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African possessions can hardly be appreciated in the United Kingdom. Rightly or wrongly, our fellow-countrymen in South Africa considered that they had been betrayed, abandoned, and brought to shame by the action of the Imperial Government. As the result of this feeling, they had not the wish, even if they had the power, to reconquer the Transvaal for an Empire which had not the courage, in their opinion, to secure the safety of its own people or to uphold the honour of its own flag. At the outset the idea of overthrowing the South African Republic, in favour of Great Britain, was not, we are convinced, entertained by any section of the Uitlanders possessed of either numerical or political importance. may go further, and declare that any proposal to replace the Transvaal under the direct rule of the British Colonial Office would at this period have been rejected by the mass of the British settlers at Johannesburg. All they really wanted at this time was to be allowed to carry on their mining industry without vexatious interference, and they believed that they were more likely to be left alone by Pretoria than by Downing Street.
Thus, if our view is correct, the antagonism between the Boers and the Uitlanders was originally far more keen on the part of the former than of the latter. If at this period the Boer Government had been in the hands of far-sighted and fair-minded men, the opportunity might have been taken advantage of to establish the Boer Republic on a stable basis. It had become obvious to every intelligent observer at the close of the last decade, that the gold-mining of the Randt was not an ephemeral but a permanent industry; that Johannesburg had not only become the chief city of South Africa, but must, by the conditions of its existence, remain a British city; that the English settlers already exceeded the whole Boer population of the Republic, and that this numerical superiority of the British over the Boer must increase with every succeeding year; and that finally, by virtue of their superior energy and intelligence, political power must ultimately become the possession of the men who conducted the trade, developed the resources, and created the wealth of the Transvaal. Given these conclusions, and it followed as a matter of logic that the only wise policy open to the Government of the Transvaal was to conciliate the newcomers, and, by fair treatment and by ties of personal interest, to enlist their sympathies on behalf of the Republic. The conditions of the time were more favourable to the establishment of an amicable modus vivendi between Boers and Uitlanders than they had been since the retrocession of the Transvaal, or than they have ever been subsequently. If
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at this time the Government of Pretoria had shown any readiness to favour the mining population and to avoid wounding the national susceptibilities of the British settlers, the antagonism between the Boers and the Uitlanders need not have assumed an acute form for many a long year to come.
It may be argued that, if the political position of the Transvaal between 1885 and 1890 had been such as we have endeavoured to depict, statesmen of the intelligence of Paul Krüger and his colleagues could not have failed to avail theinselves of the opportunity. Our answer to this argument is that the intelligence of the Boer statesmen is relative, not positive
. According to the French proverb, "In the kingdom of the blind the one-eyed man is king'; but it does not follow that a one-eyed monarch is a man of far sight and acute vision, In like ınanner it is illogical to assume that, because Paul Krüger is a head and shoulders above his colleagues in political ability, he is therefore a great statesman. The real secret of his extraordinary authority in the Transvaal lies in the fact that he is a Boer of the Boers. His tone of mind, his views of policy, his mode of speech, his habits of life, his tastes, prejudices, and beliefs, are all based upon the Boer type, To paraphrase a well-known American witticism, "Krüger and Boer are exactly alike, only Krüger is more so.'
The dislike entertained by his countrymen for all foreigners, and above all for British foreigners, is shared to the full by the President. Nothing short of absolute compulsion would ever induce him to entertain the idea of converting the Transvaal from a purely Boer State into a commonwealth such as the Cape Colony, in which Englishmen and Dutchmen enjoy complete legal and political equality: The Transvaal, according to Krüger's conviction, is intended to be a sort of city of refuge, where the spirit of Boer nationality is to be kept alive until such time as the downfall of British power allows the Boers to recover their old supremacy throughout South Africa. Surrounded by a gang of hangers-on and flatterers, less patriotic than he is himself, the President is confirmed by their counsels in the conviction that Great Britain can never be induced to go to war again with the Transvaal; and that even if such a contingency should arise, the Transvaal could still rely upon the active support of other Continental Powers, jealous of British supremacy in South Africa. He is led, too, by their representations to believe that if he can only prevent the British settlers from acquiring any permanent footing in the Transvaal, the time will come when the Republic can safely declare her complete independence, and, having declared it, can proceed to extend
her territories at the cost of the States of British South Africa.
The exclusion, therefore, of the British settlers from all participation in the government of the Transvaal has been from the outset of the controversy the dominant idea of Krüger's policy. To the furtherance of this end he has devoted all the energies of a powerful and acute, though narrow intelligence. We are ourselves convinced that his policy was, in any case, foredoomed to failure ; but it might easily have approached much nearer to effectuation, if it had not been for the accident that Mr. Cecil Rhodes made his appearance on the stage of South African public life about the period with which we are concerned, and soon became known as the champion of a policy absolutely fatal to the project on which President Krüger had set his heart. Any discussion as to the motives which actuated the late Premier of the Cape Colony, and as to the character of the measures by which he endeavoured to carry out his end, is foreign to the purpose of this article. All that concerns us is to point out that Mr. Rhodes's programme was incompatible with the execution of President Krüger's idea. Even at the period of which we are treating, the scope of his policy had become apparent to far less acute observers than Paul Krüger. The incorporation of Griqualand West, the annexation of Bechuanaland, and the formation of the Chartered Company, were all
measures which tended to preclude
any further extension of the Transvaal, and militated against the possibility of the Transvaal ever becoming the leading State in an independent South African Republic. On every occasion the President found himself confronted by Mr. Rhodes. Every attempt on his part to seize on portions of outlying territory was baffled by the vigilance of the Napoleon of South Africa.” At last, President Krüger learnt to look upon Mr. Cecil Rhodes as a personal enemy; and the discovery that Mr. Rhodes and his group had secured large holdings in the Randt mines, and that the leading men of Johannesburg were numbered amongst his personal supporters and adherents, tended undoubtedly to strengthen the President's determination to withhold from the Uitlanders all political privileges or rights under the South African Republic.
Had the Boer rulers of the Transvaal been content to accept the influx of a large British population as an accomplished fact, they might possibly have converted the British settlers into contented and loyal citizens. If again, rightly or wrongly, they could not make up their minds to place the British newcomer on a footing of political equality, they might still have almost indefinitely deferred the conflict to which the inequality
of political status between Boers and Uitlanders was certain ultimately to give rise. At this crisis President Krüger wielded well-nigh unlimited authority over his fellow-countrymen. Yet it was under his guidance and direction that the Boer Governinent not only rejected every proposal in virtue of which the Uitlanders could take any part in or exercise any influence over the administration of public affairs, but proceeded to interfere in the most vexatious manner with the convenience, prosperity, and profits of the mining population,-a body which to all intents and purposes was identical with the British population. The first error was due to racial prejudice and sectarian animosity; the second error was mainly caused by crass ignorance and personal greed,
We have already dwelt upon the prejudices of race and the instincts of fanaticism which render the Boers averse to any influx of British settlers into the Transvaal. A scarcely less important factor in the political situation is to be found in the ignorance and greed of the Boer rulers. It is our wish, in discussing the Boer-Uitlander controversy, to do justice to both sides. We think it therefore fair to state that the charge of corruption so commonly brought against the Boer Government is not in our opinion altogether justified,--that is, in the sense in which we commonly employ the term "corruption.' Every country has its own ideas as to how far a public servant may justly add to his official income by perquisites
, bonuses, and commissions in return for services rendered in his official capacity. For our present purpose it is enough to say that the higher the civilization, both moral and material, of any country, the stronger is the sentiment that public employment ought not to be made use of for the acquirement of private wealth. Now it is no disparagement to the Transvaal to state that Boer civilization has not reached a very exalted standard
. When fortunes were being made right and left in the Randt mines, it seemed doubtless not only natural but right to the President and his colleagues, that they should stand in' and share in the shower of wealth. To their fellow-citizens it seemed equally right and proper that the public servants of the State should fill their own pockets at the cost of the verdommte Engländer. We have no doubt that, according to their lights, Paul Krüger and his fellow-ministers in the Volksraad have done their best to serve the interests of their country. We have still less doubt that their services have been rewarded not only by a sense of duty fulfilled, but by satisfaction at having enriched themselves out of the profits of the foreigners who were making fortunes in the Transvaal.
Appetite, as the French say, comes in eating. The rapid growth of Johannesburg had created a sudden demand for all sorts of manufactures and produce. To grant monopolies for the supply of all articles in demand appeared to the Boer mind the right thing to do. To select a friend as the holder of such a monopoly was also deemed the proper course. To expect that the friend in question should pay a consideration for obtaining the required concession was only what every Boer would do himself and could see no harm in others doing. Thus, without clearly understanding, as we think, what they were about, the Krüger administration saddled the Transvaal with a variety of monopolies, the whole direct burden of which fell upon the Uitlanders. To cite only a few of the most salient instances, the sole right of manufacturing spirits was conceded to a firm of distillers personally associated with the President; the exclusive sale of dynamite was granted to a German ; and the option of constructing all railroads throughout the Transvaal was guaranteed to an obscure Dutch company, in which not. only the Transvaal State but its officials had a large pecuniary interest. No profound knowledge of political economy is required to realize that in the end the State must suffer from all monopolies for the manufacture and sale of articles in daily demand by the wealth-producing section of the population. But political economy is to the Boers an unknown science.
Taxes levied on the Uitlanders had filled the Transvaal treasury; and no. amount of argument could ever induce the ordinary Boer to understand that money paid directly by the Uitlander could come indirectly out of his own pockets.
We have dwelt somewhat at length upon the initial conditions of the Boer-Uitlander controversy, because their appreciation is essential to the formation of any fair judgment as to the recent phases and the ultimate outcome of this vexed controversy. Let us recapitulate what these conditions were. The Transvaal had originally been conquered, occupied, and settled by the Boers; the country had been annexed by Great Britain, and had then been restored to the Boers after a campaign in which the latter had conquered all along the line. The Boers had returned to power, Aushed with victory and animated by sentiments towards their hereditary enemies which were about equally composed of jealousy, fear, and contempt. The British had virtually been driven out of the country, 'bag and baggage'; and the Boers imagined, not unreasonably, that henceforward they would be allowed to live out their lives in the land of their choice after their own fashion, and in accordance with their own customs, ideas, and prejudices. Suddenly