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and unexpectedly, upon the discovery of the Randt gold-fields, an immense British population flocked into the Transvaal. The new settlers spread themselves over the country, built towns, developed industries, bought land, and soon outnumbered the Boers. The two races did not intermix or intermarry to any extent; the Uitlanders lived in the towns; the Boers remained almost exclusively in the country. Their material interests were necessarily antagonistic to each other. As miners, it was to the interest of the Uitlanders to attract native labour to the mines. As graziers and farmers, it was the interest of the Boers to keep native labour confined to their own fields. As traders, it was the interest of the Uitlanders to render the means of locomotion and transport as cheap as possible. As the owner of teams and waggons, it was the interest of the Boers to render transport and locomotion as dear as possible
. As the tax-paying portion of the community, it was the interest of the Uitlanders to reduce taxation; as non-taxpayers
, and as the recipients of the funds raised by the taxes, it was the interest of the Boers to increase taxation.
Given these conditions, it was obvious that great judgment, liberal dealing, and genuine consideration on the part of the Boer minority in the Transvaal were required to reconcile the British majority to the position, politically speaking, of an inferior, if not a subject, race. "If President Krüger and his advisers had not been utterly ignorant of history, they might possibly have reflected on the fact, that ever since Great Britain became a colonising Empire there has never been an English-speaking settlement, in any portion of the globe, which has remained subject to the rule of a foreign Power. It might also have struck them that the Transvaal was hardly likely to furnish the exception which proves the rule.
Every day that passed witnessed the growth of the Uitlander element, the comparative decline of the Boer. We are speaking now of growth and decay in the material rather than the moral sense of the word. Johannesburg developed into a great city with a marvellous rapidity. Banks, hotels, clubs, stores
, and private mansions sprang up as if by magic; and the creators of this capital of the gold-fields grew naturally intoxicated with pride in their own achievements. Notwithstanding its Dutch name, Johannesburg was, to all intents and purposes, an English city. One heard nothing but English in the streets and in the shops. With the exception of the Kaffirs, the resident population consisted almost exclusively of British subjects
. Indeed the only Dutchmen to be seen in Johannesburg were the clerks in the Government offices and a few Boer cattle-dealers
in the markets. A similar transformation, though in a less marked degree, took place in every town of the Transvaal. Even Pretoria itself became Anglicised. Yet this extraordinary development of the British element brought with it no corresponding change in the political status of the new settlers. They were treated as outsiders, entitled to no part or share in the administration of the country, whose fortune they were engaged in making. They were interfered with in a manner which would have excited the irritation of a far more apathetic population than one which in the main was distinctly, and even ostentatiously, British. We do not say that the complaints of the Uitlanders at this period were always reasonable, or their grievances always well founded; but we do say that Englishmen placed in such a position as that occupied by our fellowcountrymen in the Transvaal are never likely to remain contented with their lot. It is a true saying that only the wearer knows where the shoe pinches; and the inconveniences, injustices, and annoyances to which the citizens of Johannesburg were subjected by the Boer administration and its officials, though they may not appear unbearable if examined individually, yet taken collectively constitute a serious offence. It would be gross exaggeration to compare the oppression sustained by the Uitlanders at the hands of the Boers, to that inflicted on the Poles by the Russians. On the other hand, it is almost as gross a perversion of fact to compare the Uitlanders to foreign aliens who have come into an old-established community, such as England or France, for the purpose of obtaining employment, The Transvaal itself was not a land of old standing, in which generation after generation of Boers had been born and lived and died. It was a new settlement snatched from the Kaffirs by a succession of Boer raids within the memory of men not advanced in age. Only the other day this State had formed an integral portion of the British Empire. The Uitlanders in the Transvaal did not form, as the Germans do in England and Italians do in France, an insignificant minority of the whole population. On the contrary, they constituted an absolute and increasing majority. They were not paupers or beggars, but they were the backbone of the wealth, industry, and intelligence of their adopted country. They were not a subject race accustomed to obey; they were men of a master race used to command.
It is difficult, unless these facts are borne in mind, to do justice to the irritation occasioned among the Uitlanders by the attitude of the Boers. It was the old case of the gutta cavat lapidem. A mosquito bite is not in itself a serious infliction ;
but if you are stung all day and every day by mosquito bites, life becomes intolerable. It is intelligible enough that the friction caused by the vexatious interference of the Boers should, given the normal relations between them and the Uitlanders, have kept alive and intensified old racial animosities. The mere fact that in a country, the vast majority of whose inhabitants were British, Dutch should be the official language of the Parliament, the Law Courts, and the public offices, constituted a source of daily and hourly irritation to British colonists
. We often see it stated that the Uitlanders were perfectly indifferent to any lack of consideration with which they were treated by the Boer authorities, and that all they really cared about was to make money as fast as they could out of the mines, with the intention of then quitting the country. The statement in question is at best a half-truth. No doubt, if the Uitlanders had been left alone to develope the mines as they thought best and to fill their pockets without let or hindrance, they might possibly have acquiesced in their exclusion from all political rights. However, there is little good in speculating upon what the attitude of the Uitlanders might have been if the Boers had left them free to carry on the mining industry without interference, As a matter of fact, this is exactly what the Boers did not do. In order to become paying industries, mines require low freights, easy communications with outside markets, plentiful labour, moderate import duties, and cheap machinery. Now for years the introduction of railways into the Transvaal was prohibited in the first instance, and retarded in the second, by the direct action of the Government. Every difficulty was thrown in the way of the miners obtaining a free supply of cheap native labour. The cost of living, as well as the cost of importing machinery and food, was enormously enhanced by almost prohibitive duties and by the monstrous monopolies which had been established throughout the Transvaal. Some few mines in the Randt proved so rich in paying ore that, notwithstanding all these obstacles, they were enabled to declare very high dividends. But scores of mines whose ores were of a lower grade or more difficult of extraction failed to render any adequate return in consequence of the artificial expenditure imposed on their working by the short-sighted policy of President Krüger and his associates in the Ministry and in the Volksraad. We do not attribute the action of Pretoria to any deliberate desire to cripple the mining industry. We believe, as we have said already, that it was mainly is not solely due to political ignorance and personal greed on the part of the Boer rulers. The goose, they were
of tip came
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tion mistra over memi Tecuti franch for the
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convinced, would continue to lay golden eggs, however many of her feathers were plucked out. No fear therefore of permanently impoverishing the Randt militated against the Boers adopting any methods by which they could fill their own pockets at the cost of the Uitlander community,
No matter what their motives may have been, the policy pursued at Pretoria tended to make gold mining on the Randt a far less lucrative occupation than it would have been otherwise. As time went on, the dreams of the rapid acquisition of wealth which had inflamed the hopes of the early miners were dispelled by experience. It soon became obvious that the Randt mines could not be worked at a profit by individual miners, but could only be made to pay by the aid of capital and costly machinery. In other words, the finding of nuggets is not a contingency which enters into the consideration of any old hand at the Witwatersrandt. There are doubtless high wages to be earned at Johannesburg by clerks, foremen, and artisans, but rapid fortunes can only be acquired there by men of means. Thus, when the first glamour of the gold discoveries had passed away, the great bulk of the Uitlanders came to the conclusion that, whether they liked it or not, their lives would have to be spent in the Transvaal. The discovery, on the part of the miners, that their residence in the Transvaal was likely to be permanent and not transitory, coincided roughly in point of time with the period at which the capitalists of the Randt came to the conclusion that the short-sighted policy of Pretoria was calculated to permanently endanger their own pecuniary interests. Gradually a conviction was brought home to the minds of the Uitlanders that they could never carry on their industry with success, or live out their lives with satisfaction and self-respect, unless they obtained a voice in the administration of the Republic. To this conviction is due the origin of the National Union. One of the most prominent members of the Reform movement at Johannesburg has recorded his opinion that nobody cared a fig about the franchise. We have no doubt that, speaking for himself and for the class of financial magnates to which he belongs, this gentleman was in the right. To the gold kings of Johannesburg it is, and must be, a matter of indifference whether they have, or have not, a voice in appointing and influencing the administration of the Transvaal." Their sphere of action lies elsewhere. But to the small folk who follow their lead, and who hope to earn a living for themselves and to make a home for their families in the Transvaal, it is a matter of vital importance to secure the position of free citizens in the country of their
adoption. Thus, during the whole Reform agitation throughout the Transvaal, there were two currents at work, which, though they flowed in the same direction, were not impelled by the same forces. The leaders of the National Union, who by virtue of their position were selected from the financial celebrities of Johannesburg, desired the possession of political power in order to protect their mining enterprises against unnecessary taxation and vexatious interference. The rank and file demanded political power for the protection of their own security and their own well-being. Both these sections of the Reform party, however, were alike in this respect, that they were animated, though not in equal degree, by the racial antagonism which has hitherto rendered any co-operation between Boers and Uitlanders a matter of impossibility.
At the outset, however, the agitation for Reform was not only avowedly, but genuinely, constitutional. The founders of the National Union had no idea of overthrowing the Republic or of replacing it by any other form of government. All they hoped or expected was to bring such pressure to bear upon the Government of Pretoria as might induce it to grant the British settlers in the Transvaal the same political rights as those possessed by Dutch settlers in the Anglo-Dutch colony of the Cape and in the British colony of Natal, and by British settlers in the Orange Free State. If President Krüger and his colleagues had met this demand half-way, very little in the matter of political concessions, accompanied by vague promises of larger boons in the future, would have sufficed to satisfy the leaders of the constitutional agitation, We might quite admit, that any such concession would have formed the thin end of the wedge. But if, as we contend, it was obvious to any thinking man that the insertion of the wedge was a mere matter of time, ordinary foresight would surely have dictated the expediency of rendering the process of insertion as slow and as slight as
was consistent with satisfying the moderate section of the Uitlanders. Instead of this, the President, the Ministers, and the Volksraad met the demands of the Uitlanders with a contemptuous non possumus. The petitions of the British settlers were rejected with scorn ; and the only reply to their request for political equality the effect that, if they wanted their rights, they must come and fight for them. To such a taunt uttered to men of British race, only one rejoinder was possible.
We hold, therefore, that the moral responsibility for the abortive revolution at Johannesburg rests quite as much with the Government of Pretoria as with the National Union. It