« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »
lation is in arms. Eighteen years of preparation and propaganda unheeded by us have carried him to the heights of his exulting ultimatum. But
as he failed to score at the outset a decisive success, time is against him. Even on the spot the Boers' position is unenviable. Their ruthless and savage policy and conduct towards the native races have rendered them the objects of intense hatred and hostility from the blacks. And although a majority of the whites may be Dutch, there is in the Eastern province of Cape Colony and in Natal a sturdy British population, which, as has recently been pointed out by Dr Wirgman (Canon of Grahamstown), will never suffer South Africa to become a Boer republic. There are seven great towns absolutely English, and, besides the urban population, thousands of English farmers, "whose fathers and grandfathers settled on the land, who can ride and shoot better than the Boer, men who are the sinew and backbone of the British element in South Africa." They are as permanent settlers on the land as the Boer; they are colonising Rhodesia, where they live alongside of Transvaal Boers, who, under good government and away from the influence of the Pretoria propaganda, have become loyal British subjects, as we have no doubt the rest of the Transvaal Boers will become so soon as they have been duly conquered and delivered from Mr Kruger's disastrous tyranny.
The stern lessons of war have
been necessary because of the intense ignorance of the outside world which pervades, according to all accounts, the rustic Boers (the majority of the population), and the ease with which they could be exploited by Mr Kruger's Hollander clique. But as exhaustion supervenes, as the miseries and losses of war are experienced, the Boer farmer will begin to ask himself what in the world he has personally to gain by this strife, and the moment he does so he will be confounded by the difficulty of reply. His brother in Cape Colony has no grievances. Even the sentiment of race rivalry had died away in the enjoyment of equal rights and privileges until the Raid blew up its dying embers. The moment his Dutch sentiments got the better of him, he could place a Dutch Ministry in power by the simple expedient of recording his vote at the polls. The Free Staters who surrendered at Arundel, complaining that starvation was imminent in the district and that Kronje was threatening to shoot all malcontents, were obviously in the mood to revise their estimate of fancied grievances and their dreams of future dominion. The Sunnyside prisoners, all or nearly all of them being British subjects, may possibly have been recalled to commonsense by the indignant remonstrance of their Queensland and Canadian captors, "You are fighting on behalf of a country which refused even the right of
citizenship to British subjects, while England allows you sufficient privileges to enable you to elect in her own colony the entire Ministry."
In fact, the bare prospect of the Uitlanders having a fourth share in the representation at some distant time was to Mr Kruger, as he said, worse than the loss of independence. His conduct as well as this sentiment show that his one notion of government was to plunder and oppress and to conceal his modus operandi. The notion of fighting to replace British equity and love of liberty by the Transvaal system is not to be reconciled with sanity. The Orange Free State can recall nearly half-a-century of free and independent self-government without the smallest interference from Great Britain, till in an evil moment for the whole Orange Republic President Steyn stepped into the seat once occupied by President Brand, and sold the liberties of his country in order to take a subordinate share in Mr Kruger's delusive scheme.
the Cape Colony, although Mr Schreiner's "loyal" majority is vanishing by reason of his supporters being in arms with the Boers, yet Cape Colony support to the cause generally goes no further than a subscription for widows and orphans. The Boer gets a very half-hearted sympathy from his Cape brother. For whether the Transvaal or Orange Boer looks north or south, to Rhodesia or to Cape Colony, east or west, to Natal or Bechuanaland, he
finds his brother Boer has lived and may live prosperous and contented. What has he to gain by this war? While it lasts he has the prolonged camping-out, with its hunger, dysentery, and fever; he has the hard work with the spade forming miles of entrenchment, the losses in killed and wounded, the cessation of his agricultural and pastoral pursuits, involving ruin to his farms. His mobility with the aid of those much - vaunted ponies cannot last long; for, serviceable as they are, they are being worn out, cannot be replaced, and grass will shortly fail. According to some accounts, first their commandeered forces and then the Free Staters have the posts of peril assigned to them. The Free State prisoners complain that they were driven to the trenches and the guns by the sjambok; while it is stated that some of them have been sjambokked publicly for deserting their posts, and that those who surrendered at Arundel were fired on by the Transvaalers. It was stated by the Lorenzo Marques correspondent of the 'Times' that advices from Bloemfontein show that after the Modder river rout hundreds of Free Staters, including prominent leaders, bolted to Bloemfontein and elsewhere, some arriving without hats or coats. It was added that they rallied afterwards and were sent back. No doubt these statements must all be received with reserve and suspicion as to their literal truth. But they are very persistently made, and are not
without probability, especially a Boer without his pony is a as regards those who are under lost man; and that the dread of Kronje's command. Even if a raid from the north while the true, their war enthusiasm Transvaal is denuded of its will revive from time to time population is considerable. as fortune smiles; but it is a thing of a very fluctuating character, and demoralisation will set in quickly as soon as reverses occur. Though the whole population is in arms, their heart is not in the work, for the cause is not one of liberty. They are commandeered in support of an aggressive scheme, the success of which will not benefit them, since it means the substitution of Transvaal tyranny for the self-government and freedom which they previously enjoyed, and the failure of which only means that absolute independence will be exchanged for selfgovernment under a British protectorate.
It results from a comparison of resources that however long this struggle may last it can have but one ending. Fortunately it is not a war for freedom. The liberties of the Boer are not at stake. They will be secured to him under British rule on equal terms with the British. The war was inevitable solely because of the policy pursued by Mr Kruger and his clique. It is they who aroused race animosity. The Majuba capitulation fanned it to a flame, by the contempt it excited on the one side and the distrust it produced on the other. This war will lay the foundation of mutual understanding, and let us hope, in spite of some treachery, of mutual respect. And when its lessons have fully brought
government home to the mind of the average Boer,
Allowing for exaggeration, there is sufficient evidence, we think, that the Boer position, both Orange and Transvaal, Mr Kruger's incapacity for has no elements of stability. It must grow weaker and weaker as time goes on, unless it is strengthened by successes in the field of a much more signal character than merely repulsing attacks on impregnable positions. Mr Winston Churchill's report has all probability in its favour when he tells us as a result of his survey on the spot that the last Boer reserves have been called out; that many even of the Transvaalers are unwilling fighters; that food-supplies are not large; that there is a difficulty in getting remounts, and
he will reconcile himself to British authority as the only alternative, commended to his favourable notice by the circumstance that in Cape Colony, in Natal, and in Rhodesia, his brethren thrive under it. The further results which this war will have in promoting the solidarity of the British empire, and in bringing the mother country and her colonies into closer relation, time will reveal; but they will be amongst the most important of its consequences, and will probably
serve to make it an important epoch in the history of the world. Lord Rosebery at Chatham, we see, has drawn attention in a weighty speech to some of these consequences, which will demand our attention when the war is over. The colonies take a part in the war, and must be considered in the terms of pacification. The grasp of the Anglo-Saxon race on the African continent, whether we look to its eastern or western, southern or central portions, or to Egypt or the Soudan, is tightening. And as the policy of this country, wherever she prevails, is that of the open door, equal rights, equal trade opportunities, and equal privileges to all, there is no reason for Continental hostility. Europeans are equally welcome with the rest of the world to try their luck and find their openings. They can do so in safety under the sceptre of Queen Victoria and her successors; while under President Kruger and the system which he represents, their lives will be made as miserable as the Johannesburgers found by experience.
is called race animosity dies out under the influence of mutual prosperity, freedom, and neighbourly feeling. The springs of hostility are to be found only in those classes of them who are from force of circumstances fast bound in the ideas and habits of a past age, who are narrow, retrograde, and averse to commerce, and all contact even with the restless enterprise of modern civilisation,whose very religion inspires them with domineering cruelty to natives, and an aggressive contempt for the British. Those classes have all been thrown enthusiastically on the side of that model of a farsighted statesman and ruler whose one answer to the dutiful representations of subjects who seek justice at his hands is, "What is the use of your demands? I have guns, and you have not." It is impossible that at this period of history such a principle of government or policy can prevail. No one with any faith in rectitude or the increasing triumph of morality can accept the possibility of such a principle holding its ground. As between British mode of government and Boer ideas of equity and sound policy the civilised peoples of the earth cannot in their real conscience and considered judgment hesitate to decide.
These considerations, all of which are independent of occasional reverses in the field, lead us to the conclusion that the political prospects in South Africa are satisfactory, and that Boer successes would in the end be disastrous to the Boers themselves. So far as Yet one of the most noticethey are concerned, they are able phenomena of the time is fighting for the ascendancy the Continental outburst of amongst themselves of the hatred to the British and of fiercer, more uncompromising, sympathy for the Boers. It and least educated class. What is far too general, in France, in
Germany, and in Russia, to be traceable to Dr Leyds' corruption. In large communities like that of Magdeburg, for instance, we learn that subscriptions are made for the Boers, and the position of the resident English is rendered untenable at clubs of mixed Germans and English. While, however, the greater Powers, under the influence of unfriendliness or of political or commercial rivalry, are not superior to a display of petty spite and enjoyment of our perplexities, it is gratifying to find that the smaller communities which are freed from unworthy bias are very generally in our favour. They ratify the verdict of our colonies and dependencies, and tender us their sympathy and goodwill. The Greeks have ranged themselves on our side with enthusiasm; their students, legislators, Government, and public are all of the same mind. So, too, in the Balkan States, amongst the Hungarians and the Danes, and in Norway and Italy, the same sentiment is evoked. Many Servians have offered their services to this country. this country. The Danes have liberally contributed to the comforts of our soldiers. These are, most of them, peoples who know what oppression means, and who would be keen to resent our proceedings if they were regarded as aggressive. All their interests and sympathies are on the side of freedom; and their verdict in our favour means that they regard us as the champions in South Africa of liberty and equal rights, and disapprove
the tyranny and oppression of Mr Kruger's oligarchy. While the colonies, America, and the smaller States of Europe are thus unanimously in our favour, we may rate at its proper value the display of Continental enmity which is universally recognised to be the outcome of British wealth, power, and liberty.
The Continental Governments have too much sense to give way to such prejudiced and
unreasoning sentiment. Germany is a South African Power. So is Portugal. In reality, we British are fighting their battles as well as our own.
If we could contemplate for a moment the contingency of Boer triumph and British discomfiture to the extent of our withdrawing from South Africa, what would become of German and Portuguese territories? President Kruger has
reason to be grateful or conciliatory to the German Emperor. Delagoa Bay would be far too tempting a morsel to resist when the spirit of annexation was rampant. If South Africa develops into a strong Dutch South African empire, guarded by an invincible Boer soldiery, it is neither Germany nor Portugal, nor both combined, who can land upon her shores a force at all comparable to that which the British Government despatched immediately on the outbreak of hostilities. Yet if we fail, Germany and Portugal will have to submit to humiliation, or step into our place and carry on the contest from which we