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them. All the Boer army cannot take Ladysmith; and BadenPowell with 600 Colonials keeps them out of Mafeking. General French at Arundel is the only one of us who has learned how to "conform" to the Boer tactics, and he beats them.
A cloud of despondency lowered over England the mail brought news reverse after reverse. Men had watched Buller's initial strategy, and said it was the relief of Kimberley and and of of Ladysmith which made the subdivision of his army necessary they had waited patiently all the time he had placed himself on the Tugela, while the Boers were rendering themselves impregnable, and said the delay was only to make the blow more crushing when it came. They had watched Lord Methuen deal blow after blow with sledge hammer power, but with a display of display of tactics such as might be expected from a conscientious navvy; and lastly, to crown all, they saw the man whom all their trust reposed attempt to cross a river in the face of a strongly intrenched enemy, and lose eleven guns in the attempt. Here was the sledge-hammer with a vengeance. To force a river-line in face of a strongly intrenched enemy is a very costly matter, if our men's lives are to count. To force a river is essentially a matter of tactics. The place of crossing is selected, the troops that are to pass, secretly, got into the neighbour
VOL. CLXVII.-NO. MXI.
hood; meanwhile false attacks are delivered along the river's course, to deceive as to the true point of crossing; a few men get across, and a footing is established at the opposite bank under cover of the guns, and the passage will be accomplished. If it cannot be done in this way, try another-don't try the sledge-hammer again. But the guns; we lost eleven!
At Modder river, when Colonel Codrington led his gallant score of Coldstreams across the river, was there no one on the general's staff who saw it and could have hinted to him the fact, and that if he could send some more to support them the Boers would not like it-they would begin to melt away, as they did when the Highlanders got across on the left? There were plenty of men lying close under cover: if he had sent some of these, the Guards need not have made that fatal rush for an impossible bridge, and he would have caught many Boers who got away to fight another day at Magersfontein.
Have we not tried this nightattack once too often? A burnt Boer dreads the fire, and he is on the look-out about dawn for the bayonets that have tried that game before. Sir Garnet Wolseley made a successful night-attack on Tel-el-Kebir, and caught Arabi napping. Would he have succeeded a second time if that Egyptian had taken up another position?
At breakfast when we read in our morning paper of yester
day's fight the whole scene is before us the stony koppje, the climbing dots of khaki in amongst the stones, the bearded men peering through the crannies up above, the puffs of smoke, and those tell-tale thuds when the men in khaki lie down suddenly; another scramble, a precipice in front, a fire in their faces like the blast of a furnace, one more rush, a catching of short breaths, a gasp, a yell, and the top is won with a wild cheer, and the black-bearded men are streaming down the other side. How brave! how glorious! what noble soldiers! and the glory of the men out there seems to reflect back on ourselves a little of it. But we do not see the afterpiece, the thunderstorm; when the soldieratoms lie crouching, cold and shivering, on the sodden ground, the rocks they cling to for some shelter, a blaze of unholy light, the lightning like steel knives that stab and glitter, the thunder crashing through the deluge and the darkness. Curl together, men! Get warmth somehow, for there is none here; cold and wet and soaked, with a junk of "bully beef" inside and death and deluge on the
other. All the long night till the moon shines out to stare upon the tragedy; then the first streak of grey, with the inevitable bullet: there will be more soon, but they are better than the everlasting darkness. It will be one more day scored off towards home, and there will be a cup of coffee soonhot! All this is left out of the picture which we see at the breakfast-table.
Officers who are intrusted with the command of men would do well to remember that a soldier is a man as themselves: under his red coat beats the same heart, are the same hopes, the same fears, the same resolute will to succeed, the same lack of physical strength to endure after a given point. To push men into railway-trucks under a broiling sun for some hours, to crowd them along a mountain road in the darkness for many more, when they are carrying their arms with an extra supply of ammunition, and with little or no food to sustain themselves, is to reach that point: the fight that is to come is beyond it, and human endurance throws up the sponge.
Note. By an oversight in our account last month of the storming of Talana Hill, the 1st Royal Irish Fusiliers were inadvertently omitted. The hill was stormed by 1st Royal Rifles, 1st Royal Irish Fusiliers, and 2nd Dublin Fusiliers, with the 1st Leicestershire Regiment in reserve.
BRITISH POLICY IN SOUTH AFRICA.
It has been very satisfactory to see how the whole country sprang to arms the moment that three reverses to our generals in a single week, all from the same cause, marching straight into an ambush, became known. And also to find that the Government, without an hour of hesitation, summoned to its aid its two most successful generals, Lord Roberts and Lord Kitchener, and despatched them with suitable reinforcements to the scene of action, there to take the supreme command. Both circumstances show that the national peril is duly appreciated, as also the momentous nature of the issue raised by this war, which has now been in progress for nearly a quarter of a year.
It has been sanguinary and marked by a succession of strenuous encounters, which have served to display the marked and wellknown characteristics both of Briton and Boer. All of us anticipated some reverses at the outset. Those which have befallen us are serious, and bring home to all of us the perils of the position, and the serious nature of the efforts which may be necessary to redeem it, and bring the war to a successful conclusion. Numerous families in Great Britain have been plunged in sorrow and mourning; and one can scarcely realise the concentrated misery of desolation which must have already been wrought through
out the length and breadth of the two republics. It is more than ever necessary for those whose personal lot is cast outside this sphere of strife and misery, of splendid achievement and of mental and physical suffering, to formulate in their own minds a clear idea of what is the policy behind it, what is the ultimate end and aim which this portentous struggle is intended to secure.
Public opinion, which, since the Jameson Raid and the German Emperor's telegram, fastened with a tenacious grasp on the South African problem, has come with rare unanimity to the decision that the misgovernment, oppression, and corruption of the Boer Government, headed by President dent Kruger and dominated by his Hollander clique, shall cease. Its existence was a standing menace to the peace of South Africa, and was intended and came to be generally recognised as a continued defiance to British
addressed to this country last October by the Transvaal Boers distinctly raised that issue, Shall the British forces be driven into the sea and British authority be excluded from the Cape, or shall the two Dutch republics cease to exist as States possessing or claiming national independence? Although those terms must in fairness be taken cum grano salis, as coming from an ignorant and fanatical group of men intoxicated by the possession of enormous and recently acquired military strength, nevertheless they must be taken seriously. The whole course of the war has shown that they were seriously meant; and their very extravagance shows how utterly disastrous to the peace, order, happiness, and good government of Boer and Briton, white and black, it is that executive power should be vested in men who are at once so desperate and so incapable of appreciating the far-reaching consequences of either decision of the issue which they raise.
But is there anything in the past history of the Transvaal republic, in the character and conduct of President Kruger and his immediate associates, or in the probable results of the overthrow of their Government, which ought in the slightest degree to relax British determination to repel the claims of the Boers? As for the history of the relations between British and Dutch, it is not necessary to go farther back than 1814, when the former, having occupied the Cape during the Napoleonic wars as a half-way
house to India, and having defeated the latter, obtained the permanent sovereignty by a formal cession of it from Holland in exchange for an equivalent. That cession of sovereignty involved the transfer of allegiance by the resident Dutch to the British Government, which had already twice conquered them, and was regarded as hostile. But nearly a century has passed away since then. Some of the Boers trekked away from time to time from British rule, while others were absorbed into Cape Colony as loyal British subjects. The trekkers had a rooted distaste to the restraints and habits of civilised life: they preferred to open up new countries with the rifle and the plough, to drive back the savages, and clear the way for that very civilisation which followed in their wake; but to which, as it overtook them, they were bitterly opposed. Though the British Government was less arbitrary and oppressive than the Dutch Government had been, it was far from being either mild or paternal.
The Boers had many grievances. They fled from them in order to live in what has been called a pastoral, patriarchal way, moulded on the records of the Bible, a way of life which is often referred to in their favour, but which the natives found oppressive to the point of extermination, and they themselves found to be an insuperable bar to progress. The last exodus, in which President Kruger, then a boy, took part, was in 1836. The British
Government, however, did not from British rule, their status renounce, but occasionally asserted, its right to treat them as British subjects. The Boers repudiated this claim, and considered that the sovereignty was territorial, from which they could escape by trekking. Their first conflict was for the possession of Port Natal and the territories adjacent. They were defeated, and Natal was constituted a British colony in 1845.
vaal, and possibly the Orange Boers, were those who refused to settle in Natal. As for the Transvaalers, they shot down the Matabele who were in possession and without firearms. They thus established themselves and became practically independent; but a proclamation in 1845 reserved the right of the Crown to treat them as still its subjects. Some sort of republics were set up in the Transvaal; but as there was no government at all south of the Vaal, the British sent troops to Bloemfontein to keep order, and in 1848 established the Orange river sovereignty, which was asserted against Boer hostility in 1848 by Governor Sir Harry Smith. So far the only trace of Boer independence resulted from their trekking away
as British subjects remaining, and where necessary actively enforced. Then in 1852 came the Sand river convention, by which the Transvaal Boers obtained rights tantamount to a grant of conditional independence. And in 1853-54 came the voluntary abandonment by Lord Aberdeen's Government of the Orange sovereignty, and the establishment by convention at Bloemfontein of a free and independent republic, which, down to the present time, has successfully and peaceably managed its affairs on sound principles borrowed from the adjacent colonies.
The Transvaalers, on the other hand, were distracted by internal feuds, and involved in almost incessant strife with the natives. Their independence collapsed in 1877 from bankruptcy, and to escape annihilation at the hands of Kaffirs and Zulus. Their annexation to England was their own doing to escape a worse fate. But with Boer cunning they managed to preserve, by a collusive protest, a loophole of escape from it, to be availed of after their liberation from the worse evils which were then impending. The marvellous resuscitation of their independence, subject to suzerainty, which was effected in 1881, is written in characters which will never be effaced, in the ordinary history of this country. It must in fairness be admitted that there is nothing in these antecedents which renders it inequitable to enforce that forfeiture of independence which results from