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about three miles east of Jacobs- the position of our troops was dal, where the horses rested, Lord Roberts and HeadGeneral French sending patrols quarters with the 7th Division on towards the town to ascer- at Jacobsdal-Lord Methuen's tain if it was held in any force division at Modder river camp by the enemy, as well as to re- - General Colville with the port if the 6th Division was Guard's brigade holding the coming up. Few Boers were Boer position at Magersfontein, found in the town, so he con- which they had hastily abantinued his ride by the road which doned the previous nightruns easterly towards Blauw- General French and cavalry bosch, so as to cross the Modder division in Kimberley assisted well outside the Boer patrols, by the garrison, which was making for Klip drift, which he posted on the north-west corner reached just before midnight, to watch for any Boers who capturing three of the enemy's might try to steal out that way laagers, while a brigade made a feint on Rondeval drift, four miles west. This was seized, also a second drift higher up, together with two more laagers.
As soon as Klip drift was occupied a 12-pounder naval gun was hauled up by the bluejackets on to a koppje which commanded the passage and both banks of the river. This done, on the afternoon of the 15th he left the drift in charge of the 6th Division, which had just arrived, and rode rapidly on towards Beaconsfield in spite of the fire of some Boers who occupied a large koppje on the river's bank, and who were in strength about 1000, soon afterwards themselves shelled out by the 12-pounder on the south bank. A few miles south of Kimberley some troops of the garrison in an outlying Boer redoubt, which they had captured not long ago, gave him the first greeting, while the cavalry with him rode on through the night which had now fallen and entered the town: the relief of Kimberley was accomplished!
On the night of the 16th inst.
the 6th Division with the Highland Brigade at Klip drift. This strategy, with a loss of about twenty men, had accomplished what tactics, with the loss of the Highland Brigade, had failed to do. Is it any
wonder that Continental critics should exclaim when our generals abandoned sound strategy for indifferent tactics? The fault was not altogether theirs -a workman cannot work without tools: to attempt to carry out a campaign on a single line of rails many hundred miles in length is to play into the enemy's hands.
Cronje had now the choice of two alternatives-to fight or to retreat; the entire British force of 30,000 men had placed itself between his camp and his base at Bloemfontein; so, like a Boer that he is, he chose the latter. The retreat began on the night of the 15th inst., when the trenches at Magersfontein were evacuated in hot haste, -Cronje himself, with 10,000 men and an enormous line of waggons, made off with all speed for Bloemfontein. The 6th Division on the 16th
captured seventy-eight waggons laden with stores, two with Mauser rifles, eight boxes of shells, ten barrels explosives, and a large quantity of stores, which had lagged behind.
Lord Kitchener, who had now arrived, took command of the column in pursuit of the flying Boers, consisting of the Cavalry and the 6th Divisions, the Highland, and later on the Guards', Brigade, and at once attacked the laager which they were forced to make owing to the exhausted state of their oxen. On the 19th the railway to Kimberley was opened, and Lord Methuen was sent on with reinforcements. Lord Roberts issued a proclamation to the Free Staters warning them to desist from further hostilities, assuring them of protection if they do so, and declaring that their property will be respected by the British troops.
The news of the defeat of the Boers' Western Army must have reached those round Ladysmith with great speed, for on the 16th inst. an unusual activity prevailed: it appeared as if they were moving off some of their guns with considerable parties to accompany them. On foreseeing this, General Buller, on the 14th inst., moved out of Chieveley with the whole of his force with the exception of General Hart's brigade, and attacked the hills south of the Tugela which the Boers had for so long occupied. The advance was directed upon the low-lying slopes under Monto Cristo, which is two miles south of Hlangwane, covered by the
mounted troops. At 9 A.M. General Lyttelton's brigade approached the hills and drove back the Boers under cover of our guns and howitzers; they replied by shells from batteries hidden behind the rocks and bush: whenever they were silenced they changed position and opened fire again, till at sunset our troops held the position, on which they encamped for the night, having suffered slight loss. On the 18th inst. General Hildyard's brigade assaulted and took the southern end of Monte Cristo, the 4th Brigade taking the western. The Royal Welsh Fusiliers, supported by the rest of the 6th Brigade, assaulted the eastern flank of the enemy's position, while the cavalry on the extreme right drove back those of them trying to escape that way. Suffering from artillery fire on their front and flank, and attacked on their flank and rear, the enemy made slight resistance, and abandoning their strong position, were driven across the Tugela, leaving behind their camps, ammunition, stores, and a few prisoners. Next day the Fusilier Brigade took Hlangwane hill, the right of the enemy's position commanding Colenso. On the 20th the whole force advanced towards the Tugela, to find the Boers had withdrawn behind the river; General eral Hart Hart occupied Colenso, and at once sent his advanceguard across to follow up the Boers, who seemed to be in full retreat: casualties throughout appeared to have been few. The relief of Ladysmith was thus practically assured.
THE ADDRESS AND ITS LESSONS.
THE parliamentary session of the year 1900 opened under circumstances to which no parallel is to be found in our parliamentary history for more than forty years. Yet events move so rapidly, and assume such a variety of aspects from day to day, that the great debate to which only a month ago we were all looking forward with such intense interest is already more than half forgotten. Still, regarded as a whole, and apart from its gladiatorial character, it was at once so instructive and so suggestive that some of its lessons at least, and some of its indications, deserve to be extracted from the mass of verbiage in which they lie embedded, and placed on record in some more distinct and concise form than they necessarily present either in the columns of a newspaper or the pages of Hansard.
It will be remembered that considerable disappointment was caused by the speeches of Lord Salisbury and Mr Balfour, who were charged with being insensible to the gravity of the situation, and with postponing to party and personal considerations what was due to the relief of a widespread national anxiety — forgetting that the outside public were expecting to hear from their rulers something more closely in harmony with their own highly strung feelings. So far from rising to the height of the great argument
before them, they scarcely, it was thought, seemed conscious of its existence. Of the Opposition, on the other hand, it can hardly be said that the attitude was disappointing. We had, indeed, tried to persuade ourselves that on this occasion history would not repeat itself, and that the faction exhibited by the ancestors of the present Opposition would not be renewed by their descendants.
But we cannot
say we were surprised to find ourselves mistaken. There is, however, something to be said both for the Government and the Opposition, and now that time has been allowed for reflection, and we have seen the end of the debate as well as the beginning, the public may be ready to allow that the discontent excited by the earlier speeches, though in some respects quite justifiable, was perhaps in some others a little precipitate.
We thought at the time, and we think still, that both the Prime Minister and his lieutenant in the House of Commons showed themselves less responsive to, and less in sympathy with, public opinion on the subject of the war than was suitable to the occasion. It is very well to deprecate panic, and despise clamour. But there is a time when both, if they exist, are more likely to be encouraged than allayed by any seeming indifference on the part of the Government to what the public
ing of some other Government twenty years before? Charges and counter charges going back to 1881 and Majuba Hill, and throwing the blame for what has happened on the Ministry of Mr Gladstone, only accentuated the party tone which Lord Kimberley and Sir H. Campbell-Bannerman brought into the de
think a real danger. Nobody conversant with public life would dream of imputing to either Lord Salisbury or Mr Balfour any real disposition to underrate the present crisis. But their speeches on the 30th of January conveyed the impression that they were looking "too near the ground," and were picking up pins, when they ought to have been bate. References to the British studying the the heavens. Mr constitution and its inferiority Chamberlain and Mr Wynd- to other forms of government ham gave the right tone to for military purposes, though the debate. But the country they pointed to a truth to had to wait a whole week for it, which we shall presently return, and it is a pity that the keynote were, we venture to say, a was not struck at once by the third mistake-out of place in Prime Minister and the Leader a debate on a crisis of excepof the House of Commons. tional urgency calling for imThe Minister of a free country, mediate action. Spartam nactus governed by popular institu- es, hanc orna, was the proper tions, must be willing at times answer to Lord Salisbury to make himself unus multorum, when he tried to make the and, without abdicating his national institutions answerright to lead and instruct public able for our want of preparaopinion, show that he can sym- tion. But there is unfortunpathise with the feelings of the ately too much truth in Lord people on any great national Salisbury's statements, however emergency, and appreciate their inopportune when uttered, to estimate of its magnitude, even admit of their being passed by though it be a trifle exagger- in silence, especially when noated, which in this case it body can tell how soon their certainly was not. significance may be put to a fresh test. When we add that his lordship's mode of expressing himself was occasionally too colloquial to suit the dignity of the subject, we have said all that it is necessary to say of adverse criticism either on himself or Mr Balfour, to whose speech similar objections were taken.
A second mistake was made, we think, in the tu quoque style to which both the Conservative leaders had recourse. Those who adopt this mode of argument never seem to understand how little effect it produces on any one except themselves. Who cares? What does it matter to the great body of the nation, when the Government has met with a disaster, that it is due to the blunder
On the other hand, a great deal too much has been said of the Ministerial reply. It could
hardly be expected that any body of statesmen loaded with such heavy accusations as had been heaped upon the Ministry continuously throughout the winter should sit tamely down under them without any attempt at self defence; or confess themselves guilty of faults of which, rightly or wrongly, they believed themselves innocent. The Ministry only did what they had a perfect right to do, and what in fact they were bound to do, in answering certain definite charges brought against them. They had to speak to the Amendment. This seems to have been overlooked. Whether their reply was entirely satisfactory or not, is a different question. What they said had a certain degree of weight and truth in it and it had to be said by somebody. When Mr Wyndham and Mr Chamberlain spoke this task had been performed, the Amendment had been answered, and they were at liberty to lift the debate on to a higher level. Mr Wyndham, indeed, hardly spoke to the Amendment at all. His extremely able and comprehensive statement scarcely touched the questions raised by Sir Charles Dilke; and it was left to the Secretary for the Colonies to take his stand exclusively on the great Imperial principle now at issue. His eloquent address went home at once to the heart of the country, and whatever discouragement had been caused by previous shortcomings disappeared before it like frost before the fire.
If we turn to the Opposition, there is no doubt that their attitude from the beginning has given even greater offence to the public than the want of insight and sympathy manifested by the Government. Yet it does seem to us that Sir Charles Dilke's amendment has met with more abuse than it deserves. Constituted as our parliamentary and party system now is, we hardly see how the Opposition could have kept silence; and the amendment only repeated in Parliament what everybody was saying outside of it. It would have been better if Sir Charles had withdrawn his amendment after the question had been exhaustively discussed. But that something of the kind was naturally to be expected from the Opposition, and that a perfectly legitimate debate might have been raised on the amendment, we hold to be indisputable. Where the Opposition went so grievously wrong was in abusing their opportunity, and carrying the discussion far beyond the scope of the amendment into the whole question of our antecedent relations with the Transvaal. They dealt in recrimination far more largely than the Government, and seemed anxious-at least the leaders did-to pin it down to that level. Sir William Harcourt was one of the worst offenders. For the sake of a blow at Mr Chamberlain, which the Colonial Secretary had no difficulty in parrying, he asserted that complete independence should have been restored to the Boers in 1881,