Project Canterbury

Handbooks of English Church Expansion

South Africa

By A. Hamilton Baynes

London and Oxford: A. R. Mowbray, 1908.

Chapter I. Race Problems

WHEN Bartholomew Dias, with his Portuguese navigators, discovered the Cape in 1486, he called it "The Cape of Storms," but his king, John II, renamed it "The Cape of Good Hope." It would be hard to say, in the light of its subsequent history, which was the more appropriate title--whether the pessimism of the subject or the optimism of the sovereign has received the fuller justification. In things civil and things ecclesiastical there has been no lack of storms. But South African storms are followed by brilliant sunshine, and though the clouds were often of the blackest--

"Yet Hope had never lost her youth,"

[2] and the brighter name has survived, and will, we may still trust, finally justify its selection.

The "Hope" which gave its name to the Cape was the hope of finding a sea-route to India. That hope was fulfilled by Vasco da Gama, who, after discovering Natal on Christmas Day, 1497, and naming it after the Natal Day of our LORD, accomplished the long-desired end of finding the way to India. But there were other hopes which were never absent from the minds of the sea-rovers of that age--the hope of finding gold and precious stones. Those hopes also were destined long years after to find at Kimberley and Johannesburg a fulfilment beyond the dreams of avarice. But they were, probably, the chief causes of the fact, which is noteworthy in South African history, that the Portuguese, who were first in the field, play but a small part in the subsequent story. Lured, no doubt, by vague rumours of those early gold workings which have left faint traces at Zimbabwye, they pressed on east and north to the Mozambique coast where they still rule. In doing so they left the substance for the shadow, the temperate climate and the fertile lands for the fever-stricken swamps, and the more tropical heat of a country which can never become a white [2/3] man's land to the same extent as the Cape Colony and the high veld. So in this history the Portuguese come on to the stage only to pass off again, and we are left to consider the peoples who were there before them and the people who followed after. And the races which meet in South African history are many and diverse. It is in this clash of races that most of the "storms" which have given a sad verification to the earliest name of the Cape had their origin. And though our immediate task is with the ecclesiastical rather than the political history, we cannot altogether understand the former without some slight acquaintance with the latter.

The earliest inhabitants of whom we know anything were the Bushmen. A diminutive race, possibly akin to the Pigmies whom Stanley found further north, they take a very low place in the scale of civilization. They wore few clothes, built few houses, cultivated no land, but lived in caves, and supported themselves by hunting and stealing, or lived on roots and wild fruits. One gleam of higher light they had, and they have left behind them one pathetic token of faculties of a higher and more human order, in the drawings of men and animals which may still be seen in places [3/4] where the painters have long disappeared--on the rock surfaces, for instance, of the caves in the Drakensberg Mountains of Natal.

The race which the Portuguese and the Dutch found in chief possession at the Cape was that one which the Dutch named Hottentots. It is supposed that they had dispossessed the Bushmen of the best lands along the coast. They were a people also of somewhat small stature and of a yellowish dusky hue. In their unmixed purity of blood they have practically disappeared, except perhaps in Namaqualand, but their half-breed descendants--half-Hottentot and half-Dutch--are still in evidence throughout the Cape Colony, and especially in the tribes which bear the name of Griquas, a people of yellowish complexion, and speaking the Dutch language, or rather the Dutch patois called the "Taal."

But the native race which does not tend to disappear, which flourishes and increases at a rapid rate under European influence, is the race which bears the generic title of Bantu. It includes many tribes and many types of physiognomy. The Kafirs, the Zulus, the Basutos, the Bechuanas, the Matabele, the Mashonas, and many more, belong to the Bantu race. In feature they [4/5] approximate at the one end to the negro and at the other to the Arabs and other Semitic people. They have black or brown skins, woolly hair, thick lips and flat noses, though here and there men are found with the sharper profile and the curving contour of the Asiatic type. There is a vague tradition among them that they came from the north, and it seems likely to be true, and probably they have an infusion of Arab blood introduced far back into their race in the time when in North Africa their forefathers mixed with the Semitic peoples.

These were the three main divisions of the native inhabitants whom the earliest European settlers found in South Africa. The confusion of race has been still further increased by the introduction, by the Dutch, of large numbers of Malays from the Dutch possessions in the Malay Archipelago, and later by the introduction, by the British, of Indian coolies.

And now we must trace, in briefest outline, the history of the European immigrations into South Africa which followed the passing wave of Portuguese adventurers which we have noticed in the fifteenth century.

The first coming of the Dutch was due to the [5/6] mere accident that the Cape was a convenient port of call on the long voyage to Dutch East India. There, again and again in the early part of the seventeenth century, ships put in to obtain fresh water and vegetables, things of priceless value to crews which suffered from the scurvy which was the curse of those long voyages. So they landed at the Cape and planted vegetables. As Mr. Bryce says, "It is from these small beginnings of a kitchen-garden that Dutch and British dominion in South Africa has grown up." England had also put in a claim as early as 1620 to dominion at the Cape. In that year two naval commanders had dropped anchor in Table Bay and hoisted the British flag, but their action was not recognized or followed up by the authorities at home, and very soon the troubles of Cavalier and Roundhead drove all thoughts of South Africa out of English heads. But the Dutch were less preoccupied, and at the suggestion of a shipwrecked crew, which had spent six months beneath Table Mountain, the Dutch East India Company landed three ships' crews in 1652 under the command of Jan van Riebeek. For five and twenty years from this time the little colony remained content with the environs of what is now [6/7] Capetown. There they built their first church, which was served by a lay preacher called Wylant, the colony being considered too insignificant to need an ordained minister. There they began to plant the pines and oaks which have made the roads around Capetown resemble the stately groves and avenues of some noble park. And there they made their first experiments in vine and fruitgrowing. There, too, alas, they brought the curse of slavery, landing negroes from the west coast and sowing seeds of future trouble. A more valuable element was, however, added to the community in 1687. Two years before that date the Edict of Nantes had been revoked by Louis XIV, and many Huguenot families had found their way into the Netherlands. A party of these was persuaded to emigrate to the Cape. Some three hundred set sail and made their home in South Africa. They were men of higher type, in education and social standing, than the Dutch farmers, who mostly sprang from the lowest ranks of society, and in their new settlements at Stellenbosch and Drakenstein they soon made their influence felt. They brought their own pastor, Pierre Simond. The Dutch applied to them the policy which they have often resented [7/8] when applied to themselves. They insisted on the use of the Dutch language, and in other ways pressed on a policy of amalgamation. This end they so effectively attained that before long the fusion was complete, and though the prevalence of French names among the leading Boers (the Jouberts, Marais, De la Reys, etc.) shows how largely the Huguenots have leavened the community, yet the Dutch pronunciation which has been given to them (Villiers being pronounced Vilje, and Celliers, Celje) shows how effectively the Huguenot leaven has been absorbed.

Meanwhile the Dutch farmers had been gradually overspreading the country districts and learning the joys of isolation and independence which have so strongly marked them ever since, and, at the same time, the power of the Dutch East India was steadily waning and its governors becoming more and more unpopular. The Government of the Company had never been sympathetic, though its hold upon the people of course varied according to the tact and popularity of the governor of the day. But it had always been autocratic, the farmers having no direct share in it. It had been aristocratic and socially out of touch with the democratic Boers. It had been needlessly [8/9] officious, interfering in the smallest matters with the freedom of the individual, prescribing what crops the farmers should grow, and demanding a large share of their produce, and establishing commercial monopolies with small regard to the prosperity of the people.

To these causes may be attributed that growing dislike of orderly government and that longing to escape into the wilds, where each man might live under his own vine and fig-tree, which have been a characteristic of the South African Boers under both Dutch and British rule. This growing feeling of repugnance to the Government of the Dutch East India Company steadily increased through the latter half of the eighteenth century. Delegates were sent to Holland to state the grievances of the Boers, and although commissioners were sent out to inquire, the remedies suggested were felt to be inadequate. Then came the exciting news of the revolt of the British colonies in America, and of the revolutionary movements in France. And all these causes co-operating led to a revolt of the Dutch farmers, who set up small republics at Graaf-Reinet and Swellendam, and affairs in the Cape Colony seemed to be fast drifting into anarchy and bankruptcy.

[10] At this moment South Africa was swept into the vortex of European politics. The English, who, with their rapidly increasing responsibilities in India, had learnt to take a far different estimate of the value of the Cape from that which they had formed in 1620, espoused the cause of the BritiBh.tion Stadtholder, and in 1795 took possession of the country in his name. As, however, at that moment the Prince of Orange was unable to hold the Cape, the British remained in possession until the peace of Amiens in 1802, when it was handed back to Holland. But war broke out afresh in the following year, and the struggle with Napoleon made the possession of the naval station at the Cape a matter of great importance to England, and accordingly in 1806 a strong force was landed at the Cape, when, after a single engagement, the British flag was hoisted at Capetown and the Dutch surrendered. In the chaos of the preceding years there had grown up a desire for orderly government, so that opposition to the British rule was but half-hearted, and many of the Dutch rejoiced in the prospect of a strong regime which should restore the waning prosperity of the country.

It is interesting, from our point of view, to [10/11] notice that the devoted missionary, Henry Martyn. was on board the fleet which lay anchored in Table Bay, on his way to India. After the battle of Blaauberg he ministered to the wounded and dying, and in his diary he writes (January 10, 1806): "About five the commodore fired a gun, which was instantly answered by all the men-of-war. On looking for the cause we saw the British flag flying from the Dutch fort. I prayed that the capture of the Cape might be ordered to the advancement of CHRIST'S kingdom, and that England, while she sent the thunder of her arms to the distant regions of the globe, might not remain proud and ungodly at home, but might show herself great indeed by sending forth the ministers of her Church to diffuse the Gospel of Peace."

In 1814 the occupation of the British was transformed into permanent sovereignty by formal cession from the Stadtholder, who received for this and other Dutch possessions the sum of £6,000,000.

Space does not permit of anything like a history of the country. All this outline is intended to do is to give some idea of the various races which have found a home side by side in South Africa, [11/12] in order that we may understand the nature of those struggles which have marked the history of South Africa from the beginning of European occupation, and have given all too dismally accurate a verification to the first name its Cape received as the Cape of Storms.

Here, then, are the factors in that race problem which have taxed the brains of statesmen and philanthropists for the last century--this motley crowd of races, black and white, civilized and uncivilized, flung down and huddled together in a country which, though vast in extent, is yet not so unlimited that each could go its own way without conflict with the others. And any history of the Church must face this problem on the very threshold, for from the Day of Pentecost, the solution of it has been the first duty of the Church. According to the story of the Book of Genesis the confusion of tongues is a sort of devil's sacrament--the outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual disgrace--of the pride and prejudice of men which lead to jealousy and hatred and internecine strife. Behind that difference of language lies the difference of mind and thought and aim and method which makes mutual understanding and sympathy so hard to learn. And [12/13] the work which the Church began on the very day of her birth was the work of reconciliation--not the work of reducing all to a dead level of uniformity, not the introduction of one language, but the introduction of a concord of hearts finding expression in the astonished cry, "We do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God," such a reconciliation that each, while retaining and developing its individuality, may bring that individual contribution into the common stock, and make it subserve to a common good, until the different races meet in an all-embracing city of God, and the "nations walk in the light of it, and the kings of the earth do bring their glory into it."

The various divisions and subdivisions of race group themselves into two main divergences--that of black and white, and that of Boer and Briton. These two controversies appear and reappear, and cross and recross each other, throughout the history, and would seem indeed perennial were it not for our faith that the secret and the motive power for its solution is latent in the Church of Christ.

Why is it that these race controversies have been so much harder to overcome in South [13/14] Africa than elsewhere? A little consideration may help us to an answer. The controversy of black and white meets us in many parts of the world, but in most of these the problem seems in a fair way to a solution in the ordinary course of nature. There are many black or coloured races which gradually disappear when brought into contact with a higher civilization. The struggle for existence and the survival of the fittest have done their work, or are doing it; in some cases, no doubt, with many accompanying elements of cruelty and inhumanity, but sometimes, in spite of the best intentions, and the most benevolent activities, of the higher race. The Red Indians in America, the Maori in New Zealand, the aborigines of Australia from one cause or another are going or gone. On the other hand, there are many regions where black and white meet which can never become permanently a white man's country. Conditions of climate prevent the white man from making his home and bringing up his children there, so that the white population remains a limited official class which never enters into any considerable competition with the coloured race, and never seriously menaces their land or their goods. The British in India, [14/15] the Dutch in the Malay Islands, the French in Siam are examples of this condition of things.

But South Africa falls under neither of these categories. The Bantu races show no sign of dying out in contact with civilization. On the contrary, they nourish and increase faster than before. The Pax Britannica, the absence of decimating wars, the resources of civilization to contend with diseases of men and animals, and to develop the productiveness of nature, all favour the rapid increase of the coloured races. And those races are both healthy and fertile, and the conditions of climate are congenial to them. On the other hand, they are not so uncongenial to the white man that he cannot make his permanent home in the country. He readily adapts himself to the surroundings, and he has come to stay. Here, then, are the factors of a very serious problem and one that must inevitably grow more serious according to the present laws of growth. Both populations increase, but the black increases more rapidly than the white, and the land remains a fixed quantity, so that sooner or later the time must come when it is felt to be too narrow for the demands of the population.

It may be well here to give the actual figures [15/16] showing the proportion of Europeans to coloured people of all descriptions. I take them from the Report of the South African Native affairs Commission, published in 1905:--

But the problem presented by these figures is not merely that of the struggle for existence. It is more subtle and complicated. There is never absent in the relations of the two colours the horror on the part of the white man of any intermixture of blood, and consequently of any suggestion of equality which might break down the separating barriers. How strong this sentiment is no one can perhaps fully realize who has not lived in Africa or in the Southern States of America. There is only one European Nation in which the sentiment has been comparatively weak. [16/17] That is the Portuguese. And their experience is not encouraging. Both in Africa and India they have mingled and intermarried more freely than other Europeans with the native populations in the midst of which they dwelt. And the result has not been to level up the lower race but to level down the higher. And in India to-day the so-called Portuguese are but a step removed from the natives. In fact, in some respects, the half-caste races are in a worse condition than the pure natives. They are looked down upon and disliked by both sides, and there seems a tendency to moral degeneration among them.

There is, indeed, one Eastern race with regard to whom this horror of intermixture seems on the way to disappear, or at least to be greatly modified. That is the Japanese. The disparity of colour and type is somewhat less marked than in the case of other Eastern peoples, and consequently there is not the same physical repulsion. But the change of sentiment with regard to them is something more than this. Men are not animals, to be directed merely by instinctive physical repulsion or attraction. The physical always rests to some extent upon the spiritual. And it is rather the fact that the Japanese have [17/18] been entering into fellowship with Europe in the world of ideas--in culture, in refinement, in heroism, in political and artistic and literary capacity--which is tending to break down the prejudice against the yellow skin in their case. It is not, perhaps, altogether inconceivable that, as with Othello in Shakespeare, in some far distant future the same tendency may appear with regard to the black races. But that time is still below any horizon which we at present can see. Meanwhile there are two Scriptural principles which have guided the Christian Church in dealing with this problem. One is that in the Church of Christ "there can be neither Greek nor Jew, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free"--that to ask the question, "Who is my neighbour?" with a view to drawing a line and limiting the duty of love is to undermine the whole structure of the universal kingdom of GOD. But this does not involve the teaching of equality. S. Paul has taught us that there are many and diverse members in the one body. And it is obvious that there cannot be equality between races which are just emerging from barbarism and those which have behind them centuries of Christian civilization. But it does involve the teaching of brotherhood. [18/19] The native is a brother, though it may be a younger brother who is still a child. It is not, equality. therefore, inconsistent for the Church to set its face strenuously against any intermixture of blood. The Church at home proclaims the doctrine of brotherhood as between Belgravia and Bethnal Green, but it does not encourage intermarriage.

The second Scriptural principle which guides us is that God, Who has "made of one blood all nations of men," has also "determined their appointed seasons and the bounds of their habitation." That is to say, Christian truth does not ignore national distinctions, though it sets itself against national selfishness and prejudice.

The consistent aim, therefore, of the Christian Church has been to set itself against wild doctrines, as foolish as they are dangerous, of equality between black and white; and, on the other hand, to break down prejudice, and inculcate brotherly relations, and to encourage the natives to assimilate European culture and ideas, and to allure those who are thus emerging from barbarism to the side of law and order by making the separating line between the enfranchised and unenfranchised not simply one of colour but one of culture and civilization.

[20] It is in accordance with this principle that the Commission already quoted resolved, "that in the interests of both races, for the contentment of the native population and better consideration of their interests, it is desirable to allow them some measure of representation in the Legislatures of the country," and went on to suggest principles by which such representation should be safeguarded against dangerous results.

But the problem of white and black has been throughout the history complicated by, and inter woven with, the other race problem of Briton and Boer. Here again it may be asked why it is that these two kindred nations have not long ago fused into a single and harmonious unity, just as the more widely separated Dutch and Huguenot people in South Africa have done, or as the Dutch and English did long ago in New York. Many reasons may be given for this continued disunion. The character and habits of the Dutch farmers kept them remote and isolated. The nature of the soil and the conditions of stock farming require a wide area, and the Boer remains isolated and therefore little affected by new ideas. He retains all his ancient prejudices, which are not rubbed off by contact at close quarters with [20/21] the English of the towns. Again, there may have been a want of wisdom and tact in the early part of last century in substituting English for Dutch methods of local government, and in insisting on the use of the English language, so that the Boer acquired a deep-rooted sense of hardship and grievance.

But far beyond these causes is the one perennial source of trouble in South African history, and that is the tactless and unsympathetic interference of the home authorities in matters with which, at a distance of six thousand miles, they could have but little knowledge. And this interference has been too often due to the passing exigencies of party government, so that the people of South Africa have felt they were being exploited, and their affairs managed or mismanaged, merely at the bidding of political wirepullers in England. This has often aroused the strongest resentment on the part of our own countrymen in South Africa; how much more, therefore, must it have been resented by the Dutch? And even where the motive at work has been a higher one than mere party victory, there has often been a fatal vacillation between conflicting ideals, the incompatibility of which has not at the time been clearly [21/22] perceived. For instance, there are two ideals, each excellent in itself, which have animated the English democracy--the ideals of political freedom and of humanity towards native races. But it has often been forgotten that between these two the Home Government must choose. It is impossible at the same moment to insist on freedom of self-government for colonists or Boers, and on taking out of their hands the one thing which supremely concerns them, viz., the management of native affairs. The incompatibility of these two ideals was clearly pointed out by Lord Milner in dispatches dealing with the native question in 1902, directly after we assumed control of the Transvaal during the late war. In a memorable sentence, which might have applied to many epochs in South African history, he says, "Most especially would I raise a warning voice against the fatal doctrine that the Imperial Government is to deal with the native question regardless of colonial sentiment. That doctrine, absurdly enough, is often preached in the very quarters where there is the loudest demand for the immediate complete self-government of the new territories."

I have been dealing with these fundamental race problems which have been present all through [22/23] the stormy history of South Africa quite generally and regardless of chronology, showing, as in the last paragraph, the operation of old controversies in the light of latest events. But it is time that we turned back to the history to see how these two conflicts--that of white against black, and that of Briton against Boer--have recurred from the first. In the century between 1781 and 1881 there were ten Kafir wars between the European farmers of the Cape Colony and the Kafir tribes to the east and north. It is difficult to resist the conviction that this long controversy would have long before been settled, and much bloodshed avoided, had it not been for the well-meant but often ill-advised interference of the Home Government with the colonists. Again and again humanitarian sentiment, associated in the colonial mind with Exeter Hall, was aroused in favour of the natives and at the expense of the colonists, who no less deserved sympathy, living as they did in close proximity to these warlike and restless tribes, who were constantly making life and property insecure upon the borders. This distrust of colonial methods of treating natives, and ill-informed dictation as to the terms to be granted to the Kafirs after war, are perhaps never more [23/24] marked than in the dispatches of Lord Glenelg in 1836. In this document, which reversed the decision of Sir Benjamin D'Urban, the Governor of the Cape, he said, "In the conduct which was pursued towards the Kafir nation by the colonists and the public authorities of the colony, through a long series of years, the Kafirs had ample justification for the late war "; and he proceeded to insist that the territory annexed as a security against future raids, and as a set-off to the numerous thefts of cattle, must be reversed. "It rests upon a conquest resulting from a war in which, as far as I am at present enabled to judge, the original justice is on the side of the conquered, not of the victorious party."

It would be quite beyond the scope of our present work to examine into the justice of this decision or the evidence on which it is based. Lord Glenelg may or may not have had sufficient proof to justify it. But the point is that such a decision, forced upon colonists at close quarters with savages who had murdered their wives and children, and stolen their cattle, by statesmen living in safety six thousand miles away, must have made them furious with a sense of intolerable tyranny and injustice.

[25] This is one example, out of many, of the working and interaction of the two race problems. About the same time came the abolition of slavery. That abolition might have been acquiesced in by the Boers, but it was accompanied by much blundering in the matter of compensation. The compensation promised was not paid, and what was paid was seriously diminished by the regulations which made it payable in England. These two things--the abolition of slavery and Lord Glenelg's dispatches--led on to that which became an epoch-making event in South African history, viz., the Great Trek, just as, a quarter of a century later, the abolition of slavery led to another and even more momentous secession in the United States of America. We have seen that the Boers had developed a dislike of all State interference; but when that interference took the form of highhanded dictation from a remote, and alien, and unsympathetic Government, and that with regard to the one point on which they were most sensitive, viz., their relations with their formidable native neighbours, it seemed to them that life was not worth living. The depth of feeling which was stirred may be measured by the cost they were [25/26] willing to pay for freedom, for the Great Trek meant that the emigrant Boers abandoned their farms, lands, houses, and everything that could not be taken with them on the long wagon journey to the wild and unknown north.

Here, again, it must be remembered, we are not attempting a history, but only selecting incidents in the history which illustrate the operation of this perennial controversy between Boer and Briton, and the aggravation of that controversy by the vacillation of English politics.

The British Government of that day was all for the contraction of the expense and responsibility of empire, rather than for its expansion, and they suffered the Boers to go. The trekkers travelled on across the Orange River and across the Vaal, and they poured down over the great wall of the Drakensberg into the well-watered valleys of Natal. But here they encountered the most warlike of all the native races--the Zulus, whose armies had been organized on European methods by Tshaka, and who were now ruled by Dingaan. There followed the murder of Piet Retief at Dingaan's kraal, the massacre of Boers, and their retaliation on the Zulus, which gave its name of "Weeping" to the village of Weenen, in Natal.

[27] Now came another swing of the pendulum of British politics. The authorities, who could watch with equanimity the disappearance of the Boers, could not rest content when a native conflagration threatened, and there was a fear of the Boers establishing themselves on the sea coast and becoming a maritime people. So England interfered, and sent a small force to assert the dormant claim of Britain to Natal. The pendulum once again swung back, and we left the Boers to establish a Dutch republic which they styled "Natalia." Fresh alarms of native trouble produced fresh interference, and at last led to our final occupation of Natal as a British colony in the year 1842.

The same vacillation which we have traced in Natal marked our policy towards the emigrant Boers elsewhere. They were left to go their way without let or hindrance for many years. Then the policy of interference was again in the ascendant, and a military resident, with a few troops, was sent to Bloemfontein; and in 1848 the whole region from the Orange River to the Vaal was formally annexed. This again roused the Boers, and Bloemfontein was besieged and capitulated. Sir Harry Smith, the Governor [27/28] of the Cape, retaliated, and defeated the Boers at Boomplats; but at that moment (1848) the British authorities were considerably embarrassed with native troubles, and finally the Sand River Convention was signed in 1852, by which (with certain limitations) the independence of the Boers north of the Vaal River was recognized. This was followed not long after by similar concessions to the Boers between the Orange River and the Vaal. In spite of the fact that England had ruled them with more or less success for eight years, in spite of representations from the inhabitants of the country, in spite of a motion in the House of Commons, the British authorities signed the Convention of Bloemfontein in 1854, and actually paid a sum of £48,000 to be rid of the trouble of managing the affairs of the district; and the Orange Free State came into existence as an independent republic. Under the wise control of Sir John Brand as President (1865) the affairs of the Free State flourished. But it was otherwise with the more scattered and disorganized Boers beyond the Vaal. By the year 1876, when a war broke out between them and the Kafir chief Sekukuni, their finances were in a state verging on bankruptcy, [28/29] and at the same time they were threatened by the still more formidable power of the Zulus under Cetewayo. At this juncture Sir Theophilus Shepstone was sent up as British Commissioner to inquire into their affairs, and in his pocket he carried a secret commission, to be used at his discretion, to annex the whole territory in the name of the Queen. After three months' inquiry he decided to use this discretion, and on April 12, 1877, the Transvaal was formally annexed, with the approval of Sir Bartle Frere, and the acquiescence, or, at least, the sullen submission, of the divided Boers.

The story of what followed is too well known to need repetition. All might yet have gone well but for official blundering. The promise of self-government made at annexation was not fulfilled. The selection of a Governor who was something of a martinet, and who added to personal unpopularity the crowning offence to Boer susceptibilities of appearing to have in his veins a strain of black blood, proved a further obstacle to the success of the experiment. And, finally, by the Zulu War, which broke the threatening power of Cetewayo, the chief motive for even the reluctant acquiescence [29/30] in annexation was removed. Then came the Boer rising, the siege of the British garrisons in the Transvaal, the failures of the little British force under Sir George Colley at Laing's Nek, Ingogo, and Majuba Hill; and the final surrender of Mr. Gladstone's Government, which we have always flattered ourselves was the height of magnanimity, but which the Boers have always regarded as the height of weakness.

In 1867 the children of a Boer farmer at Hopetown found a pretty stone, which they kept as a plaything. That plaything was the beginning of a new era in South African history, for it proved to be a diamond; and, soon after, the greatest diamond mines in the world were opened at Kimberley. The British Government was something like those Boer children. When it annexed the Transvaal in 1877, and gave it back again in 1881, it little knew that it was playing with untold treasures of gold. The discovery of those hidden stores on the Witwatersrand, in 1887, changed the whole face of the country, and introduced a whole world of new complications as between Briton and Boer. Johannesburg became the most populous town in South Africa, and the chief source of revenue [30/31] for the Transvaal Government. Into all that followed--the grievances of the Uitlanders, who were taxed but allowed no representation; the Jameson Raid; the eyer-increasing armaments of the Boers; the pie-crust promises of the British authorities; the growing impatience of the British in Johannesburg under the increasing exactions and restrictions of the Kruger regime; the last straw added to their burdens by Sir William Great Boer Butler's treatment of the Reformers; the long negotiations before and after the Bloemfontein Conference; the Ultimatum and the war--into all these we cannot enter.

The cruelty and folly of this long course of vacillation in England's treatment of the fundamental problem of South African politics is to be measured only by the waste of life and treasure which the late great war has caused. How can we wonder that, after so many examples in the past, the Boers should have been convinced that once again the swing of the political pendulum would stop the war or reverse the policy on which it was founded? And who, indeed, can be confident that the pendulum has even yet come to a state of equilibrium?

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