr. Chamberlain proposed would
expose the flagrant insincerity of the Franchise Bill. On August 2nd
he had telegraphed to President Steyn that compliance with the Joint
Commission was "tantamount to the destruction of the independence of
the Republic."[127] To the Dutch Consul-General[128] he was perfectly
frank: "Defeats such as the English had suffered in the war for
freedom, and later under Jameson, had never been suffered by the
Boers." His burghers were ready to "go on the _battue_ of Englishmen,"
when he gave the word.[129]

         [Footnote 126: It was known to the Intelligence Department
         that Krüger's secret agents had been in the Cape Colony for
         two years before the outbreak of war, and that they had
         distributed arms in certain districts of the Colony.]

         [Footnote 127: Secured by the Intelligence Department.]

         [Footnote 128: Cd. 547.]

         [Footnote 129: The expression "Ons wil nou Engelse schiet"
         was actually used. See Thomas's _Origin of the Anglo-Boer War
         Revealed_, p. 110.]

[Sidenote: Fischer ceases to "mediate".]

The burghers of the Free State could be counted upon with almost equal
certainty. Mr. Fischer, a more potent influence than President Steyn,
had by this time openly dissociated himself from the "mediation"
policy of the Cape nationalists, and was again (August 4th to 9th) at
Pretoria. Here he threw himself heart and soul into the work of
completing the military preparations of the two Republics. On the 6th
he telegraphed to President Steyn that the draft reply was prepared;
that it "invited discussion and asked questions to gain time," and
that, therefore, it "was not yet necessary to deliberate as to calling
together the Volksraad" for the final decision of peace or war.
"Military matters, especially artillery," he added, "seem to me very
faulty. Care will be taken to make all necessary preparations."[130]
Nor did he leave the Transvaal capital until he had settled the
details of the invasion of Natal with General Joubert. Indeed, from
this time onwards to the despatch of the ultimatum--a document which
came, in its final form, from his pen--Mr. Fischer's part in the
conduct of the negotiations was second only to that of President
Krüger. In all he did he displayed the same reasoned determination to
oppose British supremacy in South Africa which he has exhibited since
the war in his control of the Bloemfontein _Friend_. Orders for the
inspection of the commando organisation in the Free State had been
given before Mr. Fischer had left Bloemfontein; and on his return from
Pretoria he responded to Mr. Schreiner's urgent and continued
representations of the desirability of inducing President Krüger to
accept Mr. Chamberlain's offer, by a request to be informed of any
probable movements of British forces. Mr. Schreiner's reply, that the
Free State must ask for such information from the High Commissioner,
caused him to apply to Mr. Hofmeyr for an explanation of the Cape
Premier's attitude. The inquiry produced a notable analysis of Mr.
Schreiner's position.

         [Footnote 130: Secured by the Intelligence Department.]

     "Hofmeyr says," Dr. Te Water telegraphed, "that whatever the
     Premier's feelings or relations to our people are, he is at the
     same time a minister of the Crown. As such he has on him claims
     in two directions, of which he is acquitting himself to the best
     of his ability. He has no control over the movement of troops.
     You had better come and have a quiet talk. Meanwhile the Free
     State should surely refrain from an aggressive step."[131]

         [Footnote 131: Secured by the Intelligence Department.]

This well-meant advice was somewhat belated. In reply to a telegram
from President Steyn, asking whether it was true that the Imperial
Government was going to send 1,000 men to Bethulie Bridge, Lord Milner
replied on August 16th, that, "as a matter of fact, no despatch of
Imperial troops to the borders of the Orange Free State was in
contemplation." But he added that in view of the much more substantial
reports of the "importation of large quantities of munitions of war"
into that State and "the general arming of the burghers," it "would
not have been unnatural, if such military preparations had been
responded to by a defensive movement" on the part of the British
Government.[132] Indeed, the circumstances which had led to Mr.
Fischer's co-operation in Mr. Hofmeyr's "mediation" were rapidly
disappearing. The Port Elizabeth Mausers and ammunition were safely
through the Cape Colony; a further consignment of Mauser ammunition
arrived at Delagoa Bay (August 16th) in the German steamship
_Reichstag_ at the very time that these telegrams were passing; and
both this and other enormous consignments were forwarded to Pretoria a
fortnight later in spite of an abortive attempt on the part of the
British Foreign Office to induce the Portuguese authorities to retain
them. The possession of an adequate supply of ammunition was a matter
of cardinal importance to which, as we have seen, President Steyn had
drawn the attention of the Pretoria Executive nearly a month before
the Bloemfontein Conference. It was these Mauser cartridges that were
wanted especially, since, without them, the new arm--the splendid
Mauser magazine rifle--must have been rejected in place of the
inferior Martini-Henry for which the Boers had long been provided with
an ample reserve of ammunition.

         [Footnote 132: C. 9,521.]

[Sidenote: Smuts-Greene negotiations.]

[Sidenote: Boer diplomacy.]

In the meantime the British Government was still waiting for a reply
to its offer of a Joint Inquiry. On August 7th the Volksraad discussed
the question, and on the 12th a despatch was written by Mr. Reitz
refusing the offer on the ground that such a proposal was inconsistent
with the independence of the Republic. It was held back, however,
until September 1st; that is to say, until the Portuguese authorities
had allowed the Transvaal ammunition to leave Lorenzo Marques. Then,
as we shall see, it was forwarded in conjunction with a second
despatch of September 2nd. The delay was won by a characteristic
display of "the art of gaining time," in which, as Mr. Labouchere
remarked, the Boers were past-masters. On the same day that Mr. Reitz
wrote his despatch (August 12th), Mr. Smuts approached Sir William
Greene[133] with the offer of a still further simplified seven years'
franchise in lieu of the Joint Commission. When, however, Sir William
Greene assured him that the British Government would not accept
anything less than the Bloemfontein minimum, he subsequently agreed to
an arrangement of which the main items were: A five years' franchise;
the workable character of the new law to be secured by the submission
of its provisions to the British Agent with a legal adviser; and
increased representation in the Volksraad, together with the use of
the English language. After communications had passed between Sir
William Greene, Lord Milner, and Mr. Chamberlain, these proposals,
with certain reservations, were formally communicated to the British
Government by Mr. Reitz on August 19th. Two days later a second note
was forwarded in which the offer contained in the previous note
(August 19th) was declared to be subject to the acceptance by the
British Government of two conditions. These conditions--an undertaking
not to interfere in the internal affairs of the Republic in the future
and a specific withdrawal of the claim of suzerainty--amounted in
effect to a formal renunciation by Great Britain of its position as
paramount Power in South Africa. In other words, the Pretoria
Executive had repudiated the arrangement made by Mr. Smuts with Sir
William Greene. Mr. Chamberlain, noticing the material variation
between the original offer as initialled by Mr. Smuts and forwarded by
Sir William Greene, and Mr. Reitz's note of August 19th, instructed
Sir William Greene to obtain an explanation of the discrepancy from
the Transvaal Government. The reply was a curt rejoinder that there
was not "the slightest chance of an alteration or an amplification" of
the terms of the arrangement as set out in the note of the 19th.[134]
In these circumstances Mr. Chamberlain telegraphed a reply on August
28th, in which he accepted the original offer, and rejected the
impossible conditions subsequently attached to it.[135] The terms of
settlement thus proposed were in substance the same as those of the
despatch of July 27th, with the exception that an inquiry by the
British Agent was substituted for the Joint Commission, and the five
years' franchise of the Smuts-Greene arrangement was accepted in lieu
of the seven years' franchise of the Volksraad law. The Transvaal
reply was a further essay in the same useful "art of gaining time." It
was dated September 2nd, and contained a definite withdrawal of the
Smuts-Greene offer as embodied in the notes of August 19th and 21st,
and a vague return to the Joint Commission.

         [Footnote 133: Then Mr. Conyngham Greene. C. 9,521.]

         [Footnote 134: C. 9,521.]

         [Footnote 135: _Ibid._]

     "Under certain conditions," wrote Mr. Reitz,[136] "this
     Government would be glad to learn from Her Majesty's Government
     how they propose that the Commission should be constituted, and
     what place and time for meeting is suggested."[137]

         [Footnote 136: The despatch was presented to the British
         Agent, and telegraphed, through the High Commissioner, to the
         Home Government. Its diplomatic ambiguity was due to Mr.
         Fischer's influence.]

         [Footnote 137: C. 9,521.]

And this with the consoling promise of a "further reply" to other
questions arising out of the despatch of July 27th, which the
Transvaal Government had not yet been able to consider.

The response to this astute document was the last effort of the
Salisbury Cabinet to arrange a settlement upon the basis of the
"friendly discussion" inaugurated at Bloemfontein. The British
Government, Mr. Chamberlain wrote, had "absolutely repudiated" the
claim, made in the notes of April 16th and May 9th, that the South
African Republic was a "sovereign international state," and they could
not, therefore, consider a proposal which was conditional on the
acceptance of this view of the status of the Republic. They "could not
now consent to go back to the proposals for which those of the note of
August 19th were intended as a substitute," since they were "satisfied
that the law of 1899, in which these proposals were finally embodied,
was insufficient to secure the immediate and substantial
representation" of the Uitlanders. They were "still prepared to accept
the offer made in paragraphs 1, 2, and 3 of the note of August 19th,"
provided that an inquiry, joint or unilateral as the Transvaal
Government might prefer, showed that "the new scheme of representation
would not be encumbered by conditions which would nullify the
intention to give substantial and immediate representation to the
Uitlanders." They assumed that "the new members of the Raad would be
permitted to use their own language." They expressed their belief that
"the acceptance of these terms would at once remove the tension
between the two Governments, and would in all probability render
unnecessary any further intervention" on the franchise question, and
their readiness--

[Sidenote: A definite demand.]

     "to make immediate arrangements for a further conference between
     the President of the South African Republic and the High
     Commissioner to settle all the details of the proposed Tribunal
     of Arbitration, and the questions ... which were neither
     Uitlander grievances nor questions of interpretation"

of the Convention. And they added that if the reply of the Republic
was negative or inconclusive, "they would reserve to themselves the
right to reconsider the situation _de novo_, and to formulate their
own proposals for a final settlement."[138]

         [Footnote 138: C. 9,521.]

The text of this despatch was telegraphed to Lord Milner late at night
on September 8th. It was presented to the Transvaal Government on the
12th, with a request that the reply might reach the British Agent not
later than midday on the 14th. This limit of time was fixed by Sir
William Greene on his own initiative, and it was withdrawn by Lord
Milner's instructions, in order that the Pretoria Executive might not
be unduly hurried. The Transvaal reply, which was delivered on the
15th, was a refusal to accept the Smuts-Greene arrangement, re-stated
by the British Government, as the basis of the franchise reform,
coupled with a charge of bad faith against Sir William Greene.

It was a cleverly composed document, which owed its diplomatic effect
in no small degree to Mr. Fischer, who had revised it. It was written
for publication, since, in Mr. Fischer's opinion, the time had come to
write despatches which would "justify the Republic in the eyes of the
world"; and with this end in view it contained the suggestion that the
British Government was bent upon worrying the Pretoria Executive into

     "This Government," it explains, "continues to cherish the hope
     that Her Majesty's Government, on further consideration, will
     feel itself free to abandon the idea of making the new proposals
     more difficult for this Government, and imposing new conditions,
     and will declare itself satisfied to abide by its own proposal
     for a Joint Commission at first proposed by the Secretary of
     State for the Colonies in the Imperial Parliament, and
     subsequently proposed to this Government and accepted by

         [Footnote 139: C. 9,530.]

[Sidenote: Reinforcements sanctioned.]

The British despatch of September 8th represented the united opinion
of the Cabinet Council which had met on that day to consider the South
African situation. In sending it, the Government also decided to raise
the strength of the Natal and Cape forces to the total of 22,000,
estimated by the War Office as sufficient for defensive purposes, by
the immediate addition of 10,000 men, of whom nearly 6,000 were to be
provided by the Indian Army.[140] The despatch itself, definite in
contents and resolute in tone, was the sort of communication which, in
Lord Milner's judgment, should have been forwarded to the Transvaal
Government after the failure of the Bloemfontein Conference; and the
additional troops now ordered out were nothing more than the
substantial reinforcements for which he had applied in June. The three
months' negotiations had led the Salisbury Cabinet to the precise
conclusion which Lord Milner had formed at Bloemfontein. The only hope
of a peaceable settlement lay in a definite demand, backed by
preparations for war. But to do this in June, and to do it in
September, were two very different things. Assuming that diplomatic
pressure could in any case have availed to secure the necessary
reforms, it is obvious that, whatever prospect of success attached to
this course of action--Policy No. 2, as Lord Milner called it--in
June, was materially diminished in September. During the interval the
British Government had done practically nothing to improve its
military position. That of President Krüger had been conspicuously
improved. He had carried the Free State with him; he had got his
Mauser ammunition and additional artillery, and he had completed his
arrangements for the simultaneous mobilisation of the burghers of the
two Republics. Even now the military action of the British Government
was confined to preparations for defence; for the order to mobilise
the army corps was not given until the next Cabinet Council had been
held on September 22nd. The spirit of Pretoria was very different. The
commandos were on their way to the Natal border before the reply to
this British despatch of September 8th was delivered to the British
Agent. That was President Krüger's real answer--not the diplomatic
fencing of September 15th.

         [Footnote 140: The despatch of 2,000 additional troops to
         Natal had been sanctioned on August 2nd, in response to the
         earnest appeal of the Natal Government. Hence at this time
         there were (roughly) 12,000 Imperial troops in South Africa.
         It is noticeable that, although the despatch only reached
         Lord Milner on the morning of the 9th, the _Cape Argus_ had
         contained a telegram, giving an account of the troops warned
         in India and England, on the evening of the 8th.]

[Sidenote: Violence of the Boers.]

More than this, the three months' negotiations had embittered the
relations of the British and Dutch factions in every South African
state to such a degree that any compromise of the sort proposed by
Lord Milner at Bloemfontein was no longer sufficient to effect a
settlement. The moderate measure of representation then suggested
would have been rejected now by the Uitlanders as wholly inadequate
for their protection, in view of the violent antipathy to them and the
gold industry which the diplomatic struggle had evoked among all
classes of the Dutch inhabitants of the Transvaal. The particulars of
the outrageous treatment, and still more outrageous threats, to which
the British Uitlanders were subjected from this time onwards up to
the ultimatum are to be found in the Blue-books. As early as the
middle of August, when the Smuts-Greene negotiations had just been
commenced, Mr. Monypenny, the editor of the Johannesburg _Star_, was
warned that the Transvaal Government intended to issue a warrant for
his arrest on a charge of high treason. This intention, postponed
during the fortnight of delay won by these negotiations, was carried
out on September 1st, on which day Mr. Pakeman, the editor of the
_Transvaal Leader_, was secured, while Mr. Monypenny succeeded in
effecting his escape. This indefensible act was followed by a
characteristic attempt to disown it, made by Mr. Smuts, the State
Attorney, the nature of which is sufficiently exhibited in the
following telegram, despatched by the High Commissioner on September
4th to the Secretary of State:

     "The charge against Pakeman has been reduced to one under the
     Press Law of 1896, and he has been admitted to bail. There have
     been no further arrests. Greene telegraphs as follows:

     "_Begins._--A statement has been published through the Press this
     morning by the State Attorney 'that no instructions had ever been
     issued from Pretoria for the arrest of the editors of the
     _Leader_ or the _Star_.' The facts are as follows: On Friday
     morning the Public Prosecutor of Johannesburg and Captain Vandam,
     who had come over from Johannesburg to Pretoria, were interviewed
     by the State Attorney in his office here. In the afternoon these
     two officers returned to Johannesburg, and arrested the editor
     of the _Leader_ the same evening, failing to capture the editor
     of the _Star_.--_Ends._

     "There is no doubt that the arrest of both editors was decided by
     the Government and other arrests contemplated, intimidation of
     Uitlander leaders being the object. The exodus from Johannesburg
     is taking formidable proportions. Many refugees of all classes
     have come to Capetown. In Natal there are an even larger number.
     A good deal of money is being spent on relief."[141]

         [Footnote 141: C. 9,521.]

The violence of the Boers culminated a week before the Ultimatum
(October 9th-11th) in the wholesale expulsion of the British subjects
still remaining in the two Republics. Assuming that this measure was
justifiable on military grounds, there can be no excuse for the brutal
precipitancy with which it was enforced. It crowded the colonial ports
with homeless and impoverished fugitives; it inflicted unnecessary
suffering and pecuniary loss upon inoffensive and innocent
non-combatants, both European and native; and it was accompanied in
some instances by displays of wanton cruelty and deliberate spite
utterly unworthy of a people of European descent.

[Sidenote: Anxiety of High Commissioner.]

Thus it was only when Lord Milner's foresight had been unmistakably
confirmed by the stern logic of facts that the British Government
ordered these 10,000 troops to South Africa, 6,000 of whom--the Indian
contribution--arrived just in time to save Natal from being overrun by
the Boers. The three weeks preceding the Cabinet Council of September
8th, at which this decision was arrived at, had been a period of
intense anxiety for the High Commissioner. With the spectacle of the
increasing activity of England's enemies, and the increasing dismay of
England's friends, before his eyes, his protests against the
inactivity of the Home Government had become more urgent. In the
middle of August he declared that he could no longer be responsible
for the administration of South Africa unless he were provided
immediately with another military adviser. General Forestier-Walker
was then appointed, and after the departure of General Butler the
Imperial Government intervened at length to check the further passage
of munitions of war through the Colony to the Free State.[142] The
_Norman_, the mail-boat of August 23rd in which Sir William Butler
sailed for England, took home the masterly despatch[143] in which Lord
Milner explained the position taken up by him at the Bloemfontein
Conference, and showed how completely the proposals of the Transvaal
Government differed from the spirit of the settlement which he had
then invited President Krüger to accept. In doing so he reviewed the
whole course of the subsequent negotiations, pointed out the insidious
character of the last Transvaal proposal (August 19th and 21st), and
emphatically protested against the suggestion that the Imperial
Government should barter its rights as paramount Power for "another
hastily framed franchise scheme," on account of its "superficial
conformity" with what, after all, was only a single item in the long
list of questions that must be adjusted before the peaceful progress
of South Africa would be assured.[144] On August 28th Mr. Schreiner,
when called to account in the Cape Parliament for having allowed, "in
the usual course," the Mausers and ammunition for the Free State to
pass through the Colony, made the strange declaration that in the
event of war--

         [Footnote 142: Cd. 43.]

         [Footnote 143: C. 9,521.]

         [Footnote 144: This despatch was received on September 8th.
         Cd. 43.]

     "he would do his very best to maintain [for the Cape Colony] the
     position of standing apart and aloof from the struggle, both with
     regard to its forces and with regard to its people."

Three days later (August 31st) Lord Milner sent a still more
impressive appeal for "prompt and decisive action" on the part of the
Home Government. The despatch, which was telegraphed, is otherwise
significant for its account of the situation in Johannesburg:

     "I am receiving representations from many quarters," he said, "to
     urge Her Majesty's Government to terminate the state of suspense.
     Hitherto I have hesitated to address you on the subject, lest Her
     Majesty's Government should think me impatient. But I feel bound
     to let you know that I am satisfied, from inquiries made in
     various reliable quarters, that the distress is now really
     serious. The most severe suffering is at Johannesburg. Business
     there is at a standstill; many traders have become insolvent, and
     others are only kept on their legs by the leniency of their
     creditors. Even the mines, which have been less affected
     hitherto, are now suffering, owing to the withdrawal of workmen,
     both European and native. The crisis also affects the trading
     centres in the Colony. In spite of this, the purport of all the
     representations made to me is to urge prompt and decided action,
     not to deprecate further interference on the part of Her
     Majesty's Government. British South Africa is prepared for
     extreme measures, and is ready to suffer much in order to see the
     vindication of British authority. It is a prolongation of the
     negotiations, endless and indecisive of result, that is dreaded.
     I fear seriously that there will be a strong reaction of feeling
     against the policy of Her Majesty's Government if matters drag.
     Please to understand that I invariably preach confidence and
     patience--not without effect. But if I did not inform you of the
     increasing difficulty in doing this, and of the unmistakable
     growth of uneasiness about the present situation, and of a desire
     to see it terminated at any cost, I should be failing in my

         [Footnote 145: C. 9,521.]

[Sidenote: The crisis in South Africa.]

Indeed, while in England Mr. Chamberlain was remarking (at Highbury,
August 27th) that he "could not truly say that the crisis was passed,"
and picturesquely complaining of President Krüger "dribbling out
reforms like water from a squeezed sponge," every loyalist in South
Africa knew that the time for words had gone by. On September 6th and
7th public meetings were held respectively at Maritzburg and
Capetown, at which resolutions were passed affirming the uselessness
of continuing the negotiations and the necessity for the prompt action
of the Imperial Government.

Even this did not exhaust the evidence which was needed to persuade
the Salisbury Cabinet to make effective preparations for the defence
of the British colonies. The Cabinet Council of September 8th had
before it, in addition to the Transvaal note of September 2nd, a
direct and urgent request[146] for immediate reinforcements from the
Government of Natal--the loyal colony which, as Lord Milner had
declared, was to be defended "by the whole force of the empire."

         [Footnote 146: Received on September 6th. Cd. 44.]

These were the circumstances in which the Salisbury Cabinet did in
September what Lord Milner had advised them to do in June. It is
impossible to maintain that the British Government had gained anything
in the way of political results comparable with the fatal loss of
military strength incurred by the three months' delay. The over-sea
British did not need to be taught either the justice or the necessity
of securing citizen rights for the industrial population of the
Transvaal. Before Lord Milner had been authorised to state that the
petition of the Uitlanders had been favourably received by the Home
Government, the citizens of Sydney had recorded in a public meeting
their "sympathy with their fellow-countrymen in the Transvaal," and
expressed their hope "that Her Majesty might be pleased to grant the
prayer of her subjects." Queensland, Victoria, and New South Wales had
all three offered military contingents by July 21st;[147] the other
colonies refrained only from a desire not to embarrass the Home
Government in its negotiations with the Transvaal. Whatever good
effect was produced upon the public opinion of the continent of Europe
and the United States of America by the obvious reluctance of the
British Government to make war upon a puny enemy, was more than
counterbalanced by the spectacle of a great Power prevented from
employing the most elementary military precautions by a nice regard
for the susceptibilities of its political and commercial rivals. The
idea that the sentiment either of the world at large or of the
over-sea British would be favourably impressed by the three months of
futile negotiations was a sheer delusion. It was the people of England
who had to be educated.

         [Footnote 147: Cd. 18.]

[Sidenote: The Manchester meeting.]

How little they knew of the actual situation in South Africa, and of
the real character of the Boers may be seen from what happened on
September 15th. On this day a meeting was held at Manchester to
protest against the mere idea of England having to make war upon the
Transvaal. Lord (then Mr.) Courtney "hailed with satisfaction" the
British despatch of September 8th, which, having been published in the
Continental papers on the 13th, had appeared a day later (14th) in
those of Great Britain. "It was a rebuke to the fire-eaters," he
said, "and a rebuke most of all to one whom I must designate as a lost
man, a lost mind--I mean Sir Alfred Milner." And Mr. John Morley, like
Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman, was convinced that there was no need of
any preparations for war; the Transvaal Government "could not withdraw
from the five years' franchise." The day on which these words were
uttered was the day on which the note containing President Krüger's
determination to "withdraw" from the five years' franchise, and his
refusal even to consider the British offer of September 8th--hailed
with satisfaction by his old ally, Lord Courtney--was handed to Sir
William Greene.



The British people were destined to pay a heavy penalty for the
ignorance and irresolution that caused them to withhold, from June to
September, the mandate without which the Government was unable to
prepare for war. What that penalty was will be made sufficiently clear
when we come to consider the position of grave disadvantage in which
the British forces designated for the South African campaign were
placed at the outbreak of the war. For the moment it is enough to
notice that, just as the real source of the military weakness of
England in the war was the fact that only a very small proportion of
her adult male population had received an elementary training in arms,
so the futility of her peace strategy must be traced to the general
ignorance of the bitter hatred with which British supremacy was
regarded, not only by the Boers, but also by the Dutch subjects of the
Crown in the Cape Colony and Natal. In a world-wide and composite
State such as the British Empire, it is, of course, natural that the
people of one component part should be unfamiliar, in a greater or
lesser degree, with the conditions of any other part. What makes this
mutual unfamiliarity dangerous is the circumstance that the control of
the foreign relations, and of the effective military and naval forces,
of the Empire as a whole, remains exclusively in the hands of the
people of one part--the United Kingdom. In the absence of any
administrative body in which the over-sea Britains are represented,
the power, thus possessed, of moulding the destiny of any one province
of the Empire lays upon the island people the duty of informing
themselves adequately upon the circumstances and conditions of all its
component parts. It is obvious that the likelihood of this duty being
efficiently performed has been diminished greatly by the extension of
the franchise. Fortunately, however, in the case of Canada, Australia,
and New Zealand, questions involving a decision to employ the Army or
Navy which Great Britain maintains for the defence of the Empire have
arisen rarely in recent years. It is in regard to India and South
Africa that these decisions have been constantly required; and for
half a century past each of these two countries in turn has been the
battlefield of English parties. But while the efficiency of British
administration has suffered in both cases by variations of policy due
to party oscillations, infinitely greater injury has been done in
South Africa than in India.

[Sidenote: Attitude of the island people.]

In respect of South Africa, while, speaking broadly, Liberal
Governments have sought to escape from existing responsibilities, or
to decline new ones, Conservative Governments have sought to
discharge these responsibilities with the object of making this
country a homogeneous and self-supporting unit of the empire. To
persuade the nation to accept a policy which might, and probably
would, involve it in an immediate sacrifice both of men and money, was
plainly a more difficult task than to persuade it that no need existed
for any such sacrifices. The "long view" of the Imperialist statesmen
was supported in the present instance by past experience and by the
judgment of the great majority of the British population actually
resident in South Africa. The home English, remembering that the
recall of Sir Bartle Frere had been followed by Majuba and the
Retrocession, were anxious to maintain British supremacy unimpaired in
South Africa. What kept them irresolute was the uncertainty as to
whether this supremacy really was, or was not, in danger. Lord Milner
had told them that the establishment of a Dutch Republic, embracing
all South Africa, was being openly advocated, and that nothing but a
striking proof of Great Britain's intention to remain the paramount
Power--such as would be afforded by insisting upon the grant of equal
rights to the British population in the Transvaal--could arrest the
growth of the nationalist movement. He had pointed out also that the
conversion of the Boer Republic into an arsenal of munitions of war,
when, as in the case of Ketshwayo, there was no enemy against whom
these arms could be turned other than Great Britain, was in itself a
definite and unmistakable menace to British supremacy. This, moreover,
was the deliberate and reasoned verdict of a man who had been
commissioned, with almost universal approval, to ascertain the real
state of affairs in South Africa. If the nation had believed Lord
Milner in June, the British Government would have received the
political support that would have enabled it to make the preparations
for war in that month which, as we have seen, it was now making in

[Sidenote: The Liberal opposition.]

The agency which, by playing upon the ignorance of the public,
prevented the nation from accepting at once the truth of Lord Milner's
verdict, was the Liberal Opposition. Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman, the
official leader of the Liberal party, maintained throughout the three
months in question that no reason existed for military preparation.
Mr. Labouchere wrote, on the eve of the war: "The Boers invade Natal!
You might just as well talk of their invading England." When Sir Henry
Campbell-Bannerman maintained that there was no need for the
Government to make any military preparations, we must presume that he
believed one of two things: either that President Krüger would yield,
or that, if President Krüger did not yield, there was nothing in the
condition of South Africa to make it necessary for Great Britain to
give any proof of her ability to maintain her position as paramount
Power by force of arms. The action of the Liberal Opposition resolves
itself, therefore, into a declaration, on its own authority as against
Lord Milner's, that neither the republican nor the colonial Dutch had
any intention of making war upon Great Britain in South Africa, or any
resources which would enable them to carry out such an intention with
any hope of success. Now, apart from the overwhelming testimony to the
utter falsity of this assertion which is afforded by the facts of the
campaign, and apart from such documents as the manifestos issued by
both Republics upon the outbreak of the war, we possess--thanks to the
exertions of the Intelligence Department--a mass of evidence, in the
shape of private and official correspondence, which enables us to
learn what was actually passing in the minds of the Dutch at this
time. On the 15th of this month of September, 1899, the meeting to
which we have referred[148] was held at Manchester, with the object,
not of strengthening the hands of the Government in the military
preparations which they were making thus tardily, but of protesting
against the very idea that there was anything in the attitude of the
Dutch in South Africa to make war necessary. A perusal of two of these
captured documents will enable the reader to judge for himself in what
degree this Liberal view of the situation corresponded with the facts.
The first is a letter written on September 25th--that is to say, ten
days after Lord Courtney was denouncing Lord Milner as "a lost mind"
at Manchester--by Mr. Blignaut, brother to the State Secretary of the
Free State. It is concerned with the safe arrival in the Free State of
a Colonial Afrikander, who has left his home in the Western Province
of the Cape Colony to join the republican forces:

         [Footnote 148: p. 251.]


                         "KROONSTADT, ORANGE FREE STATE,
                              "_September 25th_, 1899.

    "Your wire to hand this morning, to which I
    replied. ---- has arrived.

    "I never gave the youngster credit for such plans
    to dodge Mr. ----, and not to be trapped and
    taken back. I think he owes his friend ---- something
    for his advice how to proceed. As he is here
    now, he can remain. I see myself he will never be
    satisfied to stay there [_i.e._ in the colony] while there
    is war going on.

    "The only thing we are afraid of now is that
    Chamberlain, with his admitted fitfulness of temper,
    will cheat us out of the war, and consequently the
    opportunity of annexing the Cape Colony and
    Natal, and forming the Republican United States
    of South Africa; for, in spite of [S. J. du Toit],
    we have forty-six thousand fighting men who have
    pledged themselves to die shoulder to shoulder in
    defence of our liberty, and to secure the independence
    of South Africa.

    "Please forward ----'s luggage.
                                   "J. N. BLIGNAUT."[149]

         [Footnote 149: Cd. 420. The Blue-book points out that in the
         original "a well-known nick-name" is used for Mr. S. J. du

[Sidenote: Afrikander aspirations.]

This is not an isolated or exceptional expression of opinion. It is a
typical statement of what was in the mind of ninety-nine out of every
hundred republican nationalists at this time. The aspirations it
contains were proclaimed a fortnight later to the world by President
Krüger himself in the boast that his Republic would "stagger
humanity." They appeared in the nonchalant remarks made a few days
later by Mr. Gregorowski, the Chief Justice of the Transvaal, in
bidding farewell to Canon Farmer,[150] who was preparing to leave his
cure at Pretoria in view of the certainty of war.

         [Footnote 150: As reported by Reuter.]

     "Is it really necessary for you to go? The war will be over in a
     fortnight. We shall take Kimberley and Mafeking, and give the
     English such a beating in Natal that they will sue for peace."

War, then, for the Boer meant "an opportunity of annexing the Cape
Colony and Natal, and forming the Republican United States of South
Africa." When Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman, Mr. John Morley, Lord
Courtney, Mr. James Bryce, and other Liberal leaders saw no reason why
the British Government should make military preparations--did, in
fact, do all in their power to induce the English people to withhold
the support necessary to allow the British Government to make these
preparations--there were, twelve thousand British troops in South
Africa to oppose the "forty-six thousand fighting men who had pledged
themselves to die shoulder to shoulder" to secure the independence,
not of the Transvaal but of "South Africa".

And what of the Dutch in the Cape Colony? Our second document will
enlighten us on this point. It is an invitation, composed in doggerel
rhyme, to the Boer forces to invade Griqualand West, signed by the
chairman of a district branch of the Afrikander Bond. The date is not
given; but as the proclamation under which Head-Commandant C. J.
Wessels annexed the districts in question is dated November 11th,
1899, it was obviously written during the first three or four weeks of
the war.


     "Dear countrymen of the Transvaal: Brothers of our religion and
     language: Our hearts are burning for you all: when your brave men
     fall, we pray to God night and day to help you with His might; we
     are powerless by ourselves--the English are so angry with us that
     they have taken away our ammunition, all our powder and
     cartridges; if you can provide us each with a packet of ten and a
     Mauser, you will see what we can do; Englishmen won't stand
     before us, they will go to the devil. There are a few English
     here, but we count them amongst the dead; for the rest we are all
     Boers, and only wait for you to move us. Englishmen are not our
     friends, and we will not serve under their flag; so we all shout
     together, as Transvaal subjects, 'God save President Krüger, and
     the Transvaal army; God save President Steyn, and all Free
     Staters great and small!'"[151]

         [Footnote 151: Cd. 420.]

[Sidenote: Ignorance of Liberal leaders.]

But, apart from this profound misconception of the real feeling and
intentions of the Afrikander nationalists in South Africa, manifested
with such disastrous effect during these critical months--June to
September, 1899--the leaders of the Liberal Opposition otherwise
displayed in their public utterances an ignorance of this province of
the Empire that can only be characterised as "wanton." For what
expression other than "wanton ignorance" can be used to describe the
habit of mind which permits public men to make statements in direct
conflict with the facts of South African history, as established by
ascertainable evidence, or to state as facts allegations which proper
inquiry would have shown to be untrue? Here again, from a mass of
material provided by the utterances which came from the Liberal
Opposition leaders on South African affairs, a few instances only can
be brought to the notice of the reader, and these in the briefest form
consistent with precision. On September 5th Mr. John Morley, speaking
at Arbroath, stated that Sir Bartle Frere had "annexed the Transvaal."
The present baronet, the late High Commissioner's son, called him to
account at once; but it required three successive letters[152] to
wring from Mr. John Morley a specific acknowledgement of his error.
The evidence which establishes the fact that Frere did not annex the
Transvaal is the following statement, bearing his signature and
published in February, 1881:[153]

         [Footnote 152: Published in _The Times_, September 30th,

         [Footnote 153: In _The Nineteenth Century_ for that month.]

     "It was an act which in no way originated with me, over which I
     had no control, and with which I was only subsequently
     incidentally connected.... It was a great question then, as now,
     whether the annexation was justifiable."

This was on the 5th. On the 27th a letter was published in _The Times_
in which Sir William Harcourt wrote, in respect of the suzerainty

     "All further argument is now superfluous, as the matter is
     decisively disposed of by the publication at Pretoria of Lord
     Derby's telegram of February 27th, 1884, in which the effect of
     the London Convention of that date was stated in the following
     words: 'There will be the same complete independence in the
     Transvaal as in the Orange Free State.'"

In a letter written on the day following, and published in _The Times_
of October 2nd, the writer of the present work pointed out, among
other inaccuracies, that the words actually telegraphed by Lord Derby
were: "same complete internal independence in the Transvaal as in
Orange Free State." That is to say, before the word "independence" the
word "internal"--vitally important to the present issue--was inserted
in the original, and omitted in the Boer version, from which Sir
William Harcourt had quoted without referring to the Blue-book, Cd.

[Sidenote: Its injurious effect.]

The third instance occurred some three months later. Mr. James Bryce,
speaking on December 14th, 1899, stated that Sir Bartle Frere "sent
to govern the Transvaal Sir Owen Lanyon, an officer unfitted by
training and character for so delicate and difficult a task."[154] The
following passage, which the present writer subsequently published,
affords precise and overwhelming evidence of the absolute untruth of
Mr. Bryce's assertion. It appears in a letter written by Sir Bartle
Frere on December 13th, 1878, to Mr. (now Sir) Gordon Sprigg, then
Premier of Cape Colony.

         [Footnote 154: _The Times_, December 15th. Mr. Bryce was
         taking the chair at the last of a series of six lectures on
         "England in South Africa," given by the present writer in the
         great hall of the (then) Imperial Institute.]

     "The Secretary of State has nominated Lanyon to take Shepstone's
     place whenever he leaves [_i.e._ when Lanyon leaves Kimberley,
     where he was Administrator of Griqualand West]. This was not my
     arrangement, and had it been left to me I think I should have
     arranged otherwise, for while I believe Lanyon to be one of the
     most right-minded, hardworking, and able men in South Africa, I
     know he does not fancy the work in the Transvaal, and I think I
     could have done better. However, it does not rest with me, and
     all I have to do is to find a man fit to take his place when he

         [Footnote 155: _Cornhill Magazine_, July, 1900. "The South
         African Policy of Sir Bartle Frere." By W. Basil Worsfold.]

All of these three men were of Cabinet rank. Two of them, Mr. Morley
and Mr. Bryce, enjoyed a great and deserved reputation as men of
letters; and their public utterances on the South African question,
accepted in large measure on the strength of this literary
reputation, were responsible in an appreciable degree for the distrust
and coldness manifested by the people of the United States of America
towards Great Britain during the first year of the war. But this is a
consideration of secondary importance. The vital point to recognise is
that, so long as the Empire remains without a common representative
council, a knowledge of the conditions of the over-sea Britains must
be considered as necessary a part of the political equipment of any
English statesman as a knowledge of Lancashire or of Kent. After the
war had broken out, Lord Rosebery, almost alone among Liberal
statesmen, did something to support the Government. This distinguished
advocate of Imperial unity and national efficiency then recommended
the English people to educate themselves by reading Sir Percy
FitzPatrick's _The Transvaal from Within_, and encouraged them by
declaring his belief that England would "muddle through" this, as
other wars. It does not seem, however, to have occurred to Lord
Rosebery that, if he had used his undoubted influence in time to
prevent his party from making it impossible for the Salisbury Cabinet
to carry out in June the effective peace strategy long recommended by
Lord Milner, the prospect of a "muddle" would have been materially
diminished, if not altogether removed.

[Sidenote: Mr. Chamberlain's proposal.]

There is one other fact that cannot be overlooked in estimating the
degree in which the Liberal leaders are answerable to the nation for
the fatal error of postponing effective military preparations from June
to September. After the failure of the Bloemfontein Conference Lord
Milner, as we have seen, asked for immediate and substantial
reinforcements. Mr. Chamberlain then approached Sir H. Campbell-Bannerman
with a proposal that the Government should inform the Opposition leaders
of the circumstances that made military preparations necessary, and of
the precise measures which they might deem advisable to adopt from time
to time, on the understanding that the Opposition, on their part, should
refrain from raising any public discussion as to the expediency of these
measures. The object of this proposal was, of course, to enable the
Government to make effective preparations for war, without lessening the
prospect of achieving a peaceful settlement by the negotiations in
progress. Sir H. Campbell-Bannerman's reply to this overture was a
refusal to make the Opposition a party to any such arrangement. If the
Government chose to make military preparations they must do so, he said,
entirely on their own responsibility.

The significance of this refusal of Mr. Chamberlain's offer appears
from the answer which was subsequently put forward by the Prime
Minister, the late Lord Salisbury, to the charge of "military
unpreparedness" brought against the British Government after the early
disasters of the campaign. What prevented the Cabinet, according to
the Premier, from taking the measures required by the military
situation in June was the British system of popular government. Any
preparations on the scale demanded by Lord Milner and Lord Wolseley
could not have been set on foot without provoking the fullest
discussion in Parliament and the Press. The leaders of the Opposition
would have contested fiercely the proposals of the Government, and the
perversion of these opportunities for discussion into an anti-war
propaganda might have exhibited England as a country divided against
itself. It may be questioned whether, in point of fact, the Liberal
leaders could have done anything more calculated to injure the
interests of their country if the Government had mobilised the army
corps, and despatched the ten thousand defensive troops in June, than
they did when these measures were postponed until September. But,
however this may be, the circumstance that this proposal was made by
Mr. Chamberlain, and refused by Sir H. Campbell-Bannerman, is
noteworthy both as an indication of the spirit of lofty patriotism of
which the Salisbury Cabinet, in spite of its initial error, was
destined to give more than one proof in the course of the war and as
an example of a method of escaping from the injurious results of a
well-recognised defect in the democratic system of government--a
method which, it is not unreasonable to hope, may be employed with
success should the like occasion arise at any future time.

This, then, was the state of affairs in England. The Opposition
throughout the negotiations was proclaiming that war was out of the
question, and that preparations for war were altogether unnecessary.
The people, being ignorant of the progress which the nationalist
movement in South Africa had made, were irresolute, and withheld from
the Government the support without which it could not make adequate
military preparations, except at the risk of defeat in Parliament and
possible loss of office.

[Sidenote: Objects of Afrikander policy.]

What was the position in South Africa? Above all, what was the
position of the man whose duty it was "to take all such measures and
do all such things" as were necessary for the safety of the subjects
of the Crown and for the maintenance of British interests? The
ignorance of South Africa that led to the partial paralysis of the
Government was in no sense attributable to him. The broad fact that
the Afrikander nationalist[156] movement had made the moral supremacy
of the Dutch complete was declared by Lord Milner, during his visit to
England in the winter of 1898-9, to the Colonial Secretary and other
members of the Salisbury Cabinet. His verdict that nothing but prompt
and energetic action on the part of the Imperial Government could keep
South Africa a part of the Empire was publicly made known (so far as
he was concerned) in his despatch of May 4th, 1899, which was
withheld, however, from publication until June 14th. The Bloemfontein
Conference was a device of the Afrikander nationalists at the Cape to
avert a military conflict between the South African Republic and Great
Britain, which, they believed, would result not merely in the
destruction of the Republics, but in the loss of the prospect--which
they then enjoyed--of achieving through the existence of the Republics
the independence of the Afrikander nation as a whole. All this Lord
Milner made perfectly clear to Mr. Chamberlain. The illusory
concessions embodied in President Krüger's Franchise Law were yielded
by the Republics with the object of securing the "moral support" of
the Cape Afrikanders in the negotiations, and thereby obtaining the
delay which was required to complete their military preparations;
since the Republican nationalists, unlike those of the Cape, believed
that the independence of the Afrikander nation could be wrested from
Great Britain by force of arms. The efforts made by the Cape
nationalists, first to secure these concessions, and then to induce
the republican nationalists to grant the further concessions which
would have satisfied the British Government, were made for the same
purpose as the Bloemfontein Conference had been arranged--namely, to
avert a conflict which, being premature, would be disastrous to the
nationalist cause, not only in the Republics but in the Cape Colony.
The respective objects both of the republican and Cape nationalists
had been divined by Lord Milner, and, therefore, immediately after the
failure of the Conference, he had urged the Home Government to send
reinforcements to South Africa sufficient to defend British territory
from attack, and to check any incipient rebellion in the Cape Colony.
The negotiations might, or might not, result in a peaceful settlement;
but it was futile, nay more, it was dangerous, he said, for Great
Britain to go on as though war were out of the question.

         [Footnote 156: The reader is referred to p. 5 in Chap. I. for
         the racial characteristics of the South African Dutch, and to
         the note on p. 48 in Chap. II. for the political significance
         of the word "Afrikander," as stated by Mr. S. J. du Toit.]

[Sidenote: Lord Milner's position.]

This was the view of the South African situation which Lord Milner
laid before the Home Government in June. We have seen what was done by
them in response to these representations. Some special service
officers were sent out to organise locally the defences of the Cape
Colony and Rhodesia. The Cape and Natal garrisons were strengthened by
a few very inadequate reinforcements arriving in the course of the
next two months. General Butler was not recalled until the latter part
of August; his successor, General Forestier-Walker, did not arrive
until September 6th. We have traced the causes which made it
impossible for the Imperial Government, as they conceived, to do more
than this; and when in due course we come to consider the broad phases
of the war, the nature of the penalty which the British Army, and the
British nation, had to pay for the partial paralysis of the Government
will become sufficiently apparent.

The man who suffered most by all this was Lord Milner. When he asked
for military preparations, he was told that he could not have them.
When he asked for the removal of a military adviser with whom he was
supremely dissatisfied, he was told that he must put up with General
Butler for a little longer. He put up with him for two months. His
Colonial ministers, whose advice on many points he was bound to accept
so long as he did not dismiss them, were men placed in office by the
Dutch subjects of the Crown for the very purpose of frustrating, by
constitutional means, the successful intervention in the Transvaal, by
which alone, in his opinion, British supremacy could be made a

Indeed, the odds were heavily against Lord Milner in his task of
saving England, in spite of herself and in spite of the enemies of
whose power she was wholly ignorant, and to whose very existence she
remained contemptuously indifferent. To the great mass of the British
population in South Africa, he stood for England and English justice.
To them he seemed the representative man, for whom they had waited
many a long year. They felt that he was fighting their battle and
doing their work; and, making allowance for local jealousies and
accidental partialities, they never ceased to regard him thus. This
was his one and only source of assured support. But he was far removed
from the active British centres: from the group of towns formed by
the Albany settlers and their descendants in the Eastern Province, and
from Kimberley, Durban and Maritzburg, and Johannesburg. In the Cape
peninsula, of course, there was a considerable British population of
professional and commercial men; but this population had been so
closely related by business and social ties with the preponderant
Dutch population of the Western Province that many among them
hesitated to declare themselves openly against the Dutch party. All
who were members of the Progressive party, from the time of the Graaf
Reinet speech, had given unswerving support to Lord Milner's policy;
but the strength of the influence created by years of alternate
political co-operation with the Bond leaders may be gathered from the
fact that even so staunch a supporter of the British connection as Sir
James (then Mr.) Rose Innes did not publicly declare his adhesion to
the intervention policy until after the failure of the Bloemfontein
Conference. Moreover, the increasing political solidarity of the
British population in the Cape Colony augmented the bitterness with
which the few English politicians, who had remained in alliance with
the Dutch party, regarded the man whose resolution and insight had
penetrated and exposed the designs of the Bond.

[Sidenote: Intrigues and disaffection.]

It is difficult to convey any adequate impression of the atmosphere of
suspicion and intrigue by which Lord Milner was surrounded. The Dutch
party was in the ascendant in the Colony. The Cape Civil Service was
tainted throughout with disaffection. Even the _personnel_ of the
Government offices at Capetown, although it contained many excellent
and loyal men, included also many who were disaffected or lukewarm. It
is characteristic of the situation that during the most critical
period of the negotiations with the Transvaal, the ministerial organ,
_The South African News_, permitted itself to indulge, where Lord
Milner, was concerned, not only in the bitterest criticisms but in
outspoken personal abuse. To have abused the representative of the
Sovereign in a British colony of which one-half of the population was
seething with sedition, while a part had been actually armed for
rebellion by the secret emissaries of a state with which Great Britain
was on the verge of war, is an act which admits of only one
interpretation. Lord Milner was to be got rid of at all costs; for the
policy which _The South African News_ was intended to promote was that
not of Great Britain, but of the Transvaal. The paper was directly
inspired--it is indeed not unlikely that the articles themselves were
written--by some of the members of the Ministry, Lord Milner's
"constitutional advisers," whom throughout he himself treated with the
respect to which their position entitled them.

But nothing, perhaps, shows more vividly how extraordinary was the
position in which Lord Milner found himself than the fact, which we
have already noted, that the passage of the large consignment of 500
Mauser rifles and 1,000,000 cartridges for the Free State, to which
the Prime Minister's attention was "drawn specially, because it was
large," on July 15th, was not made known to him, the Governor of the
Cape Colony, until August 9th, and then only by accident.[157] There
is only one explanation of this remarkable incident: the interests of
the Dutch party were different from those of the British Government.
The Cape Colony was only in name a British colony. Under the guise of
constitutional forms it had attained independence--virtual, though not
nominal. If Lord Milner had contracted the habit of Biblical quotation
from the Afrikander leaders, he might well have quoted the words of
the psalmist: "Many bulls have compassed me; strong bulls of Bashan
have beset me round."[158] Even the approaches to Government House
were watched by spies in President Krüger's pay, who carefully noted
all who came and went. Members of the Uitlander community were the
special subjects of this system of espionage.

         [Footnote 157: See letters between Lord Milner and Mr.
         Schreiner in Cd. 43, p. 13.]

         [Footnote 158: Psalm xxii. 12.]

[Sidenote: Spies round Government House.]

     "When on a visit to Capetown," writes Sir Percy FitzPatrick, "I
     called several times upon the High Commissioner, and learning, by
     private advice, that my movements were being reported in detail
     through the Secret Service Department, I informed Sir Alfred
     Milner of the fact. Sir Alfred admitted that the idea of secret
     agents in British territory and spies round or in Government
     House was not pleasant, but expressed the hope that those things
     should not deter those who wished to call on him, as he was there
     as the representative of Her Majesty for the benefit of British
     subjects, and very desirous of ascertaining for himself the facts
     of the case."[159]

         [Footnote 159: _The Transvaal from Within_, p. 287.]

The Afrikander leaders in the Cape never identified themselves with
the British cause. To them the Salisbury Cabinet was a "team most
unjustly disposed towards us"; a team, moreover, which they earnestly,
and not without reason, hoped might be replaced by a Liberal
Government that would allow them undisturbed to carry forward their
plans to full fruition. The motive of their "mediation," such as it
was, was political expediency. It was not from any belief in the
justice of the British claims that they endeavoured to persuade the
republican nationalists to give way; still less from any feeling that
England's cause was their cause. When, at length, they became really
earnest in pressing President Krüger to grant a "colourable" measure
of franchise reform--to use Mr. Merriman's adjective--it was for their
own sake, and not for England's, that they worked. This motive runs
through the whole of their correspondence; but it emerges more frankly
in the urgent messages sent during the three days (September 12th to
15th) in which the Transvaal reply to the British despatch of
September 8th was being prepared. "Mind," telegraphs Mr. Hofmeyr to
Mr. Fischer on September 13th, "war will probably have a fatal effect
on the Transvaal, the Free State, and the Cape Afrikander party." And
when, from Mr. Fischer's reply, war was seen to have come in spite of
all his counsels of prudence, the racial tie asserted itself, and he
found consolation for his impotence in an expression of his hatred
against England. On September 14th Mr. Hofmeyr telegraphed to
President Steyn:

     "I suppose you have seen our wires to Fischer and his replies,
     which latter I deeply regret. The 'to be or not to be' of the
     Transvaal, Free State, and our party at the Cape, depends upon
     this decision. The trial is a severe one, but hardly so severe as
     the outrageous despatches received by Brand from [Sir Philip]
     Wodehouse and [Sir Henry] Barkly. The enemy then hoped that Brand
     would refuse, as the Transvaal's enemy now hopes Krüger will do;
     but Brand conceded, and saved the State. Follow Brand's example.
     Future generations of your and my people will praise you."

[Sidenote: Hofmeyr's "bitter feelings".]

And on the 15th:

     "You have no conception of my bitter feelings, which can hardly
     be surpassed by that of our and your people, but the stronger my
     feelings the more I am determined to repress them, when
     considering questions of policy affecting the future weal or woe
     of our people. May the Supreme Being help you, me, and them. Have
     not seen the High Commissioner for weeks."

The reply of the republican nationalists, addressed to Mr. Hofmeyr
and forwarded through President Steyn, contains a characteristically
distorted version of the course of the negotiations. They have made
concession after concession, but all in vain. "However much we
recognise and value your kind intentions," they write, "we regret that
it is no longer possible for us to comply with the extravagant and
brutal requests of the British Government." Thus the Pretoria
Executive declared themselves on September 15th, 1899, to the Master
of the Bond, when they were in the act of refusing Mr. Chamberlain's
offer to accept a five years' franchise bill, provided it was shown by
due inquiry to be a genuine measure of reform. Very different was the
account of the same transaction given by Mr. Smuts, when, in urging
the remnant of the burghers of both Republics to surrender, he said,
on May 30th, 1902, at Vereeniging, "I am one of those who, as members
of the Government of the South African Republic, _provoked the war
with England_". But the passage in this document which is most useful
to the historian is that in which the republican nationalists remind
the Afrikander leaders at the Cape of the insincerity of their
original "mediation." In dialectics Mr. Fischer, Mr. Smuts, and Mr.
Reitz are quite able to hold their own with Mr. Hofmeyr, Dr. Te Water,
and Mr. Schreiner. They have not forgotten the Cape Prime Minister's
precipitate benediction alike of President Krüger's Bloemfontein
scheme and of the seven years' franchise of the Volksraad proposals.
They remember also how the "Hofmeyr compromise" was proclaimed in the
Bond and the ministerial press as affording conclusive evidence of the
"sweet reasonableness" of President Krüger and his Executive. And so
they remark, "We are sorry not to be able to follow your advice; but
we point out that you yourself let it be known that we had your whole
approval, if we gave the present franchise as we were doing."[160]
Here we have the kernel of the whole matter. A nine years', seven
years', or a five years' franchise was all one to the Cape
Nationalists, provided only that England was kept a little longer from
claiming her position as paramount Power in South Africa. For these
men knew, or thought they knew, that for England "a little longer"
would be "too late."

         [Footnote 160: This document was among those secured by the
         Intelligence Department, and published in _The Times History
         of the War_.]

[Sidenote: Lord Milner and Mr. Schreiner.]

It was a greater achievement to have frustrated so subtle a
combination, directed by the astute mind of Mr. Hofmeyr--the man who
refused to allow his passions to interfere with his policy--than to
have prevented the British Government from falling a victim to the
coarse duplicity of President Krüger. Tireless effort and consummate
statesmanship alone would not have accomplished this purpose. To these
qualities Lord Milner added a personal charm, elusive, and yet
irresistible; and it was this "union of intellect with fascination,"
of which Lord Rosebery had spoken,[161] that enabled him to transcend
the infinite difficulty of his official relationship to Mr. Schreiner.
Even so that relationship must have broken down under the strain of
the negotiations and the war, had not Mr. Schreiner's complex
political creed included the saving clause of allegiance to his
sovereign. When once the British troops had begun to land Mr.
Schreiner accepted the new situation. No longer merely the
parliamentary head of the Dutch party and the agent of the Bond, he
realised also his responsibility as a minister of the Crown. None the
less there were matters of the gravest concern in which, both before
and after the ultimatum, the Prime Minister used all the
constitutional means at his disposal to oppose Lord Milner. When, upon
the arrival (August 5th) of the small additions to the Cape garrison
ordered out in June, Lord Milner determined to draw the attention of
the Ministry to the exposed condition of the Colony, he found that the
Prime Minister's views differed completely from his own. A few days
later he addressed a minute to his ministers on the subject of the
defence of Kimberley and other military questions. From this time
onwards, in almost daily battles, Mr. Schreiner resisted the plans of
local military preparation which Lord Milner deemed necessary for the
protection of the Colony. His object, as he said, was to keep the Cape
Colony out of the struggle.[162] On Friday, September 8th, when in
London the Cabinet Council was held at which it was decided to send
out the 10,000 troops to reinforce the South African garrison, at
Capetown Lord Milner was engaged in a long endeavour to persuade his
Prime Minister that it was necessary to do something for the defence
of Kimberley.[163] Up to the very day on which the Free State
commandos crossed the border, Mr. Schreiner relied upon the definite
pledge given him by President Steyn that the territory of the Cape
Colony would not be invaded; and not until that day was he undeceived.

         [Footnote 161: See p. 77.]

         [Footnote 162: In the House of Assembly, August 28th.]

         [Footnote 163: One of the earliest measures of precaution
         which Lord Milner desired was a plan for the defence of
         Kimberley. But when, on June 12th, the people of Kimberley
         requested the Government of the Colony to take steps for the
         protection of their town, the reply which they received,
         through the Civil Commissioner, was this: "There is no reason
         whatever for apprehending that Kimberley is, or in any
         contemplated event will be, in danger of attack, and Mr.
         Schreiner is of opinion that your fears are groundless and
         your anticipations without foundation."]

[Sidenote: Schreiner and Steyn.]

     "I said to the President," he declared in the Cape Parliament a
     year later,[164] "that I would not believe he would invade south
     of the Orange River.[165] President Steyn's reply was, 'Can you
     give me a guarantee that no troops will come to the border?' Of
     course, I could give no such guarantee, and I did not then
     believe that, although such a guarantee could not be given, the
     Free State would invade British territory with the object of
     endeavouring to promote the establishment of one Republic in
     South Africa, as the Prime Minister[166] has said."

         [Footnote 164: September 24th, 1900.]

         [Footnote 165: This was on October 11th, 1899--the day on
         which the ultimatum expired.]

         [Footnote 166: Sir Gordon Sprigg--Mr. Schreiner's Ministry
         was replaced by a Progressive Ministry in June, 1900.]

As the Boer invasion spread further into the Colony Mr. Schreiner
receded proportionately from his original standpoint of neutrality.
Indeed, three distinct phases in the Prime Minister's progress can be
distinguished. In the first stage, which lasted until the actual
invasion of the Colony by the Boer commandos, he used all his
constitutional power to prevent the people of the Colony, British and
Dutch alike, from being involved in the war: and it was only after a
severe struggle that Lord Milner prevailed upon him even to call out
the Kimberley Volunteers on October 2nd, _i.e._, a week before the
Ultimatum. This, "the neutrality" stage, lasted up to the invasion.
After the invasion came the second stage, in which Mr. Schreiner seems
to have argued to himself in this manner: "As the Boers have invaded
this colony, I, as Prime Minister, cannot refuse that the local forces
should be called out to protect its territory." And so on October
16th, after Vryburg had gone over to the Boers, after Kimberley had
been cut off, and the whole country from Kimberley to Orange River was
in the hands of the enemy, he consented to the issue of a proclamation
calling out 2,000 volunteers for garrison duty within the Colony.[167]
But in making this tardy concession he was careful to point out to
Lord Milner that the British cause would lose more than it would gain.
"I warn you," he said in effect, "that it is not to your advantage;
because you are the weaker party. In the Cape Colony more men will
fight for the Boers than will fight for you." The third stage in Mr.
Schreiner's conversion was reached when, in November, 1899, the
invading Boers had advanced to the Tembuland border, in the extreme
east of the Colony. Then Mr. Schreiner allowed the natives to be
called out for the defence of their own territory. In making this
final concession the Prime Minister yielded to the logic of facts in a
matter concerning which he had previously offered a most stubborn
resistance to the Governor's arguments.

         [Footnote 167: With this may be compared the fact that in
         Natal the whole of the local forces were mobilised on
         September 29th for active service. The dates upon which
         further units of the Cape local forces were called out are as
         follows: Uitenhage Rifles and Komgha Mounted Rifles, November
         10th; Cape Medical Staff Corps, November 16th; and Frontier
         Mounted Rifles, November 24th.]

[Sidenote: Schreiner and local forces.]

For in the discussion of the measures urged by Lord Milner as
necessary for the protection of the Colony, the question of arming the
natives and coloured people had necessarily arisen. The Bastards in
the west and the Tembus in the east were known to be eager to defend
the Queen's country against invasion. Mr. Schreiner declared that to
arm the natives was to do violence to the central principle upon which
the maintenance of civilisation in South Africa was based--the
principle that the black man must never be used to fight against the
white. Lord Milner did not question the validity of this principle;
but he maintained--and rightly, as Mr. Schreiner admitted subsequently
by his action in the case of the Tembu frontier--that it could not be
applied to the case in question. "If white men," he said, "will go and
invade the territory of the blacks, then the blacks must be armed to
repel the invasion."

The change which came over Mr. Schreiner's attitude, due, no doubt,
partly to his gradual enlightenment as to the real aims of the
republican nationalists, but also to the skilful use which Lord Milner
made of that enlightenment, may be traced in the following contrasts.
Before the Boer invasion he refused to call out the local forces of
the Colony even for purposes of defence;[168] afterwards he not only
sanctioned the employment of these forces in the Colony, but allowed
them to take part in Lord Roberts' advance upon Bloemfontein and
Pretoria. Before the invading Boers, having already possessed
themselves of the north-eastern districts of Cape Colony, began to
threaten the purely native territories to the south, he would not hear
of the natives being armed for their own protection. But when the
Boers had actually reached the borders of Tembuland he consented. In
his advice to the Cape Government, no less than in that which he gave
to the Home Government, Lord Milner was shown to be in the right. In
both cases he urged an effective preparation for war. In both the
measures which he advised were ultimately taken; but taken only when
they had lost all their power as a means of promoting peace, and half
of their efficacy as a contribution to the rapid and successful
prosecution of the war. In both cases Lord Milner was able, in the
face of unparalleled obstacles, to secure just the minimum preparation
for war which stood between the British Empire and overwhelming
military disaster.

[Footnote 168: The Kimberley and Mafeking Volunteers were called out
at the last moment, but actually before the war broke out; but the
safety of both these places was imperilled by the refusal, or delay,
of the colonial Government to supply them with guns.]

We have observed the position in Great Britain, and found that the
root cause of the impotence of the Home Government was the nation's
ignorance of South Africa. In the Cape Colony the evil was of a
different order. Lord Milner, although High Commissioner for South
Africa, had within the Colony only the strictly limited powers of a
constitutional governor. The British population were keenly alive to
the necessity for active preparations for the defence of their
country; were, indeed, indignant at the refusal of the Schreiner
Cabinet to allow the local forces to be called out: but the Dutch
party was in office, the Bond was "loyal," Mr. Schreiner was a
minister of the Crown, and the most that the Governor could do was to
urge upon his ministers the measures upon the execution of which he
had no power to insist.

[Sidenote: Seven years after.]

The best comment upon this strange situation is that which is afforded
by a passage in Lord Milner's speech in the House of Lords on February
26th, 1906. Seven years have gone by, and the great proconsul has
returned to England. He is drawn from his much-needed rest by a sudden
danger to the country which he has kept a part of the Empire. The
Unionist Government has fallen, and a Liberal Government has been
placed in power. He is warning this Government of the danger of a
premature grant of responsible government to the Orange River Colony.

     "What is going to happen under responsible government? It is more
     than probable, it is, humanly speaking, certain, that the persons
     to whom I have referred will form a large majority, if not almost
     the whole, of that first elected Parliament of the Orange River
     Colony to which, from the first hour of its existence, the whole
     legislative and executive power in that colony is to be
     entrusted. I do not suggest that they will begin by doing
     anything sinister. All forms will be duly observed; as why should
     they not be? It will be perfectly possible for them, with the
     most complete constitutional propriety, little by little to
     reverse all that has been done, and gradually to get rid of the
     British officials, the British teachers, the bulk of the British
     settlers, and any offensive British taint which may cling to the
     statute-book or the administration. I can quite understand that,
     from the point of view of what are known as the pro-Boers, such a
     result is eminently desirable. They thought the war was a crime,
     the annexation a blunder, and they think to-day that the sooner
     you can get back to the old state of things the better. I say I
     quite understand that view, though I do not suppose it is shared
     by His Majesty's ministers, or, at any rate, by all of them. What
     I cannot understand is how any human being, not being a pro-Boer,
     can regard with equanimity the prospect that the very hand which
     drafted the ultimatum of October, 1899,[169] may within a year be
     drafting 'Ministers' Minutes' for submission to a British
     Governor who will have virtually no option but to obey them. What
     will be the contents of those minutes, I wonder? As time goes on
     it may be a proposal for dispensing with English as an official
     language, or a proposal for the distribution to every country
     farmer of a military rifle and so many hundred cartridges, in
     view of threatened danger from the Basutos."

         [Footnote 169: Mr. Fischer. See forward, p. 291.]

[Sidenote: "Just reminiscences".]

So far Lord Milner had dealt with the Orange River Colony. Then he let
his thoughts range back to these months of his great ordeal.

     "I think I can see the Governor just hesitating a little to put
     his hand to such a document. In that case I think I can hear the
     instant low growl of menace from Press and platform and pulpit,
     the hints of the necessity of his recall, and the answering
     scream from the pro-Boer Press of Britain against the ruthless
     satrap, ignorant of constitutional usage and wholly
     misunderstanding his own position, who dared to trample upon the
     rights of a free people. I may be told, I know I shall be told,
     that such notions are the wild imaginings of a disordered brain,
     that these are theoretical possibilities having no relation to
     fact or to probability. _My Lords, they are not imaginings. They
     are just reminiscences._

     "I know what it is to be Governor of a self-governing colony,
     with the disaffected element in the ascendant. I was bitterly
     attacked for not being sufficiently submissive under the
     circumstances. Yet, even with the least submissive Governor, the
     position is so weak that strange things happen. It was under
     responsible government, and in the normal working of responsible
     government, that 1,000,000 cartridges were passed through Cape
     Colony, on the eve of the war, to arm the people who were just
     going to attack us, and that some necessary cannon were stopped
     from being sent to a defenceless border town,[170] which directly
     afterwards was besieged, and which, from want of these cannon,
     was nearly taken."[171]

         [Footnote 170: Kimberley.]

         [Footnote 171: _The Times_, February 27th, 1906.]

Thus, six and a half years later, Lord Milner spoke of these months of
_Sturm und Drang_ in the calm and passionless atmosphere of the House
of Lords.

From Bloemfontein to the ultimatum, the British flag in South Africa
was stayed upon the "inflexible resolution" of one man. Two months
later, when the army corps was all but landed, the English at the Cape
gave speech. Then Sir David Gill's words at the St. Andrew's Day
celebration of November 30th, 1890 came as a fresh breeze dispersing
the miasmic humours of some low-lying, ill-drained plain.

[Sidenote: What the loyalists thought.]

     "In the history of the British colonies," he said, "no Governor
     has ever been placed in greater difficulties. In spite of a
     support of the most shamelessly feeble character, and in spite of
     a want of understanding at home, His Excellency has not only had
     to originate and carry out a policy, but he has had to instruct
     the whole nation in the dangers which threatened; and the means
     which were necessary to remove that danger.

     "When His Excellency came to this colony he found it honeycombed
     with sedition. He found a canting loyalty, which aimed at the
     overthrow of British supremacy in this colony, and not only in
     this colony, but in South Africa as well.... There have been a
     mighty lot of misunderstandings in this country, a mighty lot of
     mealy-mouthed loyalty, that did not mean loyalty at all, and a
     mighty working to overthrow the power of Englishmen (and
     Scotchmen) in this country--first of all to bring them into
     contempt with the native population; secondly, to deprive them of
     all political power; and thirdly, to deprive them of all material
     power.... We have a minister who has gone to the front,[172] but
     it is a remarkable fact that since that minister has gone to the
     front the accessions of colonists to the ranks of the rebels have
     been tenfold greater than they were before he went. It is in the
     face of these innumerable difficulties that Sir Alfred Milner has
     carried out his work."

         [Footnote 172: Mr. J. W. Sauer. The reference is (in Lord
         Milner's words) to Mr. Sauer's "well-meant but unsuccessful
         mission to Dordrecht, which was immediately followed by
         rebellion in that district." The facts, as fully disclosed a
         year later, are these. On November 23rd, 1899, Mr. Sauer held
         a meeting at Dordrecht to dissuade the Dutch subjects of the
         Crown in the Wodehouse Division of the Colony from joining in
         the rebellion. As the result of this meeting a deputation was
         sent to the Commandant of the Boer invading-force, Olivier,
         who was at Barkly East, desiring him not to come to
         Dordrecht. On November 27th another meeting was held (also
         addressed by Mr. Sauer) and a second deputation of the
         inhabitants waited upon Olivier. The sequel is revealed in
         the telegram despatched the following day (November 28th) by
         the Boer Commandant to the Secretary, the War Commission,
         Bloemfontein: "... To-day already I received the second
         deputation from Dordrecht not to come to Dordrecht. This is
         asked officially, but privately they say that this is also a
         blind, and that we must come at once...." On December 2nd
         Olivier was received with open arms at Dordrecht. It was in a
         district where, in the Boer Commandant's words, "the
         Afrikanders were rejoicing, and joining the commandos was
         universal."--Cd. 420, p. 108 and p. 96; Cd. 43, p. 221; and
         Cd. 261, p. 126.]

This is how it struck a distinguished man of science, and one who was
qualified, moreover, by a residence at the Cape which dated back to
the days of the Zulu War, to understand the full significance of what
was going on around him.

In July and August, President Krüger was winning all along the line.
The Home Government was kept harmless and inactive by the Franchise
Bill; the Cape Government tied the hands of the High Commissioner;
supplies of arms and ammunition were pouring in, the temper of the
burghers in both republics was rising, foreign military officers and
M. Léon of the Creuzot Works had arrived; in short, the military
preparations of four years were consummated without let or hindrance.
September was less exclusively favourable to the republican cause. On
September 8th, as we have seen, the Salisbury Cabinet determined to
send out the defensive forces for which Lord Milner had asked three
months before. Sir William Butler had been recalled; and General
Forestier-Walker did all in his power to carry out the measures urged,
and in most cases actually devised, by Lord Milner for the effective
employment of the few thousand Imperial troops at his disposal. On the
18th and 19th the Lancashire regiment was sent up-country from
Capetown--half to garrison Kimberley, and half to hold the bridge that
carried the main trunk line over the Orange River on its way
northwards to Kimberley and then past the Transvaal border to
Rhodesia. In doing this, however, Lord Milner was careful to point out
to President Steyn that no menace was intended to the Free State,
which, "in case of war with the Transvaal Her Majesty's Government
hoped would remain neutral, and the neutrality of which would be most
strictly respected." Such excellent use was made by Lord Milner of the
six weeks which elapsed between the recall of General Butler and the
ultimatum (October 9th-11th), that the handful of regulars dotted down
before the Free State border of the colony, and skilfully distributed
at strategic points upon the railways, sufficed to keep President
Steyn's commandos from penetrating south of the Orange River, until
the army corps had begun to disembark at the Cape ports. On this, as
on another occasion to be subsequently noted, it is difficult to
withhold a tribute of admiration to the gifted personality of the man
who, himself a civilian, could thus readily apply his unique knowledge
of South African conditions to the uses of the art of war. At the same
time, the promptitude and efficiency displayed by the Indian military
authorities provided Natal, by October 8th, with a force that proved
just--and only just--sufficient to prevent the Boer commandos from
sweeping right through that colony down to Durban.

[Sidenote: The negotiations closed.]

In the meantime the negotiations, having served their purpose, were
being brought rapidly to a conclusion by the Pretoria Executive. On
September 15th, as we have seen, the Republic notified its refusal to
accept the terms offered in the British despatch of the 8th; and
before that date, as we have also noted, some of the Transvaal
commandos had been ordered to take up their positions on the Natal
border. On the 22nd a meeting of the Cabinet was held in London, at
which it was decided to mobilise the army corps--a measure advised by
Lord Wolseley in June. At the same time Lord Milner was instructed by
telegraph to communicate to the South African Republic a despatch[173]
in which the British Government "absolutely denied and repudiated" the
claim of the South African Republic to be a "sovereign international
state," and informed the Pretoria Executive that its refusal to
entertain the offer made on September 8th--

         [Footnote 173: C. 9,530.]

     "coming as it did at the end of nearly four months of protracted
     negotiations, themselves the climax of an agitation extending
     over a period of more than five years, made it useless to further
     pursue a discussion on the lines hitherto followed, and that Her
     Majesty's Government were now compelled to consider the situation
     afresh, and to formulate their own proposals for a final

of the questions at issue. The result of these deliberations was to be
communicated to Lord Milner in a later despatch.

[Sidenote: The Burghers mobilised.]

This note of September 22nd, together with a second communication of
the same date, in which Mr. Chamberlain warmly repudiated the charges
of bad faith brought against Sir William Greene, reached the Pretoria
Executive on the 25th, and on the same day it was known that a British
force had entrained at Ladysmith for Glencoe. On the 26th intelligence
of so serious a nature reached Lord Milner, that he telegraphed to
warn the Home Government that the Transvaal and Free State were likely
to take the initiative. According to Mr. Amery,[174] an ultimatum had
been drafted upon receipt of the British note, and telegraphed on the
following day to President Steyn for his approval. At Bloemfontein,
however, the document was entirely recast by Mr. Fischer. Even so, in
its amended form, it was ready on the 27th. On that day the Free State
Raad, after six days of secret session, determined to join the sister
Republic in declaring war upon Great Britain, and on the 28th the
Transvaal commandos were mobilised. The ultimatum, according to the
same authority, would have been delivered to Sir William Greene on
Monday, October 2nd, had not deficiencies in the Boer transport and
commissariat arrangements made it impossible for the burgher forces to
advance immediately upon the British troops in Natal. At the last
moment, also, President Steyn seems to have had some misgivings. On
September 26th, together with the draft ultimatum from Pretoria, a
suggestive telegram from Capetown, signed "Micaiah," and bidding him
"Read chapter xxii. 1st Book of Kings, and accept warning," had
reached him;[175] and a few days later he received, through Mr.
Fischer, a powerful appeal for peace from Sir Henry de Villiers.

         [Footnote 174: _Times_ correspondent and editor of _The Times
         History of the War_. Mr. Amery arrived at the Cape in the
         second week of September, and was at Pretoria from September
         24th to October 13th.]

         [Footnote 175: Secured by Intelligence Department.]

However this may be, the few administrative acts that remained to be
taken were quickly accomplished in both Republics. In the Transvaal
the remnant of the British population was already in flight; the law
courts were suspended; the control of the railways was assumed by the
Government and, in order to protect colonial recruits from the legal
penalties attached to rebellion, on September 29th the Executive was
empowered by the Volksraad to confer citizen rights on all aliens
serving in the forces of the Republic. Not content with their
barbarous expulsion of the British population, the Governments of both
Republics for a week before the expiry of the ultimatum treated those
of them who still remained as though a state of war had already been
in existence. During these last days telegrams and letters praying for
protection against some act of violence or spoliation were constantly
arriving at Government House. But what could the High Commissioner do?
The Army Corps was 6,000 miles away; the 10,000 defensive troops were
most of them still on the water. The Free State, in Mr. Fischer's
words, "did not recognise international law, and claimed to commandeer
all persons whatsoever" under its own. In the Transvaal, Mr. Reitz
(after consultation with Mr. Smuts) was coolly replying to the
British Agent's protest against the seizure of the property of British
subjects, including £150,000 worth of bar gold, that "the property of
private individuals of whatever nationality could be, and was being,
commandeered to the value of £15 a head."[176] On October 2nd the
Transvaal Raads adjourned, and on the same day President Steyn
informed the High Commissioner that the Free State burghers had been
summoned for commando service. An interchange of telegrams then
ensued, of which one, despatched on October 6th, is important as
showing how earnestly Lord Milner seconded Mr. Chamberlain's endeavour
to keep the door open for a peaceful settlement up to the last moment.

         [Footnote 176: C. 9,530.]

[Sidenote: Last words.]

     "I have the honour," he said, "to acknowledge Your Honour's long
     telegram of yesterday afternoon [the 5th], the substance of which
     I have communicated to Her Majesty's Government. There is, I
     think, a conclusive reply to Your Honour's accusation against the
     policy of Her Majesty's Government, but no good purpose would be
     served by recrimination. The present position is that burgher
     forces are assembled in very large numbers in immediate proximity
     to the frontiers of Natal, while the British troops occupy
     certain defensive positions well within those borders. The
     question is whether the burgher forces will invade British
     territory, thus closing the door to any possibility of a pacific
     solution. I cannot believe that the South African Republic will
     take such aggressive action, or that Your Honour would
     countenance such a course, which there is nothing to justify.
     Prolonged negotiations have hitherto failed to bring about a
     satisfactory understanding, and no doubt such understanding is
     more difficult than ever to-day, after the expulsion of British
     subjects with great loss and suffering; but until the threatened
     act of aggression is committed I shall not despair of peace, and
     I feel sure that any reasonable proposal, from whatever quarter
     proceeding, would be favourably considered by Her Majesty's
     Government if it offered an immediate termination of present
     tension and a prospect of permanent tranquillity."[177]

         [Footnote 177: C. 9,530.]

With this--practically the final communication of the British
Government--it is instructive to compare the "last words" of the two
other protagonists. The Pretoria Executive, true to its policy of
playing for time, sends through Mr. Reitz two long and argumentative
replies to the British despatches of July 27th (the Joint Commission),
and May 10th (Mr. Chamberlain's reply to the petition to the Queen).
The Afrikander nationalists having failed to "mediate" in Pretoria and
Bloemfontein, consoled themselves with a final effort in the shape of
a direct appeal to the Queen. In a petition signed by the fifty-eight
Afrikander members of both Houses of the Cape Parliament, including,
of course, the members of the Schreiner Cabinet, they declare their
earnest belief that the South African Republic "is fully awakened to
the wisdom and discretion of making liberal provision for the
representation of the Uitlanders," and urge Her Majesty's Government
to appoint a Joint Commission--a proposal to which the British
Government had declared that it was impossible to return. The effect
of this somewhat half-hearted effort was, however, on this occasion
appreciably diminished by the fact that the nationalist petition was
accompanied by a resolution presented by fifty-three Progressive
members of the Cape Parliament, embodying their entire disapproval of
the opinion put forward by the petitioners, and containing the
assurance that Her Majesty's Government might rely upon their
strongest support.

[Sidenote: The ultimatum delivered.]

The ultimatum was delivered to Sir William Greene on the afternoon of
Monday, October 9th, and forthwith telegraphed to the High
Commissioner at Capetown. Although it was a week behind time at
Pretoria, its arrival was somewhat unexpected at Government House.
Saturday and Sunday had been days of quite unusual calm. The
Secretary, whose business it was to decode the official telegrams,
commenced his task with but languid interest. He had decoded so many
apparently unnecessary and inconclusive despatches of late. At first
this seemed very much like the others. But, as he worked on, he came
upon words that startled him to a sudden attention:

     "This Government ... in the interest not only of this Republic,
     but also of all South Africa,... feels itself called upon and
     obliged ... to request Her Majesty's Government to give it the

     "(_a_) That all points of mutual difference shall be regulated by
     the friendly course of arbitration, or by whatever amicable way
     may be agreed upon by this Government with Her Majesty's

     "(_b_) That the troops on the borders of this Republic shall be
     instantly withdrawn.

     "(_c_) That all reinforcements of troops which have arrived in
     South Africa since June 1st, 1899, shall be removed from South
     Africa within a reasonable time, to be agreed upon with this
     Government, and with a mutual assurance and guarantee upon the
     part of this Government that no attack upon or hostilities
     against any portion of the possessions of the British Government
     shall be made by the Republic during further negotiations within
     a period of time to be subsequently agreed upon between the
     Governments, and this Government will, on compliance therewith,
     be prepared to withdraw the armed burghers of this Republic from
     the borders.

     "(_d_) That Her Majesty's troops which are now on the high seas
     shall not be landed in any part of South Africa.

     "This Government must press for an immediate and affirmative
     answer to these four questions, and earnestly requests Her
     Majesty's Government to return such an answer before or upon
     Wednesday, October 11th, 1899, not later than five o'clock p.m.,
     and it desires further to add that, in the event of unexpectedly
     no satisfactory answer being received by it within that interval,
     it will with great regret be compelled to regard the action of
     Her Majesty's Government as a formal declaration of war, and will
     not hold itself responsible for the consequences thereof, and
     that in the event of any further movements of troops taking place
     within the above-mentioned time in the nearer directions of our
     borders, the Government will be compelled to regard that also as
     a formal declaration of war.

     "I have, etc.,
                              "F. W. REITZ, _State Secretary_."[178]

         [Footnote 178: C. 9,530.]

[Sidenote: An appeal to Afrikanders.]

The war had come; and come in the almost incredible form of a naked
assertion of the intention of the South African Republic to oust Great
Britain from its position of paramount Power in South Africa. And the
declaration of war,[179] published two days later by President Steyn,
was no less definite. It referred to Great Britain's "unfounded claim
to paramountcy for the whole of South Africa, and thus also over this
State," and exhorted the burghers of the Free State to "stand up as
one man against the oppressor and violator of right." Even greater
frankness characterised the appeal to "Free Staters and Brother
Afrikanders" issued by Mr. Reitz. In this document[180] not only was
the entire Dutch population of South Africa invited to rid themselves,
by force of arms, of British supremacy, but the statement of the Boer
case took the form of an impeachment that covered the whole period of
British administration. Great Britain--

         [Footnote 179: Cd. 43.]

         [Footnote 180: _Ibid._]

     "has, ever since the birth of our nation, been the oppressor of
     the Afrikander and the native alike.

     "From Slagter's Nek to Laing's Nek, from the Pretoria Convention
     to the Bloemfontein Conference--they have ever been the
     treaty-breakers and robbers. The diamond fields of Kimberley and
     the beautiful land of Natal were robbed from us, and now they
     want the gold-fields of the Witwatersrand.

     "Where is Waterboer to-day? He who had to be defended against the
     Free State is to-day without an inch of ground. Where lies
     Lobengula in his unknown grave to-day, and what fillibusters and
     fortune-hunters are possessors of his country?

     "Where are the native chiefs of Bechuanaland now, and who owns
     their land?

     "Read the history of South Africa, and ask yourselves: Has the
     British Government been a blessing or a curse to this

     "Brother Afrikanders! I repeat, the day is at hand on which great
     deeds are expected of us. WAR has broken out. What is it to be? A
     wasted and enslaved South Africa, or--a Free, United South

     "Come, let us stand shoulder to shoulder and do our holy duty!
     The Lord of Hosts will be our Leader.

     "Be of good cheer.
                                   "F. W. REITZ."

That Monday night, besides repeating the ultimatum to the Home
Government, Lord Milner telegraphed to warn the British authorities in
Natal, Rhodesia, Basutoland, and the frontier towns.

The ultimatum reached the Colonial Office at 6.45 a.m. on Tuesday. The
reply, which was cabled to Lord Milner at 10.45 p.m. on the same day,
was not unworthy of the occasion:

[Sidenote: The British reply.]

     "Her Majesty's Government have received with great regret the
     peremptory demands of the Government of the South African
     Republic. You will inform the Government of the South African
     Republic, in reply, that the conditions demanded by the South
     African Republic are such as Her Majesty's Government deem it
     impossible to discuss."[181]

         [Footnote 181: C. 9,530.]

The High Commissioner was further desired to instruct Sir William
Greene, in delivering the British reply, to ask for his passports.



With the presentation of the Boer ultimatum the first and most
difficult part of Lord Milner's task was accomplished. The actual
pretensions of President Krüger and his republican confederates in the
Free State and the Cape Colony were declared in a manner that could
not fail to make them understood by the British people at home. The
nationalists were unmasked. To what assurance of victory their
military preparations had led them may be seen from the story of Mr.
Amery's meeting with Mr. Reitz, two days before October 2nd, the
Monday originally fixed for the delivery of the ultimatum. On the
afternoon of this day, September 30th, Mr. Amery was walking with the
State Secretary in Pretoria. Mr. Reitz, he tells us,[182] "suddenly
turned round and said, 'Have you read _Treasure Island_? 'Yes.' 'Then
you may remember the passage where they "tip the black spot" to Long
John Silver?' 'Yes.' 'Well, I expect it will fall to my lot on Monday
to "tip the black spot" to Long John Greene.' And hereupon the State
Secretary cheerily detailed to his astounded listener the terms of the
ultimatum, compliance with which might yet save the British Empire
from war."

         [Footnote 182: _Times History of the War in South Africa_,
         vol. i., p. 360. It must be remembered that in the Transvaal
         all telegrams had been strictly censored from the end of

[Sidenote: Effect of the ultimatum.]

Very different was the position at Capetown. Here there was no room
either for levity or the insolence of anticipated triumph. Knowing
what Lord Milner did--what he, of all men, had most cause to
know--both of our unreadiness, and of the preparedness and confidence
of the enemy, he could scarcely have looked forward to the future
without the very gravest apprehension. None the less the ultimatum
brought with it a certain sense of relief. The negotiations, which had
degenerated long since into a diplomatic farce, were terminated. The
situation had become once more clear. It has been the duty of few men
to bear so heavy and so prolonged a burden of responsibility as that
from which Lord Milner was thus set free. The danger that the Home
Government, in its earnest desire for peace, might accept a settlement
that would leave undecided the central issue of Boer or British
supremacy in South Africa had never been wholly absent from his mind
during the harassing negotiations that succeeded the Conference. Up to
the very end there had been a haunting dread lest, in spite of his
ceaseless vigilance and unstinted toil, a manifestation of British
loyalty that would never be repeated should be coldly discouraged, and
the nationalist movement allowed to proceed unchecked, until every
colonist of British blood had surrendered the hope of remaining a
citizen of the Empire for the degrading necessity of securing for
himself and his children a tolerable position in the United States of
South Africa by a timely alliance with the more progressive Dutch.
From the presence of this danger Lord Milner was now relieved, since,
as he instantly foresaw, the whip-lash of this frank appeal to force
brought conviction where marshalled arguments were powerless to move.
He had done what the religious enthusiasm of Livingstone, the
political sagacity of Grey, the splendid devotion and prescience of
Frere, and the Elizabethan statecraft of Rhodes, had failed to do. _He
had made the Boer speak out._

England was far from knowing all that these Boer aspirations meant, or
the progress already achieved in the direction of their realisation.
But this ignorance made the demands of the ultimatum seem the more
insolent. To Mr. Balfour it was as though President Krüger had gone
mad. But madness or insolence, the effect was the same. With the mass
of the nation all hesitation, all balancing of arguments, were at an
end. The one thing that was perceived was that any further attempt to
treat with a people so minded would be an admission to the world that
British supremacy had disappeared from South Africa. On this point,
outside the narrow influence of a few professional partisans and
peace-makers, there had never been any doubt: the only question was
whether British supremacy was, or was not, in danger. The Boer
challenge having resolved this question, the mind of the nation was
made up. The army, as the instrument of its will, was called upon to
give effect to its decision.

[Sidenote: An anxious situation.]

Two years and eight months elapsed between the expiration of the two
days' grace allowed by the ultimatum and the surrender of Vereeniging.
During the first twelve months of this period Lord Milner's
initiative, though his position remained arduous, anxious, and
responsible, and his activity unceasing, was necessarily subordinated
to that of the Commander-in-Chief of the British forces in South
Africa. But during the second period of the war--that is to say, from
November 29th, 1900, when Lord Kitchener succeeded Lord Roberts--the
constructive statesmanship of the High Commissioner was called forth
in an increasing degree as the area secured for peaceable occupation
became widened, and the problems involved in the settlement and future
administration of the new colonies emerged into increasing prominence
and importance. But even during the first period, when the task of the
army was the comparatively simple one of overcoming the organised
resistance of the Republics and subduing the rebellion in the Cape
Colony, Lord Milner's unshaken confidence and perfect mastery of South
African conditions proved of inestimable value.

[Sidenote: Results and unpreparedness.]

Five years later he described himself as an "incorrigible optimist."
Optimist or not, at this time he harboured no illusions. He knew that
the postponement or neglect of military preparations had left
thousands of loyal subjects of the Crown in a position of entire
defencelessness, and made rebellion easy for thousands of the
disaffected Dutch. The first days of war, like the last days of peace,
were punctuated by appeals for the troops that should have been in
South Africa, but were in England; or for guns, rifles, and ammunition
which Mr. Schreiner had kept idle in the colonial armouries until it
was too late. On Friday, October 13th, he held a long and anxious
consultation over the wires with Colonel Kekewich at Kimberley. A
thousand rifles were wanted, and wanted instantly. The Cape Artillery
15-pounders, reluctantly conceded at the last moment by Mr. Schreiner,
had not come. They never came, for the next day Kimberley was cut off,
and by Sunday morning Capetown had lost count of the border districts
from Kimberley southward to Orange River. On this Friday the first
definite piece of bad news reached the High Commissioner. An armoured
train, trying to run back to Mafeking, had been captured by the Boers.
In proportion as Lord Milner had urged the need of preparation for
war, so now he was the first to realise how grave would be the results
of unpreparedness. Fortunately, his comments upon the events of these
first three months of the war have been preserved; and the record of
what was passing in his mind from day to day reveals a burden of
anxiety that contrasts sharply with the easy tolerance with which the
first bad news was received in England. On Wednesday, the 18th, a week
after the ultimatum had expired, he wrote of Natal: "We are being
slowly surrounded, and our force unwisely split up." He was gravely
concerned for the safety of Kimberley, and he "doubted the ability of
Mafeking to hold out." On November 1st, the day after General Buller
had landed at Capetown, he wrote: "Things are going from bad to worse
to-day. In Natal the Orange Free State Boers are making a move on
Colenso, while in the Colony they have crossed in force at Bethulie;
and there is also some suspicion of an attack on the line between
Orange River bridge and De Aar." On November 9th, the arrival of the
_Rosslyn Castle_, the first of the Army Corps transports, brought a
gleam of brightness. She was a little late, as she had been warned to
go out of her course after leaving Las Palmas, to avoid a suspicious
vessel. But Methuen's first engagements seemed to him to be Pyrrhic
victories. It was "the old story of charging positions from which the
enemy simply clears, after having shot a lot of our men." On December
5th "alarming rumours came pouring in from all over the Colony," and
two days later Lord Milner telegraphed to warn the Secretary of State
that the war was now aggravated by rebellion. On Saturday, December
16th, the day after Colenso, he wrote: "This has been a week of
disasters, to-day being the worst of all. News was received this
morning that Buller had been severely defeated yesterday in attempting
to force the passage of the Tugela."

It was a time when he was receiving the panic outcry for the immediate
relief of Kimberley, in which Rhodes vented his rage at the military
impotence to which for the moment England had allowed herself to be
reduced in South Africa; when his councils with his ministers were
"gloomy functions," and his Prime Minister's arguments against the
measures which he deemed necessary for the defence of the Colony and
the protection of the native territories had become not merely
wearisome but embittered. His main resource lay in his intense
activity. It was his custom, during this critical period, to begin the
day by seeing Mr. Eliot and Mr. Price, the heads of the railways, and
Mr. French, the Postmaster-General. In this way he received
information of every movement of any significance that had occurred
within the range of the railway and post-office systems during the
preceding twenty-four hours--information which was of the highest
utility both to him and to the military authorities. Then followed an
endless succession of visitors, from the Prime Minister to the most
recent newspaper correspondent out from home, and a long afternoon
and evening of concentrated and unbroken labour upon despatches,
proclamations, minutes, and other official documents. A short ride or
walk was sometimes interpolated, but his days were a dead round of
continuous occupation. "One day is so like another--crowded with work;
all hateful, but with no very special feature," he wrote. But of
another he says: "Worked very hard all day; the usual interviews. It
was very difficult to take one's mind off the absorbing subject of the
ill success of our military operations."

Mr. Balfour called the insolence of the ultimatum "madness." But Lord
Milner knew that it was no madness, but an assured belief in victory;
a confidence founded upon long years of earnest preparation for war;
upon the blood-ties of the most tenacious of European peoples; upon a
Nature that spread her wings over the rough children of the veld and
menaced their enemies with the heat and glamour of her sun, with
famine and drought and weariness, with all the hidden dangers that
lurked in her glittering plains and rock-strewn uplands.

[Sidenote: Aspects of the war.]

It is not proposed to give any detailed account of the military
operations which led, first, to the annexation of the Boer Republics,
and then to the actual disarmament of the entire Dutch population of
South Africa. The most that the plan of this work permits of is to
present the broad outlines of the war in such a manner that the
several phases of the military conflict may be seen in true
perspective, and the relationship between them and the administrative
efforts of Lord Milner be correctly indicated. But it will not be
found inconsistent with this restricted treatment to refer to certain
conspicuous features of the war upon which contemporary discussion has
chiefly centred, and in respect of which opinions have been pronounced
that do not seem likely to harmonise in all cases with the results of
a more mature judgment and a less interested inquiry.

The test by which the success or failure of any given military effort
is to be measured is, of course, the test of results. But the
application of this test must not be embarrassed by the assumption,
which seems to have vitiated so much otherwise admirable criticism on
the conduct of the war in South Africa, that every action in which a
properly equipped and wisely directed force is engaged must
necessarily be successful: or that, if it be not successful, it
follows, as a matter of course, that the officer in command, or one of
his subordinates, must have committed some open and ascertainable
violation of the principles of military science. So far is this from
being the case, that military history is full of examples in which the
highest merit and resolution of a commander have been nullified or
cheated by the wanton interferences of physical nature, or by acts on
the part of subordinates admittedly beyond the control of any human
skill or foresight.[183]

         [Footnote 183: This chapter was in type some weeks before
         Vol. I. of the Official History of the War was published.
         Where, however, the Official History amends or supplements
         figures, documents, etc., given in earlier official
         publications, the fact is mentioned in a foot-note.]

[Sidenote: Delay of operations.]

Any just appreciation of the events of the first year of the war must
be based upon a clear understanding of the degree in which the
military action of the Salisbury Cabinet fell short of the advice
given by Lord Milner, and, in an equal degree by Lord Wolseley, the
Commander-in-Chief. We have noticed already[184] the grave inadequacy
of the measures of preparation for war carried out in South Africa
between the failure of the Bloemfontein Conference and the recall of
General Butler. On June 1st the South African garrison consisted of
4,462 men in Cape Colony, and 5,827 men in Natal; or 10,289 men with
24 field-guns in all.[185] On August 2nd the Government decided to
send 2,000 additional troops to Natal, and the Indian Government was
warned, a little later, that certain troops might be required for
service in South Africa. In spite of Lord Milner's urgent
representations of the danger of leaving the colonies unprotected, no
considerable body of troops, as we have seen, was ordered out, until
the diplomatic situation had become seriously aggravated by the
definite failure of the negotiations initiated by Sir William Greene
through Mr. Smuts.

         [Footnote 184: See p. 191.]

         [Footnote 185: Cd. 1,789 (War Commission). The Official
         _History of the War in South Africa_ gives the total on
         August 2nd as "not exceeding 9,940 men."]

Of the 10,000 men despatched after the Cabinet meeting of September
8th, more than half were requisitioned from the Indian Army, while the
remainder were drawn mainly from the Mediterranean garrisons.

Thus, by the beginning of the second week in October there were 22,104
British troops in South Africa, of whom 7,400 were at the Cape and
14,704 in Natal, and 60 field-guns.[186] But the Army Corps, the
"striking force," was still in England. In pursuance of its
determination to postpone to the last moment any action that could be
represented as an attempt to force a war upon the Boers, the British
Government had refrained from giving orders for the mobilisation of
the offensive force until October 7th, or a fortnight after the
Cabinet meeting of September 22nd, when its determination to
"formulate its own proposals" was communicated to the Transvaal
Government.[187] It was then calculated that three months must elapse
before this force could be equipped, transported, and placed in the
field in South Africa.

         [Footnote 186: Cd. 1,789. But the Official History gives the
         British total at the outbreak of war as 27,054 men (as
         against over 50,000 burghers); of whom 15,811 (including
         2,781 local troops) were in Natal, 5,221 regulars and 4,574
         local troops were in the Cape Colony, and 1,448 men, raised
         locally by Col. Baden-Powell, were in Mafeking and Southern

         [Footnote 187: But the Admiralty were given details of the
         offensive force on September 20th. (_Official History._)]

[Sidenote: No political gain.]

Before recording the disastrous effects of the postponement of
effective military preparations, from June to September, it remains to
consider whether any political gains, sufficient to compensate for the
loss of military strength, were secured. The policy of relying upon
Afrikander advice failed; since, as we have seen, the admonitions of
Sir Henry de Villiers and Mr. Hofmeyr came too late to turn President
Krüger from an obduracy founded upon long years of military
preparation. The over-sea British had made up their minds in June; and
nothing occurred in the subsequent negotiations to deepen their
conviction of the essential justice of the British cause. India was
unmoved; indeed, the Hindu masses were slightly sympathetic, while the
feudatory princes came forward with offers of men and treasure to the
Government of the Queen-Empress. The attitude of the respective
governments of France, Germany, and Russia was correct. But what
secured this result was not any perception of the moderation of the
British demands, or any recognition of the genuine reluctance of the
British Government to make war, but the sight of the British Navy
everywhere holding the seas, the rapidity and ease with which large
bodies of troops were transported from every quarter of the British
world, and the manner in which each reverse was met by a display of
new and unexpected reserves of military strength.

If the British Government thought that it would win the peoples of
Continental Europe to its side by a show of hesitation to make war
upon a weak state, the sequel proved that it had gravely misunderstood
the conditions under which international respect is produced. Hatred
of England rose in inverse ratio to the evidence of the justness of
her cause. When the Boers were victorious, or seemed to be most
capable of defying the efforts of the largest fighting force that
Great Britain had ever put into the field; when, that is to say, it
was most clearly demonstrated that British supremacy in South Africa
could only have been maintained by force of arms against the
formidable rival which had risen against it, then the wave of popular
hatred surged highest. When the British arms prospered, the clamour
sank; but only to rise again until it was finally allayed by the
knowledge that the Boer resistance was at an end, and that the British
Empire had emerged from the conflict a stronger and more united power.

[Sidenote: Attitude of the United States.]

The case of the United States was somewhat different. Here was an
industrial nation like our own; and one, moreover, whose people were
qualified alike by constitutional and legal tradition, habits of
thought, and identity of language, to have discerned the reality of
the reluctance displayed by the British Government to employ force
until every resource of diplomacy and every device of statecraft had
been exhausted, and to have drawn the conclusion that the power which
drove the Government into war was a sense of duty, and not greed of
territory. Moreover, there was at this time, at any rate among the
more cultivated classes, a feeling of gratitude for the action of
Great Britain in preventing European intervention during the
Spanish-American war, and a genuine desire, on that ground alone, to
show sympathy with the English people in the conflict in which they
had become involved. In these circumstances it is somewhat strange
that public opinion in the United States was unmistakably inclined to
favour the Boers during almost the entire period of the war. It is
perfectly true that the United States Government was consistently
friendly; but this did not alter the fact that the dominant note in
nearly all public expressions of the sentiment of the United States'
people was one of sympathy with the Boer, and of hostility to the
British cause. It might have been thought that, just as most
Englishmen, in the case of the conflict between the United States and
Spain, were prepared to assume that a nation imbued with the
traditions and principles of the Anglo-Saxon race would not have
undertaken to enforce its will upon a weak Power without having
convinced itself first of the justice of its cause, so the Americans
would have entertained an equally favourable presumption in respect of
the people of Great Britain. That this was not done is due to a cause
which is as significant as it is well ascertained. Making all
allowance for the prejudice against England inevitably aroused in the
minds of the less thoughtful members of a great democratic community,
by the fact that her opponent was both a weak state and a republic,
this very general refusal to accept the political morality of the
English people as a guarantee of the justice of their action in South
Africa suggests the presence of another and more specific influence.
The explanation given by Americans is that the English nation was
itself divided upon the question of the morality of the South African
War--or, at any rate, that the public utterances that reached the
United States were such as to convey this impression. That being so,
they ask, Can you blame us for hesitating to adopt what was at the
most, as we understood it, the opinion of a majority? In support of
this view they point to the public utterances, before and after the
war had broken out, of Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman, Mr. John Morley,
and Mr. Bryce. Of these, the former was the official head of the
Liberal Party, while the two latter were men whose literary
achievements had made their names and personalities both familiar and
respected in the United States. If the opinions of these public men
were on this occasion wholly unrepresentative, why, they ask, were
their speeches and articles unrefuted; or, at any rate, allowed to go
forth to the world uncondemned by any clear and authoritative
manifestation of the dissent and displeasure of their countrymen?

[Sidenote: Injurious declarations.]

That declarations such as these did in fact produce injurious effects
directly calculable in human lives, in money, and in the waste and
devastation of war, is a fact which will claim the attention of the
reader on a subsequent occasion. They came not merely from the mouths of
the Irish Nationalists, and of advanced Radicals such as Mr.
Lloyd-George and Mr. John Burns, but from men of wider repute. That
public opinion should have allowed responsible Englishmen in time of war
to "speak and write as though they belonged to the enemy,"--whether due
to an exaggerated regard for our traditional freedom of speech, or to a
failure to recognise that the altered conditions produced by the
extension and perfection of telegraphic communication, and the
development of the Press throughout the civilised world, gave such
utterances a value in international relations altogether different from
that possessed (say) by similar utterances on the part of the
anti-nationalists during the Napoleonic wars--is a circumstance that
merits the most serious consideration. No one will deny that this
unpatriotic form of opposition, so long as it exists, constitutes an
ever-recurring danger to the most vital interests of the community. The
ultimate remedy lies in the creation of a representative council of the
Empire, and the consequent separation of questions of inter-imperial and
foreign policy from the local and irrelevant issues of party politics.
Until this is done, it remains to establish a mutual understanding
under which such questions would be recognised as being outside the
sphere of party recrimination; and for this purpose it is necessary to
create a force of public opinion strong enough to compel the observance
of this understanding; or, failing this, to visit its non-observance
with political penalties commensurate to the injury inflicted.

[Sidenote: The Army Corps absorbed.]

The conflict which followed the expiration of the forty-eight hours
allowed by the Boer ultimatum is in more than one respect the most
extraordinary in the annals of war. The existence of the cable and
telegraph made instant and continuous communication possible between
the army in the field and the nation at home. Public opinion, informed
by the daily records furnished by the Press, became a factor in
determining the conduct of the war. Nor is it strange that a civilian
population, separated by 6,000 miles from the theatre of operations,
should have proved an injurious counsellor. The army was ordered to
conquer a people, but forbidden to employ the methods by which alone
it has been hitherto held that conquest is attainable. But no
influence exercised upon the course of the war by false
humanitarianism or political partisanship produced any results
comparable to the original injury inflicted upon the British Army by
the ignorance and irresolution displayed by the nation. The
postponement of effective military preparations by the Home Government
until the necessity for these preparations had become so plain that
no effort of the Opposition could embarrass its action, was the _fons
et origo_ of all subsequent disaster. The failure to mobilise the Army
Corps in June had placed the Army in a position of disadvantage at the
outbreak of the war, from which it never wholly recovered. The
original striking force--the Army Corps--was not employed in its
proper function, but absorbed, upon its arrival in South Africa, in
the task of supporting the defensive forces. Twenty-two thousand men,
with an Army Corps advancing upon Bloemfontein or Pretoria, would have
sufficed to repel attacks upon the colonial frontiers, and to check
rebellion in the Cape Colony. But twenty-two thousand men defending
one thousand miles of frontier from a mobile force nearly twice as
numerous with the Army Corps six thousand miles away in England, was a
very different thing. Yet this was the situation in which the nation,
by withholding from the Government the support necessary to enable it
to give effect to the advice of Lord Wolseley, had elected to place
the British Army. The plan of mobilisation, long prepared and complete
in all particulars, worked with perfect success. Twenty Companies of
the Army Service Corps sailed on October 6th, a day before the actual
mobilisation order was issued. The rest of the offensive force--one
Cavalry Division, one Army Corps, and eight battalions of lines of
communication troops--began to be embarked on October 20th, and by
November 17th the long succession of transports, bearing the whole of
the men, horses, and guns of which it was composed (with the exception
of one cavalry regiment detained by horse sickness), had sailed for
South Africa. This was Lord Wolseley's task, and it was promptly and
efficiently performed. The War Office was not inefficient; but the
refusal to mobilise in June had thrown the whole scheme of the
offensive and defensive campaign out of gear.

[Sidenote: General Buller.]

With the evidence of the War Commission before us, it is impossible to
divest General Buller of a share of responsibility for the disastrous
conditions under which the war was commenced. He was nominated to the
South African command in June, and he was consulted upon the strength
and composition of the force which was to be employed. On July 7th
Lord Wolseley asked the Government, apart from the immediate
mobilisation of the Army Corps which he still urged, to "consider
whether we should not at a very early date send one Infantry Division
and one Cavalry Brigade--say 10,000 men--to South Africa," adding that
he had "no doubt as to the present necessity of strengthening our
military position." But ten days later the despatch of this
reinforcement of 10,000 men was "not considered urgent." Since,
according to Lord Wolseley's minute of the proceedings of the meeting
held at the War Office on July 18th, 1899, General Buller used the
weight of his authority to support General Butler's opposition to Lord
Milner's urgent request for immediate reinforcements. In reply to a
question as to the desirability of strengthening the South African
garrisons, he said on this occasion, that--

     "he had complete confidence in Butler's ability and forethought,
     and that as long as clever men like Butler and Symons on the spot
     did not say there was danger, he saw no necessity for sending out
     any troops in advance of the Army Corps to strengthen our
     position against any possible attack by the Boers on our

This memorandum, Lord Wolseley added, contained not the "exact words,"
but the "exact meaning" of what he said.[188] It was the precise
opposite of the view which Lord Milner had laid before the Home
Government.[189] Indeed the degree in which General Buller had
misconceived the entire military situation in South Africa became at
once apparent when he reached Capetown. He had come out to South
Africa with the not unnatural idea that he was to command a definite
British army, which was to engage a definite Boer army. When he had
learnt from Lord Milner and others what the situation actually was, he
is said to have gathered up his new impressions in the remark: "It
seems to me that I have got to conquer the whole of South Africa."
General Buller even appears to have shared the common belief of his
fellow-countrymen at home that the Cape was a British colony not only
in name but in fact. Nor was he prepared to abandon this belief all at
once. He suggested to the High Commissioner that it would be possible
to form local defence forces out of the Dutch farmers in the Colony.
Lord Milner said that this was totally impracticable; but he added
that he would consult Mr. Schreiner on the matter. It is needless to
say, however, that the Prime Minister deprecated the proposal in the
most emphatic terms.[190]

         [Footnote 188: Cd. 1,789, pp. 15-17.]

         [Footnote 189: Nor was the Intelligence Department less
         urgent than Lord Milner. "In July of last year [1899],
         earlier warnings being disregarded, a formal communication
         was made for the consideration of the Cabinet, advising the
         despatch of a large force fully equipped, estimated to be
         sufficient to safeguard Natal and Cape Colony from the first
         onrush of the Boers."--Sir John Ardagh, in _The Balfourian
         Parliament_, 1900-1905. By Henry W. Lucy, p. 10. See also the
         evidence of the War Commission, and the "Military Notes"
         issued by the D. M. I. in June (1899).]

         [Footnote 190: In a memorandum of November 20th (furnished to
         Gen. Forestier-Walker) Gen. Buller, on the eve of starting
         for Natal, gives as a first paragraph in his "appreciation of
         the situation" the following remark: "1. Ever since I have
         been here we have been like the man, who, with a long day's
         work before him, overslept himself and so was late for
         everything all day." (_Official History_, p. 209.)]

The War Office scheme was designed to provide a defensive force to
hold the colonies, and an offensive force to invade the Republics. In
the three months that elapsed before this scheme was put into effect,
the conditions upon which it was based had changed completely. On the
day that Buller reached Capetown (October 31st) White, with almost the
whole of the Natal defensive force, was shut up in Ladysmith by
Joubert. When at length the last units of the Army Corps were landed
(December 4th) in South Africa, Buller was at Maritzburg, organising a
force for the relief of White; and practically the entire offensive
force had been broken up to disengage the defensive forces, or save
them from destruction. Buller himself had 14,000 of the Army Corps in
Natal, and more were to follow; Methuen was taking 8,000 men for the
relief of Kimberley; and the balance were being pushed up to
strengthen the original defensive forces that were holding the
railways immediately South of the Orange Free State border, and
checking the rebellion in the eastern districts of the Cape Colony.
Gatacre's defeat at Stormberg (December 10th), Methuen's defeat at
Magersfontein (December 11th), and Buller's defeat at Colenso
(December 15th) together provided ample evidence of the fact that,
however desirable it might be to assume the offensive, a purely
defensive _rôle_ must for the time be assigned to the troops then in
South Africa; and that this state of affairs must continue until the
arrival of very considerable reinforcements.

[Sidenote: New striking force necessary.]

The perception of this fact caused the Government to appoint (December
17th) Lord Roberts, with Lord Kitchener as his Chief-of-Staff, to the
South African command, and to prepare and despatch an entirely new
striking force. It was this new force and not the original Army Corps
that "marched to Pretoria," and struck the successive blows which
enabled Lord Roberts to report to the Secretary of State for War
(November 15th, 1900) that; "with the occupation of Komati Poort, and
the dispersal of Commandant-General Louis Botha's army, the organised
resistance of the two Republics might be said to have ceased." It was
not, therefore, until Lord Roberts was able to march from Modder River
Station (February 11th, 1900), after a month spent at the Cape in
reorganising the transport and other preparations essential to the
success of an army destined to advance for many hundreds of miles
through a hostile country, that the British Army in South Africa was
in the position in which the acceptance of Lord Wolseley's advice,
given in June and July, 1899, would have put it upon the outbreak of
war. Nor was the force with which Lord Roberts then advanced, 36,000
men, more numerous than the striking force which would have been
provided, by Lord Wolseley's scheme, had it been carried out in the
manner in which he desired. For the business with which the scattered
Army Corps was occupied when Lord Roberts arrived at Capetown (January
10th, 1900)--the relief of Ladysmith and Kimberley, and the defence of
the eastern districts of the Cape Colony from the Free State commandos
and the colonial rebels--was work directly caused by the absence of
the Army Corps from South Africa when the war broke out. It is not too
much to say that the whole of the serious losses incurred by the
British forces in South Africa from the commencement of the war up to
the date of Lord Roberts's advance into the Free State territory,
would have been avoided if the state of public opinion had permitted
the Salisbury Cabinet in June to make military preparations
commensurate with the gravity of the situation as disclosed by Lord

[Sidenote: The regular army exhausted.]

In forming an estimate of the performance of the British Army in South
Africa, from a military point of view, it is necessary to remember the
grave initial disadvantage in which it was placed; and that this
initial disadvantage was due, not to the War Office, not to the
Cabinet, but to the nation itself. The manner in which the losses thus
caused were repaired is significant and instructive. By the end of the
year (1899), the troops composing three divisions in excess of the
Army Corps were either landed in South Africa or under orders to
proceed to the seat of war. In addition to the 22,000 defensive troops
in South Africa on October 11th, the War Office had supplied, not
merely the 47,000 men of the Army Corps, but 85,000 men in all. But,
having done this, it had practically reached the limit of troops
available in the regular army for over-sea operations. By April, 1900,
all the reserves had been used up. There remained, it is true, 103,023
"effectives" of all ranks of the regular army in the United Kingdom on
April 1st; but this total was composed of 37,333 "immature" troops; of
the recruits who had joined since October 1st, 1899; of reservists
unfit for foreign service; and of sick and wounded sent home from
South Africa: that is to say, of men who, for one reason or another,
were all alike unfit for service abroad.[191] Further drafts might
have been made upon the British regulars in India; but this course was
held to be imprudent. In plain words, the exhaustion of the regular
army compelled the Government to avail itself more fully of the offers
of military aid which had reached it from the colonies, and to utilise
the militia and volunteer forces. On December 18th, 1899, the
announcement was made that the War Office would allow twelve militia
battalions to volunteer for service abroad, and that a considerable
force of yeomanry and a contingent of picked men from the volunteers
would be accepted. This appeal to the latent military resources of the
Empire met with a ready and ample response. Throughout the whole
course of the war the United Kingdom sent 45,566 militia, 19,856
volunteers, and 35,520 yeomanry, with 7,273 South African
Constabulary, and 833 Scottish Horse; the over-sea colonies (including
305 volunteers from India) provided 30,633 men;[192] while of the
small British population in South Africa no less than the astonishing
total of 46,858 took part in the war.[193] In all some 200,000
men--militia, volunteers, and irregulars--came forward to supplement
the regular army.

         [Footnote 191: Cd. 1,789.]

         [Footnote 192: _Ibid._]

         [Footnote 193: See returns cited by Lord Roberts in House of
         Lords, February 27th, 1906. The irregulars _raised_ in South
         Africa were between 50,000 and 60,000, according to the _War
         Commission Report_.]

[Sidenote: Auxiliary forces utilised.]

It was mainly from the auxiliary forces and the colonial contingents,
and not from the regular army, that the reinforcements were supplied
which repaired the critical losses of the defensive campaign, and
enabled the new striking force to be organised. Nor can it be said
that the British Government failed to do all that was possible to
retrieve its original error, when once the defeats inflicted by the
Boer forces had awakened it to a knowledge of the real situation in
South Africa. In his despatch of February 6th, 1900, Lord Roberts was
able to report that, on January 31st, there was an effective fighting
force of nearly 40,000 men in Natal and another of 60,000 in the Cape
Colony. Mr. Chamberlain put the case for the Government at its highest
in speaking at Birmingham on May 11th, 1900:

     "Supposing that twelve months ago any man had said in public that
     this country would be able to send out from its own shores and
     from its own citizens an army of more than 150,000 men, fully
     equipped, and that it would be joined by another force of more
     than 30,000 men, voluntarily offered by our self-governing
     colonies ... if he had said that this army, together numbering
     200,000 men, or thereabouts, could have been provided with the
     best commissariat, with the most admirable medical appliances and
     stores that had ever accompanied an army--if he could have said
     that at the same time there would have remained behind in this
     country something like half a million of men, who although they
     may not be equal man to man to the regulars and best-drilled
     armies, are nevertheless capable of bearing arms to some
     purpose--if he had said all this, he would have been laughed to

Moreover, the army was successful. The work which it was required to
do was done. In order to realise the merit of its success two
circumstances must be borne in mind: first, the enormous area of South
Africa, and, second, the fact that practically the whole of this area,
if we except the few considerable towns, was not only ill-provided
with means of communication and food supplies, but inhabited by a
population which was openly hostile, or, what was worse, secretly
disaffected. Lord Roberts, in the course of his despatches,
endeavoured to bring home both of these circumstances to the public in

Of the area he wrote:[194]

         [Footnote 194: November 15th, 1900. Johannesburg.]

     "The magnitude of the task which Her Majesty's Imperial troops
     have been called upon to perform will perhaps be better realised
     if I give the actual number of miles of the several lines of
     communication, each one of which has had to be carefully guarded,
     and compare with the well-known countries of Europe the enormous
     extent of the theatre of war, from one end of which to the other
     troops have had to be frequently moved.

[Sidenote: Vastness of South Africa.]

     "The areas included in the theatre of war are as follows:

                                         Square Miles.
               Cape Colony                  277,151
               Orange River Colony           48,326
               Transvaal                    113,640
               Natal                         18,913
                  Total                     458,030
               Rhodesia                     750,000

     "And the distances troops have had to travel are:

                    By Land                  Miles.
               Capetown to Pretoria          1,040
               Pretoria to Komati Poort        260
               Capetown to Kimberley           647
               Kimberley to Mafeking           223
               Mafeking to Pretoria            160
               Mafeking to Beira             1,135
               Durban to Pretoria              511

     "From these tables it will be seen that, after having been
     brought by sea 6,000 miles and more from their base in the United
     Kingdom, the army in South Africa had to be distributed over an
     area of greater extent than France (204,146 square miles) and
     Germany (211,168 square miles) put together, and, if we include
     that part of Rhodesia with which we had to do, larger than the
     combined areas of France, Germany, and Austria (261,649 square

Of the nature of the country and its inhabitants he wrote:[195]

         [Footnote 195: November 15th, 1900. Johannesburg.]

     "And it should be remembered that over these great distances we
     were dependent on single lines of railway for the food supply,
     guns, ammunition, horses, transport animals, and hospital
     equipment, in fact, all the requirements of an army in the
     field, and that, along these lines, bridges and culverts had
     been destroyed in many places, and rails were being constantly
     torn up."

And of the Cape Colony he wrote:[196]

         [Footnote 196: February 6th, 1900. Capetown.]

     "The difficulties of carrying on war in South Africa do not
     appear to be sufficiently appreciated by the British public. In
     an enemy's country we should know exactly how we stood; but out
     here we have not only to defeat the enemy on the northern
     frontier, but to maintain law and order within the colonial
     limits. Ostensibly, the Dependency is loyal, and no doubt a large
     number of its inhabitants are sincerely attached to the British
     rule and strongly opposed to Boer domination. On the other hand,
     a considerable section would prefer a republican form of
     government, and, influenced by ties of blood and association,
     side with the Orange Free State and the Transvaal. Even the
     public service at the Cape is not free from men whose sympathies
     with the enemy may lead them to divulge secrets and give valuable
     assistance to the Boer leaders in other ways."

[Sidenote: The offensive campaign.]

Bearing in mind that the offensive campaign dates, not from the expiry
of the Boer ultimatum on October 11th, 1899, but from Lord Roberts's
advance from Modder River Station on February 11th, 1900, the mere
record of dates and events is sufficiently impressive. On February
12th the Free State border was crossed; on the 15th Kimberley was
relieved, on the 27th Cronje's force surrendered at Paardeberg, on the
28th Ladysmith was relieved, and on March 13th Bloemfontein, the
capital of the Free State, was occupied. The army again advanced
early in May; Kroonstad was entered on the 12th; on May 24th, the
Queen's birthday, the Free State was annexed; the Vaal was crossed on
the 27th, Johannesburg was occupied on the 31st, and on June 5th the
British flag was hoisted on the Raadzaal at Pretoria. In the meantime
Mafeking had been relieved with absolute punctuality on May 17th.[197]
On June 11th the Boers evacuated Laing's Nek and Majuba, and the Natal
Field Force, under Buller, entered the Transvaal from the south-east.
The next day Roberts defeated the Boers under Louis Botha at Diamond
Hill. On July 30th Prinsloo and 4,000 burghers surrendered to Hunter;
on August 27th the main Transvaal army, under Louis Botha, was again
defeated at Dalmanutha, and on September 1st the Transvaal was
annexed. On the 11th President Krüger fled the Transvaal; Komati
Poort, the eastern frontier town on the railway line to Delagoa Bay,
was entered on the 24th, and two days later railway communication was
re-opened between Delagoa Bay and Pretoria.

         [Footnote 197: Lord Roberts had asked Col. Baden-Powell how
         long he could hold out at Mafeking, and then promised that
         the relief of the town should be effected within the required

In spite of the vast area and harassing conditions of the war, in
spite of its own military unpreparedness, and the unexpected strength
of the Boer attack, the Power which created the Republics had
destroyed them within less than a twelvemonth from the day on which
they had defied it.

At this point it will be convenient to place on record certain general
conclusions which arise out of the events and circumstances of the
South African War, and to consider certain military criticisms which
have been offered upon the conduct of the British Army in the field.

We have seen that the initial losses of the campaign were due, not to
any defects in the Army as a fighting force, but to the position in
which the Army was placed by the irresolution of the nation. We have
seen also that within less than a year of the ultimatum the capitals
of the two Republics were occupied, and their power of "organised
resistance" was destroyed. During this stage of the war the regular
Army, small as it was, supplemented by selected reinforcements from
the auxiliary services, and by the colonial contingents, sufficed to
do the work required of it. In the second stage, when the work to be
accomplished was nothing less than the disarmament of the entire Dutch
population of South Africa, the character of the reinforcements
supplied had greatly depreciated,[198] and the prolongation of the war
was in part to be attributed to this circumstance. For the present,
however, it will be sufficient to confine our observations to the
period of "organised resistance."

         [Footnote 198: One fighting British general stated that one
         of the first stage force was equal to five of the men
         supplied after the reserves had been used up in April,

[Sidenote: General conclusions.]

The first of these conclusions is the fact that the real evil revealed
by the South African War is not the inefficiency, or unpreparedness of
the War Office, but the ignorance,[199] and therefore unpreparedness,
of the country. From this unreadiness for war on the part of the
nation as a whole there sprang two results: (1) the refusal of the
Salisbury Cabinet to allow the War Office to make adequate military
preparations in June, and the disregard of the advice alike of Lord
Milner and Lord Wolseley; (2) the insufficient supply of reserves for
the forces in the field, arising ultimately from the small percentage
of men in the nation trained to the use of arms.

         [Footnote 199: For the direct part played by the Liberal
         leaders in the production of this ignorance, see p. 256.]

The second conclusion to which we are led is that the specific result
of the absence of effective preparations for War in June was to throw
the War Office scheme of a fighting force out of gear. Twenty-two
thousand defensive troops, with a striking force of fifty thousand in
South Africa, would have proved sufficient to attain the ends of
British policy. As it was, the Army Corps being in England when
hostilities commenced, and not arriving in its entirety until December
4th, the fifty thousand offensive force was absorbed in the work of
extricating the twenty-two thousand defensive force. In other words,
the British Army was not put in the position contemplated by Lord
Wolseley's scheme until an entirely new fighting force had been
organised and advanced from Modder River in the beginning of February,
1900. This new striking force was identical in numbers with the
original striking force, the Army Corps,[200] provided by Lord
Wolseley's scheme.

[Sidenote: Criticisms examined.]

Among criticisms on the British Army in the field there are two that
claim attention. The first of these is the allegation that military
efficiency was sacrificed to a desire to spare life. In so far as this
criticism is concerned with the handling of their troops by British
commanders, it is strenuously denied that either Lord Roberts, or any
of his subordinates, allowed a desire to spare the lives of the troops
under their command to interfere with the successful execution of any
military operation. The specific example of the alleged interference
of this motive, usually cited, is the conduct of the attack upon the
Boer position at Paardeberg. In respect of these operations the actual
facts, as they presented themselves to the mind of Lord Roberts, are
these. On reaching the Paardeberg position from Jacobsdal the
Commander-in-Chief found that in the operations of the preceding day
Lord Kitchener had lost a thousand men without gaining a single
advantage. The position held by the Boers, although it was commanded
by rising ground on all sides, was one which afforded admirable cover
in repelling an attacking force. In these circumstances Lord Roberts
decided, as an application of the principles of military science, to
"sap up" to the Boer positions. The correctness of this decision was
proved by the result. The moment that the Boers realised that they
were to be given no further opportunity--such as a repetition of a
direct attack upon their position would have afforded--of inflicting
heavy loss on the British troops, whilst their eventual surrender was
no less inevitable, the white flag was hoisted.

         [Footnote 200: _I.e._, _less_ troops for lines of
         communication. Lord Roberts's force was 36,000, the Army
         Corps was 47,000.]

It is denied with equal definiteness that any general feeling of the
kind alleged existed among subordinate officers or the rank and file
of the British troops. Where, however, the allegation of "a desire to
spare life" has regard to the enemy and not to the British troops, the
answer is to be found in the fact that any humanity inconsistent with
military efficiency was apparent and not real. The comparative
immunity enjoyed by the enemy on occasions when he was defeated is due
to physical conditions wholly favourable to the Boers, to the
knowledge of the country possessed by the burghers individually and
collectively, and to the circumstance that the inhabitants of the
country districts were, in almost all cases, ready to give them every
possible assistance in escaping from the British. There is one
particular statement in connection with this criticism which admits of
absolute denial. It has been said that Lord Roberts, the
Commander-in-Chief, received instructions from the Home Government
directing him to spare the enemy as much as possible. This statement,
in spite of its _prima facie_ improbability, has met with very general
acceptance. None the less it is entirely baseless. The only
limitations imposed by the Home Government upon Lord Roberts's
complete freedom of action in the conduct of the military operations
which he directed were such as arose from the difficulty experienced
in supplying him upon all occasions with troops of the precise number
and character required.

[Sidenote: The German general staff.]

The second criticism is one put forward by the German General Staff,
forming, as it does, the only valid complaint against the professional
merits of Lord Roberts advanced by that body. The British
Commander-in-Chief, say these German critics, made it his object to
"manoeuvre" the Boers out of positions instead of inflicting severe
losses upon them. The answer to this criticism, in its general form,
is to be found in the physical conditions of the country. On the
occasions to which reference is made the burgher forces were found to
be posted on high ground, behind rocks or in intrenchments, with fine
open ground in front of them. Obviously in these circumstances what
military science required of the commander directing the attacking
force was to find a means of placing his own troops on equal terms
with the enemy; and this was what Lord Roberts did. The criticism,
however, as more precisely stated and applied to the battle of Diamond
Hill in particular, and to the engagements fought in the course of
Lord Roberts's advance from Bloemfontein to Pretoria, takes the form
of the allegation that, while the enveloping movement on both flanks
was executed successfully, the full result of this initial success was
not obtained because the attack upon the Boer centre was not pressed
home. In other words, the enemy's centre was never caught and
destroyed by the envelopment of his flanks. This is historically true,
and yet the German critics cannot be said to have established their
case, for they omit to take the tactics of the Boers into
consideration. Stated briefly, these were to hold on to a position and
inflict such losses as they could upon the attacking troops, until the
final assault became imminent; and then to mount their ponies and
gallop away. Against such tactics as these, it would have been of no
avail to push in a frontal attack with the certainty of incurring
heavy loss, and without the chance of securing a decisive success. It
would have been merely playing into the hands of the Boers.

Under such conditions all that was possible was to demonstrate against
the Boer centre in the hope of holding them in their position, until
the flanking columns should have nullified their mobility by cutting
in on their line of retreat. The Boers, however, took every precaution
against such an eventuality; and the result was generally, as stated
by the German critics, that the Boers were "manoeuvred" out of their
positions. But this does not prove that the course adopted by Lord
Roberts was wrong; it merely proves the extreme difficulty of
inflicting a severe defeat upon an enemy who declines to risk a
decisive action, and whose mobility gives him the power to do so. The
course advocated by the critics would have been equally barren of
result, while the cost in lives would have been far greater.

[Sidenote: The Boers not in uniform.]

It remains to notice certain definite circumstances which caused the
British Army in South Africa to be confronted by difficulties which no
other army has been required to face. The Boers were accorded all the
privileges of a civilised army, although at the same time they
violated the most essential of the conditions upon the observance of
which these privileges are based. This condition is the wearing, by
the forces of a belligerent, of such a uniform and distinctive dress
as will be sufficient to enable the other belligerent to discriminate
with facility between the combatant and non-combatant population of
his enemy. The fact that the burgher forces were not in uniform and
were yet accorded the privileges claimed by civilised troops, was in
itself a circumstance that increased both the efforts required, and
the losses incurred, by the British Army to an extent which has not as
yet been fully realised. In the operations which Lord Roberts had
conducted in Afghanistan it was not the organised army but the
tribesmen that had proved difficult to overcome. The Afghan army
retreated, or, if it stood its ground, was defeated. But the
tribesmen who "sniped" the British troops from the mountain slopes and
from behind stones and rocks, who assembled from all sides as rapidly
as they melted away, constituted the real difficulty of the campaign.
In South Africa the burgher forces were army and tribesmen alike.
Owing to the absence of any distinctive uniform the combatant Boers
mingled freely with the British soldiers, and went to and fro among
the non-combatant Boer population in the towns and districts occupied
by the British. On one day they were in the British camp as
ox-drivers, or provision-sellers, or what not, and on the next they
were in the burgher fighting line. A single instance will serve to
convey an impression of the complete immunity with which not merely
the rank and file, but commandants and generals, entered and left the
British lines. It is believed that on one night General Louis Botha
slept in Johannesburg close to Lord Roberts, the British
Commander-in-Chief. The next morning he left the town in company with
some of the British troops. And in the Natal campaign it is notorious
that the camps of the Ladysmith relieving force were swarming with
Boer spies whom it was impossible to detect and punish. Even in the
besieged town itself the utmost secrecy at headquarters did not always
avail to prevent a timely intimation of a contemplated attack from
reaching the enemy's lines. Add to this the fact that every Boer
farmhouse throughout South Africa was an Intelligence Depôt for the
enemy, and it is easy to understand the facility displayed by the
mobile and ununiformed Boer forces in evading the British columns.

Whether the humanity displayed by the British Government in thus
recognising the burghers as regular belligerents, and in other
respects, did not tend to bring about the very evil sought to be
avoided is another question. It is quite possible to maintain that the
comparative immunity from punishment and the disproportionate military
success which the Boers enjoyed did in fact, by contributing to the
prolongation of the war, ultimately produce a greater loss of life,
and a greater amount of material suffering, than would have been
incurred by the South African Dutch if the war had been waged with
greater severity on the part of Great Britain. That it increased the
cost of the war both in lives and in treasure to the British nation is
obvious. But this is a consideration which does not affect any
estimate of the merit or demerit displayed by the British Army in the
field that may be formed either by British or foreign critics. In
order to prove competency it is not necessary to show that no single
mistake was made or that nothing that was done might not have been
done better. No war department, no army ever has been or ever will be
created that could come scatheless from the application of such a test
of absolute efficiency. What we require to know is whether the same
standard of efficiency was shown to have been attained in the War
Office and in the Army as is required and obtained in any other branch
of the public service, or in any successful or progressive undertaking
conducted by private enterprise. The circumstances of the war were
abnormal. From one point of view it was a civil war; from another it
was a rebellion, and from a third it was a war between two rival
military powers, each of whom desired to become supreme in South
Africa. What the military critic has to consider is not so much how
these circumstances arose, or whether they could have been changed or
avoided by any political action on the part of Great Britain, but the
degree in which the conditions imposed by them upon the British Army
must be taken into account in applying the ordinary tests of military
efficiency to the work which it accomplished in this particular

[Sidenote: Difficulties of the campaign.]

The nature of the difficulties presented by the vast extent of the
theatre of war, the deficiency of means of communication, the
imperfect cultivation of the land, the sparseness of the population
and their hostility to the British, and the physical and climatic
aspects of South Africa in general, have been broadly indicated in the
passages taken from Lord Roberts's despatches. To pursue the inquiry
further would be to travel beyond the scope of this work. That,
however, there is nothing unusual in the fact that civilian forces,
inspired by love of country and aided by physical conditions
exceptionally favourable to themselves, should be able to offer a
successful resistance to professional soldiers may be seen by a
reference to one of the little wars of the seventeenth century. In the
year 1690 twenty-two thousand French and Savoyard troops were sent by
Louis XIV. to storm the Balsille--a rocky eminence _mutatis mutandis_
the equivalent of a South African kopje--held by 350 Piedmontese
Vaudois. Even so the besieged patriots made good their escape, and,
owing to the sudden change in the politics of Europe brought about by
the accession of William of Orange to the crown of England, actually
concluded an honourable peace with their sovereign, Victor Amadeus of
Savoy, a few days after they had been driven from the Balsille.
Assuming that the British troops employed from first to last in the
South African War were five times as numerous as the forces placed in
the field by the Dutch nationalists--say 450,000 as against 90,000--we
have here a numerical superiority which dwindles into insignificance
beside the magnificent disproportion of the professional troops
required to deal with a civilian force in this seventeenth-century

         [Footnote 201: Any reader desiring to learn the particulars
         of this struggle is referred to the pages of the writer's
         _The Valley of Light: Studies with Pen and Pencil in the
         Vaudois Valleys of Piedmont_. (Macmillan, 1899). It may be
         added that Napoleon manifested a keen interest in the
         military details of the engagements between the French and
         Savoyard troops and the Vaudois. As regards the number of
         combatants on the Boer side. Lord Kitchener puts the total
         (from first to last) at 95,000 (Cd. 1790, p. 13). The
         _Official History_, however, gives, as the result of an
         elaborate calculation, 87,365 (Vol. I. App. 4).]



The direct share which Lord Milner took in the skilful disposition of
the handful of British troops available at the outbreak of the war for
the defence of the north-eastern frontier of the Cape Colony has been
mentioned. The part which he played during the first period of the war
in his relationship to the military authorities is sufficiently
indicated by the words which appear in Lord Roberts's final despatch.

     "This despatch," writes the Commander-in-Chief on April 2nd,
     1901, "would be incomplete were I to omit to mention the benefit
     I have derived from the unfailing support and wise counsels of
     Sir Alfred Milner. I can only say here that I have felt it a high
     privilege to work in close communication with one whose courage
     never faltered however grave the responsibilities might be which
     surrounded him, and who, notwithstanding the absorbing cares of
     his office, seemed always able to find time for a helpful message
     or for the tactful solution of a difficult question."

That this is no conventional compliment, even in the mouth of so great
a general as Lord Roberts, will appear from the fact that on one
occasion--to be presently noted--Lord Milner's judgment did not
entirely recommend itself at the moment to the Commander-in-Chief.

[Sidenote: An unnatural alliance.]

But such services, important as they were, are mere accidents in
comparison with the volume of continuous and concentrated effort
required to keep the machinery of administration available for the
Imperial Government in a colony in which not merely the majority of
the inhabitants, but the majority of the members of the Legislative
Assembly, and half of the ministers of the Crown, were in more or less
complete sympathy with the enemy. The Boer ultimatum, by making it
impossible for the British Government to be any longer cajoled into an
elusory settlement by Boer diplomacy, had relieved Lord Milner of a
load of anxiety, and closed a period of unparalleled physical and
mental strain. But it by no means brought Lord Milner's task to an
end. The open rebellion of the Dutch subjects of the Crown,
considerable alike in point of numbers and area, was not the most
dangerous aspect of the state of utter disaffection, or rather
demoralisation, to which the Cape Colony had been reduced by twenty
years of Dutch ascendancy and nationalist propaganda. Just as before
the ultimatum it was the influence, exercised by constitutional means,
and ostensibly in the interests of the Imperial Government, over the
Republics that brought the Salisbury Cabinet within measurable
distance of diplomatic defeat; so, during the war, what was done and
said by the Afrikander nationalists within the letter of the law
constituted in fact the most formidable obstacle to the success of the
British arms. If the Dutch in the Cape Colony had been left to
themselves, their efforts to encourage the resistance of the Boers, in
view of the rapid and effective blows struck by Lord Roberts, would
probably have been without result. But unhappily their efforts
stimulated the traditional sympathisers of the Boers in England to
fresh action; and they were themselves stimulated in turn by the
excesses of the party opposition which sprang into life again directly
Lord Roberts's campaign had relieved the British people from any fear
of military humiliation. Just as in the period before the war we found
the Afrikander leaders striving to "mediate" between the Transvaal and
the British Government; so now during the war we find them striving to
"conciliate" the two contending parties. In both cases their aim was
the same--to prevent the destruction of the Republics and the
consequent ruin of the nationalist cause. As in the former case
"mediation" was a euphemism for the diplomatic defeat of the British
Government, so now "conciliation" is synonymous with the restoration
of the independence of the Boers--that is, the renunciation of all
that the British people, whether islander or colonist, had fought to
secure. That any considerable body of Englishmen should have allowed
themselves to become a second time the dupes of so coarse a political
hypocrisy may well arouse surprise to-day; to a future generation it
will seem almost incredible. The fact, however, admits of neither
doubt nor contradiction. It is writ large in Hansard, in the
Blue-books, and in the daily journals. The whole force of this strange
and unnatural alliance between England's most bitter and most skilful
enemies in South Africa and a section of her own sons at home, was
directed against Lord Milner during the remaining years of his High

[Sidenote: Mr Schreiners's attitude.]

For the moment, however, the ultimatum had rendered the British people
practically unanimous in the desire to chastise the insolence of the
Boer, and, in the face of this determination, no opposition was
manifested by the Afrikander Government to the free movement and
disembarkation of the Imperial troops. The employment of the local
forces in the defence of the colony was another matter. The Free State
commandos crossed the Orange River on October 31st, 1899. The delay
was not due to any regard felt by President Steyn for Mr. Schreiner,
but solely to military considerations. On the previous day General
Joubert had shut up Sir George White's force in Ladysmith; and there
was, therefore, no longer any likelihood that these commandos would be
required in Natal. The invasion of the Colony south of the Orange
River produced, as we have noticed, a marked change in Mr. Schreiner's
attitude; causing him finally to abandon the neutrality policy and
recognise the necessity of employing the local volunteer forces in the
defence of the Colony. None the less the injury inflicted upon British
interests by the Prime Minister's attempt to keep the people of the
Cape Colony out of the conflict was unquestionable. The ministers of
the Crown in this British Colony had allowed arms and ammunition to go
through to the Free State, until the Imperial authorities had
interfered; they had refused to supply Mafeking and Kimberley with
much-needed artillery; they had refused to call out the volunteers
until the Colony was about to be invaded by the Free State as well as
by the Transvaal, and even then they had delayed to supply these
forces with Lee-Enfield rifles. These were injuries the effect of
which could not be repaired by any subsequent co-operation with the
representatives of the British Government. In addition to calling out
the volunteers, Mr. Schreiner allowed the Imperial military
authorities to take over the Cape Government railways, and he
consented to the proclamation of martial law in those districts of the
Colony in which the Dutch were in rebellion. But he was far from
yielding, even now, that full and complete assistance to the Governor
which would have been expected, as a matter of course, from the Prime
Minister of any other British colony. On one occasion, at least,
during this period the conflict between his views and those of Lord
Milner became so acute that his resignation seemed to be inevitable.
But this was not to be the end of the Afrikander Ministry. In
proportion as Mr. Schreiner approached gradually to agreement with
Lord Milner, so did he incur the displeasure of Mr. Hofmeyr and the
Dutch, until (in June, 1901) the Ministry perished of internal

A week after Lord Roberts reached Capetown (January 10th, 1900), Lord
Milner sent home a despatch in which he tells the story of the
rebellion in the Cape Colony. The state of the districts on the
western border of the Republics, north of the Orange River, is
described in the words of a reliable and unbiassed witness who has
just arrived at Capetown from Vryburg, where he has been lately

     "All the farmers in the Vryburg, Kuruman, and Taungs districts,"
     says this witness, "have joined the Boers, and I do not believe
     that you will find ten loyal British subjects among the Dutch
     community in the whole of Bechuanaland. The Field Cornets and
     Justices of the Peace on the Dutch side have all joined ... the
     conduct of the rebels has been unbearable."

Of the position of that part of the Eastern Province of the Cape
Colony which, lying to the south of the Free State, formed the main
seat of the rebellion, Lord Milner himself writes:

[Sidenote: Treatment of loyalists.]

     "Within a space of less than three weeks from the occupation of
     Colesberg, no less than five great districts--those of Colesberg,
     Albert, Aliwal North, Barkly East, and Wodehouse--had gone over
     without hesitation, and, so to speak, bodily, to the enemy.
     Throughout that region the Landdrosts of the Orange Free State
     had established their authority, and everywhere, in the
     expressive words of a magistrate, British loyalists were "being
     hunted out of town after town like sheep." In the invaded
     districts the method of occupation has always been more or less
     the same. The procedure is as follows:--A commando enters, the
     Orange Free State flag is hoisted, a meeting is held in the
     courthouse, or market-place, and a Proclamation is read annexing
     the district. The Commandant then makes a speech, in which he
     explains that the people must now obey the Free State laws
     generally, though they are at present under martial law. A local
     Landdrost is appointed, and loyal subjects are given a few days
     or hours in which to quit, or be compelled to serve against their
     country. In either case they lose their property to a greater or
     less extent. If they elect to quit they are often robbed before
     starting or on the journey; if they stay their property and
     themselves are commandeered.

     "The number of rebels who have actually taken up arms and joined
     the enemy during their progress throughout the five annexed
     districts can for the present only be matter of conjecture. I
     shall, however, be on the safe side in reckoning that during
     November it was a number not less than the total of the invading
     commandos, that is, 2,000, while it is probable that of the
     invading commandos themselves a certain proportion were colonists
     who had crossed the border before the invasion took place. And
     the number, whatever it was, which joined the enemy before and
     during November has been increased since. A well-informed refugee
     from the Albert district has estimated the total number of
     colonial Boers who have joined the enemy in the invaded
     districts south of the Orange River at 3,000 to 4,000. In the
     districts north of that river, to which I referred at the
     beginning of this despatch, the number can hardly be less. Adding
     to these the men who became burghers of the Transvaal immediately
     before, or just after, the outbreak of war, with the view of
     taking up arms in the struggle, I am forced to the conclusion
     that, in round figures, not less than 10,000 of those now
     fighting against us in South Africa, and probably somewhat more,
     either are, or till quite recently were, subjects of the

         [Footnote 202: Cd. 264 (Despatch of January 16th, 1900).]

As it turned out, this eastern rebellion was kept within limits by
General French's advance upon Colesberg, and by the skilful and
successful cavalry operations which he subsequently carried out upon
the Free State border; but there is abundant evidence to support the
belief that any second reverse in the Eastern Province, such as that
which General Gatacre suffered at Stormberg, would have proved the
signal for a rising in the Western Province. The Bond was active; and
the tone of the meetings held by the various branches throughout the
Colony was as frankly hostile to the Imperial Government as it was
sympathetic to the Republics.

[Sidenote: State of western province.]

The extent to which Mr. Schreiner's qualified co-operation with the
Imperial authorities had aroused the hostility of the Bond will be
seen from the minutes of the proceedings of the meeting of the Cape
Distriks-bestuur, held at the office of _Ons Land_ at the end of
January (1900). It was a small meeting, but among those present were
Mr. Hofmeyr himself and Mr. Malan, the editor of _Ons Land_. On the
motion of the latter, it was unanimously determined that the
forthcoming Annual Congress of the Bond should be asked to pass a--

     "resolution (_a_) giving expression of Congress's entire
     disapproval of the policy which led to the present bloody war
     instead of to a peaceful solution of the differences with the
     South African Republic by means of arbitration; and (_b_) urging
     a speedy re-establishment of peace on fair and righteous
     conditions, as also a thorough inquiry by our Parliament into the
     way in which, during the war, private property, the civil
     liberties, and constitutional rights of the subject have been

         [Footnote 203: Cd. 261.]

Even more significant--as evidence of the dangerous feeling of
exaltation which possessed the Dutch at this time--was the New Year's
exhortation of _Ons Land_, the journalistic mouthpiece of Mr. Hofmeyr.
And Mr. Hofmeyr, it must be remembered, was not only the head of the
_Commissie van Toezicht_, or Executive of three which controlled the
Afrikander Bond, but the real master of the majority in the Cape
Parliament, upon which the Schreiner Cabinet depended for its
existence. After setting out the "mighty deeds" achieved by the
Afrikander arms during the last three months, this bitter and
relentless opponent of British supremacy in South Africa proceeded to
declare that "still mightier deeds" were to be seen in the coming year
(1900), and that the Afrikander nation, so far from being extinguished
by the conflict with Great Britain, would be welded into one compact
mass, and flourish more and more.

Nor was this all. In the closing days of the year (1899) information
reached the British military authorities that a plot was on foot to
seize Capetown. The Dutch from the country districts were to assemble
in the capital in the guise of excursionists who had come to town to
enjoy the Christmas and New Year holidays. On New Year's Eve, the
night reported to have been fixed for the attempt, all the military
stations in Capetown were kept in frequent communication by telephone;
the streets were paraded by pickets; and, in the drill-shed the
Capetown Highlanders slept under arms. Whether any attempt of the sort
was seriously contemplated or not, there is no question as to the fact
that the utmost necessity for precaution was recognised by the
military authorities at Capetown during this period, in spite of the
security afforded by the reinforcements which the Home Government was
pouring into the Colony. It was an old boast of the militant Dutch in
the Cape Colony that they would find a way to prevent British troops
from using the colonial railways to attack the Boers.[204] And when
at length, a month after Lord Roberts had arrived, the transport
system had been reorganised, the troops concentrated at De Aar and
Modder River, and everything was ready for the forward movement, the
most complete secrecy was observed as to the departure of the
Commander-in-Chief and Lord Kitchener. Instead of leaving for the
front with the final drafts from the Capetown station in Adderley
Street, amid the cheering of the British population, these two
distinguished soldiers were driven in a close carriage, on the evening
of February 6th, from Government House to the Salt River Station,
where they caught the ordinary passenger train for De Aar.

         [Footnote 204: At the time of the Bechuanaland Expedition
         (1884-5), when the writer was in South Africa, "a controversy
         was seriously maintained between the two moderate Afrikander
         journals, the _Sud Africaan_ and the _Volksblad_, on the
         question whether the Imperial Government had, or had not, the
         right to send troops through the Colony, without the consent
         of the Colonial Ministry. In commenting upon this question a
         correspondent wrote in the _Patriot_, the extreme organ of
         the Afrikanders: 'I believe the _Volksblad_ is correct in
         maintaining that England has that right. But if England has
         the right to send _Rooibaatjes_ (_i.e._ British soldiers) to
         kill my brethren in the Transvaal, then I have also the right
         to try and prevent the same. My brother is nearer than
         England. England can send troops, but whether they will all
         arrive safely in Stellaland--that stands to be seen.'"--_A
         History of South Africa_, by the writer. (Dent, 1900.)]

[Sidenote: Lord Robert's advance.]

No one was more aware of the reality of the Dutch disaffection in the
Colony than Lord Milner. Before Lord Roberts left Capetown for the
front he addressed a memorandum to him, in which the attention of the
Commander-in-Chief was drawn to certain special elements of danger in
the whole situation in South Africa as affected by the rebellion of
the Dutch in the Cape Colony. With reference to this memorandum Lord
Roberts writes, in the second of his despatches (February 16th, 1900):

     "Before quitting the seat of Government I received a memorandum
     from the High Commissioner, in which Sir Alfred Milner reviewed
     the political and military situation, and laid stress on the
     possibility of a general rising among the disaffected Dutch
     population, should the Cape Colony be denuded of troops for the
     purpose of carrying on offensive operations in the Orange Free
     State. In reply I expressed the opinion that the military
     requirements of the case demanded an early advance into the
     enemy's country; that such an advance, if successful, would
     lessen the hostile pressure both on the northern frontiers of the
     Colony and in Natal; that the relief of Kimberley had to be
     effected before the end of February, and would set free most of
     the troops encamped on the Modder River, and that the arrival of
     considerable reinforcements from home, especially of Field
     Artillery, by the 19th of February, would enable those points
     along the frontier which were weakly held to be materially
     strengthened. I trusted, therefore, that His Excellency's
     apprehensions would prove groundless. No doubt a certain amount
     of risk had to be run, but protracted inaction seemed to me to
     involve more serious dangers than the bolder course which I have
     decided to adopt."

[Sidenote: Lord Milner's proposal.]

There cannot, of course, be any question as to the general wisdom of
this decision. Both in this case, and again in deciding to advance
from Bloemfontein upon Johannesburg and Pretoria, it was just by
taking his risks--risks that would have reduced a lesser man to
inaction--that Lord Roberts displayed the distinguishing quality of a
great captain of war. In both cases the best defence was to attack.
But as Lord Roberts, in this brief reference, does not indicate the
real point of the High Commissioner's representations, it is necessary
to state with some precision what it was that Lord Milner had actually
in his mind. The last thing which occurred to him was to advocate any
course that could weaken our offensive action. But the peculiarity of
the South African political situation, which enabled even a defeated
enemy, by detaching a very small force, to raise a new war in our
rear, in what was nominally our country, and thus to hamper, and
possibly altogether arrest, the forward movement, was constantly
present to his thought. The proposal which Lord Milner desired Lord
Roberts to adopt was that a certain minimum of mobile troops should be
definitely set aside for the defence of the Colony, and kept there,
whatever happened; since, in Lord Milner's opinion, it was only in
this way that a real and effective form of defence could be made
possible, and the number of men locked up in the passive defence of
the railway lines greatly reduced. If this suggestion had been carried
out, as Lord Milner intended, there would have been no second
rebellion. What prevented Lord Roberts from adopting the High
Commissioner's suggestion was the numerical insufficiency of the
troops at his disposal. In order to carry the war into the enemy's
country, he had practically to denude the Cape Colony of troops. The
subsequent course of the war will reveal the direct and disastrous
influence which the situation in the Cape Colony was destined to
exercise upon the military decisions of the republican leaders--an
influence which would have been lessened materially, if not altogether
removed, by the creation of this permanent and mobile force. And, in
point of fact, Lord Milner's apprehension that the rebellion might
even now interfere with the success of the forward movement, unless
adequate provision was made to keep it in check, received almost
immediate confirmation. While Lord Roberts was engaged in the capture
of Cronje's force at Paardeberg, the north-midland districts of
Prieska, Britstown, and Carnarvon, lying to the west of the railway
from De Aar to Orange River, broke out into rebellion. Although Lord
Roberts at once directed certain columns to concentrate upon this new
area of disaffection, the situation had become so serious that on
March 8th--_i.e._, the day after Poplar Grove, and in the course of
the rapid march upon Bloemfontein--Lord Roberts--

     "desired Major-General Lord Kitchener to proceed to De Aar with
     the object of collecting reinforcements, and of taking such steps
     as might be necessary to punish the rebels and to prevent the
     spread of disaffection."[205]

         [Footnote 205: Despatch dated "Government House,
         Bloemfontein, March 15th, 1900."]

That is to say, the disclosure of a new centre of active rebellion in
the Colony deprived the Commander-in-Chief of the services of Lord
Kitchener, his Chief-of-Staff, when he was in the act of executing one
of the most critical movements of the campaign.

[Sidenote: The Boer peace overtures.]

The complete revolution in the military situation produced by Lord
Roberts's victorious advance into the Free State elicited from
Presidents Krüger and Steyn the "peace overtures" cabled to Lord
Salisbury on March 5th, 1900. In this characteristic document the two
Presidents remark that--

     "they consider it [their] duty solemnly to declare that this war
     was undertaken solely as a defensive measure to safeguard the
     threatened independence of the South African Republic, and is
     only continued in order to secure and safeguard the incontestable
     independence of both Republics as sovereign international states,
     and to obtain the assurance that those of Her Majesty's subjects
     who have taken part with [them] in this war shall suffer no harm
     whatever in person or property."

They further declare that "on these conditions, but on these
conditions alone," they are now, as in the past, desirous of seeing
peace re-established in South Africa; and they add considerately that
they have refrained from making this declaration "so long as the
advantage was always on their side," from a fear lest it "might hurt
the feelings of honour of the British people." They conclude:

     "But now that the prestige of the British Empire may be
     considered to be assured by the capture of one of our forces by
     Her Majesty's troops, and that we are thereby forced to evacuate
     other positions which our forces had occupied, that difficulty is
     over, and we can no longer hesitate clearly to inform your
     Government and people, in the sight of the whole civilised world,
     why we are fighting, and on what conditions we are ready to
     restore peace."[206]

         [Footnote 206: Cd. 35.]

The best comment upon this grossly disingenuous document is that which
is afforded by certain passages in Mr. Reitz's book, _A Century of
Wrong_, which was written in anticipation of the outbreak of war and
issued so soon as this anticipation had been realised:

     "The struggle of now nearly a century," he writes in his appeal
     to his brother Afrikanders, "hastens to an end; we are
     approaching the last act in that great drama which is so
     momentous for all South Africa.... The questions which present
     themselves for solution in the approaching conflict have their
     origin deep in the history of the past.... By its light we are
     more clearly enabled to comprehend the truth to which our people
     appeal as a final justification for embarking on the war now so
     close at hand.... May the hope which glowed in our hearts during
     1880, and which buoyed us up during that struggle, burn on
     steadily! May it prove a beacon of light in our path, invincibly
     moving onwards through blood and through tears, until it leads us
     to a real union of South Africa.... Whether the result be victory
     or death, Liberty will assuredly rise on South Africa ... just as
     freedom dawned over the United States of America a little more
     than a century ago. Then from Zambesi to Simon's Town it will be
     Africa for the Afrikander."[207]

         [Footnote 207: Mr. Reitz's work was translated into English
         by Mr. W. T. Stead.]

And to this may be added the following extract from a letter written
by "one of the distinguished members of the Volksraad" who voted for
war against Great Britain, to one of his friends, a member of the
Legislative Assembly of the Cape Colony:

     "Our plan is, with God's help, to take all that is English in
     South Africa; so, in case you true Afrikanders wish to throw off
     the English yoke, now is the time to hoist the Vier-kleur in
     Capetown. You can rely on us; we will push through from sea to
     sea, and wave one flag over the whole of South Africa, under one
     Afrikander Government, if we can reckon on our Afrikander

         [Footnote 208: Cd. 109.]

[Sidenote: The British reply.]

Lord Salisbury's reply, sent from the Foreign Office on March 11th, is
as follows:

     "I have the honour to acknowledge Your Honours' telegram dated
     the 5th of March, from Bloemfontein, of which the purport is
     principally to demand that Her Majesty's Government shall
     recognise the 'incontestable independence' of the South African
     Republic and Orange Free State 'as sovereign international
     states,' and to offer, on those terms, to bring the war to a

     "In the beginning of October last peace existed between Her
     Majesty and the two Republics under the Conventions which then
     were in existence. A discussion had been proceeding for some
     months between Her Majesty's Government and the South African
     Republic, of which the object was to obtain redress for certain
     very serious grievances under which British residents in the
     South African Republic were suffering. In the course of these
     negotiations the South African Republic had, to the knowledge of
     Her Majesty's Government, made considerable armaments, and the
     latter had, consequently, taken steps to provide corresponding
     reinforcements to the British garrisons of Capetown and Natal. No
     infringement of the rights guaranteed by the Conventions had up
     to that point taken place on the British side. Suddenly, at two
     days' notice, the South African Republic, after issuing an
     insulting ultimatum, declared war upon Her Majesty, and the
     Orange Free State, with whom there had not even been any
     discussion, took a similar step. Her Majesty's dominions were
     immediately invaded by the two Republics, siege was laid to three
     towns within the British frontier, a large portion of the two
     colonies was overrun, with great destruction to property and
     life, and the Republics claimed to treat the inhabitants of
     extensive portions of Her Majesty's dominions as if those
     dominions had been annexed to one or other of them. In
     anticipation of these operations, the South African Republic had
     been accumulating for many years past military stores on an
     enormous scale, which by their character could only have been
     intended for use against Great Britain.

     "Your Honours make some observations of a negative character upon
     the object with which these preparations were made. I do not
     think it necessary to discuss the questions you have raised. But
     the result of these preparations, carried on with great secrecy,
     has been that the British Empire has been compelled to confront
     an invasion which has entailed upon the Empire a costly war and
     the loss of thousands of precious lives. This great calamity has
     been the penalty which Great Britain has suffered for having in
     recent years acquiesced in the existence of the two Republics.

     "In view of the use to which the two Republics have put the
     position which was given to them, and the calamities which their
     unprovoked attack has inflicted upon Her Majesty's dominions, Her
     Majesty's Government can only answer your Honours' telegram by
     saying that they are not prepared to assent to the independence
     either of the South African Republic or of the Orange Free

[Sidenote: Conventions to be annulled.]

This reply has been cited at length for two reasons. In the first
place it affords a concise and weighty statement of the British case
against the Republics, and, in the second, it contains a specific and
reasoned declaration of the central decision of the Salisbury Cabinet,
against which the efforts both of the Dutch party in the Cape and of
the friends of the Boers in England continued to be directed, until
the controversy was closed by the surrender of the republican leaders
at Vereeniging. In the Cape Colony the cry of "conciliation" was
raised to cloak the gross appearance of a movement which was, in fact,
a direct co-operation with the enemy. And the same specious word was
adopted in England, so soon as the strain of the war had begun to make
itself felt in the constituencies, as a decent flag under which the
party opponents of the Unionist Government in general could join
forces with the traditional friends of the Boers and other convinced
opponents of Imperial consolidation. The decision of the Salisbury
Cabinet not to restore the system of the Conventions, which was in
fact the decision of the great mass of the British people both at home
and over-sea, was not reversed. It was confirmed in the House of
Commons by 208 votes against 52 on July 25th, 1900, and by the verdict
of the country in the General Election which followed.[209] But the
political agitation by which it was sought to reverse this decision
was none the less injurious alike to the Boer and British peoples,
since it acted as a powerful incentive to the republican leaders to
continued struggle which, except for the illusions created by this
agitation, they would have recognised as hopeless in itself and
unjustified by any prospect of military success. In both cases the
effect of the agitation was the same: the war was unnecessarily
prolonged--intentionally by the Afrikander nationalists, and
unintentionally by Lord (then Mr.) Courtney, Mr. Morley, Mr. Bryce,
and other opponents in England of the annexation of the Republics.

         [Footnote 209: The Unionist party was returned to power with
         a slightly decreased majority--130 as against 150. But this
         loss of seats was counterbalanced by the consideration that
         it is unusual for the same Government to be entrusted with a
         second period of office by a democratic electorate.]

[Sidenote: The 'Conciliation' movement.]

The Presidents had demanded the recognition of the independence of the
Republics and a free pardon for the Cape rebels as the price of peace.
The Afrikander nationalists at once began to co-operate with the
Republics in the endeavour to wrest these terms from the British
Government. Mr. Schreiner, as we have seen, had already incurred Mr.
Hofmeyr's displeasure by allowing the Cape Government to render
assistance to the Imperial authorities in the prosecution of the war.
The breach thus created between the Prime Minister and Sir Richard
(then Mr.) Solomon, on the one hand, and Dr. Te Water, Mr. Merriman,
and Mr. Sauer, who shared the views of the Bond, on the other, was,
rapidly widened by the "conciliation" meetings held throughout the
Colony by the Afrikander nationalists in support of the "peace
overtures" of the Presidents. The British population at the Cape was
quick to realise the insidious and fatal character of the
"conciliation" movement thus inaugurated by the Afrikander
nationalists. The universal alarm and indignation to which it gave
rise among the loyalists of both nationalities found expression in the
impassioned speech which Sir James (then Mr.) Rose Innes delivered at
the Municipal Hall of Claremont[210] on March 30th, 1900. The purpose
of the meeting was to allow the British subjects thus assembled to
record their approval of Lord Salisbury's reply to the Republics, and
their conviction that "the incorporation of these States within the
dominions of the Queen could alone secure peace, prosperity, and
public freedom throughout South Africa." In supporting this
resolution, Sir James Rose Innes said:

         [Footnote 210: A suburb of Capetown.]

     "This question of permanent peace is the key-stone of the whole
     matter, because, I take it, we none of us want to see another war
     of this kind. We do not want to see the misery and the suffering
     and the loss which a war of this kind entails. We do not want to
     see our sandy plains drenched with the best blood of England
     again, fighting against white men in this country. We do not want
     to see the flower of colonial manhood shot down on the plains of
     the Orange Free State and the Karroo, and neither do we want to
     see brave men, born in South Africa, dying in heaps, dying for
     what we know is a hopeless ideal. Therefore we say, 'In Heaven's
     name give us peace! Have a settlement, but make no settlement
     which shall not be calculated, as far as human foresight can
     provide, to secure a permanent peace.'"

These were strong words, and their significance was heightened by the
well-known independence of Sir James Innes's political outlook.

[Sidenote: Lord Milner at Bloemfontein.]

A fortnight later Lord Milner declared his mind on the same question.
Both the occasion and the speech are of special interest. The High
Commissioner had just returned from a fortnight at the front. On March
19th he left Capetown in company with Sir Richard Solomon for the
north-eastern districts of the Colony, which, having rebelled in
November, had just been reduced to order by General Brabant and the
"Colonial Division," when the Free State invaders had been drawn off
by Lord Roberts's advance. After a week in the Colony, Lord Milner
travelled on by rail to Bloemfontein, which he reached on the 27th. It
was a stimulating and suggestive moment. He was now the guest of the
British Commander-in-Chief at the Presidency, where, just ten months
ago, as the guest of President Steyn, he had met Paul Krüger for the
first time. The little Free State capital, then wrapped in its
accustomed quietude, was now filled with the tumultuous presence of a
great army. But, complete as was the revolution accomplished by Lord
Roberts's advance, there were signs that the Boer was dying hard, even
if he were not coming to life again. On the 30th a disquieting
engagement was fought at Karree Siding, and on the 31st de Wet dealt
his second shrewd blow at Sannah's Post.

With this experience of the actualities of war, Lord Milner, leaving
Bloemfontein on April 2nd, had returned to Capetown. On the 12th he
was presented with an appreciative address, signed by all, except one,
of the Nonconformist ministers of religion resident in and around
Capetown, in which personal affection for himself and approval of his
policy were expressed. The action of these men was altogether
exceptional. It was justified by the circumstance that in England Lord
Milner's policy had been subjected to the bitterest criticism in
quarters where Nonconformist influence was predominant. Not only to
Lord Courtney, but to other Liberal friends and associates, the High
Commissioner had become a "lost mind." To the Afrikander nationalists
he was "the enemy"; the efforts which had barely sufficed to keep the
administrative machinery of a British colony at the disposal of the
Imperial Government were represented as the unconstitutional acts of a
tyrannical proconsul; having ruthlessly exposed the aspirations of the
Afrikander nationalists he was now to become the destroyer of the Boer
nation. The personal note in the address was, therefore, both
instructive and welcome, and it elicited a response in which the charm
of a calm and generous nature shines through an unalterable
determination to know and do the right:

     "As regards myself personally, I cannot but feel it is a great
     source of strength at a trying time to be assured of the
     confidence and approval of the men I see before me, and of all
     whom they represent. You refer to my having to encounter
     misrepresentation and antagonism. I do not wish to make too much
     of that. I have no doubt been exposed to much criticism and some
     abuse. There has, I sometimes think, been an exceptional display
     of mendacity at my expense. But this is the fate of every public
     man who is forced by circumstances into a somewhat prominent
     position in a great crisis. And, after all, praise and blame have
     a wonderful way of balancing one another if you only give them

     "I remember when I left England for South Africa three years ago,
     it was amidst a chorus of eulogy so excessive that it made me
     feel thoroughly uncomfortable. To protest would have been
     useless: it would only have looked like affectation. So I just
     placed the surplus praise to my credit, so to speak, as something
     to live on in the days which I surely knew must come sooner or
     later, if I did my duty, when I would meet with undeserved
     censure. And certainly I have had to draw on that account rather
     heavily during the last nine months. But there is still a balance
     on the right side which, thanks to you and others, is now once
     more increasing. So I cannot pose as a martyr, and, what is more
     important, I cannot complain of any want of support. No man,
     placed as I have been in a position of singular embarrassment,
     exposed to bitter attacks to which he could not reply, and unable
     to explain his conduct even to his own friends, has ever had more
     compensation to be thankful for than I have had in the constant,
     devoted, forbearing support and confidence of all those South
     Africans, whether in this Colony, in Natal, or in the Republics,
     whose sympathy is with the British Empire.

[Sidenote: Never again.]

     "In the concluding paragraph of your address you refer in weighty
     and well-considered language to the conditions which you deem
     necessary for the future peace and prosperity of South Africa,
     and for the ultimate harmony and fusion of its white races. I can
     only say that I entirely agree with the views expressed in that
     paragraph. The longer the struggle lasts, the greater the
     sacrifices which it involves, the stronger must surely be the
     determination of all of us to achieve a settlement which will
     render the repetition of this terrible scourge impossible. 'Never
     again,' must be the motto of all thinking, of all humane men. It
     is for that reason, not from any lust of conquest, not from any
     desire to trample on a gallant, if misguided, enemy, that we
     desire that the settlement shall be no patchwork and no
     compromise; that it shall leave no room for misunderstanding, no
     opportunity for intrigue, for the revival of impossible
     ambitions, or the accumulation of enormous armaments. President
     Krüger has said that he wants no more Conventions, and I
     entirely agree with him. A compromise of that sort is unfair to
     everybody. If there is one thing of which, after recent
     experiences, I am absolutely convinced, it is that the vital
     interests of all those who live in South Africa, of our present
     enemies as much as of those who are on our side, demand that
     there should not be two dissimilar and antagonistic political
     systems in that which nature and history have irrevocably decided
     must be one country. To agree to a compromise which would leave
     any ambiguity on that point would not be magnanimity: it would be
     weakness, ingratitude, and cruelty--ingratitude to the heroic
     dead, and cruelty to the unborn generations.

     "But when I say that, do not think that I wish to join in the
     outcry, at present so prevalent, against the fine old virtue of
     magnanimity. I believe in it as much as ever I did, and there is
     plenty of room for it in the South Africa of to-day. We can show
     it by a frank recognition of what is great and admirable in the
     character of our enemies; by not maligning them as a body because
     of the sins of the few, or perhaps even of many, individuals. We
     can show it by not crowing excessively over our victories, and by
     not thinking evil of every one who, for one reason or another, is
     unable to join in our legitimate rejoicings. We can show it by
     striving to take care that our treatment of those who have been
     guilty of rebellion, while characterised by a just severity
     towards the really guilty parties, should be devoid of any spirit
     of vindictiveness, or of race-prejudice. We can show it, above
     all, when this dire struggle is over, by proving by our acts that
     they libelled us who said that we fought for gold or any material
     advantage, and that the rights and privileges which we have
     resolutely claimed for ourselves we are prepared freely to extend
     to others, even to those who have fought against us, whenever
     they are prepared loyally to accept them."[211]

         [Footnote 211: Cd. 261.]

It is the third of three critical utterances of which each is
summarised, as it were, in a single luminous phrase. To the Cape Dutch
he spoke at Graaf Reinet, after their own manner: "Of course you are
loyal!" To England, on the Uitlander's behalf, he wrote: "The case for
intervention is overwhelming." And now he gathered the whole long
lesson of the war into the two words, "never again."

[Sidenote: British policy.]

A month later Mr. Chamberlain, speaking at Birmingham (May 11th), made
a general statement of the nature of the settlement upon which the
British Government had determined. The separate existence of the
Republics, "constantly intriguing as they had done with foreign
nations, constantly promoting agitation and disaffection in our own
colonies," was to be tolerated no longer; but the "individual
liberties" of the Boers were to be preserved. After the war was over a
period of Crown Colony government would be necessary; "but," he added,
"as soon as it is safe and possible it will be the desire and the
intention of Her Majesty's Government to introduce these States into
the great circle of self-governing colonies." In making this
pronouncement Mr. Chamberlain referred in terms of just severity to
the injurious influence which Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman, as the
official leader of the Liberal party, had exercised upon the
diplomatic contest of the preceding year. At the precise period when a
word might have been worth anything to the cause of peace, Sir Henry
Campbell-Bannerman, he said--

     "had again and again declaimed his own opinion that not only was
     war out of the question, but that military preparations of any
     kind were altogether unnecessary. I do not speak of the wisdom
     which dictated such an expression of opinion," Mr. Chamberlain
     continued, "although he repeated that statement three days before
     the ultimatum was delivered, and a week before the invasion of
     Natal took place. I do not speak, therefore, of his foresight.
     But what is to be said of the patriotism of a man who is not a
     single individual but who represents a great party by virtue of
     his position--although he does not represent it by virtue of his
     opinion--what is to be said of such a man who, at such a time,
     should countermine the endeavours for peace of Her Majesty's

And in the same speech Mr. Chamberlain warned his fellow-countrymen
"against the efforts which would be made by the politicians to snatch
from them the fruits of a victory which would be won by their
soldiers; and in particular against the campaign of misrepresentation
which had been commenced already by Mr. Paul, the Stop-the-War
Committee, and the other bodies which were so lavish with what they
were pleased to call their 'accurate information.'"

[Sidenote: Sir H. Campbell-Bannerman.]

Had Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman seen fit to profit by the experience
of the past, the whole of the suffering and loss of the next year and
a half of wanton hostilities, in all human probability, would have
been avoided. But Mr. Chamberlain's rebuke was disregarded. The
senseless and unnatural alliance between the Afrikander nationalists
and the Liberal Opposition was renewed. It is quite true that the
official leader of the Opposition, in speaking at Glasgow on June 7th,
two days after Lord Roberts had occupied Pretoria, declared that, in
respect of the settlement, "one broad principle" must be laid down--

     "the British Imperial power, which has hitherto been supreme in
     effect in South Africa, must in future be supreme in form as well
     as in effect, and this naturally carries with it the point which
     is sometimes put in the foreground, namely, that there must be no
     possibility that any such outbreak of hostilities as we have been
     witnessing shall again occur.... The two conquered States must,
     in some form or under some condition, become States of the
     British Empire."

But when Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman proceeded to inform his audience
how this was to be done, he used expressions which not only robbed his
original statement of all significance as an indication of British
unanimity, but conveyed a direct intimation to the Afrikander
nationalists that their endeavours to frustrate the declared objects
of the Unionist Government would receive the support and encouragement
of the Opposition in England. His words were:

     "We need have no doubt how it is to be done. By applying our
     Liberal principles, the Liberal principles from which the
     strength of the Empire has been derived, and on which it depends.
     Let us apply our Liberal principles, and whether our party be in
     a majority, or in a minority, I think that it is well in our
     power to secure that these principles shall be applied. [The
     General Election was imminent.] Let us restore as early as
     possible, and let us maintain, those rights of self-government
     which give not only life and vigour, but contentment and loyalty
     to every colony which enjoys them...."

"Liberal principles," when applied to a given administrative problem,
as Mr. Chamberlain took occasion to point out (June 19th), meant, for
practical purposes, the opinions which prominent members of the
Liberal party were known to hold upon the matter in question. Lord
(then Mr.) Courtney was for autonomy--"the re-establishment of the
independence of the two Republics." Mr. Bryce advocated "the
establishment of two protected States, which would have a sham
independence of not much advantage to them for any practical or useful
purpose, but very dangerous to us." And then there was Mr. Morley. Now
Mr. Morley, only a week before, at Oxford (June 10th), had condemned
not only the war, but by implication, the rejection of President
Krüger's illusory Franchise Bill.

[Sidenote: Mr. John Morley.]

     "I assert," said Mr. Morley, "that the evils which have resulted
     from the war immeasurably transcend the evils with which it was
     proposed to deal.... I abhor the whole transaction of the war. I
     think in many ways it is an irreparable situation. We have done
     a great wrong--a wrong of which I believe there is scarcely any
     Englishman living who will not bitterly repent."[212]

         [Footnote 212: Mr. Morley has the doubtful merit of
         consistency. As recently as April 27th, 1906, he alluded to
         the South African War as "that delusive and guilty war," in
         an address to the Eighty Club. According to _The Times_
         report this expression was received with cheers.]

With these words fresh in his memory, Mr. Chamberlain continued:

     "Is Mr. Morley a Liberal? I do not know in that case what would
     become of the new territories if his principles were applied. But
     this I do know--that in that case you would have immediately to
     get rid of Sir Alfred Milner, who is the one great official in
     South Africa who has shown from the first a true grasp of the
     situation; and you would have also to get rid of the Colonial
     Secretary, which would not, perhaps, matter."[213]

         [Footnote 213: It may perhaps be objected that some credit
         should have been allowed to Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman in
         view of the fact that a sum of £41,807,400 was voted in
         Committee of Supply in the House of Commons for military
         requirements, practically without discussion, within four and
         a half hours on June 19th, 1900. This objection is answered
         by the words used by the Duke of Devonshire on the same day:
         "I am afraid I must tell Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman that he
         is not likely to receive from us any recognition, either
         effusive or otherwise, of the patriotism of his party. It is
         quite true that, as he took credit to himself and his
         friends, they have not offered any opposition to our demands
         for supplies or to the military measures which it has been
         found necessary for the Government to take; but the reason
         for that prudent abstinence is not very far to seek. Sir
         Henry Campbell-Bannerman and his friends knew very well that
         any factious opposition to the granting of these supplies
         would have brought down upon them the almost unanimous
         condemnation of the whole people; and Sir Henry
         Campbell-Bannerman is much too shrewd and sensible a man to
         risk the danger of committing for his party an act of
         political suicide."--Address to Women's Liberal Unionist

And so in 1900--after the Raid, after the long diplomatic conflict,
after the sudden revelation of the military strength of the
Republics, after the ambitions of the Afrikander nationalists had been
unmasked, and after the Dutch subjects of the Queen had risen in
arms--the Liberal friends of the South African Dutch set themselves to
do again what they had done in 1880. Just as then President Krüger
wrote,[214] on behalf of himself and his Afrikander allies, to Lord
(then Mr.) Courtney: "The fall of Sir Bartle Frere ... will be
useful.... We have done our duty, and used all legitimate influence to
cause the [Federation] proposals to fail"; so now these Boer
sympathisers prepared to work hand in hand with the Afrikander
nationalists in their endeavour to secure the "fall" of Lord Milner,
and to cause the Annexation proposals to "fail." Happily the analogy
ends here. Upon the "anvil" of Lord Milner the "hammers" of the
enemies of the Empire were worn out--_Tritantur mallei, remanet

         [Footnote 214: June 26th, 1880, C. 2,655.]



The correspondence forwarded to the Colonial Office during the first
half of the year 1900 by Lord Milner, and presented to the House of
Commons in time for the Settlement debate of July 25th, furnishes a
complete record of the origin of the "conciliation" movement. The whole
of this interesting and significant collection of documents is worthy of
attention; but all that can be done here is to direct the notice of the
reader to one or two of its more salient features--features which
illustrate the extraordinary condition of the Cape Colony, and explain
how the disaffection of the Dutch subjects of the Crown was to be first
aggravated, and then used as a means of saving the independence of the
Republics. The position taken up by the Bond at the end of January
(1900) in view of Mr. Schreiner's gradual conversion to the side of the
Imperial Government, is sufficiently indicated in the resolution
prepared for submission to the annual Congress, to which reference has
been already[215] made. It was, in effect, a condemnation not only of
the British Government, but of the Cape Government also, in so far as it
had co-operated with the Imperial authorities, and a determination to
prevent the war from being carried to a logical and successful
conclusion by the incorporation of the Boer Republics into the system of
British South Africa. The annual Congress, at which these opinions were
to be affirmed, was announced to be held at Somerset East, on March 8th.
Lord Milner, however, represented to Mr. Schreiner that it was very
undesirable that such a demonstration should take place; and, through
Mr. Schreiner's influence, the Congress was postponed. But the Prime
Minister, in undertaking to use his influence with the Bond to prevent a
denunciation of the policy of the Imperial Government at so critical a
period, expressed the hope that the loyalists on their side would
refrain from any public demonstration of an opposite character.

         [Footnote 215: See p. 349.]

This abstinence from agitation, which was obviously desirable in the
public interests at a time of intense political excitement, by no
means suited the leaders of the Bond. _Ons Land_, in commenting upon
the postponement of the Congress, incidentally reveals the real
consideration which made it worth while for the Bond to promote an
agitation of this kind. The Bond organ regrets that the Congress has
been postponed. And why?

     "It is said that the [South African] League would have held a
     Congress had the Bond Congress been held. We have nothing to do
     with what the League does or does not do; as a matter of fact,
     its opinion has already been published in the Imperial
     Blue-books. We were of opinion that it would have been the duty
     of the Afrikander party to express itself at the Congress in
     unmistakable terms, and resolutely, in order thereby to maintain
     its true position and strengthen the hands of its friends in
     England who have courageously and with self-sacrifice striven for
     the good and just cause."[216]

         [Footnote 216: Cd. 261.]

This, then, was the real object of the agitation--to "strengthen the
hands of the friends of the Afrikander party in England." The writer
of this article suggests, however, that there is still a prospect that
the "good cause" may be promoted, after all, in the way which he

[Sidenote: Origin of the movement.]

This prospect was speedily realised. With characteristic astuteness,
the Bond leaders discovered a method by which their object could be
achieved without exposing themselves to the reproach of "stirring up
strife." The meetings were to be held, not as Bond meetings, but as
"conciliation" meetings. The manner in which the machinery of the
conciliation movement was originally set in motion will appear from
the following telegram, which President Krüger sent to President
Steyn, on January 20th--that is, a little more than a month before the
Bond Congress was postponed:

     "A certain E. T. Hargrove, an English journalist, about whom Dr.
     Leyds formerly wrote that he had done much in Holland to work up
     the peace memorial to Queen Victoria, has come here, as he says,
     from Sauer and Merriman, who are ready to range themselves openly
     on our side, to make propaganda in the Cape Colony, provided an
     official declaration is given that the Republics only desire to
     secure complete independence. He wished that I should write a
     letter to Queen Victoria, but this I refused, and thought it
     desirable that I should write a letter to him personally, in
     which an answer is given to his question. He thinks that a great
     propaganda can be made in the Cape Colony, whereby influence can
     be brought to bear again on the English people and the world. I
     myself do not expect much result, but think that a letter can do
     good, and should be glad to have your opinion and observations as
     soon as possible."[217]

         [Footnote 217: Cd. 261.]

This telegram, one of the many documents found at Bloemfontein upon
its occupation by Lord Roberts, is supplemented by the further facts
disclosed by the investigations of the Concessions Commission, that a
sum of £1,000 was advanced to Mr. Hargrove by the manager of the
Netherlands Railway on February 3rd, 1900, and that this loan, paid in
specie, was "debited to the account 'Political Situation,' to be
hereafter arranged with the Government." The purposes for which Mr.
Hargrove secured this large sum are stated in the following question
and answer:

[Sidenote: Mr. Hargrove's £1,000.]

     Q. 591. "Did he ask for money to carry out this object [_i.e._ to
     stop the war on the assurance that the Boers wanted nothing more
     than their independence]?"

     MR. J. VAN KRETSCHMAR, General Manager of the Netherlands South
     African Railway Company: "Yes; he said he had travelling expenses
     to defray, a lot of publications to issue, and books to be
     written, and he asked for money for these purposes."[218]

         [Footnote 218: Cd. 624. The memorandum also noted that the
         £1,000 was "paid at request of F. W. Reitz" (the State
         Secretary). In the Concessions Commission the following
         letter is published:

                         "GOVERNMENT OFFICES, PRETORIA.
                              _7 April, 1899._


         HON'D. SIR,--With reference to a letter of his Excellency the
         Ambassador, dated 23 March last, with reference to Mr.
         Statham and the latter's request for an assistance of £300
         for furniture and such like, I have the honour to inform you
         confidentially that the Executive Council has resolved to
         grant this gentleman Statham an amount of £150. As, according
         to previous agreement, a yearly allowance is paid to Mr.
         Statham by your Company, I have the honour to request you
         kindly to pay out to the said Mr. Statham the sum granted
         him. His Excellency the Ambassador is likewise being informed
         of this decision of the Executive Council.--I have, etc.,

                                   J. W. REITZ, _State Secretary_."
         (Q. 608.)

         Mr. Statham is understood to have been a frequent contributor
         to those Liberal journals which sympathised with the Boer
         cause. His allowance, however, had ceased before the war
         broke out.]

Three months later President Krüger's telegram was laid before the two
ministers whose names it contained by Mr. Schreiner, at Lord Milner's
request, in order that they might have an opportunity of "repudiating
or explaining the allegations affecting themselves which it
contained." Both Mr. Merriman and Mr. Sauer denied that Mr. Hargrove
had received any authority from them to use their names "in the manner
which he appeared to have done." And on April 19th Mr. Merriman
himself wrote to Mr. Hargrove to ask for an explanation. To this
letter Mr. Hargrove replied immediately:

     "This is not an answer to your note of this date, but is to ask
     you to allow me to show your note to a friend of yours and of
     mine. As it is marked 'private' I cannot do this until I hear
     from you. Would you be so good as to send word by the driver of
     the cab which waits?..."

In a second letter, written on the same day (April 19th), and
presumably after he had consulted the mutual friend in question, Mr.
Hargrove wrote:

     "Knowing as you do that I never told you of my proposed trip to
     Pretoria, that I never talked the matter over with you in any
     shape or form, you may be sure that when I got there I did not
     speak or make promises in your behalf. But I did mention your
     name in this way: I told President Krüger of a conversation I had
     had with Mr. Sauer, in which I had asked him what his attitude
     would be in the event of the Republics offering to withdraw their
     forces from colonial territory on the condition that their
     independence would be recognised. Mr. Sauer's reply was that, in
     those circumstances he would, in his personal capacity, most
     certainly urge the acceptance of that offer, and that, although
     he could speak for himself only, he thought it probable you would
     do the same."

Mr. Hargrove adds that the "misconception" embodied in President
Krüger's telegram is due to the circumstance that it was probably
"dictated in a hurry, amidst a rush of other business," and contained
a "hasty and more or less careless account" of a "long talk"
translated to the President by Mr. Reitz from English into Dutch.

Mr. Hargrove at the same time forwarded a copy of this letter to Mr.
Sauer. With this latter minister of the Crown he enjoyed a more
intimate acquaintance, since, as Lord Milner points out,[219] he had
been Mr. Sauer's travelling companion during this latter's
"well-meant, but unsuccessful, journey to Wodehouse, which was
immediately followed by the rebellion of that district."

         [Footnote 219: In his covering despatch, Cd. 261, p. 126. For
         the circumstances of Mr. Sauer's visit to Dordrecht on the
         occasion mentioned see note, p. 287.]

[Sidenote: The Graaf Reinet congress.]

This, then, was the character of the man who travelled throughout the
Colony, addressing meetings of the Dutch population, in order that
"the hands of the friends of the Afrikander party in England might be
strengthened." At the People's Congress, held at Graaf Reinet (May
30th) he rose to his full stature. "The worst foes of the British
Empire," he said,[220] "were not the Boers, but those who had set up
the howl for annexation." And he concluded by urging his audience to
renew their hopes, for he believed that "if they did everything in
their power to show what was right they would win in the end." On the
following day Mr. Hargrove was asked, in the name of the Congress, to
continue his agitation in England. The Congress, however, did not
propose to rely exclusively upon Mr. Hargrove's efforts. It resolved
to send a deputation of Cape colonists "to tell the simple truth as
they know it" to the people of Great Britain and Ireland.

         [Footnote 220: As reported in _The Cape Times_, Cd. 261.]

There is one other fact which is disclosed by this official
correspondence from the High Commissioner to the Secretary of State
which cannot be overlooked. Mr. Merriman and Mr. Sauer both repudiated
absolutely President Krüger's statement that Mr. Hargrove "had come
here [_i.e._ to Pretoria], as he says, from Sauer and Merriman." In
view of this repudiation, it is somewhat startling to find that the
letters covering the minutes of the conciliation meetings, forwarded
to Lord Milner from time to time with the request that they may be
sent on to the Colonial Office, bear the signature of Mr. Albert
Cartwright, as honorary secretary of the Conciliation Committee of
South Africa. Mr. Albert Cartwright was editor of _The South African
News_--that is to say, of the journal which, as we have noticed
before, served as the medium for the expression of the political views
of Mr. Merriman and Mr. Sauer. At the period in question _The South
African News_ rendered itself notorious by circulating the absurd, but
none the less injurious, report that General Buller and his army had
surrendered to the Boers in Natal and agreed to return to England on
parole; by publishing stories of imaginary Boer victories; by
eulogising Mr. Hargrove, whose acceptance of the £1,000 from the
Netherlands Railway it definitely denied; and by its persistent and
vehement denunciations of Lord Milner. At a later period Mr.
Cartwright was convicted of a defamatory libel on Lord Kitchener, and
condemned to a term of imprisonment.[221]

         [Footnote 221: See p. 477.]

[Sidenote: Mischievous effects.]

The situation thus brought about is described by Lord Milner in a
passage in the despatch[222] which covers the transmission of the
newspaper report of the People's Congress at Graaf Reinet. After
stating that in return for Mr. Schreiner's efforts to secure the
postponement of the Bond Congress, he had himself persuaded the
leaders of the Progressive party to abstain from any public
demonstration of their opinions, he writes:

         [Footnote 222: Cd. 261, despatch of June 6th, 1900.]

     "There was a truce of God on both sides. Then came the
     'conciliation' movement, and the country was stirred from end to
     end by a series of meetings much more violent and mischievous
     than the regular Bond Congress would have been, though, of
     course, on the same lines. The truce being thus broken, it would
     have been useless--and, as a matter of fact, I did not
     attempt--to restrain an expression of opinion on the other side.
     Hence the long series of meetings held in British centres to
     pronounce in favour of the annexation of both Republics, and to
     give cordial support to the policy of Her Majesty's Government
     and myself personally. On the whole, the utterances at these
     meetings have been marked by a moderation totally absent in the
     tone of the conciliators. But no doubt a certain number of
     violent things have been said, and a certain amount of
     unnecessary heat generated. I do not think, however, that those
     [the loyalists] who have held these meetings, under extraordinary
     provocation, are greatly to blame if this has occasionally been
     the case."

That the "conciliation" movement exercised a most injurious influence
in a colony of which a considerable area was in rebellion or under
martial law, and where the majority of the inhabitants were in
sympathy with the enemy is obvious. But from the point of view of the
Afrikander nationalists it was an intelligible and effective method of
promoting the objects which they had in view. What is amazing is the
part which was played in it by Englishmen, and the confident manner in
which the promoters of the movement relied upon the political
co-operation of the friends of the Boers in the ranks of the Liberal
party in England. Every Afrikander who attended these meetings knew
that he was doing his best to arouse hatred against the Englishman and
sympathy for the Boer. The nature of the resolutions to which he gave
his adherence left him in no doubt on this point.

     "The war," said Mr. A. B. de Villiers, at the People's Congress,
     "was the most unrighteous war that was ever pursued. The simple
     aim was to seize the Republics. If that was persisted in,
     Afrikanders would not rest.... Britain would efface the Republics
     and make the people slaves. Race hatred would then be prolonged
     from generation to generation."

To publish abroad such opinions as these was obviously to invite
rebellion in the Cape Colony, to encourage the resistance of the
Boers, and to embarrass the British authorities, both civil and
military, throughout South Africa. This was precisely what the
Afrikander nationalist desired to do. But what is to be thought of the
Englishmen who, both in the Cape Colony and in England, took part in
this "conciliation" movement? Surely they did not desire these same
results. Were they, then, the comrades or the dupes of the Afrikander
nationalists? This is a question upon which the individual reader may
be left to form his own judgment.

[Sidenote: Comrades or dupes.]

This much, at least, is certain. What gave the Afrikander nationalists
the power to bring about the second invasion of the Cape Colony, and
to inflict a year and a half of guerilla warfare upon South Africa,
was the co-operation of these Englishmen--whether comrades or
dupes--who opposed the annexation of the Republics. The intense
sympathy felt by the Afrikanders for their defeated kinsmen was
natural; but the means by which it was enflamed were artificial. Lord
Milner himself, with his accustomed serenity of judgment, refused to
take a "gloomy view" of the question of racial relations in the
Colony, still less in South Africa as a whole.

     "If it is true," he wrote on June 6th, "as the 'conciliators' are
     never tired of threatening us, that race hatred will be eternal,
     why should they make such furious efforts to keep it up at the
     present moment? The very vehemence of their declarations that the
     Afrikanders will never forgive, nor forget, nor acquiesce, seems
     to me to indicate a considerable and well-justified anxiety on
     their part lest these terrible things should, after all, happen."

But while the Cape Colony was in the throes of this agitation, British
soldiers were gallantly fighting their way to Johannesburg and
Pretoria. During the six weeks of Lord Roberts's "prolonged and
enforced halt" at Bloemfontein (March 13th--May 1st), and
subsequently, while the Army was advancing upon the Transvaal,
considerable progress was made in the work of clearing the Colony of
the republican invaders and re-establishing British authority in the
districts in which the Dutch had risen in rebellion. In the course of
these operations a large number of rebels had fallen into the hands of
the Imperial military authorities, and it was the question of the
treatment of these colonial rebels that was destined to bring Mr.
Schreiner into direct conflict with those of his ministers who still
held the opinions of the Bond.

[Sidenote: The punishment of rebels.]

In the middle of April Lord Milner had received from Mr. Chamberlain a
despatch containing a preliminary statement of the opinion of the Home
Government upon the two questions of the compensation of loyalists and
the punishment of rebels, and on April 14th he requested his ministers
to give formal expression to their views upon the subjects to which
Mr. Chamberlain had drawn his attention. A fortnight later Lord Milner
reported to the Home Government the conclusions at which Mr. Schreiner
and his fellow-ministers had arrived. Trial by jury for persons
indicted for high treason must be abandoned, since it would be
impossible for the Crown to obtain the necessary convictions, and a
special tribunal must be established by statute. As regards the nature
of the punishment to be inflicted upon the rebels, Mr. Schreiner

     "Ministers submit that the ends of justice would be served by the
     selection of a certain limited number of the principal offenders,
     whose trials would mark the magnitude of their offence and whose
     punishment, if found guilty, would act as a deterrent. For the
     remainder, ministers believe that the interests both of sound
     policy and of public morality would be served if Her Gracious
     Majesty were moved to issue, as an act of grace, a Proclamation
     of amnesty under which, upon giving proper security for their
     good behaviour, all persons chargeable with high treason, except
     those held for trial, might be enlarged and allowed to return to
     their avocations."[223]

         [Footnote 223: Cd. 264.]

The substance of the Ministers' Minutes containing these conclusions,
and the arguments by which they were supported--notably an appeal to
the "Canadian precedent"--were telegraphed to the Home Government, and
on May 4th Mr. Chamberlain replied, also by telegram. While the
people of Great Britain were animated by no vindictive feeling against
"those who had been or were in arms against Her Majesty's forces,
whether enemies or rebels"--did, in fact, desire that all racial
animosity should disappear in South Africa at the earliest possible
moment after the war was over--the "sentiments of both sides" must be
taken into consideration. The consequences which would ensue from "the
rankling sense of injustice" that would arise if the rebels were
actually placed in a better position after the struggle was over than
those who had risked life and property in the determination to remain
"loyal to their Queen and flag," would be no less serious than the bad
results to be anticipated from any display of a revengeful policy on
the part of the loyalists. He continued:

     "Clemency to rebels is a policy which has the hearty sympathy of
     Her Majesty's Government, but justice to loyalists is an
     obligation of duty and honour. The question is, how can these two
     policies be harmonised? It is clear that, in the interest of
     future peace, it is necessary to show that rebellion cannot be
     indulged in with impunity, and above all that, if unsuccessful,
     it is not a profitable business for the rebel. Otherwise the
     State would be offering a premium to rebellion. The present
     moment, therefore, while the war is still proceeding, and while
     efforts may still be made to tempt British subjects into
     rebellious courses, is in any case not appropriate for announcing
     that such action may be indulged in with absolute impunity. And
     if, as has been suggested, a great many of the Queen's rebellious
     subjects are the mere tools of those who have deceived them, it
     is important that these should be made aware individually that,
     whatever their leaders may tell them, rebellion is a punishable

[Sidenote: Clemency and justice.]

     "Up to this time very lenient treatment has been meted out to
     rebels. Although, according to the law of the Cape Colony, and
     under martial law, the punishment of death might have been
     inflicted, in no case has any rebel suffered the capital penalty,
     and the vast majority have been permitted for the present to
     return to their homes and to resume their occupations. There are
     many degrees in the crime of rebellion. Her Majesty's Government
     desire that in any case means shall be found for dealing
     effectually with: (1) The ringleaders and promoters; (2) those
     who have committed outrages or looted the property of their loyal
     fellow-subjects; (3) those who have committed acts contrary to
     the usages of civilised warfare, such as abuse of the white flag,
     firing on hospitals, etc. There remain (4) those who, though not
     guilty, of either of those offences, have openly and willingly
     waged war against Her Majesty's forces; (5) those who confined
     themselves to aiding Her Majesty's enemies by giving information
     or furnishing provisions; and (6) those who can satisfactorily
     prove that they acted under compulsion. In the opinion of Her
     Majesty's Government a distinction ought to be, if possible,
     drawn between these different classes.

     "Her Majesty's Government recognise the difficulty of indicting
     for high treason all who have taken part with the enemy, and they
     would suggest, for the consideration of your ministers, the
     expediency of investing either the Special Judicial Commission
     which, as stated in your telegram of 28th April, is contemplated
     by your ministers, or a separate Commission, with powers to
     schedule the names of all persons implicated in the rebellion
     under the various heads indicated above. It would be necessary
     to decide beforehand how the different categories should then be
     dealt with. As regards 1, 2, and 3, they would, of course, be
     brought before the Judicial Commission and tried by them. Might
     not 4 and 5 be allowed to plead guilty, and be thereupon either
     sentenced to a fine carrying with it disfranchisement, or
     released on recognisances, to come up for judgment when called
     upon (this also to involve disfranchisement), while 6 might be
     subjected to disfranchisement alone? Her Majesty's Government
     offer these as suggestions for the consideration of your

     "In regard to the reasons urged by your ministers in favour of a
     general amnesty, Her Majesty's Government would point out that
     they are of a highly controversial character, and it is
     impossible to discuss them fully at a moment when an indication
     of the views of Her Majesty's Government is urgently required.
     Her Majesty's Government would only observe that the policy which
     they have indicated in this telegram appears to them to be one
     not merely of justice, but of clemency, which the whole white
     population of the Colony might well accept as satisfactory, and
     which should not, any more than the ordinary administration of
     justice, encourage the natives to think that the two white races
     are permanently disunited, while with especial reference to the
     third reason, it may be observed that the expediency of the
     action to be taken in such cases depends upon circumstances which
     must vary greatly according to date and locality. In Lower Canada
     in 1837-38 there was a revolt during peace against the Queen's
     authority, founded on grievances under constitutional conditions
     which were recognised as unsatisfactory by the Government of the
     day, and altered by subsequent legislation. In the Cape there has
     been adhesion to the Queen's enemies during war by those who
     have not even the pretext of any grievance, and who have for a
     generation enjoyed full constitutional liberty. In Canada the
     insurrection was never a formidable one from a military point of
     view; in the Cape it has added very largely to the cost and
     difficulty of the war, and has entailed danger and heavy loss to
     Her Majesty's troops."[224]

         [Footnote 224: Cd. 264.]

[Sidenote: The ministry divided.]

This estimate of the guilt of the Cape rebels--moderate in the light
of British colonial history, merciful beyond dispute as judged by the
practice of foreign States--failed to commend itself to the Afrikander
Ministry. On May 29th, when the full text of the Cape ministers'
minutes and enclosures had reached the Colonial Office, Lord Milner
inquired of Mr. Chamberlain, on behalf of his ministers, whether the
disfranchisement proposed was for life or for a period only; and
further, whether, in view of their fuller knowledge of the
representations of the Cape Ministry, the views of the Home Government
were still to be accepted as those expressed in the despatch of May
4th. To these questions Mr. Chamberlain replied, by telegram, on June
10th, that the Government continued to hold the opinion that the
policy already suggested should be substantially adhered to; while, as
to the period of disfranchisement, he pointed out that--

     "conviction and sentence for high treason carried with it
     disfranchisement for life, and if the offenders were spared the
     other and severer penalties of rebellion, justice seemed to
     demand that they should suffer the full political penalty.
     Disfranchisement for life did not seem to Her Majesty's
     Government to be a very serious punishment for rebellion."

[Sidenote: Mr. Schreiner resigns.]

On June 11th Lord Milner was informed by Mr. Schreiner that ministers
were hopelessly divided on the subject of the treatment of the rebels,
and that their differences could not be composed, and on the following
day he replied that, if he could not receive the support of a
unanimous Cabinet to which he, as Governor, was constitutionally
entitled, he would be compelled, in the discharge of his duty, to seek
it elsewhere. Mr. Schreiner's resignation, which was placed in Lord
Milner's hands on the next day, was followed by the appointment, on
June 18th, of a Progressive Ministry with Sir Gordon Sprigg as Prime
Minister and Sir James Rose Innes as Attorney-General. Mr. Schreiner,
in his memorandum of June 11th, had forwarded to Lord Milner documents
containing particulars of the individual views of the members of his
Cabinet. Mr. Solomon, the Attorney-General, was prepared to adopt a
policy in respect of the treatment of the rebels, and the machinery by
which that policy was to be carried out, which appeared to him to
involve nothing that would prevent "complete accord between Her
Majesty's Government and this Government on the question." And in this
view both Mr. Schreiner and Mr. Herholdt concurred. But the remaining
members of the Cabinet were entirely opposed to any policy other than
that of granting a general amnesty to all rebels except the "principal
offenders," and allowing these latter to be tried by the machinery of
justice already in existence--_i.e._ by Afrikander juries. The minutes
which they respectively addressed to the Prime Minister were bitter
invectives directed alike against the Home Government and Lord Milner.

     "We are asked," Mr. Merriman wrote, on his own and Mr. Sauer's
     behalf, with reference to the suggestions of the Home Government,
     "to deal with a number of men who have, at worst, taken up arms
     in what they, however erroneously, considered to be a righteous
     war--a war in which they joined the Queen's enemies to resist
     what prominent men both here and in England have repeatedly
     spoken of as a crime.... These men, irrespective of class, we are
     asked to put under a common political proscription, to deprive
     them of their civil rights, and by so doing (in fact, this is the
     main commendation of the measure to the "loyals") to deprive
     their friends and kinsfolk, who have rendered the Colony yeoman
     service at the most critical time, of that legitimate influence
     which belongs to a majority. We are asked, in fact, to create a
     class of political 'helots' in South Africa, where we are now
     waging a bloody and costly war ostensibly for the purpose of
     putting an end to a similar state of affairs."

Of course, all this and much more might have been read at any time
since the war began in the columns of _The South African News_, but in
a minister's memorandum to the Prime Minister, and over the signature
"John X. Merriman," its naked hostility arrests the mind. Dr. Te
Water's memorandum, although much shorter than that of Mr. Merriman,
is even more outspoken. To him, the direct representative of the
republican nationalists in the Afrikander Cabinet, amnesty for the
rebels is the "sound and proper policy." And naturally, since in his
eyes the rebels themselves are--

     "British subjects of Dutch extraction who, after vainly
     endeavouring, by all possible constitutional means, to prevent
     what they, in common with the rest of the civilised world,
     believe to be an unjust and infamous war against their near
     kinsmen, aided the Republics in the terrible struggle forced upon

         [Footnote 225: Cd. 264.]

[Sidenote: A progressive ministry.]

This is vitriol-throwing, but it is none the less significant. These
three men formed half of the six ministers to whom collectively, Lord
Milner, as Governor of the Cape Colony, had to look for advice during
the two critical years that the Afrikander party was in power.
Fortunately, in his capacity of High Commissioner for South Africa, he
was free to act without their advice, as the representative of the
Queen. Even so, his achievement is little less than marvellous. Aided
by Mr. Schreiner's pathetic sense of loyalty to the person of the
sovereign, he had kept the Cape Government outwardly true to its
allegiance. The long hours of patient remonstrance, the word-battles
from which the Prime Minister had risen sometimes white with
passionate resentment, had not been useless. By tact, by serenity of
disposition, by depth of conviction, and latterly by sheer force of
argument, Lord Milner had won Mr. Schreiner, not indeed to the side of
England, but at least to the side of that Empire-State of which
England was the head. With the Prime Minister went Sir Richard
Solomon, Mr. Herholdt, and one or two of the Afrikander rank and file.
Thus reinforced, the Progressives commanded a working majority in the
Legislative Assembly, and the ascendancy of the Afrikander party was
at an end.

Apart from the secession of Mr. Schreiner and his immediate followers,
the Parliamentary strength of the Afrikander party was lessened by
another circumstance, to which Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman referred
in the debate on the South African Settlement in the House of Commons
on July 25th. Certain members of the Cape Parliament, said the leader
of the Liberal Opposition, had been arrested for high treason, with
the result that the Afrikander party was deprived of their votes, and
the balance of power between that party and the Progressive party was
upset. And he protested against this manner of turning an Afrikander
majority into a minority. The reply which these remarks on the part of
this friend of the Afrikander party in England drew from the
Government is instructive:

     "May I remind the right honourable gentleman," said Mr. Balfour,
     "that the balance of parties was disturbed by another and
     different cause on which he has made no protest? Some members of
     that Parliament, not sharing the views of those who are
     imprisoned, are now fighting at the front and risking their lives
     in the defence of the Empire. Their party is deprived of their
     services in the Cape Parliament, and I should have thought that
     this would have affected the right honourable gentleman much more
     than the absence of men who, under any circumstances, must be
     supposed to be under the darkest suspicion as to their view and
     policy respecting the country to which they owe allegiance."

The Cape Parliament met under the new Ministry in July, and the chief
business of the session, which lasted until the middle of October, was
the passing of the Treason Bill. On July 9th Lord Milner was able to
inform Mr. Chamberlain (by telegram) that the Bill had been prepared,
and to indicate the nature of its main provisions. These were: (1) An
indemnity for acts done under martial law; (2) the establishment of a
Special Court to try cases in which the Attorney-General might decide
to indict any person for high treason, such cases to be tried without
a jury; (3) the establishment of a Special Commission to "deal with
rebels not so indicted and to punish all found guilty with
disfranchisement for five years from the date of conviction"; and (4)
the legalisation of the already existing Compensation Commission. In a
despatch dated July 26th--the day after the Settlement debate in the
House of Commons--Mr. Chamberlain replied at length to the arguments
put forward by the Schreiner Ministry in favour of a general amnesty,
and exposed in particular the historical inaccuracy of the appeal to
the "Canadian precedent." At the same time he stated that Her
Majesty's Government, while they could not be a consenting party to a
policy condoning adhesion to the enemy in the field, had no doubt that
"such a measure of penalty as the mass of loyal opinion in the Colony
considered adequate would meet with their concurrence." That is to
say, the proposal of the Home Government for disfranchisement for life
was not pressed, but was abandoned in favour of the lenient penalty
originally proposed by Sir Richard Solomon, independently of any
consideration of the views of the Colonial Office, and now adopted by
the Progressive Ministry.

[Sidenote: The treason bill.]

In spite of its leniency, the Treason Bill met with the violent and
protracted resistance of the Afrikander party in the Legislative
Assembly. The opportunity thus afforded for the delivery of fierce
invectives against the Imperial authorities was utilised to the full,
and the fires of disaffection lighted by the "Conciliation" meetings
were kindled anew into the second and more disastrous conflagration
that culminated in the proceedings of the Worcester Conference
(December 6th). In the Cape Parliamentary Reports the picture of this
nightmare session is to be found faithfully presented in all its ugly
and grotesque details. Two facts will serve to show to what a degree
the members of the Legislative Assembly of this British colony had
identified themselves with the cause of the enemy. The first is the
circumstance that it was a common practice of the Afrikander members
to refer in Parliament to the military successes of the Boers with
pride as "our" victories. The second is the fact that Mr. Sauer, only
three months ago a minister of the Crown, declared, in opposing the
second reading of the Bill, that "a time would come when there would
be very few Dutchmen who would not blush when they told their children
that they had not helped their fellow-countrymen in their hour of
need."[226] Morally, though not legally, the Afrikander members had
gone over to the enemy no less than the rebels who had taken up arms
against their sovereign. This was the "loyalty" of the Bond.

         [Footnote 226: _Cape Times_, August 23rd, 1900.]

[Sidenote: Milner visits the colonies.]

The Treason Bill was promulgated, under the title of "The Indemnity
and Special Tribunals Act, 1900," on October 12th. On the same day
Lord Milner left Capetown for a brief visit to the Transvaal and
Orange River Colony. The intention of the Home Government to place the
administrative and economic reconstruction of the new colonies in his
hands had been made known to him informally; and it was obviously
desirable, therefore, that he should acquaint himself with the actual
state of affairs as soon as possible. After a somewhat adventurous
journey through the Orange River Colony, he reached Pretoria on the
15th, and remained at the capital until the 22nd. He then proceeded to
Johannesburg, where he spent the next three days (October 22nd to
25th). At both places he made provisional arrangements, in
consultation with Lord Roberts and Lord Kitchener, for the early
establishment of so much of the machinery of civil administration as
the exigencies of the military situation permitted. Leaving
Johannesburg on the 25th, the High Commissioner stopped for the night
at Kroonstad, _en route_ for Bloemfontein. On the morning following he
woke up to find the train still motionless, since the line had been
cut by the Boers--an almost daily occurrence at this period of the
war. After a few hours, however, the journey was resumed; but the High
Commissioner's train was preceded by an armoured train as far as
Smalldeel, from which point it ran without escort to Bloemfontein,
where he remained until November 1st. Here, in addition to making the
necessary arrangements for the beginning of civil administration in
the Orange River Colony, Lord Milner had the satisfaction of
inaugurating the career of the South African Constabulary under the
command of Major-General Baden-Powell. The departure from Bloemfontein
was delayed for a few hours by the destruction of the span of a
railway bridge by the Boers; but at 12 o'clock the High
Commissioner's train, again preceded by its armoured companion, was
able to resume its journey southwards. In the course of the following
day (November 2nd) the English mail, going northwards from Capetown,
was met, and among other communications which Lord Milner then
received was the despatch of October 18th enclosing the commissions
under which he was appointed to administer the new colonies upon Lord
Roberts's approaching return to England.

Lord Milner arrived at Capetown on November 3rd. During his three
weeks' absence the situation in the Cape Colony had changed for the
worse. After the Treason Bill debates the anti-British propaganda,
still carried on under the grotesque pretence of promoting
"conciliation," had taken a different and more sinister form. To their
denunciation of the Home Government and its treatment of the
Republics, the Afrikander nationalists now added slander and abuse of
the British and colonial troops in South Africa. In order to
understand how such calumnies were possible in the face of the
singular humanity with which the military operations of the Imperial
troops had been conducted, a brief reference to the course of the war
is necessary. The change from regular to guerilla warfare initiated by
the Boer leaders in the later months of this year (1900), and the
consequent withdrawal of British garrisons from insecurely held
districts both in the Transvaal and Orange River Colony, were
accompanied by the return to arms of many burghers who, on taking the
oath of neutrality, had been allowed to resume their civil
occupations. This breach of faith, whether voluntary or compulsory,
compelled the British military commanders to adopt measures of greater
severity in the operations undertaken for the reconquest of the
revolted areas. The punishment inflicted upon the inhabitants of such
areas, especially those adjoining the colonial border, although
merciful in comparison with the penalties actually incurred under the
laws of war by those who, having surrendered, resumed their arms, was
considerably more rigorous than the treatment to which the republican
Dutch had been originally subjected. This legitimate and necessary
increase of severity, displayed by the British commanders in districts
where the burghers had surrendered, and then taken up arms a second,
or even a third time, was the sole basis of fact upon which the
Afrikander nationalists in the Cape Colony founded the vast volume of
imaginary outrage and inhumanity on the part of the Imperial troops
which Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman was held subsequently to have
endorsed by accusing the British Government of carrying on the war in
South Africa by "methods of barbarism."[227]

         [Footnote 227: June 14th; 1901 (Holborn Restaurant, and
         elsewhere later). "Whatever Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman may
         think or say, the German nation may think or say."--The
         _Vossische Zeitung._]

[Sidenote: Libels on the British troops.]

The weapon now adopted for the anti-British campaign was the
circulation through the Bond Press, Dutch and English, of accounts of
cruel or infamous acts alleged to have been committed by British
soldiers, and described with every detail calculated to arouse the
passionate resentment of the colonial Dutch. There is only one way in
which the reader can be brought to understand the wantonly false and
wholly disgraceful character of these libels. It is to place before
his eyes the literal translation of two examples, printed in Dutch in
_The Worcester Advertiser_ of November 23rd, 1900; that is to say, in
anticipation of the People's Congress, which was to be held less than
a fortnight later (December 6th) at the little town in the Western
Province so named. The article is headed: "Dreadful Murders
perpetrated on Farmers, Women, and Children, near Boshoff:

[Sidenote: Two examples.]

     "... This unfortunate man [a Boer prisoner] left behind him his
     dear wife and four children. One or two days after his departure
     there came a couple of heroes in the house of the unfortunate
     woman, locked the doors and set fire to the curtains. The woman,
     awfully frightened by it, was in a cruel way handled by these
     ruffians, and compelled to make known where the guns and
     ammunition were hidden. The poor woman, surrounded by her dear
     children (who were from time to time pushed back by these
     soldiers), answered that she could swear before the holy God that
     there was not a single gun or cartridge or anything of that sort
     hidden on that farm. In the meantime the curtains were destroyed
     by the smoke and flames to ashes. The house, at least, was not
     attacked by the flames, but the low, mean lot put at the four
     corners of the house a certain amount of dynamite, to destroy it
     in this way.

     "The heroic warrior and commander over a portion of the civilised
     (?) British troops knocked with great force at the door of the
     house--where still the poor wife and children were upon their
     knees praying to the Heavenly Father for deliverance--saying, 'I
     give you ten minutes' time to acquaint me and point out to me
     where the weapons and ammunition are hidden, and if you do not
     comply I shall make the house and all fly into the air.' The poor
     wife fell upon her knees before the cruel man; prayed the cruel
     man to spare her and her children, where God was her witness
     there was nothing of the kind on the farm, neither was there
     anything stowed away in the house.

     "Standing before him, as if deprived of her senses, [was] the
     poor wife with her four innocent children, and when the ten
     minutes had expired house and all were blown to atoms with
     dynamite, and [there were] laid in ruins, the bodies of the
     deplorable five. May the good God receive their souls with

     "A wife of a Transvaal Boer (who is still in the field, fighting
     for his freedom and right) was lodging with one of her relations,
     when, two days later, after she had given birth to a baby boy,
     she was visited by seven warriors, or so-called Tommy Atkins; the
     young urchin was taken away from its mother by its two legs, by
     the so-called noble British, and his head battered in against the
     bed-post until it had breathed its last, and thereupon thrown out
     by the door as if it was the carcase of a cat or dog. Then these
     damn wretches began their play with this poor and weak woman, who
     only 48 hours before was delivered of a child. The poor wife was
     treated so low and debauched by this seven that she, after a few
     hours, gave up the spirit, and like her child [was] murdered in
     the most dissolute manner.... Can we longer allow that our
     fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, relatives, yes, our
     children, are murdered by these coward and common murderers? or
     has not the time yet arrived to prevent this civilised nation, or
     to punish them for their atrocities?"[228]

         [Footnote 228: As translated in Blue-book, Cd. 547. Mr. de
         Jong, the editor of the paper, was prosecuted (and convicted)
         for the publication of this and another similar article
         (December 28th).]

On November 26th _The South African News_ published the translation of
a letter to the Press, written by a member of the Legislative
Assembly, in view of the same meeting:

     "I am yet glad that another People's Congress will be held.

     "It is our duty to speak now; it is more than time to protest, as
     British subjects, against the extermination of defenceless women
     and children....

     "But, in Heaven's name, let the Congress be a People's Congress
     in reality. Let no one or other stay away for one or other small
     difficulty. Let members of Parliament, clergymen, yes, every man,
     old or young, be present at Worcester on the 6th of December
     next. Let them turn up in numbers. Let us use our rights as
     British subjects in a worthy and decided manner. Let us at least
     adopt three petitions or resolutions: (1) Praying Her Majesty,
     our Gracious Queen, to make an end to the burning of homes and
     the ill-treatment of helpless women and children; if not, that
     they may be murdered at once, rather than die slowly by hunger
     and torture; (2) a petition in which it be urged that the war
     should be ended, and the Republics allowed to retain their
     independence; and finally, a pledge that those who do not wish
     to sign these petitions will no longer be supported by us in any

     "[No shopkeeper, attorney, doctor, master, or any one--no
     victuals, meat, bread, meal, sheep, oxen, horses, vegetables,
     fruit whatsoever will he sell to the jingoes until the wrong is
     righted and compensated.]

     "The dam is full. Our nation cannot, dare not, say with Cain, 'Am
     I my brother's keeper?' There must be a way out for the
     overflowing water. Disloyal deeds and talk are wrong. But if we,
     as a nation, as one man, earnestly and decisively lay our hands
     to the plough in a constitutional manner, and are determined, I
     trust, through God's help, we shall--yes, we must--win."

The passage placed in brackets, in which this member of the Cape
Parliament urges that all who may refuse to sign the two "petitions"
should be rigorously boycotted, was omitted--without any indication of
omission--by _The South African News_. _Ons Land_, on the other hand,
expressed approval of the letter as it stood.[229]

         [Footnote 229: Cd. 547.]

[Sidenote: The Worcester congress.]

These were the kind of stories, and the kind of appeals, with which
the mind of the colonial Dutch had been inflamed by the nationalist
leaders when the Worcester Congress met. The gathering is said to have
consisted of between 8,000 and 10,000 persons; and its promoters
claimed that a far larger number--120,000 persons--were represented by
the deputies sent from ninety-seven districts in the Colony. At the
close of the meeting a deputation was appointed to lay the resolutions
passed by the Congress before the High Commissioner, and request him
to bring them officially to the notice of the Home Government. It was
composed of Mr. de Villiers, a minister of the Dutch Reformed Church;
a member of the Legislative Council; the member of the Legislative
Assembly for Worcester, and two others. This deputation was received
by Lord Milner at Government House on December 11th, and the
circumstances of the remarkable interview which then took place
present a striking picture of the state of the Colony at this time,
and of the extraordinary attitude which the mass of the Dutch
population had assumed towards the representative of their sovereign.
It is one of those illuminating occasions in which a whole situation
is, as it were, gathered up into a single scene.

The disloyal purpose of the deputation is heightened rather than
concealed by the disguise of the constitutional forms in which it is
clothed. The scarcely veiled demand for the independence of the Cape
Colony, now put forward by the Afrikander nationalists, is as
magnificently audacious as the ultimatum. Knowing the infamous
character of the methods by which the agitation in favour of the Boers
was being promoted, Lord Milner might have been excused if he had
given way to some strong expressions of indignation. No such note,
however, is heard in his reply. He is as dry and passionless as an
attorney receiving his clients. Yet his words are as frank as his
manner is composed. To these delegates he speaks the most terrible
truths with the same freedom as he would have used, if the business of
their errand had been a pleasant interchange of compliments, instead
of a grim defiance that might, or might not, be converted from words
into deeds.

[Sidenote: Deputation to Lord Milner.]

Lord Milner, who is accompanied only by his private secretary,
surprises the deputation at the outset by requesting that the
resolutions may be read forthwith in his presence. They are:

     "1. We, men and women of South Africa assembled and represented
     here, having heard the report of the people's deputation to
     England, and having taken into earnest consideration the
     deplorable condition into which the peoples of South Africa have
     been plunged, and the grave dangers threatening our civilisation,
     record our solemn conviction that the highest interest of South
     Africa demand (1) A termination of the war now raging, with its
     untold misery and horror, as well as the burning of houses, the
     devastation of the country, the extermination of a white
     nationality, and the treatment to which women and children are
     subjected, which was bound to leave a lasting legacy of
     bitterness and hatred, while seriously endangering the future
     relationship between the forces of civilisation and barbarism in
     South Africa; and (2) the retention by the Republics of their
     independence, whereby alone the peace of South Africa can be

     "2. That this meeting desires a full recognition of the right of
     the people of this Colony to settle and manage its own affairs,
     and expresses its grave disapproval of the policy pursued and
     adopted in this matter by the Governor and High Commissioner, Sir
     Alfred Milner.

     "3. That this Congress solemnly pledges itself to labour in a
     constitutional way unceasingly for the attainment of the objects
     contained in the above resolutions, and resolves to send a
     deputation to His Excellency Sir Alfred Milner to bring these
     resolutions officially to the notice of Her Majesty's

These resolutions having been read, Mr. de Villiers proceeds to make
two points. First, there will be no lasting peace in South Africa
until the independence of the Republics is restored; unless this is
done, race feeling will go on prevailing "for generations." And,
second, it is the "devastation of property" and "the treatment of the
women and children" by the British that has roused the colonial Dutch
to assemble at the Congress. Mr. Pretorius, the member of the
Legislative Council, then drives home both of these points by a short
but emphatic speech, delivered in Dutch, in which he asserts that one
of the consequences of the war will be a "never-ending irreconcilable
racial hatred" between the British and Dutch inhabitants.[230] Lord
Milner then rises from his chair and replies to the deputation:

         [Footnote 230: It is scarcely necessary to point out that
         this prophecy of continued racial hatred has been completely
         falsified by events. The writer went out to South Africa a
         second time in January, 1904, when two years had not passed
         since the surrender of the Boers. The one thing, above all
         others, that struck him, and every other visitor from
         England, was the profound peace that reigned from end to end
         of the land.]

[Sidenote: Lord Milner's reply.]

[Sidenote: War no longer justifiable.]

     "I accede to your request to bring these resolutions to the
     notice of Her Majesty's Government. I think it is doubtful
     whether I ought to do so, but in view of the prevailing
     bitterness and excitement it is better to err, if one must err,
     on the side of conciliation and fairness. And, having regard
     especially to the fact that one of the resolutions is directed
     against myself, I wish to avoid any appearance of a desire to
     suppress its companions on account of it. But, having gone thus
     far on the road of concession, I take the liberty, in no
     unfriendly and polemical spirit, of asking you quite frankly what
     good you think can be done by resolutions of this character? I am
     not now referring to the resolution against myself. That is a
     matter of very minor importance. The pith of the whole business
     is in resolution number one, a resolution evidently framed with
     great care by the clever men who are engineering the present
     agitation in the Colony. Now, that resolution asks for two
     things--a termination of the war, and the restoration of the
     independence of the Republics. In desiring the termination of the
     war we are all agreed, but nothing can be less conducive to the
     attainment of that end than to encourage in those who are still
     carrying on a hopeless resistance the idea that there is any,
     even the remotest chance, of the policy of annexation being
     reversed. I am not now speaking for myself. This is not a
     question for me. I am simply directing your attention to the
     repeatedly declared policy of Her Majesty's Government, a policy
     just endorsed by an enormous majority of the nation, and not only
     by the ordinary supporters of the Government, but by the bulk of
     those ordinarily opposed to it. Moreover, that policy is approved
     by all the great self-governing colonies of the Empire, except
     this one, and in this one by something like half the white
     population, and practically the whole of the native. And this
     approving half of the white population, be it observed, embraces
     all those who, in the recent hour of danger, when this Colony
     itself was invaded and partially annexed, fought and suffered
     for the cause of Queen and Empire. I ask you, is it reasonable to
     suppose that Her Majesty's Government is going back upon a policy
     deliberately adopted, repeatedly declared, and having this
     overwhelming weight of popular support throughout the whole
     Empire behind it? And if it is not, I ask you further: What is
     more likely to lead to a termination of the war--a recognition of
     the irrevocable nature of this policy, or the reiteration of
     menacing protests against it? And there is another respect in
     which I fear this resolution is little calculated to promote that
     speedy restoration of peace which we have all at heart. I refer
     to the tone of aggressive exaggeration which characterises its
     allusions to the conduct of the war. No doubt the resolution is
     mild compared with some of the speeches by which it was
     supported, just as those speeches themselves were mild compared
     with much that we are now too well accustomed to hear and to
     read, in the way of misrepresentation and abuse of the British
     Government, British statesmen, British soldiers, the British
     people. But even the resolution, mild in comparison with such
     excesses, is greatly lacking in that sobriety and accuracy which
     it is so necessary for all of us to cultivate in these days of
     bitterly inflamed passions. It really is preposterous to talk,
     among other things, about 'the extermination of a white
     nationality,' or to give any sort of countenance to the now fully
     exploded calumny about the ill-treatment of women and children.
     The war, gentlemen, has its horrors--every war has. Those horrors
     increase as it becomes more irregular on the part of the enemy,
     thus necessitating severer measures on the part of the Imperial
     troops. But, having regard to the conditions, it is one of the
     most humane wars that has ever been waged in history. It has
     been humane, I contend, on both sides, which does not, of course,
     mean that on both sides there have not been isolated acts
     deserving of condemnation. Still, the general direction, the
     general spirit on both sides, has been humane. But it is another
     question whether the war on the side of the enemy is any longer
     justifiable. It is certainly not morally justifiable to carry on
     a resistance involving the loss of many lives and the destruction
     of an immense quantity of property, when the object of that
     resistance can no longer, by any possibility, be attained. No
     doubt, great allowance must be made for most of the men still
     under arms, though it is difficult to defend the conduct of their
     leaders in deceiving them. The bulk of the men still in the field
     are buoyed up with false hopes. They are incessantly fed with
     lies--lies as to their own chance of success, and, still worse,
     as to the intention of the British Government with regard to them
     should they surrender. And for that very reason it seems all the
     more regrettable that anything should be said or done here which
     could help still further to mislead them, still further to
     encourage a resistance which creates the very evils that these
     people are fighting to escape. It is because I am sincerely
     convinced that a resolution of this character, like the meeting
     at which it was passed, like the whole agitation of which that
     meeting is part, is calculated, if it has any effect at all,
     still further to mislead the men who are engaged in carrying on
     this hopeless struggle, that I feel bound, in sending it to Her
     Majesty's Government, to accompany it with this expression of my
     strong personal dissent."[231]

         [Footnote 231: Cd. 547.]

The comment of _Ons Land_ upon Lord Milner's reply to the Worcester
Congress deputation was an open defiance of the Imperial authorities
and a scarcely veiled incitement to rebellion. Mr. Advocate Malan, the
editor, who had been elected for the Malmesbury Division upon the
retirement of Mr. Schreiner--now rejected by the Bond--wrote:[232]

         [Footnote 232: As stated in a _Central News_ telegram,
         published in London on December 14th, 1900.]

     "Sir Alfred Milner considers the request of the Afrikanders for
     peace and justice unreasonable. The agitation has now reached the
     end of the first period--that of pleading and petitioning. A deaf
     ear has been turned to the cry of the Afrikanders and their
     Church. But the battle for justice will continue from a different
     standpoint--by mental and material powers. The path will be hard,
     and sacrifices will be required, but the victory will be

There were, of course, some voices that were raised, among both the
republican and colonial Dutch, in favour of more moderate counsels. In
the preceding month (November) Mr. Melius de Villiers, the late Chief
Justice of the Free State, wrote to a Dutch Reformed minister in the
Cape Colony to beg him to use all his influence against the efforts
being made in the Cape Colony to encourage the Boers to continue the
struggle. "However much I loved and valued the independence of the
Free State," he says, "it is now absolutely certain that the struggle
on the part of the burghers is a hopeless and useless one." And he
then suggests that the Dutch Reformed ministers in the Cape Colony,
instead of petitioning the Queen to grant the independence of the
Republics, should intercede with ex-President Steyn and the Federal
leaders and induce them to discontinue the fight. Women's Congresses
and People's Congresses, held to denounce the barbarities perpetrated
in the war, will avail nothing; but the Dutch Reformed Church could
fulfil no higher mission than this genuine peace-making. "It may go
against their grain to urge our people to yield," he adds, "but it
seems to me a plain duty."[233] But such voices were powerless to
counteract the effect produced upon the Boers by the demonstrations of
hatred against the British Government, manifested by men whose minds
had been inflamed by the infamous slanders of the Imperial troops to
which the "conciliation" movement had given currency.

         [Footnote 233: Cd. 547.]

[Sidenote: Second invasion of the colony.]

On the morning of December 16th, five days after he had received the
Worcester Congress deputation, Lord Milner heard that the burgher
forces had again crossed the Orange River between Aliwal North and
Bethulie. Before them lay hundreds of miles of country full of food
and horses, and inhabited by people who were in sympathy with them. On
the 20th martial law was proclaimed in twelve additional districts. On
the 17th of the following month the whole of the Cape Colony, with the
exception of Capetown, Simon's Town, Wynberg, Port Elizabeth, East
London, and the native territories, was placed under the same
military rule. In the words of a protest subsequently addressed by the
Burgher Peace Committee to their Afrikander brethren, the "fatal
result of the Worcester Congress had been that the commandos had again
entered the Cape Colony." The friends of the Boers in England, duped
by the Afrikander nationalists, had involved England and South Africa
in a year and a half of costly, destructive, and unnecessary war.



The new year (1901) opened with a full revelation of the magnitude of
the task which lay before the Imperial troops. Lord Roberts had
frankly recognised that the destruction of the Governments and
organised armies of the Republics would be followed by the more
difficult and lengthy task of disarming the entire Boer population
within their borders.

     "Recent events have convinced me," he wrote from Pretoria on
     October 10th, 1900, "that the permanent tranquillity of the
     Orange River Colony and Transvaal is dependent on the complete
     disarmament of the inhabitants; and, though the extent of the
     country to be visited, and the ease with which guns, rifles, and
     ammunition can be hidden, will render the task a difficult one,
     its accomplishment is only a matter of time and patience."

That this task proved altogether more lengthy and more arduous than
Lord Roberts at this time expected, was due mainly, though not
exclusively, to the same cause as that which had placed the British
army in a position of such grave disadvantage at the outbreak of the
war--the play of party politics in England. Lord Roberts had foreseen
that the process of disarming the Boers would be slow and difficult;
but he had not anticipated that the Imperial troops would be hindered
in the accomplishment of this task by the political action of the
friends of the Boers in England, or that the public utterances of
prominent members of the Liberal Opposition would re-act with such
dangerous effects upon the Afrikander nationalists that, after more
than a year of successful military operations, the process of
disarmament would have to be applied to the Cape Colony as well as to
the territories of the late Republics.

Looking back to the year 1900, with the events of the intervening
period before us, it is impossible to avoid the conclusion that the
decision of the Boer leaders to continue the struggle was determined
by political, and not by military considerations. More than one
circumstance points to the fact that both the Boer generals and the
civilian members of the Executives of the late Republics recognised
that their position was practically hopeless from a military point of
view.[234] And while Louis Botha, the Commandant-General of the
Transvaal, urged his fellow-burghers to lay down their arms after the
battle of Dalmanutha, it was President Steyn, a politician, and not a
fighting man, who manifested the stubborn determination that was
directly responsible for the unnecessary devastation and suffering
which the guerilla war entailed upon the Boer people. The remote, but
still carefully cherished possibility of foreign intervention, the
belief that the colonial Dutch would even yet rise _en masse_, and the
reliance upon the traditional sympathy of the Liberal party with the
Boer aspirations for independence, were all considerations that
contributed to the decision. But of these three influences the last
was incomparably the most important; since it not only affected the
disposition of the republican leaders, but, what was more, stimulated
the Afrikander nationalists to make the efforts which brought the
Dutch in the Cape Colony to the condition of passionate resentment
that drew the Boer commandos, in the last month of 1900 and the
opening months of 1901, a second time across the Orange River.

         [Footnote 234: See letter of Piet de Wet to his brother
         Christian, in Cd. 547, and correspondence between Steyn and
         Reitz (captured by British troops), in Cd. 903.]

[Sidenote: An injurious influence.]

We have seen the actual origin of this most injurious influence. The
"conciliation" movement was initiated in the Cape Colony by the
Afrikander nationalists in concert with President Krüger, in order
that "the hands of the friends of the Afrikander party in England
might be strengthened." They were strengthened. We have observed the
formation of a Conciliation Committee in England, working in close
connection with the parent organisation, founded by Mr. Hargrove, in
the Cape Colony; and we have noticed the declarations of Mr. Morley,
Lord Courtney, and Mr. Bryce, in favour of the restoration of the
internal independence of the Boers--declarations all made in
opposition to the expressed determination of the British Government to
incorporate the Republics into the system of the British Empire. The
official leader of the Liberal party was less consistent. In June,
1900, Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman signified in general terms his
recognition of the necessity of this measure. But he returned in
October to vague expressions of sympathy with the Boers, which, after
the general election had resulted in the return of the Unionist
majority, took the form of a direct condemnation of the South African
policy of the Government. In the course of the year 1901 he reiterated
two charges with increasing vehemence. The conduct of the war was
inhuman; and the Government, by refusing to offer any terms to the
republican leaders inconsistent with the decision to incorporate the
Republics into the Empire, were exacting the unnecessary humiliation
of an unconditional surrender from a gallant foe. These injurious
utterances at length provoked Lord Salisbury's indignant comment:
"England is, I believe, the only country in which, during a great war,
eminent men write and speak publicly as if they belonged to the
enemy;" and elicited from Lord Rosebery, Sir Edward Grey, Mr. Asquith,
Mr. Haldane, and Sir Henry Fowler, the assurance that the
determination of the British people to "see the war through" had in no
way weakened. But, in spite of these patriotic utterances on the part
of the Liberal Imperialists, the fact remains that, throughout the
whole period of the guerilla war, the Boer commandos were encouraged
to resist the Imperial troops by the knowledge that prominent members
of the Liberal party in England had declared themselves to be opposed
to what they termed the "suppression" of the Boer people,[235] and
were condemning in unmeasured terms the British military authorities
for employing the sole methods by which the guerilla leaders could be
encountered on equal terms, and the disarmament of the Dutch
population could be accomplished.

[Sidenote: Peace party among the Boers.]

There is another element in the attitude of the burgher population at
this critical period, a knowledge of which is essential to a correct
understanding of the methods and conditions of the guerilla war. The
existence among the republican Dutch of a considerable body of opinion
in favour of submission was a circumstance of which the Imperial
authorities were aware, and one of which they desired, naturally
enough, to take the fullest advantage. It was known also to the
militant Boer leaders; and it is obvious that any estimate of the
degree in which these leaders are to be held directly responsible for
the loss and suffering entailed by the decision to continue the war,
will depend largely upon the manner in which they dealt with those
members of their own community who were prepared, after Lord
Roberts's victories, to become peaceable citizens of the British

         [Footnote 235: "This war no longer makes a pretence of being
         a war of defence; it is a war for gold-fields, for territory,
         and for the suppression of two brave and noble peoples. This
         wicked war has lost us the moral leadership of mankind."--Mr.
         E. Robertson, M.P., June 5th, 1901.]

The action of the Boer leaders in this respect is established by the
indisputable testimony of the official documents which fell into the
hands of the British authorities in the subsequent progress of the
war. Every endeavour of the peace party to make itself heard was
punished with rigorous, sometimes brutal, severity; fictitious
reports, calculated to raise false hopes of foreign intervention, were
circulated among the burghers in the field; and every effort was made
to prevent a knowledge of the British Government's proposals for the
future administration of the new colonies from reaching the rank and
file of the burgher population. The details of this action on the part
of the Boer leaders constitute collectively a body of evidence
sufficient to have justified the employment of measures infinitely
more severe than those which were in fact adopted by the British
military authorities for the capture of the Boer commandos and the
disarmament of the Dutch inhabitants of South Africa; and in the face
of this evidence, Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman's reiterated charges
against the Government, whether of "methods of barbarism" or of
prolonging the war by the neglect to offer reasonable terms to the
Boers, must be held as wanton in their origin as they were injurious
in their results.

[Sidenote: Administrative changes.]

The despatch of October 18th, 1900, which, as we have seen, Lord
Milner received as he was returning from his visit to the new
colonies, contained certain new commissions, under the terms of which
the "prospective administration" of the Transvaal and the Orange River
Colony was placed in his hands in succession to Lord Roberts, while at
the same time he remained Governor of the Cape Colony and High
Commissioner for South Africa. This combination of offices was purely
temporary, since Her Majesty's Government (Mr. Chamberlain wrote to
Lord Milner) "were anxious to take advantage of his unique fitness for
the great task of inaugurating the civil government of the two new
colonies." It was proposed therefore, that, as soon as the necessary
legal provision could be made for establishing constitutions for the
two new colonies, Lord Milner should be appointed as their Governor,
with a Lieutenant-Governor for the Orange River Colony, and should
cease to be the Governor of the Cape Colony. This new arrangement,
which, as Mr. Chamberlain pointed out, involved the severance of the
High Commissionership from the Governorship of the Cape Colony to
which it had been attached for so long a period,[236] did not take
effect, however, until the end of February, 1901, when Lord Milner
finally left the Cape Colony for the Transvaal.

         [Footnote 236: Cd. 547.]

Lord Roberts relinquished the command of the British forces in South
Africa on November 29th, 1900. The Home Government at this time
attached great importance to the issue of a proclamation setting out
clearly the generous terms upon which the Boers would be received into
the empire; and, in connection with this question, Lord Milner, during
his recent visit to Pretoria, had discussed with Lord Kitchener the
methods by which the influence of the surrendered Boers and the more
moderate Afrikanders, who were in favour of submission, could be
brought to bear upon the general mass of the fighting burghers. Lord
Milner, however, upon his return to the Cape Colony, expressed the
opinion that the issue of a proclamation in the then existing
circumstances would be a mistake, since it would only be regarded as a
sign of weakness. And in support of this opinion he states, in a
telegram of December 11th, that the cabled summary of Mr.

     "recent speech in the House of Commons, containing virtually the
     principal points in the proposed proclamation, has been instantly
     seized upon by the Bond leaders [in the Cape Colony] and is
     represented by them as a sign that Her Majesty's Government is
     wavering in its policy, and that the reaction in British public
     opinion, which they have always relied on, is setting in."[237]

         [Footnote 237: Cd. 547.]

Both Lord Roberts and Lord Kitchener confirmed this judgment at the
time; and on January 28th, 1901--when de Wet was on the point of
breaking through the British troops into the Cape Colony--the latter
telegraphed to Lord Milner:

     "When the Boers are inclined to peace, they will want, I think,
     to discuss various questions, and when that time comes a
     proclamation which would meet as far as possible the points
     raised would, no doubt, be very valuable.... But just now I do
     not think they have any idea of making peace whilst the Colony
     question is so prominent. I have let it be known that I would be
     glad to see an officer or meet Botha at any time if he wished to
     do so."[238]

         [Footnote 238: Cd. 547.]

Three days afterwards Lord Milner received a further telegram from
Lord Kitchener on the same subject, which he also forwarded to the
Colonial Office:

     "Ex-President Pretorius has just returned from seeing L. Botha
     and Schalk Burger [the Commandant-General and the Acting
     President of the South African Republic]. They stated that they
     were fighting for their independence, and meant to continue to do
     so to the bitter end, and would not discuss any question of

         [Footnote 239: _Ibid._]

[Sidenote: Boer leaders irreconcilable.]

In view of this irreconcilable attitude on the part of the Boer
leaders, Mr. Chamberlain abandoned the proposal, and the proclamation
was not issued until six months later, when the blockhouse system had
been successfully initiated.

But, although Lord Milner had recognised the futility of the appeal by
proclamation, he had readily approved of Lord Kitchener's endeavour to
make the British proposals known to the placable but terrorised
section of the fighting burghers, through the agency of those of their
kinsmen and friends who had surrendered. After all advances to the
Boer leaders in the field had totally failed, "it seemed to us," Lord
Milner reported to Mr. Chamberlain,[240]

         [Footnote 240: January 12th, 1901. Cd. 547.]

     "that those who had already surrendered would have means not open
     to us of communicating with the bulk of the Boers still under
     arms, persuading them of the hopelessness of their resistance,
     and removing the misapprehension of our intentions, which some of
     the commanders who were still holding out had sedulously

It was in these circumstances and with these objects in view that,
after Lord Roberts's departure, the Burgher Peace Committee was formed
at Pretoria; and it is to the address which Lord Kitchener then
delivered (December 21st, 1900) to this Committee that we must look
for the origin and purpose of the Burgher, or Concentration Camps.

[Sidenote: Origin of the Burgher camps.]

     "It having been brought to Lord Kitchener's notice," says the
     published report, "that the principal difficulty that burghers,
     desirous of surrendering, experienced was that they were not
     allowed to remain in their own districts, and were afraid of the
     penalties attached to not having adhered strictly to the oath of
     neutrality, which they had, in most cases, been made to break by
     the coercive measures of Boers out on commando, he wished to give
     the burghers still in the field every opportunity of becoming
     acquainted with the treatment he proposed now to extend to them,
     their families, and their property.

     "Instructions had been issued to form laagers for all surrendered
     burghers, their wives, families, and stock, on the railway in
     their own districts under military protection; and, except where
     it was proved that a burgher had voluntarily broken his oath and
     gone out on commando, no difference would be made between those
     who had not taken the oath. To protect deserted women and
     children they would also be brought into these laagers, where
     their husbands and sons, who desired to live peacefully, could
     freely join them.

     "It was essential that the country should be thus cleared,
     because so long as the means of subsistence remained in and on
     the farms, so long small commandos were enabled to continue in
     the field. In return, Lord Kitchener expected every assistance
     from those to whom he gave protection. They must each and all
     help to the best of their ability by influencing in every way in
     their power those still in the field to surrender. These measures
     would be applied gradually, and extended if they proved
     successful. Burghers must understand that no responsibility could
     be accepted for stock or property, except for that which they
     brought in with them, and then only if they kept it within the
     limits of the protection he was prepared to afford."[241]

         [Footnote 241: Cd. 547.]

The report of Lord Kitchener's speech from which these paragraphs are
taken was printed in Dutch and circulated by the Burgher Peace
Committee. It is certainly significant that a measure which was
subsequently held up to the execration of the civilised world by the
official leader of the Liberal party and the friends of the Boers in
England, should have been carefully explained by Lord Kitchener to an
audience of Boers at Pretoria, and accepted by them as a means of
enabling the peaceably disposed burghers to escape from the compulsion
of their leaders. In this, as in many other matters, the English
friends of the Boers were _plus royalistes que le roi même_.

[Sidenote: Boer coercive measures.]

These, then, were the means employed by the British military
authorities to avert a needless protraction of the war. We have now to
observe the methods by which the Boer leaders prevented their efforts
from producing the desired result. In view of the destruction of the
organised resistance of the Republics, Lord Roberts had made known by
proclamation that all burghers who surrendered their arms and took the
oath of neutrality would be allowed to return to their homes, or, if
at home, to remain there undisturbed. This implied an intention on the
part of the British authorities to provide such protection as would
enable the surrendered burghers to remain in peaceable possession of
their property. General Botha, as we have already noted, was
personally in favour of a general surrender after the battle of
Dalmanutha; but, when once the majority of the Boer leaders had
decided to continue to resist the establishment of British authority
by force of arms, it became his business to keep every fighting
burgher in the field. Here, again, the work of the Intelligence
Department provides us with instructive evidence of the purposes and
acts of the enemy. In the course of the subsequent military operations
Sir Bindon Blood captured a number of official documents in the Boer
Government laager at Roos Senekal. One of these, referring to the
period in question, sufficiently indicates the nature of the "coercive
measures" to which Lord Kitchener had alluded. Under date October 6th,
1900, General Botha gives instructions to the Boer commandant at
Bethel to telegraph round to the Boer generals and officers certain
military instructions, and he then adds:

     "Do everything in your power to prevent the burghers from laying
     down their arms. I will be compelled, if they do not listen to
     this, to confiscate everything moveable or unmoveable, and also
     to burn their houses. Get into direct communication with the
     Standerton men, and destroy the railway line between Heidelberg
     and Standerton, and especially derail and hold up trains. In this
     manner we will obtain a large quantity of food."[242]

         [Footnote 242: Cd. 663. See also the text of the circular
         issued on December 2nd, 1900, by Louis Botha, as
         Commandant-General of the Boer forces, to all military
         officers, landdrosts, etc., giving specific instructions for
         the punishment of surrendered burghers who refused to join
         the commandos when called upon, and for the evasion of the
         neutrality oath.]

And, while the peaceably inclined burghers were prevented from
surrendering by the fear of these penalties, the courage of the
commandos was maintained by the spread of false information. Among
these same papers found at Roos Senekal is a telegram despatched on
November 2nd, 1900, to General Viljoen, containing a number of
encouraging statements bearing upon the political and military
situation, of which the three following may be taken as

     "October, 1900. A Congress of Delegates of the Powers was held at
     Parijs [Paris], whereby England asked for an extension of six
     months to carry on the war. This was refused by the powers on the
     proposal of Holland and Austria.

     "France is ready to land troops in England on the 1st November.

     "Cape Colonial troops to the number of 2,500 have been sent back
     by General Roberts, having quarrelled with the regulars. Their
     arms were taken away and burnt. This last is official news
     received by General Fourie."[243]

         [Footnote 243: Cd. 663.]

[Sidenote: "Not civilised warfare".]

It was in order to counteract the effects of this system of terrorism
and deceit, that the endeavour was made to inform the mass of the
Boers still in arms of the actual state of affairs, both in respect of
the hopelessness of foreign intervention and the real intentions of
the British Government, through the agency of the Burgher Peace
Committee. The treatment accorded to these peace emissaries is
justifiable, possibly, by a strict interpretation of the laws of war;
but it fixes inevitably the responsibility for the needless sufferings
of the Boer people in the guerilla war, upon Ex-President Steyn,
Schalk Burger, Louis Botha, Christian de Wet, and the other Boer
leaders. On January 10th, 1901, of three agents of the Peace Committee
taken prisoners to De Wet's laager near Lindley, one--a British
subject--was flogged and then shot, and two, who were burghers, were
flogged.[244] And on February 12th Meyer de Kock, the Secretary of the
Committee, was shot.[245]

         [Footnote 244: Cd. 547.]

         [Footnote 245: Cd. 663. It was at this time that the utterly
         unjustifiable and brutal murder of the coloured man, Esau,
         took place in the invasion of the Calvinia district of the
         Cape Colony. His sole offence was his known loyalty to the
         British Government. "He was flogged on January 15th, 1901,
         and kept in gaol till February 5th, when he was flogged
         through the streets and shot outside the village by a Boer
         named Strydom, who stated that he acted according to orders."
         Cd. 547.]

But the efforts of the Peace Committee were not altogether thrown
away. The terrible deaths of these men, true martyrs of the Boer
cause, evoked more than one notable protest against the insensate
determination of Ex-President Steyn and De Wet.

     "Dear Brother, ... From what I hear you are so angry with me,"
     wrote General Piet de Wet to his brother Christian, "that you
     have decided to kill me should you find me. May God not allow it
     that you should have the opportunity to shed more innocent blood.
     Enough has been shed already.... I beseech you, let us think over
     the matter coolly for a moment, and see whether our cause is
     really so pure and righteous that we can rely on God's

         [Footnote 246: Cd. 547.]

And Mr. H. A. Du Plessis, the predikant at Lindley in the Orange River
Colony, addressed an "open letter" to the clergy of the Dutch Reformed
Church in the Cape Colony.

     "It is not civilised warfare any more on the part of the
     burghers. They have become desperate, and as fanatics do things
     in conflict with a Christian spirit and civilisation.... About a
     fortnight ago, G. Müller, one of my deacons and brother of the
     late minister of Burghersdorp, was brutally ill-used. He had to
     strip, and received twenty-five lashes with a stirrup leather--he
     is not the only one--because he took letters from a member of the
     Peace Committee to certain heads of the burgher force, in which
     they were strongly advised to give in. At the same time Andries
     Wessels and J. Morgendael were taken prisoners. They left
     Kroonstad at their own request, and with the sanction of the
     military authorities, in order to have an interview with the
     leaders of the burgher force. Morgendael was mortally wounded by
     Commandant Froneman without a hearing, and at the instigation of
     General C. de Wet. He died afterwards.... In such a shameful, in
     fact, inhuman, manner were these men treated; and for what
     reason? Simply because they had tried to save their country and

     "The burghers are kept totally in the dark by their leaders as to
     what the real state of affairs is. Because I wish to save them
     from certain ruin I make this appeal to you....

     "If [the burghers] knew what the true state of affairs was, a
     large portion would long ago have come in and delivered up their

     "Therefore, I implore you, stand still for a few moments and
     think of the true interests of the Afrikander nation, and see if
     you will not alter your opinion, and quench the fire of war
     instead of feeding the flame....[247]

         [Footnote 247: Cd. 547.]

These letters, which were published in _The Cape Times_, formed part
of an attempt made by the Burgher Peace Committee, "to induce some of
the leading men in the colony, who are known to sympathise with the
Boers, to tell the men still in the field that the hope of any
assistance from here is a delusion." But, in thus reporting this new
endeavour to Mr. Chamberlain, Lord Milner adds that he is not,
himself, "very sanguine" of its success.

[Sidenote: Policy of the Bond.]

There was only too good ground for this opinion. The Afrikander
nationalists of the Cape hated England no less than did the republican
nationalists, though they feared her more. The policy which the Bond
had adopted after the occupation of the Republics by the British
forces was perfectly definite. Its object was to avert the final
disaster of the war by securing the maintenance of the Republics as
independent centres of Afrikander nationalism. In order to do this the
Bond resolved to keep the Cape Colony in a state of smouldering
rebellion, to encourage the continued resistance of the Boer
commandos, and to render all the material assistance to the guerilla
leaders and their forces that could be afforded without exposing the
Cape Dutch to the penalties of treason. It may be doubted, however,
whether the Bond leaders, in view of the resolute attitude of the
loyalist population and their consistent and unfaltering support of
Lord Milner, would have embarked upon this policy, unless they had
calculated upon the co-operation of the Liberal Opposition in England.
As it was, their expectations in this respect had been amply
fulfilled, and the policy itself, as we have seen, had been admirably
carried into effect.

The second invasion of the Cape Colony began, as we have noticed, with
the incursion of the Boers after the Worcester Congress. On December
16th, 1900, Kruitzinger, with seven hundred, and Hertzog with twelve
hundred men, crossed the Orange River; and by February 11th, 1901, De
Wet, who had been "headed back" in December, had succeeded in eluding
the British columns and entered the Colony.[248] At this moment
success seemed to be within measurable distance both to the Bond and
to De Wet. The point of view of the astute Afrikander statesmen is
different from that of the guerilla leader; but each party is equally
hopeful of the ultimate victory of the nationalist cause. Of the
attitude of the Bond in this month of February, 1901, Mr. Kipling
writes from Capetown:

         [Footnote 248: Cd. 522.]

     "Some of the extremists of the Bond are for committing themselves
     now, fully, to the Dutch cause, De Wet and all; but some of the
     others are hunting for some sort of side-path that will give them
     a chance of keeping on the ground-level of the gallows, within
     hail of a seat in the next Parliament. If De Wet wins--he is
     assumed to be in command of several thousands, all lusting for
     real battle, and sure of a welcome among many more thousands
     alight with the same desire--the Bond may, of course, come out
     flat-footedly on his side. Just at present the apricots are not
     quite ripe enough. But the Bond has unshaken faith in the
     Opposition, whose every word and action are quoted here, and lead
     to more deaths on the veld. _It is assumed that His Majesty's
     Opposition will save the Bond, and South Africa for the Bond, if
     only the commandos make the war expensive._"[249]

         [Footnote 249: The italics are Mr. Kipling's. _The Science of
         Rebellion: a Tract for the Times_, by Rudyard Kipling.]

[Sidenote: De Wet in the colony.]

If this account of the attitude of the Bond stood alone, its value
would be merely that of an _ex parte_ statement by a competent
observer on the spot. But it does not stand alone. The accident of the
capture of the Boer official papers at Roos Senekal, to which we have
referred before, has provided us with a record of the thoughts which
were in De Wet's mind at the time when Mr. Kipling's words were
written. In a report dated "On the Veld, February 14th, 1901,"
Commandant-General Botha is informed that "De Wet's last news is that
the Cape Colony has risen to a man, and has already taken up arms.
They refused to give up to the British Government. Many more are only
waiting operations on part of De Wet to join him; and General De Wet
concludes this report with the words: 'It is certain that the ways of
the Lord are hidden from us, and that, after all, it seems that the
day of a united South Africa is not far off.'"

The writer of this despatch is the "Acting Chief-Commandant" of the
Orange Free State; and to his report of De Wet's success in the Cape
Colony, he now adds an account of what is happening on the other side
of the Orange River:

     "The burghers in the Orange Free State are hopeful, and expecting
     a happy ending. The grudge against the Britisher has now taken
     deep root, and the women and girls are encouraging the burghers
     to stick up to the bitter end. So that our cause now rests in the
     union of the burghers, and, with God's help, we will accomplish
     our end.... The enemy's plan is to starve us out, but he will
     never do it, now we have an outlet from the Cape Colony, even if
     we have to use force."[250]

         [Footnote 250: Cd. 663.]

De Wet was chased out of the Colony by the British columns on February
28th, but smaller commandos under Kruitzinger, Fouché, Scheepers, and
Malan remained behind. Apart from their mobility, and the persistent
manner in which they clung to rugged and mountainous districts, the
ability of these Boer raiders to keep the field against the Imperial
troops must be attributed to the sympathy and material assistance
which they received from the colonial Dutch. The actual number of
recruits which they secured was small; but, in Lord Kitchener's

     "the friendly feelings of a considerable portion of the rural
     population assured to them at all times not only an ample food
     supply, but also timely information of the movements of our
     pursuing columns--two points which told heavily in their

         [Footnote 251: Cd. 605.]

[Sidenote: Effect of Cape rebellion.]

In view of the enormous area of the sparsely populated and difficult
country throughout which their movements were thus facilitated, it is
not surprising that these roaming commandos were never completely
suppressed. Of the 21,256 men who surrendered after Vereeniging, 3,635
were Boers and rebels, who had been, up to that time, at large in the
Cape Colony.[252] The importance of the contribution which the
disloyal majority of the Cape Dutch were enabled, in this manner, to
make to the power of resistance exhibited by the Boers in the guerilla
war has scarcely been sufficiently appreciated. As it was, a large
body of Imperial troops, which would otherwise have been available for
completing the conquest of the new colonies, were kept employed, not
merely in guarding the all-important railway lines, but from time to
time in arduous, costly, and exhausting military operations in the
Cape Colony.[253]

         [Footnote 252: Cd. 988.]

         [Footnote 253: "Cape Colony is a great disappointment to me
         ... no general rising can be expected in that quarter....
         [But] the little contingent there has been of great help to
         us: they have kept 50,000 troops occupied, with which
         otherwise we should have had to reckon."--Gen. Christian de
         Wet at the Vereeniging Conference on May 16th, 1902. App. A.
         _The Three Years' War_, by Christian Rudolf de Wet
         (Constable, 1902). But see forward also, p. 485, for part
         played by British loyalists.]

The value of this contribution was quite well understood by the
Afrikander nationalists of the Cape. In Mr. Kipling's vigorous
English, "north and south they were working for a common object--the
manufacture of pro-Boers in England by doubling the income-tax." And
it is in the extension of the area of the war by the establishment of
the Boer commandos in the Cape Colony that we must find the one valid
military consideration which underlay the failure of the peace
negotiations between Lord Kitchener and General Louis Botha
(February-April, 1901), and the final rejection of the British terms
of surrender by the Boer leaders in June. The point is made perfectly
plain in the official notice signed by Schalk Burger, as Acting
President of the South African Republic, and Steyn, as President of
the Orange Free State, which was issued to the burghers on June 20th,
1901. After reciting that the British terms had been referred to
"State President Krüger and the deputation in Europe," and that
President Krüger's reply had been considered by a conference of the
Governments of both Republics, at which Chief-Commandant C. De Wet,
Commandant-General L. Botha, and Assistant-Commandant J. H. De la Rey
had presented a full report, the document continues:

     "And considering the good progress in our cause in the colonies,
     where our brothers oppose the cruel injustice done to the
     Republics more and more in depriving them of their independence,
     considering further the invaluable personal and material
     sacrifices they [the Colonial Dutch] have made for our cause,
     which would all be worthless and vain with a peace whereby the
     independence of the Republics is given up ... [it is resolved]
     that no peace will be made ... by which our independence and
     national existence, or the interests of our colonial brothers,
     shall be the price paid, and that the war will be vigorously

         [Footnote 254: Cd. 663.]

[Sidenote: Afrikander statesmanship.]

It is impossible to withhold a tribute of admiration from the
Afrikander nationalist leaders. The qualities of statesmanship that
enabled a Cavour or a Bismarck to make a nation were theirs. From the
apparent hopelessness of the position created by Lord Roberts's swift
and overwhelming victories, they had brought round their affairs to
the point at which they now stood. The task which confronted the
Imperial troops was no longer to disarm the inhabitants of the
Republics, but to disarm and subdue practically the entire Dutch
population of South Africa. And to the military difficulties inherent
in the accomplishment of such a task in such a country, they had added
the opposition of political forces operating both in England and South
Africa with scarcely less embarrassing effects. Had it been merely an
affair of the island people and the island statesmen, the Bond might
still have won. The courage and endurance of the Imperial troops alone
would not have saved South Africa. The army was the instrument of the
people, and it was for the people to make use of this instrument, or
to withdraw it, as they chose. But the over-sea British claimed a
voice in the settlement; and the Bond had no friends among them. The
"younger nations" and the "man" at Capetown saved South Africa for the

Before we proceed to consider the broad features of the military
operations by which the disarmament of the Dutch was at length
accomplished, a reference must be made to the account of the general
situation in South Africa addressed by Lord Milner to Mr. Chamberlain
from Capetown on February 6th, 1901. Among all the notable documents
which he furnished to his official chief, none affords more convincing
evidence of cool judgment, mastery of South African conditions, and
sureness of statecraft than this. It is a letter, and not a despatch,
and as such it contains some personal details which would not have
found a place in more formal communications.

[Sidenote: Lord Milner's survey.]

Two reasons, Lord Milner writes, have prevented him from sending for a
long time past any general review of South African affairs. "I am
occupied," he says, "every day that passes from morning till night by
business, all of which is urgent, and the amount and variety of which
you are doubtless able to judge from the communications on a great
variety of subjects which are constantly passing between us." And in
addition to this, he has always hoped that "some definite point would
be reached, at which it might be possible to sum up that chapter of
our history which contained the war, and to forecast the work of
administrative construction which must succeed it." Now, however, it
is useless to wait longer for a "clear and clean-cut" situation.
Although he has not "the slightest doubt of the ultimate result," he
foresees that the work which still lies before the Imperial troops
will be "slower, more difficult, more harassing, and more expensive
than was at one time anticipated."

     "It is no use denying that the last half-year has been one of
     retrogression. Seven months ago this Colony was perfectly quiet,
     at least as far as the Orange River. The southern half of the
     Orange River Colony was rapidly settling down, and even a
     considerable portion of the Transvaal, notably the south-western
     districts, seemed to have definitely accepted British authority,
     and to rejoice at the opportunity of a return to orderly
     government and the pursuits of peace. To-day the scene is
     completely altered."

The "increased losses to the country," due to the prolongation of the
struggle and to the guerilla methods adopted by the Boer leaders, are

     "The fact that the enemy are now broken up into a great number of
     small forces, raiding in every direction, and that our troops are
     similarly broken up in pursuit of them, makes the area of actual
     fighting, and consequently of destruction, much wider than it
     would be in the case of a conflict between equal numbers
     operating in large masses. Moreover, the fight is now mainly over
     supplies. The Boers live entirely on the country through which
     they pass, not only taking all the food they can lay hands upon
     on the farms--grain, forage, horses, cattle, etc., but looting
     the small village stores for clothes, boots, coffee, sugar, etc.,
     of all of which they are in great need. Our forces, on their
     side, are compelled to denude the country of everything moveable,
     in order to frustrate these tactics of the enemy. No doubt a
     considerable amount of the stock taken by us is not wholly lost,
     but simply removed to the refugee camps, which are now being
     established at many points along the railway lines. But even
     under these circumstances the loss is great, through animals
     dying on the route, or failing to find sufficient grass to live
     upon when collected in large numbers at the camps. Indeed, the
     loss of crops and stock is a far more serious matter than the
     destruction of farm buildings, of which so much has been heard."

And to this loss incidental to the campaign there has been added
recently "destruction of a wholly wanton and malicious character."
This is the injury done to the mining plant in the outlying districts
of the Rand by the Boer raiders, a destruction for which there is no
possible excuse.

     "It has no reason or justification in connection with military
     operations, but is pure vandalism, and outside the scope of
     civilised warfare.... Directly or indirectly, all South Africa,
     including the agricultural population, owes its prosperity to the
     mines, and, of course, especially to the mines of the Transvaal.
     To money made in mining it is indebted for such progress, even in
     agriculture, as it has recently made, and the same source will
     have to be relied upon for the recuperation of agriculture after
     the ravages of war.

     "Fortunately the damage done to the mines has not been large,
     relatively to the vast total amount of the fixed capital sunk in
     them. The mining area is excessively difficult to guard against
     purely predatory attacks having no military purpose, because it
     is, so to speak, 'all length and no breadth'--one long thin line,
     stretching across the country from east to west for many miles.
     Still, garrisoned as Johannesburg now is, it is only possible
     successfully to attack a few points in it. Of the raids hitherto
     made, and they have been fairly numerous, only one has resulted
     in any serious damage. In that instance the injury done to the
     single mine attacked amounted to £200,000, and it is estimated
     that the mine is put out of working for two years. This mine is
     only one out of a hundred, and is not by any means one of the
     most important. These facts may afford some indication of the
     ruin which might have been inflicted, not only on the Transvaal
     and all South Africa, but on many European interests, if that
     general destruction of mine works which was contemplated just
     before our occupation of Johannesburg had been carried out.
     However serious in some respects may have been the military
     consequences of our rapid advance to Johannesburg, South Africa
     owes more than is commonly recognised to that brilliant dash
     forward, by which the vast mining apparatus, the foundation of
     all her wealth, was saved from the ruin threatening it."

[Sidenote: Material destruction.]

As the result of the last six or seven months of destructive warfare,
"a longer period of recuperation will be required than was originally
anticipated." At the same time, Lord Milner points out that, with
Kimberley and the Rand, the "main engines of prosperity," virtually
undamaged, the economic consequences of the war, "though grave, do not
appear by any means appalling."

     "The country population will need a good deal of help, first to
     preserve it from starvation, and then, probably, to supply it
     with a certain amount of capital to make a fresh start. And the
     great industry of the country will need some little time before
     it is able to render any assistance. But, in a young country with
     great recuperative powers, it will not take many years before the
     economic ravages of the war are effaced."

He then turns to consider the "moral effect" of the recrudescence of
the war, which is, in his opinion, more serious than the mere material
destruction of the last six months. In the middle of 1900 the feeling
in the Orange River Colony and the western districts of the Transvaal
was "undoubtedly pacific."

     "The inhabitants were sick of the war. They were greatly
     astonished, after all that had been dinned into them, by the fair
     and generous treatment they received on our first occupation, and
     it would have taken very little to make them acquiesce readily in
     the new régime. At that time, too, the feeling in the Colony was
     better than I have ever known it."

[Sidenote: Recrudescence of the war.]

If it had been possible to screen those portions of the conquered
territories which were fast settling down to peaceful pursuits from
the incursions of the enemy still in the field, the worst results of
the guerilla war might have been avoided. But the "vast extent of the
country, and the necessity of concentrating our forces for the long
advance, first to Pretoria and then to Komati Poort," made this
impossible. The Boer leaders raided the country already occupied, but
now left exposed; and, encouraged by the small successes thus easily
obtained, the commandos reappeared first in the south-east of the
Orange River Colony, then in the south-west of the Transvaal, and
finally in every portion of the conquered territory.

Those among the burgher population who desired to submit to British
rule now found themselves in a position of great difficulty.

     "Instead of being made prisoners of war, they had been allowed to
     remain on their farms on taking the oath of neutrality, and many
     of them were really anxious to keep it. But they had not the
     strength of mind, nor, from want of education, a sufficient
     appreciation of the sacredness of the obligation which they had
     undertaken, to resist the pressure of their old companions in
     arms when these reappeared among them appealing to their
     patriotism and to their fears. In a few weeks or months the very
     men whom we had spared and treated with exceptional leniency were
     up in arms again, justifying their breach of faith in many cases
     by the extraordinary argument that we had not preserved them from
     the temptation to commit it.

     "The general rising at the back of our advanced forces naturally
     led to the return of a number of our troops, and to a straggling
     conflict not yet concluded, in which the conduct of our own
     troops, naturally enough, was not characterised by the same
     leniency to the enemy which marked our original conquest. We did
     not, indeed, treat the men who had broken parole with the same
     severity with which I believe any other nation would have
     treated them. Entitled as we were by the universally recognised
     rules of war to shoot the men who, having once been prisoners in
     our hands and having been released on a distinct pledge to
     abstain from further part in the war, had once more taken up arms
     against us, we never in a single instance availed ourselves of
     that right. But as our columns swept through the revolted
     country, meeting on every hand with hostility, and even with
     treachery, on the part of the people whom we had spared, no doubt
     in some cases the innocent suffered with the guilty. Men who had
     actually kept faith with us were, in some instances, made
     prisoners of war, or saw their property destroyed, simply because
     it was impossible to distinguish between them and the greater
     number who had broken faith. This, no doubt, resulted in further
     accessions to the ranks of the enemy. And this tendency was
     augmented by the evacuation, necessary for military reasons, of a
     number of places, such as Fauresmith, Jagersfontein, and
     Smithfield, which we had held for months, and in which we had
     actually established a reasonably satisfactory civil
     administration. Latterly, something has been done to check the
     general demoralisation, and to afford places of refuge for those
     willing to submit, by establishing camps along the railway lines
     to which burghers may take themselves, their families, and their
     stock for protection. No doubt this is a very inadequate
     substitute for the effectual defence of whole districts.
     Consequently the camps are mostly tenanted by women and children
     whose male relatives are, in many cases, in the field against us.
     But, as far as it goes, it is a good measure, and there can be no
     doubt that, whenever we succeed in striking a decisive blow at
     any of the numerous commandos roaming about the country, a good
     many of their less willing members will find their way to one or
     other of these camps in order to avoid further fighting."

As the guerilla warfare thus swept back over the new colonies, the
Dutch in the Cape Colony, who at one time, about the middle of the
preceding year (1900), had seemed disposed to acquiesce in the union
of all South Africa under the British flag, became once more restless
and embittered.

[Sidenote: A carnival of mendacity.]

     "Every act of harshness, however necessary, on the part of our
     troops, was exaggerated and made the most of, though what
     principally inflamed the minds of the people were alleged
     instances of needless cruelty which never occurred. Never in my
     life have I read of, much less experienced, such a carnival of
     mendacity as that which accompanied the pro-Boer agitation in
     this Colony at the end of last year. And these libels still
     continue to make themselves felt. It is true that excitement has
     subsided somewhat during the last two months, partly because some
     of the worst inventions about the conduct of the British troops
     have been exposed and utterly discredited, and partly because the
     general introduction of martial law has tended greatly to check
     seditious writing and speaking. But even now the general feeling
     in most of the country districts is very bad, and the commandos
     which invaded the Colony in December and have been roaming about
     ever since, while they have not gained many adherents among the
     colonial farmers, have nevertheless enjoyed the very substantial
     aid which the sympathy of the majority of the inhabitants was
     able to give them, in supporting themselves, obtaining fresh
     supplies of food and horses, and evading the forces sent in
     pursuit of them."

Of the general attitude of the Cape Dutch at this time Lord Milner
writes with the lenient judgment of complete understanding:

     "I am satisfied by experience that the majority of those Dutch
     inhabitants of the Colony who sympathise with the Republics,
     however little they may be able to resist giving active
     expression to that sympathy when the enemy actually appear
     amongst them, do not desire to see their own districts invaded or
     to find themselves personally placed in the awkward dilemma of
     choosing between high treason and an unfriendly attitude to the
     men of their own race from beyond the border. There are
     extremists who would like to see the whole of the Cape Colony
     overrun. But the bulk of the farmers, especially the substantial
     ones, are not of this mind. They submit readily enough even to
     stringent regulations having for their object the prevention of
     the spread of invasion. And not a few of them are, perhaps,
     secretly glad that the prohibition of seditious speaking and
     writing, of political meetings, and of the free movement of
     political firebrands through the country enables them to keep
     quiet, without actually themselves taking a strong line against
     the propaganda, and, to do them justice, they behave reasonably
     well under the pass and other regulations necessary for that
     purpose, as long as care is taken not to make these regulations
     too irksome to them in the conduct of their business, or in their
     daily lives.

     "That there has been an invasion at all is no doubt due to the
     weakness of some of the Dutch colonists in tolerating, or
     supporting, the violent propaganda, which could not but lead the
     enemy to believe that they had only to come into the Colony in
     order to meet with general active support. But this was a
     miscalculation on the part of the enemy, though a very pardonable
     one. They knew the vehemence of the agitation in their favour as
     shown by the speeches in Parliament, the series of public
     meetings culminating in the Worcester Congress, the writings of
     the Dutch Press, the very general wearing of the republican
     colours, the singing of the Volkslied, and so forth, and they
     regarded these demonstrations as meaning more than they actually
     did. Three things were forgotten. Firstly, that a great
     proportion of the Afrikanders in the Colony who really meant
     business had slipped away and joined the republican ranks long
     ago. Secondly, that the abortive rebellion of a year ago had left
     the people of the border districts disinclined to repeat the
     experiment of a revolt. Thirdly, that owing to the precautionary
     measures of the Government the amount of arms and ammunition in
     the hands of the country population throughout the greater part
     of the Colony is not now anything like as large as it usually is,
     and far smaller than it was a year ago."

[Sidenote: British population in arms.]

In these circumstances the object to be aimed at is to screen off as
much of the country as possible from raids. But the Cape Colony is
considerably larger in area than France and the United Kingdom put
together; it has "an immense length of frontier that can be crossed
anywhere," and "exceedingly primitive means of communication." The
exclusion of mobile guerilla bands from across the frontier is,
therefore, "something of an impossibility." There is one method, and
one only, by which "the game of the invaders can be frustrated." It is
to provide each district with the means of defending itself. And so a
local defence force has been formed in all districts, with the
exception of those--happily the least important in the Colony--in
which the population is extremely small and the loyalists are very

     "In the other districts, the response on the part of the British
     population to the general call to arms recently made by the
     Ministry has been better than the most sanguine expected. It was
     always admitted, by their friends and foes alike, that the bulk
     of the Afrikander population would never take up arms on the side
     of the British Government in this quarrel, even for local
     defence. The appeal was, therefore, virtually directed to the
     British population, mostly townspeople, and to a small, but no
     doubt very strong and courageous, minority of the Afrikanders who
     have always been loyalists. These classes had been already
     immensely drawn on by the Cape police, the regular volunteer
     corps, and the numerous irregular mounted corps which had been
     called into existence because of the war. There must have been
     twelve thousand Cape Colonists under arms before the recent
     appeal, and, as things are now going, we shall get as many more
     under that appeal--a truly remarkable achievement under a purely
     voluntary system. The fact that, if the war continues for a few
     months longer, so large a number of the South African British
     will be under arms (for, it must be remembered, in addition to
     the Cape colonists we have about one thousand Rhodesians, and, I
     should say, at least ten thousand Uitlanders) is one that cannot
     be left out of account in considering either the present
     imbroglio or the settlement after peace is restored.

     "It is, indeed, calculated to exercise a most important and, I
     believe, beneficial influence upon the South African politics of
     the future. Among the principal causes of the trouble of the
     past and present was the contempt felt by the Afrikander
     countryman, used to riding and shooting, and generally in
     possession of a good rifle and plenty of cartridges, for other
     white men less habituated to arms than he was himself. That
     feeling can hardly survive the experience of the past twelve
     months, and especially of the last six weeks. The splendid
     fighting of the despised Johannesburgers of the Imperial Light
     Horse, and of the other South African Colonial Corps, has become
     a matter of history, and the present _levée en masse_ of the
     British people, including the townsmen, of this Colony, is proof
     positive that when the necessity is really felt they are equal to
     the best in courage and public spirit. In this respect the events
     of the past few months, unfortunate as they have been in many
     ways, have undoubtedly their brighter side. The mutual respect of
     the two principal white races is the first condition of a healthy
     political life in the South Africa of the future. It is possible
     that if the extreme strain of the most recent developments of the
     war had never been felt throughout Cape Colony, the British
     inhabitants would never have had the opportunity of showing that
     they were inferior to none in their willingness to bear all the
     burdens of citizenship, including that of personal service."

[Sidenote: Remember the loyalists.]

And Lord Milner urges that in the future England should not forget
that there are loyalists in South Africa as well as Boers; and that
the loyalists are Dutch as well as British.

     "The important part now played, even from the purely military
     point of view, by the South African loyalists ought, as it seems
     to me, to have a good effect not only in South Africa but in
     England. The inherent vice, if I may say so, of almost all
     public discussion of our South African difficulties is the
     tendency to concentrate attention too exclusively on the Boers.
     Say what we will, the controversy always seems to relapse into
     the old ruts--it is the British Government on the one hand and
     the Boers on the other. The question how a particular policy will
     affect not merely our enemies, but our now equally numerous
     friends, seems seldom to be adequately considered. And yet it
     would seem that justice and policy alike should lead us to be as
     eager to consider the feelings and interests, and to retain the
     loyalty, of those who are fighting on our side, as to disarm the
     present enmity and win the future confidence of those who are
     fighting against us. And this principle would seem all the easier
     to adhere to because there is really nothing which the great body
     of the South African loyalists desire which it is not for the
     honour and advantage of the mother country to insist upon.

     "Of vindictiveness, or desire to oppress the Afrikanders, there
     is, except in hasty utterances inevitable in the heat of the
     conflict, which have no permanent significance, or in tirades
     which are wholly devoid of influence, no sign whatever. The
     attitude of almost all leading and representative men, and the
     general trend of public feeling among the loyalists, even in the
     intensity of the struggle, is dead against anything like racial
     exclusiveness or domination. If this were not so it would be
     impossible for a section of pure-bred Afrikanders, small no doubt
     in numbers but weighty in character and position, to take the
     strong line which they do in opposition to the views of the
     majority of their own people, based as these are, and as they
     know them to be, upon a misconception of our policy and
     intentions. These men are among the most devoted adherents to the
     Imperial cause, and would regard with more disfavour and alarm
     than any one the failure of the British nation to carry out its
     avowed policy in the most complete manner. They are absolutely
     convinced that the unquestioned establishment of British
     supremacy, and the creation of one political system from Capetown
     to the Zambesi, is, after all that has happened, the only
     salvation for men of their own race, as well as for others."

[Sidenote: "One Country, One Flag."]

And, in conclusion, he writes of the "predominant, indeed the almost
unanimous, feeling of those South Africans who sympathise with the
Imperial Government," that--

     "they are sick to death of the war, which has brought ruin to
     many of them, and imposed considerable sacrifices on almost all.
     But they would rather see the war continue for an indefinite time
     than run the risk of any compromise which would leave even the
     remotest chance of the recurrence of so terrible a scourge in the
     future. They are prepared to fight and suffer on in order to make
     South Africa, indisputably and for ever, one country under one
     flag, with one system of government, and that system the British,
     which they believe to ensure the highest possible degree of
     justice and freedom to men of all races."

In this luminous review of what Lord Milner terms "if by no means the
most critical, possibly the most puzzling" state of affairs since the
outbreak of the war, it will be observed that he puts the time
required by South Africa to recover from the economic ravages of the
war at "not many years." In point of fact, two and a half years after
the surrender of Vereeniging nothing remained but the scattered
graveyards upon the veld, the empty tins still tinkling upon the wire
fences by the railways, and an occasional blockhouse, to remind the
traveller of the devastating struggle from which the country had so
recently emerged. This estimate of the period of recuperation affords
a measure of the magnitude of Lord Milner's achievement in the three
concluding years of his administration. For the rest, we look in vain
for any trace of bitterness, or even of partisanship, in his frank and
penetrating analysis. It is the survey of a man who is completely
master of the situation; who is absolutely convinced of the justice of
the British cause; who has no illusions and no fears.

[Sidenote: Feeding the enemy.]

With the circumstances in which the burghers were induced by their
leaders to continue, or renew, their resistance to the Imperial troops
before us, both the long duration of the guerilla war, and the methods
by which it was finally brought to a close, become easily
intelligible. At the same time it must not be forgotten that, from a
purely military point of view, the relapse of the conquered
territories into war was due to the insufficiency of British troops.
By the end of April, 1900, as we have noticed before, all the reserves
of the regular army had been exhausted; and, in addition to this, at
the end of twelve months' service a considerable proportion of the
Home and over-sea auxiliaries left South Africa to return to civil
life. Had there been a sufficient number of trained soldiers to
occupy effectively the Boer Republics, the war would not have swept
back through them and over their borders into the Colony. Even so, the
actual number of British troops in South Africa under Lord Roberts's
command would have sufficed to subjugate the Boers, had the British
military authorities employed the severe methods of warfare to which
any other belligerent would have had recourse under the like
conditions--methods of merciful severity which were employed, in fact,
by the Union forces in the civil war in America.[255] But, by the
irony of fate, the humane methods of the British, in the absence of a
practically unlimited supply of trained troops, made the revival of
hostilities possible on the part of the Boers, and thereby created the
necessity for the employment of those more rigorous, but, by
comparison, still humane and generous methods, in respect of which the
charge of inhumanity was brought against Great Britain by the friends
of the Boers in England and on the continent of Europe. No one will
maintain that it is a part of the duty of a belligerent to support the
non-combatant population of the enemy. Yet this duty was voluntarily
assumed throughout the war by the British military authorities, who,
from the occupation of Bloemfontein onwards, fed the non-combatant
Boer population as well as they fed their own troops.

         [Footnote 255: _E.g._ those employed by General Sherman in
         his march to the Sea, through Georgia, in the latter part of

[Sidenote: Lord Kitchener's task.]

An incident that happened after the occupation of Pretoria exhibits
the remarkable generosity of the British attitude. At a time when,
owing to the Boer attacks upon the railway, the utmost difficulty was
experienced in getting supplies from the thousand-miles'-distant base
at the coast, Lord Roberts was compelled to send away a part of the
civilian population to General Botha, and they were removed by the
Boer Commandant-General to Barberton. That is to say, while the
British, on the one hand, were giving part of the supplies on which
the existence of their troops depended, to the non-combatant
population of the enemy, the enemy, on the other hand, was doing his
utmost to destroy the single line of railway which alone stood between
the British Army and starvation. When, therefore, Lord Kitchener
succeeded to the command of the British forces in South Africa
(November 29th, 1900), he found the task of disarmament complicated by
two factors. There was the desire of the Home Government that the war
should be conducted upon the humane lines hitherto adopted, and there
was also the fact that the Imperial troops were not numerous enough to
occupy effectively the whole territory of the Republics, or, in other
words, to do the one thing of all others necessary to make this humane
conduct of the war consistent with military success. It was
impossible, with the troops at his disposal, for Lord Kitchener to
hold the enormous territory of the conquered Republics. It was
impossible, perhaps, to support a larger force in a country so poorly
provided with food supplies and means of communication. An
alternative plan had to be found. This plan was to remove the horses,
cattle, and food supplies from the areas which he was unable to
occupy, and to transport the non-combatant inhabitants to places where
they could be both fed and protected. And, when this had been
done--or, more correctly, while it was in process of being done--he
had to capture the small, mobile bodies of burghers operating over the
whole of the unprotected area of the late Republics and the Cape
Colony, and to collect gradually the fighting Boers, captured or
surrendered, into the colonial or over-sea prisoners' camps.

Certain districts, of which those surrounding the towns of Kimberley,
Bloemfontein, Pretoria, and Johannesburg were the more important, had
from the first been effectively occupied and securely held. All the
troops at Lord Kitchener's disposal, that were not absorbed in the
work of garrisoning these districts and maintaining the lines of
communication, were organised into mobile columns, which were
distributed among General Officers respectively attached to a
particular area. In a despatch of July 8th, 1901, Lord Kitchener was
able to report that, as the result of the recent work of these mobile
columns, the Boers, although "still able, in case of emergency, to
concentrate a considerable number of men," were, in his opinion,
"unable to undertake any large scheme of operations." Apart from the
heavy drain from prisoners captured and deaths in the field, the loss
of their ox-waggons had seriously affected their mobility and supply

     "Divided up into small parties of three to four hundred men," he
     writes, "they are scattered all over the country without plans
     and without hope, and on the approach of our troops they
     disperse, to reassemble in the same neighbourhood when our men
     pass on. In this way they continue an obstinate resistance
     without retaining anything, or defending the smallest portion of
     this vast country."

He estimates that there are not more than 13,500[256] Boers in the
field in the Transvaal, the Orange River Colony, and the Cape Colony.
But he adds that--

         [Footnote 256: This estimate was very much too small: at the
         Vereeniging surrender, when many thousands more of Boers had
         been captured or killed 21,256 burghers and rebels laid down
         their arms. Cd. 988.]

     "with long lines of railway to hold, every yard of which has to
     be defended, both to secure our own civil and military supplies,
     and, what is more important, to prevent the enemy from obtaining
     necessaries from the capture of our trains, the employment of
     large numbers of troops continues to be a necessity.... The Boer
     party who declared war have quitted the field, and are now urging
     those whom they deserted to continue a useless struggle by giving
     lying assurances to the ignorant burghers of outside assistance,
     and by raising absurdly deceitful hopes that Great Britain has
     not sufficient endurance to see the matter through."[257]

         [Footnote 257: Cd. 695.]

But it had become evident that some more systematic effort was
required for the capture of the commandos, unless the slow task of
wearing down the Boer resistance was to be almost indefinitely
protracted; and this same month of July, 1901, witnessed the extension
of the blockhouse lines, which proved the turning-point in the
guerilla war. The origin of Lord Kitchener's system of blockhouse
defence is described by him in his despatch of August 8th, 1901.

[Sidenote: The blockhouse system.]

     "Experience had shown," he writes, "that the line of defensible
     posts, extending across the Orange River Colony, from Jacobsdal
     to Ladybrand, constituted a considerable obstacle to the free
     movement of the enemies' roving bands, and that the gradual
     completion of chains of blockhouses placed at intervals of a
     mile, sometimes less, along the Transvaal and Orange River Colony
     railways, had obtained for our traffic a comparative security
     which it had not previously enjoyed."[258]

         [Footnote 258: Cd. 820.]

In July, therefore, Lord Kitchener made arrangements for the
construction of three additional lines of blockhouses. The first ran
from Aliwal North westward, following the course of the Orange River, to
Bethulie, and was continued thence alongside the railway through
Stormberg, Rosmead, Naauwpoort, and De Aar, northward to Kimberley. The
second commenced at Frederickstad and ran northward by the source of the
Mooi River to Breed's Nek in the Magaliesberg, from which point it was
connected with the British garrison at Commando Nek, and thus screened
the western side of the Pretoria and Johannesburg area. The third,
running from Eerste Fabriken in the north, by Springs and Heidelberg,
southward to the Vaal River, protected the same district from attack
upon the east. These new blockhouse lines, Lord Kitchener wrote,
promised to be of much assistance in the future. Not only did they
protect the British communications, and render inter-communication
between the different portions of the Boer forces difficult, but, in the
absence of frontiers, natural or artificial, they served as barriers
against which the British mobile columns were able to drive bands of the
enemy and force them to surrender. Indeed, the blockhouse lines proved
the chief instrument of success; for with the gradual extension of the
system, the area of active hostilities was confined in an increasing
degree to the vast half-deserted regions through which the commandos
roamed, and the British columns swept at intervals in pursuit of them.

A month later, August 8th, Lord Kitchener reported a further step in
advance. He had formed "some specially mobile columns for independent
and rapid action in different parts of the country, generally at some
distance from the operations of other troops." The commanders of these
new mobile columns had a free hand in respect of their movements,
since they were guided by the special intelligence, which they
themselves collected, and not solely by information from headquarters.
The effect produced by the development of the blockhouse system,
combined with the greater freedom of initiative allowed to the new
mobile columns, became apparent in the increasing number of Boers
captured or voluntarily surrendering themselves in the month of
August, when altogether more than two thousand of the enemy were
accounted for.[259] On the 7th of this month the delayed[260]
proclamation was issued, and a date--September 15th--was fixed as the
limit within which the guerilla leaders might, by voluntarily
surrendering, avoid certain penalties which were duly set out. In
order to counteract the effect of this action on the part of the
British Government, General Botha stimulated his followers to
increased military enterprise.

         [Footnote 259: There were 186 killed, 75 wounded, 1,384
         prisoners, 529 voluntary surrenders; while 930 rifles, 90,958
         rounds of ammunition, 1,332 waggons and carts, 13,570 horses,
         and 65,879 cattle were captured. Cd. 820.]

         [Footnote 260: See p. 420.]

     "But," says Lord Kitchener, "though there has been no general
     surrender, the device to which the Commandant-General resorted
     for turning the thoughts of his burghers in another direction has
     probably cost him and his cause [a heavier loss] than a simple
     pursuance of the usual evasive tactics would have even entailed."

[Sidenote: Large captures of Boers.]

The precise extent of this loss is shown in the returns for September,
which record captures and surrenders almost as numerous as those of
the preceding month.

     "It cannot be expected," Lord Kitchener adds, "even under the
     most favourable conditions, that in the presence of the
     ever-diminishing numbers opposing us in the field, these figures
     can be maintained, but I feel confident that so long as any
     resistance is continued, no exertion will be spared either by
     officers or men of this force to carry out the task they still
     have before them."[261]

         [Footnote 261: Cd. 820. The September returns were: 170 Boers
         killed in action, 114 wounded prisoners, 1,385 unwounded
         prisoners, and 1,393 surrenders.]

[Sidenote: The railway lines secured.]

In another month a position had been reached in which it was possible for
the work of administrative reconstruction--interrupted a year ago by the
development of the guerilla warfare--to be resumed. At this date
(November, 1901), the resistance of the Dutch population had been weakened
by the loss of 53,000 fighting Boers, of whom 42,000 were in British
custody, while the rest had been killed, wounded, or otherwise put out of
action. In the Transvaal 14,700 square miles, and in the Orange River
Colony 17,000 square miles of territory had been enclosed by blockhouse
lines. A square formed roughly by lines running respectively from
Klerksdorp to Zeerust on the west, from Zeerust to Middelburg on the
north, from Middelburg to Standerton on the east, and from Standerton to
Klerksdorp on the south, enclosing Pretoria and the Rand, was the
protected area of the Transvaal. The whole of the Orange River Colony
south of the blockhouse line, Kimberley-Winberg-Bloemfontein-Ladybrand,
was also a protected area; and the Cape Colony, south of the main railway
lines, was similarly screened off. But an application of what may be
termed "the railway-cutting test" yields, perhaps, the most eloquent
testimony both to the magnitude of the original task undertaken by the
Imperial troops, and to the degree of success which had been obtained. In
October, 1900, the railway lines, upon which the British troops depended
for supplies of food and ammunition, were cut thirty-two times, or more
than once a day. The number of times in which they were cut in the
succeeding November was thirty; in December twenty-one; in January, 1901,
sixteen; in February, as the result of De Wet's invasion of the Cape
Colony, they were cut thirty times; in March eighteen; in April eighteen;
in May twelve; in June eight; in July four; in August four; in September
twice; and in October not at all. Still more significant of the approach
of peace was the fact that now, for the first time, the British population
was allowed to return to Johannesburg in any considerable numbers.[262]

         [Footnote 262: In August 648 refugees returned; in November
         the number had risen to 2,623.]

It remains to consider two questions which cannot be omitted from any
account; however brief, of the manner in which the disarmament of the
Dutch in South Africa was effected. The first of these is the charge
of inhumanity brought against the Imperial military authorities in
respect of the deportation of the Boer non-combatants to the Burgher
Camps; and the second is the actual effect produced upon the burghers
in the field by the public denunciations of the war by members of the
Liberal Opposition in England.

[Sidenote: The Burgher camps.]

In charging the British Government and Lord Kitchener with inhumanity
in the conduct of the war, Sir H. Campbell-Bannerman and other friends
of the Boer cause relied in the main upon the circumstance that a
certain proportion of the Boer population was removed compulsorily
from districts which the British troops were unable to occupy
effectively, and upon the further fact that the Burgher Camps
exhibited an unusually high rate of mortality. The necessity for the
removal of this non-combatant population will scarcely be disputed in
view of the methods adopted by the Boer leaders to compel the burghers
to continue their resistance to the Imperial troops, and the fact that
nearly every house in the Transvaal and Orange River Colony, inhabited
by the Dutch, served as an intelligence office, a recruiting depôt,
and a base of supplies for the roving commandos. Nor will it be denied
that the responsibility for the unnecessary suffering incurred by the
Boer people in the guerilla war rests upon those of the Boer leaders
who formed and enforced the decision to continue the struggle, and not
upon the British Government. The alleged "inhumanity," therefore, of
the Imperial military authorities consists in the circumstance that,
instead of leaving these helpless non-combatants to be supported by
the Boer leaders, they removed them to places of security, where they
were fed, housed, and generally maintained, in as little discomfort as
circumstances permitted. If the lesser suffering of the Burgher Camps
was the only alternative to greater suffering, and possibly
starvation, on the veld, the Boers had only their own leaders to thank
for the position in which they found themselves. The death-rate of the
Burgher Camps was exceptionally high as compared with that of any
ordinary European community. But the population of the camps was no
less exceptional. It consisted of women and children, with a small
proportion of adult males; and of all these the majority had come to
the camps as refugees, insufficiently clothed, weakened by exposure
and often by starvation. Obviously the death-rate of such a refugee
community would be much higher, under the most favourable conditions,
than that of an ordinary European town; and, in order to find a valid
point of comparison, we must seek statistics provided by similar
collections of refugees, brought together under the like exceptional
circumstances. We are unable to find any such parallel case, for the
sufficient reason that history records no other example of a nation at
war which, at the risk of impairing the efficiency of its own forces
in the field, has endeavoured, not merely to feed and clothe, but to
house, nurse, and even educate the non-combatant population of its

[Sidenote: Reduction of the death-rate.]

What we do know, however, is that, of the total deaths in these camps
of refuge, the great majority were those of infants and children.
This is a circumstance which in itself goes far to make the excess of
the camp death-rate apparent rather than real; since, in the first
place, the Boer mothers, owing to their insanitary habits and
ignorance,[263] are not accustomed to bring more than one out of every
two children to maturity; and in the second, the rate of infant
mortality is abnormally high, as compared with that of a given
community as a whole, even in the most highly developed countries. The
highest monthly death-rate was that of October, 1901, when, out of a
population of 112,109 in all camps, there were 3,205 deaths, or 344
per thousand per annum.[264] But of these deaths, 500 only (in round
numbers) were those of adults, and 2,700 were those of children. That
is to say, in this worst month we have in the refugee camps an adult
death-rate of (roughly) 50 per thousand, as compared with a European
death-rate varying from 16.7 in Norway to 33.2 in Hungary,[265] and a
children's death-rate of 300 per thousand, as compared with the 208
per thousand of the contemporary rate of infant mortality in
thirty-three great towns of the United Kingdom, or in Birkenhead alone
of 362 per thousand. And from this time forward the death-rate of the
refugee camps was rapidly reduced. The reason for this reduction is
significant. By the development of the blockhouse lines the British
military authorities had been enabled to protect their supplies from
the attacks of the guerilla leaders. In other words, Lord Kitchener
was now able to defend the Boer non-combatants against the efforts
made by their own leaders to deprive them of food and other
necessaries of life. And ultimately the mortality in the Burgher Camps
was reduced to a point "much below the normal rates under ordinary
local circumstances."[266]

         [Footnote 263: For the grotesque, repulsive, and even fatal
         remedies employed by the Boer women in the treatment of their
         children in sickness, the reader is referred to the medical
         reports on the condition of the refugee camps published in
         the Blue-book.]

         [Footnote 264: The figures are those given by Miss Hobhouse,
         as based upon the official returns (_The Brunt of the War_,
         pp. 329-31).]

         [Footnote 265: _I.e._ annual per 1,000 on a basis of 25 years

         [Footnote 266: Cd. 1,163, p. 159. See also _ibid._, p. 151,
         and p. 178. Lord Kitchener's reply to the official Boer
         complaint against the system of the Burgher Camps (made by
         Acting President Schalk Burger), is as follows:

              "Numerous complaints were made to me in the early part
              of this year (1901), by surrendered burghers, who stated
              that after they laid down their arms their families were
              ill-treated, and their stock and property confiscated by
              order of the Commandant-Generals of the Transvaal and
              Orange Free State. These acts appear to have been taken
              in consequence of the circular dated Roos Senekal, 6th
              November, 1900, in which the Commandant-General says:
              'Do everything in your power to prevent the burghers
              laying down their arms. I will be compelled, if they do
              not listen to this, to confiscate everything movable or
              immovable, and also to burn their houses.'

              "I took occasion, at my interview with
              Commandant-General Louis Botha (February 28th, 1901), to
              bring this matter before him, and I told him that if he
              continued such acts I should be forced to bring in all
              women and children, and as much property as possible, to
              protect them from the acts of his burghers. I further
              inquired if he would agree to spare the farms and
              families of neutral or surrendered burghers, in which
              case I expressed my willingness to leave undisturbed the
              farms and families of burghers who were on commando,
              provided they did not actively assist their relatives.
              The Commandant-General emphatically refused even to
              consider any such arrangement. He said: 'I am entitled
              by law to force every man to join, and if they do not do
              so to confiscate their property, and leave their
              families on the veld.' I asked him what course I could
              pursue to protect surrendered burghers and their
              families, and he then said, 'The only thing you can do,
              is to send them out of the country, as if I catch them
              they must suffer.' After this there was nothing more to
              be said, and as military operations do not permit of the
              protection of individuals, I had practically no choice
              but to continue my system of bringing inhabitants of
              certain areas into the protection of our lines. My
              decision was conveyed to the Commandant-General in my
              official letter, dated Pretoria, 16th April, 1901, from
              which the following is an extract:

              "'As I informed your Honour at Middelburg, owing to the
              irregular manner in which you have conducted and
              continue to conduct hostilities, by forcing unwilling
              and peaceful inhabitants to join your Commandos, a
              proceeding totally unauthorised by the recognised
              customs of war, I have no other course open to me, and
              am forced to take the very unpleasant and repugnant
              steps of bringing in the women and children.

              "'I have the greatest sympathy for the sufferings of
              these poor people, which I have done my best to
              alleviate, and it is a matter of surprise to me and to
              the whole civilised world, that your Honour considers
              yourself justified in still causing so much suffering to
              the people of the Transvaal, by carrying on a hopeless
              and useless struggle.'

              "From the foregoing, it will, I believe, be perfectly
              clear that the responsibility for the action complained
              of by Mr. Burger (the so-styled Acting State President
              of the Transvaal), rests rather with the
              Commandants-General of the Transvaal and Orange Free
              State, than with the Commander-in-Chief of the forces in
              South Africa....

              "It is not the case that every area has been cleared of
              the families of burghers, although this might be
              inferred from the despatch under discussion. On the
              contrary, very large numbers of women and children are
              still out, either in Boer Camps or on their farms, and
              my Column Commanders have orders to leave them alone,
              unless it is clear that they must starve if they are
              left out upon the veld....

              "Finally, I indignantly and entirely deny the
              accusations of rough and cruel treatment of women and
              children who were being brought in from their farms to
              the camp. Hardships may have been sometimes inseparable
              from the process, but the Boer women in our hands
              themselves bear the most eloquent testimony to the
              kindness and consideration shown to them by our soldiers
              on all such occasions."

         With this statement it is interesting to compare Sir Henry
         Campbell-Bannerman's words at Bath, November 20th, 1901:

              "Is our hypocrisy so great that we actually flatter
              ourselves upon our great humanity, because we have saved
              from starvation those whose danger of starvation we have
              caused?... The hypocrisy of these excuses is almost more
              loathsome than the cruelty itself.... We have set
              ourselves to punish this country, to reduce it
              apparently to ruin, because it has ventured to make war
              against us."

         Truly an extraordinary attitude for a future Prime Minister
         of England!]

The charge of prolonging the war by public declarations of sympathy
with the enemy[267] was definitely formulated against certain members
of the Liberal Opposition and the Irish Nationalist party by Lord St.
Aldwyn (Sir Michael Hicks Beach), at Oldham on October 10th, 1901.

         [Footnote 267: What was even worse than such declarations of
         sympathy with the Boers was the manifestation of hostility
         against the loyalist population of South Africa. _E.g._ Sir
         William Harcourt (in a letter in _The Times_ of December
         17th, 1900), wrote: "I sometimes think that those bellicose
         gentlemen--especially those who do not fight--must
         occasionally cast longing, lingering looks towards the times
         before they were subsidised (_sic_) by the authors of the
         Raid to bring about the position in which they now find

[Sidenote: Why the war was prolonged.]

     "The real cause of the prolongation of this war has been
     something which, on my word, I believe could never have been seen
     in any other country in the world. It has been the speeches in
     Parliament of British members of the House of Commons, doing
     everything they could against their country and in favour of her
     enemies. It has been articles in certain journals taking
     absolutely the same lines--I am not talking of mere attacks on
     his Majesty's Government, or even calumnies of individual
     ministers, that is part of the ordinary machinery of political
     warfare, and one of the advantages of an absolutely free Press.
     No, what I am talking of is the prominence given to the opinions
     and sentiments of men who were called Pro-Boers, as if they
     represented the feelings of a large section of their
     fellow-countrymen. The invention of lies, like the alleged
     quarrel between Lord Kitchener and the War Office, was intended
     to damage this country in the conduct of the war, as was also the
     wicked charges made against the humanity of our generals and our
     soldiers in the Concentration Camps and in the field, the
     attempts, such as I saw only the other day in one of these
     papers, to prove that in those gallant contests at Fort
     Itala[268] and on the borders of Natal our soldiers had not
     repulsed their enemies, but were themselves the defeated party.
     We here do not attach any importance to those things. We rate
     them at their true value because we know something about their
     authors--but what do you think is thought of them when they go
     out to South Africa? What do the Boers and their leaders think
     when they read the newspapers written in England which are full
     of these things? The Boers have many faults, but they are a
     simple and patriotic people. They never can imagine that English
     newspapers would print these things, that English members of
     Parliament would speak them, taking always the side of their
     country's enemies, unless these things were true. They are
     deceived. They greedily swallow all this as representing the
     opinion of a great section of the public in this country, and
     those who have said these things and those who have circulated
     them are the parties who are guilty before God of prolonging this
     war. There are the Irish Nationalists. Let me read to you words
     which I heard with the greatest pain in the last session of
     Parliament from the leader of the Irish Nationalists, a man of
     consummate eloquence and perfect self-control. What did Mr. John
     Redmond say? He prayed God that the resistance of the Boers might
     be strengthened, and that South Africa might take vengeance for
     its wrongs by separating itself from the Empire which had deluged
     it with blood, and become a free and independent nation. We in
     England pass over words of that sort, though I believe they would
     not have been uttered with impunity by a member of the
     Legislative Assembly of any other country in the world."

         [Footnote 268: September 26th, 1901. See Cd. 820 for report
         of this action.]

[Sidenote: Campbell-Bannerman's reply.]

Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman's reply to the charge brought against him
by Lord St. Aldwyn, and subsequently by Lord Salisbury,[269] is
contained in the words following, which were spoken by him at
Plymouth, on November 19th:

         [Footnote 269: Letter to Miss Milner, November 11th, 1901.
         See p. 416.]

     "Now I declare, ladies and gentlemen, for myself, that from first
     to last I have never uttered one syllable that could be twisted
     by any ingenuity into encouragement by the Boers. No, I have
     never even expressed ordinary pity for, or sympathy with them,
     because I did not wish to run the risk of being misunderstood.
     What I have done, and what I hope I shall continue to do, is to
     denounce the stupidity of the way in which the Government were
     dealing with the Boers."

There is only one method by which the amazing effrontery of this
denial can be sufficiently exhibited. It is to place underneath it
quotations from speeches delivered by Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman
himself at Stirling on October 25th, by Mr. Thomas Shaw, M.P., at
Galashiels on October 14th, and by Mr. E. Robertson, M.P., at Dundee
on October 16th, as printed in the "Official Organ of the Orange Free
State Government," dated September 21st, 1901, a copy of which was
found in a Boer laager on the veld. The extracts selected are these:

Sir H. Campbell-Bannerman:

     "The whole country in the two belligerent States, outside the
     mining towns, is a howling wilderness. The farms are burned, the
     country is wasted. The flocks and herds are either butchered or
     driven off; the mills are destroyed, furniture and instruments of
     agriculture smashed. These things are what I have termed methods
     of barbarism. I adhere to the phrase. I cannot improve upon it.
     If these are not the methods of barbarism, what methods did
     barbarism employ?... My belief is that the mass of the British
     people ... do not desire to see a brave people subjugated or

Mr. Thomas Shaw, M.P.:

     "The war was unnecessary, and therefore unjust.... He wished he
     could agree that we were fighting in a just cause, that we had
     always fought according to acknowledged civilised methods; but as
     an honest man he could not do so."

Mr. Edmund Robertson, M.P.:

     "The victory of the Government (at the last General Election) had
     been the main cause of the prolongation of the war. If they had
     been defeated their successors would have been men with a free
     hand, and the Boers themselves might have been ready to make
     concessions, which they would not make, and had not made, to
     those whom they believed to be their enemies and persecutors. If
     the Empire was to be saved, the Government must be

         [Footnote 270: The facts are stated in a letter published in
         _The Times_ on March 10th, 1902.]

Can any human being of ordinary intelligence believe that these
passages, containing denunciations of the war, were circulated by
Ex-President Steyn for any other purpose than that of encouraging the
burghers to continue their resistance to the Imperial troops?

And to this evidence may be added the protest made by "An Old
Berliner" in _The Times_ of November 27th, 1901:

[Sidenote: "Methods of barbarism".]

     "What I want to impress upon your readers is the much more
     serious and, indeed, incalculable mischief done by the public
     utterances of responsible politicians, and, to take the most
     pernicious example of all, by the reckless language of Sir Henry
     Campbell-Bannerman. The words he uttered about England's methods
     of barbarism have been used ever since as the watchwords of
     England's detractors throughout the length and breadth of

         [Footnote 271: See also note, p. 399 (Extract from the
         _Vossische Zeitung_). The baseless and malevolent allegations
         of specific acts of inhumanity or outrage on the part of
         British soldiers, circulated by Boer sympathisers in England
         and on the continent of Europe, have been passed over in
         silence. For an exposure of these calumnies the reader is
         referred to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's _The War in South
         Africa_ (Smith, Elder). A record of the manner in which they
         were repudiated by the Boer population in South Africa will
         be found in Cd. 1, 163, pp. 99, 106-111, 113-121. Among those
         who protested were German subjects, and Germans who had
         become British subjects, resident in South Africa. Perhaps
         the most significant of all these protests is the resolution
         passed unanimously by the members of the Natal House of
         Assembly, all standing: "That this House desires to repudiate
         the false charges of inhumanity brought against His Majesty's
         Army by a section of the inhabitants of the continent of
         Europe and certain disloyal subjects within the British
         Isles, and this House places on record its deliberate
         conviction that the war in South Africa has been prosecuted
         by His Majesty's Government and Army upon lines of humanity
         and consideration for the enemy unparalleled in the history
         of nations."]



We have already noticed that arrangements were made in October, 1900,
under which the High Commissionership was to be separated from the
Governorship of the Cape Colony in order that Lord Milner might be
free to undertake the work of administrative reconstruction in the new
colonies. In pursuance of this decision of the Home Government, Lord
Milner became Administrator of the Transvaal and Orange River Colony
upon the departure of Lord Roberts (November 29th, 1900); but
circumstances did not permit him to resign the governorship of the
Cape Colony and remove to the Transvaal until three months later. The
new Governor of the Cape Colony was Sir Walter Hely-Hutchinson, who
was himself succeeded, as Governor of Natal, by Sir Henry E. McCallum;
and at the same time (March 1st, 1901), Sir H. (then Major)
Goold-Adams was appointed Deputy-Administrator of the Orange River
Colony, where he took over the duties hitherto discharged by General
Pretyman as Military Governor.

[Sidenote: Milner in the Transvaal.]

Lord Milner left Capetown to assume the administration of the new
colonies on February 28th, 1901. The incidents of his journey
northwards are illustrative alike of the state of South Africa at this
time, and of the varied responsibilities of the High Commissioner.
After three months of continuous and successful conflict with the
forces of rebellion in the south, he was suddenly confronted with a
situation in the north even more pregnant with the possibilities of
disaster. This was the day on which Commandant-General Louis Botha
entered the British lines at Middelburg to treat for peace with
General Lord Kitchener; and many counsels of precaution sped
northwards upon the wires as the High Commissioner's train crossed the
plains and wound slowly up through the mountain passes that led to the
higher levels of the Karroo plateau. March 1st, which was spent in the
train, was the most idle day that Lord Milner had passed for many
months. The respite was of short duration. At midnight, directly after
the train had left De Aar junction, a long telegram from Lord
Kitchener, giving the substance of his interview with Botha, caught
the High Commissioner. But if peace was in the air in the north, war
held the field in the south. From De Aar to Bloemfontein the railway
line was astir with British troops, concentrating or dispersing, in
pursuit of De Wet. At Bloemfontein station Lord Milner was met (March
2nd) by Lord Kitchener, and the nature of the reply to be given to
Botha was discussed between them. On the next morning Lord Milner's
saloon car was attached to the Commander-in-Chief's train, and a long
telegram was drafted and despatched to London.[272] The position which
Lord Milner took up on this occasion, and afterwards at the final
negotiations of Vereeniging, was that which he had himself condensed
in the two words "never again." He was anxious for peace; no man more
than he; but a peace upon terms that would leave South Africa with the
remotest prospect of a return to the abnormal political conditions
which had made the war inevitable, he regarded as a disaster to be
avoided at all costs. This telegram despatched, the train left
Bloemfontein, and, in spite of more than one sign of the proximity of
the Boer raiders, it reached Pretoria without delay at 9 a.m. on March
4th. The next ten days Lord Milner remained at the capital of the
Transvaal, in constant communication with the Home Government on the
subject of the peace negotiations[273] with the Boers, which
ultimately proved abortive; but on the 9th he went over to
Johannesburg for the day to see the house which was being prepared for
his occupation. On the 15th he left Pretoria finally for Johannesburg.
He was received at the station by a guard of honour furnished by the
Rand Rifles, and, thus escorted, drove to Sunnyside, a pleasant house
in what is now the suburb of Parktown, commanding an unbroken view
over the veld to the Magaliesberg range beyond Pretoria; and here
he continued to reside until he left South Africa on April 2nd, 1905.

         [Footnote 272: This telegram is printed in Cd. 528.]

         [Footnote 273: For the nature of these "Middelburg terms,"
         see forward in note 2 on p. 568.]

[Illustration: _By permission of the Argus Printing and Publishing
Co., Ltd., Johannesburg._

Lord Milner at Sunnyside.]

[Sidenote: Affairs in the Cape colony.]

From this time forward (March 15th, 1901), Lord Milner's
administrative activity is primarily concerned with the Transvaal and
Orange River Colony. Owing, however, to the continued resistance of
the Boers and the extension of the area of hostilities by the second
invasion of the Cape Colony, the administrative development of the new
colonies was confined within the narrowest limits, until six months of
strenuous military operations had enabled Lord Kitchener to render the
protected areas and the railways virtually secure against the raids of
the Boer commandos. Four out of these six months were occupied by Lord
Milner's second visit to England (May-August, 1901). But before we
approach this episode, and thereby resume the main current of the
narrative, it is necessary to trace the course of events in the Cape
Colony. With the government of the Colony once more in the hands of
the British party, Lord Milner had been relieved of the acute and
constant anxieties that marked his official relationship to the
Afrikander Ministry. On the vital question of the necessity of
establishing British authority upon terms that would make any
repetition of the war impossible, Sir Gordon Sprigg and his ministers
were absolutely at one with Lord Milner and the Home Government.
Whatever differences of opinion arose subsequently between the Cape
ministers and the Imperial authorities were differences not of
principle but of detail. For the most part they were such as would
have manifested themselves in any circumstances in a country where the
civil government was compelled, by the exigencies of war, to surrender
some of its powers to the military authority.

[Sidenote: The Bond and peace.]

By supporting the Treason Bill, Mr. Schreiner and Sir Richard Solomon
had dissociated themselves from the Afrikander nationalists; and
henceforward their influence was used unreservedly on the side of
British supremacy.[274] On the other hand, Mr. Merriman and Mr. Sauer,
as we have seen, had openly denounced the policy of the Imperial
Government, and no less openly advocated the aims, and defended the
methods, of the Afrikander Bond. The Bond's determination to do all in
its power to secure the independence of the Boers, and thereby defeat
the policy of the Imperial Government, was manifested by the abrupt
refusal of its leaders to associate themselves with the efforts of the
Burgher Peace Committee. Mr. P. de Wet and the other peace delegates
who had visited the Colony in the circumstances already mentioned,
desired the Bond to co-operate with them by informing the republican
leaders that they must expect no military assistance from the
Afrikander party, and by formally advising them to end the war in the
interests of the Afrikander population. The details of the incident,
as recorded in the Blue-book,[275] show that Mr. Theron, the President
of the Provincial Bestuur of the Bond and a member of the Legislative
Assembly, was at first disposed to regard the proposal of the peace
delegates with favour. But, after expressing himself to this effect at
Wellington, on February 15th, 1901, he went to Capetown to consult the
Bond leaders on the matter, and, as the result of this consultation,
he wrote to Mr. de Wet, five days later, declining to meet the peace
delegates again, or negotiate with them, on the ground that the
"principles of the Afrikander Bond" would be prejudiced by his
entering into official negotiations with the deputation, whose
official status he was unable, after inquiry, to recognise. It is
difficult not to connect this summary treatment of the peace delegates
by the Bond with the fact that, just at this time, General C. de Wet
was reporting to General Louis Botha that the "Cape Colony had risen
to a man."[276] However this may be, the wholesale manner in which the
Afrikander Bond had identified itself in the country districts with
the Boer invaders is sufficiently displayed by a return published six
months later, from which it appears that, out of a total of
thirty-three men holding official positions in the Bond organisation
in three districts in the Cape Colony, twenty-seven were accused of
high treason, of whom twenty-four were convicted, two absconded, and
one was acquitted.[277]

         [Footnote 274: Sir Richard Solomon was appointed legal
         adviser to the new Transvaal Administration.]

         [Footnote 275: Cd. 903.]

         [Footnote 276: See p. 431.]

         [Footnote 277: Cd. 903.]

With the Bond in this mood, with certain districts practically
maintaining the enemy and certain other districts constantly exposed
to the incursions of the guerilla leaders, with a large proportion of
the loyalist population fighting at the front, and a still larger
number organised for local defence, and with the whole of the Colony,
except the ports, under martial law, it was obviously impossible for
the machinery of representative government to continue in its normal

[Sidenote: Anti-British libels.]

The registration of electors, which, under the provisions of the
colonial law, was directed to take place not later than the last day
of February, 1901, was postponed to a more convenient season. The
existing register, while it contained the names of--it was
estimated--ten thousand persons disfranchised, or about to be
disfranchised, for rebellion, and of some thousands of others then in
arms against their sovereign, failed to include persons who had
acquired the necessary qualifications since the date of the last
registration (1899). Apart from the unsatisfactory condition of the
voters' lists, there were other circumstances that made it undesirable
as well as difficult not merely to hold the elections necessary to
fill up the nine or ten vacant seats in the Legislative Assembly, but
even to summon Parliament. Locomotion in many parts of the Colony was
inconvenient, and sometimes dangerous. So large a proportion of the
members of both chambers were absent in Europe, or engaged either in
repelling the invaders or in repressing rebellion, that the remainder,
if assembled, would present a mere simulacrum of the actual
legislature of the Colony. Moreover, it was necessary that no fresh
opportunities for promoting disaffection should be provided by
discussions in Parliament or contested elections. The "carnival of
mendacity" which, culminating in the Worcester Congress, was mainly
responsible for the second invasion of the Colony, had been
inaugurated by the inflammatory speeches delivered in the last session
of Parliament by the Afrikander members during the debates on the
Treason Bill. The spirit of malevolence displayed at this period by
the anti-British Press, whether printed in Dutch or in English, may be
inferred from the list of convictions reported on April 19th by Sir W.
Hely-Hutchinson to the Colonial Office. Mr. Albert Cartwright, editor
of _The South African News_ (the reputed organ of Mr. Merriman and Mr.
Sauer), was found guilty of a defamatory libel on Lord Kitchener, and
sentenced to twelve months' imprisonment without hard labour. Mr.
Advocate Malan, editor of _Ons Land_ (the reputed organ of Mr.
Hofmeyr), was found guilty of a defamatory libel on General French,
and sentenced to a similar term of imprisonment. Mr. de Jong, editor
of _The Worcester Advertiser_, and Mr. Vosloo, editor of _Het Oosten_,
were both convicted of the same offence as Mr. Malan, and sentenced to
six months' imprisonment without hard labour, while the former was
further charged with a seditious libel attributing atrocities to the
British troops, in respect of which he was convicted and sentenced to
a fine of £100 or two months' imprisonment.[278]

         [Footnote 278: Cd. 903.]

The extension of martial law in January (1901) had made such excesses,
whether on the platform or in the Press, no longer possible. But the
Afrikander nationalists in the ports, and especially in Capetown,
continued to render assistance to the guerilla leaders, both by
providing intelligence of the plans of the British military
authorities, and by forwarding supplies of arms and ammunition, until
the time (October 9th) when these towns were placed, like the rest of
the Colony, under martial law.

In these circumstances Sir W. Hely-Hutchinson, acting on the advice of
his ministers, prorogued the Cape Parliament from time to time, until
the actual termination of hostilities made it possible for the
inhabitants of the Colony to return to the normal conditions of their
political life. As, however, the provision for the ordinary cost of
administration made by the Colonial Parliament in its last session did
not extend beyond June 30th, 1901, it became necessary to provide for
the expenditure of the Colony after this date by the issue of
Governor's warrants, under which the Treasurer-General was authorised
to pay out funds in anticipation of legislative authority. This
technically illegal procedure, by which the authority of the Governor
was substituted temporarily for that of Parliament, was advised by the
Cape ministers and sanctioned by Mr. Chamberlain. In this way
provision was made for the financial needs of the Government; and
when, after the war, the Cape Parliament was able to meet again, the
necessary bills of indemnity, legalising these acts of the Governor
and acts committed by the military authorities in the administration
of martial law, were passed in due course.[279]

         [Footnote 279: The action of Sir W. Hely-Hutchinson was not
         without precedent. See Cd. 903, pp. 57 and 67, and p. 123,

[Sidenote: Breakdown of government.]

The only alternative course was the suspension, or abrogation, of the
Cape constitution by the Home Government. In view of the appeal for
the suspension of the constitution made to Mr. Chamberlain a year
later, and refused by him--an appeal which was endorsed by the
judgment both of Lord Milner and Mr. Cecil Rhodes, and supported by
the majority of the loyalists of both nationalities--it is interesting
to observe that petitions addressed to the Governor in June, 1901,
reveal a considerable body of opinion in favour of the proposal at
this date. These petitions came from the British inhabitants of the
small towns in the Eastern Province, since, in the vigorous language
of one of the petitioners, "it's those who live in small towns that
feel the Bond's iron heel." And the same correspondent asserts that a
great number of persons have been prevented from signing the petition,
although they approve of it, by fear of the "Bond boycott," adding,
"Some of the Bond members have already remarked, 'Now martial law is
on we are not in it; but wait until it's removed, then it will be our

         [Footnote 280: Cd. 903.]

The collapse of the system of responsible government in the Cape
Colony was complete. The truth upon which Lord Durham insisted in his
famous Report on Canada, that responsible government is only possible
where an effective majority of the inhabitants are British, was once
more demonstrated. In the granting of supplies, the characteristic
function of the lower chamber, the authority of the Governor was now
substituted for that of Parliament. The endeavour to check the
rebellion by the agency of the civil courts had been already
abandoned. The lenient penalties of the Treason Bill had produced a
large increase of disaffection. On April 6th, 1901, a notice was
issued by the Attorney-General warning the public that "any act of
treason or rebellion and any crime of a political character" committed
after the 12th instant would be brought no longer before the Special
Tribunals, with their mitigated penalties created by the Act of 1900,
but dealt with by the ordinary courts, and punishable by the severe
penalties of the common law of the Colony. But this warning of the
Attorney-General was superseded a fortnight later (April 22nd), by a
notice, issued by Lord Kitchener and published by the Cape
Government, under which it was declared that--

[Sidenote: The military courts.]

     "All subjects of His[281] Majesty and all persons residing in the
     Cape Colony who shall, in districts thereof in which martial law
     prevails, be actively in arms against His Majesty, or who shall
     directly invite others to take up arms against him, or who shall
     actively aid or assist the enemy or commit any overt act by which
     the safety of His Majesty's forces or subjects is endangered,
     shall immediately on arrest be tried by court martial, convened
     by my authority, and shall on conviction be liable to the
     severest penalties of the law."

         [Footnote 281: Queen Victoria died January 22nd, 1901.]

The decision to deal with such cases by military courts was taken by
Lord Kitchener, after consultation with Lord Milner, on the ground
that the state of the midland and north-western districts was such
that "only prompt and severe punishment could stop the spread of
rebellion and prevent general anarchy."[282] The Cape Government,
however, in assenting to the measure, stipulated that certain
conditions should be laid down for the constitution and procedure of
the military courts, sufficient to check the more obvious abuses to
which such tribunals are liable. These conditions, as expressed in a
minute of Sir James Innes, the Attorney-General, were embodied in a
set of instructions issued by Lord Kitchener to his officers
concurrently with the publication of the notice of April 22nd. Nor was
this all. In view of the continued assistance known to be rendered to
the Boer and rebel commandos by the Afrikander nationalists, martial
law was extended, on October 9th, to the Cape ports; and on December
2nd the British Government announced that, as the result of the
establishment of martial law at the South African ports, no persons
would be allowed to land in South Africa from January 1st, 1902,
onwards without a permit, except under certain special circumstances.[283]

         [Footnote 282: Cd. 983.]

         [Footnote 283: Cd. 903. These measures were taken upon Lord
         Milner's return to the Transvaal (September, 1901) after his
         visit to England. The scandal of the almost open co-operation
         of the Bond with the Boer leaders had become notorious, and
         this assistance was recognised as a contributory cause to the
         protraction of the guerilla war.]

Ample evidence alike of the necessity of these measures, and of the
_de facto_ suspension of the constitution, is provided by a Minister's
minute of September 12th, 1901. The immediate object of the minute is
to advise the Governor that it is impossible, in the opinion of the
Cape Ministry, to avoid the further prorogation of Parliament; and
this, although the Constitution Ordinance requires the Cape Parliament
to meet "once at least every year," and cannot, therefore, be complied
with, unless Parliament is summoned "for the despatch of business on
or before Saturday, 12th October." In support of this decision Sir
Gordon Sprigg and his colleagues referred to the Military Intelligence
Report for the current month, which showed that, south of the Orange
River, there were a dozen or more commandos, with a total of from
1,800 to 2,000 men; while in the portion of the Colony north of the
river there were "numerous commandos also roaming about." Then follows
a startling revelation of the character of the men whom the Bond
organisation had sent to Parliament:

[Sidenote: Condition of Cape parliament.]

     "One member of the House of Assembly," ministers write, "is
     undergoing a term of imprisonment for seditious libel, three
     members are awaiting their trial on the charge of high treason,
     two seats are practically vacant by reason of the absence of the
     members without leave during the whole of last session. Those two
     members are alleged to have welcomed the invaders of the Colony,
     and encouraged rebellion, and then fled to Holland, where they
     are now living. One seat is vacant by the resignation of the
     member, who has accepted an appointment in the Transvaal Colony.
     Another seat is vacant on account of the death of the member,
     another member is sending in his resignation owing to ill health,
     which compels him to reside in Europe. In all these cases the
     divisions concerned are either under martial law or in a state of
     disturbance, which makes new elections impracticable.

     "Besides the cases enumerated there are members who have been
     deported from their homes on account of the seditious influences
     which the military authorities allege they were exercising, and
     others who are under military observation, with respect to whom
     their attendance in Parliament must be regarded as uncertain.
     Several members also are engaged in military operations, whose
     attendance could not, in the present condition of the country, be
     relied on. There are also some members who would be unable to
     attend owing to the state of war and rebellion prevailing in the
     districts where they reside, whose personal presence is
     necessary for the protection of their families and property."

Such a legislature, they concluded, could not be regarded as "fairly
representing the people." Moreover--

     "There is also the further consideration that the probability of
     good resulting from the meeting of Parliament now is but small,
     while the likelihood of evil consequences accruing from the
     publication of speeches of a character similar to many that were
     delivered last session is strong. The tendency of such speeches
     would be to encourage the spirit of rebellion which unhappily
     prevails in the Colony over a large area, and ministers regard it
     as an imperative duty to do everything in their power to subdue
     that rebellious spirit, and restore peace and good-will to the
     distracted country."[284]

         [Footnote 284: Cd. 903.]

The necessity for the more stringent action now taken by the Imperial
authorities was, therefore, undoubted. But here again, in placing the
ports, the centres of commercial life, under martial law, an endeavour
was made to render the restraints of military rule as little onerous
as possible. A Board, consisting of three persons nominated
respectively by the Governor, the Prime Minister, and the General
Commanding in the Cape Colony, was created for the consideration and,
where necessary, the redress of all complaints or grievances arising
out of martial law in the Colony, other than pecuniary claims against
the Government. The fact that, on the whole, martial law was
judiciously administered is indicated by the Report of the proceedings
of this Board, presented on December 3rd by Mr. (now Sir Lewis)
Mitchell, who, as Manager of the Standard Bank, had been appointed
chairman by Sir W. Hely-Hutchinson. Out of 199 cases brought before
the Board, Mr. Mitchell writes:

     "A fair number of substantial grievances have been redressed, but
     in a majority of instances the Board have held that complainants
     suffered through some misconduct of their own, or were deported,
     imprisoned, or otherwise punished on reasonable grounds of

         [Footnote 285: Cd. 903.]

[Sidenote: Loyalists defend the colony.]

In all this Sir Gordon Sprigg loyally co-operated with the Imperial
military authorities. His attitude, and that of the loyalist
inhabitants of the Colony, may be gathered from the speech which he
delivered at Capetown on December 1st, 1901. In this striking and
inspiring utterance we have the companion picture to that presented in
the minute of September 12th. Throughout there runs a note of
justifiable pride in the military efforts of the Cape Government, and
in the sacrifices which these efforts have entailed upon the loyalist
population. First there was the number of troops provided. The Cape
Government had placed, he said, 18,000 men in the field against the
invaders and rebels; they had a defensive force of 18,000 town guards,
of whom 3,000 were natives; and, in addition, 7,000 natives were
under arms in the Transkei for the defence of those territories. In
respect of this force of 18,000 men in the field, Sir Gordon Sprigg
pointed out that such a number of men, coming from a population of
500,000, was equivalent to a force of 1,450,000 men from the United
Kingdom, with its population of over 40,000,000. He might have added
that, since half of the 500,000 Europeans in the Cape Colony were
"either actually in rebellion against the Crown or in positive
sympathy with rebellion," the more correct equivalent force from the
United Kingdom would have been 3,000,000 men. And as for the cost of
maintenance, the colony provided three-fourths of the expenditure upon
the 18,000 men in the field, while it wholly supported the town guards
and other purely defensive forces. He then dwelt with satisfaction
upon the fact that these local forces were now entirely controlled by
the Cape Government, which had made itself responsible for the defence
of no less than thirty-one districts of the Colony.

     "Months ago," he said, "we pressed strongly upon the
     Commander-in-Chief to hand over to us the colonial forces then
     under his direction. We thought that if we got them into our
     possession, not only defraying the cost of their maintenance, but
     taking charge of certain parts of the Colony, we could keep those
     districts clear of the enemy. We were continually putting that
     view before the Commander-in-Chief, and also before the High
     Commissioner, Lord Milner, but still the matter hung, and we had
     communications going backwards and forwards till at last the High
     Commissioner communicated with me, and he said, 'I think the only
     way to come to an understanding in this matter is, if we have a
     conference. If you could manage to meet Lord Kitchener and
     myself, I have great hopes we should be able to arrange what you
     desire.' I asked then if Lord Kitchener and Lord Milner could
     come to meet me half-way, but Lord Kitchener said it was not
     possible for him to leave Pretoria at that time, but he would be
     only too delighted if I could come up and meet him and Lord
     Milner upon the question. The result of that was that I went up
     with two of my colleagues. It has been put about all over the
     country that we were ordered by Lord Kitchener to proceed to
     Pretoria, but, so far from that being the case, it was our
     suggestion that we should take over the command of certain
     portions of the country, and we went up to Pretoria to secure
     that object. And in that we were successful, and the result of it
     has been published very lately."[286]

         [Footnote 286: Cd. 903. This was, in its essence, the
         proposal for the systematic and effective defence of the
         Colony, which Lord Milner had consistently advocated both
         before and during the war--with General Butler and the Home
         Government, with Lord Roberts at the time of the Forward
         Movement (see p. 353), and now at the eleventh hour with Lord
         Kitchener in support of the Cape Government.]

[Sidenote: Second visit to England.]

These events, revealing the slow and laborious progress of the
Imperial troops in a South Africa rent by war from end to end, account
sufficiently for the postponement of the work of active administrative
reconstruction in the new colonies, to which Lord Milner owed the
opportunity for his second visit to England. On April 3rd, 1901, he
telegraphed a request that he might be allowed to return home at an
early date, on leave, since he feared that, unless he had a short
rest, he would approach the onerous duty of superintending the work of
reconstruction with lessened efficiency. "I have now been continuously
in harness," he said, "without a day's holiday, for more than two
years ... and it is, undoubtedly, better for the public service, if I
am to get such a rest at all, that I should take leave immediately
while military operations still continue and the work of civil
administration is necessarily curtailed, rather than when it will be
possible to organise civil government in a more complete fashion, and
when many important problems which are for the moment in abeyance will
have to be dealt with." To this request Mr. Chamberlain replied that,
although His Majesty's Government greatly regretted that it was
necessary for Lord Milner to leave South Africa at present, they quite
recognised that it was unavoidable that he should take the rest which
the severe strain of the last two years had made imperative.[287] He
was, therefore, to take leave as soon as he found it possible to do

         [Footnote 287: Cd. 547.]

[Sidenote: Civil affairs in new colonies.]

None the less the little that could be done to develop the inchoate
machinery of administration which marked the transition from military
to civil order in the new colonies, was done, and done well, before
Lord Milner left Johannesburg. On May 4th, 1901, Sir H. Gould-Adams
was able to report that the chief departments of the administration
of the Orange River Colony had been transferred from military to
civil officials, and reorganised on a permanent basis. In the
Transvaal the departments of finance, law, mines, and that of the
Secretary to the Administration, had been organised, and were
gradually taking over an increasing volume of administrative work from
the military officials. Even more significant was the establishment by
proclamation (May 8th), of a nominated Town Council for the management
of the municipal affairs of Johannesburg, and the consequent abolition
of the office of Military Governor, with the transfer of the
departments hitherto controlled by him to a Government Commissioner
and other officials of the civil administration. This step was
rendered possible by the circumstance that a certain number of the
principal residents, of whom twelve were nominated for service on the
Council, had now returned to their homes. It marked the recommencement
of the industrial life of the Rand, which had followed the permission,
given by Lord Kitchener in April, for three mines to resume work. From
this time forward the Uitlander refugees began to return; although, as
we have seen,[288] it was not possible to allow the general mass of
the inhabitants to leave the coast towns until the following November.
And, in addition to this, Lord Milner had obtained statements of the
views of the Cape and Natal Governments on the question of the
settlement of the new colonies. Mr. Chamberlain had attached great
importance to this interchange of opinions; rightly holding that, in
determining the conditions and methods of the settlement of the
conquered territories, the British South African colonies should be
taken into the counsels of the Imperial Government. Lord Milner had,
therefore, submitted to the colonial Governments the draft of the
Letters Patent, under which the system of Crown Colony government was
to be established in the Transvaal and the Orange River Colony, before
they were issued.[289] As the result of these consultations the terms
of surrender granted to the Boers at Vereeniging, and the consequent
administrative arrangements arising out of them, embodied decisions
based not merely on the judgment of the Imperial Government, but on
what was virtually the unanimous opinion of the loyal population of
South Africa. In this, as in the crisis of the negotiations before the
war, the loyalists found in Lord Milner their "representative man."

         [Footnote 288: See p. 459.]

         [Footnote 289: The Letters Patent were not issued until

[Sidenote: Milner in England.]

Lord Milner--then Sir Alfred Milner--left Capetown on May 8th, and
reached England on the 24th. On his arrival in London he was met at
the station by Lord Salisbury and Mr. Chamberlain, and immediately
conducted to the King, who was at that time still residing at
Marlborough House. At the end of a long audience His Majesty announced
his intention of raising him to the peerage, the first of many marks
of royal favour, including his elevation to the Privy Council, which
were shown to the High Commissioner during his stay in England. The
warm demonstrations of popular regard with which he had been welcomed
upon his arrival in London, were followed by a luncheon given on the
next day (Saturday, May 25th) in his honour by Mr. Chamberlain, his
official chief. The speech elicited by this notable occasion is one in
which a graceful humour is characteristically blended with deep
emotion. Those who have had the good fortune to hear many of Lord
Milner's speeches--speeches sometimes turning a page of history,
sometimes mere incidents of official or administrative routine--know
that they are all alike distinguished by the high quality of
sincerity.[290] But this was an occasion upon which even adroitness of
intellect and integrity of purpose might well have sought the shelter
of conventional expressions. Lord Milner dispenses with any such
protection. "In a rational world," he said, it would have seemed
better to everybody that he, "with a big unfinished job awaiting
him," and many of his fellow workmen unable to take the rest which
they both deserved and needed, "should have arrived, and stayed, and
returned in the quietest possible manner." But it was an age in which
it "seemed impossible for many people to put a simple and natural
interpretation on anything; and his arrival in this quiet manner would
have been misconstrued to a degree, which would have been injurious to
the public interests." If his "hard-begged holiday" could have been
represented as a "veiled recall," then of course it was obvious that,
having taken the proverbial hansom from Waterloo to his own chambers,
this very harmless action would have been "trumpeted over two
continents as evidence of his disgrace."

         [Footnote 290: It was, in its essence, the "high seriousness
         of absolute sincerity" that Arnold, after Aristotle, makes
         the central attribute of poetic thought. In commenting upon a
         speech delivered at Germiston on March 15th, 1905, the
         Johannesburg _Star_ wrote on the day following: "Did ever a
         High Commissioner for South Africa speak in this wise before?
         But beneath the light words and unstudied diction there is
         the weight and sureness of the 'inevitable' thought. A man
         who has pursued a single task for eight years with
         unremitting effort and unswerving devotion can afford to put
         his mind into his words. And in all that Lord Milner says
         there is an absolute sincerity, born of high integrity of
         purpose and an assurance of knowledge, that compels
         conviction. Or, rather, should we say, that makes the need of
         conviction as unnecessary as a lamp in daylight."]

     "It is hard, it is ludicrous," he continued, "that some of the
     busiest men in the world should be obliged to occupy their time,
     and that so many of my friends and well wishers should be put to
     inconvenience--and on a day, too, when it would be so nice to be
     in the country--merely in order to prove to persons with an
     ingrained habit of self-delusion that the British Government will
     not give up its agents in the face of the enemy, or that the
     people of this country will not allow themselves to be bored into
     abandoning what they have spent millions of treasure and so many
     precious lives to obtain. All I can say is, that if it was
     necessary (I apologise for it: I am sorry to be the centre of a
     commotion from which no man could be constitutionally more averse
     than myself), I can only thank you heartily for the kindness and
     the cordiality with which the thing has been done. I feel indeed
     that the praises which have been bestowed, the honours which
     have been heaped on me, are beyond my deserts. But the simplest
     thing to do under these circumstances is to try to deserve them
     in the future. In any case I am under endless obligations. It is
     difficult to say these things in the face of the persons
     principally concerned, but I feel bound to take this opportunity,
     especially in view of the remarks which have been made in certain
     quarters, to express my deep sense of gratitude for the manner in
     which His Majesty's Government, and especially my immediate
     chief, have shown me great forbearance, and given me support most
     prompt at the moment when it was most needed, without which I
     should have been helpless indeed. And I have also to thank many
     friends, not a few of them here present, and some not present,
     for messages of encouragement, for kindly words of suggestion and
     advice received at critical moments, some of which have been of
     invaluable assistance to me, and have made an indelible
     impression on my heart. I am afraid, if I were to refer to all my
     benefactors, it would be like the bidding prayer--and you would
     all lose your trains.

[Sidenote: Hint from the bidding prayer.]

     "But there is one hint I may take from the bidding prayer. Not
     only in this place, but at all times and in all places, I am
     specially bound to remember the devotion of the loyalists--the
     Dutch loyalists, if you please, and not only the British--the
     loyalists of South Africa. They responded to all my appeals to
     act, and, harder still, to wait. They never lost their cheery
     confidence in the darkest days of our misfortunes, they never
     faltered in their fidelity to a man of whose errors and failings
     they were necessarily more conscious than anybody else, but of
     whose honesty of purpose they were long ago, and once for all,
     convinced. If there is anything most gratifying to me on this
     memorable occasion it is the encouragement which I know the
     events of yesterday and of to-day will give to thousands of our
     South African fellow-countrymen, like minded with us, in the
     homes and in the camps of South Africa.

     "Your Royal Highness,[291] Mr. Chamberlain, ladies, and
     gentlemen--I am sure you will not desire me to enter into any
     political questions to-day. More than that, I really have nothing
     to add to what I have already said and written, I fear with
     wearisome reiteration. It seems to me we are slowly progressing
     towards the predestined end; latterly it has appeared as if the
     pace was somewhat quickening, but I do not wish to make too much
     of that or to speak with any too great confidence. However long
     the road, it seems to me the only one to the object which we were
     bound to pursue, and which seems now fairly in sight. What has
     sustained me personally--if your kindness will allow me to make a
     personal reference--what has sustained me personally on the weary
     road is my absolute, unshakable conviction that it was the only
     one which we could travel.

         [Footnote 291: The Duke of Cambridge.]

     "Peace we could have had by self-effacement. We could have had it
     easily and comfortably on those terms. But we could not have held
     our own by any other methods than those which we have been
     obliged to adopt. I do not know whether I feel more inclined to
     laugh or to cry when I have to listen for the hundredth time to
     these dear delusions, this Utopian dogmatising that it only
     required a little more time, a little more patience, a little
     more tact, a little more meekness, a little more of all those
     gentle virtues of which I know I am so conspicuously devoid, in
     order to conciliate--to conciliate what? Panoplied hatred,
     insensate ambition, invincible ignorance. I fully believe that
     the time is coming--Heaven knows how we desire it to come
     quickly--when all the qualities of the most gentle and forbearing
     statesmanship which are possessed by any of our people will be
     called for, and ought to be applied, in South Africa. I do not
     say for a moment there is not great scope for them even to-day,
     but always provided they do not mar what is essential for success
     in the future--the conclusiveness of the final scenes of the
     present drama."

[Sidenote: Merriman and Sauer mission.]

[Sidenote: Liberals and Afrikanders.]

As a declaration to the British world that Lord Milner "possessed the
unabated confidence of his sovereign and of his fellow countrymen,"
Mr. Chamberlain's luncheon was amply justified. The protraction of the
war was beginning to try the endurance of the nation. Mr. Sauer and
Mr. Merriman were in England for the express purpose of discrediting
Lord Milner, and behind these fierce political freelances was the
astute brain of the Bond Master, Hofmeyr. They had been commissioned
early in the year by the Afrikander nationalists to give effect to the
resolutions of the Worcester Congress by co-operating with their
friends in England in an agitation for the recall of the High
Commissioner. It was said that these two ex-ministers of the Crown
were authorised to offer an undertaking that the Bond would use its
influence with ex-President Krüger and Mr. Fischer[292] to terminate
the war, in exchange for the promise of "autonomy" for the Boers and
a general armistice for the Cape rebels. However this may be, the
delegates of the Worcester Congress made it their chief business to
represent to the members of the Liberal party who favoured their
cause, that the recall of Lord Milner would remove the chief obstacle
to peace. This attempt never came within a measurable distance of
success; but its failure was not due to any want of effort on the part
of that section of the Liberal opposition which had been opposed to
the annexation of the Republics, and now denounced the British
Government and the Imperial troops for their "methods of barbarism."
The completeness with which Lord Courtney, Mr. Bryce, Mr.
Lloyd-George, Lord Loreburn (Sir Robert Reid), Mr. Burns, and other
prominent members of the Liberal party identified themselves with the
policy and action of the Afrikander Bond, is disclosed by the
proceedings which marked the banquet given on June 5th in honour of
Mr. Merriman and Mr. Sauer. Mr. Bryce, in a letter expressing his
approbation of the object of the banquet and his regret at his
inability to attend it, wrote: "Mr. Merriman and Mr. Sauer have not
only distinguished public records, but did excellent service, for
which the Government ought to have been grateful, in allaying passion
and averting disturbances in Cape Colony."[293] Lord (then Mr.)
Courtney, in proposing a vote of thanks to the guests of the evening,
declared that the annexation of the Republics was "a wrong and a
blunder"; adding that the Liberal policy would some day be "to temper
annexation, if not to abrogate it." Both Mr. Merriman and Mr. Sauer
revealed the aims of their mission with perfect frankness. The former,
after alluding to Mr. Chamberlain's luncheon as a display of the
"Imperial spirit of the servile senate who decreed ovations and
triumphs to Caligula and Domitian, when they had received rebuffs from
the ancestors both of ourselves and the heroic Dutch now struggling in
South Africa," and characterising Lord Milner's High Commissionership
as "a career of unmitigated and hopeless failure," proceeded to demand
his immediate recall. To employ Lord Milner in the settlement of the
new colonies, said Mr. Merriman, would be "a suicidal and ruinous
policy. He was a violent partizan; his predictions never came true;
the bursts of fustian and the frivolous utterances of his despatches
showed an ill-balanced and ill-regulated mind, which was utterly
unable to cope with the problem." While, as for the prospect of a
British army ever conquering the South African Dutch, he reasserted
the opinion which he held before the war--"Our friends they might be,
but our subjects never."[294] Mr. Sauer, who "felt honoured by seeing
such a gathering, and seeing in it a Gladstone[295] and a Leonard
Courtney," was no less explicit:

         [Footnote 292: These two ex-officials, representing the
         respective Governments of the late Republics, were living in
         Holland at this time.]

         [Footnote 293: It is only fair to assume that Mr. Bryce was
         not acquainted with the details of the Dordrecht and Hargrove
         affairs, to which reference has been made respectively at p.
         287 and p. 375. And, still more that he was unaware of the
         utterly discreditable Basuto incident, with respect to which
         General Gordon's biographer writes: "The consequence was that
         Mr. Sauer deliberately resolved to destroy Gordon's
         reputation as a statesman, and to ensure the triumph of his
         own policy by an act of treachery which has never been
         surpassed."--_The Life of Gordon_, vol. ii., p. 83. (Fisher

         [Footnote 294: Compare the different and infinitely more
         instructive treatment of the question of Dutch allegiance by
         Lord Milner in his Johannesburg speech, quoted at p. 145.]

         [Footnote 295: _I.e._, the Rev. Stephen Gladstone.]

     "I stand here," he said, "as a representative of the Dutch
     people, and declare that they never mean to be a subject race. If
     they cannot get their rights by justice they will get them by
     other means.... I am glad to go back and tell my own people how
     many there are in this country who appreciate their devotion to
     an ideal, and are prepared to befriend them in the hour of

         [Footnote 296: Apart from those mentioned in the text, the
         following attended the Merriman and Sauer banquet: Mr. E.
         Robertson, M.P. (chairman), Lord Farrer, Mr. T. Shaw, M.P.,
         Mr. Burt, M.P., Mr. Channing, M.P., Mr. John Ellis, M.P., Mr.
         H. J. Wilson, M.P., Sir Wilfred Lawson, Mr. Frederic
         Harrison, and others. And among those who sent letters of
         regret for their absence were the Marquis of Ripon, Lord
         Hobhouse, Dr. Spence Watson, Mr. Seale-Hayne, M.P., and Lord

A fortnight later a meeting of those who sympathised with the Boer
cause was held in the Queen's Hall, Langham Place. The spirit of this
notorious gathering, presided over by Mr. Labouchere, M.P., and
attended by Mr. Merriman. Mr. Sauer, Mr. Lloyd-George, M.P., and other
Radical members of Parliament, is sufficiently revealed by certain
characteristic incidents which marked the proceedings. The agents of
the meeting wore the Transvaal colours; a member of the audience who
uncovered at the mention of King Edward was ejected; the Union Jack
was hissed and hooted; and, while a printed form was handed round
inviting the signatures of persons prepared to pay eight and-a-half
guineas for a tour in Holland and the privilege of seeing ex-President
Krüger, the name of the British sovereign was received by the audience
with marks of evident disapprobation.

[Sidenote: Agitation for Milner's recall.]

The agitation for Lord Milner's recall was continued throughout the
year. It was accompanied by a repetition, in England and on the
continent of Europe, of the shameless calumnies upon the Imperial
troops, which had marked the "carnival of mendacity" that led to the
second invasion of Cape Colony. The injurious effect produced upon the
Boers in the field by the support thus given by public men in England
to the "continued resistance" policy of the Afrikander nationalists,
has been already noticed, and it is unnecessary, therefore, to say
more on this aspect of the subject. The attempt to discredit Lord
Milner culminated in the declaration made by Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman,
then recognised as the official leader of the Liberal party, at
Plymouth, on November 19th, 1901, that, unless the British Government
changed its methods, "the whole of the Dutch population in our colonies,
as well as in the two territories, would in all probability be
permanently and violently alienated from us" when the war was ended. "I
am ready to speak out to-night," he continued, "and to say what I have
never yet said, that for my part I despair of this peril being conjured
away so long as the present Colonial Secretary is in Downing Street and
the present High Commissioner is at Pretoria." When the full report of
this speech had reached the Cape, the Vigilance Committee, a body
representing the loyalists of both nationalities, met[297] under the
presidency of Sir Gordon Sprigg, and resolved:

         [Footnote 297: December 17th, 1901.]

     "That this committee views with the utmost disapproval the
     statement of Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman at Plymouth, to the
     effect that no satisfactory settlement would be arrived at in
     South Africa so long as Mr. Chamberlain and Lord Milner retained
     their present offices, and, on the contrary, emphatically affirms
     that the retention in office of those statesmen is regarded by
     the South African loyalists as affording the best security for a
     settlement which will be permanent, just, and consistent with the
     honour of the empire and the best interests of South Africa, and,
     further, affirms that the whole tone of Sir Henry
     Campbell-Bannerman's speech is most pernicious, and prejudicial
     to Imperial interests in South Africa, and shows him to be
     entirely out of sympathy with loyalist opinion in South Africa."

With this prompt and uncompromising rejoinder we may take leave of an
attempt to remove a great and devoted servant of the empire, which is
as discreditable to the intelligence as it is to the patriotism of
those prominent members of the Liberal party who thus lent their
co-operation to the Afrikander nationalists. In South Africa the
issue was simple. While Boer and rebel combined in their efforts to
rid themselves of the man who had thwarted their ambitions, the
loyalists closed their ranks and stood firm in his support. It is to
the far-off Homeland that we have to turn for the spectacle of a
nation in which gratitude to the man who upheld the flag gave place to
sympathy for the enemy and the rebel; in which patriotism itself
yielded to a greed of place wrapped up by sophistry in such decent
terms as "humanity," "Liberal principles," and "conciliation."

[Sidenote: Finances of the new colonies.]

In the meantime Lord Milner had returned to Johannesburg. His
"hard-begged" holiday had proved a change of occupation rather than a
respite from work. Before he left England (August 10th), he had made
known to the Home Government the actual condition of the infant
administrations of the new colonies, and obtained a provision for
their immediate wants. The Letters Patent constituting him Governor
and Commander-in-Chief of the Transvaal and Orange River Colony had
been passed under the Great Seal; and these and other instruments
creating a system of Crown Colony Government, with Executive and
Legislative Councils in both colonies, had been sent to him in
readiness for use "whenever it might be thought expedient to bring
them into operation."[298] And on August 6th the House of Commons had
voted £6,500,000 as a grant in aid of the revenues of the Transvaal
and Orange River Colony. Of this sum £1,000,000 was required for the
purchase of fresh rolling-stock for the Imperial Military Railways,
still placed under the direction of Sir Percy (then Colonel) Girouard,
and £500,000 was assigned to "relief and re-settlement," an item which
included the purchase of land and other arrangements for the
establishment of suitable British settlers on farms in both colonies.
The debate on the vote afforded a significant exhibition of the spirit
of mingled pessimism and distrust in which the Liberal Opposition
approached every aspect of the South African question. The idea of the
Transvaal ever being able to repay this grant-in-aid out of the
"hypothetical" development loan appeared ridiculous to Sir William
Harcourt. "Why," asked the Liberal ex-Chancellor of the Exchequer,
"was not the money required for the South African Constabulary put
forward in a supplementary military vote, instead of being proposed in
this form and, under the grant-in-aid, subject to future repayment by
the Transvaal, in which nobody believed?"[299]

         [Footnote 298: They were read and published by Lord Milner on
         June 21st, 1902.]

         [Footnote 299: It is scarcely necessary to say that the
         entire cost of the Constabulary has been borne by the new
         colonies; or that every penny of this grant-in-aid was paid
         back out of the development loan raised in 1902-3.]

This temporary financial assistance was of the utmost importance. Just
as in the Cape Colony Lord Milner had seen that the Boers and
Afrikander nationalists were to be beaten at their own game of renewed
invasion by enabling the loyalist population to defend the Colony, so
in the new colonies he proposed to beat the guerilla leaders at their
game of wanton and mischievous resistance by building up a new
prosperity faster than they could destroy the old. The conditions
under which he worked, and the state in which he found South Africa
when he began to engage actively in the work of reconstruction, he has
himself described. In a despatch, written from the "High
Commissioner's Office, Johannesburg," on November 15th, 1901, not only
has Lord Milner placed on record the actual position of affairs in the
new colonies at this time, but he has sketched with masterly precision
the nature of the economic and administrative problems that awaited
solution. The progress towards pacification won by the mobile columns
and the blockhouse system, the dominant influence of the railways as
the agency of transport, the condition of the Concentration Camps, and
the degree in which our responsibility for the non-combatant and
surrendered Boers limited our capacity to restore our own people to
their homes, the economic exhaustion of the country, the threatened
danger of the scarcity of native labour, and the processes and
problems of repatriation--all these subjects are touched as by a
master of statecraft.

[Sidenote: Improved situation.]

     "Without being unduly optimistic," he writes, "it is impossible
     not to be struck by two great changes for the better in [the
     military situation] since the time when I first took up my
     residence in the Transvaal--just eight months ago. These are the
     now almost absolute safety and uninterrupted working of the
     railways and the complete pacification of certain central
     districts. As regards the railways, I cannot illustrate the
     contrast better than by my own experiences. In the end of last
     year and the earlier months of this I had occasion to make
     several journeys between Capetown and Johannesburg or Pretoria,
     and between Johannesburg and Bloemfontein. Though most careful
     preparations were made and every precaution taken, I was
     frequently 'hung up' on these journeys because the line had been
     blown up--not, I think, with any reference to my movements, but
     in the ordinary course of affairs. Small bodies of the enemy were
     always hovering about, and a state of extreme vigilance, not to
     say anxiety, was observable almost everywhere along the line.
     Since my return from England I have again traversed the country
     from East London to Bloemfontein and Johannesburg, and from
     Johannesburg to Durban and back, to say nothing of constant
     journeys between this place and Pretoria. On no single occasion
     has there been the slightest hitch or the least cause for alarm.
     The trains have been absolutely up to time, and very good time.
     They could not have been more regular in the most peaceful
     country. This personal experience, in itself unimportant, is
     typical of a general improvement. I may add, in confirmation of
     it, that during the last two months the mail train from Capetown
     to the north has only been late on one or two occasions, and then
     it was a matter of hours. Six months ago it was quite a common
     event for it to arrive a day, or a couple of days, late. I need
     not enlarge on the far-reaching importance of the improvement
     which these instances illustrate. Not only have the derailments,
     often accompanied by deplorable loss of life, which were at one
     time so common, almost entirely ceased, but, owing to more
     regular running, and especially the resumption of night running,
     the carrying capacity of the railways has greatly increased.
     Indeed, it is the inadequacy of the lines themselves to meet the
     enormous and ever-increasing extra requirements resulting from
     the war, and the shortness of rolling-stock, not any interference
     from the enemy, which causes us whatever difficulties--and they
     are still considerable--we now labour under in the matter of
     transport. When the large amount of additional rolling-stock
     ordered for the Imperial Military Railways last summer is
     received--and the first instalment will arrive very
     shortly--there will be a further great and progressive
     improvement in the conveyance of supplies and materials for the
     troops, the civil population of the towns, and the concentration

[Sidenote: Contraction of area of war.]

     "The advance made in clearing the country is equally marked. Six
     months ago the enemy were everywhere, outside the principal
     towns. It is true they held nothing, but they raided wherever
     they pleased, and, though mostly in small bodies, which made
     little or no attempt at resistance when seriously pressed, they
     almost invariably returned to their old haunts when the pressure
     was over. It looked as though the process might go on
     indefinitely. I had every opportunity of watching it, for during
     the first two months of my residence here it was in full swing in
     the immediate neighbourhood. There were half a dozen Boer
     strong-holds, or rather trysting-places, quite close to Pretoria
     and Johannesburg, and the country round was quite useless to us
     for any purpose but that of marching through it, while the enemy
     seemed to find no difficulty in subsisting there....

     "To-day a large and important district of the Transvaal is now
     firmly held by us. But it must not be supposed that all the rest
     is held, or even roamed over, by the enemy. Wide districts of
     both the new colonies are virtually derelict, except, in some
     cases, for the native population. This is especially true of the
     northern part of the Transvaal, which has always been a native
     district, and where, excepting in Pietersburg and some other
     positions held by our troops, the natives are now almost the only
     inhabitants. Indeed, nothing is more characteristic of the latest
     stage of the war than the contraction of Boer resistance within
     certain wide but fairly well-defined districts, separated from
     one another by considerable spaces. Instead of ranging
     indifferently over the whole of the two late Republics, the enemy
     show an increasing tendency to confine themselves to certain
     neighbourhoods, which have always been their chief, though till
     recently by no means their exclusive, centres of strength....
     From time to time the commandos try to break out of these
     districts and to extend the scene of operations. But the failure
     of the latest of these raids--Botha's bold attempt to invade
     Natal--shows the disadvantages under which the Boers now labour
     in attempting to undertake distant expeditions.

     "The contraction of the theatre of war is doubtless due to the
     increased difficulty which the enemy have in obtaining horses and
     supplies, but, above all, to the great reduction in their
     numbers.... To wear out the resistance of the Boers still in the
     field--not more than one-eighth, I think, of the total number of
     burghers who have, first and last, been engaged in the
     war[300]--may take a considerable time yet, and will almost
     certainly involve further losses. I will not attempt to forecast
     either the time or the cost. What seems evident is that the
     concentration of the Boers, and the substitution of several
     fairly well-defined small campaigns for that sort of running
     fight all over the country which preceded them, is on the whole
     an advantage to us, and tends to bring the end of the struggle
     within a more measurable distance. Our great object, it seems to
     me, should be to keep the Boers within the areas of their main
     strength, even if such concentration makes the commandos
     individually more dangerous and involves more desperate fighting,
     and meanwhile to push on with might and main the settlement of
     those parts of the country out of which they have been driven. No
     doubt this is a difficult, and must be a gradual, process. The
     full extent of the difficulty will appear from the sequel. But it
     is the point to which the main efforts, of the civil authorities
     at any rate, should be continually directed.

         [Footnote 300: An under-estimate. One-fourth, or one-fifth,
         would have been nearer the mark. See note, p. 454.]

[Sidenote: The return to the Rand.]

     "If the latest phase of the military situation is maintained,
     _i.e._, if we are able to prevent the Boers from breaking back
     into the cleared areas, or from injuring the railway lines, I can
     see no reason why the work of settlement should not proceed at a
     greatly quickened pace in the immediate future. The most urgent
     point is to bring back the exiled Uitlanders to the Rand, always
     provided that they are able to find employment when they arrive
     there. But the basis of any general revival of industrial and
     commercial activity on the Rand is the resumption of mining
     operations. So far it has only been found possible to proceed
     very slowly in this respect. The full capacity of the Rand is
     about 6,000 stamps. The first step was taken in April last, when
     the Commander-in-Chief agreed to allow the Chamber of Mines to
     open three mines with 50 stamps each. Up till now permission has
     been granted for the working of 600 stamps, but only 450 have
     actually been started. This is slow work, but even this
     beginning, modest as it is, has made an immense difference in
     the aspect of Johannesburg since first I came here in March last.

     "The number of people allowed to return from time to time, for
     other than mining employments, is in proportion to the number of
     stamps re-started. This, no doubt, is a wise principle, for
     business generally can only expand _pari passu_ with the
     resumption of mining. Up to the present something like 10,000
     people have been allowed to come up, the vast majority of them
     being refugees, though there is a small new element of civil
     servants and civilians in the employ of the military. Assuming
     that from 8,000 to 9,000 are refugees, this would represent about
     one-sixth of the total number of well-accredited Uitlanders
     registered in the books of the 'Central Registration Committee.'

     "The best that can be said on the thorny subject of the return of
     the refugees, is that latterly the rate of return has been
     steadily increasing. Last month the military authorities allowed
     us to grant 400 ordinary permits (this number is over and above
     permits given to officials or persons specially required for
     particular services to the Army or the Government). This month
     the number has been raised to 800. I need hardly say that the
     selection of 800 people out of something like fifty times that
     number is an onerous and ungrateful task. South Africa simply
     rings with complaints as to favouritism in the distribution of
     permits. As a matter of fact, whatever mistakes have been made,
     there has been no favouritism. I do not mean to say that a
     certain number of people--not a large number--have not slipped
     through or been smuggled up under false pretences. But the great
     bulk of the permits have been allotted by the Central
     Registration Committee, a large, capable, and most representative
     body of the citizens of this town and neighbourhood. And they
     have been allotted on well-defined principles, and with great
     impartiality.... I am satisfied that no body of officials, even
     if our officials were not already over-worked in other
     directions, could have done the business so well.

[Sidenote: Labour and transport.]

     "There can, I think, be little doubt that the present rate of
     return can be maintained, and I am not without hope that it may
     in a short time be considerably increased. But this depends
     entirely, for the reasons already given, on the question whether
     the resumption of mining operations can be quickened. The
     obstacles to such a quickening are two-fold: first, want of
     native labour; secondly, want of trucks to bring up not only the
     increased supplies which a larger population necessitates, but
     also, and this is even a more serious matter, to bring up the
     material required for their work. The latter, I need hardly say,
     is a very heavy item, not only in the case of the mines, but in
     the case of all those other industries, building, for instance,
     which only need a chance in order to burst into extreme activity
     in this place. For the Rand requires just now an increase of
     everything--dwelling-houses, offices, roads, sewers, lighting,
     water-supply, etc., etc. Capital would be readily forthcoming for
     every kind of construction, and many skilled workmen are waiting
     at the coast. But it is no use bringing up workmen to live in the
     dearest place in the world unless they have the materials to work
     with. The most necessary materials, however, are bulky, and the
     carrying capacity of the railways, greatly improved as it is,
     gives no promise of an early importation of quantities of bulky
     material, if the other and more urgent demands upon our means of
     transport are to be satisfied.

     "As regards native labour for the mines, the greater development
     of which is a condition of all other industrial development, the
     difficulty is that, while natives can be found in abundance to
     do surface work, the number of those who are willing to go
     underground is limited. There are only certain tribes among whom
     underground workers can be found in any great numbers, and these
     reside mostly in Portuguese territory. As you are aware,
     difficulties have arisen about the introduction of Portuguese
     natives, and the matter is at present the subject of negotiations
     between the Governor-General of Mozambique and myself. Having
     regard to the friendly attitude of the Governor-General, I have
     every hope that this difficulty may soon be overcome. But even
     then we shall not be able to count on any great immediate influx
     of labourers from Portuguese territory....

[Sidenote: The concentration camps.]

     "The delay in obtaining native labour would be more serious if it
     were not for the existence of that other and still greater
     obstacle to the rapid revival of industry here which I have
     already dwelt on, namely, the difficulty of transport. And this
     latter difficulty is immensely aggravated at the present time by
     the constantly increasing requirements of the concentration
     camps. Not only has the number of people in these camps
     increased, with overwhelming rapidity, to an extent never
     contemplated when they were first started, but the extreme state
     of destitution in which many of the people arrived, and the
     deplorable amount of sickness which has all along existed among
     them, create a demand for a great deal more than mere primary
     necessities, such as food and shelter, if the condition of the
     camps is to be anything like what we should wish to see it. The
     amount of mortality in these camps, especially amongst very young
     children, as you are well aware, has been deplorable. I do not,
     indeed, agree with those who think--or assert--that the mortality
     among the Boers would have been less, if thousands of women and
     children had been allowed to live on isolated farms in a
     devastated country, or to roam about on the trail of the
     commandos. Indeed, I feel confident that it would have been far
     greater. The best proof of this is the deplorable state of
     starvation and sickness in which great numbers of people arrived
     at the camps, and which rendered them easy victims to the attack
     of epidemic diseases. At the same time it is evident that the
     ravages of disease would have been less if our means of transport
     had allowed us to provide them on their first arrival, not only
     with tents, rations, and necessary medicines (all of which were,
     as a matter of fact, supplied with great promptitude), but with
     the hundred and one appliances and comforts which are so
     essential for the recovery of the weakly and the sick, and the
     prevention of the spread of disease. I do not mean to say that it
     was only want of material, due to the insuperable difficulties of
     transport (especially at the time when the camps were first
     started, and when railways were subject to continual
     interruptions) from which the camps suffered. Equally serious was
     the want of personnel; of the necessary number of doctors,
     nurses, matrons, superintendents, etc., who were simply not to be
     found in South Africa, severely taxed as it had already been to
     find men and women of sufficient training and experience to look
     after the other victims of the war. Still, the want of material
     has been a serious item; and it is evidently a want which, as the
     carrying capacity of the railways increases, we must do our best
     to supply. The Ladies' Commission, of whose devoted labours in
     visiting and inspecting the camps it is impossible to speak too
     highly (they have been of inestimable service to the Government),
     have handed in a considerable list of requirements, which have
     been, and are being, supplied as fast as possible. But evidently
     these requirements enter into competition, and most serious
     competition, with the supply of food and materials necessary for
     the revival even of our central industry, not to say of
     industrial and agricultural activity elsewhere in the new
     colonies, of which, under the circumstances, it is, for the
     moment, unfortunately impossible to think.

     "To decide between the competing demands upon the still very
     limited amount of truckage available for civil purposes, after
     the paramount requirements of the army have been satisfied, is
     indeed a most difficult and delicate task. Whether we have done
     all for the best, it is not for me to say. That any amount of
     conscientious thought and labour has been devoted, on all hands,
     to grappling with the problem, I can confidently assert. And I am
     equally confident that whatever has been done, and whatever may
     yet be done, the amount of hardship must have been and must still
     be very great. It would be amusing, if amusement were possible in
     the presence of so much sadness and suffering, to put side by
     side the absolutely contradictory criticisms, all equally
     vehement, to which our action is subjected. On the one hand is
     the outcry against the cruelty and heartlessness manifested in
     not making better provision for the people in the concentration
     camps: on the other, the equally loud outcry against our
     injustice in leaving the British refugees in idleness and poverty
     at the coast, in order to keep the people in the concentration
     camps supplied with every luxury and comfort. I have even
     frequently heard the expression that we are 'spoiling' the people
     in the Boer camps. We are, alas, not in a position to spoil
     anybody, however much we might desire to do so....

     "The pressing questions connected with the return of the refugees
     and the maintenance of the Boers at present in the concentration
     camps are, it is evident, only the first of a series of problems
     of the most complicated character, which have to be solved before
     the country can resume its normal life....

[Sidenote: Re-settlement problems.]

     "Even if the war were to come to an end to-morrow, it would not
     be possible to let the people in the concentration camps go back
     at once to their former homes. They would only starve there. The
     country is, for the most part, a desert, and, before it can be
     generally re-occupied, a great deal will have to be done in the
     way of re-stocking, provision of seed, and also probably, in the
     absence of draught animals, for the importation of steam ploughs.

     "Then there are the arrangements to be made for the return of the
     prisoners of war. Evidently these will have to wait till the
     whole of the British refugees are brought back. The latter not
     only have the strongest claim, but they will be immediately
     wanted when order is restored, and will have, as soon as the
     railway can bring up the necessary material, abundance of work,
     whereas it may take some time before the country is fit to
     receive the prisoners. Nevertheless, though the return of the
     prisoners may still be far distant, there are certain measures
     which have to be taken even now, in order that we may be able to
     deal with the matter when the time comes.

     "Altogether, the number and complexity of the tasks, embraced
     under the general term 're-settlement,' which are either already
     upon us or will come upon us as the country gradually quiets
     down, are sufficient to daunt the most stout-hearted. And yet the
     tone of hopefulness among the British population who have so far
     returned to the new colonies is very marked, especially in the
     Transvaal. It is not incompatible with many grievances, and with
     much grumbling at the Administration. But that was only to be
     expected, and is of very small importance as long as people are
     prepared to tackle the big work of reconstruction in front of
     them in a vigorous and sanguine spirit. Nor is this hopefulness,
     in my opinion, at all ill-founded, however gloomy may be the
     immediate outlook.

     "Terrible as have been the ravages of war and the destruction of
     agricultural capital, a destruction which is now pretty well
     complete, the great fact remains that the Transvaal possesses an
     amount of mineral wealth, virtually unaffected by the war, which
     will ensure the prosperity of South Africa for the next fifty
     years; and other resources, both industrial and agricultural,
     which, properly developed, should make it a rich country, humanly
     speaking, for ever. Economically, all that is required is that a
     very small proportion of the superabundant but exhaustible riches
     of the mines should be devoted to developing the vast permanent
     sources of wealth which the country possesses, and which will
     maintain a European population twenty times as large as the
     present, when all the gold has been dug out. No doubt it is not
     economic measures alone which will ensure that result. A social
     change is also necessary, viz., the introduction of fresh blood,
     of a body of enterprising European settlers, especially on the
     land, to reinforce the Boer population, who have been far too
     few, and far too easy-going, to do even the remotest justice to
     the vast natural capabilities of the soil, on which, for the most
     part, they have done little more than squat. But then the
     introduction of the right type of agricultural settlers, though
     it will not come about of itself, would not seem to be a task
     beyond the powers of statesmanship to grapple with.

[Sidenote: The land settlement report.]

     "This despatch has dealt so largely with questions of immediate
     urgency, that I have left myself no time to refer to the work
     which is being quietly done in both the new colonies to build up
     the framework of the new Administration. I can hardly claim for
     myself that I have been able to give to that work anything more
     than the most general supervision, as my time is more than fully
     occupied in dealing with matters of present urgency. But, thanks
     to the great energy displayed by the principal officers of the
     Administration--by Major Goold-Adams and Mr. Wilson at
     Bloemfontein, by Mr. Fiddes, Sir Richard Solomon, and Mr. Duncan,
     at Pretoria, and by Sir Godfrey Lagden and Mr. Wybergh here--a
     really surprising amount of ground has been covered. Despite all
     the difficulties and discouragements of the present time, the
     machinery of the Government is getting rapidly into working
     order, and, as soon as normal conditions are restored, the new
     colonies will find themselves provided with an Administration
     capable of dealing with the needs of a great and progressive
     community, and with efficient and trustworthy courts of law. A
     number of fundamental laws are being worked out, and will shortly
     be submitted for your approval. In the Orange River Colony they
     do not involve any great change of system, but, in the Transvaal,
     some most important reforms are at once necessary, while an
     immense amount of useless rubbish, which encumbered the Statute
     Book and made it the despair of jurists, has already been

         [Footnote 301: Cd. 903.]

In spite of the disturbed condition of the country, two independent
inquiries, each of which was concerned with matters of cardinal
importance to the future of South Africa, were concluded before the
second year of the war had run its course. From the report addressed
to Mr. Chamberlain by the Land Settlement Commission, of which Mr.
Arnold-Forster was chairman, and from that presented to Lord Milner by
Sir William (then Mr.) Willcocks[302] on Irrigation in South Africa,
there emerged three significant conclusions. Racial fusion, or the
ultimate solution of the nationality difficulty, was to be found in
the establishment of British settlers upon the land, living side by
side with the Dutch farmers and identified with them by common
pursuits and interests; the possibility alike of the successful
introduction of these settlers and of the development of the hitherto
neglected agricultural resources of South Africa depended upon the
enlargement and improvement of the cultivable area by irrigation; and
the only existing source of wealth capable of providing the material
agencies for the realisation of these objects was the Witwatersrand
gold industry. British agricultural settlers for the political,
irrigation for the physical regeneration of South Africa--this was the
essence of these two Reports.

         [Footnote 302: Managing Director of the Daira Sania Company;
         of the Indian and Egyptian Irrigation Services.]

     "We desire to express our firm conviction," wrote the Land
     Settlement Commissioners,[303] "that a well-considered scheme of
     settlement in South Africa by men of British origin is of the
     most vital importance to the future prosperity of British South
     Africa. We find among those who wish to see British rule in
     South Africa maintained and its influence for good extended, but
     one opinion upon this subject. There even seems reason to fear
     lest the vast expenditure of blood and treasure which has marked
     the war should be absolutely wasted, unless some strenuous effort
     be made to establish in the country, at the close of the war, a
     thoroughly British population large enough to make a recurrence
     of division and disorder impossible."

         [Footnote 303: Cd. 626.]

[Sidenote: The irrigation report.]

Apart from its mineral development, Sir William Willcocks points
out,[304] South Africa has remained "strangely stationary. Fifty years
ago it was a pastoral country importing cereals and dairy produce, and
even hay from foreign countries. It is the same to-day. Half a century
ago it needed a farm of 5,000 acres to keep a family in decent
comfort; to-day it needs the same farm of 5,000 acres to keep a single
family in comfort." West of the great Drakenberg range it is an arid,
or semi-arid, region. The reason is not so much that the rainfall is
deficient, as that the rain comes at the wrong time, and is wasted.
What is wanted is water-storage, with irrigation works to spread the
water upon the land when it is needed by the farmer. Nothing short of
the agency of the State will serve to bring about this physical
revolution; for bad legislation must be annulled, and a great
intercolonial system of water-husbandry, comparable to those of India
and Egypt, must be created. Hitherto agriculture, in spite of the
latent possibilities of the country, has scarcely been "attempted";
for, with the exception of the extreme south-western corner of the
Cape Colony, the "conquered territory" of the Orange River Colony, and
the high veld of the Transvaal, the agricultural development of South
Africa "depends entirely on irrigation."

         [Footnote 304: Cd. 1,163.]

But, great as was the claim of agriculture, the claim of the gold
industry was at once more immediate and more imperative.

     "Valuable as water may be for agricultural purposes," Sir William
     Willcocks wrote, "it is a thousand times more valuable for
     gold-washing at the Rand mines."

And again:

     "The prosperity and well-being of every interest, not only in the
     Transvaal, but in South Africa generally, will depend on the
     prosperity of the Rand, certainly for the next fifty years.
     Though my life has been spent in the execution of irrigation
     projects and the furtherance of agricultural prosperity, I feel
     that, under the special conditions prevailing in South Africa,
     the suggestion of any course other than the obvious one of first
     putting the Rand mines on a sound footing as far as their water
     supply is concerned, would have constituted me a bigot. Ten acres
     of irrigable land in the Mooi or Klip river valleys, with
     Johannesburg in the full tide of prosperity, will yield as good a
     rent as forty acres with Johannesburg in decay."

And the prosperity of the mines is not only essential in the present:
it is to be the instrument for the development of the permanent
resources of the Transvaal:

[Sidenote: Economic importance of Rand.]

     "The mineral wealth of the Transvaal is extra-ordinarily great,
     but it is exhaustible, some say within a space of fifty years,
     others within a space of one hundred years. It would be a
     disaster indeed for the country if none of this wealth were
     devoted to the development of its agriculture. Agricultural
     development is slow, but it is permanent, and knows of no
     exhaustion. If the companies working the gold, coal, and diamond
     mines were by decree compelled to devote a percentage of their
     gains to the execution of irrigation works on lines laid down by
     the Government, they would assist in the permanent development of
     the country and would be investing in works which, though slow to
     give a remuneration, would, at any rate, be absolutely permanent.
     It would thus happen, that when the mineral wealth of the country
     had disappeared, its agricultural wealth would have been put on
     such a solid basis that the country would not have to fall from
     the height of prosperity to the depth of poverty."

These were conclusions of so fundamental a nature that no statesman
could afford to overlook them; and, in point of fact, Lord Milner kept
them steadily in sight from first to last in all that he did for the
administrative and economic reconstruction of the new colonies.

Another effort of the civil administration which was carried on
successfully during the war was the teaching of the Boer children in
the refugee camps. The narrative of the circumstances in which the
camp schools were first organised, of the manner in which teachers
came forward from all parts of the empire to offer their services, and
of the complete success which attended their efforts, was told three
years later by Mr. E. B. Sargant, the Education Adviser to the
Administration. The report in which the story appears not only affords
a record unique in the annals of educational effort, but adds a
pleasing and significant page to what is otherwise a gloomy chapter of
the war.[305] Mr. Sargant was invited by Lord Milner to organise the
work of educational reconstruction in the new colonies in the autumn
of 1900. He was then travelling in Canada, in the course of a journey
through the empire undertaken for the purpose of investigating the
methods and conditions of education in the several British colonies;
and he reached Capetown on November 6th, 1900. At that time the
headquarters of the new Transvaal Administration had not been
established in Pretoria; but in the Orange River Colony certain
schools along the railway line and elsewhere had been opened under the
military Government. From observations made in December in the two new
colonies, Mr. Sargant had begun to fear that the work of educational
reorganisation would have to be indefinitely postponed, when a visit
to the Boer prisoners' camp at Seapoint, Capetown, gave him the idea
from which the whole system of the camp schools was subsequently
evolved. Here he found that a school for boys and young men had been
provided by the prisoners themselves, but that it was destitute of
books and of almost all the necessary appliances. Mr. Sargant's appeal
on behalf of this school met with a ready response from the Cape
Government. What could be done here, he thought, could be done
elsewhere. The nearest refugee camp to Capetown was at Norval's Pont,
on the borders of the Orange River Colony; and it was here that Mr.
Sargant determined to make his first experiment.

         [Footnote 305: This Report was issued (June 14th, 1904) from
         the Education Adviser's Office, Johannesburg, on "The
         Development of Education in the Transvaal and Orange River
         Colony." It is one of the many contributions of permanent
         value to political and economic science that mark the second
         period of Lord Milner's Administration in South Africa.
         _E.g._, in Appendix XXX. of this Report, the various
         solutions of the much-vexed question of religious instruction
         in State Schools, severally adopted by the self-governing
         colonies of the empire, are excellently presented in tabular

[Sidenote: Origin of the camp schools.]

     "Having provided myself," Mr. Sargant says, "with several boxes
     of school books, I left Capetown on the last day of January and
     took up my quarters in the camp already named. The Military
     Commandant threw himself heartily into the experiment, although
     at that time the provision of food and shelter for each new
     influx of refugees was a matter of great difficulty. Fortunately
     Norval's Pont, being nearer the base of supplies than the other
     camps, had a few marquees to spare. In two of these I opened the
     first camp school, remaining for a fortnight as its headmaster.
     The rest of the teachers were found in the camp itself. It was
     apparent from the first that the school would be a success. The
     children flocked to it, and the mothers who brought them were
     well content with the arrangement that the religious instruction
     should be given in Dutch and other lessons in English. Here, as
     in several other camps which were visited later, I found that a
     school, taught through the medium of Dutch, had already been
     opened by some of the more serious-minded of the people. In this
     case, an offer was made to me by the Commandant to suppress this
     school and to send the children to my marquees. This I refused,
     and in less than two months I had the gratification of knowing
     that teachers and children had come voluntarily to the Government
     school, and that the tents in which they had been taught formed
     one of a row of six which were needed to accommodate the rapidly
     increasing number of scholars."[306]

         [Footnote 306: Report on "The Development of Education in the
         Transvaal and Orange River Colony."]

[Sidenote: Over-sea teachers.]

After this initial success Mr. Sargant made arrangements, first from
Bloemfontein, and afterwards from Pretoria, for the establishment of
such schools in all the refugee camps; and by the end of May, 1901,
there were 4,000 children in the camp schools, as against 3,500 in the
town schools of the two colonies. In the following month it became
evident that the local supply of teachers would be insufficient to
meet the demands of the rapidly increasing schools; and Lord Milner
devoted much of his time during his leave of absence to making
arrangements for the introduction of a number of well-trained teachers
from England, and subsequently from the over-sea colonies. Before
these welcome reinforcements could arrive, however, the number of
children in the camp schools, apart from the Government schools in the
towns, had risen to 17,500, and the supply of South African teachers
was exhausted. "In many cases," says Mr. Sargant, "the services of
young men and women who had passed the sixth, fifth, and even fourth
standard were utilised temporarily." With the new year, 1902, drafts
of carefully chosen and well-qualified teachers from England began to
arrive. Both the Board of Education for England and Wales and the
Scotch Education Department took up the work of selection and
appointment, and the co-operation of the Canadian, Australian, and New
Zealand Governments was obtained.[307] From this time forward the
system of the camp schools was steadily extended; and on May 31st,
1902, the date of the Vereeniging surrender, when the attendance
reached its highest point, more than 17,000 Boer children were being
thus educated in the Transvaal camps, and more than 12,000 in those of
the Orange River Colony.[308]

         [Footnote 307: These imported teachers worked harmoniously
         with the South African teachers, whether of British or Dutch
         extraction; they filled the gap left by the Hollander
         teachers, who had returned to Europe after the outbreak of
         the war, and formed a valuable element in the permanent staff
         of the Education Departments of the new colonies. In 1903
         there were 475 of these over-sea teachers at work in the two
         colonies, as against some 800 teachers appointed in South

         [Footnote 308: Some idea of the significance of these figures
         may be gathered from the fact that the highest number of
         children on the rolls of the Government schools of the Orange
         Free State was 8,157 (in the year 1898). That is to say, the
         British Administration in the Orange River Colony was
         educating one-third more Boer children in the camp schools
         alone than the Free State Government had educated in time of
         peace. Cd. 903.]

[Sidenote: Administrative progress, 1901.]

Apart from this unique and significant effort, the reports furnished
by the various departmental heads to Lord Milner in December afford
striking and sufficient evidence of the progress of the civil
administration in both the new colonies during the year 1901. In the
Orange River Colony the sphere of operations of the departments
existing at the time when Sir H. Gould-Adams was appointed
Deputy-administrator (March, 1901), had been increased, and new
departments were being organised. A statement issued by the financial
adviser on August 29th showed that for the period March 13th, 1900
(the occupation of Bloemfontein) to June 30th, 1901, the "real"
revenue and expenditure of the colony were respectively £301,800 8_s._
and £217,974 18_s._; an excess of revenue over expenditure of £83,825
10_s._ And during the half-year July 1st-December 31st the revenue
collected was about one-third in excess of the actual civil
expenditure.[309] The progress in education was remarkable. At the end
of February, 1902, there were 13,384 children on the roll of the
Government schools, camp and town,[310] or nearly 5,000 more than the
greatest number at school at any one time under the Republic, and the
reorganisation of both higher and technical instruction had been taken
in hand. A system of local self-government had been commenced by the
establishment of Boards of Health at Bloemfontein and in all
districts in the protected area, while in the capital itself the Town
Council was again at work. The Agricultural Department formed on July
1st, 1901, had taken over a large number of sheep and cattle from the
military authorities, and a commencement of tree-planting under an
experienced forester had been made. The Land Board was created in
October, with two branches concerned respectively with Settlement and
Repatriation. The Settlement branch was occupied especially in
procuring land suitable for agricultural purposes, and its efforts
were so successful that by the end of April, 1902, 150 British
settlers had been placed on farms. The Repatriation branch was engaged
in collecting information as to the whereabouts of the absentee Boer
landowners and their families, and the condition of their lands and
houses; in investigating the possibility of importing fresh stock, and
in collecting vehicles, implements, seed-corn, and the other
necessaries which would be required to enable the Boer population,
when repatriated, to resume their normal pursuits. Also temporary
courts, pending the re-opening of the ordinary civil courts, had been

         [Footnote 309: Cd. 1,163, p. 145. The accounts were
         complicated by expenditure for, and refunds from, the
         military authorities.]

         [Footnote 310: This is in the Orange River Colony alone. For
         the number of children in the _camp_ schools of both
         colonies, as apart from the _town_ schools, see above.]

In the Transvaal the work was on a larger scale. Five departments,
those of the Secretary to the Administration (afterwards Colonial
Secretary), the Legal Adviser (afterwards Attorney-General), the
Controller of the Treasury (afterwards Treasurer), the Mining
Commissioner and of the Commissioner for Native Affairs, were already
organised. The progress achieved by the heads of these departments in
the Transvaal, and by Sir H. Gould-Adams and Mr. Wilson in the Orange
River Colony, formed collectively a record the merit of which was
acknowledged by "an expression of the high appreciation of His
Majesty's Government of the services which they had rendered in
circumstances of exceptional difficulty."[311]

         [Footnote 311: Cd. 1,163.]

It is difficult to present an account of the work already done in the
Transvaal in a form at once brief and representative. The report of
Mr. Fiddes, the Secretary to the Administration,[312] recorded the
progress made in education, public works, and district administration.
Since July twenty-four new schools, of which seven were camp schools,
eight fee-paying schools, and nine free town schools, had been opened,
and 169 teachers were employed in the town schools, and 173 in the
camp schools, opened by the Administration. The public buildings,
including the hospitals and asylums at Johannesburg and Pretoria, the
post offices and the seventeen prisons administered by the department,
were being maintained and, where necessary, restored. In Johannesburg,
as we have seen, a Town Council had been established, but Pretoria was
still administered by a Military Governor, who controlled a temporary
Town Board and the police. The Administration, however, was empowered
by proclamation No. 28 of 1901 to appoint Boards of Health in places
where no municipality existed, and it was expected that Pretoria would
be endowed, before long, with the same municipal privileges as

         [Footnote 312: Dated December 12th, 1901.]

[Sidenote: Legislative reforms.]

The volume of work handled in the Legal Adviser's office formed a
remarkable testimony to the energy and capacity of Sir Richard
Solomon. Resident magistrates' courts had been established in twelve
districts; temporary courts were being held in Pretoria and
Johannesburg; the offices of the Registrar of Deeds and of the Orphan
Master, and the Patent Office, were reorganised; and an ordinance
creating a Supreme Court, consisting of a Chief Justice and five
Puisne Judges, was drafted ready to be brought into operation so soon
as circumstances permitted. The chaotic Statute Book of the late
Republic had been overhauled. A large number of laws, some obsolete,
some impliedly repealed, but still appearing on the Statute Book, and
others unsuited to the new _régime_, had been repealed by
proclamation; and at the same time many ordinances dealing with
matters of fundamental importance had been prepared for submission to
the future Legislative Council at the first opportunity.

The report of Mr. Duncan, the Controller of the Treasury, showed that
the revenue actually being collected, mainly from the customs, the
Post Office, mining and trading licences, and native passes, would
provide for the ordinary expenditure of the civil administration. And,
in point of fact, when the accounts were made up at the end of the
first financial year of the new colonies (July 1st, 1901-June 30th,
1902) it was found that the Orange River Colony had a balance in hand
of £231,000, while in the Transvaal the expenditure on civil
administration[313] had been covered by the revenue, which had assumed
already the respectable figure of £1,393,000.

The Departments of Mines and Native Affairs had been reorganised, and
the work done by Mr. Wybergh and Sir Godfrey Lagden respectively in
these departments, in co-operation with Sir Richard Solomon, had
produced the administrative reforms immediately required to regulate
the employment of native labourers in the mines. By proclamations
amending or repealing existing laws and making fresh provisions where
necessary the native had been protected against oppression and robbery
at the hands of unscrupulous labour-agents, and the liquor traffic,
the chief cause of his insubordination and incapacity, had been
effectively repressed. Considerations of public security made the
maintenance of the "pass" system necessary, but modifications were
introduced into the working of the system sufficient to protect the
educated native from unnecessary humiliation and the native labourer
from excessive punishment. In addition to this departmental work two
commissions had been appointed by Lord Milner to investigate two
matters of direct and immediate concern to the gold industry. The
first of these, over which Sir Richard Solomon presided, was engaged
in reviewing the existing gold laws, with a view to the introduction
of new legislation embodying such modifications as the best local
experience and the financial interests of the colony might require.
The second was employed in formulating measures necessary to provide
both the mines and the community of the Rand with a water-supply that
would be at once permanent and economic.

         [Footnote 313: Excluding expenditure on the South African
         Constabulary and relief and re-settlement, and certain other
         charges. Cd. 1,163.]

[Sidenote: The Johannesburg police.]

There remain certain special features of the administrative
reconstruction accomplished in 1901 that merit attention, as showing
the degree in which Lord Milner kept in view the fundamental
necessities of the situation revealed by the Land Settlement and
Irrigation Reports to which reference has been made above. As part of
the work of the Law Department, the Johannesburg Municipal Police had
been organised and placed under the control of Mr. Showers, the late
head of the Calcutta Police.

     "This fine body," Lord Milner wrote, "consists mainly of picked
     men from the Army Reserve, including many old soldiers of the
     Guards, and others who have fought in the war. The men are
     dressed like London policemen, but carry rifles. This odd-looking
     equipment is characteristic of the double nature of their duties.
     On the one hand they do the work of ordinary town police, and
     exhibit in that characteristic the same efficiency and civility
     as their London prototypes. On the other hand, they have played
     an important part in assisting the military and the Rand Rifles
     in the defence of the long line, fifty miles in extent of towns
     and mining villages which constitute the Rand district. Latterly,
     since the enemy have been quite driven out of this part of the
     country, the military portion of their duties is diminishing in
     importance, though the danger of small raids on outlying portions
     of the Rand by parties coming from a distance is not yet wholly
     removed. On the other hand, with the return of the civil
     population, their work as police proper is greatly on the
     increase. In their struggle with the illicit liquor dealers, one
     of the most difficult of their duties, they have so far met with
     a great measure of success."[314]

         [Footnote 314: Cd. 903.]

[Sidenote: South African constabulary.]

Just as here, in the case of the Johannesburg police, so in the
formation of the South African Constabulary and in the reorganisation
of the railways, Lord Milner had determined that no opportunity of
adding to the permanent British population of the two colonies should
be lost. The South African Constabulary was formed in October, 1900,
by General Baden-Powell, mainly on the lines of the Canadian
North-West police, for the protection of the settled population in the
new colonies. Since July, 1901, however, when it had been called out
for military service, this force, at the time some 9,000 strong, had
been employed as part of the army under the direction of the
Commander-in-Chief, although its organisation, finance, and internal
discipline were dealt with by the High Commissioner. The men recruited
for the Constabulary were of British birth, and every endeavour was
made in the selection of recruits to secure persons who were adapted
by pursuits and character to become permanent and useful colonists. It
is interesting to note that a body of 500 burgher police, consisting
of former burghers of the Orange Free State, and placed under the
colonel commanding the Orange Colony division, had been associated
with the Constabulary during the time that they were thus serving with
the troops. Nor is it necessary to point out that the military
experience, the knowledge of the country, and acquaintance with the
life of the veld which the Constabulary gained at this period, largely
contributed to the efficiency which they displayed afterwards in the
discharge of their regular duties.

But of all the reconstructive work accomplished in this year of
continuous and harassing warfare, the reorganisation of the railways
was perhaps the most essential and the most successful in its
immediate results. Although the railways of the two new colonies
remained entirely under the control of the military authorities, their
future importance to the civil administration was so great that, as
Lord Milner wrote,[315] "questions affecting their organisation and
development naturally claimed his constant attention." And this all
the more, since Sir Percy Girouard, the Director of Military
Railways, had been chosen by the Home Government to undertake the
management of the joint railway system of the two colonies so soon as
it was handed over to the civil authorities. The work accomplished
included the repair of the damage inflicted by the enemy, the increase
and improvement of the rolling-stock, the reorganisation of the staff
of European employees, and the construction of new lines required for
the industrial development of the country. Apart from 102 engines and
984 trucks, the Boers had destroyed many pumping-stations and station
buildings, 385 spans of bridges and culverts, and 25 miles of line.
These injuries to the "plant" of the railways were repaired "in an
absolutely permanent manner," and orders had been placed in August for
60 engines and 1,200 trucks over and above those required to replace
the rolling-stock destroyed by the enemy.[316] As the staff employed
in the time of the Republics had been "actively engaged on the side of
the enemy, and were animated by an exceedingly anti-British
spirit,"[317] they had to be almost entirely replaced.

         [Footnote 315: December 14th, 1901. Cd. 903.]

         [Footnote 316: The new rolling-stock was paid for out of the
         grant-in-aid voted in August, 1901. The first of the new
         lines constructed was that from Bloemfontein to Basutoland,
         opening up the rich agricultural land known as the "conquered
         territory" on the Basuto border in the Orange River Colony,
         where many of the new British settlers had been established.]

         [Footnote 317: The completeness with which the Netherlands
         Railway Company had identified itself with the Government of
         the South African Republic is well expressed in the reply of
         Mr. Van Kretchmar, the General Manager of the N.Z.A.S.M., to
         a question put to him by the Transvaal Concessions
         Commissioners: "We considered that the interests of the
         Republic were our interests" (Q. 612). Many of these railway
         employees were, of course, imported Hollanders.]

[Sidenote: Reorganisation of railways.]

     "But," Lord Milner continues, "the many difficulties incidental
     to the organisation of a large new staff, unaccustomed to work
     with one another, are being successfully overcome, and business
     is carried on with a smoothness which gives no indication of the
     internal revolution so recently effected. The new railway staff
     comprises some 4,000 men of British race, including 1,500
     Reservists or Irregulars who had fought in the war, and who, with
     other newcomers, form a permanent addition to the British
     population of South Africa."

Thanks to the blockhouse system, supplemented where necessary by
armoured trains, the mail trains from the ports to Johannesburg were
running almost as rapidly and as safely as in time of peace. But the
demands of the military traffic were so enormous that opportunities
for ordinary traffic were still rigorously restricted.

     "Military requirements in food supplies, remounts and munitions
     of war," Lord Milner wrote, "represented 29,000 tons weekly from
     the ports; while the movements of men and horses to and fro over
     the [then] huge theatre of war were as constant as they were

None the less the civil traffic was increasing. While in August only
684 refugees had returned, in November the number had risen to 2,623;
and while in August the tonnage of civil supplies forwarded to
Bloemfontein and the Transvaal was 4,612, in November it was 8,522.
This result, moreover, had been obtained with the old rolling-stock,
and a much more rapid progress was anticipated in the future, since
the additional rolling-stock had already begun to arrive. And in
anticipation of this increased rate of progress, the Commander-in-Chief

     "now seen his way to allow the mines to start 400 fresh stamps
     per month, as against an average of under 100 in previous months,
     and had also consented to the grant of 1,600 permits a month
     (representing about 4,000 persons) for return to the Transvaal."

In addition to the repair and reorganisation of the lines running to
the coast, the Transvaal collieries had been re-opened and the coal
traffic had been resumed. Not only had progress been made in stocking
the mines with coal, timber, and machinery, preparatory to the full
resumption of working activity, but the large unemployed native
population found in Johannesburg at the time of Lord Milner's arrival
had been utilised for the construction of a new and much-needed coal
line, which ran for thirteen miles along the Rand.

     "This short line," Lord Milner wrote, "would have no less than
     thirty to forty miles of sidings leading from it to every
     important mine, and securing direct delivery of about 1,000,000
     tons of coal per annum, as well as of a large tonnage of general

[Sidenote: Development by railways.]

And then follows a statement of the part to be played by railway
construction in the policy of material development, which was pursued
with such determination by Lord Milner after the restoration of peace.

     "It seems almost superfluous to argue the case for further
     railway development in South Africa, and especially in the new
     colonies. The richest agricultural districts of both colonies are
     far removed from markets. The through lines to the coast from the
     great centres of industry will be choked with traffic. Both to
     stimulate agriculture and to facilitate the operations of
     commerce, additional lines and relief lines will be urgently
     required. Moreover, if the construction of the most necessary of
     these is undertaken as fast as the districts through which they
     pass are pacified, employment will be provided for large numbers
     of persons who would otherwise be idle and dependent on
     Government for relief, as well as for many newcomers, who will be
     a valuable addition to the population of the country. If there is
     one enterprise which is certain to be thoroughly popular with the
     old population, it is this. The one thing which the Boers will
     thoroughly appreciate will be railways bringing their richest
     land into touch with the best markets. And the British population
     will be equally in favour of such a course."[318]

         [Footnote 318: Cd. 903.]

Thus, six months before Vereeniging, and less than three months after
Lord Milner's return from England, the "big unfinished job" was well
in hand.



[Sidenote: The gold industry re-started.]

With the beginning of the year 1902, the question of the ultimate
submission of the Boers had become a matter of months, or even weeks.
The guerilla leaders had been beaten at their own game. In spite of
the extension of the area of the war, the terrorising of the peaceably
inclined burghers, the co-operation of the Afrikander nationalists,
and the encouragement derived from Boer sympathisers in England, the
most important districts of the Transvaal and half of the Orange River
Colony were being restored to the pursuits of peace. The great
industry of South Africa was re-established, and agriculture was not
only resumed but even developing upon more enlightened principles
within the protected areas of the two colonies; while in the Orange
River Colony 150 new British settlers had been planted upon farms
before the terms of the Vereeniging surrender were signed. The story
of this steady progress is told by the mere items in the monthly
records furnished by Lord Milner to the Home Government. The gold
industry of the Rand recommenced in May, 1901, when, with permission
to set 150 stamps at work, 7,439 oz. of gold were won. Up to
November, when, as we have seen, the military situation for the first
time permitted any considerable body of refugees to return, progress
was slow; but in this month the output amounted to 32,000 oz. in round
numbers. In December the number of stamps working had risen to 953,
and the output to 52,897 oz. Henceforward the advance was rapid and
sustained. In the remaining five months of the war (January to May,
1902), the number of stamps at work rose to 2,095, the monthly output
to 138,600 oz., of the value of £600,000, and 30,000 additional
British refugees had been brought back to their homes on the Rand, in
view of the increasing certainty of employment afforded by the
expanding gold industry. Thus, before the surrender of the Boer forces
in the field, half of the British population had been restored to the
Transvaal, and the gold industry had been so far re-established that
its production had reached one-third of the highest annual rate
attained before the war broke out. Nor must it be forgotten that
during these last months the conditions of the refugee camps were
being steadily improved, until, as already noted, the death-rate was
ultimately reduced below the normal.

The Home Government had been unprepared for the military struggle
precipitated by the ultimatum; Lord Milner was determined that, so far
as his efforts could avail, it should not be unprepared for the
economic conflict for which peace would be the signal. In a despatch
of January 25th, 1902, he urged once more upon Mr. Chamberlain the
importance of settling British colonists upon the land, and pressed
for a "decision on the main issues" raised by this question.

[Sidenote: Land settlement.]

     "This subject has for long occupied my attention," he wrote,
     "and, in a tentative way, a good deal has been done. But we have
     reached a point where little more progress can be made without a
     decision on the main issues. The question is, whether British
     colonisation is to be undertaken on a large and effective scale,
     under Government control and with Government assistance, or to be
     left to take care of itself, with whatever little help and
     sympathy an Administration, devoid of any general plan, and with
     no special funds devoted to the particular purpose, can give
     it.... The principal consideration is the necessity of avoiding a
     sharp contrast and antagonism in the character and sentiments of
     the population between the country districts and the towns. If we
     do nothing, we shall be confronted, sooner or later, with an
     industrial urban population, rapidly increasing, and almost
     wholly British in sentiment, and, on the other hand, a rural
     population, wholly Dutch, agriculturally unprogressive. It is not
     possible to contemplate such a state of affairs without grave
     misgivings. We shall have to reinstate the bulk of our prisoners
     upon their farms, and provide them with the means of starting
     life anew, but unless we at the same time introduce some new
     element we may be simply laying up the material for further
     trouble. The land will remain as neglected, the attitude of the
     rural population as unprogressive, and as much out of sympathy
     with British ideas as ever.... To satisfy these demands, it is
     clear that no small and makeshift scheme will suffice. Land
     settlement must be undertaken on a large scale; otherwise,
     however useful, it will be _politically_ unimportant.

     "The time is fast approaching when it will be absolutely
     necessary to raise loans for both new colonies to meet expenses
     arising immediately out of the war. I wish to place on record my
     profound conviction that unless, in raising these loans, we
     provide a substantial sum for the purchase of land and the
     settlement thereon of farmers of British race, an opportunity
     will be lost which will never recur, and the neglect of which
     will have the most prejudicial effect on the future peace and
     prosperity of South Africa. I do not, indeed, ask that these
     first loans should include a sum as large as may ultimately be
     required if land settlement is to assume the proportions which I
     contemplate. But, if our first considerable undertakings in this
     line are proving themselves successful, I foresee no difficulty
     in obtaining more money later on, should we require it. What I do
     fear is a check now, when we ought to be in a position to seize
     every possible opportunity of getting hold of land suitable to
     our purpose, and of retaining in the country such men as we want
     to put on it. If we lose the next year or two we lose the game,
     and without that power of acting promptly, which a ready command
     of money alone can give, we shall begin to throw away
     opportunities from this moment at which I am writing onwards.

     "What I want to put plainly to His Majesty's Government are these
     two questions: (1) Are we to be allowed to go on purchasing good
     land, by voluntary agreement wherever possible, but compulsorily,
     if necessary? And, assuming this question to be answered in the
     affirmative, (2) what amount shall we be able to dispose of for
     this purpose in the immediate future?"[319]

         [Footnote 319: Cd. 1,163.]

It had been arranged during Lord Milner's last visit to England that
the large expenditure inevitably arising out of the economic
reconstruction and future development of the new colonies, should be
provided by a loan secured upon their assets and revenues. The
purposes for which this immediate outlay was especially required were
the acquisition of the existing railways and the construction of new
lines, land settlement, the repatriation of the Boers, and the
compensation of loyalists for war losses both in the new colonies and
in the Cape and Natal. Lord Milner now proposed that the Home
Government should decide to appropriate, out of the funds to be thus
raised, a sum of £3,000,000 to land settlement, and that of this sum
£2,000,000 should be spent in the Transvaal and £1,000,000 in the
Orange Colony. The "development" loan, as it was called, was not
issued until after Mr. Chamberlain's visit to South Africa in the
(South African) summer of 1902-3; but Lord Milner's proposal was
approved in principle, and he was enabled to employ the limited
resources at his disposal in the purchase of blocks of land suitable
for the purposes of agriculture in both colonies.

Apart from the progress thus achieved in this matter of supreme
importance, as Lord Milner deemed it, to the future of South Africa,
the preparation of the administrative machinery, the _matériel_ of
transport, and the supplies of all kinds required for the repatriation
of the Boers, was pushed forward with increasing activity. At the same
time certain other administrative questions were brought by him to the
consideration of the Home Government during these months (January to
May, 1902), with the result that the ink was scarcely dry upon the
Treaty of Surrender before he was able to ask for, and obtain,
decisions upon them.

[Sidenote: On the eve of peace.]

The telegrams which passed between Lord Milner and the Colonial Office
on these matters, during the weeks immediately preceding and following
the Vereeniging surrender, are significant. Beside the clear thrust of
Lord Milner's calculated energy, Mr. Chamberlain's efforts to keep
pace with the needs of the situation sink into comparative inertia. On
April 18th Lord Milner telegraphs the particulars of the 10 per cent.
tax which he proposes to levy on the net produce of the mining
industry. The rate is high--twice as high as the gold tax under the
Republic--and will yield an annual revenue of £500,000 or £600,000 on
a basis of the present normal production of the mines; but he believes
that it will be "accepted without serious opposition, if it is imposed
while the industry is rapidly advancing." And he expresses the hope
that the explanation which he has furnished will be "sufficient to
show the principles" of the tax, and that he may publicly announce the
decision on this matter of such general economic importance at once.
Mr. Chamberlain, however, requires further information; and we find
Lord Milner telegraphing on June 2nd: "I trust you will now agree to
the tax on the profits of gold mines; I am anxious to publish the
Proclamation in next Friday's _Gazette_." And to this Mr. Chamberlain
replies on June 4th, "I agree to the imposition of a 10 per cent. tax
on the profits of gold mines." On June 2nd, that is, two days after
the terms of surrender have been signed at Pretoria, Lord Milner sends
a "most urgent" telegram on the immediate financial position:

     "The departments are still very busy with the estimates of the
     new colonies and Constabulary. They are rather late this year,
     but that was quite unavoidable. The result promises to be good.
     We can pay for all normal expenditure and the 6,000 South African
     Constabulary out of revenue. But, as you know, there is nothing
     provided for the various extraordinary items which have been
     hitherto financed out of the £500,000 grant for relief and
     re-settlement. In all my estimates I have relied on a loan for
     this. As I understand, the loan is deferred. As the £500,000 is
     nearly exhausted, and it would be disastrous if land settlement,
     which latter is at last making good progress, were stopped,
     especially at this juncture, I would ask for immediate authority
     to spend another £500,000 on these purposes. This is independent
     of the amounts which will be required under the last clause of
     the Terms of Surrender, about which I will address you
     immediately. I earnestly hope that there may be no delay in
     acceding to this request. The work to be got through in the
     immediate future is so enormous that, unless we can get the
     fundamental questions of finance settled promptly, a breakdown
     is inevitable. It would be a great relief to my mind to feel that
     services already started and working well were provided for at
     least for some months ahead, before I plunge into the new and
     heavy job of restoring the Boer population, which will require
     all my attention in the immediate future."[320]

         [Footnote 320: Cd. 1,163.]

Mr. Chamberlain's reply comes on June 18th:

     "You may incur expenditure up to £500,000 more for relief and
     re-settlement, pending the issue of the loan."

On June 10th Lord Milner telegraphs an outline scheme for repatriating
the Boers. "As time presses," he concludes, "I am going ahead on these
lines; but I am anxious to know that they have your general approval."
The reply, dated June 18th, is: "The proposals are approved generally.
Send by post a report on the details of the arrangement and the
persons appointed." At the same time Lord Milner has been pressing for
a decision on the question of land settlement. He has sent a despatch
on May 9th containing full particulars of the terms upon which it is
proposed to offer and to suitable applicants; and he now telegraphs,
on June 20th:

[Sidenote: "It is vital to make a start".]

     "If you could agree generally to the terms in my despatch, I
     would immediately deal with some of the most pressing cases on
     those lines. The terms may be improved upon later; meanwhile it
     is vital to make a start."

There is land available, and there are men available--over-sea
colonists, and yeomen with a knowledge of agriculture, who have fought
in the war, and have, therefore, a first claim to be considered. But
these desirable settlers cannot afford to wait in a country like South
Africa, where the cost of living is abnormally high, without a
definite prospect of employment.

     "Unless something is done at once," he says, "there will be
     bitter complaint. [The Transvaal] Government is already being
     severely, though unjustly, criticised for the delay."

This is answered by Mr. Chamberlain's telegram of July 7th, in which
he "concurs generally" in Lord Milner's proposals, and leaves him
"full discretion to deal with the details of the scheme, which it is
not possible to criticise effectively" in London.

In a telegram of June 21st we get the announcement of the formal
initiation of Crown Colony government:

     "I have this day read and published the Letters Patent," Lord
     Milner says, "constituting the Government of the Transvaal, and
     my Commission; and I have taken the prescribed oath."

And on July 3rd he suggests that an announcement should be made at
once of the intention of the Home Government to enlarge the
Legislative Councils of both colonies by the admission of a
non-official element:

[Sidenote: Colonists and the settlement.]

     "I felt at one time that in the case of the Transvaal this would
     be unworkable," he adds, "but my present opinion is strongly to
     the effect that we should seize the opportunity of the present
     improved feeling between the Dutch and British in the new
     colonies to commence co-operation between them in the conduct of
     public business."

To this proposal Mr. Chamberlain gives his approval in a brief
telegram of July 7th.[321]

         [Footnote 321: Cd. 1,163.]

Bare and jejune as are these telegrams, they tell us something of the
spirit of relentless vigour by which Lord Milner drove the cumbrous
wheels of Downing Street into quicker revolutions at the shifting of
the scenes from war to peace. Within six weeks of the surrender of
Vereeniging he was fully engaged in what he afterwards called "the
tremendous effort, wise or unwise in various particulars, made after
the war, not only to repair its ravages, but also to re-start the new
colonies on a far higher plane of civilisation than they had ever
previously attained."[322] The story of this "tremendous effort," with
its economic problems and its political agitations, must be reserved
for a separate volume. It only remains, therefore, to relate the part
which Lord Milner played in determining the conditions under which the
republican Dutch were incorporated into the system of British South

         [Footnote 322: At Johannesburg, March 31st, 1905. From _The
         Star_ report.]

Before we approach the actual circumstances which accompanied the
surrender of the Boer forces in the field, it is necessary to recall
the exchange of views on the subject of the settlement of the new
colonies which took place between the Imperial authorities and the
Governments of the Cape and Natal in the early months of the preceding
year (1901). In these communications--the origin of which has been
mentioned previously[323]--the significance attached by loyalist
opinion in South Africa to certain questions, necessarily left
undetermined in Mr. Chamberlain's pronouncements of the general policy
of the British Government, was fully disclosed. The Cape ministers,
while recognising that full representative self-government should be
conferred at an early date, unhesitatingly affirmed the necessity of
maintaining a system of Crown Colony government until "such time as it
was certain that representative institutions could be established, due
regard being had to the paramount necessity of maintaining and
strengthening British supremacy in the colonies in question." And as,
in their opinion, "this consummation would be ultimately assured and
materially strengthened by a large influx of immigrants favourably
disposed to British rule," they expressed the hope that "no time would
be lost after the conclusion of the war in putting into effect a large
scheme of land settlement." More than this, with the object-lesson of
the actual breakdown of representative government in their own Colony
before their eyes, they added a recommendation that this British
immigration should not be confined to the new colonies, but that a
portion of the funds to be provided by the Imperial Government for
this purpose should be allocated to the Cape Colony.

         [Footnote 323: See p. 489.]

[Sidenote: The language question.]

In the minute furnished by the Natal Ministry the question of the
settlement of the new colonies was discussed in greater detail, and in
particular attention was drawn to the opportunities for the promotion
of a federal union of British South Africa, which the establishment of
British government in the former Republics would afford. The
settlement of the new colonies, in their opinion, should be so treated
as to become a preliminary stage in the creation of a federal
administration which "should be accomplished, if possible, before
intercolonial jealousies and animosities should have had time to
crystallise and become formidable." The Natal ministers, therefore,
insisted upon the importance of measures calculated to secure the
predominance of the English language in the new colonies. In support
of this recommendation they pointed out that the preservation of the
"Taal" is purely a matter of sentiment. The Boer vernacular, so
called, "has neither a literature nor a grammar"; it is distinct from
"the Dutch language used in public offices and official documents." No
one acquainted with the conditions of Boer life will dispute the truth
of this contention. The Boer child, if he is to receive an education
sufficient to qualify him for the public services, or for a
professional or commercial career, must in any case learn a second
language; and since to learn the Dutch of Holland is no less
difficult--probably more difficult--to him than to learn English, the
desire to have Dutch taught in schools in preference to English
becomes a matter of political sentiment, and not of practical
convenience. On the other hand, the strongest reasons exist for making
English the common language of both races. Apart from its superiority
to Dutch as the literary vehicle of the Anglo-Saxon world and the
language of commerce, the predominance of the English language is a
matter which vitally affects the success of British policy in South

     "The general good of the new colonies and of South Africa
     generally," the Natal ministers wrote, "requires the predominance
     of the English language. The language question has done more,
     probably, than anything else to separate the races and to provoke
     racial animosity."

They, therefore, recommend that--

     "English should be the official and predominant language in the
     higher courts, and in the public service--combined with such
     concessions in favour of Dutch as justice, convenience, and
     circumstances may require. Dutch interpreters should be attached
     to all courts and to the principal public offices, and their
     services should be available free of charge, in civil as well as
     in criminal cases. English should be the medium of instruction in
     all secondary schools, and in all standards in primary schools
     situated in English districts, and in the higher standards in all
     other primary schools. Dutch should be the medium of instruction
     meanwhile in the lower forms in the Dutch districts, and it
     should be taught in all schools where there is a reasonable
     demand for it."[324]

         [Footnote 324: Cd. 1,163.]

On the question of disarmament they wrote:

     "In order to secure complete pacification, disarmament is
     necessary. Re-armament should not be allowed until both the new
     colonies are considered fit for self-government, and even then
     the carrying of arms and the issuing of ammunition should be
     contingent on the taking of the oath of allegiance."

[Sidenote: The native question.]

On the subject of the treatment of the natives in the new colonies,
the remarks of the Natal ministers are weighty and pertinent.

     "For a long while," they wrote, "the natives cannot be given
     political rights. The grant of such rights would have the effect
     of alienating the sympathy of English and Dutch alike, and would
     materially prejudice the good government of the new colonies, and
     be provocative of racial bitterness. In the meantime the natives
     should be taught habits of steady industry.

     "Officers appointed over the natives should be acquainted with
     their language and customs.

     "The assumption in England that colonists are unjust and brutal
     to the natives has worked great harm, and both Dutch and English
     have suffered from its influence.

     "A native policy out of sympathy with colonial views is likely,
     owing to the past history of South Africa, to arouse so strong a
     feeling that even the just rights of natives would be
     disregarded. It is essential, in the interests of the natives
     themselves, generally, that the Home Government should work in
     accord with colonial sentiments as a whole, and the great
     influence of a colonial minister in sympathy with colonists will
     secure far more reforms than will any attempt to over-rule local

         [Footnote 325: Cd. 1,163.]

As one of certain immediately practicable steps in the direction of
South African unity, the Natal Ministry advocated "reciprocity" in the
learned professions and the Civil Services of the several colonies. To
effect this purpose they recommended that uniform tests of
professional qualifications should be adopted throughout South Africa,
and that public officers should be allowed to proceed from the civil
service of one colony to that of another, their separate periods of
service counting as continuous "for pension and other purposes." They
also put forward a claim for the incorporation of certain districts of
the Transvaal and Orange River Colony into Natal. The justice of this
claim, in so far as it referred to a portion of Zululand wrongfully
annexed by the Transvaal Boers, was recognised by the Imperial
Government, and the district in question was transferred to Natal on
the termination of the war.

As High Commissioner, Lord Milner was bound to prevent the grant of
any terms to the Boers inconsistent with the future maintenance of
British supremacy in South Africa, now re-established at so great a
cost. As the representative man of the British in South Africa, he
was no less bound to see that the terms of surrender contained no
concessions to the separatist aspirations of the Boer people
calculated to form an obstacle to the future administrative union of
the South African colonies. With this two-fold responsibility laid
upon him, it is not surprising that his view both of what might be
conceded safely to the Boer leaders, and of how it might be conceded,
was somewhat different from that of the Commander-in-Chief. That the
Boers themselves were conscious of being likely to get more favourable
terms from Lord Kitchener than from the High Commissioner, is apparent
from the anxiety which they displayed to deal exclusively with the
former. In this object, however, they were entirely unsuccessful,
since the Home Government indicated from the first their desire that
Lord Milner should be present at the meetings for negotiation; and in
the end the terms of surrender were drafted by him with the assistance
of Sir Richard Solomon, the legal adviser to the Transvaal

[Sidenote: The peace negotiations.]

The actual circumstances in which the Vereeniging negotiations
originated were these. Early in the year 1902, when, as we have seen,
the ultimate success of the military operations directed by Lord
Kitchener was assured, the Netherlands Government communicated their
readiness to mediate between the British Government and the
Governments of the South African Republic and the Orange Free State,
with a view to the termination of hostilities. To this offer the
British Government replied that, while they were sincerely desirous of
terminating the war, the only persons whom they could recognise as
competent to negotiate for peace were the leaders of the Boer forces
in the field. Lord Kitchener was directed, however, to forward a copy
of the correspondence between the British and Netherlands Governments
to the Boer leaders. In acknowledging this communication Mr. Schalk
Burger, as acting President of the South African Republic, informed
Lord Kitchener that he was prepared to treat for peace, but that
before doing so he wished to see President Steyn. He, therefore, asked
for a safe-conduct through the British lines and back to effect this
purpose. On March 13th, 1902, the Home Government authorised Lord
Kitchener to grant this request, if "he and Lord Milner agreed in
thinking it desirable." As the result of the consultation between
Schalk Burger and Steyn, a conference of the Free State and Transvaal
leaders was held at Klerksdorp, at which it was decided, on April
10th, to request the British Commander-in-Chief to receive
representatives of the Boers personally, "time and place to be
appointed by him, in order to lay before him direct peace proposals."
The approval of the Home Government having been obtained, President
Steyn, Mr. Schalk Burger, and Generals Botha, De Wet, and De la Rey
met Lord Kitchener and Lord Milner on April 12th, at Pretoria. The
proposals which the Boer representatives then put forward were wholly
inadmissible. Nevertheless, Lord Kitchener telegraphed them to London
with the remark:

     "I have assured [the Boer representatives] that His Majesty's
     Government will not accept any proposals which would maintain the
     independence of the Republics, as this would do, and that they
     must expect a refusal."

[Sidenote: Independence refused.]

On the day following the British Government replied that they could

     "entertain any proposals which were based upon the former
     independence of the Republics, which had been formally annexed to
     the British Crown."

Upon learning this reply President Steyn and his colleagues took up
the position that they were not competent to surrender the
independence of their country, since only the "people," meaning
thereby the burghers still in the field, could do this. They asked,
therefore, for an armistice to enable them to consult the burghers.
This request was refused on the ground that no basis of agreement had,
as yet, been reached. The Boer representatives then asked that the
British Government should state the "terms which they were prepared to
grant, subsequent to a relinquishment of independence"; while they on
their side undertook to refer these terms to the people, "without any
expression of approval or disapproval." In answer to this proposal
Lord Kitchener was authorised to refer the Boer representatives to the
offer made by him to General Botha at Middelburg twelve months

     "We have received," telegraphed the Secretary for War on April
     16th, "with considerable surprise the message from the Boer
     leaders contained in your telegram of 14th April.

     "The meeting was arranged at their request, and they must have
     been aware of our repeated declarations that we could not
     entertain any proposals based on the renewed independence of the
     two South African States. We were, therefore, entitled to assume
     that the Boer representatives had relinquished the idea of
     independence, and would propose terms of surrender for the forces
     still in the field.

     "They now state that they are constitutionally incompetent to
     discuss terms which do not include a restoration of independence,
     but request us to inform them what conditions would be granted
     if, after submitting the matter to their followers, they were to
     relinquish the demand for independence.

     "This does not seem to us to be a satisfactory method of
     proceeding, or one best adapted to secure, at the earliest
     moment, a cessation of the hostilities which have involved the
     loss of so much life and treasure.

     "We are, however, as we have been from the first, anxious to
     spare the effusion of further blood, and to hasten the
     restoration of peace and prosperity to the countries afflicted by
     the war; and you and Lord Milner are therefore authorised to
     refer the Boer leaders to the offer made by you to General Botha
     more than twelve months ago,[326] and to inform them that,
     although the subsequent great reduction in the strength of the
     forces opposed to us, and the additional sacrifice thrown upon us
     by the refusal of that offer would justify us in imposing far
     more onerous terms, we are still prepared, in the hope of a
     permanent peace and reconciliation, to accept a general surrender
     on the lines of that offer, but with such modifications in detail
     as may be agreed upon mutually.

     "You are also authorised to discuss such modifications with them,
     and to submit the result for our approval.

     "Communicate this to the High Commissioner."[327]

         [Footnote 326: For these, the "Middelburg" or "Botha" terms,
         see above, p. 471, and forward; p. 568, note 2.]

         [Footnote 327: Cd. 1,096.]

[Sidenote: Consulting the Burghers.]

Upon learning the contents of this telegram, the Boer representatives
put forward the request that their "deputation" in Europe, Mr. Abraham
Fischer, Mr. Cornelius Wessels, and Mr. Wolmarans,[328] might be
allowed to return to South Africa to take part in the negotiations,
and again asked for an armistice while the return of the deputation
and the subsequent meetings of the burghers were taking place. Both
these requests were refused on military grounds; but Lord Kitchener
was willing to grant facilities to the Boer leaders to consult the
burghers, and arrangements were made in the course of the next two
days (April 17th-19th) for representatives of the Boer commandos in
the field--exclusive of those in the Cape Colony--to be elected, and
meet at Vereeniging, a small town on the Vaal near the border of the
two colonies, on May 13th or 15th. During the month that followed,
every possible assistance was rendered by the Commander-in-Chief to
the Boer leaders with the object of enabling them to carry out these
arrangements. Safe-conducts, under flags of truce, and passes for
their officers and messengers, were freely granted; and the localities
chosen for the commando assemblies, the places and dates of which had
been notified to Lord Kitchener before the Boer representatives left
Pretoria, were "scrupulously avoided" by the British troops. In spite,
however, of the restrictions imposed upon the activity of the forces
under his command, Lord Kitchener was able to report, on June 1st,
that "good progress" had been made in the work of the campaign up to
the actual cessation of hostilities.[329]

         [Footnote 328: This deputation was despatched in March, 1900,
         to "win the sympathy of the nations," in De Wet's words.]

         [Footnote 329: Cd. 986.]

The sixty Boer representatives--two for each commando--thus assembled
at Vereeniging appointed, on May 18th, a special commission to treat
for peace. The commissioners, who included Commandant-Generals Louis
Botha and Christian De Wet, Generals Hertzog, De la Rey and Smuts, and
President Steyn, Acting President Schalk Burger, and other
civilians,[330] proceeded at once to Pretoria, where, on May 19th,
they met Lord Kitchener and Lord Milner in conference, and put forward
the following three proposals as a basis of negotiation:

         [Footnote 330: A full list of the names is to be found in the
         Draft Terms of Surrender at p. 564.]

[Sidenote: The terms drafted.]

     "(1) We are prepared to surrender our independence as regards
     foreign relations. (2) We wish to retain self-government under
     British supervision. (3) We are prepared to surrender a part of
     our territory."

What then happened can be told in the words of Lord Kitchener's
telegram to the Secretary for War:

     "Lord Milner and I refused to accept these terms as a basis for
     negotiation, as they differ essentially from the principles laid
     down by His Majesty's Government. After a long discussion,
     nothing was decided, and it was determined to meet in the
     afternoon. The Commission met again at 4 p.m., when Lord Milner
     proposed a form of document that might be submitted to the
     burghers for a 'Yes' or 'No' vote. There was a good deal of
     objection to this, but it was agreed finally that Lord Milner
     should meet Smuts and Hertzog with a view of drafting, as far as
     possible, an acceptable document on the Botha lines.[331] They
     will meet to-morrow for that purpose. Lord Milner stipulated for
     the assistance of Sir Richard Solomon in the preparation of the
     draft document."[332]

         [Footnote 331: These were the "Middelburg terms" of a year
         ago. See note 2, p. 568.]

         [Footnote 332: Cd. 1,096.]

The "long discussion" of May 19th, to which Lord Kitchener refers, is
to be found in the minutes of the conferences held at Pretoria between
May 19th and 28th. It affords an exhibition of gross disingenuousness
on the part of the Boer commissioners. Almost in the same breath they
allege that their proposal is "not necessarily in contradiction
to"[333] the Middelburg terms; admit that there is a "fundamental
difference" between the two proposals, but ask that their own may be
accepted, nevertheless, as the basis of negotiation;[334] and finally
maintain that, as it is "nearly equivalent"[335] to the Middelburg
terms, they need not "insist so much" upon it.[336] To all this Lord
Milner has but one answer: "It is impossible for us to take your
proposal into consideration."

         [Footnote 333: Smuts.]

         [Footnote 334: Hertzog.]

         [Footnote 335: De Wet.]

         [Footnote 336: Botha.]

[Sidenote: Payment of Boer war debts.]

On May 21st the document drafted by Lord Milner and Sir R. Solomon in
consultation with Mr. Smuts (General and ex-State Attorney of the
Transvaal) and Mr. Hertzog (General and late Judge of the Free State
High Court) on the preceding day, was read at a plenary meeting of the
negotiators. In the main the document was accepted with little demur;
but a long discussion arose on the question of the degree in which the
the British Government would recognise the debts incurred by military
and civil officers of the late Republics in the course of the war. The
Boers desired that all Government notes and all receipts given by
their officers for goods, whether commandeered or not, should be
recognised to be part of the liabilities of the Republican Governments
for which the new Government was to become responsible. Lord Milner,
on the other hand, expressed the opinion that such a demand was very
unreasonable. The British Government would take over, with the assets
of the Republican Governments, all liabilities existing at the time
when the war broke out, but it could not be expected to pay for
expenses actually incurred by the Boer leaders in carrying on a war
against itself, which was, in its later stages, at any rate, utterly
indefensible. The British people, he said--

     "would much prefer to pay a large sum at the conclusion of
     hostilities with the object of bettering the condition of the
     people who have been fighting against them, than to pay a much
     smaller sum to meet the costs incurred by the Republics during
     the war."

As, however, the principle of the recognition of these notes and
receipts had been conceded in the Middelburg terms, he was willing,
with Lord Kitchener's concurrence, to refer the matter to the Home
Government, although he disapproved of the clause in question in the
Middelburg terms.

This point was thus left to be settled by the Home Government, and the
clause which they drafted to deal with it was that which ultimately
became Article X. of the Terms of Surrender. That clause represented a
compromise between the desire of the Boer leaders to have a definite
sum allotted for the payment of debts contracted by them in the course
of the war, and Lord Milner's desire to ignore these debts but to make
a free grant for the relief of the Boer people. The British Government
followed Lord Milner in making such a free grant--£3,000,000--and in
rejecting the claim of the Boer leaders that this sum should be
devoted to the payment of the promissory notes and receipts issued by
them but it nevertheless allowed such notes and receipts to be
submitted "as evidence of war losses" to the commissioners who were to
be appointed to distribute the £3,000,000 grant.

The minutes of these discussions reveal very clearly the difference in
the respective attitudes of the High Commissioner and the
Commander-in-Chief. Lord Kitchener was the humane and successful
general, anxious to bring the miseries of the war to an end, and
anxious, too, to close a campaign which, in spite of its difficult and
arduous character, had afforded little or no opportunity of reaping
military honours commensurate to the skill and endurance of the army
or the sacrifices of the nation. Lord Milner was the far-sighted
statesman, responsible for the future well-being of British South
Africa, and, above all, the jealous trustee of the rights and
interests of the empire. At this meeting, when the draft terms are
being discussed before they are telegraphed to London, Lord Milner is
exceedingly careful to point out to the Boer commissioners that the
actual text of the document, as expressed in English, when once
accepted, must be regarded as the sole record of the terms of
surrender. After reading the proposed draft, he says: "If we come to
an agreement, it will be the _English_ document which will be wired to
England, on which His Majesty's Government will decide, and which
will be signed." To Mr. Smuts' suggestion that it is not necessary to
place a "formal clause" in the draft agreement, if the British
Government is prepared to meet the Boer commissioners in a particular
matter, he replies:

     "As I look at the matter, the Government is making certain
     promises in this document, and I consider that all promises to
     which a reference may be made later should appear in it.
     Everything to which the Government is asked to bind itself should
     appear in this document, and nothing else. I do not object to
     clauses being added, but I wish to prevent any possible

[Sidenote: Lord Milner's vigilance.]

And again, in the course of the same meeting, we find him saying: "You
must put in writing every point that strikes you, and let them be laid
before His Majesty's Government." And, to prevent any possible
misconstruction of Lord Kitchener's statement, "there is a pledge that
the matter [the question of the payment of receipts] will be properly
considered," he says:

     "Yes, naturally, if we put anything down in writing. I am
     convinced that it is necessary to make it quite clear that this
     document must contain everything about which there is anything in
     the form of a pledge."

And before telegraphing the draft agreement to the Home Government he
draws the attention of the commissioners in the most explicit language
to the fact that the Middelburg proposal has been "completely
annulled"; and that, therefore, if the draft agreement should be
signed, there must be "no attempt to explain the document, or its
terms, by anything in the Middelburg proposal."

The greatness of the debt owed by England and the empire to Lord
Milner for the inflexible determination with which he penetrated,
unmasked, and finally baffled the tortuous diplomacy of the Boer
commissioners may be estimated from the fact that within three months
of the signing of the Surrender Agreement at Pretoria, three out of
their number asked the British Government to re-open the discussion
and make, what Mr. Chamberlain rightly termed, "an entirely new
agreement." As it was, Lord Milner's faultless precision during the
whole progress of the negotiations at Pretoria provided the Home
Government with a complete answer to the representatives of the Boer

     "It would not be in accordance with my duty," wrote Mr.
     Chamberlain,[337] "to enter upon any discussion of proposals of
     this kind, some of which were rejected at the conferences at
     Pretoria; while others, which were not even mentioned on those
     occasions, would certainly not have been accepted at any time by
     His Majesty's Government."

         [Footnote 337: Mr. Chamberlain to Generals Botha, De Wet, and
         De la Rey, August 28th, 1902. Cd. 1,284.]

[Sidenote: Approval of Home Government.]

At the close of the afternoon meeting (May 21st) the draft agreement
was telegraphed to the Home Government. On the 27th Mr. Chamberlain
informed Lord Milner by telegram that the Cabinet approved of the
submission of this document with certain minor alterations, and with
the new clause dealing with the grant of £3,000,000, to the Assembly
at Vereeniging. Meanwhile the nature of the penalties to be inflicted
upon the colonial rebels, a subject which had been discussed in
private conversations between the Boer leaders and Lords Kitchener and
Milner, but which was excluded from the "Terms of Surrender," had been
settled by communications which had passed between Lord Milner and Mr.
Chamberlain and the Governments of the Cape and Natal. The reason for
this course was that the Home Government and Lord Milner, while they
objected on principle to the treatment of rebels being made part of
the agreement with the surrendering enemy, were nevertheless quite
willing that the latter should be informed of the clemency which it
was, in any case, intended to show to the rebels. The Terms of
Surrender, in the form given to them by the Home Government, and the
statement of the treatment to be meted out to the rebels by their
respective Governments, were communicated to the Boer commissioners on
May 28th. At the same time they were distinctly told that His
Majesty's Government was not prepared to listen to any suggestion of
further modifications of the Terms, but that they must be submitted to
the assembly for a "Yes" or "No" vote as an unalterable whole. The
Boer commissioners left at 7 o'clock in the evening of the same day
for Vereeniging, and on the day following the Terms of Surrender were
submitted to the "Yes" or "No" vote of the burgher representatives.
One other point had been raised and settled between Lord Milner and
the Home Government. Under the Proclamation of August 7th, 1901,
certain of the Boer leaders were liable to the penalties of
confiscation and banishment. Lord Milner was of opinion, however, that
in view of the general surrender this proclamation should be "tacitly
dropped," although property already confiscated under its terms could
not, of course, be restored; and in this view the Home Government

The text of the document submitted to the burgher representatives at
Vereeniging on May 29th was as follows:

     "_Draft Agreement as to the Terms of Surrender of the Boer Forces
     in the Field, approved by His Majesty's Government._

     "His Excellency General Lord Kitchener and his Excellency Lord
     Milner, on behalf of the British Government, and Messrs. M. T.
     Steyn, J. Brebner, General C. R. De Wet, General C. Olivier, and
     Judge J. B. M. Hertzog, acting as the Government of the Orange
     Free State, and Messrs. S. W. Burger, F. W. Reitz, Generals Louis
     Botha, J. H. Delarey, Lucas Meyer, Krogh, acting as the
     Government of the South African Republic, on behalf of their
     respective burghers desirous to terminate the present
     hostilities, agree on the following articles:

[Sidenote: The surrender agreement.]

     "1. The burgher forces in the field will forthwith lay down their
     arms, handing over all guns, rifles, and munitions of war in
     their possession or under their control, and desist from any
     further resistance to the authority of His Majesty King Edward
     VII., whom they recognise as their lawful Sovereign. The manner
     and details of this surrender will be arranged between Lord
     Kitchener and Commandant-General Botha, Assistant
     Commandant-General Delarey, and Chief Commandant De Wet.

     "2. All burghers in the field outside the limits of the Transvaal
     or Orange River Colony, and all prisoners of war at present
     outside South Africa who are burghers will, on duly declaring
     their acceptance of the position of subjects of His Majesty King
     Edward VII., be gradually brought back to their homes as soon as
     transport can be provided, and their means of subsistence

     "3. The burghers so surrendering or so returning will not be
     deprived of their personal liberty or their property.

     "4. No proceedings, civil or criminal, will be taken against any
     of the burghers surrendering or so returning for any acts in
     connection with the prosecution of the war. The benefit of this
     clause will not extend to certain acts, contrary to usages of
     war, which have been notified by the Commander-in-Chief to the
     Boer generals, and which shall be tried by court-martial
     immediately after the close of hostilities.

     "5. The Dutch language will be taught in public schools in the
     Transvaal and Orange River Colony where the parents of the
     children desire it, and will be allowed in courts of law when
     necessary for the better and more effectual administration of

     "6. The possession of rifles will be allowed in the Transvaal and
     Orange River Colony to persons requiring them for their
     protection, on taking out a licence according to law.

     "7. Military administration in the Transvaal and Orange River
     Colony will at the earliest possible date be succeeded by civil
     government, and, as soon as circumstances permit, representative
     institutions, leading up to self-government, will be introduced.

     "8. The question of granting the franchise to the natives will
     not be decided until after the introduction of self-government.

     "9. No special tax will be imposed on landed property in the
     Transvaal and Orange River Colony to defray the expenses of the

     "10. As soon as conditions permit, a Commission, on which the
     local inhabitants will be represented, will be appointed in each
     district of the Transvaal and Orange River Colony, under the
     presidency of a magistrate or other official, for the purposes of
     assisting the restoration of the people to their homes, and
     supplying those who, owing to war losses, are unable to provide
     themselves with food, shelter, and the necessary amount of seed,
     stock, implements, etc., indispensable to the resumption of their
     normal occupation.

     "His Majesty's Government will place at the disposal of these
     Commissions a sum of £3,000,000 for the above purposes, and will
     allow all notes issued under Law 1 of 1900 of the South African
     Republic, and all receipts given by officers in the field of the
     late Republics, or under their orders, to be presented to a
     Judicial Commission, which will be appointed by the Government,
     and if such notes and receipts are found by this Commission to
     have been duly issued in return for valuable considerations, they
     will be received by the first-named Commissions as evidence of
     war losses suffered by the persons to whom they were originally

     "In addition to the above-named free grant of £3,000,000, His
     Majesty's Government will be prepared to make advances on loan
     for the same purposes free of interest for two years, and
     afterwards repayable over a period of years with 3 per cent.
     interest. No foreigner or rebel will be entitled to the benefit
     of this clause."[338]

         [Footnote 338: Cd. 1,096. President Steyn was too ill to sign
         the Agreement, and De Wet signed first of the Free State
         representatives. He was declared President, in the place of
         Steyn, at Vereeniging on the 29th.]

[Sidenote: Punishment of rebels.]

To this must be added the following statement as to the punishment of
the colonial rebels, a copy of which was handed to the Boer
commissioners on May 28th, after it (together with the Terms of
Surrender) had been read to them by Lord Milner.

     "His Majesty's Government must place it on record that the
     treatment of Cape and Natal colonists who have been in rebellion
     and who now surrender will, if they return to their colonies, be
     determined by the colonial Governments and in accordance with the
     laws of the colonies, and that any British subjects who have
     joined the enemy will be liable to trial under the law of that
     part of the British Empire to which they belong.

     "His Majesty's Government are informed by the Cape Government
     that the following are their views as to the terms which should
     be granted to British subjects of Cape Colony who are now in the
     field, or who have surrendered, or have been captured since 12th
     April, 1901:

     "With regard to the rank and file, they should all, upon
     surrender, after giving up their arms, sign a document before the
     resident magistrate of the district in which the surrender takes
     place acknowledging themselves guilty of high treason, and the
     punishment to be awarded to them, provided they shall not have
     been guilty of murder or other acts contrary to the usages of
     civilised warfare, should be that they shall not be entitled for
     life[339] to be registered as voters or to vote at any
     Parliamentary Divisional Council, or municipal election. With
     reference to justices of the peace and field-cornets of Cape
     Colony and all other persons holding an official position under
     the Government of Cape Colony or who may occupy the position of
     commandant of rebel or burgher forces, they shall be tried for
     high treason before the ordinary court of the country or such
     special court as may be hereafter constituted by law, the
     punishment for their offence to be left to the discretion of the
     court, with this proviso, that in no case shall the penalty of
     death be inflicted.

     "The Natal Government are of opinion that rebels should be dealt
     with according to the law of the Colony."[340]

         [Footnote 339: This was reduced to a period of five years.]

         [Footnote 340: Cd. 1,096. As compared with the Middelburg
         terms, the terms accepted at Vereeniging were slightly less
         favourable to the Boers in respect of permission to possess
         arms, and the use of the Dutch language; but the monetary
         assistance promised to the repatriated burghers was more
         generous. The free grant was raised from one million to three
         millions, and the advances on loan were offered for the first
         two years free of interest, and subsequently at only three
         per cent. The greater destruction of property consequent upon
         the prolongation of the war made this increased assistance
         necessary and reasonable. It is noticeable, however, that
         Lord Milner, alike in the Middelburg and Vereeniging
         negotiations, although he was opposed to any payment of the
         costs incurred by the Boer leaders in carrying on the war,
         was prepared to go even farther than the Home Government in
         the direction of a generous treatment of the Boers in all
         other matters that concerned their material prosperity.

         One variation as between the Middelburg and Vereeniging terms
         is noticeable in view of the statement, made in the House of
         Commons by the present (1906) Under-Secretary for the
         Colonies (Mr. Winston Churchill), that the use of the word
         "natives" in clause viii. of the Terms of Surrender prevented
         the introduction of any legislation affecting the _status_ of
         Asiatics and "coloured persons" in the new colonies prior to
         the establishment of self-government. This assertion was
         based upon the contention that the word "natives" is
         understood by the Boers to indicate the "native of any
         country other than those of the European inhabitants of South
         Africa." The actual text of the corresponding clause in the
         Middelburg terms (Lord Kitchener's despatch of March 20th,
         1901, in Cd. 528) is as follows: "As regards the extension of
         the franchise to the Kafirs in the Transvaal and Orange River
         Colony, it is not the intention of His Majesty's Government
         to give such franchise before representative government is
         granted to these colonies, and if then given it will be so
         limited as to secure the just predominance of the white
         races. The legal position of coloured persons will, however,
         be similar to that which they hold in Cape Colony." Apart
         from the fact that the Boers were debarred by Lord Milner's
         specific statements either from going behind the English text
         of the Vereeniging Terms of Surrender, or from "explaining
         [the Vereeniging Terms] by anything in the Middelburg
         proposal," it is difficult to see how this Middelburg clause
         could have raised any presumption in the minds of the Boer
         commissioners that the English word "native" was intended to
         include not only the Kafirs (of which word it is a loose
         equivalent, since the dark-skinned native of the Bantu
         tribes, or the Kafir, has practically ousted the aboriginal
         yellow-skinned natives of South Africa--the Bushmen and
         Hottentots), but the "coloured people," or half-castes.

         Lord Milner himself declared in the House of Lords (July
         31st, 1906) with reference to Mr. Churchill's statement that
         the question had not been raised, to the best of his belief,
         by the Boer commissioners; and that in any case there was
         nothing in the Vereeniging Agreement to prevent the Crown
         Colony administration of the new colonies from legislating in
         respect of "coloured persons." [And _a fortiori_ in respect
         of British Indians.] His words were: "The English text of the
         treaty says 'natives' and does not say 'coloured people.' I
         think that in the Dutch version the word 'naturellen' was
         used. I venture to say that nobody familiar with the common
         use of language in South Africa would hold either that
         'natives' included coloured people, some of whom very much
         more resemble whites than natives, or that 'naturellen'
         included 'kleurlingen,' which is the universally accepted
         Dutch word in South Africa for coloured people."]

[Sidenote: The last debates.]

[Sidenote: Accepting the inevitable.]

With the departure of the Boer commissioners from Pretoria the final
stage of the protracted negotiations had been reached, but it still
required three days of discussion (May 29th-31st) before the assembly
at Vereeniging could be brought to accept the inevitable. On the
morning of the 29th the delegates assembled in the tent provided by
the British military authorities, and a report of the proceedings of
the peace conferences at Pretoria, drawn up by the Boer commissioners
on the preceding evening, was read. Mr. Schalk Burger, as Acting
President of the South African Republic, then announced that the
meeting was called upon to decide which of three possible courses
should be taken--to continue the war, to accept the British terms, or
to surrender unconditionally.[341] The rest of the morning sitting,
and part of the afternoon sitting, were occupied by the delegates in
questioning the commissioners as to the meaning of the various
Articles in the Terms of Surrender. According to the understanding
between the Boer commissioners and the British authorities, the
Surrender Agreement should have been submitted forthwith to the
delegates for acceptance or rejection. This course was actually
proposed, but a resolution to that effect was immediately negatived on
the ground that "the matter was too important to be treated with so
much haste." The explanation of the delay is probably to be found in
the circumstance that, although the Boer leaders had left Pretoria
convinced, as a body, of both the desirability and the necessity of
accepting the British terms, each of them was anxious, individually,
to avoid any action which would fix the responsibility of the
surrender upon himself. They refrained, therefore, as long as possible
from any decisive declaration, each one desiring that his neighbour
should be the first to speak the final word. And so, instead of the
question of submission being put to the vote immediately after the
delegates had acquainted themselves with the actual meaning of the
Surrender Agreement, two days were consumed in a long and protracted
discussion, and the British terms were not accepted until the
afternoon of Saturday, the 31st, the latest possible moment within the
limit of time fixed by the British Commander-in-Chief. In this long
debate Louis Botha consistently advocated submission; but De Wet spoke
more than once in favour of continuing the war. One of the arguments
used by the Free State Commander-in-Chief is instructive. "Remembering
that the sympathy for us, which is to be found in England itself," he
said, "may be regarded as being, for all practical purposes, a sort of
indirect intervention, I maintain that this terrible struggle must be
continued." The really decisive utterance seems to have come in the
form of a long and eloquent speech delivered by Mr. Smuts, the
substance of which lies in the fine sentence: "We must not sacrifice
the Afrikander nation itself upon the altar of independence." From
this moment the discussion increased in vehemence, until, in the words
of the minutes, "after a time of heated dispute--for every man was
preparing himself for the bitter end--they came to an agreement." Then
a long resolution, drawn up by Hertzog and Smuts, and empowering the
commissioners to sign the Surrender Agreement, was adopted by 54 to 6

         [Footnote 341: The minutes of the final meetings of the
         commando representatives--as also those of the earlier
         meetings of May 15th to 17th--have been published by General
         Christian de Wet in _The Three Years' War_.]

After the vote on the British terms had been taken, a resolution
constituting a committee[342] to collect funds for the destitute Boers
was passed; and the Peace Commissioners, having telegraphed the
decision of the delegates to Lord Kitchener, hastened back by train to
sign the Surrender Agreement at Pretoria.

         [Footnote 342: Three of the members of this committee,
         Generals Botha, De Wet, and De la Rey, were instructed to
         proceed to Europe for the purposes of this appeal.]

Late in the afternoon of May 31st, Lord Milner, who had returned to
Johannesburg on the 28th, and had been busily engaged on
administrative matters while the discussion at Vereeniging was going
on, was informed that Lord Kitchener wished to speak to him on the
telephone. Then, along the wire, in the familiar voice of the
Commander-in-Chief, came the welcome words: "It is peace." There was
just time to pack up and catch the half-past six train, which brought
the High Commissioner to Pretoria at a quarter past eight. Lord Milner
and his staff, when at Pretoria, habitually stayed at the former
British Agency, but this night he dined with Lord Kitchener; and here,
at Lord Kitchener's house, the Boer commissioners appeared at about 10
o'clock, and just before eleven (May 31st) the Surrender Agreement
was signed.[343]

         [Footnote 343: The actual surrender of the arms in the
         possession of the burgher and rebel commandos was carried out
         with admirable promptitude. Three weeks after the agreement
         had been signed Lord Kitchener was able, in a final despatch
         from Capetown on June 23rd, to record his "high appreciation
         of the unflagging energy and unfailing tact" with which
         Generals Louis Botha, De la Rey, and Christian de Wet had
         facilitated the work of the British commissioners appointed
         to receive the surrender of the burghers in the Transvaal and
         Orange River Colony. Nor were the Boer and rebel commandos in
         the Cape Colony less expeditious in surrendering to General
         French. In all 21,226 burghers and colonial rebels, of whom
         11,166 were in the Transvaal, 6,455 in the Orange River
         Colony, and 3,635 in the Cape, laid down their arms. Lord
         Kitchener's last words (despatches of June 21st and 23rd),
         addressed respectively to the Colonial Governments and the
         Secretary of State for War, are noticeable and characteristic
         utterances. His message to the former was:

              "I find it difficult in the short space at my disposal
              to acknowledge the deep obligation of the Army in South
              Africa to the Governments of Australia, New Zealand,
              Canada, Cape Colony, and Natal. I will only say here
              that no request of mine was ever refused by any of these
              Governments, and that their consideration and generosity
              were only equalled by the character and quality of the
              troops they sent to South Africa, or raised in that

         And of the troops, which under his command had successfully
         accomplished a military task of unparalleled difficulty, he

              "The protracted struggle which has for so long caused
              suffering to South Africa has at length terminated, and
              I should fail to do justice to my own feelings if at
              this moment I neglected to bear testimony to the
              patience, tenacity, and heroism which has been displayed
              by all ranks of His Majesty's forces, Imperial and
              Colonial, during the whole course of the war. Nothing
              but the qualities of bravery and endurance in our troops
              could have overcome the difficulties of this campaign,
              or have finally enabled the empire to reap the fruits of
              all its sacrifices."]

[Sidenote: Admissions of the Boer leaders.]

The words used by the Boer leaders in the course of the debates at
Vereeniging afford culminating and conclusive evidence of the
hollowness of the two allegations upon which both the Boer
sympathisers in England and the hostile critics of the British people
abroad, based their denunciations of the policy and conduct of the war
in South Africa. The war was unnecessary; it was a war of aggression
forced upon the Boers by the British Government, said the enemies of
England, and those Englishmen who, like Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman,
wrote and spoke as though they belonged to the enemy. Very different
is the account of the origin of the war, which Acting President
Schalk-Burger gave to the remnant of his fellow countrymen in this day
of truth-telling.

     "Undoubtedly we began this war strong in the faith of God," he
     said; "but there were also one or two other things to rely upon.
     We had considerable confidence in our own weapons; we
     under-estimated the enemy; the fighting spirit had seized upon
     our people; and the thought of victory had banished that of the
     possibility of defeat."

And Mr. J. L. Meyer, a member of the Government of the Republic, and
one of the few progressive Boers whose judgment had not been clouded
by the fever of war passion, said: "In the past I was against the war;
I wished that the five years' franchise should be granted;" and this
"although the people had opposed" the measure. And Mr. Advocate Smuts,
State-Attorney to the late South African Republic, and then a general
of the Boer forces in the field, said: "I am one of those who, as
members of the Government of the South African Republic, provoked the
war with England." This is evidence which we may believe, since in
the circumstances in which these men met the Father of Lies himself
would have found no occasion for departing from the truth.

[Sidenote: The Burgher camps.]

No less conclusive is the admission, made with perfect frankness now
that shifts and deceits and calumnies were no longer of any use, that
the Boers, whatever they said, had proved by their acts that they
regarded the burgher camps as havens of refuge, not "methods of
barbarism"; and that it was Lord Kitchener's refusal to admit any more
Boer non-combatants to the shelter of the British lines that brought
the guerilla leaders to Pretoria to sue for peace. On May 29th General
de Wet, in a last effort to induce the burghers to prolong the war,

     "I am asked what I mean to do with the women and children. That
     is a very difficult question to answer. We must have faith. I
     think also we might meet the emergency in this way--a part of the
     men should be told off to lay down their arms for the sake of the
     women, and then they could take the women with them to the
     English in the towns."

But Commandant-General Louis Botha doubted the possibility of any
longer carrying this plan into effect.

     "When the war began," he said, on May 30th, "we had plenty of
     provisions, and a commando could remain for weeks in one spot
     without the local food running out. Our families, too, were then
     well provided for. But all this is now changed. One is only too
     thankful nowadays to know that our wives are under English
     protection. This question of our woman-folk is one of our
     greatest difficulties. What are we to do with them? One man
     answers that some of the burghers should surrender themselves to
     the English, and take the women with them. But most of the women
     now amongst us are the wives of men already prisoners. And how
     can we expect those not their own kith and kin to be willing to
     give up liberty for their sakes?"

And at the earlier meeting (May 16th) he said:

     "If this meeting decides upon war, it will have to make provision
     for our wives and children, who will then be exposed to every
     kind of danger. Throughout this war the presence of the women has
     caused me anxiety and much distress. At first I managed to get
     them into the townships, but later on this became impossible,
     because the English refused to receive them. I then conceived the
     idea of getting a few of our burghers to surrender, and sending
     the women in with them. But this plan was not practicable,
     because most of the families were those of prisoners of war, and
     the men still on commando were not so closely related to these
     families as to be willing to sacrifice their freedom for them."

Equally illuminating is the testimony which General Botha bore to the
efficiency of Lord Kitchener's system of blockhouses and protected

[Sidenote: The blockhouse system.]

     "A year ago," he said on May 16th, "there were no blockhouses. We
     could cross and recross the country as we wished, and harass the
     enemy at every turn. But now things wear a very different
     aspect. We can pass the blockhouses by night indeed, but never by
     day. They are likely to prove the ruin of our commandos."

And again--

     "There is a natural reason, a military reason, why [we have
     managed to hold out so long]. The fact that our commandos have
     been spread over so large a tract of country has compelled the
     British, up to the present time, to divide their forces. But
     things have changed now; we have had to abandon district after
     district, and must now operate on a far more limited territory.
     In other words, the British Army can at last concentrate its
     forces upon us."

To this may be added his admission (May 30th) of the impossibility of
again attempting to raise a revolt in the Cape Colony.

     "Commander-in-Chief de Wet ... had a large force, and the season
     of the year was auspicious for his attempt, and yet he failed.
     How then shall we succeed in winter, and with horses so weak that
     they can only go _op-een-stap_?"[344]

         [Footnote 344: An onomatopoeic expression for the step of a
         tired horse.]

Elsewhere the minutes of the burgher meetings afford even more direct
evidence of the fact that it was the desperate condition of the Boers,
and not any desire to make friends with a generous opponent, that led
them to surrender. "To continue the war," says General Botha on May
30th, "must result, in the end, in our extermination."... The terms of
the English Government "may not be very advantageous to us, but
nevertheless they rescue us from an almost impossible position." And
Acting-President Schalk-Burger: "I have no great opinion of the
document which lies before us: to me it holds out no inducement to
stop the war. If I feel compelled to treat for peace" ... it is
because "by holding out I should dig the nation's grave.... Fell a
tree, and it will sprout again; uproot it and there is an end of it.
What has the nation done to deserve extinction?" De Wet himself and
the majority of the Free State representatives advocated the
continuation of the war at the Vereeniging meetings. But in the brief
description of the final meeting which he gives in his book,[345] he

         [Footnote 345: _The Three Years' War._]

     "There were sixty of us there, and each in turn must answer Yes
     or No. It was an ultimatum--this proposal of England. What were
     we to do? To continue the struggle meant extermination."

[Sidenote: Boer claim to independence.]

Even more significant than these admissions is the spirit in which the
question of submission is discussed. There is no recognition of the
moral obliquity of the Boer oligarchy, or of the generosity of the
British terms. Physical compulsion is the sole argument to which their
minds are open. At the very moment when the sixty representatives
agreed to accept the British terms, and thereby to acknowledge the
sovereignty of the British Crown, they passed a resolution affirming
their "well-founded" claim to "independence." History may well ask,
On what was this claim based? Judged by the ethical standard,[346] the
Boers had shown themselves utterly unworthy of the administrative
autonomy conferred upon them by Great Britain. Judged by the laws of
war,[347] they had been saved from the alternatives of physical
annihilation or abject submission by the almost quixotic generosity of
the enemy who fed and housed their non-combatant population. From a
constitutional point of view, the presence of Article IV.[348] in the
London Convention was in itself sufficient to refute the claim of the
republic to be a "sovereign international state."

         [Footnote 346: [The Transvaal Government]--"or rather the
         President and his advisers--committed the fatal mistake of
         trying to maintain a government which was at the same time
         undemocratic and incompetent.... An exclusive government may
         be pardoned if it is efficient; an inefficient government, if
         it rests upon the people. But a government which is both
         inefficient and exclusive incurs a weight of odium under
         which it must ultimately sink; and this was the kind of
         government which the Transvaal attempted to maintain. They
         ought, therefore, to have either extended their franchise or
         reformed their administration" (Bryce, _Impressions of South
         Africa_, 2nd Ed., 1900). Mr. Bryce is not likely to have been
         unduly severe. "The political sin of the Transvaal against
         the Uitlander, therefore, was no mere matter of detail--of
         less or more--but was fundamental in its denial of elementary
         political right." And again: In the Transvaal "an armed
         minority holds the power, compels the majority to pay the
         taxes, denies it representation, and misgoverns it with the
         money extorted" (Captain Mahan, _The Merits of the Transvaal
         Dispute_, 1900 [included in _The Problem of Asia_]). To
         these, perhaps, I may be permitted to add the following words
         spoken by myself in 1894--more than a year before the
         Raid--and published in 1895 (_South Africa: a Study,
         etc._):--"The Boer has still to justify his possession of
         these ample pastures, these rich and fertile valleys, and
         these stores of gold and of coal. If he can enlarge his mind,
         if he can reform existing abuses, if he can expand an archaic
         system of government and render it sufficiently elastic to
         meet the requirements of an enlarged population and important
         and increasing industries--well and good. If not, let the
         Boer beware; for he will place himself in conflict with the
         intelligence and the progress of South Africa. _Then_ the
         Boer system will be condemned by a higher authority than the
         Colonial Office or the opinion of England; and from the high
         court of Nature--a court from which no appeal lies--the
         inexorable decree will go forth: 'Cut it down; why cumbereth
         it the ground?'"]

         [Footnote 347: See admissions of the Boer Generals quoted

         [Footnote 348: "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." Captain Mahan writes: "In refusing
         the Transvaal that independence in foreign relations which
         would enable other states to hold it directly accountable,
         Great Britain retained, in so far, responsibility that
         foreigners should be so treated as to give no just cause for
         reclamations.... Great Britain, by retaining the ultimate
         control of foreign relations, and by her well-defined purpose
         not to permit interference in the Transvaal by a foreign
         Power, was responsible for conditions of wrong to foreign
         citizens within its borders. She had surrendered the right to
         interfere, as suzerain, with internal affairs; but she had
         not relieved herself, as by a grant of full independence and
         sovereignty she might have done, from responsibility for
         injury due to internal maladministration, any more than the
         United States was relieved of the responsibility to Italy [in
         the case of the Italian citizens lynched at New Orleans] by
         the state sovereignty of Louisiana" (_Ibid._). And, says the
         same writer, _a fortiori_ was Great Britain justified in
         interfering on behalf of her own subjects.]

[Sidenote: Effect of surrender terms.]

Obviously the quality of mercy was strained to the point of danger by
the grant of terms to such a people. It will always remain a question
whether it would not have been better policy, instead of negotiating
at all, to wait for that unconditional surrender of the Boers which,
as the discussion at Vereeniging clearly shows, could only have been
deferred for a very few months. But, granting that the course actually
pursued was the right one, little fault can be found with the terms
actually agreed to. No doubt they were generous, but they gave the
British Government practically a free hand to shape the settlement of
the country, and left it to them to decide at what time, and by what
stages, to establish self-government in the new colonies. The two
respects in which the Vereeniging terms seemed at first sight
dangerously lenient were the undertaking to allow the Boers to possess
rifles for their protection and the recognition of the Dutch language
in the law courts and public schools. Yet both of these concessions
are justified by considerations of practical convenience and sound
policy. In respect of the first it must be remembered that in certain
districts of the Transvaal the population is composed of a very small
number of Europeans, almost exclusively Boers, living in isolated
homesteads, together with a native population many times as numerous
and still under the immediate authority of its tribal chiefs. The
refusal to allow the Boers thus circumstanced to provide themselves
with the only weapons sufficient to protect them against occasional
Kafir outrages and depredations would have thrown a heavy
responsibility upon the new administration, or involved it in an
altogether disproportionate expenditure on European and native police.
At the same time, in view of the smallness of the Boer population in
such districts, the necessity for obtaining a licence (required under
the clause in question) provided the Government with an efficient
remedy against incipient disaffection. For under the licence system--a
system generally adopted as a check upon the acquisition of arms by
the natives in South Africa--the number of rifles possessed by the
Boers in any particular district would be known to the Government;
while, at the same time, the power to refuse or withdraw the privilege
of possessing a rifle from any person believed to be disaffected to
British rule would form an additional safeguard.

In respect of the second concession, there could be no question, of
course, as to the desirability of hastening the general adoption of
English as the common language of the Europeans of both races in South
Africa. But any attempt to proscribe the Dutch language would have
resulted in creating an obstinate desire to preserve it on the part of
the Boers, coupled with a sense of injury; and would, therefore, have
retarded rather than advanced the object in view. In these
circumstances the decision to rely mainly upon the natural inclination
of the more enlightened Boers to secure for their children the
material advantages which a knowledge of English would bring them, was
the right one. And the policy which this clause allowed the new
administration to pursue may be described as that of a modified "free
trade in language"--that is to say, free trade up to, but not beyond,
the point at which the toleration of Dutch would not impede the
convenient and efficient discharge of the ordinary business of
administration. It is doubtful, however, whether either of these
concessions were justifiable except on the assumption that full
self-government would not be granted to either of the new colonies
until a British or loyalist majority was assured.

[Sidenote: Free initiative secured.]

But, whatever the ultimate result of the Terms of Vereeniging, their
immediate effect was to leave the High Commissioner with complete
freedom of initiative, but with a no less complete responsibility for
the complex and difficult task of economic and administrative
reconstruction which now awaited him. How this task--at once more
congenial and more especially his own--was discharged is a matter that
must be left for a second volume. In the meantime the conclusion of
the Surrender Agreement is no unfitting stage at which to bring the
review of the first period of Lord Milner's administration to a close.


  "Acting Chief-Commandant" of the Orange Free State, The, his report
    of De Wet's success in Cape Colony, 431, 432.
  Administrative reconstruction, 397, 458, 489, 523 _et seq._
  Africa. _See_ South Africa.
  Afrikander Bond, The, 46;
    programme of, 50 _et seq._;
    its sphere of action, 55;
    its power in Cape Colony, 55;
    its origin, 56;
    its purpose, 56 to 58, 106;
    its first congress, 59;
    its "programme of principles," 59;
    its change of policy, 60;
    members returned to it by the Cape Parliament, 60, 483;
    meets at Bloemfontein, 63;
    adopts the Hofmeyr programme, 64;
    its manner of reuniting European communities in S. Africa, 65;
    its first openly avowed aim, 66;
    falls back on the policy of 1881, 69;
    its influence in the Cape Legislature, 70, 93, 121, 122, 141;
    its attempts to obstruct the business of the Cape Parliament, 94, 95;
    the parliamentary chief and the real leader of, 97;
    Lord Milner's remonstrance to the Dutch of Cape Colony, 84, 91, 92, 98;
    the sum and substance of its policy, 106, 107, 119;
    address to Lord Milner from the Graaf Reinet branch, 108;
    Lord Milner's reply, 109 to 113;
    Sir Gordon Sprigg's defiance of, 116;
    the funds of, 118;
    its domination, 150;
    nature of its "mediation" with Pres. Krüger, 162, 169, 195, 274, 276;
    demonstrations organised by, 215;
    the completeness with which it had undermined British power, 223;
    its view of the Salisbury Cabinet, 274;
    its activity, 348;
    its attitude at the end of January, 1900, 373;
    annual congress at Somerset East, 374;
    its policy after the occupation of the Republics, 429;
    its attitude in February, 1901, 430;
    the qualities of its leaders, 435;
    its leaders decline to associate themselves with the efforts of the
      Burgher Peace Committee, 474;
    its identification with the Boer invaders, 475;
    the character of the men it sent to Parliament, 483.
  "Afrikanderdom," the doctrine of, 197.
  Afrikander nationalists, The, 48 (note), 267;
    the creed of, 48 _et seq._, 119;
    their plan of a united S. Africa, 70;
    Mr. Chamberlain's hope of winning their support, 73;
    strength of their forces, 74, 96, 104;
    their bitterness against Lord Milner, 80;
    uneasiness of, 113;
    dominate S. Africa, 126;
    their motives with regard to the Bloemfontein Conference, 157;
    their direct appeal to the Queen, 294;
    unmasked, 300;
    their speech and action during the war, 343;
    they co-operate with the two Republics with a view to pressing their
      "peace overtures" on the British Government, 360, 361;
    their "conciliation" meetings, 361, 382;
    renewal of their alliance with the Liberal Opposition, 369;
    their objects, 382, 383;
    their opposition to the Treason Bill, 395;
    their references to Boer successes, 396;
    they slander the British troops, 398;
    their hatred of England, 429;
    assistance rendered by them to the guerilla leaders, 478;
    their commission to Messrs. Merriman and Sauer, 495.
  "Afrikander party" The, the friends of in England, 375, 379.
  Agricultural Department, The, formation of in Orange River Colony, 525.
  Agriculture, The development of in new colonies, 536.
  "Albany" settlers, The, 15, 271.
  Albert, 346.
  _Albert Times, The_, 120.
  Aliens Expulsion and Immigration Laws, The, Mr. Chamberlain's demand for
      the repeal of, 81;
    repeal and amendment of, 82, 88, 94.
  Aliwal North, 346, 411, 455.
  Amershof, Mr. Justice, 103.
  Amery, Mr., 291, 300.
  Amphitheatre Meeting, The, 131.
  Anti-British Press, The, 68, 166, 205 to 207, 225, 272, 349, 374, 380,
    391, 403, 409, 477.
  Ardagh, Sir John, 319 (note).
  Arms, The surrender of, 573;
    the possession of, 581.
  Army Corps, The, the order to mobilise, 244, 317, 318;
    arrival of, 305, 321, 331.
  Arnold-Forster, H. O., 516.
  Asquith, H. H., his appreciation of Lord Milner, 77, 92, 99;
    his utterances, 416.
  Attorney-General, The (Cape), notice issued by as to acts of treason,

  Baden-Powell, Colonel, afterwards General, 191 (note), 329 (note), 397,
  Balfour, A. J., 203 (note), 228, 302, 307.
  _Balfourian Parliament, The_, 319 (note).
  Balliol Scholars, 76 (note).
  Bantu, The, 11, 12, 25.
  Barberton, 452.
  Barkly East, 346.
  Barkly, Sir Henry, 275.
  Bastards, The, 281.
  Basuto incident, The, 496 (note).
  Basutoland, 83;
    British authorities in, warned by Lord Milner, 298;
    construction of the railway to from Bloemfontein, 532 (note).
  Beaconsfield, Lord, 24.
  Bechuanaland Expedition, The, 350 (note).
  Bechuanaland, 83;
    the administration of the European population of, 35;
    the Transvaal's attempt to secure, 64, 74, 93;
    the Dutch community in, 346.
  Bechuanas, the employment of as indentured labourers, 117.
  Beechranger Hottentots, The, 2, 4.
  Belgrave, Lord (now Duke of Westminster), 167.
  Berry, Dr. (now Sir) Wm., 124 (note).
  Bethulie Bridge, 411, 455;
    alleged movement of British troops to, 236.
  Bezuidenhout, the Boer, 11.
  Blignaut, J. N., letter from, 258.
  Blockhouse system, The, area inclosed by, 458;
    effect produced by, 456, 457;
    efficiency of, 576;
    extension of, 455;
    its help to the railways, 533.
  Bloemfontein, Meeting of the Afrikander Bond at, 63;
    opening of the railway at, 67;
    seizure of correspondence at, 156, 162, 206, 376;
    the occupation of, 328, 363, 384;
    visit of Lord Milner to, 397;
    the effective occupation of the district round, 453;
    discussion at of the question of peace between Lords Milner and
      Kitchener, 471;
    civil administration in, 524;
    construction of the railway to Basutoland, 532 (note).
  Bloemfontein Conference, The, 268;
    proposed, 140;
    agreed to by President Krüger, 153;
    negotiations leading up to, 151 to 165;
    meeting of, 167, 168;
    the discussion at a closing of, 168, 172;
    the result of, 172;
    the four months which followed, 174.
  Bloemfontein Convention, The, 17, 87 (note);
    Sir G. Grey's criticism of, 19.
  _Bloemfontein Express, The_, 50, 54, 63, 67.
  Blood, Sir Bindon, 425.
  Bodley, J. E. C., statement by, 76 (note).
  Boer Administration, The, depraved character of, 212.
  Boer Army, The, 336, 337, 340 (note).
  Boer aspirations, The, 302.
  Boer children, Teaching of during the war, 519 to 523.
  Boer Peace commissioners, The, their tortuous diplomacy, 526;
    the "Terms of Surrender" communicated to them, 563;
    their departure from Pretoria, 569.
  Boer deputation in Europe, The, 555.
  Boer emigrants, The, 19.
  Boer leaders, The, their decision to continue the struggle, 414, 417,
      418, 424 _et seq._;
    their disingenuousness, 557;
    penalties to which they were liable, 564;
    they treat for peace, 552, 555 _et seq._
  Boer raiders, The, 438.
  Boer revolt of 1880-81, The, 31.
  Boer Republics, The (_see also_ Orange Free State and Transvaal),
      creation of, 17, 19;
    scheme for their union with the British colonies, 24.
  Boer spies, 337.
  Boer, vernacular, The, 547.
  Boers, The, the (3rd) Duke of Portland's despatch relating to their
      treatment, 9;
    their dealings with the natives, 11;
    the grant of self-government to, 29;
    their resistance to British arms 48;
    their bitterness against Lord Milner, 80;
    their military forces, 181, 340 (note),
      without uniform, 336;
    personal dealings with, 194, 195;
    their friends in England, 232, 414, 424, 573;
    breaches of faith by, 399;
    their losses up to November, 1901, 458;
    final surrender of, 573 (note).
  Bond, The. _See_ Afrikander Bond.
  Bond Press, The, 209.
  Booy the Hottentot, 11.
  Borckenhagen the German, 49, 50, 66.
  Botha, Louis, 564;
    dispersal of his army, 322;
    defeat of at Diamond Hill, 329;
    defeat of at Dalmanutha, 329;
    in Johannesburg, 337;
    urges his fellow-burghers to lay down their arms, 414, 424;
    his determination to fight on, 421;
    circular issued by him, 425 (note);
    his responsibility for the suffering of the Boers during the guerilla
      war, 427;
    failure of the negotiations with Lord Kitchener, 434;
    stimulates his followers, 457;
    treats for peace, 471, 552, 554;
    meets Lords Milner and Kitchener at Pretoria, 552, 556;
    letter to him from Mr. Chamberlain as to the re-opening of the
      discussion after the surrender of Vereeniging, 562;
    advocates submission, 571, 577;
    Lord Kitchener's appreciation of his tact and energy after signing the
      treaty of peace, 573 (note);
    his views on the position of the Boer women and children during the
      later stages of the war, 575;
    his testimony to the efficiency of Lord Kitchener's blockhouse system,
    his admission as to the impossibility of again raising a revolt in Cape
      Colony, 577.
  "Botha" terms, The, 471, 554.
  Bower, Sir Graham, 41.
  Brand, President, 28, 275;
    discourages the Afrikander Bond, 55;
    the rôle played by him in 1881, 153.
  Brebner J., 564.
  Breed's Nek, 455.
  British Administration, the failure of in S. Africa, 1, 22;
    distrust of by the British in S. Africa, 37;
    the Bond and, 65;
    its impotency, 69;
    efficiency of impaired by English party politics, 254.
  British and Dutch factions, The, bitterness of, 244.
  British Army, The, in Cape Colony and Natal, 189, 325;
    disadvantage in which it was placed, 253;
    its performance in S. Africa, 323;
    the number of effectives available, 323;
    its difficulties, 330 _et seq._;
    the slander of, 398, 499.
  British colonists, the settlement of on the land, 538.
  British Government, representatives of at the Cape, 7;
    its treatment of the natives and Dutch in S. Africa, 8.
  British Navy, The, the offer of an annual contribution to the cost of,
    holds the seas, 311.
  British party, A, the creation of, 150.
  British policy in S. Africa, 9 _et seq._;
    up to 1897, 69.
  British population in Cape Colony, The, 107, 115, 127;
    effect of the Redistribution Bill on, 125;
    their approval of Lord Milner's policy, 216;
    their dismay at the Imperial Government's reception of the seven years'
      franchise law, 222;
    their support of Lord Milner, 270;
    numbers which took part in the war, 324.
  British settlers in the country, 61.
  Britstown, 354.
  _Brunt of The War, The_, 462 (note).
  Bryce, James, The Rt. Hon. M.P., attitude and public utterances of, 259,
      314, 360, 415, 496;
    misstatement by, 263;
    the "settlement" advocated by him, 370;
    his view of the Transvaal Government, 579 (note).
  Buller, General Sir Redvers, 191;
    defeat of, 306;
    his responsibility for the early disasters, 318, 319;
    his misconception of the state of affairs, 319, 320;
    at Maritzburg, 321;
    forces at his disposal, 321;
    false report of surrender to the Boers, 380.
  Bundy, Thomas Dashwood, 212 (note).
  Bunu, the affair of, 89 (note).
  Burger, Schalk, 89, 101, 159, 564;
    denounced by Krüger, 100;
    attends the Bloemfontein Conference, 168;
    his determination to fight on, 421;
    his responsibility for the sufferings of the Boers in the guerilla war,
    his official notice of June 20th, 1901, 434;
    his complaint against the system of the Burgher Camps, 463 (note);
    announces to Lord Kitchener that he is prepared to treat for peace,
    granted a safe-conduct through the British lines to consult Mr. Steyn,
    meets Lords Milner and Kitchener at Pretoria, 552;
    appointed a peace commissioner, 556;
    calls upon the meeting to decide upon continuing the war or not, 570;
    his account of the origin of the war, 574;
    his reasons for treating for peace, 578.
  Burgher Camps, deportation of Boer non-combatants to, 459;
    high rate of mortality in, 460 to 463;
    Lord Kitchener's reply to the official Boer complaint against the
      camps, 463 (note);
    condition of, 503, 505, 513;
    establishment of schools in, 519 to 523;
    views of the Boers on, 575.
  Burgher meetings, The, the minutes of, 560 _et seq._
  Burgher Peace Committee, The, 412, 422, 423;
    its efforts, 427, 429;
    treatment of its agents, 427 to 429;
    Bond leaders hold aloof from, 474.
  Burghersdorp, The theological seminary of, 120.
  Burns, John, 315, 496.
  Burt, Thomas, 498 (note).
  Butler, General Sir William, refuses to transmit a petition for
      protection from the British residents in the Transvaal, 131, 176;
    his sympathy with the views of Messrs. Merriman and Sauer, 174, 184;
    his views of a war, 174, 175, 179;
    his view of the Uitlander grievances, 175;
    the friction between him and Lord Milner, 175, 176;
    his view of the attitude of the British inhabitants of S. Africa, 177;
    his action during the crisis immediately preceding the outbreak of war,
    requested to furnish a scheme of defence, 180, 181;
    his scheme, 181 to 183;
    his evidence before the War Commission, 175 (note), 181 to 183;
    his failure to endorse Lord Milner's request for immediate
      reinforcements, 183, 319;
    his withdrawal from the command at the Cape, 184, 247, 269, 289;
    his only point of agreement with Lord Milner, 185;
    his estimate of the military strength of the burgher forces, 185;
    is informed of the Cabinet's decision as to reinforcements, 190.

  Caledon, Lord, one of the first measures as Governor of the Cape, 10.
  Cambridge, The Duke of, 494 (note).
  Campbell-Bannerman, Sir Henry, his public utterances on the war, 192,
      252, 256, 259, 314, 367, 368, 399, 416, 418, 574;
    his treatment of Mr. Chamberlain's proposal as to preparations for war,
      265, 266;
    his attitude in Committee of Supply, 371 (note);
    his remarks in the debate on the S. African Settlement, 393;
    his charges of inhumanity against the Government and Lord Kitchener,
      460, 464 (note);
    his reply to the charge brought against him by Sir M. Hicks-Beach, 466,
    his speech at Stirling on October 25th, 1901, 467;
    his declaration at Plymouth, 499.
  "Canadian Precedent," The, 385.
  Cape Colony, The, an incident in the settlement of the Dutch E. India Co.
      at, 2;
    isolation of at the end of the 18th century, 6;
    the task of governing, 6;
    the old European population in, 7;
    representatives of the British Government at, 7;
    the temporary British occupation of in 1795-1803, 8;
    population of at the time of the permanent British occupation, 10;
    Franco-Dutch population in, 11;
    the "Albany Settlers" in, 15;
    the emancipation of slaves in, 15;
    disintegrating influences at work in, 28;
    transfer to the British Government, 51;
    the sphere of action of the Afrikander Bond, 55;
    conflict of its commercial interests with those of the Transvaal, 64;
    speech of Cecil Rhodes on March 12th, 1898, 67;
    anti-British sentiment of the Dutch leaders in, 91;
    the political situation at the time of Lord Milner's arrival, 93;
    division of parties in, 97;
    aspirations of the Dutch in, 105;
    the leaders of Dutch opinion in, 106;
    public meetings in, 131;
    nationalists of, 142, 195;
    the vote for responsible government in, 147;
    creation of a British party in, 151;
    the garrison in, 191;
    demonstrations in of confidence in Lord Milner's statesmanship, 215;
    petition from to the Queen, 216;
    the British forces in, 243;
    the Boer aspiration to annex, 258, 259;
    organisation of the defences of, 269, 278;
    the British population of, 271;
    only in name a British colony, 273;
    alarming rumours from, 305;
    rebellion of the Dutch in, 341 to 372;
    proclamation of martial law, 345, 411;
    Lord Milner's despatch dealing with the rebellion, 346;
    disclosure of a new centre of rebellion, 354, 355;
    the second invasion of, 383, 430;
    racial relations in, 383;
    clearing it of the republican invaders, 384;
    the situation in November, 1900, 398;
    De Wet enters, 430;
    is chased out, 432;
    the area to be protected, 445;
    response of the British population to arms, 446;
    numbers of Boers in the field in, 454;
    screened off by blockhouses, 458;
    the course of events in, 473;
    collapse of the system of responsible government in, 478 to 480;
    the Government stipulates for certain conditions as to the procedure
      of military courts, 481;
    number of troops placed by the Government of in the field, 485, 486;
    treatment of rebels in, 563, 567.
  _Cape Argus, The_, 243 (note).
  Cape Boys, The, the ill-treatment of, 89 (note).
  Cape Civil Service, The, disaffection of, 272.
  Cape Distriks-bestuur, The, 349.
  Cape electoral system, The, 115, 116.
  Cape garrison, The, 191, 204, 278.
  Cape local forces, The, 281 (note).
  Cape Ministry, The (_see also_ Schreiner Cabinet and Sprigg), its views
      as to its duties and powers in case of a war, 164;
    and the Bond, 193;
    attitude of, 198;
    "moral support of," 217;
    its views upon the settlement of the new colonies, 546.
  Cape nationalists, The, 167, 268.
  Cape Parliament, The, Afrikander Bond influence in, 60, 70, 393;
    Progressive majority in, 393;
    prorogation of, 478, 482.
  Cape Parliamentary Reports, 395.
  _Cape Times, The_, 48 (note), 220, 379 (note);
    report of J. X. Merriman's speech in, 62;
    its reported interview with Cecil Rhodes, 114;
    its views on the Redistribution Bill, 117.
  Capetown, mass meeting at, 204, 250;
    alleged plot to seize, 350.
  _Carisbrook Castle, The S.S._, 132 (note).
  Carnarvon, 354.
  Carnarvon, Lord, his scheme of federal union, 27.
  "Carnival of Mendacity," The, 477.
  Cartwright, Albert, 380, 381, 477.
  _Cecil Rhodes_, Vindex's, 68 (note).
  _Century of Wrong, A_, Mr. Reitz's, 356.
  Cetewayo, destruction of a British regiment by one of his _impis_ 17;
    his organisation of the Zulus, 25.
  Chaka, 25.
  Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. Joseph, 40, 41, 45, 72;
    his inquiry of Lord Rosmead as to the Jameson raid, 42;
    his active sympathy with the Uitlanders, 47;
    his policy, 72, 73, 125;
    his choice of Lord Milner as High Commissioner, 75, 77;
    his despatch of March 6th 1897, 81;
    accusation against, 82;
    asserts Great Britain's suzerainty over the Transvaal, 126 (note);
    his intimation to the Pretoria Executive as to the dynamite contract,
    accepts the suggestion of a conference at Bloemfontein, and decides
      to postpone the publication of Lord Milner's despatch on the
      Uitlanders, 140;
    a question put by him to Mr. Philip Schreiner, 146;
    authorises Lord Milner to attend the Bloemfontein Conference, 155;
    his despatch of May 10th, 1899, 155, 194;
    agrees with the line proposed to be taken by Lord Milner at the
      Bloemfontein Conference, 157;
    his alleged determination to force a war on the Transvaal, 184;
    his declaration in the House of Commons on the failure of the
      Bloemfontein Conference, 188;
    his desire to avoid war, 196;
    the support given by him to Lord Milner, 200;
    his speech of June 26th, 1899, at Birmingham, 202, 204;
    urges delay in passing the limited Franchise Bill, 210;
    believes the crisis to be at an end, 221;
    prepared to accept Krüger's illusory Franchise Law, 222;
    statement by him in the House of Commons on the new franchise law, 227;
    proposes to the Transvaal a joint commission, 229;
    his action after the repudiation by the Pretoria Executive of the
      arrangement made between Mr. Smuts and Sir Wm. Greene, 238, 239;
    he repudiates the claim made by the S. African Republic to be a
      sovereign international state, 240;
    his despatch of September 8th, 1899, 240, 241;
    his speech at Highbury on August 27th, 249;
    his proposal to Sir H. Campbell-Bannerman as to preparations for war,
      265, 266;
    repudiates the charges of bad faith brought against Sir Wm. Greene,
    his anxiety for a peaceful settlement, 293;
    his statement at Birmingham, on May 11th, 1900, as to the number of the
      forces in S. Africa, 325;
    his statement at Birmingham of the nature of the settlement the
      Government had determined on, 367;
    sends a despatch to Lord Milner on the subjects of compensation of
      loyalists and punishment of rebels, 384;
    his reply to the views of the Schreiner Cabinet on the questions, 386;
    his views upon the disfranchisement of the rebels, 389;
    replies to the arguments of the Schreiner Ministry
      in favour of a general amnesty, 395;
    his speech containing the chief points in the proposed proclamation to
      the fighting burghers, 420;
    abandons the proposal, 421;
    sanctions the issue of Governor's warrants at the Cape, 479;
    refuses an appeal for the suspension of the Cape constitution, 479;
    assents to Lord Milner's application for leave, 488;
    importance attached by him to the views of the Cape and Natal
      Governments on the question of the settlement of the new colonies,
      489, 490;
    receives Lord Milner, 490, 491;
    report presented to him by the Land Settlement Commission, 516;
    agrees to a tax on the mining industry, 542;
    his reply to Lord Milner's telegram on the financial position, 543;
    concurs in Lord Milner's proposals for land settlement, 544;
    approves Lord Milner's suggestion as to the enlargement of the
      Legislative Councils, 545;
    declines to re-open the discussion after the signature of the
      Vereeniging surrender, 562.
  Channing, M.P., Mr., 489 (note).
  Chartered Company, The, 36, 66, 83.
  Churchill, Winston, Mr., his statement on the use of the word "natives"
    in the "Terms of Surrender," 568 (note).
  Civil Administration, the establishment of, in the new colonies, 397,
    its progress, 489, 524.
  Claremont, speech of Sir J. Rose Innes at, 361, 362.
  Cloete, Judge, his opinion of Lord Glenelg's reversal of Sir B. D'Urban's
    frontier policy, 14.
  "Closer Union," the policy of, 49, 70.
  "Coercive measures," Boer, 425.
  Colenso, 306, 321;
    a result of the defeat at, 8;
    the Free State Boers moving on, 305.
  Colesberg, 346, 348.
  Colonial Conference, The, of 1897, 95.
  Colonial Office, The, the administration of, 23;
    a leakage from, 153.
  Colonial questions, the study of, 24;
    necessity of, 254.
  Colonial rebels, The, penalties to be inflicted on, 563, 567;
    surrenders of, 573 (note).
  Colonies, The, offers of military aid from, 251, 324.
  Commando Nek, 455.
  _Commissie Van Toezicht, The_, 349.
  Committee of Inquiry into the Raid, The, the report of, 97.
  Concentration Camps. _See_ Burgher Camps.
  Concessions Commission, The, 376, 377 (note).
  "Conciliation," movement, The, 343, 359, 361, 373 to 412;
    Lord Milner's record of the origin of the movement, 373;
    injurious influence of the movement on the Colony, 381;
    the Englishmen who took part in, 383;
    the initiation of, 375, 415.
  Conciliation Committee, The, in England, 415.
  Conservative Governments, 255.
  Conventions, The, Sir George Grey on, 19;
    Lord Milner on, 86, 87 (note), 358, 360.
  _Cornhill Magazine, The_, 263 (note).
  _Coronation of King Edward VII._, J. E. C. Bodley's, 76 (note).
  Courtney, Leonard (now Lord), his public utterances on the war, 232,
      251, 257 to 259, 360, 363, 496, 497;
    advocates the autonomy of the Republics, 370, 415;
    letter to him from President Krüger, 372.
  Cronje, surrenders at Paardeberg, 328.
  Cronwright-Schreiner, Mrs., 146.
  Crown Colony Government, formal initiation of, 490, 501, 544.
  Customs Union, The, 36.

  _Daily Chronicle, The_, a statement in as to the crisis in S. Africa,
  Dalmanutha, defeat of Louis Botha at, 329, 414.
  Davies, "Karri," Major W. D., 88.
  De Aar, 305, 354, 455.
  De Jong, Mr., 402 (note), 477.
  De Kock, Meyer, shot, 427.
  Delagoa Bay, The proposed railway line to, 29;
    its purchase recommended by Sir Bartle Frere, 29;
    appearance of a British squadron at, 82;
    consignment of ammunition to, 236;
    railway communication with Pretoria re-opened, 329.
  De la Rey, J. H., 434, 552, 556, 562 (note), 564;
    Lord Kitchener's appreciation of his tact, 573 (note).
  _De Patriot_, 48, 50 (note), 56, 57, 63.
  _De Rand Post_, 213.
  Derby, Lord, publication of his telegram of Feb. 27th, 1884, 262.
  _De Transvaalse Oorlog_, 54, 57 (note), 58.
  De Villiers, A. B., 382, 404, 406.
  De Villiers, Melius, 160, 232;
    advocates a cessation of hostilities, 401.
  De Villiers, Sir Henry, 28, 95 (note), 102;
    his letter of May 21st, 1899, to Pres. Steyn, 159;
    his visit to Pretoria in 1899, 159, 160;
    his complaint of the obscurity of the new franchise law, 218, 219;
    his letter to Mr. Fischer urging Pres. Krüger's acceptance of the joint
      inquiry, 232, 311;
    his appeal to Pres. Steyn not to declare war, 292.
  "Development Loan," The, 540.
  Devonshire, The Duke of, comment on Sir H. Campbell-Bannerman's attitude
    in Committee of Supply, 371 (note).
  De Wet, Christian, 420, 434, 562 (note), 564, 575;
    his blow at Sannah's Post, 363;
    his responsibility for the sufferings of the Boers during the guerilla
      war, 427, 428;
    his laager near Lindley, 427;
    enters Cape Colony, 430, 577;
    chased out of it, 432;
    his _Three Years' War_, 433 (note);
    the pursuit of, 471;
    his report to L. Botha on the rising in the Cape, 475;
    meets Lords Milner and Kitchener at Pretoria, 552, 556;
    signs the Vereeniging Agreement, 567 (note);
    advocates a continuance of the war, 571, 578;
    Lord Kitchener's appreciation of his tact, 573 (note).
  De Wet, Piet, protests against the treatment of the agents of the Peace
      Committee, 427;
    desires the Afrikander leaders to associate themselves with the Burgher
      Peace Committee, 474.
  De Wet, Sir Jacobus, 82.
  Diamond Hill, defeat of the Boers at, 329.
  Diamond Jubilee, The, celebration of on the Rand, 86, 90.
  Diamond Mines, The, earnings of, 23;
    Mr. Merriman's association with, 149.
  Diamonds, The discovery of, 23.
  Disarmament, The operation of, 413 to 469;
    views of the Natal Ministry on, 549.
  Dodd, Mr., arrest of, 131.
  Doornkop, The surrender of Dr. Jameson's troopers at, 68 (note).
  Dordrecht affair, The, 496 (note).
  Downing Street, The impossibility of governing S. Africa from, 1, 22,
      34, 35;
    Mr. Chamberlain and, 47.
  Doyle, Sir A. Conan, his _War in South Africa_, 469 (note).
  Duncan, Mr., 515, 527.
  Du Plessis, H. A., his protest against the treatment of the Boers who
    were in favour of peace, 428.
  Durban, 271.
  D'Urban, Sir Benjamin, the reversal of his frontier policy, 12 to 15.
  Durham, Lord, his report on Canada, 480.
  Dutch, The, their first conflict with the natives of S. Africa, 3.
  Dutch, The Cape, rebellion of, 341 to 372;
    the aggravation and use of their disaffection, 373;
    disarmament of, 413 to 469;
    their sympathy with the Boer raiders, 432, 433;
    their restlessness and embitterment, 443;
    their general attitude, 444.
  Dutch East India Company, The, an incident in their settlement at the
      Cape, 2;
    a century and a half of their government, 5;
    the corner stone of their policy, 5;
    their instructions to Van Riebeck, 5, 9.
  Dutch language, The, the use of, 565, 581.
  Dutch party, The, interests of, 273.
  Dutch Press, The, the nationalist propaganda of, 69, 106, 107, 119.
  Dutch Reformed Church, The, 120, 215, 410, 411, 428.
  Dutch Republic, A, The establishment of, 255, 356, 357.
  Dutch South African, The, the original stock from which they are
      descended, 5;
    their essential unity, 24;
    Lord Milner's anxiety to see their best side, 90;
    anti-British sentiment of, 91, 104;
    their moral conquest of Cape Colony, 107.
  Dutch, The republican, 17, 19, 28, 36;
    conditions under which they were incorporated into the system of
      British S. Africa, 545.
  Dutch vote, The, 150.
  Du Toit, Rev. S. J., 50 (note), 54;
    his articles in _De Patriot_, 56;
    rejected by the Bond, 58;
    reference to him in J. N. Blignaut's letter, 258.
  Duxbury, Mr., 212 (note).
  Dynamite Contract, The, 130.

  Ebden, Mr. Alfred, 173.
  Edgar, Tom Jackson, 130, 131 (note), 132, 175.
  Educational reconstruction, The work of, 519 to 523.
  Eerste Fabriken, 456.
  Eighty Club, The, an address to by Mr. Morley, 371 (note).
  Eliot, Mr., 306.
  Ellis, M.P., John, 498 (note).
  Emigrant Farmers, The, 15 to 17.
  England, The military unpreparedness of, 185;
    ignorance of the situation in S. Africa, 251, 253, 283, 316, 323, 331;
    hatred of, 312.
  _England in Egypt_, 76.
  English language, The, war against, 58.
  English State Church, The, Afrikander view of, 53.
  "Equal rights for all white men," The policy of, 1, 32.
  Esau, brutal murder of, 427 (note).

  Farelly, Mr., 126 (note), 214.
  Farmer, Canon, 259.
  "Farmers' Protection Association, The," 59, 60.
  Farrer, Lord, 498 (note).
  Faure, Pieter (now Sir), 93, 105.
  Fiddes, G. V., 167, 515;
    his report on the work of the departments of education, public works,
      and district administration, 526.
  Fischer, Abraham, 126 (note), 161, 203, 204, 210, 239 (note);
    acts as interpreter at the Bloemfontein Conference, 168;
    his advice to Krüger, 217;
    in constant communication with Mr. Schreiner, 217 (note);
    dissociates himself from the "mediation" policy of the Cape
      nationalists, 234;
    works at the completion of the military preparations of the Republics,
    revises the Boer reply to the British despatch of Sept. 8th, 1899, 242;
    recasts the ultimatum, 291;
    attempt to influence him to terminate the war, 495.
  Fischer-Hofmeyr Mission, The, 203 to 210, 236, 275, 555.
  Fish River, The, grants of land beyond, 13.
  FitzPatrick, Sir Percy, 264, 273.
  _Five Lectures on the Emigration of the Dutch Farmers_, 16 (note).
  Forestier-Walker, Lieut.-General, appointed to the Cape command, 184,
      247, 269;
    military measures of, 288.
  Fouché, 432.
  Fowler, Sir Henry, 416.
  Franchise for the Uitlanders, The five years', 37, 156, 157, 170, 172,
    conditions attached to the proposed new franchise, 238.
  Franchise Law, The, 209 _et seq._;
    the Volksraad discussion on, 213;
    demonstrations upon, 215;
    Krüger recommends a further modification of, 217;
    the new law passed, 218;
    obscurity of its provisions, 218 to 220;
    flagrant insincerity of, 234;
    Mr. Smuts offers a simplified seven years', subsequently a five years'
      franchise in lieu of the proposed joint inquiry, 237, 238;
    conditions attached to the proposed new franchise, 238;
    the Home Government kept inactive by, 288.
  France, The attitude of, 311.
  Franco-Dutch population at the Cape, The, 11;
    secession of part of, 17.
  Fraser, Edmund, difficult position of, 175.
  Fraser, J. G., his opposition to the policy of "closer union," 49;
    beaten for the Presidential election, 70.
  Free State Dutch, The, 18.
  Frederickstad, 455.
  French, General, his advance on Colesberg, 348;
    libel on, 477;
    surrenders of rebels to, 573 (note).
  French, Mr., 306.
  Frere, (the late) Sir Bartle, 24, 25, 261;
    his diagnosis of the S. African situation, 26;
    his difference with the Beaconsfield Cabinet, 26;
    his recall, 27;
    the vindication of his statesmanship, 27;
    his knowledge of S. African conditions, 28;
    drafts a scheme of administrative reform, 28;
    his private memo, written from the Cape in 1879, 29;
    events following his recall, 34, 255;
    letter from to Sir Gordon Sprigg, 263.
  Frere, Sir Bartle, and Mr. John Morley, 261.
  _Friend, The_ (Bloemfontein), 235.
  Froneman, Commandant, 428.

  Gatacre, General, defeat at Stormberg, 321, 348.
  German Emperor, The, telegram of, 71.
  German General Staff, The, reply to its criticism, 334.
  German Government, The, action of, 37, 232;
    attitude of, 311.
  German Marines at Delagoa Bay, 39 (note).
  Germiston, Lord Milner's speech at, 491 (note).
  Gill, Sir David, his words, 286.
  Girouard, Sir Percy, 502, 532.
  Gladstone, Rev. Stephen, 498.
  Gladstone, W. E., S. African policy of, 26, 31.
  Glencoe, British force despatched to, 291.
  Glenelg, Lord (_see_ also Grant), Cloete's opinion of his despatch
    reversing Sir B. D'Urban's frontier policy, 14.
  Gold Industry, The, Commissions on, 529;
    resumption of, 536.
  Goodenough, General, his schemes for the defence of the British
    colonies, 180.
  Goold-Adams, Major Sir H., 470, 488, 515, 524, 526.
  Government House, watched by spies, 273.
  Governor's warrants, 478.
  Graaf Reinet, first congress of the Afrikander Bond at, 59;
    Lord Milner's speech at, 84, 91, 92, 98, 99, 107, 115, 367;
    opening of the railway at, 108;
    the people's congress at, 379, 381.
  Grahamstown, 61.
  Graham, T. Lynedoch, 116 (note).
  Grant, Charles (aft. Lord Glenelg), his reversal of Sir Benjamin
    D'Urban's frontier policy, 12 _et seq._
  Greene, Sir Wm. Conyngham, 82, 127, 131 (note), 198, 210, 226 (note),
    237, 238, 241, 242, 252, 290, 295, 299, 310.
  Gregorowski, Chief Justice, 103, 259.
  Grey, Sir Edward, 416.
  Grey, Sir George, neglect of his advice by the Home Government 18;
    his exposure of the Sand River and Bloemfontein Conventions, 19;
    his despatch to Sir E. B. Lytton, 19;
    is charged with "direct disobedience," 20, 22;
    recalled and reinstated, 20;
    attitude of the Home Government towards, 21.
  Griqualand West, the discovery of diamonds in, 23;
    an invitation to the Boers to invade, 260.
  Groebler, Mr., 204, 205.
  Guerilla warfare, commencement of, 398;
    Pres. Steyn's responsibility for, 414, 415;
    methods and conditions of, 417;
    responsibility for sufferings of the Boers during, 426, 427;
    increased losses, to the country due to, 437;
    methods by which it was brought to a close, 450, 575.

  Haldane, Mr., 416.
  _Handelsblad_, The Amsterdam, an article in, 50.
  Harcourt, Sir William, 75, 76, 502;
    his appreciation of Lord Milner, 77, 78;
    his misstatement on the Suzerainty question, 262;
    his manifestation of hostility to the loyalist population of South
      Africa, 464 (note);
    his financial miscalculations, 502.
  Hargrove, E. T., 375 to 380, 415, 496 (note).
  Harrison, Frederic, 498 (note).
  "Harry" the Hottentot chief, 3.
  Heany, Captain, 40, 42, 43.
  Heidelberg, 456.
  Hely-Hutchinson, Sir Walter, 470;
    prorogues the Cape Parliament, 478, 479 (note).
  Herholdt, A. J., 150, 204;
    joins the Schreiner Cabinet, 124, 142;
    his mission, 205 (note), 207;
    his views as to the treatment of the rebels, 390, 393.
  _Het Oosten_, 477.
  Het Volk, 55 (note).
  Hertzog, General, 564, 572;
    appointed a peace commissioner, 556, 558;
    crosses the Orange River, 430.
  High Commissioner for S. Africa, The, decreasing power of, 36;
    severance of the office from the governorship of the Cape, 419, 470.
  "High Court Crisis," The, 102, 103.
  _History of the War in South Africa, The Official_, vol. i. 309 (note)
    _et seq._
  _History of the War in South Africa, The Times'_, 217 (note), 300 (note),
    309 (note), 340 (note), 351 (note).
  Hobhouse, Lord, 498 (note).
  Hobhouse, Miss, 462 (note).
  "Hofmeyr Compromise, The," 277.
  Hofmeyr, J. H., 55;
    the influence of, 60;
    adoption of his programme by the Bond, 64;
    his alliance with Rhodes, 65;
    dictates Lord Rosmead's policy, 70;
    his attitude towards the offer of a contribution to the cost of the
      British Navy, 95;
    the real leader of the Bond party, 97, 116, 117;
    his action to prevent the publication of Lord Milner's despatch on the
      petition of the Uitlanders, 140;
    asks Lord Milner to meet Krüger in conference, 140, 153;
    his methods for paralysing British administration, 140, 141;
    his motives, 147;
    approaches Lord Milner as to meeting Pres. Krüger at Bloemfontein, 154,
    his anxiety to prevent decisive action of the Imperial Government, 158;
    his absence from the Bloemfontein Conference, 167;
    the pressure of his "mediation," 196;
    in close communication with Abraham Fischer, 203;
    confers with Messrs. Fischer and Smuts at Bloemfontein, 205;
    goes to Pretoria, 207;
    the failure of his mission, 209;
    his relations with the republican nationalists, 216, 217;
    urges the acceptance of the proposed joint inquiry, 232, 311;
    his view of Mr. Schreiner's position as Premier of the Cape, 235;
    his opinion of the result of war, 275;
    his telegram of Sept. 14th to Pres. Steyn, 275;
    his displeasure at the Schreiner Cabinet, 346, 361;
    at a meeting of the Cape Distriks-bestuur, 349.
  Hottentots, The, 2 to 5, 9, 10.
  House of Commons, The, debate in on the S. African settlement, 393.
  Hunter, General, Sir A., Prinsloo surrenders to, 329.

  "Imperial factor, The," 40;
    the elimination of, 34, 85.
  Imperial Light Horse, The, 179, 447.
  Imperial military authorities, The, charges brought against, 459.
  Imperial military railways, The, 502, 505.
  Imperial spirit, The, 21, 24.
  Imperial troops, The, calumnies on, 398, 499;
    insufficiency of, 452, 453;
    the task of, 435, 452, 487.
  Impossible position, An, 128.
  _Impressions of South Africa_, By J. Bryce, extract from, 579 (note).
  Indemnity and Special Tribunals Act, The, 396.
  "Independence," the Boer claim to, 578.
  India, The feudatory princes of, 311.
  Indian Army, The, troops from for S. Africa, 243, 310.
  Indian military authorities, The, promptitude displayed by, 289.
  Industrial Commission, The, anticipation of good results from, 105;
    impartiality of, 89;
    treatment of its Report, 99 to 101.
  Industrial corporations, growth of, 36.
  Innes, Sir James, 118 (note), 125, 271, 361, 362;
    becomes Attorney-General, 390;
    notice issued by him as to treason, 480, 481.
  Intelligence Department, The, the work of, 177, 180, 190, 217 (note),
    233, 234 (notes), 257, 277 (note), 292 (note), 319 (note), 425.
  Inter-State Conference, An, proposal of, 153.
  Irish Nationalist party, The, 465.
  Irrigation, report of Sir W. Willcocks on, 516, 529.
  Isandlhwana, the military disaster of, 17, 26.

  Jameson, Dr., 38 _et seq._;
    his disregard of the Reformers' message and of Rhodes's telegram, 43.
  Jameson Raid, The, 33, 37, 41;
    its effect on the Rhodes-Hofmeyr alliance, 68;
    object of, 38 to 44;
    Parliamentary Committee of Inquiry into, 82;
    political forces set in motion by, 93;
    results of, 69, 71.
  Janssen, David, the murder of, 2, 3.
  Johannesburg, 439;
    Lord Milner's farewell speech at, 129, 145;
    the second Reform movement at, 132;
    enthusiastic meeting at, 198, 199, 215;
    march of Lord Roberts on, 214;
    exodus from, 246;
    situation in, 248;
    occupation of, 329;
    Lord Roberts's decision to advance on, 352;
    arrangements for the civil administration of, 397;
    effective occupation of the district round, 453;
    British population allowed to return to, 459;
    Lord Milner's reception at, 472;
    establishment of a Town Council for, 489;
    abolition of the office of Military Governor, 489;
    the public buildings at, 526;
    organisation of municipal police in, 529.
  Johannesburg insurrection, The, 41.
  Johannesburg mines, The, project of wrecking, 214.
  Johannesburg Reformers, The, 88 (note).
  _Johannesburg Star, The_, 145 (note), 245;
    extract from, 491 (note).
  Johannesburgers, The, splendid fighting of, 447.
  _John Bull & Co._, Max O'Rell's, 43 (note).
  Joint Inquiry, The, proposed, 229, 231;
    refused by the Volksraad, 237.
  Joubert, General, 101, 235, 320, 344.
  Jubilee despatch, Lord Milner's, 90 to 92, 99, 104, 107.

  Kafir, invasion of 1834-5, The, 15.
  Kafirs, British policy towards, 12 _et seq._
  Kafir wars, The, 17.
  Karree Siding, 363.
  Kei River, The, the Kafir's line of, 13.
  Kekewich, Colonel, calls for arms, 304.
  Kitchener, Lord, 303;
    appointed Chief of the Staff to Lord Roberts, 321;
    his losses before Paardeberg, 332;
    instructed to proceed to De Aar, 354;
    reduces to order the north-midland districts of the Cape, 362;
    defamatory libel on, 381;
    agrees with Lord Milner's views as to the proposed proclamation to
      the burghers, 420, 421;
    his address to the Burgher Peace Committee, 422;
    failure of his peace negotiations with L. Botha, 434;
    his accession to the command, 452;
    the troops at his disposal, 453;
    origin of his system of blockhouse defence, 455;
    his expectations of the blockhouse lines, 456;
    reports the creation of mobile columns, 456;
    his reply to the official Boer complaint against the system of Burgher
      Camps, 463 (note);
    discusses with Lord Milner the nature of the reply to Botha's overtures
      for peace, 471;
    instructions to his officers as to procedure in military courts, 481;
    permits the mines to re-open, 489;
    differs from Lord Milner's views of the terms of the surrender, 551,
    directed to put forward a copy of the correspondence between the
      British and Netherlands Governments to the Boer leaders, 552;
    assures the Boer leaders that no terms will be granted maintaining the
      independence of the Republics, 553;
    is authorised to refer the leaders to the offer made to General Botha
      at Middelburg, 554;
    refuses the terms of the Boer peace commissioners, 557;
    announces "peace" to Lord Milner, 572;
    records his appreciation of the energy and tact displayed after the
      signing of the peace treaty by Generals Louis Botha, De la Rey, and
      C. De Wet, 573;
    his last words addressed to the Colonial Governments and the Secretary
      of State for War, 573 (note);
    the efficiency of his blockhouse system, 576.
  Kimberley, 259, 271, 286 (note), 455;
    the diamond industry at, 23;
    plans for the defence of, 178, 278, 279;
    Lancashire Regiment sent to, 288;
    is cut off, 304, 305;
    relief of, 328;
    effective occupation of the district of, 453.
  Kimberley, The Earl of, 27.
  Kimberley Volunteers, The, 280, 282 (note).
  Kipling, Rudyard, on the attitude of the Bond 430, 434.
  Klerksdorp, 458;
    conference at, 552.
  Kock, Judge, warlike speech of at Paardekraal, 197.
  Komati Poort, the occupation of, 322, 329.
  Kotzé, Chief Justice, the dismissal of, 102, 103;
    indignation caused by, 116.
  Krause, Dr., 214.
  Kretschmar, J. Van, 377, 533 (note).
  Krogh, General, 564.
  Kroonstad entered, 329.
  Krüger, Paul, 84 to 86;
    his letter to Mr. (now Lord) Courtney on Sir Bartle Frere's recall, 27;
    his allusion to Germany at the German Club at Pretoria, 38;
    supplies arms to adherents of the nationalist cause, 71;
    invited to visit England, 72;
    calls for the appointment of the Industrial Commission, 89, 99;
    uncompromising attitude of, 89;
    denounces Schalk Burger, 100;
    elected President of the South African Republic for the fourth time,
    dismisses Chief Justice Kotzé, 102, 103;
    his determination to increase the disabilities of the Uitlanders, 103;
    signs a treaty of alliance with the Orange Free State, 104;
    his attitude in 1898, 114;
    subsidises the Bond, 118;
    claims independence for the South African Republic, 126 (note);
    consents to meet Lord Milner at Bloemfontein, 153;
    his retrogressive policy, 160;
    meets Lord Milner, 168;
    his appearance at the Conference, 171;
    his motive in attending it, 172;
    the possibility of his declaring war, 183;
    expresses his intention of introducing his franchise scheme to the
      Volksraad, 193;
    the scheme laid before the Volksraad, 194, 197;
    his incapacity to yield, 194;
    complexity of his franchise proposals, 196;
    his bid for the "moral support," of the Cape Ministry, 209;
    grants a limited franchise, 209;
    his object in doing so, 210, 211;
    wishes to retain the "moral support" of the Cape Ministry, 217;
    recommends to the Volksraad a further modification of the Franchise
      Bill, 217;
    inadequacy of his franchise law, 218;
    hastens arrangements for war, 231;
    his secret agents 233 (note);
    urged by Afrikander Members of Cape Parliament to accept the offered
      joint inquiry, 233;
    opposition to it, 234;
    strength of his military position, 244;
    his note refusing to consider the British offer of September 8th handed
      to Sir Wm. Greene, 252;
    his boast, 259;
    the illusory concessions embodied in his franchise law, 268;
    spies in his pay, 273;
    his coarse duplicity, 277;
    winning all along the line, 288;
    flees the Transvaal, 329;
    his "peace overtures," 355;
    his letter to Mr. Courtney, 372;
    his telegram to Pres. Steyn shortly before the Bond Congress at
      Somerset East was postponed, 375, 377;
    attempt to influence him to terminate the war, 495.
  Krüger, Tjaart, 212 (note), 213.
  Krügersdorp, arrival of Dr. Jameson at, 44.
  Kruitzinger, crosses the Orange River, 430, 432.

  Labouchere, Henry, 232, 233, 237, 256, 498.
  Ladies' Commission, The, 511.
  Ladysmith, British force entrained at, 291;
    Sir G. White shut up in, 320, 344;
    spies in the camp of the relieving force, 337.
  Lagden, Sir Godfrey, 515, 528.
  Laing's Nek, evacuated by the Boers, 329.
  Lancashire Regiment, The, sent to garrison Kimberley, 288.
  Land settlement, proposed loan for, 540, 543, 544.
  Land Settlement Commission, The, 516, 529.
  Langlaate Estate, The, 149.
  Lanyon, Sir Owen, 263.
  Lawson, Sir Wilfred, 498 (note).
  _Leader, The Transvaal_, 213 (note), 245.
  Legal Adviser's office, The, work of, 527.
  Legislative Councils of the new colonies, The, enlargement of, 544.
  Léon, M., 288.
  Leonard, J. W., 61, 93.
  Lewis, Mrs., 144.
  Leyds, Dr., 50 (note), 232, 375;
    communication opened with European Powers through, 103, 104;
    despatched to Europe as Envoy Extraordinary of the South African
      Republic, 125.
  Liberal Opposition leaders, The, attitude and public utterances of, 143,
      167, 192, 203, 252, 257, 259, 261, 264 to 266, 314, 367, 368, 371
      (note), 399, 414, 424, 430, 431, 460, 496, 502;
    their desire to escape from responsibility, 254;
    renewal of their alliance with the Afrikander nationalists, 369, 496;
    representations of the delegates of the Worcester Congress to, 496.
  Liberal Party, The, mandate to, 25;
    friends of the Boers in the ranks of, 382, 417, 573.
    _See also_ Bryce, Burns, Campbell-Bannerman, Courtney, Labouchere,
       Lloyd-George, Morley, etc.
  _Life of Gordon, The_, 497 (note).
  _Lifetime in South Africa, A_, 16 (note).
  Limpopo River, The, 36.
  Lindley, De Wet's laager at, 427.
  Lloyd-George, Mr., 315, 496, 498.
  Loch, Lord, 36, 37;
    retirement of, 74.
  Lombard, Mr., 213.
  London Convention (1884), The, 31, 87 (note), 262;
    a violation of, 81;
    Article IV. in, 580.
  _Lord Milner and South Africa_, 166 (note).
  Loreburn, Lord, his attitude during the war, 496.
  Lorenzo Marques, Transvaal ammunition despatched from, 237.
  Loyalists, The compensation of, 384.
  Lucas, General, 564.
  Lytton, Sir E. B., 20, 21 (notes).

  McCallum, Sir Henry E., 470.
  Mafeking, 259;
    the rôle played by, 179 (note);
    capture of an armoured train outside, 304;
    relief of, 329.
  Mafeking Volunteers, The, 282 (note).
  Magaliesberg, The, 455.
  Magersfontein, 321;
    a result of the defeat at, 8.
  Majuba Hill, the British defeat at, 43, 186, 255;
    evacuated by the Boers, 329.
  Malan, Commandant, 432.
  Malan, Mr., 349, 410, 477.
  Manchester, meeting at, 251, 257.
  Maritzburg, 271, 321;
    public meeting at, 249, 250.
  Martial law, declaration of in additional districts, 411, 478, 482;
    its administration, 484, 485.
  Martial Law Board, The, 484, 485.
  Massingham, Mr., 154 (note).
  _Merits of the Transvaal Dispute, The_, Captain Mahan's, 579 (note).
  Merriman, J. X. 61, 69, 93, 97;
    report of his Grahamstown speech in the _Cape Times_, 62;
    his letter of March 11th, 1898, to President Steyn, 114;
    joins the Schreiner Cabinet, 124, 142;
    his motives in associating himself with the objects of the Bond, 143,
      144, 148;
    his association with the Diamond Mines at Kimberley, 149;
    his partisanship, 149;
    his desire to induce President Krüger to grant a "colourable measure
      of reform," 151, 152;
    sounds Lord Milner as to the possibility of an inter-state Conference,
    his appeal to Mr. Fischer, 161;
    his breach with Mr. Schreiner, 361;
    his offer to range himself on the side of the Republics, 376 to 378;
    repudiation of Pres. Krüger's statement as to his intimacy with Mr.
      Hargrove, 380; his views as to the treatment of the rebels, 391;
    his denunciation of the policy of the Home Government, 391, 474;
    purpose of his visit to England, 495;
    banquet in his honour, 496;
    his frankness as to his mission, 497;
    his attack on Lord Milner, 497;
    attends the meeting at the Queen's Hall, 498.
  Methuen, Lord, his engagements, 305; forces at his disposal, 321.
  Meyer, J. L., his views on the war, 574.
  Middelburg, 458.
  Middelburg Terms, The, 471, 554, 557 (note), 558, 559, 561, 562, 568
  Military criticisms on the war, 330 _et seq._
  "Military Notes," estimate in of Boer forces, 181 (note).
  Military preparations, delay in making, 242, 243, 246, 250, 279, 288,
    290, 309 to 311, 316.
  Military railways, The, 502, 532.
  Milner, Viscount, pre-eminence of his administration in South Africa, 32;
    the state of affairs he was called on to deal with, 33;
    the political situation on his arrival in South Africa, 69;
    the choice of him as High Commissioner, 75;
    his official career, 75;
    his assistance to Sir William Harcourt, 75, 76;
    banquet to him, 77;
    extract from his speech at the banquet, 78;
    affection of those associated with him, 78, 79;
    his resolution, 79, 219;
    bitterness of Afrikanders and Boers against, 80;
    his profound knowledge of the needs of South Africa, 80;
    efforts of the Liberal party to revoke the final arrangements of his
      administration, 81;
    his arrival in South Africa, 81;
    the policy of, 82;
    travels through Cape Colony, etc., 83;
    his speech at Graaf Reinet, 84, 91, 92, 98, 99, 107, 115;
    his official duties, 84;
    his position in regard to the Transvaal Government, 84, 85;
    his anxiety to arrange matters by a friendly discussion with President
      Krüger, 85, 86, 88;
    confidence shown him by the British population, 86 (note);
    his policy with regard to the Conventions, 87;
    his anxiety to see the best side of the Dutch in the Cape, 90 to 92;
    travels round Cape Colony, 104;
    conciliatory utterances of, 105;
    his reply to the address from the Graaf Reinet branch of the Afrikander
      Bond, 109 to 113;
    the position taken up by him towards the Cape Dutch, 114;
    his impartiality, 122;
    visits England, 127;
    his grasp of the situation, 127;
    urges the British Government to put an end to an impossible position,
    his farewell speech at Johannesburg, 128, 145;
    endorses the petition of the Uitlanders, 131;
    his intention to make public in England his despatch on the position of
      the Uitlanders, 139;
    asked to meet Pres. Krüger in conference, 140;
    warns Mr. Schreiner of the gravity of the situation, 140;
    postponement of the publication of his despatch, 140;
    difficulty of his position, 142;
    sounded by Mr. Schreiner and Mr. Merriman as to the possibility of an
      inter-state Conference, 152;
    his despatch of May 4th, 1899, telegraphed, 153;
    approached by Mr. Hofmeyr as to meeting Pres. Krüger at Bloemfontein,
    issue of his despatch of May 4th, 1899, 156, 169, 194;
    consults Mr. Chamberlain as to the "line" he should take at the
      Conference, 156, 157;
    his view of Pres. Krüger's acceptance of a conference, 159;
    meets Pres. Krüger at Bloemfontein, 167;
    his staff, 167;
    his reception at Bloemfontein, 168 (note);
    his embarrassing position, 169, 192;
    the compromise offered by him, 170;
    his "inflexibility," 170;
    his motive in attending the Conference, 171;
    address presented to him on his return from it to Capetown, 172, 173;
    essence of his reply to the address, 173;
    origin of his disagreement with General Butler, 175, 176;
    his desire for preparations for war, 178, 183, 186, 269, 309, 331;
    his only point of agreement with General Butler, 185;
    his reiterated warnings, 189;
    inadequate reinforcements sent in response to his appeal, 191, 192;
    acquiesces in the negotiations after Bloemfontein, 195;
    his relations with the Schreiner Cabinet, 198 to 201;
    support given him by Mr. Chamberlain, 200, 201;
    his interviews with Mr. Schreiner, 200, 201;
    assists the Fischer-Hofmeyr Mission, 207, 208;
    urges delay in passing the Franchise Bill through the Volksraad, 210;
    demonstrations of confidence in his statesmanship, 215;
    his influence with the Afrikander leaders, 216;
    his opinion of the new franchise law, 219, 220;
    points out to Mr. Chamberlain defects in the law, 221;
    prevents surrender of Home Government, 222 _et seq._;
    his resolute advocacy of the Uitlanders' cause, 224;
    bitter attack on him in _Punch_, 225;
    his despatch protesting against the readiness of the Government to
      accept the new franchise law, 225 to 229;
    further deflection of his policy, 231;
    conveys to the Pretoria Executive the offer of a joint inquiry, 231;
    withdraws the limit placed by Sir Wm. Greene upon the time of the reply
      from the Boer Government to the British Government's despatch of
      September 8th, 1899, 241;
    the compromise proposed by him at Bloemfontein, 244;
    his anxiety, 247;
    asks for another military adviser, 247;
    his despatch explaining his position at the Bloemfontein Conference,
    appeals for prompt action, 248;
    Mr. (now Lord) Courtney's attack on Lord Milner, 252, 257, 258;
    warns the English people of the advocacy of a Dutch Republic in South
      Africa, 255;
    makes known to the Government the state of affairs, 267;
    his colonial ministers, 270;
    support given him by the British population in South Africa, 270;
    atmosphere of intrigue by which he was surrounded, 271;
    abuse of him by the _South African News_, 272, 380, 381;
    passage of war material to the Orange Free State brought to his notice
      accidentally, 273;
    his personal charm, 277;
    his efforts to persuade Mr. Schreiner of the necessity of providing for
      the defence of Kimberley, 278, 279;
    his advice to the Cape and Home Governments, 282, 283;
    his limited powers, 283;
    a passage in his speech in the House of Lords on February 26th, 1906,
    defensive measures devised by him, 288;
    his use of the time elapsing between the recall of General Butler and
      the ultimatum 289;
    instructed to repudiate the claim of the South African Republic to be
      a sovereign international state, 290;
    his anxiety to attain a peaceful settlement, 293;
    receives the ultimatum, 295;
    warns the British authorities in Natal, Rhodesia, and Basutoland, 298;
    the call upon his constructive statesmanship, 303;
    consults Mr. Schreiner upon the feasibility of carrying out Sir Redvers
      Buller's suggestion to form local defences out of Dutch farmers, 320;
    his relationship with the military authorities, 341;
    alliance against him, 343, 344;
    scant help afforded him by Mr. Schreiner, 345;
    his despatch telling the story of the rebellion in the Cape, 346;
    addresses a memorandum to Lord Roberts on the rebellion in Cape Colony,
      351, 352;
    his view as to the defence of the Cape, 353;
    visits the north-midland districts of the Cape, 362;
    arrives at Bloemfontein, 363;
    receives an appreciative address at Capetown, 363;
    his reply to the address, 364;
    his record of the origin of the "conciliation" movement, 373;
    his representation to Mr. Schreiner as to the proposed Bond congress at
      Somerset East, 374;
    his despatch covering the newspaper report of the People's Congress at
      Graaf Reinet, 381;
    his view of racial relations in Cape Colony, 383;
    receives a despatch from Mr. Chamberlain on the questions of the
      compensation of loyalists and the punishment of rebels, 384;
    inquires as to the Home Government's views upon the disfranchisement
      of the rebels, 389;
    bitter invectives against him of members of the Schreiner Cabinet, 391;
    wins over Mr. Schreiner to the side of the Empire-State, 393;
    indicates to Mr. Chamberlain the nature of the Treason Bill, 394;
    pays a brief visit to the Transvaal and Orange River Colony, 396;
    makes arrangements for the civil administration of Pretoria and
      Johannesburg, 397;
    his journey to Bloemfontein, 397;
    inaugurates the South African Constabulary, 397;
    receives the commissions under which he is appointed to administer
      the new colonies, 398, 419, 470, 501;
    receives a deputation from the Worcester Congress, 404;
    his reply, 406;
    his final departure from the Cape to the Transvaal, 419;
    his objection to issuing a proclamation to the fighting burghers at
      the close of 1900, 420;
    approves of Lord Kitchener's proposals, 421;
    his account to Mr. Chamberlain of the situation on February 6th, 1901,
    leaves Capetown to assume administration of the new colonies, 470;
    incidents of his journey, 471;
    discusses with Lord Kitchener the nature of the reply to Botha's
      overtures for peace, 471;
    the position taken up by him, 472;
    at Pretoria, 472;
    the sphere of his administrative activity, 473;
    his second visit to England, 473, 487, 490;
    endorses the appeal for the suspension of the Cape constitution, 479;
    issues a notice as to acts of treason, 480, 481;
    obtains the views of the Cape and Natal Governments on the question
      of the settlement of the new colonies, 489;
    his reception on his second return to England, 490;
    his audience with the King, 490;
    marks of royal favour shown to him, 490, 491;
    his speech at a luncheon given in his honour, 492;
    agitation for his recall, 499;
    returns to Johannesburg, 501;
    his despatch describing affairs in November, 1901, 503;
    invites Mr. E. B. Sargant to organise the work of educational
      reconstruction, 520;
    appoints commissions on the gold industry, 529;
    his attention to the reorganisation of the railways, 532;
    urges the settlement of British colonists on the land, 538;
    proposes a loan for land settlement, 540;
    his tireless energy, 541, 545;
    his proposed tax on the mining industry, 541;
    his telegram on the immediate financial position, 542;
    his repatriation scheme, 543;
    presses for a decision on the land settlement question, 543;
    differs from Lord Kitchener's views upon the terms of the surrender,
      551, 560;
    drafts the terms of the surrender, 551, 558;
    refuses the terms of the Boer Peace Commissioners, 557;
    his care as to the English text of the Vereeniging surrender, 560, 561;
    England's debt to him, 562;
    summoned to Pretoria for the signing of the treaty of peace, 572.
  Mines Department, The, reorganisation of, 528.
  Mines, The, the project of wrecking, 214;
    permitted to re-open, 489, 507;
    native labour for, 509;
    their prosperity, 518.
  Mining plant, injury to by Boer raiders, 438.
  Mining industry, Lord Milner's proposed 10 per cent, tax on, 541.
  Missionaries, The, work of, 18.
  Mitchell, Sir Lewis, 485.
  Mobile columns, The creation of, 456.
  Modder River, Station, 322, 328.
  Monypenny, Mr., attempt to arrest, 245.
  Mooi River, The, 455.
  Morgendael, J., 428.
  Morley, John, misstatement by, 261;
    his attitude and public utterances on the war, 252, 259, 263, 314,
      360, 370, 371 (note), 415.
  Müller, E. B. Iwan, letter in the possession of, 166;
    his _Lord Milner and South Africa_, 166 (note).
  Müller, G., 428.
  Municipal police, Organisation of, 529.

  Naauwpoort, 455.
  Namaqualand, The election for, 121.
  Napier, Sir George, his evidence before the House of Commons on Lord
    Glenelg's reversal of Sir B. D'Urban's frontier policy, 14.
  Natal, 51;
    a menace to, 26;
    public meetings in, 131, 215;
    petition from to the Queen, 216;
    the invasion of, 235;
    the British forces in, 243, 246, 269;
    Boer aspiration to annex, 258, 259;
    mobilisation of the local forces in, 280 (note);
    Transvaal commando sent to the border, 290;
    the British authorities in, warned by Lord Milner, 298;
    treatment of the rebels in, 563, 567, 568.
  Natal Ministry, The, views of on the settlement of the new colonies,
      547 to 550;
    views of on disarmament and the treatment of the natives, 549;
    advocates "reciprocity" in the learned professions and civil services
      of the several colonies, 550;
    puts forward a claim for the incorporation of certain districts of
      the Transvaal and Orange River Colony into Natal, 550;
    its view as to the treatment of the rebels, 568.
  Nationalist movement, in South Africa, The, 48 _et seq._
  National Union, The, 41.
  Native Affairs, The Department of, in the Transvaal, 528.
  Natives, The, the question of arming, 281;
    the question of the franchise for, 566;
    the treatment of, 549.
  Navy Contribution Bill, The, 96;
    second reading of, 125 (note).
  Netherlands Government, The, 232;
    offer mediation, 551.
  Netherlands Railway, The, 376 to 381, 532 (note).
  New South Wales, offers a military contingent, 251.
  Nicholls incident, The, 212, 213.
  Nicholson, Colonel, 179.
  _Nineteenth Century, The_, 261 (note);
    article by Sir Bartle Frere in, 29 (note).
  Non-interference, the principle of, 10, 12.
  _Norman, The S.S._, 247.
  Norval's Pont, 521.

  Olivier, Commandant, 287 (note), 564.
  _Ons Land_, its pæan of triumph over the surrender of Jameson's troopers,
      68 (note);
    its reproof of Sir Pieter Faure, 105;
    its anti-British policy, 106;
    its indictment of the Sprigg Ministry, 117;
    its presentation of the objects of the Afrikander party, 119;
    its article on the Mission of Messrs. Hofmeyr and Herholdt, 205 to 207;
    meeting of the Cape Distriks-bestuur at the offices of, 348, 349;
    its New Year exhortation, 349;
    its comment on the postponement of the Bond Congress at Somerset East,
    its approval of the slanders on British troops, 403;
    its comment on Lord Milner's reply to the Worcester Congress, 409;
    libels General French, 477.
  Orange Free State, The, mineral wealth of, 54;
    relations of the Imperial Government to, 87 (note);
    its treaty of alliance with the Transvaal, 104, 125;
    irritation in against British intervention, 215;
    ammunition sent to, 216, 247, 273, 286;
    alleged movement of British troops to the border of, 236;
    the danger of a premature grant of responsible government to, 284;
    decides to declare war, 291;
    Lord Roberts enters, 328;
    annexation of, 329;
    invades south of Orange River, 344;
    the Landdrosts of, 347;
    the "Acting Chief-Commandant" of, 432;
    area enclosed by blockhouse lines, 458;
    the number of scholars on the school rolls, 523 (note).
  Orange River, The, 455.
  Orange River Colony, Lord Milner arranges for the civil administration
      of, 397;
    reappearance of the Boer commandos in the S.E. of, 441;
    numbers of Boers in the field in, 454;
    progress of civil administration in, 489, 524;
    issue of letters patent for the Crown Colony Government of, 490, 501,
    grant in aid of the revenue of, 501;
    number of scholars on the school rolls, 523, 524;
    revenue of, 528;
    farm settlers in, 536;
    the settlement of, 546;
    military administration in, 566;
    taxation of landed property in, 566.
  _Oranjie Unie_, The, 55 (note).
  _Origin of the Anglo-Boer War Revealed, The_, 49, 54 (note), 234 to
    236 (notes).

  Paardeberg, conduct of the attack on, 332;
    surrender of Cronje at, 328, 354.
  Paardekraal, great assemblage of Boers at, 197;
    speeches delivered at, 213.
  Pakeman, Mr., arrest of, 245.
  "Pass" system, The, 528.
  Paul, H., 368.
  Peace, Preparing for, 470 to 535.
  Peace commissioners, The Boer, 556.
  Peace Committee, The, 412, 422, 423;
    treatment of agents of, 427 to 429;
    its efforts, 427, 429.
  Permits, The establishment of, 482.
  Poplar Grove, 354.
  Port Elizabeth, Ammunition landed at, 216, 236.
  Portland, The (3rd) Duke of, his despatch referring to the treatment of
    the Boers, 9
  Pretoria, The British flag hoisted over the Raadzaal of, 167 (note), 329;
    war preparations at, 234, 235, 244;
    ammunition sent to, 236;
    railway communication with Delagoa Bay re-opened, 329;
    Lord Roberts's decision to advance on, 352;
    his occupation of, 369;
    Lord Milner makes arrangements for the civil administration, 397;
    Burgher Peace Committee formed at, 412, 422;
    effective occupation of the district round, 453;
    Lord Milner at, 472;
    the public buildings at, 526;
    meeting between the Boer leaders and Lords Milner and Kitchener at,
      552, 556.
  Pretoria Convention, The, 31, 87 (note).
  Pretoria Executive, The, attitude of, 82, 88, 89;
    Mr. Chamberlain's communication to on the dynamite contract, 130;
    its attempt to buy off the capitalists, 131, 152;
    its committal to a policy of defiance, 158;
    its negotiations with the Home Government after the Bloemfontein
      Conference, 196, 199;
    its lack of good faith, 231;
    repudiates the arrangement made by Mr. Smuts with Sir Wm. Greene, 238,
      239, 242;
    charges Sir Wm. Greene with bad faith, 242;
    its declaration of September 15th, 1899, to Mr. Hofmeyr, 276;
    brings negotiations to a conclusion, 289;
    its replies to the British despatches of July 27th and May 10th, 294.
  Pretorius, Mr., 406, 421.
  Pretyman, General, 470.
  Price, Mr., 306.
  Prieska, 354.
  Prinsloo, Commandant, surrender of, 329.
  Pro-Boers, The manufacture of, 434, 443.
  Proclamation to the fighting burghers, The proposed, 420.
  "Programme of Principles," The Afrikander Bond, 59.
  Progressive Cabinet, A, formation of, 280 (note), 390.
  Progressive Party, The, 97, 98, 116, 118;
    the funds of; 118;
    their strength in the Cape Parliament, 121, 122, 393;
    led by Sir Gordon Sprigg, 125;
    their support of Lord Milner, 271;
    resolution presented to the Home Government by, 295.
  _Punch_, 225.

  Queen's Hall, Pro-Boer meeting in, 498.
  Queensland, offers a military contingent, 251.

  Raad, The, meeting of, 193.
  Racial fusion, The problem of, 516.
  Railway lines, The cutting of, 459.
  Railways, The, the reorganisation of, 530, 535.
  Rand, The, 36, 518;
    agitation on for reform, 131;
    recommencement of the industrial life of, 489, 507, 536.
  Rebels, The, treatment of, 384 to 391, 563, 567, 568;
    their disfranchisement, 388, 389;
    surrenders of, 573 (note).
  "Reciprocity" between the civil services of the several colonies, 550.
  Redistribution Bill, The, introduction of, 116;
    second reading of, 117, 118;
    its effect on the British population, 125.
  Reform Committee, The, 39;
    their message to Dr. Jameson, 40;
    alteration of their plans, 41, 42.
  Refugees, The return of, 489, 507, 508, 512, 533.
  Registration of electors, The, postponed, 476.
  _Reichstag, The S.S._, 236.
  Reinforcements, The, character of, 330.
  Reitz, F. W., 50, 144, 159, 294, 564;
    his policy of "closer union," 49;
    takes Dr. Leyds's place as State Secretary, 126;
    asserts the Sovereignty of the Transvaal, 127 (note);
    his reply to Mr. Chamberlain's communication on the dynamite contract,
    instructed to decline Mr. Chamberlain's request for delay in passing
      the Franchise Bill, 211;
    his despatch refusing the preferred joint inquiry, 237;
    communicates to the British Government Mr. Smut's new proposals for
      a five years' franchise, 238;
    his despatch repudiating the Smuts-Greene arrangement, 239;
    his appeal to "Free Staters and Brother Afrikanders," 297;
    Mr. Amery's meeting with him, 300;
    his book, _A Century of Wrong_, 356;
    a letter of his published by the Concessions Commission, 377 (note).
  Repatriation scheme, Lord Milner's, 543.
  Republican nationalists, The, 259, 275, 282;
    their hatred of England, 429.
  Republican United States of South Africa, The, 258, 259.
  Republics, The, military preparations of, 166, 167, 178, 234;
    expulsion of British subjects from, 246;
    manifestoes issued by upon the outbreak of war, 257;
    their treatment of British residents on the declaration of war, 292;
    fall of, 329;
    the British case against, 357 to 359.
  Reserves, Insufficient supply of, 323, 331.
  Retrocession, The, 255.
  Rhodes, Cecil, 34, 35, 83;
    his scheme of commercial federation, 38, 39;
    his comment on Dr. Jameson's Raid, 40;
    actual cause of the failure of his plan, 45;
    his methods, 46;
    his alliance with the Afrikander Bond, 46;
    his alliance with J. H. Hofmeyr, 65;
    an incident in his political career, 66;
    his speech of March 12th, 1898, 67;
    recognised by the Bond as its enemy, 68;
    his resignation, 93, 96;
    his return to political life, 97;
    the actual chief of the Progressives, 117;
    opposed at Barkly West, 118 (note);
    returned for both Barkly West and Namaqualand, 121;
    his tactics after the election following upon Sir Gordon Sprigg's
      dissolution of Parliament, 122, 123;
    his interview with Lord Milner, 124 (note); his anger at the impotence
      of England, 306;
    endorses the appeal for the suspension of the Cape constitution, 479.
  Rhodesia, 84, 192;
    demonstration in of confidence in Lord Milner's statesmanship, 215;
    petition from to the Queen, 216;
    organisation of the defences of, 269;
    warned by Lord Milner, 298.
  Ripon, The Marquess of, 37, 498 (note).
  Roberts, Lord, 329 (note);
    a result of his occupation of Bloemfontein, 156;
    appointed to the South African command, 321;
    strength of his force, 322, 332 (note);
    his despatches, 326 to 328, 339, 341, 352;
    his tactics at Paardeberg, 332, 333;
    his alleged instructions from the Government, 333;
    a reply to criticism of German General Staff upon his strategy, 334;
    his campaign, 343;
    his decision to advance on Johannesburg and Pretoria, 352;
    his qualities as a captain of war, 353;
    why he did not carry out Lord Milner's suggestion as to the defence of
      the Cape, 353;
    his occupation of Pretoria, 369;
    his enforced halt at Bloemfontein, 384;
    his approaching return to England, 398;
    his recognition of the difficulty of the task of disarmament, 413;
    relinquishes command of the forces in South Africa, 419;
    agrees with Lord Milner's views on the proposed proclamation to the
      burghers, 420;
    his proclamation, 424;
    his victories, 435;
    sends some of the civilian population to L. Botha, 452.
  Robertson, Edmund, M.P., 417, 498 (note);
    his speech at Dundee on Oct. 16th, 1901, 467, 468.
  Robinson, J. B., 149.
  Robinson, Sir John, his view of the reversal of Sir Benjamin D'Urban's
    frontier policy, 16.
  Roos Senekal, capture of documents at, 425, 426, 431;
    circular issued at, 463 (note).
  Rosebery Lord, his appreciation of Lord Milner, 77, 278;
    his support of the Government, 264, 416.
  Rosmead, 455.
  Rosmead, Lord, 36, 39;
    his action, 45;
    his response to Mr. Chamberlain's counsels, 46;
    his policy, 70;
    his attitude at Pretoria, 72;
    intimates his wish to retire, 74;
    his resistance to the attempt of the Transvaal Boers to seize
      Bechuanaland, 74;
    retires, 75;
    his promise to obtain reasonable reforms from. President Krüger,
      88 (note).
  _Rosslyn Castle, The S.S._, 305.
  Russia, attitude of, 311.

  St. Aldwyn, Lord, his charge against members of the Liberal Opposition
    and the Irish Nationalists, 465.
  Salisbury, The (late) Marquess of, 75;
    sympathetic speech of on the Transvaal question, 228, 229;