Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

unconnected discourses, on March 13th and 15th, where he fully shows the weakness of his position. They are from beginning to end a strong indictment against the people.

It was not enough to talk and sign memorials against confederation or annexation. Let the people show by their acts that they were worthy of liberty. This state of things could not last. Either obey the laws and pay the taxes, or submit to English rule. . . When we had to fight (Secocoeni), we cared not to give our life for our country; when we had to pay to save the country, we loved our money even better than our life.'

The last post, he continued, which usually brought in thousands of pounds, had only brought £38 10s. Thus the people showed their wish to remain independent. The country had no sense of honour with respect to the payment of its debts. In Holland many people had subscribed to the loan for the sake of blood connection with South Africa, and now £2250 were due for interest, and not a penny to meet it. He urged the necessity of adopting reforms in the administration, and a more lenient policy towards the natives, who had some grievances, though England had exaggerated them.

England, Mr. Burgers said, could not tolerate anarchy and rebellion on her borders, and he referred to what had happened at Marico and elsewhere. In Europe such things were not allowed. The Great Powers interfered with Turkey, and Bismarck had swallowed up small States for convenience' sake. It would be useless appealing to him. The country had no confidence in the president, nor the president in the country, yet to save the country he must be supported. Dislike to progress, prejudice, hatred to foreigners, stood in the way of independence. If the country was not ready to make sacrifices, better accept the helping hand of England. Fighting would be folly. Real freedom was to be found only in obedience to the law. 'Let us make the best of the situation and try to get the best possible terms we can. Let us agree to act in concert with our brethren in the South, and then there will be one great people from the Cape to the Zambesi.'

It is clear that the president was strongly in favour of confederation, and saw in it the only escape from annexation; and even annexation he seemed to think better than the existing state of things. These discourses appear to have had a momentary effect in stimulating the people in the right direction, but afterwards the president was accused of having exposed the situation too much, and

having afforded Sir Theophilus Shepstone a pretext for annexing the country.* A commission appointed to consider the ultimatum recommended a few reforms, which were unanimously adopted by the Volksraad, and a report was drawn up in which it was stated that whereas the Volksraad was willing to take measures for ameliorating the situation, and whereas it clearly appeared from Sir Henry Barkly's letter of the 15th January and the enclosed documents, that her British Majesty's Government did not intend to deprive the republic of her independence against her wish, and whereas the Raad had faith in the justice of her British Majesty's Government, they desired the executive to enter into negotiations with Her Majesty's special Commissioner, in order to maintain the independence of the State, and to make such treaties as would be necessary to secure the good understanding between the republic and Her Majesty's Government, and the general safety with respect to the natives. Kruger was made vice-president. A law was passed-familiarly termed 'Hold your tongue,' and officially, the Free State Ordinance-by which it was made high treason to draw up, sign, and make others sign memorials asking a foreign State to take over the government. A concession for the Delagoa Bay railway was granted to a Belgian company, the presidential election was fixed for the May sitting, and the labours of the Raad being now completed, the members returned home to report to their constituents. The president issued an urgent proclamation to induce the people to pay their taxes. Great fermentation existed among the Boers, meetings took place, memorials against annexation were signed, and there was much talk of shooting the red-coats.' In the beginning of April a powder magazine was found deprived of its contents. The English and the Boers mutually accused each other of the theft, and of wanting to use violent means to arrive at their end. It was reported that the Boers, who had assembled in 'lager' behind the Magalies mountains, wanted to enter Pretoria and hang the president, the English, and Hollanders. Mr. Tromp believes that these rumours were not without foundation; that at all events the Boers meditated an attack. A Defence Committee of 150 men was organized by the English and English-Africans, under the protection of Sir Theophilus Shepstone. On the 6th of April another in

* It is true that Sir Theophilus in his address to the Transvaal people, quoted part of these discourses in support of the annexation. (Sir T. Shepstone to Lord Carnarvon, April 17, 1877. Enclosure 3.)

+ Red-coats, roodbaatjes,' name given by the Boers to the English soldiers.

terview took place between the president and Sir Theophilus, who having previously refused to enter into the above negotiations, now declared that he could defer the annexation no longer. Mr. Tromp asserts that at that moment there were some signs of the people wishing to support the Government, but that Sir Theophilus not caring to let the pretext which the disorder afforded him escape, hastened the annexation. Mr. Tromp, while disapproving of Sir Theophilus' public proceedings, professes to have a great personal regard for him, and declares him to be a thorough gentleman, fully deserving everybody's esteem, though he shares the view of most politicians, that the ordinary rules of morality do not apply to international dealings.

On the 12th a proclamation was read before the Government offices, in which Sir Theophilus stated that as the Transvaal was unable to manage its own affairs, and to defend itself against native aggression; as it was therefore a danger to the neighbouring States, and as a large proportion of its inhabitants wished for English rule, he declared it to be an English colony in virtue of the powers granted to him. In a second proclamation, he provisionally assumed the administration, and in a third he declared the people free from the war tax. The cheers on the occasion were given exclusively by the English party and not by the Boers, as the English papers reported. Strong protests were read on the part of the president and executive council referring to the Sand River Convention, by which the independence of the republic had been solemnly acknowledged, and to Lord Carnarvon's declaration that the British Government did not wish to annex the country against the wishes of the people. It was stated that the government of the South African republic had given no reason for such an act of violence, and had ever been willing to do all that was equitable in order to remove the causes of discontent. It was added that, in the face of the common enemy, no hostile measures would be resorted to by whites against whites, but that two delegates, Paul Kruger and Dr. Jorissen, would be sent to Europe and America to appeal to friendly powers, and in the first place to England. Shortly after, the English troops entered the town. I do not think,' says Mr. Tromp, 'that the last entry of the Germans into Paris was expected, with greater excitement than that handful of "red-coats" at Pretoria.' No regular troops had ever been seen there before, and when they entered with the music playing, they excited the general curiosity, and-we are ashamed to add-amuse

ment. A farewell ball was given to Mr. Burgers by the townspeople, at which the English military band played, and English officers were allowed to make their appearance. Such are not the proceedings of people who have their independence greatly at heart. We were,' says Mr. Tromp, literally danced out of Pretoria.' In conclusion, he makes an elaborate apology for the president, and attributes the fall of the republic to the disunion, blindness, and deplorable conduct of the Boers at the time.

To many, after reading the foregoing account of hopeless inertness and obstinacy, it will appear that the annexation was fully justified; but others, who do not believe that might is right, will still hold that nothing justifies annexation against the wishes of a people. It is true that the Boers did not show themselves worthy of liberty, but had they been permitted to elect a president after their own hearts, who better understood their national wants, they might have risen from their torpor. The danger from the natives was the pretext, and it was to have been averted by the annexation; but it was not till afterwards that the Zulu war broke out, and it has been stated that the defeat of the English at Isandlwana might, humanly speaking, have been averted, if a small 'commando,' or party of armed Boers, had served as éclaireurs, and shown the strength of the Zulus. Whether it would be expedient to restore the Transvaal now is an open question. Should self-government ever be given to the Transvaal Boers, they will have learnt wisdom from their misfortunes; they will have learnt that to enjoy the rights of citizens, they must fulfil the duties of subjects.' As this is an expression of Dutch views, we give in conclusion the opinion of another Dutch authority

Let England educate her colonies, which as European settlements must sooner or later be emancipated. The Cape Colony has already selfgovernment; may Griqualand-west, Natal, the Transvaal soon follow. And when the times are ripe, may there arise a mighty Confederacy, rich through the many resources of the soil, the United States of South Africa. Thousands on those distant shores look forward to such a future, and though it may be far off, 'Rome was not built in a day' (De Gids, August, 1879).

E. LECKY.

362

ART. V.-Latham on Examinations.

On the Action of Examinations considered as a Means of Selection. By HENRY LATHAM, M.A., Fellow and Tutor of Trinity Hall, Cambridge.

In the social development of the last quarter of a century, there have been few features more prominent and important than the spread of the system of examinations. In examinations themselves there was of course nothing new; but about the beginning of the period referred to various movements combined to give a new and very powerful impetus to the work. The Government of the country had begun to take in hand the primary education of the lower classes, and to do so by subsidizing such schools as showed themselves worthy of being supported. This of course involved the appointment of a staff of examiners or inspectors to ascertain where grants should be made, and what use was being made of the money that was granted. The Government also ventured upon the bold and most important innovation of doing away with the abuses connected with the old system of patronage, by throwing open appointments in the Civil Service of India to all comers, and selecting by examination the most capable of those who presented themselves. There was so much that was fundamentally just and wise in this step, and its immediate success was so great, that it became inevitable that wider scope should be given to the system, and so it took within its range successively the scientific branches of the military service, then all branches of that service, and finally the whole of the subordinate departments of the English Civil Service. Examination work of a more technical character was carried on by the Department of Science and Art, and by the Society of Arts.

Further, the advantages attendant upon having the work of elementary public schools tested periodically by competent men were so obvious, and the miserable shortcomings of a large number of public grammar-schools were rendered so patent by the investigations of Royal Commissions, that public attention was aroused to the state of education generally amongst us. It was everywhere felt to be necessary that some light should be let in upon the working of our educational machinery, whether in public or in private schools. Accordingly the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge in succession set on foot somewhat more than twenty years ago their well-known

« AnteriorContinuar »