Such is the type of Uitlander the gold mines have attracted; add to them, mechanics and the most highly skilled artisans: for it is to the interest of the mines which pay high salaries to employ the most skilled labour.
A population such as this, has nothing in common with the adventurers who rushed to the placers of California, or with the fancy picture of the "wealthy metal-hearted mine owners," presented to us by Dr. Kuyper.
5.—Distribution of the Gold Production.
Dr. Kuyper speaks of "the vultures" who come to rob the country of its gold; we would point out to him that before gold can be extracted from the rock, a vast amount must be sunk in it. We have just seen that the cost of production often exceeds the profits.
Dr. Kuyper, in his childish innocence, imagines that "the vultures" carry off the gold as soon as it is extracted.
Had he taken the trouble to ascertain the facts, he would have seen that the greater part of this gold remains in the Transvaal, and either goes to the Government, or to defray the cost of production.
I borrow the following figures from the supplement to The Critic of July 8th, 1899.
Let us take the last five years:—
Gross Profits. Dividend to Paid to Boer Shareholders. Government.
1894 L7,930,481 L1,595,963 L2,247,728 1895 8,768,942 2,329,941 2,923,648 1896 8,742,811 1,918,631 3,912,095 1897 11,514,016 2,923,574 3,956,402 1898 15,942,573 4,999,489 3,329,958 —————- —————- —————- L52,898,823 L13,767,598 L16,370,387 =========== =========== ===========
Thus upon L52,898,823 worth of gold produced between the years 1894 and 1898 only 25 per cent. of this amount went to the shareholders, 30 per cent. was paid to the Transvaal Government, while the cost of production absorbed 45 per cent. The two last figures show that about 75 per cent., that is to say, three-quarters of the entire production remained in the Transvaal; and we have only taken the average of the last few years, during which the cost of production has been reduced to a minimum, thanks to the perfecting of the methods of working.
Let us add that while according to the above table in 1898 the estimate of the revenue was L3,329,000, the expenditure rose to L3,476,000. In 1899, the estimate of the revenue was L4,087,000.
From 1894-97 the amount paid directly into the Transvaal Exchequer had exceeded the shareholders' dividends; and when the reverse happened in 1898, the Government of Pretoria determined to put that matter right.
6.—Cost of Production and the Transvaal.
Dr. Kuyper also complained that the entire cost of production was not absorbed by the Transvaal. In his statement of January 26th 1899, Mr. Rouliot proved that the greater portion was in point of fact expended there. He gave the following figures concerning the expenditure of fifty-six companies in 1898.
The mines had only imported direct to the amount of L369,000, paid for machinery, which could only be constructed in Europe, and for Cyanide, to avoid having to buy the latter from a local trust, which raised the price 100 per cent.
Through local firms they had imported machinery and certain products to the amount of L324,438. From local merchants they had bought machinery, &c., to the amount of L2,487,660. They had paid L767,600 to the Dynamite Monopoly. They had distributed L3,329,000 in salaries to their employes, native or European. If we take it that the expenditure of the sixty other Mining Companies, gold or coal, in the vicinity of Johannesburg, was similar to the above, we have a total of something like nine million pounds sterling put in circulation, plus purchases of dynamite, plus merchandise bought through the medium of local tradespeople. Thus we see that the bulk of the cost of production actually remained in the Transvaal.
7.—What the "Vultures" brought.
Before Dr. Kuyper's "vultures" came to despoil it, the Transvaal was in a very shaky condition. It was heavily in debt and the Exchequer was empty; the Boer having always had a horror of paying his taxes. In 1884 when Messrs. Krueger and Smits came to London to sign the famous Convention, and stayed at the Albemarle Hotel, they found themselves, after the first few weeks unable to pay their bill, and Baron Grant had to come to their assistance. Now the "vultures" have been pouring some millions annually into the coffers of the Transvaal; a certain proportion of which has stuck to the fingers of Mr. Krueger, his family and intimates. The "vultures" have brought riches, industry, and civilisation into a wild and uncivilised country. The simile of the bird of prey is more applicable to the Boer than to the Uitlander.
FINANCIAL POLICY OF THE BOERS
1.—Receipt of the Boer Exchequer.
Like every true aristocrat, the Boer has always had a horror of paying taxes; he only approves of taxes paid by others.
At the time of the annexation of the Transvaal by England in 1877, the Government was being crushed by debt, the burghers resolutely refusing to pay their taxes.
Some order was brought into the finances by England; but the Boer revolt in December, 1880, was caused by the determination of Colonel Owen Lanyon, the English Resident, to seize the bullocks and wagons of recalcitrant tax-payers.
The Transvaal Government obtained the Convention of 1881. In 1883, the budget showed L143,000 revenue, and L184,000 expenditure. From April 1st, 1884, to March 31st, 1885, the revenue rose to L161,000, the expenditure remained at L184,000.
In 1886, the gold mines were discovered, and in 1889, the revenue rose to L1,577,000. The crisis of 1890 caused it to drop below the million; in 1892 it rose again, reaching in:—
1894 L2,247,728 1895 2,923,648 1896 3,912,095 1897 3,956,402 1898 3,329,958
In 1899, it was estimated at L4,087,000. These figures do not include the sale of explosives from 1895 to 1898; the share of licences of claims from 1895 to 1899; nor the Delagoa Bay customs dues paid to the Netherlands Railway for 1898 and 1899.
[Footnote 14: Le Siecle, April 4th, 1900.]
2.—Budget Assessment of the Burghers.
According to the Staats Almanak, the white population numbers 300,000, of whom 175,000 are males. The number of burghers aged between sixteen and sixty, entitled to vote, is 29,447; that of Uitlanders, between the same ages, 81,000.
These 30,000 Boers who represent the electoral portion of the community, do not pay one-tenth of the revenue of the state. They represent, however, a budget of over four millions of pounds; or, L133 per head. If our 10,800,000 electors in France had a proportionate budget at their disposal, it would amount annually to L1,436,400,000; or considerably more than our whole National Debt.
The burghers are thus fund-holders in receipt, per head, of a yearly income of L133 from the Uitlanders. Never has there been an oligarchy so favoured. It is true that all do not profit in the same proportion. "The Transvaal Republic" says a Dutchman, Mr. C. Hutten, "is administered in the interests of a clique of some three dozen families."
[Footnote 15: The Doom of the Boer Oligarchies. (North American Review, March, 1900.)]
3.—Salaries of Boer Officials.
The salaries of the Transvaal officials amounted, in 1886, to L51,831; in 1898, to L1,080,382; and in 1899, they were estimated at L1,216,394. Salaries amounting to L1,216,394 for 30,000 electors! Such are the figures of the Transvaal Budget.
Here we find undoubtedly a great superiority over other countries; and the officials in receipt of such salaries would look down with profoundest contempt on the much more modest pay of their European colleagues if they knew anything about them. Each elector represents more than L40 of official salaries. At the same rate the pay of the French Government officials would amount annually to about four hundred and thirty-two millions pounds sterling (L432,000,000)! This is not all. In 1897, a member of the Volksraad asked what had become of some L2,400,000 which had been paid over to Transvaal officials, in the form of advances of salary. He received no reply.
4.—The Debit Side of the Boer Budget.
In a pamphlet, by M. Edouard Naville, La Question du Transvaal, and also in the Revue Sud-Africaine of October 22nd, 1899, we find a list showing the expenditure of the Pretoria Government, from which may be gathered the extraordinarily rapid rate of increase: In the fourteen years—1886-99—the budget expenditure amounted to L37,031,000, of which nine-tenths have been defrayed by the gold industry. From information supplied by the Government of Pretoria itself, we find that five sources have absorbed more than half:—
Salaries, &c. L7,003,898 Military expenditure 2,236,942 Special expenditure 2,287,559 Sundry services 1,581,042 Public works 5,809,996 —————- L18,919,437 —————- Leaving a surplus of L18,111,601 ===========
Under the headings of "special," and "sundry services," are concealed the secret service expenditure, remuneration to influential electors, and the various political expedients by which Mr. Krueger has proved "his intellectual and moral" superiority.
The official salaries of 1899, estimated at L1,216,000, included a sum of L326,640 for the police. We have seen what kind of police it is.
The legislature is composed of two Volksraads, each consisting of twenty-nine members; or fifty-eight in all. Now the estimate of salaries for the legislature is L43,960, or about L758 each, more than double the allowances of the French senators and deputies.
It is somewhat imprudent of Dr. Kuyper to refer to the educational expenditure. The expenditure amount allocated for the education of the children of Uitlanders in 1896, was L650, or at the rate 1s. 10d. per head, while the gross estimate for education in the budget for that year amounted to L63,000, which works thus out at a cost of L8 6s. 1d. per head for the Boer children. Dr. Mansveldt, Head of the Education Department of the Transvaal, a Hollander, seems to have but one aim: to enforce the use of the taal, the Boer patois—a language spoken by no one else—the use of which keeps them in isolated ignorance. The English language is banned.
This revenue, employed almost exclusively for the benefit of the Boers, did not suffice for the insatiable government in Pretoria. At a meeting of the Chamber of Mines, on November 21st, 1898, Mr. Rouliot summarized a statement by Mr. Krueger in the Raad, as follows:—
"But recently, Mr. Krueger had said he would give the mines the chance of establishing themselves before a percentage should be imposed upon their returns; and that no tax would be levied till the diggings had been completed, and the machinery set up. It appeared to him, however, that the government intended to appropriate some of their profits, although it had given no facilities for the preparatory works on the mines, during which it should be remembered that their capital had been burdened by exceptionally heavy indirect taxation. The moment that capital began to be productive, it was to be taxed." (Blue Book, No. 9345, p. 48.)
In four-and-twenty hours, Mr. Krueger had unexpectedly managed to pass a law levying a new tax of 2-1/2 per cent. of the gross production from mynpachts (mining leases), and 5 per cent. from the gross production of other mines. In his report of January 26th, 1899, Mr. Rouliot says: "Had this new tax formed part of a general scheme for the readjustment of taxation, it might have been defended, but those who are considered best qualified to express the views of the government, content themselves by saying that it has the right to take a share of the profits realised by the mines and add that this tax is only a beginning."
6.—Attempt to Raise a Loan.
Not content with increasing taxation, the government now wished to raise a loan. The attempt failed. The Government of Pretoria blamed the mining companies for the failure. Mr. Rouliot said, on January 26th: "It is true that the companies did not actually support the government in its efforts;" but he added:—
"Neither the Chamber of Mines, nor, to my knowledge, anyone directly, or indirectly, connected with mining interests did anything to embarass the government in its financial negotiations. It is useless to abstain from plain speaking; on the contrary, I hold it to be my duty to be frank and to state to the government that if it failed in its negotiations, it is due to its bad financial policy; to its want of an efficient system of audit; to its costly and terribly wasteful administration; to the want of precise information as to the object of the loan, and the manner in which it was to be expended."
In fine, Law I. of 1897, and the fantastic method of legislation adopted by the Volksraad, show that the Government of Pretoria offers no better guarantee to people dealing with it than did the Grand Turk, some fifty years ago.
7.—Fleecing the Uitlanders!
Taxation, to the Boer, means getting all he can out of the Uitlander, the old characteristic of all oligarchies. The Boer may cheerfully augment both the taxes and his expenditure. It is not he who will suffer.
I admire the Frenchmen, Belgians, Swiss, &c., who pretend that the Uitlanders are a bad lot for not being delighted with such a government.
MONOPOLIES IN THE TRANSVAAL AND THE NETHERLANDS RAILWAY COMPANY.
1.—Article XIV. and the Monopolies.
The avowed taxes are far from representing the whole of the burden laid upon the Uitlanders by the Government of Pretoria.
The Convention of 1881 guaranteed freedom of commerce; nevertheless, from 1882 onwards "the triumvirate who ruled the country," says Mr. FitzPatrick (The Transvaal from Within), "granted numbers of concessions, ostensibly for the purpose of opening up industries. The real reasons are generally considered to have been personal." In 1884, Article XIV. renewed the guarantee of freedom of commerce; the Volksraad itself one day passed a resolution condemning monopolies in principle: and in December 1895 the President granted a monopoly for the importation of products, under the guise of a government agency with a commission to the agent!
One of the first monopolies established was for the manufacture of spirits. The quality of liquor it supplies to the natives is atrocious. To drunkenness is attributed a loss of 15 per cent. on the labour of 90,000 natives whose pay and food are equivalent to L40 per head, a loss therefore of L550,000 a year.
[Footnote 16: Le Siecle, April 5th, 1900.]
2.—The Dynamite Monopoly.
Two despatches, one from Mr. Chamberlain, dated January 13th, 1899, and the other from the Transvaal Government, dated March 9th, 1899, indicate how Mr. Krueger always meant to interpret Article XIV. of the Convention of 1884:
On October 13th, 1893, the Transvaal Government granted a monopoly of the dynamite trade to Mr. L.G. Vorstman for a period of 15 years. The price of No. 1 dynamite was fixed at L4 15s. per case, of which 5s. was to be paid to the Government.
The Transvaal Government maintains that this monopoly does not violate the freedom of labour, as it was established in the interest of the State, not in that of the concessionaires, and that the manufacture of dynamite is forbidden to the Boers as much as it is to foreigners.
Mr. Chamberlain in his despatch denies that the dynamite monopoly has been established in the interest of the State; and points out that even according to General Joubert, Vice-President of the Republic, this is really not a State monopoly but the monopoly of one, Lippert, because it is he who has derived the greatest profits from it.
The monopoly company has always failed to fulfil its engagements; the installation was to be completed in two-and-a-half years: in October, 1896, the company was only able to produce 80,000 cases, the consumption at that time amounting to 200,000. The commission of the Volksraad estimated that between 1897 and 1899 it would be necessary to import 430,000 cases in addition to the quantity produced by the company. It is more to the company's interest to import than to manufacture, since importation affords a profit of L2 per case, and to the State a duty of 5s. Were dynamite imported by the State itself, the latter would realise about L860,000 instead of, as at present, L107,500, making a difference of at least about L752,500.
The price at which dynamite is sold is from 40s. to 45s. above its real value, from which excessive charge only certain individuals, living for the greater part in Europe, derive the benefit. This fact is attested, not by the English, but by Mr. Philipp, State Director of the Manufacture of Explosives. The Commission demanded that all dynamite should be manufactured by the State, and imposed a duty of 20s. per case on all imported dynamite.
These resolutions were passed by the Volksraad Commission in 1897; the monopoly has continued to exist, and in 1899 it was proposed to prolong it for a period of fifteen years. On May 1st, 1898, it is true, the price was reduced by 10s.; the company giving up 5s., and the State renouncing the whole of the 5s. duty. It had therefore no interest in maintaining the monopoly; 2s. of the net profits were still payable to it, it is true; but there are no public accounts.
By way of compensation new taxes were imposed by the Government. Mr. Rouliot, President of the Chamber of Mines, in his speech, January 26th, 1899, put it thus:—
"It is a burden borne by us on another shoulder, not a lightening of the burden."
Allowing for the increased consumption of dynamite, it has been estimated that, even with a further reduction of 5s. per case, the annual burden imposed upon the industry by the monopoly would, at the end of the period, amount to from L687,500 to L825,000. The Transvaal Government in its reply of March 9th, 1899, did not dispute these figures, but stated simply that, "the government had the right to judge what was most advantageous to itself."
The complaints of the British Government on behalf of the mining industry of the Transvaal, were founded solely upon the statement of the Volksraad Commission itself. This mania of the Government for a monopoly by which the shareholders profit greatly and the State hardly at all, proves that there are other interests at stake than those of the public.
At its meeting on February 3rd, 1899, the Witwatersrand Chamber of Mines decided to guarantee a Government loan of L600,000 at 5 per cent., to be applied in buying-out the concessionaires of the dynamite monopoly.
A concession for all the State railways was granted on April 16th, 1884, to a group of Hollander and German capitalists, and confirmed by the Volksraad on August 23rd following. In 1887 the shares, to the number of 2,000, representing a capital of L166,666, were held as follows:—
By Germans 819 shares carrying 30 votes. " Hollanders 581 " " 76 " " The Republic 600 " " 6 "
This astonishing division of votes which gave to the Transvaal Government 6 out of 112, although it subscribed one-third of the capital, and assured to the Hollanders twice as many votes as the other holders put together, although they only provided one-third of the capital, was the work of Dr. Leyds. The contract for the construction of the first 70 miles is not less surprising. Messrs. Van Hattum & Co. were to build the line, at a cost mutually to be agreed upon by them and the railway company; and they were to receive as remuneration 11 per cent. upon the amount of the specification. The 11 per cent. was to be proportionately decreased by a sliding scale so arranged that it disappeared by the time Van Hattum & Co. had exceeded the contract price by 100 per cent. Beyond that the company had the right to cancel the contract. From this it follows, that, by deciding to lose the 11 per cent., Messrs. Van Hattum could make a gain of 89 per cent. This they did, and whole sections of earthworks, which should not have cost L8,000 per mile, cost L23,000 instead. A thousand Hollanders were brought out to work on the line; and sent home again at the expense of the Government. In a country which abounded in stone, the Komati Bridge was built of dressed stone imported from Holland, with the cost of a transit of 7,000 miles.
4.—The Drift Question.
The Cape Colony Free State Railway ends at the Vaal River, 50 miles from Johannesburg. Thence goods are transmitted by the Netherlands Railway at a charge of 8-1/2d. per ton per mile, the rate being 3d. over the rest of the line.
In order to escape this rate manufacturers resorted to the use of ox-wagons; Mr. Krueger forbade them the drifts in order to compel the transit of goods by railway. This was another flagrant violation of Article 14 of the Convention of 1884, which called forth the intervention of Mr. Chamberlain. The indignation at the Cape was so great, that Mr. Chamberlain having asked the Cape Government, whether, in the event of war resulting, it would pay half the cost, and undertake the transport of the troops by the railways, the proposal was accepted by an Afrikander minister! Mr. Krueger yielded and re-opened the drifts.
5.—Methods of Exaction.
A reduction of L100,000 was made on the railway tariffs; but in July, 1897, the duties on corn and food-stuffs were increased by L200,000. At the end of 1898, a certain number of these were lessened, but not that on flour. A comparison of the list of duties between 1897 and the end of 1898 shows that they were increased on twenty-eight products, and decreased on four.
Coal travelling a distance of 25-1/2 miles, the charge made by the Netherlands Railway Co. is 4s. 5d., which is 8-1/2d. per ton per mile; while the Free State Railway only charges 5-3/4d. and the Natal line 3d.
The Company collects the customs dues for account of the State, as security for the payment of interest on their shares and debentures.
Dr. Kuyper is quite willing to admit that the "financial administration leaves something to be desired," but he adds that, "while at the Cape the taxes on produce are at the rate of 15 per cent., in the Transvaal they are only 10 per cent." But it is easy to see how, by means of railway tariffs and various combinations, due to the cunning of Mr. Krueger and his Hollander friends, it has been possible to enhance prices of every description.
"CAPITALIST INTRIGUES" AND THE WAR.
1.—A War of Capitalists.
"It is a war of capitalists against a set of poor Boers who have no sort of interest in the dispute!" Such is the general cry.
Let us look at the facts.
The other day, anent the attempt upon the Prince of Wales, I referred to the anarchist and socialistic attacks of certain Pro-Boer and Anglophobe journals on capitalists, financiers, and the wealthy "metal-hearted mine-owners," as Dr. Kuyper calls them. I reminded my readers that Professor Bryce himself treats as absurd the tale that the aim of the Jameson Raid, as stated by those papers, was the conquest of the Transvaal for Rhodesia. I shall now show by documentary evidence that the war did not break out through any action on the part of gold-mine proprietors. In the first place, the greater number of these proprietors reside in Europe; and as much in France, Germany and Belgium, as in England. Their representatives in the Transvaal may hold more or less important interests in those mines, but they are imbued with a full sense of their responsibilities.
Now, commercial men never seek to bring about a political crisis unnecessarily; they invariably endeavour to avoid one. If they resign themselves to such a course, it is only as a last resource.
The truth of these general assertions is verified in the case in point by two documents which have not been fabricated after the events.
They are the reports of the Chamber of Mines, published by Mr. Rouliot, in January 1898, and January 1899.
[Footnote 17: Le Siecle, April 7th, 1900.]
[Footnote 18: Published in the Revue Sud-Africaine (Paris).]
2.—A Local Board.
The report made by Mr. Rouliot to the Chamber of Mines on January 20th, 1898, refers to the burdens imposed upon the gold industry by the faulty administration of the Transvaal. It shows how the Volksraad contemptuously rejected, in 1897, a petition signed by more than ten thousand inhabitants of all nationalities and all professions. It declares that "the Chamber of Mines has no desire to interfere in the conduct of general affairs in the Transvaal"; it recalls the fact that the Commission of Enquiry nominated after the Crisis of 1896, had recommended the constitution of a "Local Board" which President Krueger had contemptuously rejected; and goes on to say:—
"It is nonsense to affirm that the creation of such a Board would have made a government within a government, and would have threatened the independence of the State. At the time that we made the proposal, we sincerely trusted that what had happened might be buried in oblivion and that we might dwell together in amity. We had hoped that the burghers would have recognised that want of experience, and their education would have made them unfitted for dealing with the most difficult problems that could face a young nation, and that they would have seen the necessity of calling men to their aid who could give them the benefit of their experience, and help them to ensure sound conditions for the State and its industrial development. Unfortunately, we have been deceived in our hopes...."
That is all; save that Mr. Rouliot alludes cursorily to the fact that the government had endeavoured to found a Chamber of Mines in opposition to the old one, but that an amalgamation had taken place; he, consequently, was speaking in the name of the entire industry.
3.—A Deliberative Council.
In the course of the year 1898, Mr. Krueger's policy became more and more provocative. The Chamber of Mines confined itself to the request for the appointment of a deliberative council, to be composed of members nominated by the government, the powers of which should be limited to the application of the laws concerning gold-theft, the sale of spirituous liquors, and the "pass-law" concerning native labourers.
At a meeting of the Volksraad, June, 1898, the sub-committee appointed to enquire into this modest request, decided to recommend its rejection. Mr. A.D. Wolmarans said that "the council would be the means of placing over the heads of the agents of the State, a commission whose members were not in possession of the franchise; and that the Volksraad would practically be adopting the proposition of home rule, and autonomy, put forward by Mr. Chamberlain in 1896."
On September 12th, the question was revived. A member of the Volksraad, named Lombaard, said that: "Johannesburg would never be satisfied until it had a little government of its own"; and that, as for the sale of liquor, as far as he was concerned, he saw no reason why Kaffirs should not drink themselves to death, if such was their taste.
The request was rejected by 14 votes to six. Four-and-twenty hours later the government passed a measure for an additional tax upon mining profits; then the Lombaard and Edgar cases occurred. The Chamber of Mines remained calm, notwithstanding.
4.—Timidity of the Chamber of Mines.
In his report of January 26th, 1899, Mr. Rouliot seems to have but one aim, and that is to dissociate the Chamber of Mines completely from the agitation excited among the English workmen by the murder of their comrade, Edgar, at the hands of policeman Jones. I quote his words:—
"The Chamber of Mines has never taken part in any political agitation, nor has it encouraged or organised demonstrations of a political nature. We take our stand solely upon an economic basis, endeavouring by constitutional means the alleviation of our burdens, and offering our advice upon questions that affect the State, equally with an industry, our thorough knowledge of which is undeniable. We ask neither for concessions, nor for monopoly. All that we ask is fair treatment for our business and our shareholders. I may here express my disappointment at seeing that all our efforts to bring about good feeling and union between ourselves and the executive, meet with nothing but contempt on the part of the latter."
He then goes on to allude to Hollander officials; and possibly, to certain members of the diplomatic body:—
"Those act in bad faith who unceasingly encourage the executive of this country in their retrograde policy, and constantly tell them that all they do is well done."
He concludes by pointing out the manner in which the Press and political agents of the Government of Pretoria are stirring up ill-feeling against the proprietors and managers of mines. Persons without any defined profession, attracted by the vision of gold, have flocked to Johannesburg; unable to find employment, they have become a discontented proletariat. These are the true adventurers, if the word be taken in its worst sense. Mr. Krueger and his agents choose them as colleagues and pit them against the "wealthy metal-hearted mine owners." This is the policy pursued by Dr. Leyds in Europe, where he has been clever enough to excite alike the capitalist and socialist Press against the hated mine owner.
Mr. Rouliot continues, that it is not within the province of the Chamber of Mines to provide work for incompetent workmen. It was, no doubt, from among these men that Mr. Krueger had raised the signatures of the counter-petition which so "emphatically" declared the administration of the South African Republic "to be all that could be desired."
5.—The Petition and the Despatch of May 10th.
They were bona fide workmen who took the initiative in the petition of March 28th, 1899, called forth by the murder of their fellow-workman, Edgar. We see, from Mr. Rouliot's report, that the Chamber of Mines regarding the petition as compromising, disassociated itself from it. Nor was that all. The President of the South African League in the Transvaal, Mr. W. John Wybergh, a consulting engineer by profession, was dismissed by one of the principal companies.
These undeniable facts prove that "capitalist intrigues," as Dr. Kuyper calls them, were not the causes of the present war.
The British Government could not disregard a petition which 21,684 British subjects addressed to it; even had its responsibility not been pledged by Articles 7 and 14 of the Convention of 1884, relying upon which those British subjects had settled in the Transvaal. Every civilised Government concerns itself with injuries done to its citizens in foreign lands. The petition of March 28th, was acknowledged by Mr. Chamberlain in a despatch to Sir A. Milner of May 10th, 1899, in which he says that "the complaints of the Uitlanders rested on a solid basis." From the moment that the British Government "put its hand to the plough," and that Lord Salisbury declared it would not draw back, the end was easy to foresee. Mr. Krueger had recourse to his habitual expedients. I said at the time what must certainly be the result; and an eminent French statesman may remember a conversation I then had with him, in the course of which he declared that the English would never, never, make up their minds to go to war. That was the dangerous idea then spread throughout European diplomacy, and which must have been transmitted to Krueger by Dr. Leyds, and some of the representatives of European Governments then in Pretoria. Thus Krueger thought he need not trouble. Hence his attitude at Bloemfontein. It was not because England was desirous of war that it broke out, it was because she bore the reputation of being too pacific, and because she had given too many proofs of forbearance to the Boers.
Dr. Kuyper favors us with a long dissertation upon the various laws of naturalisation existing throughout the world. But he cannot compare a country such as Belgium with 226 inhabitants per square kilometre, or as France with 72 per square kilometre, with a country that has two inhabitants to the square kilometre. Had he been logical, he would have said that the 9,712,000 square kilometres of the United States should always have been exclusively peopled by the 600,000 or 700,000 Sioux Iroquois and Apaches who used to dispute them.
Dr. Kuyper will reply that they were Redskins and so do not count. Be it so! Though the theory of inferior races has very grave consequences from the standpoint taken up by him.
But, to be logical, he ought to regret that the Puritans of Massachusetts opened wide the doors of the frontiers of their young Republic to English, Irish, and German immigrants, and, having given them equal rights with themselves, fused and made them into citizens of the United States. My present object however is not to discuss theories, but to state facts.
[Footnote 19: Le Siecle, April 9th, 1900.]
2.—Policy of Reaction.
In the Conference which resulted in the Convention of 1881, Messrs. Krueger and Jorissen stated to the English Commissioners that the Franchise would be extended to whites after one year's residence. (V. chap IV. Sec. 3.) This period had been fixed in 1874. In 1882 it was altered to five years' residence.
However, the Boers felt it expedient to offer a satisfaction of some kind, and, in accordance with their usual methods, conceived in 1890 the device of creating a Second Volksraad, deprived of all executive power, to which naturalised aliens were eligible.
But more especially, after the deep levels began to be worked in 1892, when vast outlays of capital were required, and a long duration to gold mining undertakings was ensured, the Uitlanders began to feel that they must no longer be regarded as suspicious aliens, liable to be expelled from the country at any moment. In 1892, they accordingly formed an Association, The National Union, "for the purpose of obtaining by all Constitutional means, equal rights for all the citizens of the Republic and the redress of grievances." Far from desiring to place the Republic under control of the British Government, they affirmed the maintenance of its Independence.
In his manifesto, Mr. Leonard, Chairman of the Union, demands: (1) The establishment of the Republic as a true Republic; (2) A Constitution which should be drawn up by competent men, to be elected by the whole population, and which should be a guarantee against all hasty modifications; (3) An equitable system of franchise, and honest representation; the equality of Dutch and English languages.
The Government of Pretoria had done everything that was possible to provoke and justify these demands.
In 1894, ignoring the three months' delay between the promulgation and enforcing of a law required by the Constitution, it was enacted that children born in the Transvaal of alien parents should not be recognised as citizens, unless their fathers had taken the oath of allegiance.
One Uitlander wrote: "Thirteen years ago I entered my name on the Field Cornet's book, in the belief that I should receive the franchise at expiration of four years. For nine years I have been deprived of my rights; and I may have to wait twenty years in this country without becoming a citizen."
The Boer government, instead of becoming more and more liberal in proportion to the wealth and power with which its alien residents have endowed it, has grown more and more reactionary; and this state of reaction has been marked by a series of broken pledges.
I now proceed to give an account of the varying phases of the Franchise Question, since the beginning of the Conference at Bloemfontein.
3.—The Bloemfontein Conference.
The Conference at Bloemfontein opened on the 31st of May and closed on the 5th of June, 1889. Mr. Chamberlain's Despatch, of the 10th of May, to Sir Alfred Milner, suggests that he should adopt "a spirit of conciliation in order to arrive at an acceptable arrangement which might be presented to the Uitlander population, as a reasonable concession to their just demands."
The position assumed by the English Government was a very simple one; it had declined to interfere to a large degree, and it desired to interfere still less, in the disputes between the Uitlanders and Boers. It was of opinion that the only way of putting an end to them was the granting of the franchise, so as to enable them to attend to their own interests. The English Government, far from desiring to increase its intervention in the actions of the Transvaal Government, desired to say to the Uitlanders: "You have your electoral rights; make use of them in your own defence."
As was easy to foresee, President Krueger, in accordance with his custom began on a number of side issues, instead of going straight to the point, thus employing the method, known to most of us who have had dealings with mistrustful and ignorant peasants. He raised among others the following questions: (1) Swaziland, which he wanted to annex; (2) The mobilisation of the army; (3) The payment of the Jameson Raid indemnity (of which we will speak later); (4) The Uitlanders' petition; (5) The Gold law; (6) The Mining law; (7) The Liquor law; (8) The Tariff law; (9) The Independence of the Republic; (10) The Dynamite Monopoly; (11) Arbitration on all disputed points; (12) British intervention in the internal policy of the South African Republic. And then, added Mr. Krueger ingeniously, when all these matters have been disposed of, we can take up the question of Franchise.
At the very first sitting Sir Alfred Milner declined to enter upon those subjects; at the second sitting he proposed the following conditions for the Franchise; (a) A five years' residence; (b) Declaration of intention to settle in the Transvaal; (c) Oath to obey the laws, and to fulfil all the obligations of citizenship, military service included; (d) The Franchise to be accorded only to men of good repute, holders of a given amount of property or of a given income; (e) a certain number of seats to be reserved in the Volksraad for districts where Uitlanders were in the majority.
After keenly contesting these points, Mr. Krueger gave renewed proof of his 'intellectual superiority' by advancing counter proposals bristling with conditions such as sorcerers exact to enable them to accomplish their miracles. As there is always at least one impossible of realisation, the dupe is always in the wrong; in the same manner, it was Krueger's aim to be able to say to the Uitlanders, who did not obtain the Franchise: "It is your own fault. You have not carried out the conditions!"
Oh! Mr. Krueger showed again at Bloemfontein how very clever he is, and how worthy of Bismarck's admiration—but, Bismarck only entered upon a policy which he could carry through.
According to Krueger's proposal, every new-comer must within a fortnight of arrival have himself inscribed as a candidate for naturalisation and the Franchise; the former would be granted after two years; the latter after five more years; seven years in all. But should the first formality have been neglected within the stated time, the Uitlander was to forfeit for good and all the right of obtaining either the one or the other! The first condition having been fulfilled, the inscribed Uitlander was to prove "his obedience to the laws"; but President Krueger did not signify how he was to give this negative proof.
He had, moreover, to prove that he had "committed no act contrary to the Government, or its independence." But to vote against any candidate of Krueger's is, in the Transvaal, an act contrary to the Government. What Uitlander then could ever have obtained his naturalisation? "Two years of continuous registration,"—but are the registers carefully kept in the Transvaal? These formalities accomplished, and naturalisation obtained, there followed five years of registration, and the obligation of permanent residence. A stay at the Cape, a voyage to Europe, would have sufficed to forfeit the whole benefit of the formalities observed, including inscription during the first fourteen days after arrival. Finally, the retrospective clause demonstrates the cunning nature of the methods employed by Mr. Krueger.
First it deals with a nine years' residence, plus two years for naturalisation, plus six months' declaration, in all eleven years-and-a-half, at the least.
The wording of the clause is as follows:—
"The Residents in the South African Republic before 1890, who shall become naturalised within six months of the promulgation of the proposed law, after giving six months' notice of their intention to apply for naturalisation, shall obtain the full franchise two years after naturalisation, instead of five years. Those who have not been naturalised within six months will have to fulfil the conditions applying to new comers."
Look at the trickery of this regulation. A man must apply for his naturalisation six months beforehand, and he is bound to be naturalised within six months of the promulgation of the law. If he does not make his application on the very day of the promulgation, he loses all the advantages of his residence in the Transvaal before 1890, and he must wait another seven years. Note, that on the actual day of promulgation the administration of the Transvaal could never, even in good faith, have dealt with the 20,000 or 30,000 declarations that would have been made; and Mr. Krueger calmly proceeds to adjourn to another seven years the Uitlanders who had already put in nine years of residence, total 16 years. Yes, Mr. Krueger is very clever to have invented such a skilful contrivance; to have had the audacity to propound it; and to hold the opinion of Europe in such contempt that he could think it possible to make the majority of people the dupe of such schemes; and he has succeeded!
Sir Alfred Milner replied in the courteous language of diplomacy that after the interchange of these two propositions, Mr. Krueger and himself found themselves on exactly the same ground as before the Conference, and that, therefore, there was no object to be gained by prolonging it.
AFTER THE CONFERENCE OF BLOEMFONTEIN.
1.—A Krueger Trick.
The Anglophobe Pro-Boers of course blame Mr. Chamberlain for the rupture of the Bloemfontein Conference, and extol the forbearance of Mr. Krueger, who carried off his proposal to have it passed by the Volksraad, and "his" burghers.
They do not reflect, that, had he honestly desired to put the matter on the road to settlement, Mr. Krueger should first have come to an understanding upon it. By passing it through the Volksraad as law, he should have cut the cable, were he in reality, anything but an autocrat, and such ratifications anything but mere formalities.
Mr. Krueger had the condescension to say to England, "So you will have none of my proposals which compel those already in the Transvaal to an eleven or twelve years' residence, coupled with impossible formalities, before obtaining the franchise? Very well, I will renew my offer to you in the name of the Volksraad and of "my" burghers, and if you are not satisfied, leave me alone to hoodwink a large proportion of enlightened men on the Continent into believing that I am simply the victim of Mr. Chamberlain's animosity, and England's greed."
[Footnote 20: Le Siecle, April 10th, 1900.]
2.—The Bill passed by the Volksraad.
The bill introduced into the Volksraad on July 13th was passed on July 19th, with only the addition of one amendment to Article 4, by which residents in the Transvaal, prior to the promulgation of the law, were entitled to obtain naturalisation after seven, instead of nine years of residence, on condition that they had complied with the requisite formalities, and had submitted to the delays before stated. People admired Mr. Krueger's generosity. Nine or ten years, instead of eleven or twelve, for the Uitlanders already settled in the Transvaal! What sacrifices he was making to ensure peace! What magnanimity towards Uitlanders! The first paragraph of Article 4 runs thus:
"Article 4. All persons who shall have settled in the South African Republic prior to the commencement of this Act, and who shall be eligible according to the conditions laid down in Article 1, may obtain letters of naturalisation seven years after arrival in the country."
This article, therefore, only accorded naturalisation to former residents; their seven years in the country counted no more than two.
Suppose them naturalised; in reality, they are deprived of all nationality.
They belong no longer to the land of their birth; if wronged, or maltreated they have no claim upon it for redress.
They are not burghers: they have no political rights; they are, in fact, minors who have lost their guardian.
This condition was to last for seven years in a country where changes are made by the week.
The art of importing confusion into the simplest matters, has been most successfully practised by Mr. Krueger and Dr. Leyds. They have even succeeded in persuading thinking men that the Uitlanders should have accepted with enthusiasm the law of July 19th, and that they should have been deeply grateful to Mr. Krueger who had "reduced from nine to seven years the term first proposed by him at Bloemfontein."
The changes referring to the "redistribution" of seats in the Volksraad were numerous. Mr. Krueger posed as making a huge concession to mining districts in raising the number of seats to twelve; but six of these were for the second Volksraad. Now the second Volksraad must always have the same number of members as the First; thus the apparent concession was merely a valueless automatic arrangement, for it is well understood that the second Volksraad is simply a show institution, devised in 1890. The various schemes for redistribution lead one to the conclusion that the number of members in the First Volksraad were to be in inverse ratio to the population.
The Uitlander looked with mistrust upon a law voted one day which could be modified the next by a simple resolution of the Volksraad; he considered it an illusion which might vanish at any moment Mr. Krueger and his friends thought proper.
4.—The Joint Commission.
The British Government might have replied that it did not recognise this law, and have confined itself to the proposals put forward by Sir Alfred Milner at the Bloemfontein Conference. It did not take this attitude which, in France, would have been advised by the most half-hearted of our Nationalists, had the French Government been engaged in similar negotiations.
In his despatch of July 27, Mr. Chamberlain appears to think that "the concessions made to the Uitlanders to guarantee them something of the equality promised them in 1881 were made in good faith; but this law of July 19th is full of complicated details; he therefore proposes that it should be examined by a joint commission." In the Colonial Secretary's despatch of August 2nd to Pretoria, he adds: "It is understood that the Commission to examine into the question of the Uitlanders' Electoral rights shall be prepared to discuss every subject that the Government of the South African Republic may desire to bring before it, including arbitration, exclusive always of the intervention of Foreign Powers."
The Government of Pretoria had put the law in force without waiting to consider these remarks.
On August 15th a despatch of Sir Alfred Milner's makes mention of a proposal of the State Attorney to the British Government to waive their invitation to a joint enquiry, in respect of the concession of a retrospective Franchise of seven years being substituted for mere naturalisation, and of an increase in the number of seats. Such a proposition on the part of the Government of Pretoria shows plainly that it wished to evade enquiry into a law so fettered with formalities that its working was chimerical. And when Sir Alfred Milner referred to his proposal at Bloemfontein, the State Attorney decreased to five years the term of retrospective registration, gave eight seats to the Rand, and two to other mining districts.
Upon which Pro-Boers exclaim: The Government of Pretoria has made every possible concession!
6.—The Conditions, and Withdrawal of Proposals.
They prove by that exclamation that they had not read Sir Alfred Milner's despatches of the 22nd and 23rd of August.
The Government of Pretoria made these concessions, indeed but on condition: (1) That the British Government shall withdraw its proposal for a joint Commission to enquire into whether the law was workable; (2) That the British Government shall renounce suzerainty; (3) That arbitration—apart from Foreign Powers, with exception of the Orange Free State—shall be granted immediately upon the Franchise Law being settled. On August 28th Mr. Chamberlain replies. Concerning the suzerainty, he refers to his despatch of July 13th; he consents to discuss the Constitution of a Tribunal of Arbitration from which Foreign Powers, and foreign influence, shall be excluded; he concludes by proposing a fresh Conference.
What is the reply of the Boer Government on September 2nd? The withdrawal of its proposals of August 19th and 21st, relative to the five years' Franchise and increase of number of seats in the Volksraad.
Thus, at the end of three months' negotiations, no conclusion had been arrived at.
It is to this despatch of September 2nd, that Mr. Chamberlain's despatch of September 8th, replies; in that despatch he states, that he is still prepared to accept the proposals of August 19th concerning the Franchise, provided that the enquiry by a Commission, joint or unilateral, prove that the law is workable.
The representation of Uitlanders in the Volksraad, is, of course, only possible on condition that they had the right to make use of the English language.
On September 23rd, the Transvaal Government replies that the taal, a language not spoken by any but Boers, is to remain the only language used in the Volksraad, and in dilatory phraseology paves the way for the ultimatum of October 9th. Here we have a summary of the negotiations relating to the franchise, from the time of the Bloemfontein Conference.
7.—The Franchise is Self-Government.
Confronted with these facts, the Pro-Boer cries: "Ah, but Mr. Krueger was obliged to protect himself. He could not have his burghers swamped by Uitlanders. He was perfectly right."
Good. There is the theory that honest dealing is unnecessary in public negotiations; an apology for that system which is in direct contradiction to the maxim of private law that you cannot give and withhold at one and the same time.
"But why should the English insist upon obtaining the franchise for Uitlanders?"
In order that there should be no more need for the British Government to concern itself in Transvaal affairs, Sir Alfred Milner was right when he said to the State Attorney (despatch of August 15th):
"I am sure that the present proposal is made bona fide in order to establish the rights of British subjects once for all; and the Government of the South African Republic need not entertain any fear that we should wish to intervene in its internal affairs in future."
On August 28th, Mr. Chamberlain speaks the same language; at the same time justly observing, that only a portion of the Englishmen residing in the Transvaal would seek to become naturalised.
In point of fact when in February, 1896, the British Government demanded autonomy for the Rand, and on this proposition being refused, demanded at Bloemfontein the Franchise for Uitlanders, it was neither bent upon a policy of absorption nor of conquest. They desired to place self-government in the hands of the Uitlanders, in order to be able to say to them: "Now manage your own affairs with the Boers, obtain respect for your rights by constitutional measures. We are no further concerned in the matter."
It was not the conquest of the Transvaal that was desired by the British Government, it was the establishment of an autonomous Republic.
The Uitlanders of British, Australian, German and American extraction, inter-mixing with the Boers, would soon have merged their national characteristics, and have become simply citizens of the South African Republic.
The Boers might have constructed a vast, wealthy and powerful State in which for generations to come, they would have held the supremacy. As a conquered people they will be compelled to accept the constitution they might have granted, and granted the more readily as they would have reaped the largest share of the benefits.
THE SUZERAINTY OF ENGLAND AND THE SOUTH AFRICAN REPUBLIC.
1.—Who raised the Question of Suzerainty?
Nine persons out of ten, when speaking of the Transvaal question, say: "Why did Chamberlain, at the last moment, raise the question of suzerainty? When everything had been settled, that question ruined all."
The more thoughtful men base their opinion on an article in Le Temps of September 15th, in which occurs this hypothetical paragraph:—
"Moreover it is possible, that, in the dim recesses of his brain, the Colonial Minister treasures, as a supreme hope and shadowy idea, the half-formed design of profiting by the discussion he is raising in order to excite fresh disputes, such as the complex question of suzerainty."
This insiduous and disloyal conjecture has been reproduced and utilised; the absolutely unfounded insinuation of Le Temps, has been turned into an accusation against Mr. Chamberlain.
Some people who fancy they can gauge the motives of statesmen better than their neighbours, add: "If he raised the question of suzerainty, it was because he wanted to bring about a war." Facts prove, however, that the suzerainty question was not raised by England, but by the Government at Pretoria.
The argument against England's suzerainty over the Transvaal is well known; the preamble to the 1881 Convention, in which the word occurs was not reproduced in the Convention of 1884.
But it is also known, that, in the letter to Lord Derby of November 14th, 1883, the delegates from the Pretoria Government demanded restrictions of "the right of suzerainty reserved to Her Majesty by Articles 2 and 18 of the Convention of 1881," and claimed, that "the relation of dependence publici juris in which their country now finds itself placed with regard to the British Crown shall be replaced by that of two contracting parties." In his despatch of November 29th, Lord Derby replied, that their "pretension to enter into treaty as between two contracting powers was neither in form nor substance acceptable by Her Majesty's Government."
The Preamble of the Convention of 1884 speaks of the representations of the delegates of the Pretoria Government, "which Her Majesty has been pleased to take into consideration."
Not daring to efface with a stroke of his pen the suzerainty question, Dr. Kuyper attempts a metaphorical distinction:—
"The suzerainty question solves itself. Suzerainty may be an "organic or mechanical relation"; if mechanical, it is arranged by contract."
When Dr. Kuyper declares England's suzerainty to be of the mechanical order, he admits that the Transvaal did not hold towards England the position of an absolutely independent State.
Having been obliged to recognise the right of veto, which Article 4 confers upon England regarding the external relations of the Transvaal, he contradicts himself when he invokes the principle of the equality "of States among themselves."
Taking refuge in a kind of prescription, he says: "Never, before 1898, had England breathed a word regarding suzerainty throughout all her interminable correspondence."
On March 6th, 1897, however, Mr. Chamberlain addressed a despatch to the South African Republic, in which he complains of several failures to observe the Convention of 1884. The following facts are cited by him: (1) Conclusion of a treaty of extradition with Holland, signed at the Hague, November 14th, 1895; of an act with Portugal, signed at Lisbon, November 3rd, 1893; of a convention with Switzerland, signed September 30th, 1896—none of these treaties had been submitted to the English Government, in violation of Article 4 of the Convention of 1884; (2) Laws concerning the emigration of foreigners, the expulsion of foreigners, the Press, all in contravention of Article 14 of the 1884 Convention.
Mr. Van Boeschoten, Secretary of State to the Transvaal at that time, proposed arbitration, the arbitrator to be chosen by the President of the Swiss Confederation.
Replying on October 16th, 1897, Mr. Chamberlain said that in making this proposal the Pretoria Government "appears to have misunderstood the distinction existing between two independent powers."
There we see a distinct assertion of suzerainty, the question which, according to Dr. Kuyper, was first raised in 1898.
"By the Pretoria Convention of 1881, Her Majesty, as Sovereign of the Transvaal, granted to the inhabitants of this territory complete self-government subject to the suzerainty of Her Majesty; and according to the London Convention of 1884, Her Majesty, while maintaining the preamble to the preceding instrument declared that certain other Articles would be substituted for Articles contained in the Convention of 1881. The Articles of the Convention of 1881 have been accepted by the Volksraad of the Transvaal State and those of the Convention of 1884 by the Volksraad of the South African Republic.
"According to these Conventions Her Majesty's position towards the South African Republic is that of a suzerain, who has granted to the people of this Republic self-government under certain conditions; and it would be incompatible with this situation to submit to arbitration the meaning of the conditions under which she has granted self-government to the Republic."
Mr. Chamberlain concluded by saying that he could not admit the intervention of any Foreign power between the English Government and that of the South African Republic, and that, therefore, he could not submit the violations of the Convention of 1884 to the consideration of such a power.
On April 11th, 1898, the new State Secretary, Mr. Reitz, returned to the question in a long despatch described by Dr. Kuyper as "crushing" (foudroyante), and which proves, at least, that the Suzerainty Question had been raised before 1898, since it endeavours to refute Mr. Chamberlain's despatches of March 6th, and October 16th, 1897.
To this Mr. Chamberlain replies, December 15th, 1898:—
"The preamble to the Convention of 1881 remains the basis of the relations between Her Majesty and the inhabitants of the South African Republic. To these inhabitants Her Majesty guarantees internal independence, to Herself she reserves the Suzerainty. The concession of internal independence and the reservation of the Suzerainty have but one common origin—the preamble to the Convention of 1881."
Dr. Reitz succeeded Dr. Leyds as Secretary of State, and on May 9th, 1899, replied to the despatch of the preceding December 15th. In forwarding this despatch Sir Alfred Milner observed that it contained a pretension never before put forward by the Government of Pretoria, the following words being used: "the inherent right of a Sovereign International State."
Mr. Chamberlain replied, July 13th, 1899, summarising the Conventions of 1852, 1881, and 1884; he recalled Lord Derby's declaration in the House of Lords, March 17th, 1884: "Whatever Suzerainty meant in the Convention of Pretoria, the condition of things which it implies still remains. Though the word is not actually used, we have kept the substance."
[Footnote 21: Le Siecle, April 11th, 1900.]
2.—The Suzerainty and the Conference of the Hague.
How was it that the theorists, who take up the utterance of Dr. Reitz, that: "the Transvaal has the inherent rights of a Sovereign International State," did not ask the Queen of the Netherlands that the South African Republic might be represented at the Conference of the Hague? It was a grand opportunity, which they no more dreamt of seizing, than the thought of asking that the Bey of Tunis should take part in it.
These documents referred to by us prove that the Suzerainty Question was not raised at the last moment, as the Temps of September 15th, 1899, is affirmed to have stated; that it was not raised only in 1898, as stated by Dr. Kuyper; that at least it was raised on March 6th, 1897; that, since the last mentioned date, it has given rise to an important correspondence; and, finally, that it was the first subject raised by President Krueger at the Bloemfontein Conference.
THE ARBITRATION QUESTION.
1.—How the Transvaal interprets Arbitration.
According to the idea prevailing throughout Europe, President Krueger had conceded everything from the franchise point of view, when all was ruined by Mr. Chamberlain raising the Suzerainty Question at the last moment. We have seen the value of these two assertions.
Then, certain members of the ultra peace party ask hotly: "Why did he not accept arbitration?" The word in itself appears to them to possess some sovereign virtue. Dr. Kuyper seems to me to be suffering from that terrible intellectual malady psittacism when he exclaims:—
"Arbitration is the mot d'ordre of modern civilisation."
and he adds:—
"As if arbitration were not the rule between masters and workmen."
I have often demonstrated the "illusion of such arbitration" (among others see Le Siecle, October 6th, 1899), the negative effects produced in France by the law on optional arbitration, and in England by the Conciliation Act of 1896.
From an international point of view, the judgment passed by the Arbitration Tribunal in the matter of the Delagoa Bay Railway, after a lapse of ten years, is not one to induce governments to have recourse to it.
In the relations between England and the Transvaal, the Arbitration Question is closely connected with the Suzerainty Question. It was raised May 7th, 1897, by the State Secretary, Mr. Van Boeschoten, in reply to the complaints made in Mr. Chamberlain's despatch of March 6th, 1897, relating to the violation of the 1884 Convention. Mr. Van Boeschoten's proposal was that the President of the Swiss Confederation should be asked to appoint an arbitrator.
On October 16th, 1897, Mr. Chamberlain replied:—
"The Government of the South African Republic proposes that the contested points of the Convention shall be submitted to arbitration, the arbitrator to be appointed by the President of the Swiss Confederation. In making this proposal the Government appears to have misunderstood the difference existing between the Conventions of 1881 and 1884 and an ordinary treaty between two independent powers."
The conventions had been made up; they did not suit the Government of the South African Republic. Could the British Government say: "They do not suit you. Very well, we will ask the head of a foreign State to appoint an arbitrator by whom they will be considered and annulled in the event of his sympathizing with you."
In diplomatic terms Mr. Chamberlain explains that the English Government could not carry its condescension so far as to subject to the judgment of a foreigner the result of its policy and the negotiations of its diplomats. On April 16th, 1898, a claim was made by Dr. Leyds for: "A tribunal under international law for the especial purpose of deciding differences of opinion regarding the mode of Government, and the rights and obligations of the South African Republic towards the British Government." Again Mr. Chamberlain replied, on December 15th, 1898, that the English Government could admit of no intervention of a Foreign power between the Pretoria Government and itself.
During the afternoon of the second day of the Bloemfontein Conference the arbitration question with regard to Swazieland, was raised by Mr. Krueger. He returned to the subject on the third day, as follows:—
"In the event of Swazieland becoming part of my Republic; an agreement being arrived at with reference to the Jameson Raid indemnity; Her Majesty's Government agreeing to interfere no more with my internal government; and arriving at an acceptable solution of the Franchise Question; the matter of English subjects, who, having no need to become burghers, yet still have reason to complain of illegal actions, might be submitted to arbitration."
Sir Alfred Milner replied that: "the English Government could not allow interference between itself and the South African Republic, of a foreign power or influence; that it might, however, be possible to consider some other way of nominating an impartial tribunal, and examining certain questions; but that he himself was not authorised to do so."
In conclusion President Krueger said:—
"Give me Swazieland, the indemnity for the Jameson Raid, and arbitration, in exchange for the Franchise, otherwise, I should have nothing. These points would make something worth having."
Sir Alfred Milner's reply was that President Krueger had raised the question of arbitration, without mentioning the manner of arbitration; that there were some questions, with regard to which it could not be admitted by the English Government; that there were others on which it might be admitted; that, if proposals were put forward, he would submit them to his Government.
Mr. Krueger's closing words were:—
"I have nothing to add, I shall submit the questions concerning the Franchise to the Volksraad as soon as I receive the reply that the English Government accepts my proposal of arbitration."
On June 9th, the proposals relating to arbitration were formulated by Mr. Reitz, State Secretary to the Pretoria Government. He began by proving that he could put into people's mouths words which had never been uttered by them. He declared that "at the Bloemfontein Conference the High Commissioner was personally favourable to the settlement by arbitration of all the differences between the two Governments." Sir Alfred Milner had been careful not to go so far as this.
After this inaccurate preamble the following proposals were made by Mr. Reitz:—
(1) "In future, all questions arising between the two Governments, and relating to the interpretation of the London Convention to be submitted to a tribunal of arbitration, with the exception of questions of trifling importance."
(2) "The tribunal to be composed of two arbitrators appointed respectively by each government, as for instance the Chief Justices of the South African Republic, Cape Colony or Natal. The power to be given to them of choosing as a third arbitrator, someone who should be a subject of neither of the disputing parties; the decision in all cases to rest with the majority."
(3) "The instrument of submission to be considered in each case by the two governments, in order that both may have the right of reserving and excluding any points appearing to them too important to be submitted to arbitration."
Sir Alfred Milner remarked that this project was "a mere skeleton proposal by which too many things were left undefined." For instance, what did the words "trifling matters" mean? and what was meant by the third article, which gives to both Governments the right of excluding from arbitration points which may appear to them too important to be submitted to it?
Finally, the very composition of the tribunal was in contradiction to the reservations made by the English Government. The third arbitrator would be a foreigner, and with this third arbitrator would rest the decision.
[Footnote 22: Le Siecle, April 26th, 1900.]
2.—Mr. Chamberlain's Conditions.
In his telegram of July 27th, however, Mr. Chamberlain did not reply by an absolute definite refusal. He rejected the composition of the tribunal; but he acknowledged that: "the interpretation of the convention in detail is not exempt from difficulties, putting aside the question of the interpretation of the preamble of the Convention of 1881, which regulates the articles substituted in the Convention of 1884." And then Mr. Chamberlain invited Sir Alfred Milner to enquire of Mr. Krueger whether he would accept the exclusion of the Foreign element in the settlement of disputes, arising from the interpretation of the Convention of 1884:
"As to how far and by what method, questions could be decided by a judicial authority whose independence, impartiality and capacity should be above suspicion."
Thus the constitution of a tribunal of arbitration was accepted by Mr. Chamberlain, and in his despatch of August 28th he directed Sir Alfred Milner to arrange a fresh conference with Mr. Krueger. On September 2nd the Pretoria Government asks whether the British Government will receive burghers of the Free State as members of the arbitration tribunal? which are the subjects it will be competent to settle? and which will be reserved?
Sir Alfred Milner's views on this subject are stated in a lengthy despatch to the Government, dated September 8th. The points which Sir Alfred Milner considered should be excluded from arbitration as being likely to re-open discussion are the following: (1) The position of the British Indians; (2) the position of other British coloured subjects; (3) the right of all British subjects to be treated as favourably as those of any other country; "a right which has never been formally admitted by the South African Republic."
Here the Arbitration Question may be said to have dropped, Sir A. Milner's telegram of September 8th being followed by the ultimatum of October 9th.
Hence this question was not a new one at the time of the Bloemfontein Conference. It had been raised by the Government of Pretoria as a means by which its "inherent rights as a Sovereign State" should be acknowledged, a pretension which could not be admitted by the British Government.
As we have seen, however, arbitration was not absolutely refused by Mr. Chamberlain; he imposed two conditions; the Conventions of 1881 and 1884 were not to be questioned, foreigners were not to be chosen as arbitrators; the points referred to arbitration should be clearly specified.
There is a vast difference between this attitude and the arrogant tone generally ascribed to Mr. Chamberlain. It is always advisable to refer to the documents on a question before discussing it.
THE BOER ULTIMATUM.
1.—Dr. Kuyper's Logic.
Referring to the Bloemfontein Conference, Dr. Kuyper says:
"Mr. Chamberlain opened his criminal negotiations ... Unfortunately for him, his opponent, of whom Bismarck said there was not a statesman in Europe who surpassed him for sagacity and sound judgment, did not fall into the trap. He prolonged the negotiations ... but from the moment he held in his hands undeniable proofs of the manner in which Mr. Chamberlain was luring him on and seeking to gain time, he hurled at him the reproach of "coveting Naboth's vineyard," and sent an ultimatum to London." (p. 502).
We are struck in this passage by the admirable logic of Dr. Kuyper. It is Krueger who "prolongs the negotiations," and Chamberlain who "seeks to gain time." To heighten the prestige of Mr. Krueger, Dr. Kuyper invokes the testimony of Bismarck. I certainly think that it was Krueger's ambition to become the Bismarck of South Africa, and President of the "Africa for the Afrikanders, from the Zambesi to Simon's Bay."
I come to the final act:—
On September 2nd, the Government of Pretoria withdrew its proposal to reduce the delay in granting the franchise to five years; the British Government not having accepted the conditions imposed: (1) Refusal of all enquiry into the condition of the Franchise Law by a Joint Commission; (2) Abrogation of Suzerainty in conformity with the note of the Government of Pretoria, of April 16th, 1898; (3) Refusal to submit questions under discussion to Arbitration.
[Footnote 23: Le Siecle, April 13th, 1900.]
2.—Despatches of the 8th and 22nd September.
Mr. Chamberlain replied in his despatch of September 8th. He was unable to accept the terms of the Note of April 16th, 1898, which he had formally refused.
He maintained that the Franchise Law was insufficient to guarantee an immediate and effective representation of the Uitlanders.
He demanded that a joint, or unilateral, Commission should be instituted to examine whether the law on the Franchise were not rendered inoperative by the conditions which would make such representations impossible.
The acceptance of these propositions by the South African Republic would put an end to the tension existing between the two Governments, and, in all probability, would render ulterior intervention on the part of Her Majesty's Government to ensure redress of the Uitlanders' grievances unnecessary, as they themselves would thenceforth be entitled to bring them directly to the cognizance of the Executive and the Raad.
Mr. Chamberlain adds that the British Government is prepared to authorise a fresh Conference between the President of the South African Republic and the High Commissioner in order to settle all details of a Tribunal of Arbitration, and the questions capable of being submitted to it on the basis of the Note of August 30th.
This very moderately worded despatch, embodying equally moderate propositions, ended as follows:
"Should, however—which Her Majesty's Government earnestly trusts may not be the case—the reply of the South African Government be negative, or dilatory, it reserves to itself the right to consider the situation de novo, and to formulate its own propositions for a final settlement."
The Government of Pretoria replied on September 16th, by referring to its Note of September 2nd. It devotes an entire paragraph to the statement that the English language will not be admitted in the Volksraad. It refuses to consider at that juncture the appointment of a fresh Conference; it accepts, however, the proposed Joint Commission.
Mr. Chamberlain replies in his despatch of September 22nd, in which he clearly states the attitude of the British Government. It has no desire to interfere in any way with the independence of the South African Republic. It has not asserted any other rights of interference in the internal affairs of the South African Republic than those derived from the Conventions, or "which belong to every neighbouring Government for the protection of its subjects and of its adjoining possessions. But, by the action of the Government of the South African Republic, who have in their Note of May 9th, asserted the right of the Republic to be a Sovereign International State, it has been compelled to repudiate any such claim." He repeats that the Franchise would enable the Uitlanders to procure just treatment for themselves, and concludes by saying: "the refusal of the South African Republic to entertain the offer thus made coming, as it does, at the end of nearly four months of negotiations, and of five years of agitation, makes it useless to further pursue a discussion on the lines hitherto followed, and Her Majesty's Government are now compelled to consider the situation afresh and to formulate their own proposals for a final settlement."
The Transvaal Government has accused Sir Alfred Milner of not keeping his word. Two despatches, one from Mr. Chamberlain, September 16th, the other from Sir Alfred Milner, September 20th, refute this allegation.
These two despatches received no reply. On September 28th, the Volksraad of the Orange Free State proclaimed that it would "faithfully and honorably fulfil its obligations towards the South African Republic, in accordance with the alliance between the two States, whatever might be the consequences." Mr. Steyn, the President, gave an account of the negotiations from his point of view. The Cape presented a petition drawn up by fifty-eight members of the Cape Parliament, five of whom were Ministers and had adopted Mr. Steyn's view; on the other side, fifty-three members of both Chambers passed a resolution approving the policy of the British Government. President Steyn complained of troops being sent to Africa. Later events have proved whether these complaints were justifiable. On September 29th, the Netherlands Railway stated that communication with Natal was interrupted. The telegraph wires were cut. On October 2nd, President Krueger, in adjourning the Volksraad sine die, stated that "War is inevitable," and on October 9th, the Government of the South African Republic handed an Ultimatum to the British Agent at Pretoria.
The Ultimatum demanded Arbitration on all subjects; the withdrawal of British troops; the re-embarkation of British troops landed after June 1st; troops on the high seas not be landed.
"The Transvaal Government requires an immediate and affirmative reply on these four points, before five o'clock, p.m. on Wednesday, October 11th, and it is added that should a satisfactory reply not have reached within that period, it will, to its great regret, be compelled to consider the action of Her Majesty's Government as a formal declaration of War."
Next day Mr. Chamberlain naturally replied that "henceforth all discussion was impossible." Notification was made on the 11th of October. Englishmen and suspected foreigners were expelled; and President Steyn, with the special Boer skill, in misrepresenting facts, announced that "England had committed itself to an open, and unjustifiable attack upon the independence of the South African Republic."
We have seen from which side the attack came.
DR. KUYPER'S FINAL METAPHOR.
1.—Where are the Peace Lovers?
I have finished my criticism of Dr. Kuyper's article.
Should he not find it clear, perhaps he will be kind enough to mark the points which he desires to have explained. I will gladly insert his reply, on condition that he allows me to publish it, with his article, in pamphlet form, so that readers may have both sides of the question before them. I do not follow him in detail in his apologetic, religious, metaphysical, and oratorical digressions where common-places stand for facts and arguments.
"Has civilisation the right to propagate itself by means of war?" he cries. As far as I am concerned, I think war a very bad vehicle of civilisation, albeit it has often served the purpose; but as long as it remains the last resource of international relations, it is impossible to suppress it.
I return the question. "Has an inferior civilisation the right to impose itself upon a superior civilisation, and to propagate itself by means of war?"
Pro-Boers delight to exhibit in the shop windows a picture representing three Transvaal soldiers; a youth of sixteen, an old man of sixty-five, and a man in the prime of life. What does it prove? That every Boer is a soldier. They have no other calling; to drive ox-teams; ride; shoot; keep a sharp eye on the Kaffirs in charge of their cattle; use the sjambok freely "in Boer fashion," to make them work; these are their occupations. Their civilisation is one of the most characteristic types of a military civilisation.
It is a curious thing, that so many Europeans among the lovers of peace, should actually be the fiercest enemies of England, a country which represents industrial civilisation in so high a degree, that she stands alone, in all Europe, in refusing to adopt compulsory military service. Such lovers of peace range themselves on the side of professional fighters against peaceable citizens. They are for the Boer spoliator against the despoiled Uitlanders. They take their stand against the English who in 1881 and 1884 voluntarily restored autonomy to the Transvaal, and in favor of the Boer, who in the Petition of Rights, 1881, took for programme, as in the pamphlet recently published by Dr. Reitz, "Africa for the Afrikanders from the Zambesi to Simon's Bay."
The British Government, far from desiring fresh conquests, is drawn on by its colonists. France colonises by sending an army, to be followed by officials; then the government, the press, and committees of all sorts, beg and pray refractory home lovers to go forth and settle in the conquered territory. Englishmen go out to Australia, Borneo, Johannesburg; and the British Government has to follow them. It is not English trade which follows the flag, it is the flag which follows the trade. The present crisis was not brought about by the zeal of British statesmen, but by their weakness in 1881 and 1884; and by the habit which they have allowed the Government of Pretoria of violating conventions with impunity. To such a degree were these violations carried on with regard to the Uitlanders (chiefly English) who, relying on the guarantee of the Transvaal Government, had settled and invested millions of capital in the country, that, dreading for their lives after the murder of Edgar, they presented the petition of March 28th, 1899, to the British Government. No government in the world, approached in such a manner, could have refused to move; and where European governments have gone wrong is that, instead of supporting the action of Great Britain, they let President Krueger believe that they would intervene against her, to the prejudice even of their own countrymen.
It may be mentioned that British Uitlanders only appealed to their own government, after having, conjointly with Uitlanders of other nationalities, addressed various petitions, since 1894, to the Pretoria Government which petitions were received with contempt, President Krueger replying: "Protest! protest as much as you like! I have arms, and you have none!"
[Footnote 24: Le Siecle, April 14th, 1900.]
2.—The Moral Worth of the Boers.
Dr. Kuyper affirms that "with regard to moral worth the Boers do not fall short of any European nation." I have not wished to digress from my argument by entering upon known cases of corruption concerning the Volksraad in general, and Mr. Krueger in particular, but we have seen their methods of legislation, of administering justice, and of keeping their pledged word; let that suffice.
Dr. Kuyper collects all the calumnies against British soldiers, but he dare not aver that the Boers have not been guilty of the abuse of the white flag, and of the Red Cross. At the beginning of April, Lieutenant Williams, trusting in the good faith of a party of Boers, who hoisted the white flag, was shot dead by them.
Dr. Kuyper says "all the despatches have been garbled, defeats turned into victories." It is not of Dr. Leyds he is speaking, but of the English. He declares (February 1st) that "the best English regiments are already disintegrated," that "the immensity of the cost will frighten the English shopkeepers," that "the ministerial majority will likely soon be dissipated." In giving these proofs of perspicacity, Dr. Kuyper charitably adds, concerning England, "her reverses may be her salvation." And in order to ensure her this salvation, he looks forward to "those projected alliances, whose tendency it is unquestionably to draw together against that insular power," of which Dr. Kuyper would fain "be the son, were he not a Dutchman," and yet whose destruction he so ardently desires. This far seeing politician forgets that were his wishes realised, Holland would be the first victim.
3.—A Lioness out of Place.
Dr. Kuyper delivers a lengthy dissertation upon "the inadequacy of the Christian movement"; and shows himself worthy to be a collaborator of M. Brunetiere by excommunicating Schleiermacher, "the typical representative," says the Rev. J.F. Smith, of modern effort to reconcile science, theology and the "world of to-day with Christianity."
He inveighs against individualism, Darwinism, and the law of evolution; he speaks of "the broad paths of human sin," and accuses the English clergy of "betraying the God of Justice"; he places before them the God of the Boers, declaring that "an invisible Power protects their commandos."
Dr. Kuyper who is much better acquainted with the North Sea herrings than with African lions, concludes his articles with this daring metaphor:—
"So long as the roar of the Transvaal lioness, surrounded by her cubs, shall be heard from the heights of the Drakensberg, so long shall the Boers remain unconquered."
Now, the Boers have surmounted the armorial bearings of the South African Republic with an eagle, bird of prey beloved of conquerers. It is true that in the left quarter of their coat of arms is a small lion lying down with bristling mane. It is probably the lady-friend of this ferocious quadruped which Dr. Kuyper has chosen to symbolise the people of the Transvaal.
I would merely remark to him that the highest summit of the Drakensberg rises to an elevation of something like 10,000 feet. It is situated away from the frontier of the Transvaal, between Natal, Basutoland, and the Orange Free State. I imagine it is there that Dr. Kuyper's Transvaal lioness is to take her stand, in order to carry out Krueger's programme "Africa for the Afrikanders, from the Zambesi to Simon's Bay." But the poor animal would not be long on that height, before she would die of cold and hunger. This concluding imagery well reflects the spirit of Dr. Kuyper's essay; it demonstrates to perfection the rapacious and megalomaniac ideal of the Boers; and in his grandiloquence the author contrives to express exactly the reverse of what he means.
4.—Moral Unity by Means of Unity of Method.
Here again Dr. Kuyper puts metaphor in the place of reasoning; a truly Eastern mode of discussion.
Ever since I entered upon public life, I have always endeavoured, in the study of social and political phenomena, to eliminate subjective affirmations, the dogmatic and comminatory a priori, the antiquated methods which consist of taking words for things, nomina for numina, metaphors for realities.
Physical and biological science owe to the objective method the progress that, from the times of Bacon and Galileo, has transformed the face of the world; social science must henceforth replace rhetoric, scholasticism and all balderdash of that kind; affirmations, a priori, and excommunications, by the rigorous scrutiny of facts: Unity of Method will lead to Moral Unity.