South Africa and the Transvaal War, Vol. 1 (of 6) - From the Foundation of Cape Colony to the Boer Ultimatum - of 9th Oct. 1899
by Louis Creswicke
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Before leaving the subject of diamonds, it may be interesting to note the material increase of the products of the mines year by year. The following is a table of statistics of the De Beers Consolidated Mines, Limited, since its formation, 1st April 1888:—


- - - -+ Year Ending Number Number Number of Amount Realised of Loads of Loads Carats of by Sale of Blue of Blue Diamonds of Diamonds. Hoisted. Washed. Found + - - -+ - { March 31, 1889, L s. d. { prior to 944,706 712,263 914,121 901,818 0 5 { consolidation De Beers { March 31, 1890 2,192,226 1,251,245 1,450,605 2,330,179 16 3 and { March 31, 1891 1,978,153 2,029,588 2,020,515 2,974,670 9 0 Kimberley{ [A]June 30, 1892 3,338,553 3,239,134 3,035,481 3,931,542 11 1 Mines { June 30, 1893 3,090,183 2,108,626 2,229,805 3,239,389 8 6 { June 30, 1894 2,999,431 2,577,460 2,308,463-1/2 2,820,172 3 9 { June 30, 1895 2,525,717 2,854,817 2,435,541-1/2 3,105,957 15 8 { June 30, 1896 2,698,109 2,597,026 2,363,437-3/4 3,165,382 1 4 { June 30, 1897 2,515,889 3,011,288 2,769,422-3/4 3,722,099 3 3 Premier Mine June 30, 1897 271,777 ... ... ... De Beers and Kimberley Mines June 30, 1898 3,332,688 3,259,692 2,603,250 3,451,214 15 3 Premier Mine June 30, 1898 1,146,984 691,722 189,356-1/4 196,659 18 8 + - - - -

+ + + -+ -+ -+ + Year Ending Number Amount Amount Cost of of Carats Realised Realised Production per Load per Carat per Load. per Load of Blue. Sold. + + + -+ -+ -+ + { March 31, 1889, { prior to s. d. s. d. s. d. { consolidation 1.283 19 8-3/4 25 3-3/4 9 10-1/2 De Beers { March 31, 1890 1.15 32 6-3/4 37 2-3/4 8 10-1/2 and { March 31, 1891 .99 29 6 29 3-3/4 8 8 Kimberley{ [A]June 30, 1892 .92 25 6 23 5 7 4.3 Mines { June 30, 1893 1.05 29 0.6 30 6 6 11.6 { June 30, 1894 .89 24 5.2 21 10.6 6 6.8 { June 30, 1895 .85 25 6 21 8 6 10.8 { June 30, 1896 .91 26 9.4 24 4.5 7 0.1 { June 30, 1897 .92 26 10.6 24 8.6 7 4.3 Premier Mine June 30, 1897 ... ... ... ... De Beers and Kimberley Mines June 30, 1898 .80 26 6.2 21 2.1 6 7.4 Premier Mine June 30, 1898 .27 20 9.3 5 8.2 2 7.1 + + + -+ -+ -+ +

-+ Year Ending Number of Loads DIVIDENDS PAID. of Blue on Floors at+ Close of Year, Amount. Equal to exclusive of Lumps { March 31, 1889, { prior to L s. d. { consolidation 476,403 188,329 10 0 5 per cent. De Beers { March 31, 1890 1,576,821 789,682 0 0 20 " and { March 31, 1891 1,525,386 789,791 0 0 20 " Kimberley{ [A]June 30, 1892 1,624,805 1,382,134 5 0 35 " Mines { June 30, 1893 2,606,362 987,238 15 0 25 " { June 30, 1894 3,028,333 987,238 15 0 25 " { June 30, 1895 2,699,233 987,238 15 0 25 " { June 30, 1896 2,800,316 1,579,582 0 0 40 " { June 30, 1897 2,304,917 1,579,582 0 0 40 " Premier Mine June 30, 1897 271,777 ... ... De Beers and Kimberley Mines June 30, 1898 2,377,913 } } Premier } 1,579,582 0 0 40 per cent. Mine June 30, 1898 727,039 }

[A] These figures are for a period of fifteen months. Add 10 per cent. for other products.



We have dealt with the exodus of the trekkers, and with the land that subsequently became the Transvaal. It behoves us now to discuss the difference between that primitive pastoral region of the early century and the busy country that may, for distinction sake, be styled the Transvaal of to-day.

Modern geographers apply the name of the Transvaal to the tract of country between the Limpopo River on the north, and the Vaal River on the south. It is bounded on the east by the Lobombo, and the Drakenberg Mountains, which run parallel to the Natal coast, and on the west by British Bechuanaland. On the east lie Portuguese Territory and British Zululand, on the north Rhodesia, on the west British Bechuanaland, and on the south the Orange Free State and Natal. The important rivers are the Limpopo or Crocodile River, so named in compliment to its reptile inhabitants, and the Vaal, a tributary of the Orange River. This rises among the Drakenberg Mountains, and, curving, flows west as a boundary between the Orange Free State and the Transvaal. The Limpopo rises between Johannesburg and Pretoria, and sprays out north-east, north-west, east, and south-east, reaching the sea in the neighbourhood of Delagoa Bay. After leaving the Transvaal, owing to the presence of a cataract, it is however unsuitable for purposes of navigation. The district of the Transvaal varies in height from 2000 to 8000 feet above the level of the sea. The Hooge Veld, the uplands of the Drakenberg Mountains, rises from 4000 to 8000 feet above the sea, and between them and the outer slopes of the Lobombo range is a vast tract of some 20,000 square miles of arable land, called the Banken Veld. It furnishes a splendid grazing ground, and corn grows in profusion. The Bosch Veld or Bush Country comprises the centre of the country, and runs west into Bechuanaland. This district is largely infested with the tsetse fly, an insect whose sting means death to almost all domestic animals. Besides this, it is the home of malaria and other fevers. The Hooge Veld, which has a drier, colder, and more healthy climate, is largely used for breeding cattle, and as a grazing ground for sheep and oxen. It is here that, in later days, the gold-mining activity proceeds, as almost everywhere there are believed to be rich auriferous deposits. Its mineral deposits have been the attraction of the Transvaal, for the coal-fields invited the attention of some of the first speculators. In fact, the first railway line of the district ran between Johannesburg and a colliery.

Besides coal may be found silver, copper, and lead. But the great attraction, GOLD, has for the last ten years lured all the money from the pockets of the enterprising. Other metals, such as cinnabar, iron, and tin are, for the nonce, like Gray's violet, "born to blush unseen," until some ingenious person discovers in them a subtle attraction.

To show the financial changes which have come over the country within the last ten years, Mr. Campbell, late Vice-President of the Chamber of Mines, Johannesburg, has written a valuable article. In it he gives us the following agrarian position in the Transvaal of the present by areas and by values:—


Per cent. Boers' own land 65 British 35 —- 100

But land is valuable not by area merely, but by intrinsic value, and the Boers have sold much of their best land, and taken British gold for it, and when we come to the figures in the Government Dues Office at Pretoria, we have—


Per cent. Boers' 33 British 67 —- 100

The net deductions in the Dues Offices are, that the whole of the farms and private lands in the Transvaal, under the mere Boer occupancy, are valued by the outside world at L933,200, whereas to-day, by the addition of the British buyer and holder, they are now valued by the world at ten millions sterling! In figures given above, all land occupied for mining or town sites is excluded.

The current yield of gold is computed at the rate of seventeen and a half millions sterling per annum. This is the vitalising source of African trade and African progress. It pays the interest on nearly all South African Railways, is responsible for a large portion of the costs of Government in the Cape Colony, Orange States, Natal as well as Pretoria. And yet the working bees—the white British community of Johannesburg—who have helped to enrich the hive containing the whole of South African interests, have been neglected, if not betrayed, by the Mother Country. They have been deprived of arms, of liberties,—they have suffered insult and disdain, and Great Britain, until forced to do so, has moved not a finger in their defence. The Transvaal, one of the richest districts of the world, merely wants good and sustained government—a government that will grant to all respectable white men free and equal rights. When this shall come to pass, its splendid resources will be developed. The Indian Ocean trade will be supplied with steam coal. The country will sustain itself, and will also export food stuffs, and trade in iron, hide, wool, tin, and quantities of other things, whose value has hitherto been ignored. All that is needed is a dignified acceptance of British responsibilities. South Africa was bought by the paramount Power nearly an hundred years ago, and has since then been administered—if not entirely wisely and well—at least administered, by that Power. British sweat has rained on the country, British muscle has toiled in the country, British blood has flowed in streams over its face, and British bones are mixed with the shifting grains of its sand. It now remains for British sovereignty to wield its sceptre and make its presence felt.


Since it is impossible to enter into all the intricacies of foreign political relations with the Transvaal, we will return to the Uitlanders. They became more and more unwelcome as their numbers increased. Many Acts were passed, each serving to render more impossible their chances of obtaining the franchise. The fact was that Mr. Kruger, having brought his State to a condition of bankruptcy almost identical with that which existed when Sir T. Shepstone annexed the Transvaal, was struggling to carry on a divided scheme, that of grabbing with both hands from the Uitlander financialists, while endeavouring to maintain with close-fisted obstinacy the exclusiveness, irresponsibility, and bigotry of the primitive trekker. He knew that if he granted full political rights to the outsiders he would no longer be master of his own misguided house. He said as much, and pointed out that were he to do so there would be no alternative but to haul down his flag. This being the case, there was no resource but to transform the so-called free Republic into an absolute oligarchy. Much has been said of the "Russian despot," but this century can present no more complete spectacle of despotism than that of Mr. Kruger. The Emperor of Russia, autocrat as he is, is guided by the traditions of his empire and the machinations of his ministers, but Mr. Kruger has allowed himself to be reasoned with and influenced by none, and his word has been in reality the only form of law or justice on which the Uitlanders have had to rely. Such system of government as there was was corrupt. Smuggling flourished under the very eye of the officials, and the Field Cornets, whose business it was to act as petty justices, collect taxes, and register arrivals of new-comers, kept their books in a manner more in accord with their personal convenience than with accuracy. Hence, when it came to the question of the naturalisation of the Uitlanders, the books which should have recorded their registration were either withheld or missing. Settlers in the Transvaal between the years 1882 and 1890, owing to this irregularity, were debarred from proving their registration as the law required. Speaking of this period, Mr. Fitzpatrick, in "The Transvaal from Within," says:—

"In the country districts justice was not a commodity intended for the Britisher. Many cases of gross abuse, and several of actual murder occurred, and in 1885 the case of Mr. Jas. Donaldson, then residing on a farm in Lydenburg—lately one of the Reform prisoners—was mentioned in the House of Commons, and became the subject of a demand by the Imperial Government for reparation and punishment. He had been ordered by two Boers (one of whom was in the habit of boasting that he had shot an unarmed Englishman in Lydenburg since the war, and would shoot others) to abstain from collecting hut taxes on his own farm; and on refusing had been attacked by them. After beating them off single-handed, he was later on again attacked by his former assailants, reinforced by three others. They bound him with reims (thongs), kicked and beat him with sjamboks (raw-hide whips) and clubs, stoned him, and left him unconscious and so disfigured that he was thought to be dead when found some hours later. On receipt of the Imperial Government's representations, the men were arrested, tried, and fined. The fines were stated to have been remitted at once by Government, but in the civil action which followed Mr. Donaldson received L500 damages. The incident had a distinctly beneficial effect, and nothing more was heard of the maltreatment of defenceless men simply because they were Britishers."

Nevertheless the hostility between the two races was growing apace, and every ambition of the Uitlanders was promptly nipped in the bud.

Reforms were at first mildly suggested. Bridges and roads were required, also a remission of certain taxes, but suggestions, even agitations, were in vain. In regard to the franchise question—the crying question of the decade—Mr. Kruger turned an ear more and more deaf. There are none so deaf as those whose ears are stopped up with the cotton-wool of their own bigotry. This bigotry it is almost impossible for enlightened persons to understand. As an instance of the almost fanatical ignorance and prejudice with which the Uitlanders had to contend, we may quote the letter of Mr. Kruger when requested to allow his name to be used as a patron of a ball to be given in honour of her Majesty's birthday. He replied:—

"SIR,—In reply to your favour of the 12th inst., requesting me to ask his Honour the State President to consent to his name being used as a patron of a ball to be given at Johannesburg on the 26th inst., I have been instructed to inform you that his Honour considers a ball as Baal's service, for which reason the Lord ordered Moses to kill all offenders; and as it is therefore contrary to his Honour's principles, his Honour cannot consent to the misuse of his name in such connection.—I have, &c.,

"F. ELOFF, Private Secretary."

On another occasion, when the question of locust extermination came before the first Raad, the worthies to whom the conduct of the State was confided showed a condition of benighted simplicity that can scarcely be credited.

"July 21.—Mr. Roos said locusts were a plague, as in the days of King Pharaoh, sent by God, and the country would assuredly be loaded with shame and obloquy if it tried to raise its hand against the mighty hand of the Almighty.

"Messrs. Declerq and Steenkamp spoke in the same strain, quoting largely from the Scriptures.

"The Chairman related a true story of a man whose farm was always spared by the locusts, until one day he caused some to be killed. His farm was then devastated.

"Mr. Stoop conjured the members not to constitute themselves terrestrial gods, and oppose the Almighty.

"Mr. Lucas Meyer raised a storm by ridiculing the arguments of the former speakers, and comparing the locusts to beasts of prey, which they destroyed.

"Mr. Labuschagne was violent. He said the locusts were different from beasts of prey. They were a special plague sent by God for their sinfulness."

Their deliberate unenlightenment, had it not been so tragic for those who suffered in consequence of it, must have been almost comical. On one occasion the question of firing at the clouds to bring down rain was discussed, and declared to be impious.

"August 5.—A memorial was read from Krugersdorp, praying that the Raad would pass a law to prohibit the sending up of bombs into the clouds to bring down rain, as it was a defiance of God, and would most likely bring down a visitation from the Almighty.

"The Memorial Committee reported that they disapproved of such a thing, but at the same time they did not consider that they could make a law on the subject.

"Mr. A. D. Wolmarans said he was astonished at the advice, and he expected better from the Commission. If one of their children fired towards the clouds with a revolver they would thrash him. Why should they permit people to mock at the Almighty in this manner? It was terrible to contemplate. He hoped that the Raad would take steps to prevent such things happening.

"The Chairman (who is also a member of the Memorial Commission) said the Commission thought that such things were only done for a wager.

"Mr. Erasmus said they were not done for a wager, but in real earnest. People at Johannesburg actually thought that they could bring down the rain from the clouds by firing cannons at them."

These quotations are not offered in the spirit of ridicule. The Uitlander question is too serious for joking. They are reproduced to enable those who have no knowledge of the Boer—his petty tyrannies and annoying and irritating habits, and the vexatious regulations from which the Uitlander continually suffered—to form an idea of the terrible mental gulf which existed between oppressor and oppressed. As the constant dropping of water will wear away stone, so the constant fret of Boer treatment wore out the patience of their victims!

It soon became very difficult for even sons of Uitlanders born in the country to obtain the franchise. The naturalised subject resigned his own nationality, and acquired the duties of the citizen and the liability to be called on for military service, only to find out that he could not even then enjoy the rights of the citizen. He felt much as the dog in the fable, which let drop his piece of meat for the sake of a reflection in the water. New laws and regulations continually came into force for the ostensible purpose of improving the state of the Uitlander—laws which in reality were created to bamboozle him still further. What chicanery failed to accomplish the remissness of officials successfully brought about, and the discomfort of the foreign inhabitants was complete. Beside domestic there were economic grievances. The position in a nutshell is given by one of the unfortunates:—

"The one thing which we must have—not for its own sake, but for the security it offers for obtaining and retaining other reforms—is the franchise. No promise of reform, no reform itself will be worth an hour's purchase unless we have the status of voters to make our influence felt. But, if you want the chief economic grievances, they are—the Netherland Railway concession, the dynamite monopoly, the liquor traffic, and native labour, which, together, constitute an unwarrantable burden of indirect taxation on the industry of over two and a half millions sterling annually. We petitioned until we were jeered at; we agitated until we—well—came here (Pretoria Gaol); and we know that we shall get no remedy until we have the vote to enforce it. We are not a political but a working community, and if we were honestly and capably governed, the majority of us would be content to wait for the franchise for a considerable time yet in recognition of the peculiar circumstances and of the feelings of the older inhabitants."

Mrs. Lionel Phillips, as the wife of an Uitlander, has also written her plaint. She says:—

"To show that the grievances of the Uitlanders are indeed real, let me call your attention to a few facts. What would women residing in peaceful England say to the fact that one cannot take a walk out of sight of one's own house in the suburbs of Johannesburg with safety? The Kaffirs, who in other parts of South Africa treat a white woman with almost servile respect, there make it a most unpleasant ordeal to pass them, and in a lonely part absolutely dangerous.

"Even little girls of the tenderest age are not safe from these monsters. This is, of course, owing to the utterly inadequate police protection afforded by the Government, the ridiculously lenient sentences passed on horrible crimes, and to the adulterated drink sold by licensed publicans to the Kaffirs on all sides. What would be said if, when insulted by a cab-driver, it was found that the nearest policeman was the owner of the cab in question, and refused to render any assistance or listen to any complaint?

"The educational grievance has been so widely circulated that it is needless to mention it now; but what is to be expected of a Government composed of men barely able to write their own names?

"Of course I, as a woman, do not wish to enter into the larger questions of franchise, monopolies, taxation, &c., but being myself an Africander, and well able to recognise the many good qualities of the Boers, you will quite understand that I do not take a prejudiced view of the situation, and I am in a position better than that of most people to understand the grave reality of the Uitlanders' grievances."


Of the scandals leading out of the Netherlands Railway concession and the dynamite monopoly it is needless to speak. These monopolies were little more than schemes having for object the diversion of money from the pockets of the British into those either of the Boers or their trusty satellites in the Hollander-German clique. As an instance of the modus operandi, an article relative to the railway monopoly in the Johannesburg Mining Journal may be quoted:


"This is another carefully designed burden upon the mines and country. The issued capital and loans of the Netherlands Company now total about L7,000,000, upon which an average interest of about 5-1/3 per cent.—guaranteed by the State—is paid, equal to L370,000 per annum. Naturally the bonds are at a high premium. The company and its liabilities can be taken over by the State at a year's notice, and the necessary funds for this purpose can be raised at three per cent. An offer was recently made to the Government to consolidate this and other liabilities, but the National Bank, which is another concession, has the monopoly of all State loan business, and this circumstance effectually disposed of the proposal. At three per cent. a saving of L160,000 per annum would be made in this monopoly in interest alone. The value represented by the custom dues on the Portuguese border we are not in a position to estimate, but roughly these collections and the fifteen per cent. of the profits paid to the management and shareholders must, with other leakages, represent at least another L100,000 per annum which should be saved the country. As the revenue of the corporation now exceeds L2,000,000 a year, of which only half is expended in working costs, the estimate we have taken does not err upon the side of extravagance. By its neglect of its duties towards the commercial and mining community enormous losses are involved. Thus in the coal traffic the rate, which is now to be somewhat reduced, has been 3d. per ton per mile. According to the returns of the Chamber of Mines, the coal production of the Transvaal for 1895 was 1,045,121 tons. This is carried an average distance of nearly thirty miles, but taking the distance at twenty-four miles the charges are 6s. per ton. At 1-1/2d. per ton per mile—three times as much as the Cape railways charge—a saving upon the coal rates of 3s. per ton would follow, equal to L150,000 per annum. Again, by the 'bagging' system an additional cost of 2s. 3d. per ton is incurred—details of this item have been recently published in this paper—and if this monopoly were run upon ordinary business lines, a further saving of L110,000 would be made by carrying coal in bulk. The interest upon the amount required to construct the necessary sidings for handling the coal, and the tram-lines required to transport it to the mines, would be a mere fraction upon the amount; and as the coal trade in the course of a short time is likely to see a fifty per cent. increase, the estimate may be allowed to stand at this figure without deduction. No data are available to fix the amount of the tax laid upon the people generally by the vexatious delays and losses following upon inefficient railway administration, but the monthly meetings of the local Chamber of Commerce throw some light upon these phases of a monopolistic management. The savings to be made in dealing with the coal traffic must not be taken as exhausting all possible reforms: the particulars given as to this traffic only indicate and suggest the wide area covered by this monopoly, which hitherto has made but halting and feeble efforts to keep pace with the requirements of the public. Dealing as it does with the imports of the whole country, which now amount in value to L10,000,000, the figures we have given must serve merely to illustrate its invertebrate methods of handling traffic, as well as its grasping greed in enforcing the rates fixed by the terms of its concession. Its forty miles of Rand steam tram-line and thirty-five miles of railway from the Vaal River, with some little assistance from the Delagoa line and customs, brought in a revenue of about L1,250,000 in 1895. Now that the Natal line is opened the receipts will probably amount to nearly L3,000,000 per annum, all of which should swell the ordinary revenue of the country instead of remaining in the hands of foreigners as a reservoir of wealth for indigent Hollanders to exploit. The total railway earnings at the Cape and Natal together over all their lines amounted to L3,916,566 in 1895, and the capital expenditure on railways by these colonies amounts to L26,000,000. The greater portion of these receipts come from the Rand trade, which is compelled to pay an additional L2,500,000 carrying charges to the Netherlands Company, which has L7,000,000 of capital. Thus, railway receipts in South Africa amount now to L7,000,000 per annum, of which the Rand contributes at least L5,000,000.

"The revenue of the company is now considerably over L3,000,000 per annum. The management claim that their expenses amount to but forty per cent. of revenue, and this is regarded by them as a matter for general congratulation. The Uitlanders contend that the concern is grossly mismanaged, and that the low cost of working is a fiction. It only appears low by contrast with a revenue swollen by preposterously heavy rates and protected by a monopoly. The tariff could be reduced by one-half, that is to say, a remission of taxation to the tune of one and a half million annually could be effected without depriving the company of a legitimate and indeed very handsome profit."

Perhaps the dynamite monopoly was even more aggravating than the railway one. Mr. Fitzpatrick says it has always been "a very burning question with the Uitlanders. This concession was granted soon after the Barberton Fields were discovered, when the prospects of an industry in the manufacture of explosives were not really very great. The concessionaire himself has admitted that, had he foreseen to what proportions this monopoly would eventually grow, he would not have had the audacity to apply for it. Of course, this is merely a personal question. The fact which concerned the industry was that the right was granted to one man to manufacture explosives, and to sell them at a price nearly 200 per cent. over that at which they could be imported. It was found, upon investigation after some years of agitation, that the factory at which this 'manufacture' took place was in reality merely a depot in which the already manufactured article was manipulated to a moderate extent, so as to lend colour to the President's statement that a local industry was being fostered. An investigation, held by order of the Volksraad, exposed the imposition. The President himself stated that he found he had been deceived, and that the terms of the concession had been broken, and he urged the Raad to cancel it, which the Raad did. The triumph was considerable for the mining industry, and it was the more appreciated in that it was the solitary success to which the Uitlanders could point in their long series of agitations for reform. But the triumph was not destined to be a lasting one. Within a few months the monopoly was revived in an infinitely more obnoxious form. It was now called a Government monopoly, but 'the agency' was bestowed upon a partner of the gentleman who had formerly owned the concession, the President himself vigorously defending this course, and ignoring his own judgment on the case uttered a few months previously. Land en Volk, the Pretoria Dutch newspaper, exposed the whole of this transaction, including the system of bribery by which the concessionaires secured their renewal, and among other things made the charge which it has continued to repeat ever since, that Mr. J. M. A. Wolmarans, member of the Executive, received a commission of one shilling per case on every case sold during the continuance of the agency as a consideration for his support in the Executive Council, and that he continues to enjoy this remuneration, which is estimated now to be not far short of L10,000 a year. Mr. Wolmarans, for reasons of pride or discretion, has declined to take any notice of the charge, although frequently pressed to take action in the matter. It is calculated that the burden imposed upon the Witwatersrandt mines alone amounts to L600,000 per annum, and is, of course, daily increasing."

Between the years 1890 and 1895 there were many negotiations over Swaziland. The South African Republic, ever anxious to extend its borders, longed to advance eastward to the sea. Negotiations were started in regard to this arrangement. The Transvaal had recognised the British occupation of Rhodesia, and the British in return agreed to allow the Transvaal to make a railway through Amatongaland to Kosi Bay, and acquire a seaport, if, within three years, it joined the South African Customs Union.

But Mr. Kruger, luckily for Imperial interests, would not entertain the idea. He did not want to come into confederation with the Cape. The Orange Free State, however, joined the Cape system, and the South African Customs Union was started. The advantages to the Free State of this arrangement, though unforeseen, were many; the principal being the privilege of importing, unmolested, arms and ammunition over the Cape Government railway lines. Finally, in 1895, the administration of Swaziland was transferred to the South African Republic on certain conditions. It was not to be incorporated with the Republic, European settlers were to have full burgher rights, monopolies were forbidden, English and Dutch languages were to be on an equal footing, and no duties higher than the maximum tariff rates imposed by the South African Republic or by the Customs Union were to be allowed. The territory of Amatongaland was annexed by the British in 1895, and the Transvaal thus lost its one chance of an outlet towards the sea.


The much-vexed question of the Franchise continued to rankle in the hearts of the Uitlanders. Its ramifications had grown so complicated that even lawyers in discussing the matter continually found themselves in error. We may therefore be excused from attempting to examine its niceties, or rather its—well—the reverse. In 1893 a petition, signed by upwards of 13,000 aliens in favour of granting the extension of the Franchise, was received by the Raad with derision. In 1895 a monster petition was got up by the National Union, an organisation formed for the purpose of righting the wrongs of the Uitlanders. During the great Franchise debate in August 1895, Mr. R. K. Loveday, one of the Loyalists in the war, in the course of an address dealing with the subject, expressed himself very definitely and concisely, and in a manner which could not be refuted. He said—

"The President uses the argument that they should naturalise, and thus give evidence of their desire to become citizens. I have used the same argument, but what becomes of such arguments when met with the objections that the law requires such persons to undergo a probationary period extending from fourteen to twenty-four years before they are admitted to full rights of citizenship, and even after one has undergone that probationary period he can only be admitted to full rights by the resolution of the First Raad? Law IV. of 1890, being the Act of the two Volksraads, lays down clearly and distinctly that those who have been eligible for ten years for the Second Raad can be admitted to full citizenship. So that, in any case, the naturalised citizen cannot obtain full rights until he reaches the age of forty years, he not being eligible for the Second Raad until he is thirty years. The child born of non-naturalised parents must therefore wait until he is forty years of age, although at the age of sixteen he may be called upon to do military service, and may fall in the defence of the land of his birth. When such arguments are hurled at me by our own flesh and blood—our kinsmen from all parts of South Africa—I must confess I am not surprised that these persons indignantly refuse to accept citizenship upon such unreasonable terms. The element I have just referred to—namely, the Africander element—is very considerable, and numbers thousands, hundreds of whom, at the time this country was struggling for its independence, accorded it moral and financial support, and yet these very persons are subjected to a term of probation extending from fourteen to twenty-four years. It is useless for me to ask you whether such a policy is just and reasonable or Republican, for there can be but one answer, and that is 'No!' Is there one man in this Raad who would accept the Franchise on the same terms? Let me impress upon you the grave nature of this question, and the absolute necessity of going to the burghers without a moment's delay and consulting and advising them. Let us keep nothing from them regarding the true position, and I am sure we shall have their hearty co-operation in any reasonable scheme we may suggest. This is a duty we owe them, for we must not leave them under the impression that the Uitlanders are satisfied to remain aliens, as stated by some of the journals. I move amongst these people, and learn to know their true feelings, and when public journals tell you that these people are satisfied with their lot they tell you that which they know to be false. Such journals are amongst the greatest sources of danger that the country has. We are informed by certain members that a proposition for the extension of the Franchise must come from the burghers, but, according to the Franchise Law, the proposition must come from the Raad, and the public must consent. The member for Rustenberg says that there are 9338 burghers who have declared that they are opposed to the extension of the Franchise. Upon reference to the Report he will find that there are only 1564 opposed to the extension. Members appear afraid to touch upon the real question at issue, but try to discredit the memorials by vague statements that some of the signatures are not genuine, and the former member for Johannesburg, Mr. J. Meyer, seems just as anxious to discredit the people of Johannesburg as formerly he was to defend them."

In spite of all that was said and done, however, no progress was made. The debate was closed on the third day, the request of the memorialists was refused, and they were referred for satisfaction to the existing laws.

About this time the Transvaal came very near to war with Great Britain. As before stated, Mr. Kruger was much bound up with the affairs of the Netherlands Railway Company and its Hollander-German promoters. He attempted to divert the stream of Johannesburg traffic to Delagoa Bay, for the purpose of keeping profit from the pockets of the British. The freights, however, were evaded by unloading the goods at the frontier, and taking them across the Vaal in waggons. It was easy thus to forward goods—between Johannesburg and Viljoens Drift—direct by the Cape Railway.

But Mr. Kruger was not to be defeated. In October 1895, he closed the drifts or fords of the Vaal to all waggon loads of goods from Cape Colony. Unfortunately the President had over-reached himself. The people of Cape Colony and those of the Free State were indignant, and the High Commissioner, Sir Hercules Robinson, and the Cape Premier, Mr. Rhodes, both brought their influence to bear on the President. He was obdurate. Mr. Chamberlain, the new Colonial Secretary, came to the rescue. He put his foot down, and a determined foot it was. He sent an ultimatum to Mr. Kruger announcing that closure of the drifts after the 15th of November would be considered an act of war.

The drifts were reopened. But the Netherlands Railway Company still stuck to their tariffs and their aim of depriving the British Colonies of the custom dues and railway rates on the traffic of Johannesburg. Consequently this thorn in the side of the British Colonists was left to fester.

Day by day the discontent grew, and the cry of "No taxation without representation" became the Uitlanders' motto. They perceived that they were deprived of rights, yet expected to serve as milch cows for the fattening of a State that was arming itself at all points against them, and they came to the conclusion that some strong measures must now be taken for their protection. The Chamber of Mines and the Transvaal National Union had spent some time in advocating purely constitutional methods, the Chamber of Mines exploiting the grievances of the Gold Mining industry, while the National Union struggled for general reforms which should make the conditions of Uitlander life less intolerable than they were. The Reformers, whose chairman was Mr. Charles Leonard, a solicitor of good practice in Johannesburg, were mostly men of the middle and professional classes. The capitalists, being anxious to keep in with the Transvaal Government, were somewhat shy of the National Unionists; while the working men on their side were suspicious of the motives of the Reformers, and were chary of lending themselves to any scheme which might conduce to the profit of the millionaires. The National Union clearly expressed its aims in a manifesto which ended with the exposition of the Charter which its members hoped to obtain. It said:

"We want—

1. The establishment of this Republic as a true Republic.

2. A Grondwet, or Constitution, which shall be framed by competent persons selected by representatives of the whole people, and framed on lines laid down by them.

3. An equitable Franchise Law and fair representation.

4. Equality of the Dutch and English languages.

5. Responsibility to the Legislature of the heads of the great departments.

6. Removal of religious disabilities.

7. Independence of the Courts of Justice with adequate and secured remuneration of the Judges.

8. Liberal and comprehensive Education.

9. Efficient Civil Service, with adequate provision for pay and pension.

10. Free Trade in South African products."

The Manifesto wound up with the pertinent question, "How shall we get it?"

The "how" was to have been decided at a public meeting fixed for the 27th of December 1895, and subsequently postponed till January 8th, 1896. But what the National Union proposed the Jameson Raid disposed. The meeting was destined never to take place!


Before 1895 the wealthier members of the community refused to entertain the suggestion of coercive measures, but after the Volksraad in session revealed the real policy of the Government, even they began to perceive that revolutionary action might become obligatory. Though the capitalists were advised by those who knew to avoid spending money on hopeless efforts at reform, and to steer clear, if possible, of the political imbroglio, they eventually joined hands with the Reformers. How the egg of the Jameson conspiracy came to be laid no one exactly knew. Certain it was that those who looked for the hatching of a swan, were confronted with a very ugly duckling indeed! Arms and ammunition were purchased, and these, concealed as gold-mining impedimenta, were smuggled into the country. Messrs. Leonard and Phillips, two prominent Reformers, consulted Mr. Rhodes as to future affairs, but Mr. Rhodes was in the awkward position of acting at one and the same time as Managing Director of the Consolidated Gold Fields in the Transvaal, Prime Minister of the Colony, and Managing Director of the Chartered Company, and consequently was a little vague in his propositions. After some conversation, he decided that he would, at his own expense, keep Dr. Jameson and his troops on the frontier "as a moral support."

Later on in September Dr. Jameson visited Johannesburg, and made his arrangements in person. It was agreed that he should maintain a force of 1500 mounted men, fully equipped, and that besides, having with him 1500 spare rifles, and some spare ammunition, there should be about 5000 rifles, three Maxims, and 1,000,000 rounds of ammunition smuggled into Johannesburg. The idea was, that the Uitlanders would prepare their revolt, and that should Dr. Jameson's services be needed, Johannesburg, with 9000 armed men and a fair equipment of machine guns and cannon, would be prepared to co-operate: at that time it seemed no difficult matter to seize the fort and magazines at Pretoria for the time being. It was in course of repair, and in charge merely of a hundred men, most of whom could be relied on to be asleep or off duty after nine o'clock at night. The plan of seizing the fort, capturing the ammunition, and clearing it off so as to enforce their views without bloodshed seemed perfectly feasible, and Dr. Jameson readily agreed to lend himself to the scheme for giving such "moral support" as was required by the Uitlander Reformers. Of their part in the affair it is difficult to speak impartially. It appears on the surface that they induced this man, for no personal motive either of financial gain or political power, to lend himself willingly to be the tool of the aggrieved Uitlanders, who, when the time came, were too vacillating between their fear of the Republic and the desire for their own individual good, to support the person whom they had chosen for their champion, and who so disinterestedly was prepared to risk both life and position in their service! It was decided, however, that the Reformers should arrange a revolution, which would have the effect of forcing the hands of the Transvaal Government. The High Commissioner, as they imagined, would come on the scene as a final arbitrator. Dr. Jameson's troops, who had acted so effectively in the Matabele campaign, were to be kept at Pitsani on the Bechuana border, in order if necessary to come at a given signal to the rescue of the Uitlanders. The idea was not without precedent. Sir Henry Loch, two years before, in dread of a Johannesburg rising, had considered the advisability of placing troops on the border.

So as to justify his action to the directors of the Chartered Company and the Imperial authorities, the following undated letter was sent to Dr. Jameson, Mafeking:—

"DEAR SIR,—The position of matters in this State has become so critical, that we are assured that at no distant period there will be a conflict between the Government and the Uitlander population. It is scarcely necessary for us to recapitulate what is now matter of history; suffice it to say, that the position of thousands of Englishmen, and others, is rapidly becoming intolerable. Not satisfied with making the Uitlander population pay virtually the whole of the revenue of the country while denying them representation, the policy of the Government has been steadily to encroach upon the liberty of the subject, and to undermine the security for property to such an extent as to cause a very deep-seated sense of discontent and danger. A foreign corporation of Hollanders is to a considerable extent controlling our destinies, and in conjunction with the Boer leaders endeavouring to cast them in a mould which is wholly foreign to the genius of the people. Every public act betrays the most positive hostility, not only to everything English, but to the neighbouring States.

"Well, in short, the internal policy of the Government is such as to have roused into antagonism to it not only practically the whole body of Uitlanders, but a large number of the Boers; while its external policy has exasperated the neighbouring States, causing the possibility of great danger to the peace and independence of this Republic. Public feeling is in a condition of smouldering discontent. All the petitions of the people have been refused with a greater or less degree of contempt; and in the debate on the Franchise petition, signed by nearly 40,000 people, one member challenged the Uitlanders to fight for the rights they asked for, and not a single member spoke against him. Not to go into details, we may say that the Government has called into existence all the elements necessary for armed conflict. The one desire of the people here is for fair play, the maintenance of their independence, and the preservation of those public liberties without which life is not worth living. The Government denies these things, and violates the national sense of Englishmen at every turn.

"What we have to consider is, what will be the condition of things here in the event of a conflict? Thousands of unarmed men, women, and children of our race will be at the mercy of well-armed Boers, while property of enormous value will be in the greatest peril. We cannot contemplate the future without the gravest apprehensions. All feel that we are justified in taking any steps to prevent the shedding of blood, and to ensure the protection of our rights.

"It is under these circumstances that we feel constrained to call upon you to come to our aid should a disturbance arise here. The circumstances are so extreme that we cannot but believe that you and the men under you will not fail to come to the rescue of people who will be so situated. We guarantee any expense that may reasonably be incurred by you in helping us, and ask you to believe that nothing but the sternest necessity has prompted this appeal.


It was arranged that Dr. Jameson should start from camp on the night of the outbreak at Johannesburg—either on the 28th of December or on the 4th of January—according to notice which would subsequently be given. From this moment, however, doubts began to fill the minds of the Reformers. They were dissatisfied with the quantity of arms they had been able to smuggle into the town; there was a want of cohesion among the different sections, of those interested; they went so far as to disagree as to what flag they were going to revolt under. The Reformers were evidently not all of Dr. Jameson's opinion, that the Union Jack was the one and only flag under which they could hope for justice—they were, as we know, only comrades in suffering but not compatriots, and besides this, many declared that reform and not annexation was what they were anxious to secure.

Here we have before us what made the complicated riddle of the Raid. Since it has defied all the Oedipuses of the century, we will not endeavour to unravel it. Did the Reformers set all their grievances aside before the paramount question, "Under which flag, Jameson?" or did they make use of the flag argument to cover a series of vacillations which prevented them from acting up to the rules of the conspiracy they themselves had set on foot? Did Mr. Rhodes engage in the plot for the sake of financial gain? Did he do so out of sympathy for the "cause," or did he attempt a magnificent political coup? And lastly—Did that unhappy scapegoat, the gallant Jameson, launch himself on the wild mistaken escapade to rescue his fellow-countrymen from oppression, to serve his private ends financial or political, or from the sheer spirit of adventure which, in some degree, animates every British heart? Who shall say?


It was arranged, as has been mentioned, that the rising at Johannesburg should take place on the night of the 4th of January. The arsenal at Pretoria was to be seized, and Dr. Jameson with his troops was to make his appearance, assist the Reformers in urging their claims, and, if necessary, save the women and children from possible violence.

"According to the original plan," says Mrs. Lionel Phillips in her "South African Recollections," "what with the smuggled rifles, those in private hands, the spare weapons to be brought by Jameson's men, and those men (the Reformers) themselves, Johannesburg must have mustered a little army of not less than 5000 men, to say nothing of the guns which might possibly be captured in the arsenal. It was believed that with this force the town could be held against any attack that might be made by the Transvaal forces, and that, upon a failure in the first assault, the Boers would have adopted their well-known tactics of cutting off supplies, with a view to starving the town into submission. To meet this contingency the town was provisioned for two months, and it was supposed that the British Government would never sit still and allow the Uitlanders to be forced into capitulation in the face of the wrongs which they had suffered. In November, when Jameson came to Johannesburg, the supporting force had dwindled to 800. The telegrams apprising the Reformers of his advance spoke of 700, and in reality he started with less than 500 men."

But by the time the plot should have neared completion, the conspirators, as has been shown, had ceased to be of one accord on the subject. On Christmas Day Mr. Leonard interviewed Mr. Rhodes in Cape Town, and represented to him the divided state of affairs. Meanwhile the Reformers in Johannesburg desired to make known to Dr. Jameson their change of front, and, to prevent him starting on the expedition, despatched two messengers to Pitsani Camp by different routes. These messages were received on December the 28th, and with them other telegraphic ones from Mr. Leonard and Mr. Rhodes explicitly directing the expedition not to start.

The news that Dr. Jameson had started, in spite of these messages, came on the Reformers like a thunderclap. They were not ready—they had not sufficient arms to fight with, and they were not of one mind. The doing had been easy enough, and they had fancied the undoing would be as simple. They had laid their gunpowder train without thinking of the number of firebrands that surrounded it! Amazement gave way to indignation, and the Reformers were not slow to hint that Mr. Rhodes or Dr. Jameson had disregarded the messages in order to further their personal ends. The most charitable decided that the Doctor's starting was due merely to misunderstanding. Many rumours of discontent and disturbance were floating about, and it was believed that some of these might have reached the Doctor's ears and influenced his actions. Anyway the Reformers were at sea. All they could do was to arm as many men as possible with a view to defence—to holding the town against any attack that might be made by the Transvaal forces, and to decide to take no initiative against the Boers. No uneasiness was felt regarding Jameson, for it was believed that he was well supported by not less than 800 men, and that the Boers would stand a poor chance against a body so well equipped and trained as his was supposed to be. The position taken up is explained in a notice of the Reform Committee in the Johannesburg Star:—"Notice is hereby given, that this Committee adheres to the National Union Manifesto, and reiterates its desire to maintain the independence of the Republic. The fact that rumours are in course of circulation to the effect that a force has crossed the Bechuanaland border, renders it necessary to take active steps for the defence of Johannesburg and the preservation of order. The Committee earnestly desires that the inhabitants should refrain from taking any action which can be considered as an overt act of hostility against the Government."

The High Commissioner and the Premier of Cape Colony were communicated with and informed that Dr. Jameson, having started with an armed force, Johannesburg was in peril which there was no means to avert. The High Commissioner was further invited to come to Johannesburg to effect a settlement and prevent civil war. Arrangements were then made for the arming of some 2000 men. These preparations and others speedily became known to the Government in Pretoria. No steps, it appears, had been taken to preserve secrecy, as the Committee did not hold themselves responsible for Dr. Jameson's action. The result was the publication of the following Proclamation by the President:—


"Whereas, it has appeared to the Government of the South African Republic that there are rumours in circulation to the effect that earnest endeavours are being made to endanger the public safety of Johannesburg; and whereas the Government is convinced that, in case such rumours may contain any truth, such endeavours can only emanate from a small portion of the inhabitants, and that the greater portion of the Johannesburg inhabitants are peaceful, and are prepared to support the Government in its endeavours to maintain law and order.

"Now, know you that I, Stephanus Johannes Paulus Kruger, State President of the South African Republic, with the advice and consent of the Executive Council, according to Article 913 of its minutes, dated the 30th of December 1895, do hereby warn those evil-intentioned persons (as I do hereby urge all such persons to do) to remain within the pale of the law, and all such persons not heeding this warning shall do so on their own responsibility; and I do further make known that life and property shall be protected against which attempts may be made, and that every peaceful inhabitant of Johannesburg, of whatsoever nationality he may be, is called upon to support me herein, and to assist the officials charged therewith; and further be it known, that the Government is still prepared to take into consideration all grievances that may be laid before it in a proper manner, and to submit the same to the people of the land without delay for treatment."

The High Commissioner also issued a Proclamation calling on Dr. Jameson to return to British territory at once, and this was forwarded to him at different points in order that there might be no mistake and that the invasion might yet be arrested. Meanwhile Mr. Marais (the editor of the leading Dutch paper) and Mr. Malan (the son-in-law of Joubert) were proceeding with a commando for the purpose of fighting for their Government should Dr. Jameson disobey the Proclamation. They excused themselves under the plea "that if from unreasonable action of Johannesburg, fighting should take place between the Government forces and a revolutionary force from Johannesburg, they were in duty bound to fight, and that among their ranks would be found many who had been active workers in the ranks of the Reformers."

It was subsequently decided that a deputation of Reformers should negotiate with the Government for a peaceful settlement on the basis of the Manifesto. Their programme was somewhat broad. They were to approach the Government pacifically and at the same time insist on their rights and the redress of their grievances—"to avow the association of Dr. Jameson's forces so far as it had existed, and to include him in any settlement that might be made."

They also, in answer to a telegram from the British Agent, refused to repudiate Dr. Jameson, and said, "in order to avert bloodshed on grounds of Dr. Jameson's action, if Government will allow Dr. Jameson to come in unmolested, the Committee will guarantee with their persons if necessary that he will leave again peacefully with as little delay as possible."

Meanwhile the committee remained in the most horrible doubt and suspense. No word came from Jameson. That he had started they knew, and that was the extent of their knowledge. They still trusted that, on ascertaining that there was no necessity for intervention on behalf of the Uitlanders, he and his troops would obey the orders of the High Commissioner, and retire peacefully from the Transvaal.


From all accounts it appears that Dr. Jameson and his party gathered together at Pitsani early in December. He drilled his troops and general preparations were made, without sufficient secrecy however, for the projected invasion. It was unfortunate for the scheme that these plans were publicly spoken of in society in England at the same time as they were merely being discussed in whispers in Johannesburg! On Sunday the 29th of December 1895, Dr. Jameson read aloud to his troops the letter which has been printed, and which, simultaneously with his departure, was sent by Dr. Rutherfoord Harris to the Times, to justify the action which in a few hours would become world famous. This letter the Reformers subsequently declared was treacherously made use of, as they had not had occasion to send the appeal therein mentioned. It is evident that at that time Dr. Jameson believed that his plans were so well arranged that there would be no bloodshed, that, indeed, he would appear in the nick of time to afford the "moral support" he had originally engaged to provide. The troops were to go straight to Johannesburg before the Boers had time to assemble their forces or to take any measures to stop him. The Doctor explained that they were marching to the rescue of the oppressed, and implied that they were going under the auspices of the British flag. On hearing the latter statement a considerable number of the troops refused to take part in the enterprise, and this may account for the fact that while the Reformers believed Dr. Jameson to be supported by some 800 men or more, he was in reality accompanied by only 480. Here, in order to give the crude facts of the Raid as known to the public, we may copy the report of the affair made by Sir John Willoughby to the War Office:—


"Official Report of the Expedition that left the Protectorate at the urgent request of the leading citizens of Johannesburg, with the object of standing by them and maintaining law and order whilst they were demanding justice from the Transvaal authorities. By Sir John C. Willoughby, Bart., Lieutenant-Colonel commanding Dr. Jameson's Forces.

"On Saturday, December 28, 1895, Dr. Jameson received a Reuter's telegram, showing that the situation at Johannesburg had become acute. At the same time reliable information was received that the Boers in the Zeerust and Lichtenburg districts were assembling, and had been summoned to march on Johannesburg.

"Preparations were at once made to act on the terms of the letter dated December 20, and already published, and also in accordance with verbal arrangements with the signatories of that letter—viz., that should Dr. Jameson hear that the Boers were collecting, and that the intentions of the Johannesburg people had become generally known, he was at once to come to the aid of the latter with whatever force he had available, and without further reference to them, the object being that such force should reach Johannesburg without any conflict.

"At 3 P.M. on Sunday afternoon, December 29, everything was in readiness at Pitsani Camp. The troops were paraded, and Dr. Jameson read the letter of invitation from Johannesburg.

"He then explained to the force—(a) that no hostilities were intended; (b) that we should only fight if forced to do so in self defence; (c) that neither the persons nor property of inhabitants of the Transvaal were to be molested; (d) that our sole object was to help our fellow-men in their extremity, and to ensure their obtaining attention to their just demands.

"Dr. Jameson's speech was received with the greatest enthusiasm by the men, who cheered most heartily.

"The above programme was strictly adhered to until the column was fired upon on the night of the 31st.

"Many Boers, singly and in small parties, were encountered on the line of march; to one and all of these the pacific nature of the expedition was carefully explained.

"The force left Pitsani Camp at 6.30 P.M., December 29, and marched through the night. At 5.15 A.M., on the morning of the 30th, the column reached the village of Malmani (thirty-nine miles distant from Pitsani). Presently, at the same moment, the advanced guard of the Mafeking Column (under Colonel Grey) reached the village, and the junction was effected between the two bodies....

"From Malmani I pushed on as rapidly as possible in order to cross in daylight the very dangerous defile at Lead Mines. This place, distant seventy-one miles from Pitsani, was passed at 5.30 P.M., December 30.

"I was subsequently informed that a force of several hundred Boers, sent from Lichtenburg to intercept the force at this point, missed doing so by three hours only.

"At our next 'off-saddle' Dr. Jameson received a letter from the Commandant-General of the Transvaal demanding to know the reason of our advance, and ordering us to return immediately. A reply was sent to this, explaining Dr. Jameson's reasons in the same terms as those used to the force at Pitsani.

"At Doomport (ninety-one miles from Pitsani), during an 'off-saddle' early on Tuesday morning, December 31, a mounted messenger overtook us, and presented a letter from the High Commissioner, which contained an order to Dr. Jameson and myself to return at once to Mafeking and Pitsani.

"A retreat by now was out of the question, and to comply with these instructions an impossibility. In the first place, there was absolutely no food for men or horses along the road which we had recently followed; secondly, three days at least would be necessary for our horses, jaded with forced marching, to return; on the road ahead we were sure of finding, at all events, some food for man and beast. Furthermore, we had by now traversed almost two-thirds of the total distance; a large force of Boers was known to be intercepting our retreat, and we were convinced that any retrograde movement would bring on an attack of Boers from all sides.

"It was felt, therefore, that to ensure the safety of our little force, no alternative remained but to push on to Krugersdorp to our friends, who, we were confident, would be awaiting our arrival there.

"Apart from the above considerations, even had it been possible to effect a retreat from Doomport, we knew that Johannesburg had risen, and felt that by turning back we should be shamefully deserting those coming to meet us.

"Finally, it appeared to us impossible to turn back, in view of the fact that we had been urgently called in to avert a massacre, which we had been assured would be imminent in the event of a crisis such as had now occurred.

"Near Boon's store, on the evening of the 31st, an advanced patrol fell in with Lieutenant Eloff, of the Krugersdorp Volunteers. This officer, in charge of a party of fifteen scouts, had come out to gain intelligence of our movements. He was detained whilst our intentions were fully explained to him, and then released at Dr. Jameson's request.

"At midnight (New Year's Eve), while the advanced scouts were crossing a rocky, wooded ridge at right angles to and barring the line of advance, they were fired on by a party of forty Boers, who had posted themselves in this position. The scouts, reinforced by the advanced guard, under Inspector Straker, drove off their assailants after a short skirmish, during which one trooper of the M.M.P. was wounded.

"At Van Oudtshoorn's, early on the following morning (Jan. 1), Dr. Jameson received a second letter from the High Commissioner, to which he replied in writing. At 9.30 A.M. the march was resumed in the usual day formation. After marching two miles the column got clear of the hills, and emerged into open country.

"About this time Inspector Drury, in command of the rear guard, sent word that a force of about one hundred Boers was following him about one mile in rear. I thereupon reinforced the rear guard, hitherto consisting of a troop and one Maxim, by an additional half troop and another Maxim.

"About five miles beyond Van Oudtshoorn's store the column was met by two cyclists bearing letters from several leaders of the Johannesburg Reform Committee. These letters expressed the liveliest approval and delight at our speedy approach, and finally contained a renewal of their promise to meet the column with a force at Krugersdorp. The messengers also reported that only 300 armed Boers were in the town.

"This news was communicated to the troops, who received it with loud cheers. When about two miles from Hind's store the column was delayed by extensive wire fencing, which ran for one and a half miles on either side of the road, and practically constituted a defile.

"While the column was halted and the wire being cut, the country for some distance on both sides was carefully scouted.

"By this means it was ascertained that there was a considerable force of Boers (1) on the left front, (2) in the immediate front (retreating hastily on Krugersdorp), (3) a third party on the right flank.

"The force which had been following the column from Van Oudtshoorn's continued to hover in the rear.

"Lieutenant-Colonel White, in command of the advanced guard, sent back a request for guns to be pushed forward as a precaution in case of an attack from the Boers in front. By the time these guns reached the advanced guard, the Boers were still retreating some two miles off. A few rounds were then fired in their direction. Had Colonel White, in the first instance, opened fire with his Maxims on the Boers, whom he surprised watering their horses close to Hind's store, considerable loss would have been inflicted, but this was not our object, for with the exception of the small skirmish on the previous night, the Boers had not as yet molested the column, whose sole aim was to reach Johannesburg if possible without fighting.

"At this hour Hind's store was reached. Here the troops rested for one and a half hours. Unfortunately, hardly any provisions for men and horses were available. An officer's patrol, consisting of Major Villiers (Royal Horse Guards), and Lieutenant Grenfell (1st Life Guards), and six men, moved off for the purpose of reconnoitring the left flank of the Boer position, while Captain Lindsell, with his permanent force of advanced scouts, pushed on as usual to reconnoitre the approach by the main road. At the same time I forwarded a note to the Commandant of the forces in Krugersdorp to the effect that, in the event of my friendly force meeting with opposition on its approach, I should be forced to shell the town, and that therefore I gave him this warning in order that the women and children might be moved out of danger.

"To this note, which was despatched by a Boer who had been detained at Van Oudtshoorn, I received no reply.

"At Hind's store we were informed that the force in our front had increased during the forenoon to about 800 men, of whom a large number were entrenched on the hillside.

"Four miles beyond Hind's store the column following the scouts, which met with no opposition, ascended a steep rise of some 400 feet, and came full in view of the Boer position on the opposite side of a deep valley, traversed by a broad 'sluit' or muddy watercourse.

"Standing on the plateau or spur, on which our force was forming up for action, the view to our front was as follows:—

"Passing through our position to the west ran Hind's store—Krugersdorp Road traversing the valley and the Boer position almost at right angles to both lines.

"Immediately to the north of this road, at the point where it disappeared over the sky-line on the opposite slope, lay the Queen's Battery House and earthworks, completely commanding the valley on all sides, and distant 1900 yards from our standpoint.

"Some 1000 yards down the valley to the north stood a farmhouse, surrounded by a dense plantation, which flanked the valley.

"Half-way up the opposite slope, and adjacent to the road, stood an iron house which commanded the drift where the road crossed the above-mentioned watercourse.

"On the south side of the road, and immediately opposite the last-named house, an extensive rectangular stone wall enclosure with high trees formed an excellent advanced central defensive position. Further up the slope, some 500 yards to the south of this enclosure, stretched a line of rifle-pits, which were again flanked to the south by 'prospecting' trenches. On the sky-line numbers of Boers were apparent to our front and right front.

"Before reaching the plateau we had observed small parties of Boers hurrying towards Krugersdorp, and immediately on reaching the high ground the rear-guard was attacked by the Boer force which had followed the column during the whole morning.

"I therefore had no further hesitation in opening fire on the Krugersdorp position.

"The two 7-pounders and the 12-1/2-pounder opened on the Boer line, making good practice under Captain Kincaid-Smith and Captain Gosling at 1900 yards.

"This fire was kept up till 5 P.M. The Boers made practically no reply, but lay quiet in the trenches and battery.

"Scouts having reported that most of the trenches were evacuated, the first line, consisting of the advanced guard (a troop of 100 men), under Colonel White, advanced. Two Maxims accompanied this force; a strong troop with a Maxim formed the right and left support on either flank.

"Lieutenant-Colonel Grey, with one troop B.B.P. and one Maxim, had been previously detailed to move round and attack the Boers' left.

"The remaining two troops, with three Maxims, formed the reserve and rear-guard.

"The first line advance continued unopposed to within 200 yards of the watercourse, when it was checked by an exceedingly heavy cross-fire from all points of the defence.

"Colonel White then pushed his skirmishers forward into and beyond the watercourse.

"The left support, under Inspector Dykes, then advanced to prolong the first line to the left; but, diverging too much to his left, this officer experienced a very hot flanking fire from the farmhouse and plantation, and was driven back with some loss.

"Colonel Grey meanwhile had pushed round on the extreme right and come into action.

"About this time Major Villiers' patrol returned and reported that the country to our right was open, and that we could easily move round in that direction.

"It was now evident that the Boers were in great force, and intended holding their position.

"Without the arrival of the Johannesburg force in rear of the Boers—an event which I had been momentarily expecting—I did not feel justified in pushing a general attack, which would have certainly entailed heavy losses on my small force.

"I accordingly left Inspector Drury with one troop and one Maxim to keep in check the Boers who were now lining the edge of the plateau to our left, and placed Colonel Grey with two troops B.B.P., one 12-1/2-pounder, and one Maxim, to cover our left flank and continue firing on the battery and trenches south of the road.

"I then made a general flank movement to the right with the remaining troops.

"Colonel Grey succeeded in shelling the Boers out of their advanced position during the next half-hour, and blew up the Battery House.

"Under this cover the column moved off as far as the first houses of the Randfontein group of mines, the Boers making no attempt to intercept the movement.

"Night was now fast approaching, and still there were no signs of the promised help from Johannesburg. I determined, therefore, to push on with all speed in the direction of that town, trusting in the darkness to slip through any intervening opposition.

"Two guides were obtained, the column followed in the prescribed night order of march, and we started off along a road leading direct to Johannesburg.

"At this moment heavy rifle and Maxim fire was suddenly heard from the direction of Krugersdorp, which lay one and a half miles to the left rear.

"We at once concluded that this could only be the arrival of the long-awaited reinforcements, for we knew that Johannesburg had Maxims, and that the Staats-Artillerie were not expected to arrive until the following morning. To leave our supposed friends in the lurch was out of the question. I determined at once to move to their support.

"Leaving the carts escorted by one troop on the road, I advanced rapidly across the plateau towards Krugersdorp in the direction of the firing, in the formation shown in the accompanying sketch.

"After advancing thus for nearly a mile the firing ceased, and we perceived the Boers moving in great force to meet the column. The flankers on the right reported another force threatening that flank.

"Fearing that an attempt would be made to cut us off from the ammunition carts, I ordered a retreat on them.

"It was now clear that the firing, whatever might have been the cause thereof, was not occasioned by the arrival of any force from Johannesburg.

"Precious moments had been lost in the attempt to stand by our friends at all costs, under the mistaken supposition that they could not fail to carry out their repeated promises, renewed to us by letter so lately as 11 A.M. this same day. It was now very nearly dark. In the dusk the Boers could be seen closing in on three sides, viz., north, east, and south. The road to Johannesburg appeared completely barred, and the last opportunity of slipping through, which had presented itself an hour ago when the renewed firing was heard, was gone not to return.

"Nothing remained but to bivouac in the best position available.

"But for the unfortunate circumstance of the firing, which we afterwards heard was due to the exultation of the Boers at the arrival of large reinforcements from Potchefstroom, the column would have been by this time (7 P.M.), at least four or five miles further on the road to Johannesburg, with an excellent chance of reaching that town without further opposition.

"I moved the column to the edge of a wide valley to the right of the road, and formed the horses in quarter column under cover of the slope. The carts were formed up in the rear and on both flanks, and five Maxims were placed along the front so as to sweep the plateau.

"The other three Maxims and the heavy guns were posted on the rear and flank faces.

"The men were then directed to lie down between the guns and on the side; sentries and Cossack posts were posted on each face.

"Meantime the Boers had occupied the numerous prospecting trenches and cuttings on the plateau at distances from 400 to 800 yards.

"At 9 P.M. a heavy fire was opened on the bivouac, and a storm of bullets swept over and around us, apparently directed from all sides except the south-west.

"The troops were protected by their position on the slope below the level of the plateau, so that the total loss from this fire, which lasted about twenty minutes, was very inconsiderable.

"The men behaved with admirable coolness, and were as cheery as possible, although very tired and hungry and without water.

"We were then left unmolested for two or three hours.

"About midnight another shower of bullets was poured into the camp, but the firing was not kept up for long.

"Somewhat later a Maxim gun opened on the bivouac, but failed to get our range.

"At 3.30 A.M. patrols were pushed out on all sides, while the force as silently and rapidly as possible was got ready to move off.

"At 4 A.M. a heavy fire was opened by the Boers on the column, and the patrols driven in from the north and east sides.

"Under the direction of Major R. White (assisted by Lieutenant Jesser-Coope) the column was formed under cover of the slope.

"Soon after this the patrols which had been sent out to the south returned, and reported that the ground was clear of the Boers in that direction.

"The growing light enabled us to ascertain that the Boers in force were occupying pits to our left and lining the railway embankment for a distance of one and a half miles right across the direct road to Johannesburg.

"I covered the movements of the main body with the B.B.P. and two Maxims under Colonel Grey along the original left front of the bivouac, and two troops M.M.P., under Major R. White, on the right front.

"During all this time the firing was excessively heavy; however, the main body was partially sheltered by the slope.

"Colonel White then led the advance for a mile across the vley without casualty, but on reaching the opposite rise near the Oceanic Mine, was subjected to a very heavy long-range fire. Colonel White hereupon very judiciously threw out one troop to the left to cover the further advance of the main body.

"This was somewhat delayed, after crossing the rise, by the disappearance of our volunteer guide of the previous night.

"Some little time elapsed before another guide could be obtained.

"In the meantime Lieutenant-Colonel Grey withdrew his force and the covering Maxims out of action under the protection of the M.M.P. covering troops, and rejoined the main body.

"At this juncture Colonel Grey was shot in the foot, but most gallantly insisted on carrying on his duties until the close of the action.

"Sub-Inspector Cazalet was also wounded here, but continued in action until he was shot again in the chest at Doornkop.

"While crossing the ridge the column was subjected to a very heavy fire, and several men and horses were lost here.

"I detailed a rear-guard of one troop and two Maxims, under Major R. White, to cover our rear and left flank, and moved the remainder of the troops in the ordinary day formation as rapidly forward as possible.

"In this formation a running rear and flank guard fight was kept up for ten miles. Wherever the features of the ground admitted, a stand was made by various small detachments of the rear and flank guard. In this manner the Boers were successfully kept at a distance of 500 yards, and repulsed in all their efforts to reach the rear and flank of the main body.

"In passing through the various mines and the village of Randfontein, we met with hearty expressions of goodwill from the mining population, who professed a desire to help if only they had arms.

"Ten miles from the start I received intelligence from Colonel Grey, at the head of the column, that Doornkop, a hill near the Speitfontein Mine, was held by 400 Boers, directly barring our line of advance.

"I repaired immediately to the front, Colonel White remaining with the rear-guard.

"On arriving at the head of the column, I found the guns shelling a ridge which our guide stated was Doornkop.

"The excellent dispositions for the attack made by Colonel Grey were then carried out.

"The B.B.P., under Major Coventry, who, I regret to say, was severely wounded and lost several of his men, attacked and cleared the ridge in most gallant style, and pushed on beyond it.

"About this time Inspector Barry received the wound which, we have learnt with grief, has subsequently proved fatal.

"Chief-Inspector Bodle at the same time, with two troops M.M.P., charged and drove off the field a large force of Boers threatening our left flank.

"The guide had informed us that the road to the right of the hill was impassable, and that there was open and easy country to the left.

"This information was misleading. I afterwards ascertained that without storming the Boer position there was no road open to Johannesburg, except by a wide detour of many miles to the right.

"At this moment Dr. Jameson received a letter from the High Commissioner again ordering us to desist in our advance. Dr. Jameson informed me at the same time of the most disheartening news, viz. that he had received a message stating that Johannesburg would not, or could not, come to our assistance, and that we must fight our way through unaided.

"Thinking that the first ridge now in our hands was Doornkop, we again pushed rapidly on, only to find that in rear of the ridge another steep and stony kopje, some 400 feet in height, was held by hundreds of Boers completely covered from our fire.

"This kopje effectually flanked the road over which the column must advance at a distance of 400 yards. Scouting showed that there was no way of getting round this hill.

"Surrounded on all sides by the Boers, men and horses wearied out, outnumbered by at least six to one, our friends having failed to keep their promises to meet us, and my force reduced numerically by one-fourth, I no longer considered that I was justified in sacrificing any more of the lives of the men under me.

"As previously explained, our object in coming had been to render assistance, without bloodshed if possible, to the inhabitants of Johannesburg. This object would in no way be furthered by a hopeless attempt to cut our way through overwhelming numbers, an attempt, moreover, which must without any doubt have entailed heavy and useless slaughter.

"With Dr. Jameson's permission, I therefore sent word to the Commandant that we would surrender provided that he would give a guarantee of safe conduct out of the country to every member of the force.

"To this Commandant Cronje replied by a guarantee of the lives of all, provided that we would lay down our arms and pay all expenses.

"In spite of this guarantee of the lives of all, Commandant Malan subsequently repudiated the guarantee in so far as to say that he would not answer for the lives of the leaders, but this was not until our arms had been given up and the force at the mercy of the Boers.

"I attribute our failure to reach Johannesburg in a great measure to loss of time from the following causes:—

"1. The delay occasioned by the demonstration in front of Krugersdorp, which had been assigned as the place of junction with the Johannesburg force.

"2. The non-arrival of that force at Krugersdorp, or of the guides to the Krugersdorp-Johannesburg section of the road, as previously promised by Johannesburg.

"3. The delay consequent on moving to the firing of the supposed Johannesburg column just before dark on Wednesday evening.

"I append (1) a sketch-map of the route from Pitsani to Krugersdorp marked A. This distance (154 miles) was covered in just under seventy hours, the horses having been off-saddled ten times. The 169 miles between Pitsani and Doornkop occupied eighty-six hours, during seventeen of which the men were engaged with the Boers, and were practically without food or water, having had their last meal at 8 A.M. on the morning of the 1st January at Van Oudtshoorn's, seventeen miles from Krugersdorp."

(The report concludes with a list of officers engaged in the expedition.)

It will be noted that Sir John Willoughby does not attribute his failure to the bungling of his employes that is said to have taken place. The man that was despatched to cut the telegraph wires failed to do so, with the result that the Boers were provided with the news of the invasion eight hours before the Reform leaders were aware of it; while another man, whose business it was to wrench away the rails between Johannesburg and Krugersdorp, and thus interrupt communication from Pretoria, was reposing in a clubhouse hopelessly drunk, while the train he should have intercepted carried ammunition for use against the invaders.

In order to present a fair picture of the situation, it must be admitted that many of the statements in this report were emphatically contradicted by the Reformers, notably the opening paragraphs, which scarcely tally with the fact that on the 28th (the day referred to) Dr. Jameson received the letters from the Reformers telling him not to start.

The following statement of the four Reform leaders, which was read at their trial, will present the case from their point of view, and those interested may judge for themselves of a question over which many differences of opinion exist:—

"For a number of years endeavours have been made to obtain by constitutional means the redress of the grievances under which the Uitlander population labours. The new-comer asked for no more than is conceded to emigrants by all the other Governments in South Africa, under which every man may, on reasonable conditions, become a citizen of the State; whilst here alone a policy is pursued by which the first settlers retain the exclusive right of government.

"Petitions supported by the signatures of some forty thousand men were ignored, and when it was found that we could not get a fair and reasonable hearing, that provisions already deemed obnoxious and unfair were being made more stringent, and that we were being debarred for ever from obtaining the rights which in other countries are freely granted, it was realised that we would never get redress until we should make a demonstration of force to support our claims.

"Certain provision was made regarding arms and ammunition, and a letter was written to Dr. Jameson, in which he was asked to come to our aid under certain circumstances.

"On December 26 the Uitlanders' Manifesto was published, and it was then our intention to make a final appeal for redress at the public meeting which was to have been held on January 6. In consequence of matters that came to our knowledge, we sent on December 26 Major Heany (by train via Kimberley), and Captain Holden across country, to forbid any movement on Dr. Jameson's part.

"On the afternoon of Monday, December 30, we learnt from Government sources that Dr. Jameson had crossed the border. We assumed that he had come in good faith to help us, probably misled by some of the exaggerated rumours which were then in circulation. We were convinced, however, that the Government and the burghers would not in the excitement of the moment believe that we had not invited Dr. Jameson in, and there was no course open to us but to prepare to defend ourselves if we were attacked, and at the same time to spare no effort to effect a peaceful settlement.

"It became necessary to form some organisation for the protection of the town and the maintenance of order, since, in the excitement caused by the news of Dr. Jameson's coming, serious disturbances would be likely to occur, and it was evident that the Government organisation could not deal with the people without serious risks of conflict.

"The Reform Committee was formed on Monday night, December 30, and it was intended to include such men of influence as cared to associate themselves with the movement. The object with which it was formed is best shown by its first notice, namely:—

"'Notice is hereby given, that this Committee adheres to the National Union Manifesto, and reiterates its desire to maintain the independence of the Republic. The fact that rumours are in course of circulation to the effect that a force has crossed the Bechuanaland border renders it necessary to take active steps for the defence of Johannesburg and preservation of order. The Committee earnestly desire that the inhabitants should refrain from taking any action which can be construed as an overt act of hostility against the Government. By order of the Committee, J. PERCY FITZPATRICK, Secretary.'

"The evidence taken at the preliminary examination will show that order was maintained by this Committee during a time of intense excitement, and through the action of the Committee no aggressive steps whatever were taken against the Government, but on the contrary, the property of the Government was protected, and its officials were not interfered with.

"It is our firm belief that had no such Committee been formed, the intense excitement caused by Dr. Jameson's entry would have brought about utter chaos in Johannesburg.

"It has been alleged that we armed natives. This is absolutely untrue, and is disposed of by the fact that during the crisis upwards of 20,000 white men applied to us for arms and were unable to get them.

"On Tuesday morning, December 31, we hoisted the flag of the Z. A. R., and every man bound himself to maintain the independence of the Republic. On the same day the Government withdrew its police voluntarily from the town, and we preserved perfect order.

"During the evening of that day, Messrs. Marais and Malan presented themselves as delegates from the Executive Council. They came (to use their own words) to 'offer us the olive branch,' and they told us that if we would send a deputation to Pretoria to meet a Commission appointed by the Government, we should probably obtain 'practically all that we asked for in the Manifesto.'

"Our deputation met the Government Commission, consisting of Chief-Justice Kotze, Judge Ameshof, and Mr. Kook, member of the Executive.

"On our behalf our deputation frankly avowed knowledge of Jameson's presence on the border, and of his intention, by written arrangement with us, to assist us in case of extremity.

"With the full knowledge of this arrangement, with the knowledge that we were in arms and agitating for our rights, the Government Commission handed to us a resolution by the Executive Council, of which the following is the purport:—

"'The High Commissioner has offered his services with a view to a peaceful settlement. The Government of the South African Republic has accepted his offer. Pending his arrival, no hostile step will be taken against Johannesburg, provided Johannesburg takes no hostile action against the Government. In terms of a certain proclamation recently issued by the President, the grievances will be earnestly considered.'

"We acted in perfect good faith with the Government, believing it to be their desire, as it was ours, to avert bloodshed, and believing it to be their intention to give us the redress which was implied in the 'earnest consideration of grievances.'

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