Mr. H. Shepstone, the Secretary for native affairs, took immense pains to keep things quiet among the various chiefs. He said he had but to lift his little finger, and the Boers would not hold the field for a couple of days. Almost every native he knew would be in arms, and by sheer weight of numbers would overpower the Boers. Several of the chiefs sheltered refugees, and Montsiwe gathered his force in the hope that he would be allowed to come to the relief of Potchefstroom. Government reports regarding the loyalty of the natives were numerous, and the natives' longing to come to the assistance of the British in fighting their ancient oppressors was obvious. The subsequent desertion of these people whom Great Britain had taken under her wing, is one of the most grievous of the many grievous things that accrued from the exercise of British "magnanimity." Sir Morrison Barlow and Sir Evelyn Wood both agreed that the natives were "British to a man!" They were thoroughly sick of Boer cruelty, and the Kaffirs and Basutos had learnt to look to Great Britain for a reign of peace. Rather than again be ruled by the Boer despots, they were ready to spill the last drop of their blood, and only the high principled, almost quixotic action of the British officials prevented the utilisation in extremity of this massive and effective weapon of defence. Besides the garrison in Pretoria there were other forts defended by soldiers and loyalists, forts which were none of them taken by the enemy. These were Potchefstroom, Rustenburg, Sydenburg, Marabastad, and Wakkerstroom. The fort of Potchefstroom was surrendered during the armistice by fraudulent representations on the part of the Boers.
The absorbing topic of the time was naturally the future of the Transvaal. Hope warmed all hearts and helped every one to keep up a fictitious air of cheerfulness. All thought that the rebellion would serve to strengthen the British in their determination to establish an effectual Government in the country and promote an enduring peace. The suspicion that the territory would be given back would have come on these hoping, waiting, and longing sufferers like a blast from the pole. Fortunately it was not given to them to foresee the humiliating end of their staunch endurance. Anathemas long and deep were sounded at the mention of Dr. Jorissen, who was looked upon as the fuse which set alight the rebellious temper of the Boers.
The enemy, however, never directly attacked the town. They contented themselves with attempting to steal cattle and skirmishing, and generally harassing those within. Such fights as these were mainly due to British initiative, and these were not fraught with success to us. Of this period it is pitiful to write. British valour and endurance were exhibited to the uttermost, and many gallant actions at different sorties might be recorded. So also might be given, did space allow, many instances of Boer cunning and Boer treachery—notably the acts of firing on the flag of truce, and on ambulance waggons. There can be no doubt that the firing on the flag of truce by the Boers was intentional. Their own explanation of the cause of this uncivilised proceeding may be taken for what it is worth. It appears that their troops were divided in opinion—that one party wished to continue fighting while another wished to surrender. Hence the exhibition of double-dealing which had so confounding an effect on their enemies, and so convenient a one for themselves. The Boers on the Majuba Hill fired on a flag of truce, the attack at Bronker's Spruit was made under cover of the white flag, and delay at Ingogo, to cover their movement from shelter, was gained by means of the same vile expedient.
When the news of the British reverses at Laing's Nek and Majuba reached Pretoria there was general consternation. But, as yet, none knew of the crushing blow that was still in store. On the 28th, 102 days after the hoisting of the Republican flag at Heidelberg, there came the almost incredible news that a peace had been concluded involving the surrender of the Transvaal to the Boers. At first it seemed impossible that the British Government could have consented to leave its loyal supporters in the terrible position in which they now found themselves. All who had sat patiently through trouble and trial, working with might and main, suffering from endless ills, in peril of their lives, and deprived of property and home, now joined in one heartrending wail of woe and disappointment. The consternation that followed the announcement of the ignoble surrender is thus described by Mr. Nixon, who was an eye-witness and sharer of the general grief and humiliation:—
"The scene which ensued baffles description. The men hoisted the colours half-mast high. The Union Jack was pulled down and dragged through the mud. The distinctive ribbons worn round the hats of the men as badges were pulled off and trampled underfoot. I saw men crying like children with shame and despair. Some went raving up and down that they were Englishmen no longer; others, with flushed and indignant faces, sat contemplating their impending ruin, 'refusing to be comforted.' It was a painful, distressing, and humiliating scene, and such as I hope never to witness again. While I write, the remembrance of it comes vividly before me; and as I recall to mind the weeping men and women, the infuriated volunteers, and the despairing farmers and storekeepers, half crazy with the sense of wounded national honour, and the prospect of loss and ruin before them, my blood boils within me, and I cannot trust myself to commit to paper what I think. The lapse of two years has but deepened the feeling which I then experienced. The subject may perhaps be only unpleasant to people at home, but to me personally, who have seen the ruin and dismay brought upon the too credulous loyalists, the recollections it stirs up are more bitterly mortifying than words can describe."
Mr. Rider Haggard, who at this time was at Newcastle, has also recorded his experiences on the unhappy occasion. He says:—"Every hotel and bar was crowded with refugees who were trying to relieve their feelings by cursing the name of Gladstone with a vigour, originality, and earnestness that I have never heard equalled; and declaring in ironical terms how proud they were to be citizens of England—a country that always kept its word. Then they set to work with many demonstrations of contempt to burn the effigy of the right honourable gentleman at the head of her Majesty's Government, an example, by the way, that was followed throughout South Africa." Talking of the loyal inhabitants in the Transvaal on whom the news burst 'like a thunderbolt,' he explains that they did not say much—because there was nothing to be said! They simply packed up their portable goods and chattels, and made haste to leave the country, "which they well knew would henceforth be utterly untenable for Englishmen and English sympathisers." Here was another great trek—a pathetic exodus of British loyalists whom Great Britain had betrayed. Away they went, these poor believing and deceived people, to try and make new homes and new fortunes, for as soon as the Queen's sovereignty was withdrawn houses and land were not worth a song, and their chances of earning a living were now entirely over, on account of their mistaken loyalty.
The condition of the town is thus described in a journal of the period:—
"The streets grown over with rank vegetation; the water-furrows unclean and unattended, emitting offensive and unhealthy stenches; the houses showing evident signs of dilapidation and decay; the side paths, in many places, dangerous to pedestrians—in fact, everything the eye can rest upon indicates the downfall which has overtaken this once prosperous city. The visitor can, if he be so minded, betake himself to the outskirts and suburbs, where he will perceive the same sad evidences of neglect, public grounds unattended, roads uncared for, mills and other public works crumbling into ruin. These palpable signs of decay most strongly impress him. A blight seems to have come over this lately fair and prosperous town. Rapidly it is becoming a 'deserted village,' a 'city of the dead.'"
The Government, through the medium of the Queen's Speech, had announced its intention of vindicating her Majesty's authority in the Transvaal. This was in January 1881. About that time President Brand, of the Orange Free State, formed himself into a species of Board of Arbitration between the contending parties—Boers and British. The reason for this intervention was threefold—first, he genuinely desired to avoid further bloodshed; second, he as genuinely hoped, under a mask of neutrality, to advance the Dutch cause throughout South Africa; and third, he amicably wished to put himself in the good graces of the British Government. Prior to General Colley's death Mr. Brand had urged him to allow peace to be made, and to guarantee the Boers not being treated as rebels if they submitted. General Colley was no quibbler with words. He would give no such assurance. He proposed, in a telegram to the Colonial Secretary, to publish an amnesty on entering the Transvaal to all peaceable persons—excepting one or two prominent rebels. On the 8th of February (the day of the battle of the Ingogo), a telegram was received from home, promising a settlement upon the Boers ceasing from armed opposition. This showed that the Government had early begun to put their foot on the first rung of the ladder of disgrace—it can be called by no other term—and that the "climb-down" policy was already coming into practice. An unfortunate game at cross-purposes seems to have been going on, for Mr. Brand was proposing to Lord Kimberley that Sir H. de Villiers—the Chief-Justice of the Cape, should be appointed as Commissioner to go to the Transvaal to arrange matters, while at the same time Sir George Colley was telegraphing a plan to be adopted on entering the Transvaal, a plan which should grant a complete amnesty only to Boers who would sign a declaration of loyalty.
Lord Kimberley welcomed the suggestion of Mr. Brand, and agreed, if only the Boers would disperse, to appoint a Commission with power to "develop the permanent friendly scheme"; and "that, if this proposal is accepted, you now are authorised to agree to suspension of hostilities on our part." At the same time the War Office informed General Colley that the Government did not bind his discretion, but was anxious to avoid effusion of blood. Lord Kimberley's telegram was forwarded to Colley and to Joubert. Colley was dumfounded. He telegraphed back: "There can be no hostilities if no resistance is made; but am I to leave Laing's Nek in Natal territory in Boer occupation, and our garrisons isolated and short of provisions—or occupy former and relieve latter?"
Lord Kimberley's reply was characteristically ambiguous. The garrisons were to be left free to provision themselves, but Sir George was not to march to the relief of garrisons or occupy Laing's Nek if an arrangement were proceeding.
Meanwhile President Brand and Lord Kimberley held an unctuous telegraphic palaver, which may diplomatically be viewed as the beginning of the end. This humiliating end was hastened by the fiasco of Majuba on the 27th of February, though before it came to pass Sir Frederick Roberts was despatched with reinforcements to Natal. Sir Evelyn Wood assumed temporary command of the forces after Colley's death. Colonel Wood was asked by Lord Kimberley to obtain from Kruger a reply to a letter General Colley had forwarded before Majuba, requesting a reply in forty-eight hours. The reply, an ingenuous one, came on the 7th of March. Kruger was glad to hear that her Majesty's Government were inclined to cease hostilities, and suggested a meeting on both sides. On the 12th of March Lord Kimberley telegraphed to Sir Evelyn Wood, saying that if the Boers would desist from armed opposition, a Commission would be appointed to give the Transvaal complete internal self-government under British suzerainty, with a British Resident to look after the natives.
The Boers at the same time made a communication. They refused to negotiate on the basis of Lord Kimberley's telegram of the 8th, as it would be tantamount to an admission that they were in the wrong. They would accept nothing short of the restoration of the Republic with a British protectorate. This the Home Government accepted, and thus the "climb down" was complete.
On the 23rd of March 1881, Sir Evelyn Wood, under orders from the Ministry, signed a treaty on behalf of the British, while the Boer leaders did the same on behalf of their constituents. By it, the Boers engaged to accept her Majesty as Suzerain "of the Transvaal, with a British Resident in the capital, but to allow the Republic complete self-government, to operate in six months' time. The Suzerain was to have control over the foreign relations of the Transvaal, and a Royal Commission for the protection of the natives and the decision of the boundary of the Republic would be appointed. Persons guilty of acts contrary to laws of civilised warfare were to be punished; and property captured by either party was to be returned." In conclusion, it was arranged that all arms taken by the British Government when they annexed the country were to be handed back.
The Commission appointed by her Majesty's Government consisted of Sir Hercules Robinson, who replaced Sir Bartle Frere at the Cape; Sir Henry de Villiers, now Chief-Justice of Cape Colony; and Sir Evelyn Wood; President Brand was present in a neutral capacity. Though nominally under the control of the British Government, its actions were pro-Boer. In justice to Sir Evelyn Wood, it is necessary to state that he did no more than obey orders laid down by his Government. Indeed it is said that when he was required to make the disgraceful peace, he called his officers around him, and asked them to witness that he was merely obeying orders, so that in days to come he might not submit a tarnished name to posterity.
Sir Frederick Roberts, on his arrival at Cape Town, was therefore informed that his services were no longer needed. Sir Evelyn Wood retained a force of 12,000 men in Natal, but the Government had decided on peace at any price, and peace was therefore restored.
THE BETRAYED LOYALISTS
Of the sufferings of the loyalists we must say little. Suffice it to picture the breaking up of homes gathered together with much patience after years of steady labour; the insults daily endured from a people who now held Great Britain in contempt; the disappointment and indignation, the wretchedness and despair caused to all who had faithfully adhered to the Crown.
A petition was drafted to the House of Commons, but signatures were comparatively few. Many had no hope of redress from Great Britain, others naturally feared further Boer oppression. Some passages of the petition ran thus:—
"That your petitioners believe that the annexation was acquiesced in by a majority of the inhabitants, and was looked upon as an act calculated to create confidence and credit to the country, a belief which is borne out by the fact that almost all the old officials appointed by the former Government, or elected by the people, remained in office under the new Government; and your petitioners further believe, that if the promises expressed and implied in the annexation proclamation had been carried out fully in the spirit of the proclamation, the whole of the inhabitants would, in time, have become loyal subjects of her Majesty.
"That the annexation was followed by an immediate accession of confidence, and it marked the commencement of an era of progress and advancement, which has steadily increased up to the present time, despite the numerous drawbacks and disadvantages to which the country has been subjected, and some of which have been the result of Imperial action.
"That, notwithstanding the promises expressed and implied in the annexation proclamation, the country has been governed as a Crown Colony, and no opportunity has been afforded to the inhabitants of controlling the policy which has regulated its administration, and your petitioners are in no way responsible for the late lamentable war, or for the disgraceful peace which has concluded it.
* * * * *
"That the value of property increased at least threefold during the English occupation, and that the increase progressed in a ratio corresponding with the reliance placed on the promises of English officials. Indeed, some of your petitioners are prepared to state, on oath if required, that they invested money immediately after or in direct consequence of a statement by a Governor of the Transvaal or a Minister of the British Crown.
"That the towns are almost exclusively inhabited by loyal subjects, and English farmers and traders are scattered all over the country.
* * * * *
"That most of the loyal inhabitants intend to realise their property, even at a sacrifice, and to leave the country, but that those who are compelled by force of circumstances to remain in it will be deprived of the protection and security afforded by English rule, and they respectfully submit they have a right to ask that the fullest and most substantial pledges be exacted from the contemplated Boer Government for their safety, and for the exercise of their privileges as British subjects."
In reference to the unfortunate natives, and the humiliating peace, Mr. Rider Haggard, who had been Shepstone's private secretary, wrote pathetically to Sir Bartle Frere from Newcastle, Natal:—
"June 6, 1881.
"I do not believe that more than half of those engaged in the late rebellion were free agents, though, once forced into committing themselves, they fought as hard as the real malcontents.... The natives are the real heirs to the soil, and should surely have some protection and consideration, some voice in the settlement of their fate. They outnumbered the Boers by twenty-five to one, taking their numbers at a million and those of the Boers at forty thousand, a fair estimate, I believe.... As the lash and the bullet have been the lot of the wretched Transvaal Kaffir in the past, so they will be his lot in the future.... After leading those hundreds of thousands of men and women to believe that they were once and for ever the subjects of her Majesty, safe from all violence, cruelty, and oppression, we have handed them over without a word of warning to the tender mercies of one, where natives are concerned, of the cruellest white races in the world.
"Then comes the case of the loyal Boers, men who believed us and fought for us, and are now, as a reward for their loyalty, left to the vengeance of their countrymen—a vengeance that will most certainly be wreaked, let the Royal Commission try to temper it as they will.
"Lastly, there are the unfortunate English inhabitants, three thousand of whom were gathered during the siege in Pretoria alone, losing their lives in a forsaken cause. I can assure you, sir, that you must see these people to learn how complete is their ruin. They have been pouring through here, many of those who were well-to-do a few months since, hardly knowing how to find food for their families."
On this subject Colonel Lanyon, who since the first outbreak had been shut up in Pretoria, also wrote tragically:—
"March 29, 1881.
"Last night the saddest news I ever received in my life came in the shape of a letter from Wood.... After three Secretaries of State, three High Commissioners, and two Houses of Commons had said that the country should not be given back, it seems a terrible want of good faith to the loyals that this decision should have been arrived at. The scene this morning was a heart-breaking one; the women, who have behaved splendidly all through the siege, were crying and wringing their hands in their great grief; the children were hushed as if in a chamber of death; and the men were completely bowed down in their sorrow. Well they might, for the news brought home ruin to many, and great loss to all. I am ashamed to walk about, for I hear nothing but reproaches and utterances from heretofore loyal men which cut one to the very quick.... How I am to tell the natives I know not, for they have trusted so implicitly to our promises and assurances.... One man who has been most loyal to us (an Englishman) told me to-day, 'Thank God my children are Afrikanders, and need not be ashamed of their country!'"
The feelings described by Sir Owen were openly echoed by all sensible men who knew anything of the country: they were certain that it was not within the power of Boer comprehension to understand "magnanimity" in an opponent. To the Boer, as to many an Englishman, this long-sounding word seemed more neatly to be interpreted by the more ugly but concise term "funk."
Sir Bartle Frere, writing of Sir George Colley in a letter to a friend, expressed his opinion roundly:—
"March 31, 1881.
"Let no one ever say that England lost prestige through Sir George Colley. I do not like the word so much as 'character' or 'conduct' which create it. But no country ever lost real prestige through defeat. Nelson, wounded and repulsed at Teneriffe; Grenvil, overpowered and dying on the deck of the Revenge, did as much for England's prestige as Marlborough at Blenheim or Wellington at Waterloo. Sir George Colley miscalculated his own and his enemy's strength, but he had nothing to do with disgraceful surrender, and I am sure had rather be where he now rests than sign a disgraceful peace, which is the only thing that can injure England's prestige."
Mr. R. W. Murray, of the Cape Times, writing to Sir Bartle Frere, thought bitterly indeed.
"Ask your English statesmen," he wrote, "if, in the history of the world, there was ever such a cruel desertion of a dependency by the parent State. How can England hope for loyalty from South Africans? The moral of the Gladstone lesson is, that you may be anything in South Africa but loyal Englishmen."
These letters, taken haphazard from volumes of correspondence on the melancholy event of the time, serve better than the words of an outsider to show the terrible position in which the "magnanimity" of the British Ministers had placed their countrymen. One more extract and we must pass on.
Colonel Lanyon, writing again to Sir Bartle Frere, said:—
"April 26, 1881.
"The Boers are practically dictators, and have been ruling the country in a manner which is simply humiliating to Englishmen. Active persecution is going on everywhere, and consequently all that can are leaving the country. Thirty families have left Pretoria alone; B—— and M—— have left, having been frequently threatened because of their having been members of the Executive, and those two poor fellows J—— and H—— are completely ostracised for the same reason. They are both ruined men, practically speaking, and all because they trusted to England's assurances and good faith....
"But hard as these cases are, I feel that the natives have had the cruellest measure meted out to them, and they feel it acutely. The most touching and heart-breaking appeals have come from some of the chiefs who live near enough to have heard the news. They ask why they have been thrown over after showing their loyalty by paying their taxes and resisting the demands made upon them by the Boers during hostilities. They point out that we stopped them from helping us, and that, had we not done so, the Boers would have been easily put down. They say that, as we so hindered their action, it is a cruel wrong for us now to hand them back to the care of a race which is more embittered against them than ever, and who have already begun to harass them because of their loyalty. These points are unanswerable, and I do not see how we can reply to them."
As may be remembered, Sir Evelyn Wood was ordered to conclude an armistice, whereby the troops that had garrisoned the Transvaal might evacuate it. In the case of Potchefstrom, the execution of this design was treacherously prevented by Commandant Cronje. This officer, after the armistice had been arranged, withheld the news from the garrison, and prevented supplies from reaching the fort. As a natural consequence, he became a national hero, and led the burghers against Dr. Jameson in 1895 and the forces on the Western frontier in 1899.
The armistice was concluded in March 1881, and in August the Convention of Pretoria was signed. Some form of inquiry was held into the conduct of persons who had been guilty of acts contrary to the rules of civilised warfare, but the whole thing proved to be a mere farce; and, as a matter of fact, not one of the perpetrators of murder and other crimes during the course of the war was brought to justice. The Commission insisted on a definite agreement for the purpose of securing British persons from oppressive legislation, but, as we know, Boer promises were as completely pie-crust as Boer contracts were mere waste paper.
At the beginning of June Mr. Gladstone wrote a letter in answer to that received from the loyal inhabitants. In this he said:—
"Her Majesty's Government willingly and thankfully acknowledge the loyal co-operation which her Majesty's forces received at Pretoria and elsewhere by the inhabitants, and we sympathise with the privations and sufferings which they endured. I must, however, observe that so great was the preponderance of the Boers who rose in arms against the Queen's authority that the whole country, except the posts occupied by the British troops, fell at once practically into their hands. Again, the memorialists themselves only estimate the proportion of settlers not Transvaal Boers at one-seventh. Nearly, though not quite, the whole of the Boers have appeared to be united in sentiment, and her Majesty's Government could not deem it their duty to set aside the will of so large a majority by the only possible means, namely, the permanent maintenance of a powerful military force in the country. Such a course would have been inconsistent alike with the spirit of the Treaty of 1852, with the grounds on which the annexation was sanctioned, and with the general interests of South Africa, which especially require that harmony should prevail between the white races.
"On the other hand, in the settlement which is now in progress, every care will be taken to secure to the settlers, of whatever origin, the full enjoyment of their property, and of all civil rights."
The pledges conveyed in the last sentence received such fulfilment as they were to have by the insertion in the Convention of the following clauses:—
"Article XII.—All persons holding property in the said State, on the 8th day of August 1881, will continue to enjoy the rights of property which they have enjoyed since the annexation. No person who has remained loyal to her Majesty during the recent hostilities shall suffer any molestation by reason of his loyalty, or be liable to any criminal prosecution or civil action for any part taken in connection with such hostilities, and all such persons will have full liberty to reside in the country, with enjoyment of all civil rights, and protection for their persons and property.
"Article XXVI.—All persons, other than natives, conforming themselves to the laws of the Transvaal State (a) will have full liberty, with their families, to enter, travel, or reside in any part of the Transvaal State; (b) they will be entitled to hire or possess houses, manufactories, warehouses, shops, and premises; (c) they may carry on their commerce either in person or by any agents whom they may think fit to employ; (d) they will not be subject, in respect of their persons and property, or in respect of their commerce or industry, to any taxes, whether general or local, other than those which are or may be imposed upon Transvaal citizens."
The Convention itself is now well known, but brief allusion to it may not be out of place. The preamble is important, and runs as follows:—
"Her Majesty's Commissioners for the settlement of the Transvaal territory, duly appointed as such by a Commission passed under the Royal Sign Manual and Signet, bearing date the 5th April 1881, do hereby undertake and guarantee, on behalf of her Majesty, that from and after the 8th day of August 1881 complete self-government, subject to the suzerainty of her Majesty, her heirs and successors, will be accorded to the inhabitants of the Transvaal territory, upon the following terms and conditions, and subject to the following reservations and limitations...."
The new State was to be styled "The Transvaal State." A British Resident was appointed, and the right to move British troops through the State guaranteed. External relations were to be under British control, and intercourse with foreign Powers to be carried on through her Majesty's diplomatic and consular officers. The independence of Swaziland was guaranteed. Article 4 of the Sand River Convention, forbidding slavery, was re-affirmed in Article 16. Natives were to be allowed to acquire land, and to move about the country "as freely as may be consistent with the requirements of public order." Complete freedom of religion was established. Protection to loyalists was guaranteed by the Triumvirate. The British Resident was given wide authority in native affairs; was, in fact, constituted as an official protector of natives. The boundaries of the State were defined, and it engaged not to transgress them.
The government of the country was handed over to the Triumvirate, who engaged to summon a Volksraad as soon as possible. The Volksraad when it assembled, however, was disinclined to ratify the Pretoria Convention. The burghers wanted the Old Republic of the Sand River Convention, and fretted at the idea that they should have agreed to acknowledge British suzerainty. This acknowledgment was made a condition of the grant of autonomy, and the British Resident in Pretoria was to have large powers in the direction of native affairs. The position of the post of British Resident was to be similar to that held by a British Resident in one of the Native States of India. "Africanus," in his useful book on "The Transvaal Boers," thus describes the practical difference between the status of the two officials: "A Resident in an Indian State, though sometimes exposed to the risk of assassination, or of a general mutiny, is known by the inhabitants to have behind him the enormous military force of the Indian Empire, whereas the unhappy Resident at Pretoria was given no means of enforcing any protests which he might be called upon to make. His only course was to report disobedience to the High Commissioner; and if the disobedience was not of such a character as to force the Imperial Government to undertake military measures, it was sure to be overlooked. Thus the Resident, so far from controlling the policy of the Transvaal, was reduced to the position of counsel holding 'a watching brief.'"
As will be seen, the interests of the Uitlanders were protected, but no provision was made by the Convention for future immigrants. Mr. Kruger, whose assurances at the time were believed to be sound, had promised to place them on equal footing with the burghers as regards freedom of trade. His words were: "We make no difference as far as burgher rights are concerned. There may, perhaps, be some slight difference in the case of a young person who has come into the country," but the term "young person," it was afterwards explained, had no reference to age, but to time of residence in the country.
Mr. Kruger, as leader of the reactionary section of the Boers, finally became the President. The rival of Mr. Kruger was Mr. Joubert, otherwise known as "Slim Piet," on account of his wily ways, and between them from that day up to the present time considerable jealousy existed. They were always of one accord, however, in struggling to slip or squeeze out of any Conventions with the British. The first contravention of treaty engagements was the return of the State to the old title of South African Republic. The Home Government feebly remonstrated—it was too sunk in the slough of "magnanimity" to do more. As a natural result the Boers snapped their fingers at such remonstrances. After taking an inch they helped themselves to an ell! They had engaged to respect boundaries, but soon they began to lap over into Zululand and Bechuanaland.
The Boer process of expansion is simple and time-honoured. A case of spirits is exchanged for the right to graze on land belonging to an independent chief. The cattle graze, the master locates himself. If the intrusion is resented, a campaign follows, and the stronger ousts the weaker. Sometimes the Boer lends his services in warfare to a petty chief, and those services are rewarded with a grant of land.
When the British annexed the Transvaal and conquered Sekukuni, the other chiefs submitted to the British Government. On the resumption of Boer rule, however, the chiefs were inclined to defy their authority. The territories of the Mapoch, Malaboch, and Mpefu were assigned to the Boers by the Convention of 1881, and consequently quarrels began. In 1883 Mapoch broke out against authority, and there was a campaign to subdue him. Malaboch became obstreperous in 1894, and Mpefu followed his example in 1898. Most of the campaigns arose over the refusal to pay the hut tax. Before the Mapoch campaign in 1883 the Volksraad made a change in the terms of the franchise. It may be remembered that for burgher rights a residence of one year in the country and an oath of allegiance were necessary conditions. It was arranged that in future all candidates for citizenship must have resided and been registered in the Field Cornet's lists for five years, and must pay the sum of L25.
About this time Messrs. Kruger, Du Toit, and Smith travelled to England to agitate for a new Convention. The Transvaal Government had "broken the spirit, and even the letter," of the old Convention, and Lord Derby in the House of Lords expressed his opinion that "it would be an easy thing to find a casus belli in what had taken place." In spite of all this, Mr. Gladstone in 1884 obligingly agreed to a new Convention. By examination of its terms, it will be seen how far and how ignobly the Government went on the road to concession. By this Convention the British Resident was replaced by a diplomatic agent; the old title of South African Republic was restored; the Republic was allowed to negotiate on its own account with foreign Powers, limitations on treaty-making alone being imposed. Complete freedom of religion was promised, and the Republic agreed to "do its utmost" to prevent any of its inhabitants from making any encroachments upon lands beyond the boundaries laid down. Article 14 will be seen to be verbally similar to Article 26 of the Pretoria Convention of 1881, only the words South African Republic being substituted for Transvaal State. Nothing was said about the preamble to the Pretoria Convention or the question of British "suzerainty." The word was omitted from the new text; but it was supposed to be operative as before. Over this matter there has been so much argument that, unless we can devote a volume to solving the Convention riddle, it is best left alone. We must allow that the ambiguity of an already ambiguous Ministry had here reached its climax! Certain it is that the Transvaal representatives returned to inform the Raad that the suzerainty had been abolished, and that statement they were allowed to maintain without contradiction! As a natural consequence of this indecision and weakness on the part of the then Government, subsequent Governments have been placed in an unenviable quandary. The Boers contend that the omission of the word "suzerainty" in 1884 was intentional, and designed to permit the State to style itself an independent Republic, while all level-headed persons are fully aware that no Republic could have been granted complete independence while under a weight of debt for money and blood spent for years and years to save it from collapse and annihilation. Moreover, the guarantee of independence of the Transvaal was so unmistakably a result of suzerainty that the repetition of the word was unnecessary.
Of the man who now began to play so prominent a part on the political stage, the world at that time knew but little. Even now opinions regarding him are many and varied, and it may be interesting to read, in close juxtaposition, sketches of his character and ways which have from time to time been drawn by those who have come in contact with him.
Perhaps no more impartial sketch can be presented than that of Mr. Distant, a naturalist, who visited the Transvaal about eight years ago. He said:—"President Stephanus Johannes Paulus Kruger was born on the 10th October 1825, in the district of Colesburg in the Cape Colony, and is without doubt the greatest and most representative man that the Boers have yet produced. Uneducated, or self-educated, he possesses a very large amount of that natural wisdom so often denied to men of great learning and of literary cultivation. With many prejudices, he is fearless, stubborn, and resolute, and he really understands Englishmen little better than they understand him. In his earlier days he has been a somewhat ardent sportsman and a good shot. He has been engaged and honourably mentioned in most of the Kaffir fights of his time.... Socially, he has always lived in a somewhat humble position, and it is to the credit of his nature as a man that he bears not the slightest trace of the parvenu. Plain and undistinguished in appearance, he combines the advantages of a prodigious memory with a remarkable aptitude for reading his fellow-man, and this last quality would be more valuable were it not leavened by a weakness in resisting flattery and adulation. He is very pious and self-reliant, which is provocative of bigotry and hot temper; and surrounded and approached on all sides by clever and often unscrupulous financiers and speculators, his scutcheon has worn wonderfully well, and his character and reputation passed through many fiery ordeals. He is also a rough diplomatist of no mean rank."
The picture is distinctly interesting, but it does Mr. Kruger an injustice. Mr. Distant says that "he understands Englishmen little better than they understand him." Surely this remark is an insult to Mr. Kruger's great sagacity. He long ago "took the measure" of the Englishman, and he has enjoyed himself immensely in seeing how far it was possible—vulgarly speaking—to "try it on" with the British nation. If Mr. Kruger could be induced to write a book entitled "My Life and Games with the British Government for the last Twenty Years," he might afford our politicians some useful and instructive entertainment.
To Mr. Distant's portrait of the President of the South African Republic another and a later one may be appended. It is drawn by the able pen of Mr. Fitzpatrick, the author of "The Transvaal from Within." "In the history of South Africa the figure of the grim old President will loom large and striking—picturesque, as the figure of one who, by his character and will, made and held his people; magnificent, as one who, in the face of the blackest fortune, never wavered from his aim or faltered in his effort; who, with a courage that seemed and still seems fatuous, but which may well be called heroic, stood up against the might of the greatest empire in the world. And, it may be, pathetic too, as one whose limitations were great, one whose training and associations, whose very successes, had narrowed and embittered and hardened him; as one who, when the greatness of success was his to take and hold, turned his back on the supreme opportunity and used his strength and qualities to fight against the spirit of progress and all that the enlightenment of the age pronounces to be fitting and necessary to good government and a healthy State.
"To an English nobleman who, in the course of an interview, remarked, 'My father was a Minister of England and twice Viceroy of Ireland,' the old Dutchman answered, 'And my father was a shepherd!' It was not pride rebuking pride; it was the ever-present fact which would not have been worth mentioning but for the suggestion of the antithesis. He, too, was a shepherd, and is—a peasant. It may be that he knows what would be right and good for his people, and it may be not; but it is sure that he realises that to educate would be to emancipate; to broaden their views would be to break down the defences of their prejudices; to let in the new leaven would be to spoil the old bread; to give unto all men the rights of men would be to swamp for ever the party which is to him greater than the State. When one thinks of the one-century history of this people, much is seen that accounts for their extraordinary love of isolation, and their ingrained and passionate aversion to control; much, too, that draws to them a world of sympathy. And when one realises the old Dopper President hemmed in once more by the hurrying tide of civilisation, from which his people have fled for generations—trying to fight both Fate and Nature, standing up to stem a tide as resistless as the eternal sea—one sees the pathos of the picture. But this is as another generation may see it. To-day we are too close, so close that the meaner details, the blots and flaws, are all most plainly visible: the corruption, the insincerity, the injustice, the barbarity—all the unlovely touches that will by-and-by be forgotten, sponged away by the gentle hand of Time, when only the picturesque will remain."
Mr. Fitzpatrick speaks somewhat more plainly in another place:—
"Outside the Transvaal Mr. Kruger has the reputation of being free from taint of corruption from which so many of his colleagues suffer. Yet within the Republic and among his own people one of the gravest of the charges levelled against him is, that by his example and connivance he has made himself responsible for much of the plundering that goes on. There are numbers of cases in which the President's nearest relations have been proved to be concerned in the most flagrant jobs, only to be screened by his influence; such cases, for instance, as that of the Vaal River Water Supply Concession, in which Mr. Kruger's son-in-law 'hawked' about for the highest bid the vote of the Executive Council on a matter which had not yet come before it, and, moreover, sold and duly delivered the aforesaid vote. There is the famous libel case in which Mr. Eugene Marais, the editor of the Dutch paper Land en Volk, successfully sustained his allegation that the President had defrauded the State by charging heavy travelling expenses for a certain trip on which he was actually the guest of the Cape Colonial Government."
The light thus thrown on the dealings of Mr. Kruger is not a solitary gleam. It may be remembered that during the period of British rule in the Transvaal he had an appointment under Government. The terms of his letter of dismissal can be found on page 135 of Blue-Book, c. 144, and involving as they do a serious charge of misrepresentation in money matters, are useful when viewed in line with the above quotation.
Mrs. Lionel Phillips imagines that every one must by this time have gauged the nature of the President, as she herself has done. She says:—
"Paul Kruger is so well known from the many portraits and caricatures that have appeared in recent years, as well as descriptions of him, that one from me seems superfluous. His clumsy features, and small cunning eyes, set high in his face, with great puffy rings beneath them, his lank straight locks, worn longer than is usual, the fringe of beard framing his face, even his greasy frock-coat and antiquated tall hat have been pourtrayed times without number. He is a man of quite 75 years of age now, and his big massive frame is bent, but in his youth he possessed enormous strength, and many extraordinary feats are told of him. Once seen he is not easily forgotten. He has a certain natural dignity of bearing, and I think his character is clearly to be read in his face—strength of will and cunning, with the dulness of expression one sees in peasants' faces. 'Manners none, and customs beastly,' might have been a life-like description of Kruger. The habit of constantly expectorating, which so many Boers have, he has never lost. He is quite ignorant of conversation in the ordinary acceptation of the word; he is an autocrat in all his ways, and has a habit of almost throwing short, jerky sentences at you generally allegorical in form, or partaking largely of scriptural quotations—or misquotations quite as often. Like most of the Boers, the Bible is his only literature—that book he certainly studies a good deal, and his religion is a very large part of his being, but somehow he misses the true spirit of Christianity, in that he leaves out the rudimentary qualities of charity and truth."
GERMANS AND UITLANDERS
It appears that a German traveller, Herr Ernest Von Weber, as long ago as 1875, had cast a loving eye on the Transvaal. He wrote:—"What would not such a country, full of such inexhaustible natural treasures, become, if in course of time it was filled with German immigrants? A constant mass of German immigrants would gradually bring about a decided numerical preponderance of Germans over the Dutch population, and of itself would by degrees affect the Germanisation of the country in a peaceful manner. Besides all its own natural and subterraneous treasures, the Transvaal offers to the European power which possesses it an easy access to the immensely rich tracts of country which lie between the Limpopo, the Central African lakes and the Congo (the territory saved for England by Mr. Rhodes and the Chartered Company). It was this free unlimited room for annexation in the North, this open access to the heart of Africa, which principally impressed me with the idea, not more than four years ago, that Germany should try, by the acquisition of Delagoa Bay, and the subsequent continual influx of German immigrants to the Transvaal, to secure the future dominion over this country, and so pave the way for a German African Empire of the future. There is, at the same time, the most assured prospect that the European power, who would bring these territories under its rule, would found one of the largest and most valuable empires of the globe; and it is, therefore, on this account truly to be regretted that Germany should have quietly, and without protest, allowed the annexation of the Transvaal Republic to England, because the splendid country, taken possession of and cultivated by a German race, ought to be entirely won for Germany; and would, moreover, have been easily acquired, and thereby the beginning made and foundation laid of a mighty and ultimately rich Germany in the southern hemisphere. Germany ought at any price to get possession of some points on the East as well as the West Coast of Africa." Part of Mr. Von Weber's ambition was subsequently realised.
In 1884 the introduction of Germany upon the political scene was successfully accomplished. The hoisting of the German flag at Angra Peguena was due to the unscrupulous and clever machinations of Prince Bismarck. The new German Colony comprised Damaraland and Great Namaqualand, and between it and the Boer Republic lay the Kalari Desert and Bechuanaland.
Now, the Bechuana chiefs were old enemies of the Boers. A good deal of border fighting took place, and at last the Boers established their authority over a district which they christened "The New Republic," and which was annexed to the Transvaal in 1888. They endeavoured to capture in the same way Stellaland and Vryburg, but on this subject the British Government had something to say, and for once they said it definitely. Sir Charles Warren with a military force took these districts under British protection. This expedition was resented by the Cape Dutch and their English friends, Messrs. Spriggs and Upington, who hastened to Bechuanaland to effect a settlement before the arrival of Sir Charles Warren's force. Owing to the firmness and decision of Sir Charles Warren and his supporters, Sir Charles Dilke, Mr. Chamberlain, and Mr. Mackenzie, their anti-Imperialistic efforts fortunately failed!
It must be remembered that in Cape Colony the Dutch sympathies had, for the most part, been given to the Boers. Racial ties in Africa are strong, and at the time of the war many people, not thoroughly disloyal, felt that there had been aggression on the freedom of the Republicans, and were inclined to admire the efforts of the Boers to repel that aggression. There were others, too, who believed that, owing to fear of rebellion on the part of the Cape subjects, Great Britain had been forced into chicken-hearted surrender, and this belief naturally encouraged the Cape Dutch to assume that, on emergency, the policy of the Empire might be directed by threats of rebellion.
Much of the bad feeling was due merely to political agitation. The association known as the Africander Bond was started as a species of political nursery wherein to expand the ideas of the budding Boer, and "coach" him in his duties as a free-born subject. "A little knowledge is a dangerous thing," as we all are aware, and it seems to have been the object of this organisation to implant just sufficient knowledge in the mind of the ignorant farmer to foster his hostility to Great Britain, without encouraging him to progress sufficiently to gauge the advantages to himself of peace and goodwill with a sovereign power. Before the existence of this organisation he was contented to choose as his Parliamentary representative some sound and respectable citizen, a British subject, or some colonist who, well versed in the British tongue, could understand the laws at first hand. But machinating politicians conceived the notion that the dissatisfied Boer might be made to dance marionette-wise while they pulled the strings, and they promptly went to work to pretend he could think for himself, and proceeded to inflate his mind with so vast an idea of his own political importance that he even began to conjure up dreams of an entirely Dutch South Africa on an Africander basis, with the Vierkleur in place of the Union Jack floating bravely over his head!
For his benefit the Cape patois was promoted to the rank of a language. Parliament expressed itself both in English and so-called Dutch, while Blue-Books and official papers were printed in bi-lingual fashion, for the convenience of farmer members, who, for the most part, could neither read, write, nor speak the language of the Netherlands!
The battle-cry of the Bond was "Africa for the Africander" and the "Elimination of the Imperial factor." The Colonists naturally grew to imagine that, as Great Britain was powerless to govern, government on their own behalf would be advantageous. In justice it must be said that the Eastern Province and Natal adhered to the Crown, though the Western Province was led by the nose by the Bond.
From this time Mr. Hofmeyr—a man of great ability, and generally devoted to the Africander cause—became an important factor in the political caucus. Mr. Rhodes also was conspicuous. At that date he was inclined to lean toward Africander principles, but, like all great men on seeing the error of their judgments, he readjusted his theories—with the results we all know.
The expedition of Sir Charles Warren was entirely successful. As has been said, a Protectorate was established over Bechuanaland.
The country south of the Moloppo River, whose chief towns are Mafeking and Vryburg, became a Crown Colony. It was afterwards transferred to the Cape. The territories of Khama, Sebele, and Bathoen still form an Imperial Protectorate.
When gold was first discovered, the fable of "the dog in the manger" began to be enacted in the Transvaal. The Boers were quite incompetent to start mining operations on their own account, and yet were intolerant of the presence of outsiders who were willing to expend their energies in the business. Gradually, however, they agreed to admit foreigners on terms which on the surface were fairly liberal, and became indirectly almost extortionate.
These foreigners—British, Americans, Germans, and Poles—were the antithesis of all that Boer traditions held dear. To begin with, they were progressive; they were also energetic and commercial, and their motto, instead of being "God will provide," was the practical one of "Carpe diem." The dawn of the "golden age" has been described, and there is no reason, therefore, to dwell on the attractions which converted the Transvaal, for many, from a fortune-hunter's goal to a permanent home. Unfortunately these Uitlanders were not bound up in Transvaal politics. The ways of the stolid and the ignorant, the narrow and the bigoted, were not their ways; they had no sympathy for "masterly inaction," and this the Boers knew.
In 1887, to protect themselves from the outsider, the Republicans arranged that invaders could not be admitted to burgher rights under fifteen years. The Uitlanders agitated for increased privileges, and in 1890 a "Second Raad" was created. For this Chamber it was necessary to take the oath of allegiance, to reside two years in the State before being entitled to vote, and another two before becoming eligible for election.
Upon the scene now came Dr. Leyds, a Hollander of certain ability, a cosmopolitan schemer, and as such naturally opposed to the prestige of Great Britain. He had his ideal of a great Africander Confederation! On the other hand, there was Mr. Rhodes, who had also his ideal—that of a Confederated South Africa stretching to the Zambesi. Fortunately, with Mr. Rhodes went the Cape Dutch. And here we may break off to consider the Colossus, as he has been called. His enemies were many. By some it was asserted that Mr. Rhodes was at heart no Imperialist; by others he was declared to be merely an unscrupulous adventurer. But, as the proof of the pudding is in the eating, so must any criticism of this marvellous man be confined to results.
Of the chief personage in the political and financial history of South Africa it is desirable we should know something definite, though space does not allow of any long appreciation of all he has accomplished for the advancement of the empire. The Right Hon. Cecil John Rhodes was born in 1853. He was the fourth son of the late Rev. Francis W. Rhodes, Rector of Bishop Stortford. In 1871 he went to South Africa, there to join his brother Herbert, who was engaged in cotton-growing in Natal. His constitution was delicate, and it was believed that a journey to the Cape would be beneficial to him. In 1872 he returned in much better health to England, and entered Oriel College, Oxford. While there he contracted a chill, and found himself again under orders to return to South Africa. At that time Herbert Rhodes had forsaken cotton-growing, and had become fascinated by the prospect of wealth offered by the diamond fields in the locality now known as Kimberley. The two youths joined hands, and in 1873 we find the elder brother leaving his claim in charge of the younger, the hard-working, astute, and masterful Cecil, whose name has become almost a household word. The young man, who took his degree at Oxford in the interval of his work, brought to every task he attempted an educated mind and a certain dogged obstinacy, which caused him to surmount all difficulties. He prospered amazingly. But money, instead of numbing his activities, only sharpened them, and he soon began to formulate his ideal—the Utopian dream of an entirely British Africa from the Cape to the Zambesi!
His most conspicuous financial work was the De Beers Company, of which we have treated elsewhere. From one big venture he went to others more gigantic still. The famous Chartered Company and the splendid province of Rhodesia came virtually into existence as the result of his magnificent foresight. In 1881, in Basutoland, Mr. Rhodes, the newly-elected member for Barkly West, had the good fortune to meet General Gordon, who was struck at once by the immense ability of the young man. In character, it seems, they were the extremes that meet! These two men, of equally strong personality, had an antagonism of character which, clashing, gave forth a resonance that was vastly inspiriting.
Gordon and Rhodes would take long walks together, and discuss the affairs of nations. The General, who was as dictatorial as his associate, on several occasions severely criticised the opinions of young Rhodes. "You always contradict me," he declared. "I never met such a man for his own opinion. You think your views are always right, and every one else's wrong. You are," he went on to say, "the sort of man who never approves of anything unless you have had the organising of it yourself."
It was a new edition of the pot calling the kettle black, and afforded much amusement to onlookers.
On another occasion Gordon begged him to remain in Basutoland and work with him, but Rhodes refused. He demonstrated that his work lay in Kimberley, and there he would remain. "There are very few men in the world," argued Gordon, "to whom I would make such an offer. Very few men, I can tell you; but, of course, you will have your own way."
Once, when they were together, Gordon related to Rhodes the story of an offer of a room full of gold which had been made to him by the Chinese Government, after the suppression of the Tai-Ping revolt. "What did you do?" asked Rhodes. "Refused it, of course. What would you have done?" said Gordon. "I would have taken it," answered Rhodes, "and as many more roomfuls as they would give me. It is no use for us to have big ideas if we have not got the money to carry them out."
When Gordon went to Khartoum he invited Rhodes to accompany him, but Rhodes refused. He accepted the offer made by the same post of the Treasurer-Generalship in the Scanlin Ministry. In 1884 he became Deputy-Commissioner for Bechuanaland, which, as the key to South Africa, he determined to keep under his watchful eye. He was at the same time Treasurer-General of Cape Colony. In 1889 he became Director of the British South Africa Company and Chairman till the fiasco of 1896, at which time he was Premier of Cape Colony. In addition to holding these posts, his activities have been unending. He has been the moving spirit in every enterprise for the expansion and development of South Africa. He has gained the esteem of the loyal Dutch, and has succeeded in making himself feared if not beloved by the disloyal. His great work of attempting to weld together the two races into one united people is for the nonce suspended, but should life be spared him he will doubtless see the realisation of his dream. In addition to his other labours Mr. Rhodes was Commissioner of the Crown Lands in 1890-94, Minister of Native Affairs 1894-95, and served in Matabeleland in 1896.
In sketching the history of Rhodesia it is necessary to go at least as far back as our friend Chaka, the great chieftain of the Zulus, whose military prowess has been described. In the days of this warlike personage, Matshobane, who governed the Matabele tribe on the north-west of Zululand, preferred to submit to Chaka rather than to be "eaten up." Matshobane was the grandfather of Lobengula, who is intimately associated with the infant history of this promising country. His son Mosilikatze, however, was not so amenable to Zulu discipline. He broke out, annihilated all men, women, and children who happened to come in his way, and betook himself finally to remote regions where he had no masters save the lions. Later on, in 1837, he conceived the ingenious notion of exterminating all the white men north of the Orange River; but the white men were too much for him, and so he promptly retired to fresh fields and pastures new—in fact, to the country now known as Matabeleland. Its inhabitants were then settled between the Limpopo and the Zambesi. Here he again carried on his fell work of extermination. Of the horrors of his triumphant progress nothing need be said. They are best left to the imagination. It is enough to explain that the tribes of the Makalas, Mashonas, and others that happened to be in the way, were speedily wiped out. The Matabele, reigning in this vast now almost desolate region, soon became the terror of other tribes. The ravagers continued their fiendish operations, and finally set up military kraals and installed their chief in the principal of these at Buluwayo.
How long this state of things would have endured it is difficult to say. Fortunately there appeared on the scene a man—The Man—who conceived in his mighty brain a way to clear this Augean stable and transform it into a comparative fairyland. Mr. Cecil Rhodes came—he saw—and he conquered in all senses of the word. He decided that British civilisation must be extended to this "hinter-land"—as the Boers called it—and, being a keen man of the world and no sentimentalist, he argued, moreover, that British civilisation might be made to pay its way! The idea that Mr. Rhodes is "the walking embodiment of an ideal," without personal ambition in his schemes, is as absolutely absurd as are the reverse pictures that have been painted of him. He is no angel and no ogre, Mr. Rhodes is one of Nature's sovereigns, who, conscious of his power and the limitations of human life, uses every minute at his disposal to write his name large in the records of his country. And, since his name is large, he wants as a natural consequence a large and clear area to write it in, and that area he means to have!
Now, Mr. Rhodes had decided that the British were the best administrators of South Africa, and that if the British shirked the task it would be undertaken by some other nation. He saw the key to South Africa in his hands—he saw the Boer overspreading his borders, he saw Germans and Portuguese intriguing for footholds—there was but one course open, and he followed it. On the 30th of November 1888, Lobengula, the chief of the Matabele, signed a document giving the British the right to search for and extract minerals in his territory. Upon that the British South Africa Company was started. In 1889 a charter was granted by the Imperial Government. The Company was created with a capital of one million sterling. There were eight directors, three appointed by the Crown, and five elected by the shareholders. Mr. Cecil Rhodes occupied the position of managing director. In a brief space of time the wildernesses and the forests were traversed, roads were made, and a strong protective force installed in the country. Dr. Jameson was appointed administrator at Salisbury. A railroad was planned and forts were built. These were occupied by the Company's police.
While the pioneers were at work prospecting for gold, and improving the country in all manner of ways, Lobengula became cantankerous. It must be remembered that he suffered from gout, for which he was treated by Dr. Jameson. Now, Lobengula without gout was sufficiently savage to cause much apprehension; with it, it is impossible to describe the nature of the alarm he must have occasioned. He fell out first with the Mashonas for trivial reasons, and murders were committed. Dr. Jameson then came to the conclusion that, if the place was to be held at all, Lobengula must be crushed. More commotions followed. The Matabeles and Mashona tribes between them contrived to render the country uninhabitable. The peaceable Europeans would stand it no longer. The Matabele war ensued.
The High Commissioner gave Dr. Jameson permission to protect the country, and the forces advanced in two columns upon Buluwayo. Major Patrick Forbes acted as commander-in-chief, with Major Alan Wilson as next in command. This column, with guns, baggage, and attendant blacks (who assisted as camp-followers), kept as much as possible to open country to avoid surprise. They marched from the Iron-mine Hill, at the source of the Tokwe River.
The second column, commanded by Colonel Goold Adams, was composed in equal numbers of Bechuanaland police and South Africa Company's mounted men. In all they numbered about 450. It was accompanied by some 1500 Bemangwats under their chief.
With Major Forbes's column were Dr. Jameson, Sir John Willoughby, and Bishop Knight Bruce. The advance was carefully managed. The column destroyed all military kraals in its line of march, skirmishing at times, but cautiously providing against attacks of the enemy. One of these attacks took place while the force was in laager, on the 25th of October. A Matabele army, 5000 strong, made three savage onslaughts, but were driven back on each occasion with heavy loss.
The column still continued to advance, and Lobengula, hearing of its victory and approach, sent forth to meet it a company of pure Zulus, the flower of his army.
The Imbezu and Ingubo in front of the Matabele army then approached the laager that was being formed near the source of the Imbembesi River. They advanced with all their accustomed dash, and a warlike intrepidity worthy of Chaka, their renowned ancestor.
But they could make no stand against the Maxim and machine guns, and in a few hours all was over. Lobengula's day was practically done!
On hearing of the victory he set fire to his kraal himself, and fled towards the Zambesi, leaving his magazine, whenever the flames should reach it, to explode with ferocious uproar.
In November 1893 the Chartered Company's force came into possession of the smoking, deserted region. Messengers were sent in search of the chief. Lobengula was courteously advised to surrender. His personal safety was assured to him by Dr. Jameson, but he refused to listen. Efforts were then made to capture him. After a long and fatiguing march, news was brought in that Lobengula's waggons had been seen on the road the day before.
Major Wilson, with a well-mounted party, went off to follow the spoor, being advised to return before dark. This he did not do. He remained for the night beyond the Shangani River, and by daylight reached the waggons of the chief.
Lobengula's followers immediately attacked the small company of thirty-four Europeans, which was speedily annihilated. Some of these might have escaped, but they preferred, though largely outnumbered, to fight side by side with their comrades till the last!
Very little remains to be told. Lobengula endeavoured to arrange terms with the British force, but his messengers and money never reached their destination. Babyane and four other indunas—followed after a few days by others—came to inquire what terms of peace would be granted. They were required to surrender their arms before returning to their kraals, which they did with alacrity. Most of the natives followed their example, being well satisfied with British rule. The death of Lobengula, of fever and gout, in January 1894 put an end to further complications.
So far we have seen the establishment of the British in a hitherto absolutely savage arena. It may be interesting to hear what travellers have had to say regarding the region that has recently become our own. Its present aspect, and its prospects for the future, are best learnt from authorities who have personally inspected the place. Mr. Charles Boyd discourses thus on the subject:—
"When you have got out of the train before the corrugated iron building which stands on the edge of the illimitable grey, green veldt, to mark where the great station of the future is to arise, there is one feature of Buluwayo which is making ready to seize hold upon you. It is not, perhaps, the most important feature, but it is conspicuous enough to entitle it to a first place in any jotting of local impressions. It is what a logician might call the differentia of Buluwayo. Put it bluntly it comes to this, that you have arrived in a community of gentlemen. A stranger making his way about the brown streets, neat brick and corrugated iron buildings set down on red earth, and divided into alternate avenues and streets—'little New York,' said a policeman complacently—a stranger pauses to ask himself if he dreams, or if the Household Brigade, the Bachelors' Club, and the Foreign Office have depleted themselves of their members, and sent them, disguised in broad-brimmed hats and riding-breeches, to hold the capital of Matabeleland. Young men of the most eligible sort are everywhere. Some of them are manifestly youthful, others are well on in the thirties, there is even a sprinkling of men of years; but the mass of the population presents the same aspect of physical fitness, that indefinable something besides, which is perhaps not to be expressed save under the single head of 'race.'" In fact, our authority asserts that nowhere can be found a healthier, shrewder, or friendlier set of men. He believes in them, and in the discipline that has toughened them to meet the real needs of life, and kept them alive to a sense of their political and social importance. He says—
"Buluwayo now possesses a population of 5000, a mayor and corporation, daily and weekly papers, and several public buildings, including banks, clubs, and an hospital built as a memorial to Major Wilson.
"The rapid increase in the value of land at Buluwayo is shown by the fact that whilst in 1894 the average price of a town stand was L103, in 1897 it had advanced to L345. By the opening of the railway, in November 1897, it is placed in direct communication with Cape Town, and a still greater increase in value may be anticipated."
Things in Rhodesia are as yet expensive, but Mr. Boyd thinks that railroads will have a cheapening influence. He quotes some present prices, which would make the hair of a Londoner stand on end! Imagine the feelings of the comfortable cockney who found himself face to face with a breakfast bill for nine shillings! For this modest sum Mr. Boyd was supplied with tea, ham, eggs, marmalade, and toast, in fact, the little commonplace things that we have come to consider as the natural fixtures of the metropolitan table!
Of the library, whose foundation-stone was laid by Sir Alfred Milner, he speaks in highly favourable terms. He says that in laying the foundation-stone no one seemed more keenly impressed than the High Commissioner himself. He prophesied the foundation of a rich university at Buluwayo to replace that other and easy one which a library is avowed to supply. At this some one smiled. But Sir Alfred rebuked him for the frivolity. He had seen enough, Sir Alfred declared, of the temper of this place, to believe a university at Buluwayo to be a consummation neither fanciful nor impossible. In regard to the agrestic qualities of this new district, Mr. H. Marshall Hole has spoken at some length in an article which appeared in an issue of Colonia, a magazine published by the Colonial College, Hollesley Bay, Suffolk. He declares that "the great advantage of Rhodesia as an agricultural country is the facility with which irrigation can be carried on; the conformation of the land is undulating, and even the so-called 'flats' are intersected in all directions by valleys, each of which possesses its watercourse, so that by the simple expedient of throwing a dam across these valleys, water may be stored and led on to the adjacent fields as required. The soil is in all parts naturally fertile, but the farmer sometimes has great difficulty in reducing it to a proper state for cultivation, owing to the roots and growth which must be exterminated before the seed is sown. The strongest ploughs and the most careful harrowing are required for this work, otherwise the settler will have to face the annoyance and delay of broken ploughshares, and the disaster of a crop choked by tangle-grass and weeds. The crops to which farmers have hitherto most devoted themselves in Rhodesia are mealies (maize) and forage (oat hay). These find a ready market at all times, as they form the staple food of horses. The next most popular crop is potatoes, which do well, are not liable to disease, and are in so great request that they sometimes fetch 1s. 6d., and seldom fall below 3d. per pound in the market. All kinds of English vegetables prosper with very little trouble, beyond careful watering in dry weather, and weeding during the rains; but, for some unexplained reason, vegetable culture is left almost entirely to the coolies or Indians, who, despite their very primitive methods of irrigation and tillage, make immense profits thereby."
Further on he says that farms of about 3000 acres may be bought at from L250 to L2000, according to their situation as regards neighbouring towns, or the extent of cultivation done on them; and while the farmer will not derive much more than a bare subsistence for the first year or two, he may, by combining dairy-farming and timber-cutting with his more extensive operations, make both ends meet at any rate, and enhance the value of his land without being out of pocket. One with a small capital has, of course, a better chance of immediate profit, and such an one would do well to join some established and experienced man in partnership, or as a pupil, in order to learn something of the business before entering it finally. His advice to adventurous youth is, "By all means go, if you can manage to put together enough money to pay your passage and to keep yourself for two or three months after your arrival."
Of the towns he speaks appreciatively. "We have buildings of a very substantial type, built for the most part of brick. There are blocks of rooms which form bachelor 'diggings' for single men, and small but comfortable suburban houses for families, while the railways on the east and west afford facilities for the importation of excellent furniture. Eight years ago it was so difficult to obtain furniture that every little packing case was carefully treasured, its nails drawn out and straightened, and its boards converted into tables, stools, and shelves. To-day it is no uncommon thing to find pianos and billiard tables in private houses in Buluwayo, and even in Salisbury, which has not yet been reached by the railway, while the club-houses at both places are models of comfort and luxury."
A writer, who signs himself "W. E. L.," in British Africa says of Rhodesia, "That the soil is mostly very fertile; in Matabeleland alone 6000 square miles are suitable for cultivation without any artificial irrigation, or other extensive preliminary work. In 1891, a commission of Cape Colony farmers visited the country, and reported favourably on the land from an agricultural standpoint. Mr. Lionel Decle said, 'I am the first traveller who has crossed Africa from the Cape to Uganda, and I must say the British South Africa Company may certainly boast of possessing the pick of Central Africa on both sides of the Zambesi.'
"Teak forests cover 2000 square miles in North-West Matabeleland; and Mashonaland is very well timbered, mostly with trees of the acacia family.
"The native crops are rice, tobacco, cotton, and india-rubber. All European vegetables can be grown to perfection, especially cabbages, lettuces, beetroot, turnips, carrots, and onions. There were in 1897 over eighty market gardens in the neighbourhood of Buluwayo, and for the half-year ending September 1897, the value of the produce sold was L9630.
"Fruit orchards are being planted, and nearly all fruit appears to flourish, especially grapes, figs, oranges, peaches, almonds, walnuts, lemons, bananas, quinces, apricots, pomegranates, and apples. All kinds of European cereals can be grown, and maize does well.
"The average rainfall is 30 to 35 inches, 90 per cent. of which falls during the wet season—November to March.
"The temperature rarely touches freezing point, except on the highlands round Salisbury and Fort Charter, and owing to the great elevation (4000 to 5000 feet) of most of the country, rarely exceeds 90 deg. in the shade. In the low-lying Zambesi valley, however, it is very hot from December to March."
Of the mineral wealth, it seems as yet dangerous to prognosticate. Prophecies are many, and there is every reason to believe that the mines will be prolific as those of the Transvaal. In regard to this matter, however, time alone can show.
It may be remembered that in and after 1854, the Boers commenced to block up the path of travellers, and in some cases to cause expulsion of visitors across the Vaal. Doubtless this policy of expulsion originated in the nefarious traffic in "apprentices," which they wished to carry on uninterruptedly, but there was also another reason for their precautions. Stray discoveries of gold had been made from time to time, and gold prospectors began to take an uncomfortable interest in the district. Now the Boers had no desire to open up their country to the mining population, or to run any risks which might interfere with their hardly won independence. After the discoveries of the German explorer Manch, however, they were unable entirely to resist invasion. The ears of the public were tickled. The hint of nuggets in the Transvaal naturally drew thither a horde of adventurous Europeans who would not be denied. The first immigrants betook themselves to Barberton, and some three or four years later to the Witwatersrandt. These appear mostly to have been Scotsmen, for President Burgers christened the earliest goldfields Mac Mac, in consequence of the names of the invaders. Miners and speculators of all kinds commenced to pour into those districts, some to make a fortune as quickly as possible, and rush off to spend it elsewhere, others to settle themselves in the country and develop schemes for financial outlay, profitable alike to themselves and to the land of their adoption. Now these permanent visitors were scarcely appreciated by the Boers. They foresaw the alien transformed into the citizen, and objected to him. The power which they had acquired, both by long years of hardship and long hours of scheming, they wished to keep entirely in their own hands. With the arrival of further settlers they feared this independence would be materially weakened. In order that further possible citizens might not be attracted to the Transvaal, the Volksraad passed a law calculated to damp their ardour. This law imposed on all candidates for the franchise a residence of five years, to be accompanied by register on the Field Cornet's books, and a payment of L25 on admission to the rights of citizenship.
The first discoverers of the great goldfield are reported to be the Brothers Struben, owing to whose perseverance and patience the Witwatersrandt became the Eldorado of speculators' dreams. In 1886 this locality was declared a public goldfield by formal proclamation, and the South African golden age began.
In a little while the regions north of the Limpopo began to be investigated, and each in their turn to yield up their treasures. In 1888 a concession to work mineral upon his territory was obtained from Lobengula, the Matabele king. A year later the British South Africa Company was founded. The Company having obtained its charter, no time was lost. In 1890, we find the now noted pioneer expedition plying its activities in Mashonaland.
Mr. Basil Worsfold, in a most instructive article in the Fortnightly Review, affords an excellent insight into the energy that characterised the Company's proceedings:—"In the space of three months, a road 400 miles in length was cut through jungle and swamp, and a series of forts was erected and garrisoned by the Company's forces. After the Matabele war, which occupied the closing months of 1893, the prospecting and mining for gold was commenced in Matabele, as well as in Mashonaland, and at the present time Buluwayo, Lobengula's kraal, has become the chief centre of the industry. These operations were checked by the revolt of the Matabele and Mashona in 1896, but since that period gold mining has been steadily progressing. The Buluwayo yield for December 1898 amounted to 6258 oz.: while that of the four last months—September to December—of the same year was 18,084 oz., of the value of about L70,000!"
The other fields which yield gold are the Transvaal, Lydenberg, and De Kaap fields, and the Klerksdorp and Potchefstrom fields. The output of these fields continues to grow apace, but how much longer the growth will be maintained is uncertain. The opinion of Mr. Hamilton Smith, who wrote to the Times on the subject in 1895, is worth consideration. He says, "In 1894 the value of the Randt gold bullion was L7,000,000, and this without any increase from the new deep-level mines; these latter will become fairly productive in 1897, so for that year a produce of fully L10,000,000 can be fairly expected. Judging from present appearances, the maximum product of the Randt will be reached about the end of the present century, when it will probably exceed L12,500,000 per annum."
It is interesting to find that Mr. Smith's maximum figure was already exceeded in the year 1898, when the total yield of gold was 4,295,602 oz., valued at L15,250,000!
The following table, based on Mr. H. Smith's and Dr. Soetbeer's estimates, affords us an opportunity for comparing the South African output with that of other countries, and the world's present supply with that of former years:—
GOLD OUTPUT FOR 1894. WORLD'S OUTPUT. Average annual Value From value. United States L9,000,000 1700 to 1859 L 2,000,000 Australasia 8,000,000 1850 to 1875 25,000,000 South Africa 7,000,000 1875 to 1890 20,000,000 Russia (1892) 4,000,000 1894 (one year only) 36,000,000
Of the stimulus given to railway construction by the establishment of the gold industry Mr. Worsfold speaks with authority. He says, "To-day, Johannesburg—built on land which in 1886 was part of an absolutely barren waste—is approached by three distinct lines, which connect it directly with the four chief ports of South Africa—Delagoa Bay, Durban, Port Elizabeth, and Cape Town. Of these lines the earliest, which traverses the Free State from end to end, and links the Randt with the Cape Colony, was not opened until July 1892. The Pretoria-Delagoa Bay line was completed in the autumn of 1894; and the extension of the Randt railway to Charlestown, the connecting-point with the Natal line, was not effected until the following year. These, together with some subsidiary lines, represent a total of 1000 miles of railway constructed mainly under the stimulus of the gold industry in the Transvaal. To this total two considerable pieces of railway construction, accomplished in the interest of the gold industry in the Chartered Company's territories, must be added. Of these, the first extended the main trunk line of Africa from Kimberley successively to Vryburg and Mafeking, in 1890 and 1894, and then finally to Buluwayo in 1897, and the second, the Beira line, by securing a rapid passage through the 'fly country,' brought Salisbury into easy communication with the East Coast of Africa at the port so named. Taken together, they measure 930 miles. It should be added also that arrangements are already in progress for the extension of the trunk line from Buluwayo to Tanganyika—a distance of about 750 miles. This will form a new and important link in Mr. Rhodes' great scheme of connecting Cape Town with Cairo."
The telegraph advanced more speedily even than railroads, and the population has kept pace with wire and rail. Johannesburg has a population of 120,800 souls, and Buluwayo, a savage desert not long ago, has now an European society of over 5000 persons. It is therefore somewhat questionable if Mr. Froude is justified in his opinion that diamonds and gold are not the stuff of which nations are made. Nations, if they are to expand, must be fed, and while diamond and gold mines give up of their wealth, we are assured of sufficient food to foster expansion. That done, it remains merely with the Government of the flourishing nation to decide whether its work shall be little or large.
It is curious to note that in spite of the disturbance in the Transvaal the mines continued to maintain their position, with the result that the gold output from the Randt for July shows a considerable increase upon previous months. According to the official figures received from the Chamber of Mines, the returns were as follows:—
456,474 ozs. for the Witwatersrandt district 22,019 ozs. for the outside district ———— 478,493 ozs.
The production in June 1899 was:—
445,763 ozs. for the Witwatersrandt district 21,508 ozs. for the outside district ———— In all 467,271 ozs.
And in July 1898:—
359,343 ozs. for the Witwatersrandt district 22,663 ozs. for the outside district ———— In all 382,006 ozs.
This table shows that during the twelve months since July 1898 the production of gold on the Randt has increased by 100,000 ozs. a month—equivalent to 1,200,000 ozs. a year. It will be found that, if these returns are compared with the estimates made by competent authorities, the actual output is far in excess of all estimates, following is the gold output table, Transvaal, to July 1899:—
- - - - - MONTH. 1895. 1896. 1897. 1898. 1899. TOTAL TO DATE. - - - - - Ozs. Ozs. Ozs. Ozs. Ozs. Ozs. January 177,463 148,178 209,832 336,577 431,010 369,557 1889 February 169,296 167,019 211,000 321,238 425,166 42,000 '87-8-9 March 184,945 173,952 232,067 347,643 464,036 494,817 1890 April 186,323 176,003 235,698 353,243 460,349 729,238 1891 May 194,580 195,009 248,305 365,016 466,452 1,210,867 1892 June 200,942 193,640 251,529 365,091 467,271 1,478,473 1893 July 199,453 203,874 242,479 382,006 478,493 2,024,163 1894 August 203,573 213,418 259,603 398,285 ... 2,277,640 1895 September 194,765 202,562 262,150 408,502 ... 2,281,175 1896 October 192,652 199,890 274,175 423,217 ... 3,034,674 1897 November 195,219 201,113 297,124 413,517 ... 4,555,009 1898 December 178,429 206,517 310,712 440,674 ... 3,193,777 1899 - - - - - Total 2,277,640 2,281,175 3,034,674 4,555,009 3,193,777 21,899,562 ozs. - - - - - Government Returns; some additions to be made for Rhodesia.
The discovery of diamonds in South Africa was made by a curious accident. One day a trader travelling along in the neighbourhood north of Cape Colony happened to stop at a farm. While there, he was interested in a small child who was toying with a bright and singularly lustrous pebble. His curiosity was aroused, and he suggested that the thing might be rare enough to be of some value. Thereupon the stone was sent to an expert in Grahamstown, who declared it to be a diamond. The stone weighed twenty-one carats and was valued at L500. From that date search was made in and around the locality, and more diamonds, smaller and of inferior quality, were found. During the years 1867-68 nothing very active was done, though now and again these precious stones were discovered near the Vaal River.
In the month of March, 1869, the world was startled and began to open its eyes. The diamond known as "the Star of Africa," weighing some eighty-three carats in its raw state, was obtained from a Hottentot. This individual had been in possession of the valuable property for some time, and had kept it solely on account of its rarity as a charm. The stone was eventually sold for the sum of L11,000.
The north bank of the Vaal where the discoveries were made was, at that time, a species of "No-Man's-Land." The southern bank belonged to the Free State, but for the other side there were many claimants, none of whom could prove a title to it. The community of miners which there gathered was consequently lawless and ruffianly, and its mode of government was distinctly primitive.
The various claimants, notably the Griqua Captain, Nicholas Waterboer, commenced disputes regarding the valuable portion of the Free State territory, and finally it was decided to submit to British arbitration. President Brand refused the offer, but President M. W. Pretorius of the South African Republic, who had grievances against the Barolong, Batlapin, and Griqua tribes, agreed. A Court was appointed, the Governor of Natal acting as umpire. The interests involved were many, and on the subject of their rights the various claimants seemed somewhat hazy. The Free State was not represented, and the umpire, acting on the evidence of Mr. Arnot (the agent of Nicholas Waterboer) gave judgment against the South African Republic, and allowed the claim of the Griqua Captain, including in the award the tract claimed by him in the Free State. The complicated situation is thus described by Mr. Bryce in his "Impressions of South Africa":—
"As Waterboer had before the award offered his territory to the British Government, the country was forthwith erected into a Crown Colony, under the name of Griqualand West. This was in 1871. The Free State, whose case had not been stated, much less argued, before the umpire, protested, and was after a time able to appeal to a judgment delivered by a British Court, which found that Waterboer had never enjoyed any right to the territory. However, the new Colony had by this time been set up, and the British flag displayed. The British Government, without either admitting or denying the Free State title, declared that a district in which it was difficult to keep order amid a turbulent and shifting population ought to be under the control of a strong power, and offered the Free State a sum of L90,000 in settlement of whatever claim it might possess. The acceptance by the Free State, in 1876, of this sum closed the controversy, though a sense of injustice continued to rankle in the breasts of some of the citizens of the Republic. Amicable relations have subsisted ever since between it and Cape Colony, and the control of the British Government over the Basutos has secured for it peace in the quarter which was formerly most disturbed.
"These two cases show how various are the causes, and how mixed the motives, which press a great power forward even against the wishes of its statesmen. The Basutos were declared British subjects, partly out of a sympathetic wish to rescue and protect them, partly because policy required the acquisition of a country naturally strong, and holding an important strategical position. Griqualand West, taken in the belief that Waterboer had a good title to it, was retained after this belief had been dispelled, partly perhaps because a population had crowded into it which consisted mainly of British subjects, and was not easily controllable by a small State, but mainly because Colonial feeling refused to part with a region of such exceptional mineral wealth. And the retention of Griqualand West caused, before long, the acquisition of Bechuanaland, which in its turn naturally led to that northward extension of British influence which has carried the Union Jack to the shores of Lake Tanganyika."
Griqualand West, whose capital is the salubrious Kimberley, was settled in 1833 by the Griquas or Baastards, a tribe of Dutch Hottentot half-breeds. As we have seen, the territory was claimed by the chief, Waterboer, and his claim was allowed by the Governor of Natal. When he subsequently ceded his rights, the province was annexed to Cape Colony, but with independent jurisdiction. In 1881 it became an integral part of Cape Colony. Griqualand East comprises No-Man's-Land, the Gatberg and St. John's River territory, under eight subordinate magistrates.
A word, before passing on, of Kimberley. This town, hitherto known as the City of Diamonds, has now the distinction of being the casket where Mr. Rhodes, with the price of L5000 on his head, was incarcerated. Its real birth dates from 1869-70, when all the world rushed out to win fortune from its soil. Happily at that time Mr. Cecil Rhodes happened to be in the neighbourhood. With his usual gift of foresight, he recognised that some process of amalgamating the various conflicting claims and interests, and merging them in one huge whole, would be necessary if the value of diamonds was to be kept up. He invented a scheme, and succeeded—the great corporation, the De Beers Consolidated Mining Company, limited the output of diamonds to an annual amount such as Europe and the United States were able to take at a price high enough to leave an adequate profit. This arrangement has, in a measure, had the effect of depopulating the place. At least it has thinned it of the crowd of adventurers who previously infested the region and struggled to maintain an independent existence there. In the absence of these loafers the town is civilised, and comparatively refined. There are groves of gum-trees to promote shade, and thickets of prickly pear, which have ever a rural, though touch-me-not aspect. The low-storeyed houses, built bungalow-wise, have an air of capaciousness and ease; and further out, in Kenilworth, there are comfortable dwellings, surrounded with trees, and suggestive of a certain suburban picturesqueness. This region owes its cheerful and well-ordered aspect entirely to Mr. Rhodes, who is at the same time the parent and the apostle of all progress in South Africa.
The diamonds have their home in beds of clay, which are usually covered with calcareous rock. These beds are the remains of mud pits, due to volcanic action. Mr. Bryce, in his "Impressions of South Africa, says:—
"Some of the mines are worked to the depth of 1200 feet by shafts and subterranean galleries. Some are open, and these, particularly that called the Wesselton Mine, are an interesting sight. This deep hollow, one-third of a mile in circumference and 100 feet deep, enclosed by a strong fence of barbed wire, is filled by a swarm of active Kaffir workmen, cleaving the 'hard blue' with pickaxes, piling it up on barrows, and carrying it off to the wide fields, where it is left exposed to the sun, and, during three months, to the rain. Having been thus subjected to a natural decomposition, it is the more readily brought by the pickaxe into smaller fragments before being sent to the mills, where it is crushed, pulverised, and finally washed to get at the stones. Nowhere in the world does the hidden wealth of the soil and the element of chance in its discovery strike one so forcibly as here, where you are shown a piece of ground a few acres in extent, and are told, 'Out of this pit diamonds of the value of L12,000,000 have been taken.' Twenty-six years ago the ground might have been bought for L50."
To encourage honesty in the miner good wages are given, and ten per cent. is allowed to finders of valuable stones who voluntarily deliver these to the overseer. Apropos of this subject, Mr. Bryce relates an amusing tale, which, if not true, is certainly ben trovato: "I heard from a missionary an anecdote of a Basuto who, after his return from Kimberley, was describing how, on one occasion, his eye fell on a valuable diamond in the clay he was breaking into fragments. While he was endeavouring to pick it up he perceived the overseer approaching, and, having it by this time in his hand, was for a moment terribly frightened, the punishment for theft being very severe. The overseer, however, passed on. 'And then,' said the Basuto, 'I knew that there was indeed a God, for He had preserved me.'"