« PrejšnjaNaprej »
W E S T MIN S T E R
JANUARY TO JUNE
"Truth can never be confirmed enough,
R. BRIM LEY JOHNSON,
8 YORK BUILDINGS, ADELPHI, W.C.
VOL. CLVII. No. 1.- JANUARY 1902.
"It (the London Convention of 1881) is entirely bilateral, whereby your representatives were not placed in the humiliating position of merely having to accept from a Suzerain Government a one-sided document as rule and regulation, but whereby they were recognised as a free contracting party."-Extract from the Report of the Deputation of the South African Republic to the Honourable Volksraad, July 28, 1881.
"No peace will be acceptable to us in which the independence of the two Republics and the interests of our Cape Colony brothers who have joined us are not maintained. If it be a crime to fight in selfdefence, and uch crime must be punished, then I think that his Majesty's Goveroment ought to be satisfied with the destruction of the country, the chastisement of women and children, and the general inisery which has been caused by this war."M. T. STEYN, State President of the Orange Free State.
A FAMOUS old pirate, hoary and hardened in his iniquities, obtained a child from its parent without its consent and against its wishes. This was a great wrong, since no parent has the right to shirk his natural duty in a manner so unnatural. And neither has a stranger any right to help bim in the shameful business. Nature, which is the modus operandi of God, points to man his duties by establishing in absolute truth his everlasting and unalterable relationships. Neglect of these duties is the source of all the discord and confusion in the world. In the present instance it has been the source of endless trouble. For, notwithstanding gross ill-treatment at the hands of its pirate guardian, the wronged and cast-off child grew and waxed strong, and seemed to be making for the enjoyment of the land of its inheritance in the freedom and independence of adult life. This the pirate viewed with growing suspicion and dislike. When
VOL. 157.-No. 1.
he took the poor child into his cruel keeping he fully intended its inheritance for his own greedy and bloody-minded brood. The thought of it coming to its own in spite of him roused the old devil in bis viking blood. It made him say in his heart :-" There is no God of justice in all this hollow universe. If there were I should not be here. Brute force is everything. I will therefore use it without stint and without conscience. By means of it I will utterly break the spirit of this stranger's child before it becomes too strong for my power.
In this manner I will reduce the brat to servitude and divide its inheritance among my own offspring.” Thus spake the pirate in his heart, and he acted on what he said. He has found, however, by this time that it would have paid bim better to have hung a millstone round his neck and plunged with it into the sea, than to have offended as he has against one of God's little ones.
Open confession is good for the soul. The war that was to be over in time for General Buller and his army to eat roast beef and plum pudding in Pretoria on Christmas Day two years ago, is going on yet, and is likely to go on until the contending party who knows himself to be in the wrong frankly admits the fact, in acts if not in words. It is seldom, however, that a confession of failure has been so explicitly made, as was the case on October 12, in that prosubjugationist organ known as the Saturday Review. “Virtually, the whole Dutch population of South Africa has taken up arms against us,” said a leader-writer in this leader of light and learning; and he then proceeded to indicate that“what this means, from a military point of view, can only be understood when we remember the fact the Dutch being on the land and the English colonists in the towns, the whole of the vast area covered by the active operations of the war has been, or is, in the hands of a hostile population. This puts me in mind of cartoon which appeared in the Minneapolis Tribune, where old John Bull, the Greedy Dick of nations, is breaking his teeth in a vain endeavour to bite off more than he can chew of South Africa. Any one who cares to take a glance at a map of this part of the world will see that the natural conditions are such that a resolute and wary enemy may keep John at war until he is bankrupt-if, indeed, he does not give in before that inevitable result stares him in the face. The coast line, thousands of miles in extent, tells its own tale of the ease with which men and supplies from Europe may be, and no doubt are being, added to the Boer forces as fast as Kitchener’s “bags ” deplete them. For although the British cruisers may watch the ports, there is not enough of them to watch the entire coast, or prevent men and supplies being landed in boats at hundreds of positions along it. Moreover, there are vast uncolonised tracts of German and Portuguese territory, across which all that is needed can be sent with impunity to the Boers. The conquest of South Africa, like that of the American colonies in the eighteenth century, is an undertaking too great for the pirate empire to achieve.
Empire is a blessing or a curse according as those who wield it are just or unjust. It is a means, not an end. The last words of the last chapter of that firebrand, The Transvaal from Within, by which, in the summer of 1899, Mr. J. P. Fitzpatrick inflamed the lust of conquest in Tories and nominal Liberals, are words with which I heartily agree. “Be just to all—even to your own,” says this gentleman; and it would have been well for the peace of the
1 world and the honour of this country if he had been taken at his word. The sure mark of real imperial power is impartiality. It is the conserver of empire and the safeguard of peace. When he enjoyed the consular office L. Junius Brutus, the father of the Roman Republic, got the people to swear that never again would they submit to a king's authority. Subsequently he found his own sons conspiring with the Tuscan ambassador to restore the accursed Tarquins. By their father's will they were justly tried, condemned, and executed, Brutus himself being present at their execution. Here was a man worthy of empire. He was just to all, even to his own.
If the South African question had been in the hands of such a man as this it would, I am inclined to think, have fared with Mr. Fitzpatrick and his fellow-conspirators against the Boer Republic in such a fashion that they would never have lived to work, by their misrepresentations, upon the weak partiality of the British Government and the British people. A man of the true imperial stamp would have nipped conspiracy in the bud. He would have left Mr. Fitzpatrick and his fellow-conspirators to suffer the full penalty of the laws of the Republic, against which they conspired. He would have compelled the titled cowards of the Chartered Company, who backed the Raid for financial purposes, and who merely used persons like Rhodes and Jameson to pick out chestnuts for them; he would, I say, have compelled these exalted personages, who stood so high that the South Africa Committee cringed before them and refused on their account to bring forth the shameful truth by which they are condemned; he would, I repeat, have compelled these Chartered shareholders to pay full compensation to the relatives of the burghers unjustly killed by their hired freebooters in the first fatal outbreak of the mammon worshipper's conspiracy. He would not have replaced Jameson's officers in their positions in the British Army. Neither would he have made Mr. Rhodes, the financier of piratical expeditions, the conspirator against a friendly state, the deceiver of the High Commissioner and the
1 Four of them were sentenced to death under Roman-Dutch law, but if all of them had been executed for conspiring against the Republic they would only have got what all such persons deserve.