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In Praise of the Chinese.
With portraits of Lord Kitchener, Gen. Christian De
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Life and Death....
Review of Reviews.
NEW YORK, JULY, 1902.
THE PROGRESS OF THE WORLD.
Edward VII. had been on the throne Peace and the for a year and four months. He had waited a long time to come into his inheritance, and, from the very moment of the Queen's death, had shown himself every inch a king, conscious of his prerogatives, alert, industrious. The manner of his reign had become known throughout his empire, and had been accepted with good will everywhere. His friendly attitude toward other nations had given an additional guarantee for the peace of the world. Thus his coronation, toward the end of June,while interesting, certainly, as a pageant, and a curious exhibition of formalities that do not belong to our modern life,—had no relation at all to anything vital in public affairs. For many Americans it is not quite easy to understand why so practical a people as the English should take the coronation show so seriously, allowing it, seemingly, to outweigh, in their estimation, as a matter of concern and importance, the ending of the South African war. The King, however, had all along perceived that peace was the one thing needed to make his coronation something more than a gaudy and an empty formality. Thus he used every influence consistent with his position in a constitutional government to have the conditions of surrender made such for the Boers that they could accept them and lay down their arms with self-respect and honor.
The Boer war will be one of the A Subject for Historical great subjects of discussion and, Controversy. doubtless, of historical controversy for at least fifty years to come. From the very moment when the Boers took up arms, issued their ultimatum, and crossed the line into British territory, Transvaal independence was absolutely doomed. If England had been at war with another power, the Boers would, of course, have won their cause easily, and would have acquired the whole of British South Africa. But every great nation for thirty years has made it the cardinal object of its policy to keep out of
war with any other power of first-class rank; and there was never at any moment the slightest ground for the Boer hope of formidable help from other quarters. It was not at all unnatural that British imperialists, of the Cecil Rhodes type in Africa, and of all types in England, should have looked forward to the annexation of the Transvaal. This became espe cially true after. Mr. Rhodes had succeeded in adding to the empire Bechuanaland and Matabeleland, thus getting the allied Dutch republics surrounded on all sides by British territory, excepting on the side of the Portuguese coast strip. Furthermore, it was not unreasonable to believe that in the long run it might well be a better thing for the population of the Dutch republics to be federated with British South Africa, and to come under the general sway of the British Empire, which, for self-governing colonies, has hitherto meant protection and help, without any sacrifice whatever of real freedom, to live their own lives and to develop in their own way.
There were no conditions existing in A Raid and Its South Africa that even in the smallest Consequences. degree justified the resort to arms on either side, prior to the Jameson raid. If that raid had not occurred, there would have been no subsequent Boer war. Even a different treatment of the raid after it had occurred, by the British Government and by press and public opinion in England, might have reassured the Boers and averted the great conflict. But the Boers became profoundly convinced that the British Government was, in reality, implicated in a plot to steal their country, and so they began importing munitions of war on a large scale and preparing to defend themselves. In due time the diplomatic methods of Chamberlain and Milner took on a form that the Boers fully believed was intended to have no other effect except to provoke a quarrel that would give England the opportunity to make open conquest where she had failed in the Jameson episode. The future
historian is likely to draw a curious and, in some respects, a significant parallel between the Jameson raid and the John Brown raid upon Harper's Ferry. John Brown's lawless action, together with the ill-considered praise that it evoked throughout the North, probably did more than all other incidents put together to deepen sectional misunderstanding, to inflame passion, and so to provoke secession and war, where, in a critical period, the things supremely needed were calmness, patience, toleration, and some little sense of the value of time as a factor in the working out of all national and historical problems.
What Was the
The Jameson raid was avowedly for True British the relief and aid of the Uitlanders in Motive? Johannesburg and vicinity, whose grievances under Boer rule were being exploited so successfully by a combination of capitalists and politicians. With their fast-growing numbers, their superior wealth, and their cleverness and intelligence, the Uitlanders would, within a very short time, have had everything their own way, without interference on the part of England or any other foreign country. Probably the thing really feared by the imperialist politicians like Rhodes, Chamberlain, Milner, and others was that the Uitlanders, in due time, might supersede the Dutch as the controlling element in the Transvaal Republic, and then might be even more opposed than the Boers themselves to having their little country painted British red on the map of South Africa. When the underlying facts come to be known, it may well turn out that both the Jameson raid, and the subsequent provocation of war under pretense of concern about the Uitlanders, were due more than anything else to the British realization of the fact that Germans, Frenchmen, Americans, and men of all nationalities were flocking to Johannesburg, and were by no means certain to favor the ultimate acquisition of the country by Great Britain.
The New Boer
However that may be, the question is Nation,-A now one of merely academic interest. Paradox. The Boers have accepted British sov. ereignty in good faith, and the British have conceived an almost exaggerated respect and admiration for the character of the Boers, whom they frankly despised at the beginning of the war. There is one remarkable historical paradox to be noted in the outcome of this lamentable struggle. In the loss of their beloved independence, in the defeat of their cause, and in their seeming extinction or absorption, the Boers have really come into a new birth as a nationality. It is not written that a young people capable of such heroism shall, after practically dictating
terms to the greatest empire in the world, permit themselves to forget that they have had a great part in the making of history. This is not a day when small nationalities are assimilated and yield up their identity; and so, far from this being the end of the Boer nation, the Peace of Pretoria is the beginning of it. These Boer farmers were the most obscure people of European stock in the whole world. They were far less known than the Icelanders. To-day they are passionately admired throughout every nook and corner of the civilized world.
The Boer leaders were well aware, more than a year ago, that political independence, in the sense of sover eign membership in the family of nations, was an impossibility, and they were ready to come to terms with Great Britain on a basis which, while making them part of the empire, should give them colonial home rule, with assistance in restoring their devastated country, and with clemency, if not full amnesty, for the Cape Colony Dutch, who had joined their Transvaal and Orange Free State brethren n the war. Lord Kitchener, who was fighting the campaign, and should have had something to say about the terms of peace, would readily enough have ended the war more than a year ago. But Milner and Chamberlain, sustained by Lord Salisbury, insisted upon unconditional surrender, with the literal enforcement of their proclamation of perpetual banishment of
Terms of Settlement.
Boer leaders from South Africa, and with the enforcement against all Cape Colony Dutchmen who took up arms of the penalties for high treason. The Boers refused to modify their conditions, fought steadily on, and, in the end, conquered practically every point that they had held out upon, and seemingly somewhat more besides.
The great point for which they had chivalrously fought on was that of clemency toward the men of Cape Colony who had forsworn their British allegiance and joined the Boers. This point was completely won; for the loss of the right to go to the polls on election day is a very small matter to a man who had expected to have all his property confiscated, and to be either shot or hung himself as a traitor. As to banishment of Boer leaders, the British were compelled to withdraw their proclamation and recant completely; and, further, to promise to bring back promptly and at their own expense the many thousands of Boer prison- . ers, both officers and privates, whom they had sequestered in Ceylon, St. Helena, Bermuda, and to some extent elsewhere. Further than that, the British agreed to pay the Boers outright a cash indemnity of $15,000,000, to be used for the restoration of the building and stock of the devastated farms of the Transvaal and the Orange Free State. To make sure that the British themselves should really pay this money, it was stipulated that no part of this sum, or of the British war outlay, should be levied in the form of taxes upon Boer lands or property.
Vital Points Gained by the Boers.
Furthermore, the British agreed, in A Remarkable addition to the $15,000,000, to adBargain. vance large sums of money free of interest, if needed by the Boers, to buy stock and replenish their farms and herds. As to government, the Boers were accorded full amnesty and full political rights, with the promise, at the earliest possible day, of self-governing institutions for the Orange River Colony and the Transvaal, and with just as good a status as the Australian or the Canadian enjoys. Thus there could not possibly have been a greater contrast than that between the public assertions of Lord Salisbury and the leaders of the British Government, more than a year ago, as to the terms to be accorded to the Boers, and that which has actually taken place. The stipulations even go so far as to give validity and protection to the debt incurred by the Boers in carrying on their war. It is true that the Boers have lost a separate inter. national position; but that is something that they never had really grown into, or exercised, in any important sense. It was hard for them to yield
LORD KITCHENER, THE ONLY ENGLISHMAN WHO HAS GAINED MUCH REPUTATION IN THE SOUTH AFRICAN WAR.
this theoretical point; but since they had to do it, they made a most remarkable bargain for themselves, and demonstrated statesmanlike qualities equal to the amazing military prowess the world had already recognized.
The great West and the new South ment of a in this country, after the Civil War, were created by the thousands of young men whose energies had been developed and whose powers of achievement and leadership had been discovered and trained through the emergencies of the conflict. Certainly, one of the most important effects of the South African war will, before long, come to be recognized in the marvelous personal transformation of thousands of Boer farmers and their sons, through the experience of heroic participation in so great a war against an enemy so highly civilized and so humane, as well as so brave and, upon the This war has whole, so untiring and effective. brought the Boer people from the primitive conditions of eighteenth-century peasants to the re. alization of many of the strenuous conditions of life in the twentieth century. It is true they had a scanty population, and could ill afford to lose the men who perished in battle and camp, while still less could they afford to lose the scores