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flagrant breach of its conditions ness which even a great Power shows on the extreme confines of an enormous empire, the unwillingness to extend re

and is virtually offered on the reverse side of their ultimatum. Then with regard to the


character and conduct of sponsibility so long as it could President Kruger and his be avoided. immediate associates, with whom we do not wish to confound the better and more worthy class of Boers in either of the republics, is anything to be found which can reasonably relax the resolution of this country to abolish the republics which it allowed to come into existence under other circumstances and with views which they have persistently thwarted. The animus of the President has been one of deadly hate and hostility to this country; his ambition, which can scarcely be called moderate, has contemplated the establishment of a Dutch republic on the ruins of British authority; and even, as Lord Loch stated in a recent letter to the Times,' the possession of a navy wherewith to consolidate its position as a first-class Power. He stands out in the history of South Africa as a man of firstclass powers of action combined with a narrow-minded and ignorant obstinacy, the consuming purpose of whose life has been to make a people, a Government, and a State, and to vindicate its existence and independence against the power of Great Britain. He has had the advantage of being on the spot; he could play upon the ineradicable aversion to English rule which animates every Boer, until taught by experience; he was confronted with British vacillation of purpose, the weak

There is no doubt that the abandonment of the Orange territory by Lord Aberdeen's Government, in spite of the protests of influential inhabitants, and the establishment of the Orange republic, which of course involved the abandonment of existing obligations, told heavily against us when the fate of the Transvaal was trembling in the balance. Bartle Frere mentions in a despatch quoted by Mr Fitzpatrick the reluctance of pro-Briton Boers to oppose the Voortrekker party in the matter of revoking the annexation. "Assure me," said an old Boer, whom long experience had taught to acquiesce in and welcome the British rule which he had formerly opposed, "that we are not to be deserted by the English Government and left to the mercy of these malcontent adventurers, and I and my people will gladly turn out to assist Colonel Wood." We hope the pledge was never given and acted upon, for if it were, it was most shamefully violated, when, in spite of the most solemn assurances by Mr Gladstone in Parliament and by his generals in South Africa, British and native residents in the Transvaal who had settled there on the faith of those assurances were deserted and ruined.

That retrocession of course established Mr Kruger's power,

and weakened the prestige and power of this country by confirming that belief which Sir Bartle Frere says was industriously propagated, that England would give up the Transvaal as readily as it formerly did the Orange Free State. When that belief was reduced to a certainty by a capitulation which, with the abandonment of Gordon, involves the Cabinet of 1880-85 in eternal discredit, it became impossible to convey to the minds of the Boers, the white colonists, and the black inhabitants any idea of the real power of the British Government. As we descended in public estimation Mr Kruger went up, till at last he was the only visible embodiment of power in the eyes of the Boers. It is worth while to remember at the present moment that, prior to the actual retrocession, and after treating with the leading Boers on that subject, Sir Bartle Frere recorded his belief that the real malcontents were far from being a majority of the white population, or even of their own class of Boer farmers. He thought that by a steady exercise of British authority the sentimental grievances of the minority would not survive the prosperity which good government would bring; and on the other hand predicted the very evils from which we are now suffering as a necessary result of retrocession.

Mr Kruger, of course, was elected President shortly after the retrocession, and has been re-elected ever since, his power having become almost autocratic after the defeat of the Jameson

Raid. With the recovery of independence began the reign of corruption and misgovernment. Concessions were granted for personal reasons as far back as 1882. Their government raided the territory of chiefs in the British protectorate, attacking Mafeking, and proclaiming the transfer of the territory to their own protection. The British Government was induced, mainly by the interference of Mr Rhodes, to make a determined stand against this. The Warren expedition, which cost us a million and a half, compelled the withdrawal of this proclamation. Then came the discovery of gold-fields and the incursion of the Uitlanders, who, as Mr Kruger often complained, were never asked and were not wanted. It is this incursion which may yet prove to have been the ruin of Mr Kruger. His statesmanship was of that order that he was at once convinced that to grant them the franchise was equivalent to pulling down the Transvaal flag, although the Uitlanders were by no means anxious to hoist the British flag in its place, confidence in this country being at an extremely low ebb. He was also convinced that he could tax them as heavily as he liked, and by means of his concessions indirectly plunder them to a large extent. He was further convinced that to discharge any of the duties of administration towards them in the shape of good roads and railways, adequate police protection, water-supply, security to life and liberty for the native

labourers as well as the white residents, would be a work of supererogation, which the hateful intruders had no right to expect at his hands,

The chief characteristics to be observed in Mr Kruger's career, over and above his intense hostility to everything British, are tyranny and corruption. The latter very much undermined his authority with the Boers themselves, and might even in time have upset it altogether if it had not been for the immense accession of power brought to him by the failure of the raid. Mr Fitzpatrick draws attention to the fact that at one period of his presidential career he "lost much of his personal popularity and influence with the Boers, and incurred bitter opposition on account of his policy of favouring members of his own clique, of granting concessions, and of cultivating the Hollander faction, and allowing it to dominate the State." He imported these Hollanders over the heads of the Cape Dutch, many of whom were well fitted to render the required services, simply because the Cape Dutch were British subjects, and did not sufficiently represent to his mind the principle of hostility to British rule. A progressive party came into existence opposed to his policy and pretensions, with General Joubert at its head. It nearly defeated the President at the polls. The General received more than 7000 votes, and Mr Kruger less than 8000, after resorting to every device which cunning and intimidation could suggest,

At a later date General Joubert was on the Commission which was appointed by the Boer Government to inquire into Uitlander grievances, and emphatically reported in favour of their removal. It is in the nature of things that tyranny and corruption breed opposition; and if it had not been for the accumulation of armaments and the intense hostility to Great Britain which Mr Kruger and his colleagues managed to infuse into the minds of both Transvaal and Orange Boers, the problem of misgoverment might have been solved by the slow action of time and the surrounding influences.

The tyranny, however, exercised over the Uitlanders struck a much more responsive chord in the heart of the Boers. The evils of corrupt administration were dwarfed in their eyes by the grandeur of dominating over the English - speaking people at Johannesburg, and the proud consciousness that arms and armaments were in existence and accumulating to support that domination by overwhelming force. Dr Leyds might carry off all the odium which attached to Hollanderism and corruption. retained to himself all the credit which was derived from success in oppressing the Uitlanders, defeating the Raid, and building up a great military State. It was this credit which gave him his autocratic authority in the Transvaal and his overwhelming influence in the Orange Republic. It is useless to refer in detail to the

Mr Kruger

grievances of the Uitlanders. uncivilised Voortrekkers.
They are the commonplace of
the subject, admitted by the
Boers themselves in their
famous report to their own

All that need be said is, that Mr Kruger overacted his part, probably with the sinister intention of forcing on a war for which he was prepared and we were not. He had overacted his part a little earlier in these proceedings when he closed the Vaal river drifts, with the object of forcing all traffic to pass over his own railways on his own terms. This produced an ultimatum from the British Government, and as upon that question the Cape Colony and the Orange Free State had interests identical with ours, Mr Kruger gave way. Having repeatedly broken the London Convention of 1884, which it is understood that he held in utter contempt, he had twice encountered open hostilitiesonce, when the Warren expedition terminated the Boer occupation of Stellaland and Goshen, and again when the Cape Volunteers were mobilised to resist the closing of the Vaal drifts against British and colonial commerce.

A fair review of President Kruger's conduct leads to the conclusion that he does not represent any principle of government which is dear to the Boers or any interest which they have at heart. He represents one principle only, that of intense hostility to British power, which, except so far as he has disseminated it, was confined to the fiercer and more


that principle he is the embodiment. In promoting the spread of that sentiment he has been principally aided by the widespread feeling amongst the Boers of the interior that British military power, if it really exists, is too distant to be worth taking into account, and that the conquest of South Africa was feasible before a military force adequate for its protection could be landed on its shores.

When that illusion is dispelled, Mr Kruger's power will be at an end. There is no sufficient evidence that there has been anything approaching to a general conspiracy of the Dutch race to overthrow British power in South Africa. The Cape Dutch have always been loyal. Their interests lie in the preservation of British rule rather than in the substitution for it of such a Government as that which has wrought such dire confusion in the Transvaal. The probability is that they are attached to the British connection, with a devotion tempered by the tie of sympathy for their kindred who are willing or unwilling victims of Mr Kruger's ill-starred ambition. They are not fighting men, and are without warlike organisation. They have recently voted an annual contribution to the Imperial fleet, and they demonstrated their loyalty at the time of the Jubilee in 1897. Though they never attempted to stay the tyranny practised in the Transvaal, there is no evidence that they approved it. Even the Orange Free State, though unfortunately for itself it has

joined in this war, had never displayed any hostility to us. It had always been on the best of terms with the British Government, and within its territories Dutch and English burghers had dwelt together in as much peace and amity as in the Cape Colony. It is not known that they had made any warlike preparations. Their forces were a mere militia with no training or experience; and, if reports are to be trusted, were charged during recent battles with cowardice by the Transvaalers, who claimed to act as officers over them. They have probably been armed from the inexhaustible arsenals of President Kruger, who really represents in his own person the whole spirit of this hostile policy, preparation, and aim.

their own opportunity, leaving by the terms of their ultimatum no room for doubt that the war on which they embarked was one of aggression and annexation. So far from there being anything in the conduct of President Kruger and his immediates associates which ought to relax British determination to do away with these republics, it seems to us that it tells all the other way. The only result of their independence is that in one of them a Government was established founded on the principle of tyranny and corruption which rendered it hateful to all its sub"jects, Boer and Uitlander alike. Its designs, ruthlessly carried out, were hostile to the peace and orderly government in South Africa. As they unfolded themselves, and were backed by increasing preparation, the other republic was swept into the vortex of the excitement, and the spirit of hostility spread far beyond their borders. The result has been a serious and sanguinary war, which has necessitated an expedition of more than 100,000 men, with all the risks to our interests in other parts of the globe, in

Considering the President's great age, there is much to be said in favour of the great reluctance the British Cabinet exhibited to embark in this war. If the option had rested with us, and if, as General Joubert has boasted in one of his letters, their vast supply of new guns and war material were rigidly screened from notice, and only the older and less serviceable material al-volved in our present intense lowed to be seen, it was a fair preoccupation in one locality. inference that on the disappear- It has given occasion for an ance of the President the scene outburst of hostility to us in would change and internal dis- nearly the whole Continental sensions replace the warlike fer- press. It makes every one feel vour inspired by a single man. that, unless this gigantic oppoThe option, however, was not sition to us is speedily quelled, with us. The vast accumula- there is no saying what comtion of the munitions of war was plications of a far-reaching the factor which precipitated character may not ensue. a conflict already determined upon, for which the Boers chose

The worst reflection of all is, that the whole calamity

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