Page images


stone sangars following a semi- to occupy the Boers on his circle, which was, however, front, and prevent them from evacuated during the night. quitting the trenches to General Clery with a part of operate with the action on Sir C. Warren's force, at 6 A.M. their right. on the 21st, attacked the ridges At Schiet drift, about four west of Spion Kop, where the miles east, a party of Irregulars Boers were intrenched, and, came upon a small Boer force with the judicious use of his on the northern bank, showing artillery, succeeded in capturing that the enemy was watching ridge after ridge for about three that point and probably the miles. His troops bivouacked entire river-line, no doubt to on the ground they had gained, prevent surprise. the main position of the enemy On the evening of the 21st still in front. The action lasted the position of the British seems for thirteen hours, and to have been : Lord Dundonald severely contested, with a loss with a cavalry brigade at Acton to us of 190 officers and men, Homes on the extreme left; mostly slightly wounded. Dur- Sir C. Warren's division next ing the day General Warren's to him on his right; General division swung round two miles Lyttelton's brigade two miles towards the right, thus gaining north of Potgeiter's drift on touch with the cavalry at Acton the extreme right of the line ; Homes. General Lyttelton's General Hildyard's brigade near brigade, opposite Potgeiter's Springfield ; and General Bardrift, also moved forward, ton with his brigade and all under cover

of the fire of other available troops fronting the naval guns on Mount Alice, Colenso.



Of the many problems which good for the work which it has this war opens, the one which to do. But there are large is most urgent. is the prospect, reserves of military force ready now brought in sight by Sir to our hand. Thousands of R. Buller's operations, of its suc- South African volunteers are cessful and, if possible, speedy ready to serve, Australia and termination. The further ques- Canada will furnish more; our tions, what amount of recon- own volunteers are eager to be struction our military system utilised; our native forces in must undergo, and what must India, Sikhs and Goorkhas, men be our naval policy with the most suitable for this class of presence on the high seas of so warfare, would obey as proudly many prospective first - class the word of command as they navies, may stand over for the did when Lord Beaconsfield present. Their premature dis- summoned them to Malta, and cussion denotes a certain degree Mr Gladstone to Egypt. Our of unfounded panic, and may resources in men and money are be classed with the exaggerated so illimitable as compared with outcry against the Government those of the Boers, who cannot in respect of its preparations, replace a man or a horse withand the generals in respect of out commandeering, that it is their mistakes. If our object superfluous to count them up. is to take a fair view of the Nor is there any need to present position, we must bear adopt a pessimistic tone with in mind that it is one of un- regard to the course of the camprecedented and unforeseen diffi- paign. No facts in politics culty. We must concentrate are so thoroughly demonstrated our energies on the present, and as these—that the Boers have adjourn the past and future to silently and steadily, with the another opportunity. It is the passive sympathy rather than way out of this difficulty, by the active support of the Cape successfully surmounting it, that Dutch, been building up for we must discover: the way into eighteen years a great military it in the past, and the mode of power; that they have had the preventing its repetition, may advantage of the initiative in be discussed hereafter.

war operations; and that they It is said that we have sent have put into the field at once to South Africa the whole of their whole population and our available British active- their whole military resources. service army. It is a statement It was a reasonable calculation very difficult to test. We have on their part that they would no doubt a very large and well- be able to drive the slender equipped force there, much of British forces to the coast. it, especially the cavalry, too They meant

every word of

their ultimatum, and believed enterprises. Difficulties in they could carry it out and transport, in raising suitable offer to this country the prob- and sufficient mounted troops, lem how to reconquer a whole in maintaining communications continent. When public writers or executing manoeuvres in a are so glib in arraigning our country filled with enemies and Government and our generals swarming with spies, have (for very shame's sake they proved greater than were exspare our dauntless soldiers), pected. We have sent our best we are bound to recollect that generals to the front, and we this avalanche of trained and are doing all we can to surwell-equipped Boers was stayed mount those difficulties. Alterby a wholly inadequate British nate victories and defeats have force; that Mafeking, Kimber- been our fate. But the net reley, and Ladysmith maintain sult is that our beleaguered cities their defence; that the Boers hold out, and that our opponhave always been unwilling to ents are wearing themselves court certain failure by attack- out with fruitless labours, foring us in the open, and are at all bidden to advance or retreat, points reduced to play a wait- withdrawn from civil life, and ing game, for which we are eating their heads off in camp. much better prepared than At the time of writing the they. No doubt, mistakes have undivided attention of the been made, as was inevitable; Anglo-Saxon race is riveted but at least a task, unprece- the ground between the dented in the history of the Tugela and Ladysmith. We world, has been accomplished are all eager for a brilliant --that of transporting across success; but if disaster awaits 6000 miles of sea a larger force us, it is imperative not to yield. of men, animals, and war- There must be no turning back. material than were ever sent South African political prosby one country on one expedi- pects will be dark indeed if tion before. A heavy work of we do. Whatever happens in organisation, and of equipping the immediate future, we desire that force in a way most suit- to emphasise the political effect able to the needs of the coun- which must result from the intry, awaited it on its arrival. troduction into South African The results accomplished have politics of a new factor of overnot kept pace with our im- whelming magnitude-viz., the patience; but, on the other resolute determination of all hand, no reverse has been sus- classes in this country to maintained which at all impairs our tain in that quarter of the confidence in the ultimate re- world an effective ascendancy. sult. Mistakes in military ad- Hitherto that factor has been ministration have been num- non - existent. For the first erous, as was reasonably to be three quarters of this century expected after forty years of South Africa excited no intercessation from large military est at home; its expensive native


wars and its troublesome politics which Great Britain has steadily rendered our statesmen more built up is that of vacillation, ready to abandon present re- irresolution, and a disposition sponsibilities than to assume to yield. German ambition, as new ones. The cession of in- well as Boer, was aroused by dependence to the Orange Free Majuba ; but her project of conState in 1854 and to the Trans- necting her east and west colvaal in 1852 excited no inter- onies by what is now Rhodesia est. The establishment of self- was thwarted. Mr Rhodes for government in Cape Colony, years has represented in his own with its majority of Dutch person, latterly with the aid of electors, in 1872, and afterwards the Chartered Company, the

. in Natal, passed unheeded : all principle of imperium et libertas, was well if British power was which Lord Beaconsfield did so represented by a handful of much to establish as the guide troops and by a High Com- of British policy. The Raid with missioner, even though he pos- all its folly marks the parting sessed no more force of character of the ways, and in its conthan Sir Hercules Robinson. sequences made it incumbent The warnings of Sir Bartle upon this country to enforce or Frere, which every British abandon its position. Lord colonist must have known at the Salisbury's Cabinet, represented time, and which all of us know by Mr Chamberlain and Sir now, were the ordinary dictates Alfred Milner, necessarily chose of prudence, were neglected the former alternative. Their

. The surrender by the Trans- doing so led to the cessation of vaal of its independence in 1877 German intrigue, and forced the and its retrocession in 1881 after Boer conspiracy to reveal itself ; Majuba Hill, with the neglect and the whole of South Africa, to purchase from Portugal the white and black, knows that Delagoa Bay territory when we the era of British neglect and might have had it, naturally indifference is past, and is reinspired the conviction that we placed by an unyielding resolve were neither able nor willing to to re-establish the almost disassert our rights, and were lodged supremacy of Great negligent and untrustworthy in Britain over its South African respect of our obligations. We dominions. That will and must are told, on good authority, that have enduring political result, a Dutch reformed minister, resi- more particularly as soon as it dent in the Cape Colony, publicly is accentuated by some of the exhorted his kinsmen in the military successes which are at Transvaal to resist the British last beginning to dawn. Many demands, “because the threats of the Cape Dutch even in the of England are the threats of a north have wavered as to which man with an unloaded gun.” side they should join ; a good The truth must be brought many

many of the Uitlanders actuhome to all our minds that in ally preferred the Dutch to the South Africa the reputation English flag, if only they could

[ocr errors]

have got rid of Mr Kruger's in its service that an enthusityranny and corruption, — for asm for active service has spread the widespread feeling after the over Canada, New South Wales, Majuba capitulation was that South Australia, New Zealand, the British were indifferent and British Columbia, and Victoria. untrustworthy.

Sir Wilfrid Laurier declared It is known now in South that the sending of Canadian Africa not merely that public volunteers was in response to opinion at home is thoroughly the unanimous sentiment of the aroused, but that in all parts whole population, which desired of the empire Mr Kruger's to show that in this matter the schemes of dominion, principles colonies were ranged behind the of government, and hostile ani- mother country. Although for mosity to everything British, the present at all events Indian have been examined and unani- troops will not be used, the mously decided to be an attack loyalty evoked throughout the on the life and honour of the whole of India is another proof empire as a whole. They have of the universal sentiment in called forth a unity of sentiment our favour. The greatest Mothroughout all our great self- hammedan chief, the Nizam of governing colonies, which has Hyderabad, said, in replying to led for the first time in history Lord Curzon's proposing a toast to an effective unity of action in his honour, that the proudest to consolidate and uphold im- title he possessed was that of perium et libertatem. The moral her Majesty's faithful ally, and effect of this in South Africa that his purse, his army, and must be immense. The colonies his own sword were ever ready which swell the ranks of our to defend her Majesty's empire. army have diverse interests The great Hindu chief, the from ours.

It is inconceivable Maharajah of Pattiala, asked that they should rush in and permission to serve at the Cape make the quarrel their own, either on Lord Roberts' staff or except on the double ground at the base. He offered to send that the cause is just, involving troops, horses, and transport the honour and the interests in to South Africa.

to South Africa. Every native their widest sense of the whole chief without exception has empire, and that the mother offered to send horses to the country is resolute to assert it. Cape. In spite of the envy, For us to yield in the struggle hatred, malice, and all unchariwould be to abandon duty tableness which we receive at and forfeit empire. Fortunately the hands of the Continental there is no sign of any diminu- press, it is gratifying to find tion of resolve. The mother that those who know us best country sprang to arms of its rally round our flag and trust

accord the moment it us implicitly. realised that the task was diffi- On the spot the Boer no cult. The Colonials have dis- doubt is now in the first flush played such dash and valour of his power. His whole popu


« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »