BY YVES GUYOT
Translated from the French
LONDON: JOHN MURRAY, ALBEMARLE STREET 1900
A word in explanation of this English edition is perhaps not unnecessary.
It will be remembered that the arguments in the following pages appeared originally in the columns of Le Siecle, and from the correspondence between M. Yves Guyot and Dr. Kuyper and M. Brunetiere (Appendix B), the reader will understand how the publication of Le Siecle articles in pamphlet form arose.
In the month of May when M. Yves Guyot's La Politique Boer made its appearance, the supply of literature by more or less competent judges on South African affairs was already so formidable in this country, that an English publication of his pamphlet was apparently not wanted. Moreover, as my master's arguments were written for readers on the continent and not for those of Great Britain, such a publication was not thought of at the time.
Of the first editions of La Politique Boer placed before the reading public in various countries, a few thousand copies were sent to London. The demand, however, exceeded the supply to such a large extent, and so many letters were received at this office from British readers (unfamiliar with the French language) asking for a translation, that an English dress of La Politique Boer was decided upon.
As the translation was proceeding various incidents of importance in connection with the South African crisis took place. These were commented upon by M. Yves Guyot in Le Siecle and added to the existing pamphlet; the English edition is consequently more up-to-date than the original.
Our thanks for valuable assistance given in the translation are largely due to Mrs. Ellen Waugh and Mr. Charles Baxter.
M. Yves Guyot has renounced his author's rights, and the profits to Le Siecle, resulting from this publication, will be handed in two equal shares to the societies here and in South Africa which represent the interests of the widows and orphans of English and Boer combatants who have given their lives for their countries.
THE LONDON OFFICE OF Le Siecle 32, CHARING CROSS, S.W.
25th October, 1900.
1. State of the Question.—2. Pro-Boer Argument, and the Jameson Raid.—3. Profits of the Jameson Raid.—4. Logical Consequences of the Jameson Raid ix.
1. Disregard of Facts, and Subordination to the Vatican.—2. The Boers, the Natives and Slavery.—3. "Essentially a Man of War and Politics" 1
ENGLISH AND BOERS.
1. The ideal of the Boers.—2. The English in South Africa.—3. "The Crime."—4. British Sphere of Influence in 1838.—5. England, the Transvaal and the Orange Free State 9
THE ANNEXATION OF THE TRANSVAAL AND THE CONVENTIONS OF 1881 AND 1884.
1. The "Gold Mines" Argument.—2. Boer Anarchy.—3. The Boers saved by the English.—4.—The Annexation of the Transvaal, and the Conventions of 1881 and 1884.—5. The Convention of 1881 inapplicable.—6. Violation by the Boers 17
ARTICLES OF THE CONVENTION OF 1884.
1. Krueger's point of view.—2. England's Obligations.—3. Equality of Rights among the Whites according to Mr. Krueger in 1881.—4. Preamble of the Convention of 1881.—5. Articles, 4, 7, and 14 of the Convention of 1884 24
LAW AND JUSTICE IN THE TRANSVAAL.
1. Contempt of Justice.—2. Confusion of Powers 31
POLICE, JUSTICE AND LAW, ACCORDING TO BOER METHODS.
1. Legal and Judicial System of the Transvaal.—2. The Police (the Edgar Case).—3. An ingenious Collusion.—4. The Lombaard Case 36
"SECURITY OF INDIVIDUALS" ACCORDING TO BOER IDEAS.
1. The Amphitheatre Case.—2. Valuation of Bail.—3. The Uitlanders' Petition.—4. Security of the Individual according to Boer Ideas.—5. The Murder of Mrs. Appelbe 42
Boer Oligarchy 48
THE GOLD MINES.
1. "That Gold is mine!"—2. The Proportion of Gold per Ton.—3. Cost of Production.—4. A Gold Mine is an Industrial Exploitation.—5. Distribution of the Gold Production.—6. Cost of Production, and the Transvaal.—What the "Vultures" brought 52
FINANCIAL POLICY OF THE BOERS.
1. Receipts of the Boer Exchequer.—2. Budget Assessment of the Burghers.—3. Salaries of Boer Officials.—4. The Debit side of the Boer Budget.—5. New Taxes.—6. Attempt to raise a Loan.—7. Fleecing the Uitlander 59
MONOPOLIES IN THE TRANSVAAL AND THE NETHERLANDS RAILWAY COMPANY.
1. Article XIV. and the Monopolies.—2. The Dynamite Monopoly.—3. Railways.—4. The Drift Question.—5. Methods of Exaction 66
CAPITALIST INTRIGUES AND THE WAR.
1. A war of Capitalists.—2. A Local Board.—3. A deliberating Council.—4. Timidity of the Chamber of Mines.—5. The Petition and the Despatch of May 10th 73
1. Impossible Comparisons.—2. Policy of Re-action.—3. The Bloemfontein Conference 80
THE FRANCHISE AFTER THE CONFERENCE OF BLOEMFONTEIN.
1. A Krueger Trick.—2. The Bill passed by the Volksraad—3. Pretended Concessions.—4. The Joint Commission.—5. Bargaining.—6. The Conditions, and Withdrawal of Proposals.—7. The Franchise is Self-Government 87
THE SUZERAINTY OF ENGLAND AND THE SOUTH AFRICAN REPUBLIC.
1. Who Raised the Question of Suzerainty?—2. The Suzerainty and the Conference of the Hague 95
THE ARBITRATION QUESTION.
1. How the Transvaal interprets Arbitration.—2. Mr. Chamberlain's Conditions 101
THE BOER ULTIMATUM.
1. Dr. Kuyper's Logic.—2. Despatches of 8th and 22nd September.—3. The Ultimatum 108
DR. KUYPER'S FINAL METAPHOR.
1. Where are the Peace Lovers?—2. Moral Worth of the Boers.—3. A Lioness Out of Place.—4. Moral Unity by Means of Unity of Method 113
a.—ENGLAND, HOLLAND AND GERMANY 119
b.—DR. KUYPER'S ADMISSION
1. Offer to Dr. Kuyper to Reproduce his Article.—2. Dilatory Reply of Dr. Kuyper.—3. Withdrawal of Dr. Kuyper.—4. Mr. Brunetiere's Refusal.—5. The Queen of Holland and Dr. Kuyper's Article 124
c.—THE LAST PRO-BOER MANIFESTATION 130
d.—SOUTH AFRICAN CRITICS 136
e.—THE TRANSVAAL AND THE PEACE CONFERENCE HELD IN PARIS FROM SEPTEMBER 30TH TO OCTOBER 5TH, 1900 151
I have endeavoured in the following pages to separate the Transvaal question from the many side issues by which it is obscured.
In the "Affaire Dreyfus" I constantly recurred to the main point—Dreyfus was condemned upon the "bordereau"; Dreyfus was not the author of the "bordereau," therefore he was not responsible for the documents named in the "bordereau."
In this case, in like manner, there is but one question:—Has or has not the government of the South African Republic acted up to the convention of 1884, and is the English government bound to regard that convention as of no effect with regard to the Uitlanders who have established themselves in the Transvaal on the faith that England would insist upon its being respected?
Pro-Boers refuse to recognise this point, as did M. Cavaignac when, in his speech of July 7th, 1898, he abandoned the "bordereau" to substitute for it the Henry forgery.
They keep talking of the Great Trek of 1836; of England's greed; of the gold mines; and, above all, of the Jameson raid. The Jameson raid is their pet grievance; it takes the place of all argument. The Uitlanders may well say that "Jameson has been Krueger's best friend."
Notwithstanding, the Jameson raid is the best proof of the powerlessness of England to protect the interests of her subjects against the pretentions of the Pretoria Government.
In 1894, Lord Ripon had already made ineffectual representations to that Government concerning the contempt with which it was treating the Convention of 1884.
The Uitlanders had approached the Volksraad in a petition signed by 14,800 persons. The petitioners did not ask that the Republic should be placed under the control of the British Government; on the contrary, they postulated the maintenance of its independence; all that they asked was for "equitable administration and fair representation." This petition was received with angry contempt. "Protest, protest as much as you like," said Mr. Krueger, "I have arms, and you have none."
It is contended that if President Krueger did provide himself to a formidable extent with munitions of war, it was not until after the Jameson Raid.
Here the connexion between cause and effect is not very clear; Jameson once beaten there was no further cause to arm against him. But from the Uitlanders' petition, to which allusion has been made, it is evident that armaments had begun before. Among the alleged grievances we find the following:—
"A policy of force is openly declared against us; L250,000 have been expended on the construction of forts; upon one alone, designed to terrorise the inhabitants of Johannesburg, L100,000 has been spent. Large orders have been given to Krupp for big guns and maxims; and it is said that German Officers are coming to drill the burghers."
The Uitlanders of Johannesburg treated with contumely, adopted the theories made use of by the Boers in their Petition of Rights of February 17th, 1881, by which they justified their insurrection against British rule, of December, 1880.
"Then the cause was unexpectedly helped on by the courageous resistance of O. Bezuidenhout against the seizure of his household effects for non-payment of taxes. Here was a breach of the law easy to lay hold of; here was a crime indeed! It was illegal, undoubtedly, but illegal in the same sense as was the refusal of Hampden to pay the four or five shillings "ship money"; the taking of den Briel by the Watergeuzen (Waterbeggars) in 1572; as was the throwing overboard of a cargo of tea in Boston; as was the plot in Cape Colony against the importation of convicts. All these acts were illegal, but of such are the illegalities in which a people takes refuge, when a Government fails in its duty to a law higher than that of man."
In virtue of the principles invoked by the Boers, the Johannesburg Uitlanders entered into a conspiracy; Jameson was to come to their aid after they had risen. Messrs. Leonard and Phillips put themselves in communication with Cecil Rhodes. He listened to their manifesto, and the instant they came to the mention of free trade in South Africa, he said: "That will do for me." The supposition that he desired to annex the Transvaal is absurd. He has admitted that he gave his personal co-operation to Jameson without having first consulted his colleagues of the Chartered Company. Jameson was to have gone to the assistance of the Uitlanders; not to forestall the insurrection, which was fixed for January 4th. On December 29th, Jameson invaded the Transvaal with 480 men. They got as far as Krugersdorp, about 31 miles distant from Johannesburg, and after a fight at Doornkop, in which the Raiders' losses were 18 killed and 40 wounded, and on the Boers' side four killed and five wounded, they surrendered on the condition that their lives should be spared.
That stipulation is forgotten when we fall to admiring President Krueger's magnanimity in handing over Jameson to the British Government.
[Footnote 1: Fitzpatrick. "The Transvaal from Within." p. 122.]
The Profits from the Jameson Raid.
The trial by the Government of Pretoria of the sixty-four members of the "Reform Committee" was held in Johannesburg. Four of them, Mr. Lionel Phillips, Colonel Rhodes, Mr. George Farrar, and Mr. Hammond were condemned to death. The remainder were sentenced to two years' imprisonment and L2,000 fine, or failing payment, to another year's imprisonment and three years' banishment. The Executive reserved to themselves the right to confiscate their property.
In commutation of the four death sentences, the Government exacted L100,000; fifty-six other prisoners paid in a sum of L112,000. One of the accused died, another who had pleaded not guilty, was so ill that his sentence was not carried out; Messrs. Sampson and Davies refused to pay the fine. The British Government left Mr. Krueger a free hand in the matter; it cannot be reproached with having interposed on their behalf—although it was its own representatives who persuaded the Johannesburg conspirators to deliver up their arms. In the moment of danger many and various hopes were held out by Mr. Krueger in his proclamation of December 30th, 1895. The danger once past, the promises were forgotten. He remembered the Jameson Raid only as an excuse for demanding an indemnity of L677,938 3s. 6d. for material damages, and a further L1,000,000 for damages "moral and intellectual."
In February, 1896, Mr. Chamberlain proposed to him "the autonomy of that portion occupied by mining industries" (see details of the proposal, letter of Mr. Chamberlain, published in Le Siecle, July 5th, 1899.) Mr. Krueger refused contemptuously. At the same time he got the Volksraad to pass a bill giving him the right to expel any foreigner, at his discretion, at a fortnight's notice. Mr. Chamberlain reminded him that this bill was contrary to Act 14 of the Convention of 1884. Krueger took no notice of this remonstrance, and the bill became law on October 24th. In December, 1896, Mr. Chamberlain made a renewed protest.
The correspondence continued. Mr. Chamberlain recapitulated the breaches of the Convention of 1884 committed by the Boer Government. In the summer of 1897, the act was at last repealed, but always with the unavowed intention of re-enacting it in another form.
Mr. Krueger persistently continued to refuse all demands for reform, becoming more and more insolent, while, thanks to the wealth brought to the exchequer by the gold mines, he continued to increase the very armaments against which the petitioners of 1894 had protested.
To all representations, his answer was "The Jameson Raid." To all Europe, his plea was "The Jameson Raid." If you mention Transvaal affairs to a Pro-Boer, he shuts you up at once with "what about the Jameson Raid?" He will listen to no arguments; and loses his temper. If you suggest that the Jameson Raid bears a certain analogy to the expedition of Garibaldi's One Thousand, he gazes at you with amazement. If you proceed to remark that the Jameson Raid took place at the close of the year 1895; that we are now in 1900; that it is res judicata; that the British Government left Boer Justice a free hand to deal with the conspirators, he accuses you of having been bought by England. Not a whisper, of course, is heard about the millions of secret service money placed at the disposal of Dr. Leyds.
The Logical Consequences of the Jameson Raid.
According to the Boers, they are briefly: (1) The Jameson Raid of Dec. 29th, 1895, gives the South African Republic the right in perpetuity to regard the Convention of 1884 as null and void. (2) The Jameson Raid gives the Government of the South African Republic the right to treat all Uitlanders, especially the British, as Boers treat Kaffirs. (3) The Jameson Raid gives the Government of the South African Republic an undefined and perpetual right to plunder the Uitlanders.
1.—Disregard of Facts and Subordination to the Vatican.
I notice with satisfaction, that people, who a short time ago would not listen to a word about the Transvaal, are now no longer animated by the same spirit of confidence, and are even beginning to wonder whether they have not fallen into the same mistake made by so many in the Dreyfus case, who only began to entertain doubts after the exposure of the Henry forgery.
I have been asked "Why have you not answered Dr. Kuyper's article in the Revue des Deux Mondes?" and it appears that Dr. Leyds has been heard to say in Brussels: "M. Yves Guyot has made no answer to Dr. Kuyper's article." As though it were unanswerable!
I might well retort with the question: "Why does the Pro-Boer press never reply to counter arguments save by vague phrases, and evading the real issue? Why does the French press, in particular, confine itself to lauding "the brave Boers" and the "venerable President Krueger," and to extolling the virtues with which it credits them, instead of studying their actual social condition, and giving its readers the plain facts? Why do we not find one word in our papers of the articles by M.M. Villarais and Tallichet, published in the Bibliotheque Universelle."
It is an exact repetition of the method employed by the Anti-Dreyfusard papers in the Dreyfus case. But the odd thing is, that many who were then exasperated by it, now look upon it as quite natural, and are not surprised to find themselves bosom friends of Drumont, Rochefort, Judet, and Arthur Mayer. The Transvaal question unites them in a "nationalist" policy, which, if it were to go beyond mere words, would result in a war with England and might complete, by a naval Sedan, the disaster of 1870.
The majority of Frenchmen have brought to the scrutiny of the matter a degree of pigheadedness that clearly proves the influence of our method of subjective education. We state our faith on words, and believe—because it is a mystery.
The Revue des Deux Mondes, in which Dr. Kuyper's article is published (February 1st), has become an organ of Leo XIII. Those free-thinkers, protestants, and Jews in France who take part in the Anglophobe movement, are thus naively furthering the aims of the Vatican and the Jesuits, whose endeavour has ever been to stir up Europe against England—England that shall never be forgiven for the liberalism of her institutions, for the independence of her thinkers, and for her politics, to which they attribute, not without reason, the downfall of the temporal power.
The apologetic portion of Dr. Kuyper's article shows the Boers in their true light. Far from refuting it, I will quote from it. The critical part obscures the points at issue. I will clear them up.
[Footnote 2: Le Siecle, March 20th, 1900.]
[Footnote 3: See Le Siecle, February 3rd and March 14th, 1900.]
2.—The Boers, the Natives, and Slavery.
Dr. Kuyper's article begins with the words: "Once more the yuletide has sent forth the angelic message 'Peace on Earth,' even to where the natives gather at the humble chapels of our missionaries."
Dr. Kuyper then undertakes to show us how the Boers understand "the angelic message" in their treatment of the coloured race. He begins by waxing wroth with the English who, in 1816, in consequence of the representations of their missionaries, had instituted an enquiry as to the manner in which the Boers treated their slaves, "England humiliated them before their slaves," he says. The English also protected natives.
Dr. Kuyper says:—
"With little regard for the real rights of their ancient colonists, the English prided themselves on protecting the imaginary rights of the natives."
The italics are his own. This virtuous protester continues:—
"Deceived by the reports from their missionaries, little worthy of belief, and led astray by a sentimental love for primitive man, 'The Aborigines Protection Societies,' so drastically exposed by Edmund Burke, saw their opportunity. With their Aborigines Societies, the deists posed in the political arena as protectors of the native races, while, in religious circles, the Christians with their missionary societies posed as their benefactors."
Dr. Kuyper forgives neither the deists nor the missionaries. And what of the Boers?
"The Boers had introduced a system of slavery copied from that adopted by the English in their American colonies; but greatly modified. I do not deny that, at times, the Boers have been too harsh, and have committed excesses....
"The Boers are not sentimentalists, but are eminently practical. They recognised that these Hottentots and Basutos were an inferior race....
"The Boers have always resolutely faced the difficulty of the colour question so persistently kept out of view by the English."
And Dr. Kuyper goes on to speak of the multiplication of the blacks in South Africa. He dare not point to the logical solution, which would be to regulate matters by extermination, pure and simple; but he gives vent to his hatred of the English who, far from checking that multiplication, assist it by their humane treatment of the natives. He is especially wrathful with English missionaries, "those black-frocked gentlemen." He states that the Boers do their best "to keep them at a distance"; and he cites, as a fact, which fills him with indignation and alarm:—
"A coloured bishop has been appointed president of a kind of negro council in Africa."
I confine myself to quoting Dr. Kuyper. He shows too plainly the character, passions, and hatreds of the Boers, to render comment necessary. He acknowledges that the Great Trek, the emigration northwards, did not begin till after 1834, when, according to the manifesto of 1881, known as the Petition of Rights, "in consequence of the enforced sale of their slaves, the old patriarchal farmers were ruined." This document represents that it was treating them "with contumely" to offer them money compensation, adding regretfully "that the greater portion of the money remained in the hands of London swindlers." The regret and the contumely are difficult to reconcile. Ancestors of the Boers had more than once acted in a similar manner towards the Dutch East India Company when dissatisfied with their administration, and unwilling to pay their taxes. But Pro-Boers have a curious habit of magnifying things. One would imagine, to hear them speak, that every Boer in the Cape had packed wife, children, and goods into ox-wagons and had trekked north. As a matter of fact, the greater proportion remained behind, and their descendants formed the majority of the 376,000 whites enumerated in the census of 1891. The Great Trek was really composed of various detachments which started one after another in 1836. Statistics of the numbers of trekkers vary from 5,000 to 10,000. I have not been able to trace whether these figures refer only to adult males, or whether they include the women and children. In any case, when discussing South African affairs, we must always bear in mind the small number of persons concerned, in comparison with the vast extent of the area in question.
Not only these trekkers, but all who, from the period of the seventeenth century onwards, had had the tendency to wander from the Cape, belonged to the most adventurous and warlike portion of the population. They had spread themselves over an enormous tract of country, and were in close touch with kaffirs and bushmen, cattle-lifters using poisoned arrows. Living in isolated families, they acquired, in the course of their unceasing struggle with their savage neighbours, not only their qualities of daring and warlike skill, but habits of cruelty and cunning as well.
3.—Essentially a Man of War and Politics.
Between the Dutchman of Amsterdam, Haarlem, the Hague, or Rotterdam, installed in his comfortable dwelling, cultivating his tulips, priding himself upon his pictures, and drinking his beer, and the Boer, pure and simple, there is not the slightest analogy.
This Dr. Kuyper acknowledges. The Boer population is a compound of Dutchmen, Frenchmen, Hugenots, Germans and Scotchmen. Krueger and Reitz are of German, Joubert and Cronje, of French origin. Here is what Dr. Kuyper, himself, says of the Boers:—
"The word Boer signifies 'peasant,' but it would be a mistake to compare Boers with French peasants, English farmers, or even the settlers of America. They are rather a conquering race, who established themselves among the Hottentots and Basutos, in the same manner that the Normans, in the XIth Century, established themselves among the Anglo-Saxons. Abstaining from all manual labour, they devote themselves to their properties, sometimes as much as 5,000 to 6,000 acres in extent, and to the breeding of cattle and horses. Beyond this, their object in life is hunting lion and big game. The Boer is essentially a man of war and politics."
Here we have the true Boer, and not the idyllic "small farmer" pictured to us by a contributor to Le Temps. He is essentially the "man of war and politics," the counterpart of an Arab chief, the sole difference being that the Boer is not a polygamist and has no tribe under him; on the contrary, the Boers swarm off in isolated groups or families. Their conception of life is, however, the same. I quote here from my treatise on The Evolution of Property (p. 46) on the subject of Pastoral Tribes:—
"It was at one time the fashion to hold up pastoral tribes and the patriarchs with their long flowing beards, as subjects of admiration. Long-bearded patriarchs were objects of veneration. Despite the quarrels of Esau and Jacob, and the story of Joseph sold by his brethren, pastoral life was pictured to us as mild as milk, as innocent as that of sheep in the fold, until Renan pointed out its qualities and defects. At the same time we were told of the Bedouins "with saddle, bridle, and life on the Islam," always mounted, always armed, always engaged in war or razzias and mutual pillage; of the Turkomans and their motto: 'Thy soul is in thy sword'; and those who thus celebrated the amenities of pastoral life, and the heroic adventures of the Arabs of the desert, never perceived the contradictions they had fallen into."
At the end of that Chapter I spoke of the Boers, according to Levaillant, "the most carniverous of men," as having turned out of their possessions the nomadic Hottentot and Kaffir shepherds. The Boers represent that form of warlike and political civilisation in which production is indirect, and obtained by utilising the labour of others. It is a type of that ancient pillaging civilisation which we call war-like, when its methods have been reduced to rules. In this stage politics mean the organisation of pillage. Mr. Kuyper is right. "The Boer is essentially a man of war and politics." He has employed his talents at the expense of Hottentots and Kaffirs; he has continued to employ them to the detriment of the Uitlanders; and he thought the time had come to realise his programme of February 17th, 1881, formulated by Dr. Reitz at the end of his official pamphlet, "Africa for the Africanders from the Zambesi to Simon's Bay." We have seen what view, according to his apologist, "the man of war and politics" takes of his relations with the natives; we shall now see how he regards his relations with the whites.
[Footnote 4: "A Century of Injustice."]
ENGLISH AND BOERS.
1.—The Ideal of the Boers.
No French Pro-Boer has reproduced the portrait I have published, as given by Dr. Kuyper. It disturbs the conception presented to their readers by journalists, whose dishonesty is only equalled by their ignorance. Quoting his own statements, I have shown Boer relations with the natives; I will now proceed to show their relations with the English.
In addition to Dr. Kuyper's evidence, I will avail myself of a document from Boer sources: The Petition of Rights, addressed to the President of the Orange Free State, February 17th, 1881, and bearing Krueger's name at the head of the list of signatures. This document clearly shows not only the manner in which Boers write history, but also that, five years before the discovery of the Gold Mines, they cherished as their ideal, not only the preservation of their independence, but the driving out of the English from all South Africa: "From the Zambesi to Simon's Bay, Africa for the Afrikanders!" This is the rallying cry with which the document ends, and we find it repeated by Dr. Reitz, as the concluding words of his pamphlet, "A Century of Injustice."
[Footnote 5: Le Siecle, March 23rd, 1900.]
2.—The English in South Africa.
Dr. Kuyper cannot forgive the English their occupation of the Cape. Yet, they had only followed the example of the Dutch who, during their war with Spain, 1568-1648, had seized the greater portion of the Portuguese colonies, because Portugal had been an ally of Spain. Holland had been forced into an alliance with France, and in exactly the same way, in 1794 and 1806, England seized the Cape. In 1814 she bought it from the Prince of Orange. Dr. Kuyper does not deny that the price was paid, but remarks that it did not replenish the coffers of the prince. Be that as it may, the treaty is none the less valid, and the "Petition of Rights" begins by protesting against "the action of the King of Holland who, in 1814, had ceded Cape Colony to England in exchange for Belgium." The English valued the newly acquired colony only as a naval station; they did not endeavour to extend the territory they occupied. Professor Bryce clearly shows in his "Impressions of South Africa" that if England had enlarged her possessions it had been in despite of herself, and solely to ensure their safety; although, from the treatise "Great Britain and the Dutch Republics," published in The Times, and reproduced in Le Siecle, it is evident that she had always considered that her rights in South Africa extended to the frontier of the Portuguese possessions; that is to say, to the 25 deg. of latitude, in which latitude Delagoa Bay is situated.
Dr. Kuyper begins by himself putting us somewhat on our guard concerning his feelings towards England; for, not only does he decline to forgive her the occupation of Cape Colony, but also her triumph over Holland in the eighteenth century.
"Nowhere had resentment against 'perfide Albion' penetrated national feeling more deeply than in the Netherlands. Between the Dutch and English characters there is absolute incompatibility."
As a rule, I attach little faith to such generalities; in this case, I am sure, rightly. Forgetting his dictum of "absolute incompatibility" (p. 449), Dr. Kuyper, at p. 520, shows that, as far as he is concerned, it is only relative; for in speaking of England, he goes on to say:—
"Were I not a Dutchman, I should prefer to be one of her sons. Her habitual veracity is above suspicion; the sense of duty and justice is innate in her. Her constitutional institutions are universally imitated. Nowhere else do we find the sense of self-respect more largely developed."
Dr. Kuyper further admits that the "incompatibility" is relative as far as Afrikanders are concerned, it is only "absolute" as applied to the Boers. After giving us this example of the consistency of his views, Dr. Kuyper speaks of the English as being "unobservant." A reproach somewhat unexpected, when directed against the countrymen of Darwin. As a proof, he presents us with this metaphor, equally unexpected from the pen of a Dutchman—a dweller of the plains:—
"Because, in winter, the English had only seen in these insignificant river beds a harmless thread of frozen water, they took no thought of the formidable torrent which the thawing of the snow, in spring, would send rushing down to inundate their banks."
"The torrent" is of course the war now going on. Lord Roberts seems to be successfully coping with the "inundation."
Dr. Kuyper approves of the "Petition of Rights" of 1881. It sets forth that the South African Dutch do not recognise the cession made by the King of Holland in 1814; it does not admit that he had the right to "sell them like a flock of sheep." There have been Boers in rebellion since 1816.
One of these was a man named Bezuidenhout. In resisting a Sheriff who tried to arrest him, he was shot. His friends summoned to their aid a Kaffir Chief, named Gaika. The English authorities condemned five of the insurgents to be hanged. The rope broke. They were hanged over again.
Dr. Kuyper, and the "Petition of Rights" found their indictment of the British upon this event which they denominate "the Crime." The scene of the execution was named "Slachtersnek," "hill of slaughter."
This act of repression was violent, but it may possibly have been indispensable. At any rate, it bears but a very far off relation to the events of to-day. Dr. Kuyper in resuscitating, and laying stress upon it, follows a method well known in rhetoric; he begins by discrediting his adversary. However, despite his good intentions, he has not increased our admiration for the Boers by pointing out to us that the most serious grievances they can allege against the English are the protection accorded by the latter to the natives and slaves, and the final emancipation of the latter.
4.—British Sphere of Influence in 1838.
In a few lines Dr. Kuyper draws a conventional picture of British policy with regard to the Boers, making it out to be ever greedy of power. The contrary is the truth. A vacillating and timid policy has been England's great mistake in South Africa; it is this very vacillation that has brought about the present war.
Dr. Kuyper bitterly reproaches the English for having in 1842, six years after the Great Trek, claimed those emigrants as British subjects. The Great Trek was similar to the emigration of the Mormons. The United States have never admitted that they were at liberty to found a separate State within the limits of the national possessions. If on the same ground alone English had proclaimed their suzeranity over the Boers who were endeavouring to form States in Natal, the Orange Free State, and the Transvaal, they would have been perfectly within their rights; but Dr. Kuyper forgets that as far back as 1836 England promulgated the Cape of Hope Punishment Act. The object of that Act was to repress crimes committed by whites under English dominion throughout the whole of South Africa, as far north as the 25 deg. South Latitude; that is, as far as the Portuguese frontier; and it is so thoroughly imbued with that idea, that it specially excepts any Portuguese territory south of that latitude. It is thus proved that with the exception of the portions occupied by the Portuguese, England claimed, as comprised within her sphere of influence, the whole of the remaining South African territory. A certain number of Boers, irreconcilably opposed to British rule, so fully recognised this, that they trekked as far as Delagoa Bay. Another object of the Act was the protection of the Natives against the Boers. The constantly recurring and sanguinary conflicts between the Boers and the Zulus led England to extend her direct sovereign rights to Natal for the peace, protection and good government of all classes of men, who may have settled in the interior or vicinity of this important part of South Africa.
5.—England, the Transvaal, and the Orange Free State.
Far from being anxious to assume direct control over these territories, the Cape Government for a long time disregarded the petitions for annexation addressed to it by the inhabitants of Durban; until one fine day, a Dutch vessel laden with provisions for the Boers, arriving in Port Natal, the Captain, Smellekamp, took it upon himself to assure them of the protection of the King of Holland. Thereupon, England established a small garrison under the command of Captain Smith. It was attacked by the Boers; a volunteer, named Dick King, contrived to make his escape from the town, and after an adventurous journey reached Grahamstown. Troops were despatched by the Government, and it was incorporated with the Cape Colony; some of the Boers left Natal, some remained; their descendants are there to-day.
In 1848 the Government entered into a series of treaties known as the "Napier Treaties," for the constitution of Native States extending from Pondoland, on the frontiers of Natal, to the district of which Kimberley forms the centre (see Great Britain and the Dutch Republics). Great Britain demanded no more than peace and guarantees of security on her frontiers. Dr. Kuyper himself admits this, when he sums up in the following sentence, the history of the emancipation of the Transvaal and the Orange Free State.
"Natal was to remain an English Colony, but the English were to retire from the Orange and Vaal rivers; it was thus that the Independence of the Transvaal was recognised by the Treaty of Sand River, of 17th January, 1852; and the Independence of the Free State by the Convention of Bloemfontein, of 22nd February, 1854."
Dr. Kuyper is compelled to admit that England was not forced into this act of generosity, she having on the 29th August, 1848, defeated the Boers at Boomplaats, on the Orange table land.
But Dr. Kuyper forgets to say that the majority of the Free Staters were far from desiring the gift made to them by the British Government in 1854. They considered it not as a measure of liberation, but as an abandonment to the tender mercies of the Basutos. Some years later the Orange Free State entered into an arrangement with Sir George Grey, for forming a Confederation with Cape Colony. This was not ratified by the Cape Government.
Nor do we find that Dr. Kuyper takes notice of certain stipulations contained in the above Conventions; among others, the abolition of slavery, and free permission to merchants and missionaries to travel and settle where they pleased; which obligations continued to England the right of control over the administration and legislation of those States.
The development of subsequent events is explained by Dr. Kuyper in the simplest possible manner:—
"The promptings of selfish and aggressive materialism now took unchecked sway, and, although bound by solemn treaties which England could not thrust aside without open violation of pledged faith, she did not hesitate. The diamonds of Kimberley in the Free State flashed with a too seductive brilliancy, and the Gold Mines of the Rand became the misfortune of the Transvaal."
I would here observe to Dr. Kuyper that England's friendly relations with the Orange Free State, remained unbroken until October 9th, 1899, when, led away by Krueger's promises, it committed the folly of engaging in war with England.
As for the Transvaal, it was annexed by England in 1877, but not on account of the Gold Mines, which were only discovered ten years' later. Dr. Kuyper has a trick of neglecting dates, and arranging his facts after the fashion of an advocate who supposes that those whom he is addressing will be content with his assertions, and not trouble to verify them. For his rhetoric, I shall substitute the actual facts.
THE ANNEXATION OF THE TRANSVAAL AND THE CONVENTIONS OF 1881 AND 1884.
1.—The "Gold Mines" Argument.
When Dr. Kuyper asserts that "the gold mines of the Rand became the misfortune of the Transvaal," it is clear, that in his endeavour to convince his readers, he has no regard to the facts of the case, but that his aim is to suggest the idea that England's sole object in the present war has been to possess herself of the gold mines. Here Dr. Kuyper employs the arguments of L'Intransigeant, La Libre Parole, and Le Petit Journal; for he is perfectly well aware that England will derive no benefit from the gold mines, nor will she take possession of them any more than she has done of the gold mines of Australia. They are private property.
Further, Dr. Kuyper well knows that the gold mines of the Rand were only discovered in 1886, and he himself states that the annexation of the Transvaal took place on April 12th, 1877. The annexation therefore was prompted by other motives than the possession of the gold mines, but Dr. Kuyper is careful not to suggest these to his readers.
He informs us that Sir Theophilus Shepstone "entered Pretoria at the head of a small army." In reality, he had with him five-and-twenty policemen. Why then did the Boers, "so essentially men of war and politics," permit this?
"Once again, the fate of the natives served as pretext," Mr. Kuyper adds "but the wheel of fortune turns; two years later the English, themselves, were at daggers drawn with the natives, and massacred 10,000 men, women and children." That is how Dr. Kuyper writes history! The pretext was not the fate of the natives, but the fate of the Boers, who, having gone to war with Sekukuni, had been beaten. This is admitted in the "Petition of Rights": "At first, our operations were not very successful, our opponents declare that we were unable to defend ourselves against the natives."
[Footnote 6: Le Siecle, March 26th, 1900.]
The truth is, that after the Sand River Convention, the most complete anarchy existed among the Transvaal Boers; and that as much after the promulgation of their Constitution of 1857 as before. The republicans of Potchefstroom had taken the title of The South African Republic, but their Raad maintained authority only over a small district; Lydenburg, Zoutpansberg, Utrecht, formed themselves into independent republics. It is estimated that, at that time, the entire population of the Transvaal consisted of 8,000 Boers; admitting that this number comprised only the young men and adults capable of bearing arms, and old men, then each republic would be composed, approximately, of 2,000 men. On the death of Andries Pretorius and of Potgieter, who hated each other like poison, the son of Pretorius conceived the design of making himself master of the Orange Free State, so as to secure to himself later on the foremost position in the Transvaal. A war was on the point of breaking out, but came to nothing, as Pretorius hastily recrossed the frontier in the face of an advance by Boshof, the Free State President, at the head of a commando. This action, which demonstrated that his courage and resource were less lofty than his ambition, did not however prevent his being elected President of the South African Republic. In 1860 the union took place.
Notwithstanding his incursion and subsequent flight, Pretorius succeeded in getting himself elected president of the Orange Free State also. But the Transvaal burghers dreaded absorption by their neighbours, and deposed him. A petty civil war between his partisans and opponents was the consequence; several presidents were elected and deposed. Krueger, whom we now see making his appearance, and Schoeman, in turn, chased each other out of Potchefstroom. In 1864 Pretorius forsook the Free State, and was re-elected President of the Transvaal, Krueger contenting himself with the office of Commandant-General.
The Orange Free State was at war with the Basutos. The English Government intervened, and finally annexed Basutoland (1868).
In the same year, the Transvaal Government, disregarding the Sand River Convention, issued a proclamation extending their frontier in the east to the seaboard; in the West to Lake Ngami, and in the North to Mashonaland. The Portuguese and English Governments entered protests and the matter dropped.
No minister of the Reformed Dutch Church had accompanied the Boers in their Trek. They therefore formed themselves into a separate reformed Church, whose members called themselves "doppers" (round-heads). They allow no liberty of thought; they believe in literal inspiration. If they had ever heard of Galileo, they would have looked upon him as an impostor. They place the authority of the Old Testament above that of the New. There are three contending sects in the Transvaal, whose hostility is such that both before and after 1881 threats of Civil War were indulged in.
3.—The Boers saved by the English.
In 1871, the question of fixing the frontier between the Transvaal and the Barolongs, a Bechuana tribe, was submitted to arbitration. The decision was given by Mr. Keate, Governor of Natal. President Pretorius having accepted it, the Boers deposed him, and continued to occupy the territory to which they laid claim. They were at a loss whom next to elect as President.
Overtures were made to Mr. Brand, President of the Orange Free State; but he wisely refused. They next turned to a Cape Afrikander, a former minister of the Dutch Reformed Church, Mr. F. Burgers, a capable, intelligent man. It was his desire to correct abuses; to repress the slavery that was being carried on under the name of "apprenticeship"; to introduce railways and schools; he claimed the right to impose taxation, he got to be credited, in the long run, with the belief that the devil's tail was not as long as it is represented in the old Bible pictures. When the Boers were defeated by Sekukuni, they looked upon it as a punishment from God for having a "free thinker" for President. The commandos disbanded themselves. At the same time Cetewayo, the Zulu Chief, was threatening the Boers in the south. Caught between two fires, without resources or organisation, annihilation was before them. Now the English, for their own security, had the greatest interest in preventing the extermination of white men by natives; and on that ground, apart from all sentimentality, they had never ceased to protest against the methods employed by the Boers, as the surest means of bringing about that result. Theophilus Shepstone, who possessed great influence over the Zulus, was sent to Pretoria. Unable, even with the help of their President, to bring any order into the Government of the Transvaal, he ended by annexing it on 12th April, 1877. He annexed it in order to save it. Had the English abandoned it to itself, the Boer territory would have been occupied by Basutos and the Zulus, and the Boers would have disappeared from the face of the earth.
4.—The Annexation of the Transvaal and the Conventions of 1881 and 1884.
M. Kuyper is very unjust when he reproaches the English with the massacre of the Zulus; for it was all to the profit of the Boers, who, it may be added, rendered no assistance. Once delivered from their native enemies by the English, the Boers appointed, December 16th, 1880, a triumvirate, composed of Pretorius, Krueger and Joubert. They demanded the re-instatement of the South African Republic, under British protection; they commenced attacking small detachments of English troops, and on February 27th they surrounded a force on Majuba Hill, killing 92 officers and men, General Colley among them, wounding 134, and taking 59 prisoners. That is what is called "the disaster of Majuba Hill." An army of 12,000 men was on the way out; Mr. Gladstone, in his Midlothian Campaign, had protested against the annexation; and, although, after he became Prime Minister, he supported it in the speech from the Throne, the hopes he had given to the separatists proved well founded, for after this defeat he became a party to the Convention of 1881, by which the independence of the Transvaal, under the suzerainty of England, was recognized.
5.—The Convention of 1881 inapplicable.
It must be confessed, that the Liberal Government committed a grave error. It seemed afraid of a rebellion among the Afrikanders of the Cape; and these quickly learned that threats only were needed to induce the English Government to yield to their demands. The English Garrison in Pretoria was withdrawn; no reparation was exacted from the Boers who, under the command of Cronje, had conducted themselves in an infamous manner at the siege of Potchefstroom, and had been guilty of actual treachery in the case of Captains Elliot and Lambert.
True, the Convention prescribed the suppression of slavery; gave guarantees for the safety of the persons and property of alien whites; placed the foreign relations of the Transvaal under the control of the British Government. But, in reality, it was of little value, for the English Resident was in the position of a man who has been conquered with the pretension of controlling the actions of the conquerer.
At the first election under the new conditions, Krueger, who represented the extreme reactionary party, was elected President, although he had accepted office under the British Government, while Joubert, who had declined any dealings with them, was defeated, being suspected of sympathising with the Uitlanders. His defeat does not prove him to have been in the minority. His partisans affirm, with a fair show of reason, that Mr. Krueger never greatly respected the sanctity of the ballot.
6.—Violation by the Boers.
The powerlessness of the British Government to ensure respect for the Convention of 1881, explains its consent to the modification of 1884. "It would be easy to find a casus belli in the behaviour of the Boers," said Lord Derby in the House of Lords. But the Government had no wish to find one, and added to the weakness it had displayed after Majuba a fresh show of weakness, which convinced Mr. Krueger that the violation of a convention was the easiest method of obtaining anything he wanted.
In point of fact, it is the British Government that is responsible for the present war, through having inspired President Krueger with the conviction, that he had only to continue in 1899 the policy which had succeeded so well in 1880.
ARTICLES OF THE CONVENTION OF 1884.
1.—Krueger's Point of View.
Dr. Kuyper has a simple method of solving difficulties. Speaking of Article 4 of the Convention of 1884, which gives England the right of veto on all treaties contemplated between the South African Republic and foreign powers, he says:—
"This is not Mr. Krueger's point of view. He, like us, has always stigmatised the occupation of 1877 as a violation of the Sand River Treaty."
Mr. Krueger did not stigmatise it thus when he accepted office from the English Government. But, in any case, he was party to the negotiations which resulted in the Conventions of 1881 and 1884. Dr. Kuyper tells us that neither he nor Mr. Krueger recognise them, considering them to have been vitiated by the Annexation of 1877. Be it so; but in that view discussion is useless. Mr. Krueger held them as null and void. He has chosen his own time to declare war. A government has always the right to tear up a treaty just as a private individual has the right to refuse implement of a contract. In the case of the individual, his refusal exposes him to a claim of damages; in the case of a country, the result is war. It is the simplest thing in the world; but then why go seeking for pretexts and explanations, and worrying oneself about making everybody believe that it was England who brought about the war, when after all she was only claiming the due execution of a convention?
[Footnote 7: Le Siecle, March 27th, 1900.]
When Mr. Gladstone committed the error of entering into the Convention of 1881, he fully believed that he was guaranteeing the rights of English and foreign residents in the Transvaal, of the Boers who might have compromised themselves with the English, and also of the natives.
At a meeting in Birmingham, on March 8th, 1881, on the motion of Sir Wilfrid Lawson, a resolution was passed demanding that "satisfaction should be given to the claims of the Boers, without prejudice always to the rights of the natives and English residents." On July 25th, Sir Michael Hicks-Beach reminded the House of the necessity for exacting the necessary guarantees, and of ensuring the tranquillity and security of the English possessions. He reminded the House of the position of those 3,700 Boer petitioners who had asked for annexation, and of the British residents who had invested capital in the Transvaal, upon the guarantee of the British Government. Mr. William Rathbone proposed a resolution demanding equal political rights for all the white population in the Transvaal. Mr. Chamberlain stated that "loyal settlers" should be protected in their legal rights, lives, and property. Mr. Gladstone, at the close of the debate, stated that "they would all be in a position of most perfect equality with the other inhabitants." (July 25th, 1881.)
Thus, the British Government deliberately affirmed its obligations towards the foreign, British, and black population of the Transvaal, and its determination not to forsake them.
[Footnote 8: Britain and the Boers. "Who is responsible for the War in South Africa?" By Lewis Appleton.]
3.—Equality of Rights among the Whites according to Mr. Krueger in 1881.
The Blue Book of May, 1882, contains the report of the meeting of the British and Transvaal Commission of May 10th, 1881.
Mr. Krueger was a member of the latter, Sir Hercules Robinson was Chairman. Here is a dialogue between the Chairman and Mr. Krueger:—
"The Chairman: 'Before the Annexation, did British subjects enjoy the rights of complete freedom of trade throughout the Transvaal? Were they on the same footing as the citizens of the Transvaal?'"
"Mr. Krueger: 'They were on the same footing as the burghers. In accordance with the Sand River Convention there was not the slightest difference.'"
"Sir Hercules Robinson: 'I presume you do not object to that continuing?'"
"Mr. Krueger: 'No. There will be equal protection for everybody.'"
"Sir Evelyn Wood: 'And equal privileges?'"
"Mr. Krueger: 'We make no difference so far as burgher rights are concerned. There may be, perhaps, some slight difference in the case of a young person who has just come into the country.'"
On the 26th May, Dr. Jorissen, a Boer delegate, reverting to the question, said:—
"Concerning the paragraph referring to a young person, I desire to remove what may create an erroneous impression. What Mr. Krueger meant to say is this; according to our law, a newcomer is not immediately considered a burgher. The words 'young person' have not reference to age but to length of residence. According to our ancient 'Grondwet' (constitution) you must have resided one year in the country to become a burgher."
These minutes were not compiled for the present occasion, for they were published in 1882.
4.—Preamble of the Convention of 1881.
The preamble of the convention is in the following terms:—
"Her Majesty's Commissioners for the settlement of the Transvaal territory, duly appointed as such by a Commission, &c., the 5th day of April, 1881, do hereby undertake and guarantee on behalf of Her Majesty, that from and after the 8th day of August, 1881, complete self-government, subject to the suzerainty of Her Majesty, her heirs and successors, will be accorded to the inhabitants of the Transvaal territory."
It is evident that this is not a treaty between two parties contracting on a footing of equality. The English Government grants the Transvaal the right of self-government, reserving the suzerainty under certain conditions. I have already shown the difficulties in the way of carrying out the Convention of 1881, the false position of the Resident who was as one conquered, was supposed to control the actions of the conqueror; and I have also spoken of the great and long suffering of the English Government.
Mr. R.D. Faure, who acted as interpreter to the Conference of 1884, has stated that "the Transvaal delegates asked for a clause suppressing the suzerainty, and that Lord Derby refused it." To this Mr. R.G.W. Herbert, Permanent Under Secretary for the Colonies, replied "that the Commissioners did not venture to ask for the abolition of the suzerainty." They confined themselves to asking in their letter to Lord Derby of November 14th, 1883, that "the relation of dependence, publici juris, in which our Country finds itself placed with regard to the Crown of Great Britain should be replaced by that of two contracting parties."
Lord Derby on 29th November, answered that "neither in form, nor in substance could the Government accept such a demand." The Government thus refused to substitute a "treaty" for a "convention" in which the Queen granted to the Transvaal the right of self-government under certain conditions.
5.—Articles 4, 7 and 14 of the Convention of 1884.
These conditions are determined by the articles 4, 7 and 14 of the convention of 1884, of which the following is the text:—
"Article 4. The South African Republic will conclude no treaty or engagement with any State or Nation other than the Orange Free State, nor with any native tribe to the Eastward or Westward of the Republic, until the same has been approved by Her Majesty the Queen.
"Such approval shall be considered to have been granted if Her Majesty's Government shall not, within six months after the receipt of a copy of such treaty (which shall be delivered to them immediately upon its completion), have notified that the conclusion of such treaty is in conflict with the interests of Great Britain, or of any of Her Majesty's possessions in South Africa.
"Article 7. All persons who held property in the Transvaal on the 8th day of August, 1881, and still hold the same, will continue to enjoy the rights of property which they have enjoyed since the 12th April, 1877. No person who has remained loyal to Her Majesty during the late hostilities shall suffer any molestation by reason of his loyalty; or be liable to any criminal prosecution or civil action for any part taken in connection with such hostilities; and all such persons will have full liberty to reside in the country, with enjoyment of all civil rights, and protection for their persons and property.
"Article 14. All persons, other than natives, conforming themselves to the laws of the South African Republic (a) will have full liberty, with their families, to enter, travel, or reside in any part of the South African Republic; (b) they will be entitled to hire or possess houses, manufactories, warehouses, shops, and premises; (c) they may carry on their commerce either in person or by any agents whom they may think fit to employ; (d) they will not be subject, in respect of their persons or property, or in respect of their commerce or industry, to any taxes, whether general or local, other than those which are or may be imposed upon Citizens of the Republic."
In Dr. Kuyper's estimation the Articles 7 and 14 are as nothing. I do not even think he makes mention of them in his article (fifty-three pages in length), that has appeared in the Revue des Deux Mondes. Thus, nothing is easier than to argue in the vacuum he creates about his readers. They hear nothing but words; of the facts they are kept in ignorance.
LAW AND JUSTICE IN THE TRANSVAAL.
1.—Contempt of Justice.
I stated at the close of my last article that I did not think that Dr. Kuyper had even made mention of Articles 7 and 14 of the Convention of 1884. I find that I was mistaken. He has said a few words about the latter, to draw from it the inference that it did not give the right of franchise to Uitlanders. He is right.
But Articles 7 and 14 guarantee to all white men, civil rights, the protection of their persons and property, the right to enter into trade, and equality of taxation. How did the Boers construe the application of these conditions of the Convention of 1884? As early as 1885 Mr. Gladstone found himself obliged to send Sir Charles Warren to prevent the Boers from invading Bechuanaland. Mr. Krueger had already attacked Mafeking, and annexed the territory. The Boers retreated, but brutally murdered a man named Bethell who had been wounded by them.
That same year, the case of Mr. James Donaldson came before the House of Commons. He held property in Lydenburg. He had been ordered by two Boers (one of whom was in the habit of boasting that he had shot an unarmed Englishman since the beginning of the war, and had fired on several others) to abstain from collecting hut taxes on his own farm. On his refusal he was attacked by them; three other Boers joined them, and he was left in such a condition that he was thought to be dead.
Upon the representations of the English Government the aggressors were condemned to pay a fine; but the Government of Pretoria remitted it!
An Indian, a British subject and man of education far superior to that of the greater part of the Boers, while following a bridle path trespassed on the farm property of a member of the Volksraad, named Meyer. He was arrested, and accused of intent to steal. Sent before the owner's brother, who was a "field cornet" (district judge), he was condemned, with each of the Hottentot servants accompanying him, to receive twenty-five lashes, and to pay a fine. Rachmann protested, declared that the field cornet was exceeding his authority, intimated an appeal, and offered bail of L40; notwithstanding, he received the twenty-five lashes. George Meyer, the field cornet, knew perfectly well that he was exceeding his authority, but thought it too good a joke to desist. The Court, presided over by Mr. Jorissen, condemned him to pay damages to Rachmann. This was reimbursed to Meyer by the Government, and, despite the judgment of the Court, the President said he was in the right, and that he would protect him.
This is the way in which Mr. Krueger understands justice towards Europeans and European subjects; let us see how he understands it with regard to natives.
A Kaffir, named April, having worked several years on a farm, asked for his salary as agreed in cattle and a pass. The farmer refused him the cattle, and wanted to force him, his wives, and children, to continue working for him. The Kaffir appealed to the field cornet Prinsloo, who treated him as an unruly slave. The Court condemned Prinsloo for abuse of power. Some days later the President announced that he had reimbursed Prinsloo his expenses and damages, remarking: "Notwithstanding the judgment of the Court, we consider Prinsloo to have been in the right."
[Footnote 9: Le Siecle 29th March, 1900.]
2.—Confusion of Powers.
The Volksraad confuses legislative and judicial functions. Should a judgment displease it, it arrogates to itself the right to annul it. Nor is there any more respect shown by the Volksraad for contracts, and, on one occasion, it solemnly accorded to the Government the right to annul clauses which had ceased to be satisfactory. It is unnecessary to add that the principle of the non-retrospectiveness of laws is altogether unknown to it.
In the Dom case the Volksraad passed a resolution disabling the aggrieved individual from taking action against the Government.
Early in the year 1897, the Government appointed for a given day, the allocation of the Witfontein farm in "claims" (mine concessions of 150 by 400 feet). At the last moment it was announced that the claims would be decided by lottery; several persons having made known that they intended to sue the Government for their claims already pegged out, a measure was passed by the Volksraad declaring all such actions null and void.
A Mr. Brown, an American, took proceedings. The President of the High Court, Mr. Kotze, pronounced that this law was unconstitutional, and gave judgment in favor of Brown, but left the amount of damages to be determined later after hearing further evidence.
Upon this, Mr. Krueger introduced a law known as Law I. of 1897, which empowered him to exact assurances from the judges that they would respect all resolutions of the Volksraad, without testing whether they were in accord or contradiction with the Constitution; and in the event of the President not being satisfied with the replies of the judges, it further empowered him to dismiss them summarily. The judges protested in a body that they would not submit to such treatment. The High Court was suspended and all legal business adjourned.
Sir Henry de Villiers, Chief Justice of Cape Colony, came to Pretoria to endeavour to avert the crisis. Mr. Krueger promised to refrain from enforcing Law I. of 1897, and to introduce a new law. The judges resumed their functions.
In February, 1898, a year later, President Krueger had not introduced a new law; President Kotze wrote to Krueger reminding him of his promise. Mr. Krueger at once applied to him Law I. of 1897, and dismissed him.
Kotze was replaced by Mr. Gregorowski, who, at the time the law was passed had solemnly protested that no honourable man could continue to act as a judge in the Transvaal until the law was repealed.
Now what does Dr. Kuyper think of the Volksraad's mode of legislation, and of the manner in which Mr. Krueger, that man "of intelligence and superior morality," interprets respect for justice?
POLICE, JUSTICE, AND LAW ACCORDING TO BOER METHODS.
1.—Legal and Judicial System of the Transvaal.
In the Transvaal, law is an instrument made use of either to favor or oppress the individual, according to circumstances. If necessary it is made retrospective. To provide for the case of judges refusing to apply such laws, Law I. of 1897 has been passed, which compels them to swear obedience to the President and gives him the right to dismiss summarily such as prove insubordinate or lukewarm. The President of the High Court, Mr. Kotze, fell under the action of this law, in February, 1898.
Before that law, the President annulled any judgments that displeased him and caused the fines or damages inflicted upon the delinquents to be paid out of the public Treasury.
Such is judicial and legal rule in the Transvaal; and there are European lawyers of the opinion that the Uitlanders must be the most contemptible and lowest set of adventurers for not being satisfied with it! Dr. Kuyper declares that "the factitious discontent existed only among the English"; and adds with contempt, "Let us look into the Edgar, Lombaard, and Amphitheatre cases—mere police affairs."
Well; let us consider Mr. Krueger's interpretation of the duties of the police.
[Footnote 10: Le Siecle, March 30th, 1900.]
The chief of the departments of justice and police is called the State Attorney.
In 1895, when Mr. Esselen was promoted to the post, he stipulated that he should have full liberty of action. As chief detective officer he appointed an officer belonging to the Cape Administration, Mr. Andrew Trimble, who entered upon his duties with vigour and determination. The gold thieves and receivers and the illicit canteen keepers who supplied the natives with liquor were up in arms at once and appealed to President Krueger. They represented Trimble as having served in the English Army, and as being in receipt of a pension from the Cape Government, further stating that his appointment was an insult to the Boers, who had been thus judged unworthy to provide from among themselves a Head of Police. Mr. Esselen, who stood his ground, was dismissed and replaced by a Hollander, Dr. Coster. Mr. Trimble, chief of the detective force, was replaced by a man who had previously been dismissed, and has since been dismissed again.
As it was useless to depend upon the police for the arrest of thieves, the directors and officials of the City and Suburban Gold Mining Company took upon themselves the risks and dangers of police work. They caught two notorious characters, known thieves, with gold in their possession. The thieves openly boasted that nothing would be done to them; the next day, one was allowed to escape, the other, a notorious criminal, was condemned to six months' imprisonment. Mr. Krueger regarded this penalty as excessive, remitted three-fourths of the sentence, and had him discharged unconditionally.
The police of Johannesburg, a town almost entirely inhabited by English, do not speak English—an excellent method of ensuring order! They are chosen from among the worst types of Boers, some of whom are the descendants of English deserters and Kaffir women; whence comes the fact that some bear English names. The policeman Jones, who killed Edgar, is a case in point.
The murder of Edgar was a small matter in the same way as the Dreyfus case was a small matter; only when a case of this nature arises, it reveals a condition of things so grave that it excites widespread feeling at once.
Edgar was an English workman, a boilermaker, who had been a long time in Johannesburg; a well-conducted man and generally respected. He was going home, one Sunday night in 1898, when three drunken men insulted and set upon him. He knocked one of them down. The other two called the police. Edgar, meanwhile, entered his own house. Four policemen broke open his door, and the instant Edgar came out into the passage, Policeman Jones shot him dead with a revolver. "A mere police row," says Dr. Kuyper.
Jones was arrested next morning, but straightway released upon a bail of L200. The money was not even paid in, but carried over to be deducted monthly from the future salaries of other members of the Johannesburg police force.
Feeling was strong among the other English workmen, many of whom knew Edgar; and this feeling was intensified by the subsequent parody of justice.
3.—An Ingenious Collusion.
The State Attorney, Mr. Smuts, informed the Acting British Agent, Mr. Fraser, that it would be better to bring a charge against Policeman Jones, for "culpable homicide" than for murder, but that he considered the chance of his conviction by a Boer jury to be very small. The word "culpable," says Webster (English Dictionary) is "applied to acts which have not the gravity of crime." In this instance, it made Jones' action excusable on the grounds that Edgar struck him with a stick, at the moment of his entering the house.
A journalist, Mr. J.S. Dunn, Editor of The Critic, commented upon the action of Dr. Krause, the First Public Prosecutor. Dr. Krause took criminal action against Mr. Dunn for libel, and, before proceeding with the murder trial, appeared as witness in his own case, and swore that he did not consider that Jones had been guilty of murder; he not only made this statement on oath, but called the Second Public Prosecutor who gave similar evidence. Nor was this all. He brought forward the accused himself, as witness to state that the First Public Prosecutor was right in not committing him for murder!
When this ghastly farce had been performed, which is much on a footing with the examination of Esterhazy by Pellieux, the murderer was free to present himself confidently before a Boer jury. Not only was he acquitted, but the presiding judge, Kock, who had claimed a judgeship as a "son of the soil," in pronouncing judgment added this little speech: "I hope that this verdict will show the police how to do their duty." This amiable conclusion did not seem very re-assuring to the Uitlanders.
At the same time Mr. Krueger suppressed two newspapers, The Critic and The Star. (See Blue Book C. 9, 345.)
4.—The Lombaard Case.
Dr. Kuyper states that Edgar was in the wrong, that Jones acted within his rights, that the Public Prosecutor and the jury fulfilled their duty. As for Lombaard, "he too," Dr. Kuyper tells us, "was a Johannesburg policeman, and like Jones a little rough in his mode of action".... "He committed no outrage; the sole reproach attaching to him was that he conducted his search at night, and without a special warrant." And Dr. Kuyper is very contemptuous of any who may be disposed to question such proceedings.
The truth is, that Lombaard, at the head of sixteen or eighteen police, had taken upon himself, without warrant, to enter the houses of coloured British subjects, men and women, to demand their passes; to send them to prison whether right or wrong; to ill-treat and flog them. A mere trifle; scarce worth talking about; they were only people of colour, and Dr. Kuyper has told us his ideas on that subject.
The Edgar case was the origin of the petition of the 21,000 Uitlanders to the English Government, to ask the protection it had undertaken to extend to them under the Convention of 1884.
The facts which I have given in Le Siecle of the 29th March, and those I now give here, are sufficient to prove that under Mr. Krueger's Government, police, justice and law do not exist in the Transvaal.
SECURITY OF INDIVIDUALS ACCORDING TO BOER IDEAS.
1.—The Amphitheatre Case.
Dr. Kuyper proceeds with charming serenity:
"The affair called the 'Amphitheatre Case' is more ridiculous still."
And this is his mode of telling it:—
"One day the South African League wished to hold a meeting in the Amphitheatre, and, through Mr. Wybergh, intimated to the State Attorney that they preferred not to be hampered by the presence of the police. In conformity with this wish, the State Attorney telegraphed to the Johannesburg police to keep away. But scarcely had the meeting commenced before the opponents of the League invaded the hall; and the few police stationed at the door were unable to separate the combatants quickly enough. There followed complaints to London ..."
This is Dr. Kuyper's account. I would ask him, in the first place, why he does not give the date of this meeting, which took place on the 14th of January, 1899, one month after the death of Edgar. Secondly, what was the object of this meeting? Dr. Kuyper is silent on these points. He speaks of the step taken by Mr. Wybergh, but he altogether misrepresents it, forgetting that Mr. Wybergh has given his own account of it.
In the serious condition of affairs in Johannesburg at that time, he went to the State Attorney and the Secretary of State, to acquaint them with his intention to hold a meeting in a large building, called the Amphitheatre, generally used as a circus. He informed them that the meeting was convened for three objects: 1. To protest against the arrest of Messrs. T.R. Dodd and C.D. Webb; 2. To protest against the law of public meetings; 3. To obtain signatures to a petition praying for the protection of Queen Victoria.
The State Attorney and Secretary of State replied that "although the objects of this meeting were naturally distasteful to the Transvaal Government, they did not forbid the meeting. Only, all persons who should commit acts of violence, or who should make use of seditious language, would be held personally responsible."
Ladies were invited to attend the meeting, which was held at four o'clock in the afternoon. The members of the League were unarmed.
When they arrived, they found the hall already in possession of three or four hundred burghers, who had been recruited by Papenfus, Acting Road Inspector, and were acting under the orders of Mr. Broeksma, Third Public Prosecutor, and Mr. de Villiers, Second Public Prosecutor. These men were placed in groups about the Amphitheatre. No sooner had the meeting begun, than, on a signal given by Mr. Broeksma, chairs were broken, and, under the orders of Sergeant Smith, of the municipal police, of Erasmus, of the special police, Lieutenants Murphy and Keller of the secret police, and, with the assistance of policemen in uniform, they commenced an assault upon the members. Lieutenant Posthuysen, on horseback in the arena, encouraged the rioters.
Nothing could show Dr. Kuyper's manner of stating and interpreting facts better than the following sentence:—
"It was simply a matter of the careful protection of British subjects, or rather of the worthy apostles of Johannesburg, who had begun by saying to the magistrates of the Transvaal 'keep away your police!' and who, later, crawling back from this meeting, after being well thrashed, complained bitterly that the police had not protected them."
Dr. Kuyper seems to think it highly amusing that the "worthy apostles of Johannesburg had been well thrashed."
When we find a European Dutchman, a man of letters, showing such animus in the examination of facts, one may judge of what the Boers are capable, ignorant and rough as they are, and inflated with the conviction that they are the elect people.
[Footnote 11: Le Siecle, March 31st, 1900.]
2.—Different modes of estimating bail.
We have seen that one of the objects of the meeting had been to protest against the arrests of Messrs. Dodd and Webb. These two gentlemen had been arrested as the organisers of an illegal meeting in the public market square, a public place, where no speeches had been made, but where the petition to the Queen had been openly read, before they had taken it to the British Vice-Consul. To obtain their release they had each to find sureties of L1,000, while Jones, Edgar's murderer, had been set at liberty on bail being found for L200 unpaid.
3.—The Uitlanders' Petition.
These proceedings only resulted in more signatures to the petition addressed to the Queen. When Sir Alfred Milner, March 28th, 1899, forwarded a copy to Mr. Chamberlain it contained 21,684 signatures. Sir Alfred Milner did not undertake to guarantee the authenticity of them all, but gave reasons for considering the greater number as bona fide.
Mr. Wybergh in a letter of April 10th, to the British Vice-Consul, explains the measures that had been taken to collect and verify the signatures. They were such as to inspire confidence. He states that among the whole number, only 700 are of illiterate or coloured people; and adds, that after the dispatch of the petition 1,300 other signatures were sent in, thus raising the total to 23,000.
The Government of Pretoria, after a lapse of more than a month succeeded in raising a counter-petition addressed to itself, which, at first, it stated, contained 9,000 signatures; some time later, on the 30th of May, the British Government was informed that it numbered 23,000 signatures. Krueger wished to prove that he had at least the same number of partisans.
Only he had out-witted himself in the drawing up of this counter-petition. His signatories affirmed that security of property and individuals was assured in the Transvaal. Pangloss, himself, would not have gone so far.
4.—Security of the Individual according to Boer ideas.
Krueger's petitioners further asserted that the petition to the Queen was "the work of capitalists and not of the public." As a matter of fact, incensed at the murder of Edgar—a working man—the men who were the first to sign that petition were working men. The principal mining company of Johannesburg had shown an example of that prudence we see too often among capitalists, and had dismissed Mr. Wybergh, the President of the South African League, who was one of their employes. The President of the Chamber of Mines, Mr. Rouliot, in his statement of January 26th, 1899, took pains to dissociate it from the campaign of agitation. This display of weakness availed nothing. The Government of Pretoria took up the attitude that has succeeded so well in deceiving public opinion: that of a council composed of honest men, innocent victims of capitalist rapacity.
5.—The Murder of Mrs. Appelbe.
Here is a proof of the security enjoyed by the Uitlanders, at the very time when the Government of Pretoria closed its list of signatures to the counter-petition. On Friday April 28th, Mrs. Appelbe, the wife of a Wesleyan minister of Johannesburg, was going to chapel accompanied by a Mr. Wilson, a chemist. They were set upon by a band of men in the pay, it is said, of canteen keepers, sellers of liquor to the natives. Mrs. Appelbe received such severe injuries that she died on the Thursday following. Mr. Wilson, who was badly wounded in the head, eventually recovered. On May 8th, the police affected to know nothing of the outrage; nor did they ever discover the murderers of Mrs. Appelbe, thus proving the grand irony of the apologist petition which "emphatically" affirmed the complete security of life and property in the Transvaal.
Dr. Kuyper, who has juggled with these facts, enumerates with a sort of amazed frankness the reproaches addressed to the Transvaal Government:
The relations between legislative and judicial authority give rise to comments which cannot be considered groundless.... It has been called scandalous that the Chief Justice of the High Court should have been deposed. But, in 1839, President Johnson, of the United States, met the difficulty by making a majority of nine in the High Court, thus assuring to himself a compliant majority.
There is a mis-print in the Article in the Revue de Deux Mondes. The date should be 1869 not 1839; and truly Dr. Kuyper has lighted upon a good example in his selection of President Johnson; the only President of the United States who has been impeached!
I know that sort of argument generally employed by people who are in the wrong and especially employed by people whom Dr. Kuyper can scarcely bring forward as models. "All very well, but what of that little slip of yours." ... Dr. Kuyper might as reasonably invoke la loi de dessaisissement voted by the French Chamber last year. Our answer to him is that the violation of the most elementary principles of justice in one country, does not justify it in another. He proceeds:
"The Boer Government is said to be an oligarchy. And yet every citizen has his vote—Throughout the land there are juries...."
Really Dr. Kuyper affects too great naivete. The Boers may have created a democracy among themselves; with regard to natives and Uitlanders they are an oligarchy.
"Every citizen has his vote": But Mr. Krueger's argument for refusing the franchise to Uitlanders is that they numbered 70,000, while the Burghers were only 30,000. Here we have a minority governing the majority; what else is an oligarchy?
"Throughout the land there are juries"; yes, but juries made up of Boers who try Uitlanders, treat them as enemies, and find that the policeman Jones acted rightly in killing Edgar. That way of constituting a jury is a certainty of injustice to the Uitlanders, and not a guarantee of justice.
President Krueger promised to do something for the municipal organisation of Johannesburg; this is how he keeps his promise. Each division of that town elects two members, a Burgher and an Uitlander; according to the last census, the burghers living in Johannesburg, numbered 1,039; the Uitlanders 23,503; thus 1,039 burghers had as many representatives in the municipal Corporation as the 23,503 Uitlanders. The Mayor, who was nominated by the Government, had the right of absolute veto.
In modern law there exists a principle introduced by England, which is the true basis of representative Government: "no representation, no taxation." It is the right of every citizen who contributes to the taxes to approve of them and to control the use of them.
In autocratic governments, he has no such right. In oligarchic governments, the governing class imposes burdens upon those it governs. This is the case in the Transvaal.
In an oligarchy, taxes are not levied with a view to the general good of the community, but for the benefit of the ruling class; and this is the political conception of the Boers.
Dr. Kuyper says, in speaking of the Uitlanders:
"No one invited them here; they came of their own accord."
Therefore they possess the right to be taxed, but nothing else.
Dr. Kuyper's assertion is not strictly correct; for he forgets the invitation addressed by Mr. Krueger, in London in 1884, to all who were willing to take their abilities and their capital to the Transvaal, in which he promised them rights of citizenship and assured them of his protection.
But the matter of invitation is of little account. Let us allow that there was no invitation. Neither did Fra Diavolo invite the travellers he despoiled; ergo., according to Dr. Kuyper, he had the right to despoil them. The Uitlanders are travellers, at whose expense the government of Pretoria has the right to live, and to support the Boers.
Such is plainly the idea of Mr. Krueger and of the majority of the 29 members of the Volksraad, and we shall see that that idea underlies the whole of its political economy.
Mr. Krueger was, however, in error in supposing that he could practise this system indefinitely in these times of ours, and with respect to the citizens of a country which represents the modern conception of industrial civilization.
Professor Bryce, a strong opponent of the present policy of England, says in his Impressions of South Africa (p. 470):
"A country must after all take its character from the large majority of its inhabitants, especially when those who form that majority are the wealthiest, most educated, and most enterprising part of the population."
Mr. Krueger has aimed at realizing this paradox: the oppression and plunder of the most enterprising, most educated, the richest and most numerous portion of the population by the poorest, most ignorant, most indolent of minorities.
THE TRUTH ABOUT THE GOLD MINES.
1.—That Gold is Mine!
Let us see in what terms Dr. Kuyper justifies the Boer policy of exaction:
"The Leonards and their set are very ready to tell us that the taxes in Johannesburg exceed in proportion those levied in every other country.... As to the quota paid by Uitlanders to the State, we beg leave to remind the British of two points: first, that they are exempt from all military service; secondly, that it is a far more serious matter for the Boers to pay with their lives, and the lives of their sons, than it is for these wealthy owners of gold mines to pay so much per cent. upon their enormous dividends; and that if they do pay the Transvaal some thousands of pounds, they pocket their millions. Moreover, love for the Transvaal has never entered their metallised hearts."
This little gem merits careful analysis. Mr. Kuyper shares the belief that one has only to go to Johannesburg to shovel in the gold. If the working of mines were so simple a matter, Boer intelligence would be equal to the undertaking. As they are not worked by them, it must be because there are difficulties. These difficulties have been overcome for them by the Uitlanders. Once overcome, the Boers present themselves and say: "That gold is mine!"
"Why then did you not take it yourselves?"
The Boers, who pride themselves upon driving their teams of oxen, but who consider that to in-span them is work only fit for Kaffirs, consider gold mining beneath them, let alone that they have not the capacity for it. They leave it to the Uitlanders: all the same, Dr. Kuyper holds it just that it is they who should take the profit.
[Footnote 12: Le Siecle, 3rd April, 1900.]
2.—The Proportion of Gold per Ton.
Gold ore is found in infinitesimal quantities in large deposits of waste matter. In 1898 of the 77 Gold Mining Companies at work, three-fourths reported a yield of 1/2 oz. per ton; some only 6 to 7 dwts. per ton. Consequently we find mines worked where one ton of rock will yield 1/2 oz. of ore, or perhaps only half as much. There are other mines which swallow up the capital, and give no return at all.
3.—Cost of Production.
In 1892 gold producing in the Transvaal cost 35s. 6d. per ton; in 1897 the cost was reduced to 28s. 6d.; in 1898 to 27s. 6d. This reduction of cost is in no way due to any reforms made by the Government, but to improvements in the methods employed, and especially to the more extensive use of compressed air drills.
Out of 8,965,960 tons of ore raised in the Witwatersrand nearly 18.2 per cent. had to be thrown out; that is: about 1,634,500 tons of ore were rejected as sterile. In some cases the proportion of sterile ore has amounted to as much as 40 per cent. The cost of production from the deep levels is 34s. 6d. Out of the profits of each month, expenses and the cost of working material have to be met. (Speech of Mr. Rouliot, President of The Chamber of Mines, January 26th, 1899.)
Mr. J.H. Curle in his valuable work The Gold Mines of the World, published in 1899, estimated the debts of the Rand Companies at L5,515,000. "It is not unusual," he writes, "for the directors of a deep level mine to spend L500,000 before one single ton has been crushed."
[Footnote 13: See the Revue Sud-Africaine (Paris), February 26th, 1899.]
4.—A Gold Mine is an Industrial Undertaking.
According to the report of the Industrial Commission appointed to inquire into the mining industry, there were, in 1896, 183 gold mines in the Transvaal. Of these 79 had been gold-producing, while 104, still in process of development, had as yet produced nothing. Of the 183 only 25 had paid dividends.
In 1898, a year of great progress, of the 156 mines situated in the Rand, 40 only were paying dividends, representing, on an average, a return of 8.7 per cent.
In reality, a gold mine is as entirely an industrial undertaking, as is any other form of commerce; for its proper development it requires men of the highest capacity, not a mere set of adventurers, as Dr. Kuyper and other Pro-Boers tell the simpletons who judge without examining facts. This is what is said on the subject by Mr. Curle, who saw the mines at work during his extended and conscientious enquiry:
"The average mine manager, whether in South Africa, or India, or Australia, or wherever I have met him, is an extremely capable man. Of course, there are exceptions—some managers are not capable; some are not even honest, but, as a rule, those in actual charge of our gold mines to-day are men who can be relied on, but I do not wish to confine my praise to the managers only. The mine captain, whose valuable qualities are known more to the manager than to outsiders, is usually a most capable man, and devoted to his work. Many and many a time, after his hard day's work should have been over, has a mine captain cheerfully started off with me on a three or four hours inspection of his workings, only too delighted to oblige, and asking merely that his visitor should show an intelligent interest in what he saw. To these men, and to the other heads of departments, to battery managers, cyanide works managers, assayers, samplers, surveyors, office staff; the shareholders in every mine owe a debt which they do not realise and which is often inadequately acknowledged. Amongst these men—I could give hundreds of examples—there is the greatest sense of duty to their employers, and from one year's end to another, by day and night, in the bush, on mountain tops, in fever swamps, in wild and deep places all over the world, they faithfully carry through their arduous work."