[Footnote 25: Yves Guyot. Les Principes de 1789 et le Socialisme.]
I cannot do better than reproduce at the end of this pamphlet the analysis made by me in Le Siecle, March 14th, of a remarkable article written by M. Tallichet, Editor of the Bibliotheque Universelle de Lausanne.
ENGLAND, HOLLAND AND GERMANY.
I have good reason for believing that President Krueger was kept by Dr. Leyds under the illusion that he could count on intervention in his favour. However, "Who should intervene?" is the question asked by M. Tallichet in his article, La Guerre du Transvaal et l'Europe, published by La Bibliotheque Universelle de Lausanne.
"President MacKinley, as was asked of him in a petition organised by the Peace League? He has no such intention. Of the European Powers, three only could have tried to do so: Russia, Germany and France. Russia, however, who might have induced France to act with her, will not trouble herself about it. Nicholas II., her sovereign, has but lately taken part at the Hague in a conference promoted by himself for the purpose of considering the means of insuring peace. Having taken the initiative he may be believed to have been actuated by philanthropic motives. But it also happens that peace is, for Russia, of the greatest importance, grown, as she is, out of all proportion, continuing to extend her tentacles wherever there is a chance of seizing something. To this cause of weakness must be added others: the need of money for her gigantic enterprises; the famine, now become endemic, by which her European provinces are ravaged, depopulated and reduced to the greatest misery. She is profiting now by her experiences after the Crimean War. As long as she remains inactive, the influence she exercises on general politics by her mere extent, and the mysterious power which seems to be the corollary of it, far exceeds her actual strength. On her descending into the arena, however, this optical illusion is dissipated, as was apparent in the recent Turkish War; her prestige was lessened. No steps will therefore be taken by her to increase England's difficulties by which she gains much without striking a single blow.
"With regard to France, her only interest in the question is her rivalry with England and the possibility, afforded by the latter's difficulties, of re-opening the Egyptian Question. Public opinion was sounded on this subject by a few newspapers, government organs among them, but without obtaining the desired result. Although not daring to counsel a formal alliance with Germany, they would have liked to see her intervene. The present French Government, and especially M. Delcasse may be credited with too much good sense and good feeling to resort to the foolish, pin-pricking policy of M. Hanotaux to which the Fashoda incident is really due. Such blunders are not made a second time."
Only Germany remains to be considered. That there have been intimate relations between the Governments at Pretoria and Berlin, is certain. At one time the Emperor's aspiration was to unite his possessions in East Africa to those in the West, and he counted on the Transvaal to assist him. Mr. Stead's opinion on this subject, at the time of the Jameson Raid, has already been quoted by us (Le Siecle, December 28th, 1899). But this policy has since been renounced by him; the German Government took fright at the influence exercised by Dr. Leyds on certain of the Berlin newspapers; guns and Mauser rifles have been furnished by Krupp, but that is a private firm; German officers have entered the Boer army, to what extent have they been disavowed? The Emperor William is certainly interested in the Transvaal War.
"He gets others to experiment on the value of German armaments, rifles, guns, and all the tactical and strategetical problems incident to the perfection of modern arms, and which have not yet been solved. Experience, that is to say war, is worth everything in such a matter as this, and the Boers with their German officers are literally working for 'the King of Prussia.'"
That the Emperor should wish the Boers to succeed is logical enough, and to all Frenchmen capable of thought, to Belgians, Swiss and Dutch too we commend the way in which this desire is proved by M. Tallichet:
"Should the Boers be successful, England's power would be lessened. She could no longer maintain the balance of power in Europe, which is a service of inestimable benefit to our continent, especially to the smaller countries, and to none more than to Holland. The conquest of the Netherlands is a great temptation to Germany, who would thereby gain exactly what she wishes: an excellent sea-board; a great number of sailors; colonies, at the very moment when she is aspiring to a first-class fleet. In a recent number of the semi-official Norddeutsche Zeitung, an article was published by Dr. Ed. von Hartmann, suggesting that Holland should be persuaded, or if necessary forced by commercial competition to become part of the German Empire, which would thus gain all it could possibly desire. Is it likely that this glorious little country will consent? Its charming young Queen, said to be a great sympathiser with the Boers, will she descend from her present position to take rank with the German Princes under the Emperor whose equal she is to-day? Assuredly not.
"But if, on the other hand, England were to be paralysed, no defence of Holland would be possible; France could not undertake it alone, much as it would be to her interest; and what other Powers would be capable of resisting?
"Of course, it may be urged, the German Emperor would never do such a thing. Perhaps not, he is not immortal however, and there is no knowing what may be done by his successors. Besides, by his friendship with Abdul-Hamid, he has shown himself capable of sacrificing everything to the greatness of his Empire. It would in all probability be unnecessary to resort to force; there are less brutal ways just as efficacious. In the event of Germany possessing undisputed preponderance, with no counter-weight, she will bring an irresistible pressure to bear upon Holland, as did Russia to poor Finland, and induce her to join the Germanic Confederation. When, therefore, Holland upholds the Transvaal, and seeks to annihilate England, she, like the Boers, though in a different manner, is working for "the King of Prussia"."
I earnestly recommend this passage in M. Ed. Tallichet's article to the attention of my fellow-countrymen; the folly which dominates our foreign policy, alarms me as much as that which caused the innocence of Dreyfus to be denied for years, by Ministers, the etat-major, and many millions of Frenchmen. Justice was sacrificed by them to paltry considerations, and to-day those of us who are infatuated with sympathy for the pillaging policy of the Boers seem to have set up as their ideal the completion of the disaster of 1870!
M. Ed. Tallichet's article should be read and carefully considered by all who take an interest in the future of Europe. The question is presented by him fully and clearly; there is no trace of sympathy for or antipathy to Boers or British; the fate of France, Holland, Belgium, Switzerland, is equally discussed. Their position is linked with England's power; any injury to her power would weaken any of the smaller countries above-mentioned, and be a source of danger to France.
[Footnote 26: Le Siecle, March 14th, 1900.]
DR. KUYPER'S ADMISSION.
I. Offer to Dr. Kuyper to reproduce his article.—II. Dilatory reply of Dr. Kuyper.—III. Withdrawal of Dr. Kuyper.—IV. M. Brunetiere's refusal.—V. The Queen of Holland and Dr. Kuyper's article.
OFFER TO DR. KUYPER.
On March 25th I addressed the following registered letter to Dr. Kuyper:
March 25th, 1900.
I have the honour to send you the numbers of Le Siecle containing a criticism of your article, "La Crise Sud-Africaine," which appeared in the Revue des Deux Mondes.
In order to present the pros and cons to the reader at one and the same time, I ask you to agree to the following proposition: I offer to publish in one pamphlet your article and my reply. I undertake to pay the cost and if there should be any profits to divide them with you.
By accepting this proposal you will show that you are as convinced of the solidity of your arguments as I am of the solidity of mine.
II. REPLY OF DR. KUYPER.
I received the following letter, March 29th:
AMSTERDAM, March 28th, 1900.
TO M. YVES GUYOT.
Only having received one number of your paper (23,381) I do not know whether your criticism is finished. As soon as I have it all before me—with references to the documents cited, if you please, otherwise it is difficult to follow—I will see whether it calls for a detailed reply on my part, in which case I might, according to American precedent, republish my article, inserting, with your permission, your reply. This was done by the New York Outlook, when it published in the same number, "the Case of the Boers," and "the Case of the British."
At the same time the copyright of my article belongs to the Editor of the Revue des Deux Mondes, without whose permission I can do nothing. As I shall be in Paris before long I will ask him for it, should your polemic attack seem to me to require a reply.
With regard to your proposal to leave the risks of a fresh publication to you, while sharing the profits, although I appreciate the delicacy of such a suggestion, I could not accept it.
The following remarks on his letter were published by me in Le Siecle, March 30th.
"With regard to the first point, I regret that, at the time of writing, Dr. Kuyper should only have received one number of Le Siecle; each of my replies having been sent to him under registered cover on the day of publication. It is unfortunate for me that Dr. Kuyper's Article should have appeared in the Revue des Deux Mondes, for that brings me again into contact with M. Brunetiere, and it is well-known that M. Brunetiere who, last year for fifteen days burdened Le Siecle with his prose, does not wish this discussion to be presented to the reader in its entirety. I am greatly afraid of his desiring the same isolation for Dr. Kuyper's article.
"As far as I am concerned, having began my reply to Dr. Kuyper I shall continue it. If it is not M. Brunetiere's wish that our articles should be published together he will thereby acknowledge anew the force of my replies. Were they not documented and convincing, he would not fear their proximity."
III. ANOTHER LETTER.
On April 6th I sent the following letter to Dr. Kuyper (registered).
April 6th, 1900.
In a few days I shall have finished my replies to your article; they will then be published in pamphlet form. I have the honour to ask you definitely whether you accept my proposal to precede them with your article in the Revue des Deux Mondes.
In answer to this I received the following letter from Dr. Kuyper written from the Grand Hotel, Paris:
GRAND HOTEL, 12, BOULEVARD DES CAPUCINES, April 12th, 1900.
My last letter informed you to what extent I could meet your wishes.
Now that, without regard to my reply, you simply ask for the authorisation to print my article in a pamphlet which you propose to publish, I can only refer you to the person who has the power to dispose of the copyright.
I was under the impression that I had acted in accordance with the reply of Dr. Kuyper, who in his letter, March 28th, wrote: "The copyright of my article belongs to the Editor of the Revue des Deux Mondes, without whose permission I can do nothing. As I shall be in Paris before long I will ask him for it should your polemics seem to me to require a reply."
But since Mr. Kuyper withdrew from the correspondence I wrote the following letter to Mr. Brunetiere, Editor of the Revue des Deux Mondes:
April 13th, 1900.
TO THE EDITOR, SIR,
In the Revue des Deux Mondes, February 1st, an article was published by Dr. Kuyper under the title of "La Crise Sud-Africaine."
I have published a criticism upon it in Le Siecle; and in order that both sides of the question may be presented to the reader, I have asked Dr. Kuyper's authorisation to reproduce his article in a pamphlet in which I purpose to collect my own.
On March 28th, Dr. Kuyper wrote me: "The copyright of my article belongs to the editor of the Revue des Deux Mondes, without whose permission I can do nothing. As I shall be in Paris before long I will ask him for it, should your polemic attack seem to me to require a reply."
To-day Dr. Kuyper writes to me from the Grand Hotel, Paris: "I can only refer you to the person who has the power to dispose of the copyright." Since I am asked by Dr. Kuyper to make the request which he had undertaken to make himself, I will do so. I have the honour to ask you for the authorisation to publish Dr. Kuyper's article which appeared in the Revue des Deux Mondes under the title of "La Crise Sud-Africaine," and to inform me of your conditions for the reproduction.
IV. M. BRUNETIERE'S REFUSAL.
The next day I received the following from M. Brunetiere:
PARIS, April 14th, 1900.
You ask me for the authorisation to publish in a pamphlet Dr. Kuyper's article which appeared in the Revue des Deux Mondes, under the title of "La Crise Sud-Africaine." I hasten to refuse you the authorisation.
I am, Sir, etc., F. BRUNETIERE.
In this reply I trace M. Brunetiere's habitual courtesy. If I do not thank him for his refusal, I yet thank him for the promptness with which it was signified by him.
It had been my desire to enable the reading public to judge for themselves the value of the arguments put forward by Dr. Kuyper and myself; but it was evidently M. Brunetiere's wish that Dr. Kuyper's article should be known only to the readers of the Revue des Deux Mondes, and that they should remain ignorant of my reply. This is in itself a confession; for undoubtedly had Dr. Kuyper been convinced that it was impossible for me to refute his arguments he would have requested M. Brunetiere to give me the authorisation to reproduce his article.
On April 26th a telegram from the Havas Agency announced that the Queen of Holland had received the journalists of Amsterdam, of whom Dr. Kuyper is President.
I therefore wrote the following letter to Mr. W.H. de Beaufort, the Dutch Minister for Foreign Affairs:
PARIS, April 27th, 1900.
TO H.E. THE MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS.
The Havas Agency, in a telegram, April 26, gives the following information:
"Replying to a speech made by Dr. Kuyper, President of the Society of Journalists, the Queen said she had read with interest his article on the South African crisis, published in a Paris review. The Queen expressed the hope that the article would be circulated abroad, adding that she considered it important that it should be widely distributed in America."
That the Queen of a constitutional government, such as that of Holland, should have spoken in this way, proves that the Cabinet is of the same mind. I trust, therefore, that I am not too bold in asking your assistance to carry out Her Majesty's intentions.
I had asked Dr. Kuyper's authorisation to reproduce his article at the beginning of a pamphlet; he referred me to M. Brunetiere, who with the courtesy of which he has given me so many proofs, replied: "I hasten to refuse your request."
M. Brunetiere's views are evidently opposed to those of the Queen of the Netherlands.
It is true that the article would have been followed by my criticism, but if the arguments therein contained are irrefutable, why fear the proximity of my refutation? I beg you, therefore, to be kind enough to ask M. Brunetiere to give me permission to second the views of Her Majesty the Queen of the Netherlands by assisting to circulate Dr. Kuyper's article.
I have published my pamphlet while awaiting M. Brunetiere's reply to the Dutch Government which can hardly do otherwise than make the request, agreeing, as it does, with the views of Her Majesty. Should M. Brunetiere by any chance cease to fear the proximity to Dr. Kuyper's assertions of the facts and documents published by me, I will issue a new Edition.
THE LAST PRO-BOER MANIFESTATION.
Since the foregoing articles were written Dr. Leyds and Mr. Boer have not been idle. M. Pierre Foncin, a General Inspector of the University, has compiled on behalf of a Society called "Le Sou des Boers," a manifesto ending thus: "Well then, since this lust of gold has resulted in war, let the gold of France be poured out in floods, in aid of the innocent victims!"
In spite of considerable influence brought to bear upon this member of the University, the Committee, after some weeks' work, only managed to scrape together something like four hundred pounds. Since then, no more has been heard of it, and its place has been taken by "The Committee for the Independence of the Boers," with M. Pauliat, a Nationalist Senator, at its head. Its object was, in the first place, to organise a reception for the Boer delegates on their return from America.
It was confidently expected by the promoters of the enterprise that it would afford a good opportunity for a demonstration in opposition to the Government on the fourteenth of July. The delegates were received at the Hotel-de-Ville by the Nationalist Municipal Council, whose President, M. Grebauval, addressed them in virulent speeches, while the great square in front remained empty. The Irish Banquet which took place this year on the twelfth of July under the Presidency of Mr. Archdeacon, and which had been much talked of in 1899 at the time of the Auteuil manifestation, when President Loubet was hit with a stick by Baron Christiani, passed off amidst complete indifference. No disturbance of any kind occurred on the fourteenth of July.
The Congress of the Interparliamentary Union in favour of Peace and Arbitration was to be held on the 31st of July. It was stated that the Boer delegates were going to present a memorial, whilst M. Pauliat intended to raise the Transvaal question. My answer was that I intended to be there too, and considered it of interest to treat that question. Dr. Leyds knew that the majority of the English Members of Parliament who belonged to the Congress had declared themselves against the South African war, and he anticipated that owing to their former declarations they would find it difficult not to side with the pro-Boer sympathisers.
It was rather a clever idea. But on the 30th of July there was a meeting of the executive Committee composed of two members of each of the various nationalities, at which the English members declared that, if contrary to its regulations, the Transvaal question was to be discussed they were resolved to withdraw. The Committee decided to admit Mr. Wessels, formerly Speaker of the Orange Free State Parliament, simply as a member of the Congress; to oppose any discussion of the Transvaal question and to rule that the communication made by the Boer delegates was merely to be circulated among the members as individuals.
My pamphlet, La Politique Boer, and my answer in Le Siecle of the 1st of August, were also distributed. Here are a few extracts:
"The manifesto of Messrs. Fisher, Wessels and Wolmarans, delegates for the South African Republics, has been a disappointment to me. I expected that these gentlemen would produce some arguments; they have contented themselves with giving us a summary of Dr. Reitz's pamphlet—"A Century of Wrongs." It ends with the same incitement to annexation, which was already to be found in the cry for help sent on the 17th of February, 1881, by the Transvaal to the Orange Free State—"Africa for the Afrikander, from the Zambesi to Simon's Bay!" The delegates recognise that the time for claiming new territories has passed; they describe themselves as a nation of mild and peace-loving men, the victims of perpetual English persecution. I do not wish to discuss their way of dealing with historical facts, about which they are not so candid as was Mr. Krueger in his 1881 manifesto, because what we are now interested in, is not that which happened in times long ago, but what has happened since the annexation of the Transvaal by England, on the 12th of April, 1877. They do not say a word of the state of anarchy then prevailing in the Transvaal, nor of its military reserves, nor of the threatening attitude of Sekukuni and Cetewayo. Whereas in the manifesto of 1881, with these facts still fresh in the memory of its author, it is said: "At the outset our military operations were not very successful. In the opinion of our opponents we were too weak to resist successfully an attack from the natives," Sir Theophilus Shepstone, unable to restore order, had finally to annex the Transvaal. This he did at the head of twenty-five policemen only. Had the Transvaal been left to itself Sekukuni's and Cetewayo's impis would have overrun the country and turned out the Boers, who, after they had been delivered from their enemies by the English, proclaimed "a war of independence" in December, 1880. The Majuba disaster, 27th of February, 1881, in which the English had 92 killed, 134 wounded, and 59 prisoners, is of course mentioned by the delegates. An English army twelve thousand strong was advancing; but though the Queen's speech referred to the fact of the annexation, Mr. Gladstone, who in his Midlothian campaign, had protested against it, agreed to the 1881 Convention in which the independence of the Transvaal under England's suzerainty was recognised.
"The Boer nation," the Boer delegates say in their Memorandum, "could not bring themselves to accept the Convention; from all parts of the country protests arose against the Suzerainty clause." I admit willingly that the Boers did not abide by the Convention. In 1884, speaking in the House of Lords,—Lord Derby said: "The attitude of the Boers might constitute a casus belli but as the Government were not in the mood for war, and the position of the English resident in Pretoria was anomalous," he assented to the Convention of 27th February, 1884, "by which," say the Boer delegates, "the suzerainty over the Transvaal was abolished, and the South African Republic's complete independence acknowledged." This is their contention, now for the facts."
I then adverted to the events of which the XVth. and XVIth. chapters of La Politique Boer give a summary. The Jameson raid is, of course, the mainstay of the delegates' argument. After showing what this is really worth, and also discussing the arbitration question, I concluded as follows:
"The Memorandum shirks all the questions; documents are not referred to; there is nothing in it but assertions, which are to be accepted without discussion. It ends by mixing up what relates to the organisation and adminstration of the two Republics. But the adminstration of the Orange Free State and the adminstration of the South African Republic were quite different things. By following Krueger's policy Mr. Steyn has been guilty of a crime as well as a great political blunder. Had he remained neutral the English army would have been compelled to establish the basis of its operations much farther North, and would have been deprived of the use of the railway line to Bloemfontein. Moreover, when peace was restored, he would have remained independent. The Memorandum alludes to the prosperity of the Transvaal, but forgets to mention that the only share taken in it by the Boers has been an ever-increasing appropriation of the wealth created by the Uitlanders' industry, capital and labour.
"The Memorandum mentions also the laws passed annually, but is careful to omit law No. 1 of 1897, by which Mr. Krueger was empowered to exact from the judges a declaration that decisions of the Volksraad would be enforced by them as legal enactments, whether they were in agreement with the constitutions or not, and to dismiss at a moment's notice any one of them whose response might seem to him unsatisfactory.
"We have already spoken of the concluding sentences in the Memorandum. Messrs. A. Fischer, C.H. Wessels, A.D.W. Wolmarans "appeal to the Conference de l'Union Interparlementaire to take in hand their cause." The Executive Committee has, as has already been said, ruled the question out of order. This decision is not to be regretted considering the tendencies of the delegates' Memorandum; it does not help their cause any more than does Dr. Kuyper's article."
M. Pauliat complained bitterly of the decision. A progressive member of the Belgian deputation, Mr. Lorand, tried to revive the question on the 2nd of August by means of the following resolution:
"The tenth Conference of the Interparliamentary Union for International Arbitration now meeting in Paris being cognisant of acknowledging the resolutions of the Conference at the Hague, and being desirous to express its gratitude to all who have contributed towards its results; trusts, that in future the Powers will avail themselves of the means put at their disposal for the amicable settlement of international disputes and regret that "they have not done so" in the actual conflict between England and the South African Republics."
Upon this, M. Beernaert, with all authority conferred upon him by his position as the delegate of the Belgian Government at the Hague Conference, observed that the Transvaal was not in a position to avail itself of the resolution arrived at by the Conference—because that Conference was no longer in existence, and because the Boers had not been a party to it. On his motion the words "could not do so" were inserted instead of the words "had not done so."
Now why were the Boers not represented at the Hague Conference?
The Queen of Holland, in whose name the invitations were issued, had undoubtedly been appealed to by them, to admit the Transvaal to the Congress in conformity with Dr. Reitz's contention that "the Transvaal had inherent rights to be an international state,"—but their request had been refused, as would have been a similar demand coming from Finland or the Bey of Tunis.
The case was on all fours with that of the Vatican. When the Italian Government declared that they would not sit in the Conference if an invitation were sent to the Holy See, the Vatican was omitted.
Such is the simple fact; and it is just this fact which M. Lorand and M. Beernaert brought into relief by the resolution of 2nd August. I am quite sure that that was not their intention; the fact remains, notwithstanding.
SOUTH AFRICAN CRITICS.
The letters written by Messrs. Labouchere, Ellis and Clark, Members of Parliament, found in Pretoria, are not of much importance to my mind. The authors were not branded as traitors by Mr. Chamberlain, he only wanted to place the letters before the public and their electors, who most likely will find these three gentlemen guilty of another offence than that of supporting Mr. Chamberlain's policy with President Krueger while they made him believe that, as they were fighting against that policy in England, there was no necessity for him to heed their advice. Their attitude in Europe was bound to nullify the effect of the warnings they were sending to Africa. It is astounding to see sedate men contradict themselves in that way. I cannot help wondering at Dr. Clark boasting on the 27th of September that owing to his endeavours Mr. Stead's pamphlet was widely circulated, though, according to his words, "Mr. Stead had to the last moment been our enemy." The fact is that Mr. Stead had met Dr. Leyds (he went on meeting him during the war), and had been persuaded to drop Cecil Rhodes and Jameson in spite of his former praise of them. The publicity given to these letters does evidently not give weight to the opinion of the writers or Mr. Stead either; the interest of the Blue Book on "Correspondence relating to the recent Political Situation in South Africa" does not lie that way, but it lies in the opinion and advice of an Afrikander—to be found in Sir H. de Villiers' letters—he being the Speaker of the House in Cape Colony, Chief Justice, and one of the leaders of the Afrikander party. Sir Henry de Villiers has been often taken to task for being a partisan of the Boers, he cannot, therefore, be suspected of biassed ideas in favour of Great Britain. Some extracts of the letters he wrote to President Steyn on the 21st of May to Mr. Fischer and to his brother Mr. Melius de Villiers on the 31st of July, then on the 28th September, twelve days before the ultimatum was sent by Mr. Krueger, show to what extent he appreciated the latter's policy. His opinion carries all the more weight as he was one of the delegates to negotiate the 1881 Convention.
On the 21st of May, he says:
"I am quite certain that if in 1881 it had been known to my fellow Commissioners that the President would adopt his retrogressive policy, neither President Brand nor I would ever have induced them to consent to sign the Convention. They would have advised the Secretary of State to let matters revert to the condition in which they were before peace was concluded; in other words, to recommence the war."
Here are his views on the actual situation:
"On my recent visit to Pretoria I did not visit the President as I considered it hopeless to think of making any impression on him, but I saw Reitz, Smuts and Schalk Burger, who, I thought, would be amenable to argument, but I fear that either my advice had no effect on them, or else their opinion had no weight with the President.
"I urged upon them to advise the President to open the Volksraad with promises of a liberal franchise and drastic reforms.
"It would have been so much better if these had come voluntarily from the Government instead of being gradually forced from them. In the former case they would rally the greater number of the malcontents around them, in the latter case no gratitude will be felt to the Republic for any concessions made by it. Besides, there can be no doubt that as the alien population increases, as it undoubtedly will, their demands will increase with their discontent, and ultimately a great deal more will have to be conceded than will now satisfy them. The franchise proposals made by the President seems to be simply ridiculous.
"I have always been a well-wisher to the Republic, and if I had any influence with the President I would advise him no longer to sit on the boiler to prevent it from bursting. Some safety-valves are required for the activities of the new population. In their irritation they abuse the Government, often unjustly, in the press, and send petitions to the Queen, but that was only to be expected. Let the Transvaal Legislature give them a liberal franchise and allow them local self-government for their towns and some portion of the discontent will be allayed."
This, I beg to observe, is exactly what I said at the time when people in Europe who called themselves friends of the Boers yet are only Dr. Leyds' friends or rather dupes urged upon Mr. Krueger the expediency of going on with his mistaken and retrograde policy, and continental diplomatists assured him that he might with impunity disregard the claims of the Uitlanders and England's warnings.
Those who have never condescended to read the Blue Book or the short chapter in this pamphlet, in which an analysis of this Blue Book is given are never tired of referring to concessions and franchise schemes proffered by Mr. Krueger.
What does Sir Henry de Villiers say about it!
"The franchise proposal made by the President seems to be simply ridiculous."
To Mr. Krueger he sent the English Enactment of 1870 on Naturalisation, and urged him to have it adopted. Is not this an answer to those who contended that England "would not be satisfied with what she offered the Transvaal?"
At the same time his lack of confidence in the Volksraad's promises is shown here:
"I fear there would always still be a danger of the Volksraad revoking the gift before it has come into operation."
His second letter is dated 31st of July, more than six weeks after the Bloemfontein Conference. He writes to Mr. Fischer who acted as go-between the Cape Afrikanders and President Krueger. Mr. Chamberlain had requested that a mixed Commission be appointed to enquire into the merits of the franchise law, passed in accordance with Mr. Krueger's proposals. Here is Sir Henry de Villiers' judgment upon Mr. Krueger's and Mr. Chamberlain's proceedings.
"I am convinced Mr. Krueger's friends must now regret they did not recommend to President Krueger three months ago, as I strongly urged, to offer voluntarily a liberal franchise bill with such safeguards as would prevent the old burghers from being swamped.
"Mr. Chamberlain's speech was more moderate than I expected it would be, and as he holds out an olive branch in the form of a joint enquiry into the franchise proposals, would it not be well to meet him in this matter? I know that it might be regarded as a partial surrender."
The last sentence runs as follows:
"I don't think that President Krueger and his friends realise the gravity of the situation. Even now the State Secretary is doing things which would be almost farcical if the times were not so serious."
According to Sir Henry telegrams were suppressed by Dr. Reitz on the plea that "the Government should not disseminate lies by its own wires."
Mr. de Villiers added:
"The Transvaal will soon not have a single friend left among the cultivated classes."
Events have proved he had a better opinion of them than they deserved. He goes on with the following:
"The time really has come when the friends of the Transvaal must induce President Krueger to become perfectly frank and take the new comers into his confidence."
And ends with saying again:
"As one who signed the Convention in 1881 I can assure you that my fellow Commissioners would not have signed it if they had not been led to believe that President Krueger's policy towards the Uitlanders would have been very different from what it has been."
In a letter written the same day to his brother Melius, one can see in what fool's paradise Dr. Reitz and his colleagues were living:
"When I was in the Transvaal three months ago, I found that Reitz and others had the most extraordinary notions of the powers and duties of a Cape Ministry in case of war. They are Ministers of the Crown, and it will be their duty to afford every possible assistance to the British Government. Under normal conditions a responsible Ministry is perfectly independent in matters of internal concern, but in case of war they are bound to place all the resources of the Colony at the disposal of the British Crown; at least, if they did not do so, they would be liable to dismissal."
Here is his opinion on the proceedings in the House of Commons:
"The debate which took place in the House of Commons since I last wrote to you satisfies me that the British nation is now determined to settle the Transvaal business in a manner satisfactory to themselves.
"I accordingly begged of Krueger's friends to put the matter to him in this way: On the one side there is war with England—on the other side there are concessions which will avoid war or occupation of the country. Now decide at once how far you will ultimately go; adopt the English five years' franchise—offer it voluntarily to the Uitlanders—make them your friends, be a far-sighted statesman, and you will have a majority of the Uitlanders with you when they become Burghers. The answer I got was: 'We have done too much already and cannot do more.'"
One is aware of the fact that Mr. Krueger contended that the non-English Uitlanders would side with him. Sir Henry Villiers writes:
"I have never been able to understand why Krueger never attempted to take the Uitlanders into his confidence. He has always kept them at arm's length with the result that he has entirely alienated them. It is said that there are 21,000 Uitlanders in Johannesburg who support him, and yet no meeting has been held at Johannesburg to compare with the meetings held by his opponents.
"Why should he not appoint as one of his nominees an Uitlander of position, whose integrity and judgment he has confidence in? If none such exists, it would only be a proof of his want of tact and statesmanship in not rallying such people to his side."
Mr. Melius de Villiers who was in Bloemfontein, while paying due attention to his brother's warnings, wanted only to persuade Krueger to yield for the time being. Forwarding his brother's letter he wrote to Mr. Fischer:
"Please impress upon Oom Paul what I think is an important fact, namely, that the present Ministry in England will not always last.
"By giving way now, we do not do so in perpetuity; but I feel assured a Liberal Ministry will be willing to reconsider the relations of the South African Republic to England, and even to revoke the Convention of London."
"Africa for the Afrikander, from the Zambezi to Simon's Bay" remained the motto, only Mr. de Villiers looked to the future for its realization. Yet Mr. Krueger sticks to his policy of deceit taking back what had been already granted.
Mr. de Villiers is down upon the summary and arrogant way with which reasonable offers have been rejected, and alluded to the despatch of the 21st of August in which proposals made in the despatch of the 19th are declared to be subordinate to the abandonment of suzeranity rights and acceptance of the principle of arbitration for pending questions.
On the 28th of September Mr. de Villiers appeals to Mr. Fischer for the last time:—
"Supposing a war does take place, is there any chance of the Transvaal obtaining better terms when the war is over? The war will not cease until the Transvaal is entirely subjugated. What will the position of the Republics then be?
"The very best friends of the Transvaal feel that the Bill providing for the seven years' franchise is not a fair or workable measure.
"I am assuming, of course, that the proposals are such as can be accepted without dishonour.
"I confess I look with horror on a war to be fought by Afrikanders to bolster up President Krueger's regime. I could understand a war in defence of the South African Republic after it has made reasonable concessions to the demands of the new-comers, and after it has displayed the same desire to secure good government as is seen in the Orange Free State; but of such a desire I have not seen the faintest trace."
He alludes again to the doings of Dr. Reitz and Smuts:—
"I have carefully read the latest correspondence, and I am by no means satisfied that the British Resident was guilty of a breach of faith. The utmost I would say is that there was a misunderstanding. The dispatch of the 21st August seems to me to have been wholly unnecessary, unless something happened between the 19th and 21st which led the Transvaal Government to think they had yielded too much. I have heard it said that between those dates a cablegram from Dr. Leyds gave hopes of European intervention...."
Does this telegram exist? It is indeed likely. At any rate the responsibility of the war rests upon those who—be they diplomatists or journalists—have deluded Dr. Leyds to that extent. And the blood which is now shed is on the head of those who still try and persuade the Boers that Russia, Germany, or France is going to interfere.
In Le Siecle of the 3rd September, extracts from the "Blue Book" have been printed. We also find there letters from the 11th of March, 1898, up to the 8th of May, 1899, written by Mr. J.X. Merriman, the Cape Treasurer during the Schreiner Ministry. As he is one of the leaders of the irreconcilable Afrikander group he cannot be suspected of undue sympathy towards England. In his first letter to Mr. Steyn a year before the Uitlanders had petitioned for a redress, fourteen months before the Bloemfontein Conference, eighteen months before the declaration of war, the following passage is to be found:—
"Yet one cannot conceal the fact that the greatest danger to the future lies in the attitude of President Krueger and his vain hope of building up a State on a foundation of a narrow unenlightened minority, and his obstinate rejection of all prospect of using the materials which lie ready to his hand to establish a true Republic on a broad liberal basis. The report of recent discussions in the Volksraad on his finances and their mismanagement fill one with apprehension. Such a state of affairs cannot last, it must break down from inherent rottenness, and it will be well if the fall does not sweep away the freedom of all of us.
"I write in no hostility to the Republics: my own feelings are all in the opposite direction; but the foes of that form of government are too often those of their own household. I am quite sure that you have done what you can in modifying the attitude at Pretoria; but I entreat you, for the welfare of South Africa, to persevere, however unsatisfactory it may be to see your advice flouted and your motives so cruelly misrepresented by a section of colonists.
"Humanly speaking, the advice and good will of the Free State is the only thing that stands between the South African Republic and a catastrophe."
Alluding to the Kotze incident, the upshot of which was that Krueger and the Volksraad claimed the right to overrun judicial decisions, he writes:
"The radical fault is the utter incapacity of the body that affects to issue its mandates to the Courts. In England it is a Parliament, but then it represents the intelligence of the country, and in Switzerland the same; in the Transvaal it is a narrow oligarchy."
In a letter dated 1st January, 1899, President Krueger is depicted as follows:
"I had the opportunity the other day of a long talk, or rather several talks, with Lippert about the Transvaal. He takes a very sane view of matters there, and is very hopeless. He represents Krueger—as others describe him—as more dogged and bigoted than ever, and surrounded by a crew of self-seekers who prevent him from seeing straight. He has no one to whom he turns for advice, and he is so inflated as to have the crazy belief that he (Krueger) is born to bring about peace between Germany and France!"
Mr. Merriman is confident that the Orange Free State will interfere (Mr. Steyn was alas, so blind as to fall in with Mr. Krueger's temper instead of smoothing it down), and says:
"Is there no opportunity of bringing about a rapprochement between us, in which the Free State might play the part of honest broker?"
"Us" here means Cape Colony and Orange Free State.
Having spoken of matters of general interest for South Africa, of uniform custom duties, etc., he ends by saying:
"The deplorable confusion and maladministration of his financial arrangements still continue, and are a standing menace to the peace of South Africa. Yet, judging from the utterances of the leading men from the Rand who come down here, a very moderate reform would satisfy all except those who do not want to be satisfied, and, I believe, there is very little sympathy for the mischievous agitation that, rightly or wrongly, is attributed to the designs of Rhodes and Beit."
On the 26th of May, 1899, on the eve of the Bloemfontein Conference, he writes to Mr. Fischer, prompter and organiser of the Conference, foreseeing the results of the policy advocated by Dr. Leyds:
" ... but there is, of course, an even worse prospect, namely, that misrepresentation may goad Great Britain into a position where, with the concurrence and invitation of the other powers, she might feel obliged, even at the risk of enormous military outlay, to cut the Gordian knot. You will probably say, as I certainly say, 'where is the casus belli,' and refuse to believe it possible to imagine such a contingency. Unfortunately, you and I, who keep our heads, must not ignore the fact that an immense number of people seem to have lost theirs and are ready, without reflection or examination, to accept the highly-coloured statements of a partisan press."
He mentions the maladministration in the Transvaal several months before he had written to Mr. Smuts, asking for detailed account of the money granted by the Boer Government to Johannesburg but without getting an answer.
"Of course I know from previous correspondence that you and the President are not disposed to minimize the blots on the administration of the South African Republic, the weak points in the Constitution, and the ignorance and laxity that prevails in financial matters. To do so would be to fatally complicate the situation.
"I am sure that you will, and I most strongly urge you to use your utmost influence to bear on President Krueger to concede some colourable measure of reform, not so much in the interests of outsiders as in those of his own State.
"Granted that he does nothing. What is the future? His Boers, the backbone of the country, are perishing off the land; hundreds have become impoverished loafers, landless hangers-on of the town population. In his own interests he should recruit his Republic with new blood—and the sands are running out. I say this irrespective of agitation about Uitlanders. The fabric will go to pieces of its own accord unless something is done."
Such is the opinion of Mr. Merriman, a friend of the Transvaal, yet every day in Europe one is told that its misfortunes are due to the Uitlanders.
Mr. Merriman thought on the contrary that it was necessary to ask them to come forward and help the State out of its ruinous course.
"Surely it would be better to come forward now and earn the gratitude of South Africa by a comprehensive and liberal measure than to have the State torn and distracted by constant irritation and bad blood. A moderate franchise reform and municipal privileges would go far to satisfy any reasonable people, while a maintenance of the oath ought to be a sufficient safeguard against the swamping of the old population.
"President Krueger should reflect that nine out of ten people that receive the franchise will be supporters of the Republic in which they will have an interest, and that he will, by granting liberal reforms, disarm all opposition provoked.
"Try and persuade President Krueger to confer a benefit on the whole of South Africa by granting a broad measure of reform, and you will have done the best day's work any statesman ever did in South Africa."
Two months after the declaration of war, while the Boers' military operations were somehow successful he wrote to Mr. Piet de Wet also a member of the Cape Parliament—"it is hopeless...."
"If the Republics had not made the fatal mistake of sending the ultimatum when they did, things would have gone differently; but it is of no use going back on what might have been."
His letter had no effect upon Mr. de Wet, who now is under trial for high treason along with three other Members of the House.
There are other letters, among them one written by Mr. Te Water, who left the Schreiner Ministry. In a speech delivered at Graaff-Reinet some time ago he has declared that the Cape Government ought not to have allowed the railway lines to be used by English troops. Yet in a letter to President Steyn on the 8th of May, 1899, he asked him to put pressure upon "our friends in Pretoria" to adopt conciliatory measures. Alluding to the impending Conference he writes:—
"In your position you as go-between can do endless good towards arriving at an understanding at such Conference. I know well that there is a party who will do everything possible to prevent this."
Nevertheless he also is in favour of the policy advocated by Mr. Melius de Villiers:—
"We must now play to win time. Governments are not perpetual. It is honestly now the time to yield a little, however one may later again tighten the rope."
This shows how this former Minister at the Cape meant to abide by Conventions. How Mr. Krueger did abide by the Conventions of 1881 and 1884 is a well-known fact. No wonder if England was suspicious of the "ridiculous proposals," to use Mr. de Villiers' phrase, offered by President Krueger. The letters written by Mr. Te Water and Mr. Melius de Villiers show that there was good reason for suspicion. These letters show also what responsibility has been assumed by the members of the Liberal party who sided so eagerly with Mr. Krueger and by those who, like Mr. Stead, backed at first Mr. Rhodes' policy with all their might (so Mr. Clark wrote to General Joubert, Mr. Krueger, and President Steyn) and were blind enough to imagine that their party was strong enough to elbow out the Government and revert to Mr. Gladstone's policy after Majuba. Had they been more far-sighted they would have recognised that the Transvaal had since 1881 condemned itself, and that no Ministry, be it Liberal or Conservative, could follow again in the steps of Mr. Gladstone.
* * * * *
Since President Krueger has left the Transvaal, and Botha is negotiating for a surrender, the pacification of the Transvaal needs no more war operation, it has become a mere question of police arrangements. Nevertheless Dr. Leyds is still as active as ever. He reminds us of the Spanish Ministers who when they got the news that the Spanish fleet had been annihilated by Dewey, manufactured forthwith a report to the effect that Americans had suffered a defeat at the hands of the Spaniards. Le Petit Bleu does the same. The announcement—English troops retreating—appeared in a marginal note the very day that Lydenburg was taken. On Tuesday, 11th September, L'Eclair made the following announcement: "London, 10th September, Prince Henry sails back to Germany. From well-informed quarters I learn that the main object of the German Emperor's brother's visit was to discuss the ways and means of preserving Transvaal independence."
Eight days previous to this Dr. Leyds had tried to make the world believe that he had come to an understanding with the Czar. In both cases the object aimed at was obvious. Yet though the Dreyfus affair has taught me the all-powerful and far-reaching influence of a lie, I confess that Dr. Leyds is a puzzle to me.
But his work is at an end now. He may have succeeded cleverly in deceiving Krueger and Steyn what the European Powers really meant to do, or in giving those same Powers garbled accounts of the state of affairs in the Transvaal, and the true bearings of the Bloemfontein negotiation, yet the fact remains that it is mainly through him that the South African Republics have lost their independence. He could not like Mr. Krueger, excuse himself upon being led astray by blind and ignorant patriotism. He knew well enough how far the very help he depicted as forthcoming could be depended upon, he knew that England was bound to win in the long run, but there was only one thing which he cared for; to make people in Europe believe that he had an important part to play in the political arena. The war came as a welcome diversion to an endurable position. And now that his country's interests have been entirely sacrificed to his own, he may look upon his work with satisfaction.
THE TRANSVAAL AND THE PEACE CONFERENCE HELD IN PARIS FROM SEPTEMBER 30TH TO OCTOBER 5TH, 1900.
SITTING OF OCTOBER 1ST.
In the English section of the Peace Conference the most prominent members of which were Dr. Clarke, Mr. Moscheles and Mr. Alexander, the following resolutions had been unanimously adopted to be proposed at the Peace Conference:
"That according to the report sent by the Berne International Bureau it has come to the knowledge of the International Peace Congress, that:
(a) "The British Government steadily opposed various attempts made with the object to submit the South African difficulties to arbitration.
(b) "Arbitration was eagerly accepted by the South African Republics, who had repeatedly asked for it, therefore, the International Peace Congress feels compelled to arrive at the following conclusions:
1st. "Of the two opponents the one who declined arbitration, i.e., the British Government is responsible for the war in South Africa.
2nd. "As long as arbitration can possibly be resorted to the appeal to arms is tantamount to being guilty of a crime against civilisation and humanity; therefore,
3rd. "The application of brutal force by Great Britain so as to end their quarrel with the South African Republics deserves an everlasting blame for what must be considered as an outrage against human conscience, and a betrayal of the cause of progress and humanity."
Then a lengthy discussion arose, in the course of which M. Yves Guyot quoted facts in contradiction to the assertions which the proposed resolution contained.
That resolution was passed in principle by the Congress Commission of Actuality, with the proviso that some words should be left out as being too offensive.
For instance the words: an outrage or a reprehensible attempt against the right of nations should be substituted for a crime against civilisation. The former version was adopted and submitted to the Congress by the Commission, whilst soliciting its opinion on the text of the proposition and of its bearings. After the English delegates had exposed their views, M. Yves Guyot rose and said that he considered it his duty, as a member of the Congress Committee of Patronage, not only to find fault with the proposals of the Commission in their details, but to object also to the spirit as well as to the letter of the resolution.
"Looking at actual facts", said Mr. Yves Guyot, "it was not true that arbitration had been accepted by the Governments of the South African Republics. The acceptance, if any, had been hedged in by all sorts of restrictions, for instance, in making it conditional that England should drop the suzerainty, a condition which Her British Majesty's Government could not accept. True, arbitration was mentioned. But arbitration of what kind? about what? Could England recognise the right which the Boers had given themselves, to violate over and over again the Conventions of 1881 and 1884?
"Really it was astounding to see such an amount of sympathy wasted on people who had constantly set at naught Art. 14 of the 1884 Convention with respect to the Uitlanders, who had come and brought them civilisation, energy and wealth.
"A retrospect history of the Boers would quickly show that their hatred of the English was in the first place due to the protection which the latter had given to the natives. It is clearly apparent from documents dealing with the Bloemfontein Conference, that when Mr. Krueger brought forward the arbitration question he merely meant to throw dust into the public's eyes. Now he (M. Yves Guyot) considered it to the interest of the Congress to point out that its members, generous-minded as they were, were irresponsible people. What authority did they attribute to resolutions, blame and reproach, addressed to governments who are themselves responsible for the destinies of their countries?
"Their resolution might be couched in words as strong as they liked, but what effective sanction could they give it? Was it not to be feared rather that by its very violence their language might fan the flames, or rake the embers of new conflicts instead of making its peaceful influence felt?"
M. Guyot's speech was listened to with silent and earnest attention, though now and then objections were heard.
Then after Dr. Clark, Mr. Frederic Passy, Mr. Moscheles and Mr. Arnaud had made their observations the final decision was put off till the next day.
On the 2nd of October the Russian delegate, Mr. Nevicow, read the text of the resolution as it had been amended by the commission:
Motion of the Commission.
"The Ninth International Peace Congress after hearing the report on the events of the year sent by the Berne Bureau, though without pretending to assume the right to pass judgment on the policy of a friendly nation unless it should be to affirm publicly the everlasting principles of international justice, declares that:
1st. "The responsibility of the war which is now devastating South Africa lies with the Government which refused several times to countenance arbitration, that is with the British Government.
2nd. "The English Government by ignoring the principles of right and justice, which have been the glory of the great British nation, i.e., by refusing to arbitrate and indulging in threats which were bound fatally to lead to war, whereas the difficulties might have been solved by judicial means, has committed an outrage against the rights of nations, of such a nature as to check the pacific evolutions of humanity.
3rd. "The Congress equally regrets that, the majority of the Governments represented at the Hague Conference, had not taken any steps to assure the respect of resolutions which were to them an undertaking of honour.
4th. "The Congress considers that it is advisable to appeal to public opinion as regards the Transvaal.
5th. "The Congress expresses its profound sympathy and admiration to the English members of the Congress for the manliness of their declarations, and it hopes that under similar circumstances their example will be followed by other nations."
Mr. Jaffe, of London, alluding to public opinion in England, said that arbitration could only be resorted to by sovereign powers, that the Transvaal was not a sovereign power, and also that any judgment arrived at by arbitration on the various points in dispute between England and the Transvaal, would have been difficult to execute. Mr. Jaffe referred to the approval, almost unanimous, with which the war was looked upon in England and her Colonies; it had provoked great enthusiasm, and it would be a mistake to hurt the feelings of a whole nation.
The wording of the resolution as proposed by the Commission was adopted by all the members but one.
Mr. Lafontaine, Belgium, proposed to add another resolution which ran as follows:
"The congress hopes that the crime or to use the corrected phrase, the error of depriving the South African Republics of their existence and independence will not be committed definitely; it makes an earnest appeal to civilised governments to intervene as mediators in favour of the two Republics."
After various observations had been made by Mr. Giretti (Italy), Hodgson Pratt, Frederic Passy and Moscheles (the English delegates) the proposition was rejected by 170 votes against 60.
LONDON: BOYLE, SON & WATCHURST, PRINTERS, WARWICK SQUARE, E.C.