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1901.) Cape Colony. - The Constitutional Position. [373 area of Cape Colony, including Cape Town; but there was no formal suspension of the Constitution other than that implied by martial law. Ministers continued to hold their portfolios, to conduct their departments, and to give advice to the Governor on matters of policy ; but as Parliament was successively prorogued they acted without its authority, and will therefore need to be indemnified by the Cape Parliament, or by the Imperial Parliament should the local Legislature withhold indemnification. The position may be expressed by saying that the Colony was not deprived of selfgovernment, but that the system has been in a state of suspended animation.
Outside the two self-governing Colonies no progress could be made, owing to the continuance of the war, in carrying into effect the policy announced by the Home Government, which was to substitute for the purely military administration of the annexed territories a civil administration, with a Legislative Council in each new Colony, consisting of the Governor or Lieutenant-Governor, members of the Executive, and unofficial members nominated by the Crown—this method of rule to give place, “as soon as circumstances permit," to full selfgovernment. Commissions were issued making the High Commissioner, Lord Milner, Administrator of the two new Colonies, the Governorship of Cape Colony being given to Sir W. Hely Hutchinson. On February 6 Lord (then Sir A.) Milner reviewed the situation, military and political, in an important despatch (referred to also on p. 99). It was no use denying, he said, that there had been retrogression. Cape Colony had been perfectly quiet; the southern half of the Orange River Colony was settling down ; in a considerable portion of the Transvaal the people seemed to have definitely accepted British authority; but when he wrote the scene had completely altered. He foresaw a longer period of recuperation both for the mining industry and for agriculture, and especially for the latter, than was thought would be needed ; and what was more serious than the material destruction, was the moral effect of the recrudescence of the war. The general rising at the back of our army, necessitating the return of troops to districts thought to be secure under the oath of neutrality taken by their inhabitants, had developed into a guerilla war, ever assuming a more embittered character, and leading to a "carnival of mendacity” which had brought the commandoes invading Cape Colony recruits and other assistance from Dutch subjects of the Crown who had been nominally loyal.
The situation described by Lord Milner continued throughout the year with little variation, and the record for Cape Colony in particular is one of varying degrees of gloom, for though De Wet's invasion was frustrated, the year closed with a few scattered bodies of the enemy still roaming about notwithstanding the pursuing columns. The loyalists responded nobly
to the call for volunteers for local defence; but the story of the war in Cape Colony itself shows that a very large proportion of the up-country Dutch were covertly when they were not openly disloyal. Nor do appeals for peace by prominent Dutch loyalists appear to have had any greater effect in Cape Colony than did the work of Dutch peace emissaries in the annexed territories. Plague also was a disturbing element, though this happily yielded to vigorous administrative measures for its suppression.
After De Wet had been compelled to re-cross the Orange River Lord Milner travelled north to confer with Lord Kitchener, and in May left for England for a brief rest. Meanwhile Messrs. Merriman and Sauer had gone to London on a
peace mission,” which was energetically disavowed by Cape loyalists, whom they claimed to represent. The literary activity of the Bond party was curbed by the suppression of Ons Land and the sentence of Mr. Malan, the editor, to twelve months' imprisonment for seditious libel. Other Bond writers were also prosecuted and punished for similar offences. In May Mrs. Louis Botha was allowed by Lord Kitchener to leave for Europe on what proved to be a futile mission to Mr. Kruger in the interests of peace.
The Cape Parliament was to have met in the early summer, but was prorogued until August 27, and again prorogued. In June there was a marked agitation in the Colony for the suspension of the Constitution, but the Inperial Government avoided this course. On the other hand, there were many prosecutions for treason in Cape Colony and Natal, there being some executions where positive crime in addition to rebellion had been proved; but the majority of the sentences were for long terms of imprisonment and the infliction of heavy fines—the amount imposed in Natal until July being no less than 20,0001. In the latter month Sir Gordon Sprigg, the Cape Premier, made an important speech on the necessity of stamping out Republicanism in South Africa, and took a hopeful view of the prospect of reopening Parliament and of the early close of the war-& view unjustified by events, for the military situation continued to be bad until much later in the year, alike in Cape Colony and on the Natal border. Notwithstanding the war the trade of Cape Colony kept up well, the imports for the year ending June, 1901, being 22,800,0261., as against 19,056,7621. ; and the exports 9,848,4721., as against 12,740,9461., there being a decrease of 4,000,0001. in gold, but an increase of 2,500,0001. in diamonds.
The visit of the Duke and Duchess of York in August in the course of their Imperial tour was a brilliant success, alike at Cape Town and Durban, and had an undoubted effect in sustaining the spirits of the loyalists; and the return of Lord Milner later in the month ,still further encouraged them, for the High Commissioner was able to assure them that there would be no change in the mind and temper of the British people and
1901.) South Africa.—Progress. The Concentration Camps. [375 Government. Apart from military events, the feature of the situation in Cape Colony and Natal was the position of the loyalist refugees, who were eagerly awaiting permission to return to the Rand. A beginning had been made in the establishment of a municipality for Johannesburg, and early in October permission was given for the starting of a limited number of stamps, and arrangements made for the return of 100 refugees weekly. By mid-November permits were being issued for 250 refugees weekly. As Lord Kitchener extended the blockhouse system and thus confined the enemy within areas remote from the towns and the lines of communication, and as the latter were no longer in peril of interruption by parties of wreckers, life at Johannesburg resumed something of its normal industrial conditions, and each weekly batch of refugee arrivals relieved the social pressure in Cape Town and Durban. So well did the new arrangements at Johannesburg work that Lord Kitchener extended them so far that it was expected that by February, 1902, at least one-fourth of the mines in the Rand would have resumed.
Partly to facilitate the resumption of industry and also with the object of lessening mortality the burgher refugee camps in the Transvaal were in part broken up and transferred to Natal, such burgher movement as was possible in this direction meaning less pressure on the railway and allowing of the more plentiful transmission of supplies to the Rand. Alike in the Transvaal and Orange River camps there had been terrible mortality, especially among the children, and chiefly from epidemics of measles; and this had created great anxiety in England, where the facts were emphasised by Miss Hobhouse, who issued a pamphlet describing the results of her investigations on the spot. The Government appointed a committee of ladies under Mrs. Fawcett to visit the camps, and during the year issued two Blue Books, in addition to montbly statistics ; and they have lately issued the report of the Ladies' Committee, which makes many suggestions for administrative improvements. The effect of the entire mass of documents may be thus stated : Lord Kitchener relieved the Boers in the field of the responsibility for the care of their women and children and other non-combatants as an act of humanity; there were defects in the organisation of the camps, due to the circumstances in which they were established, the shortness of efficient staffs, and the difficulty of obtaining supplies ; disease and exceptional mortality were due to the exhaustion of many of the occupants of the camps, to their ignorance of nursing, their primitive ideas of medicine, and their shockingly insanitary habits. The Papers also show that Mr. Chamberlain exercised great personal initiative and energy in endeavouring to effect an improvement in the condition of the camps, and that such amelioration was perceptible when, late in the year, their control was transferred from the military to the civil authorities, Lord Milner being
authorised to spare no expense in the matter of breaking up the camps into smaller units, transferring them where possible to Natal and Cape Colony, in strengthening the medical, nursing and administrative staffs, and in the provision of rations and extra comforts. When the year closed these things were receiving vigorous attention, though, of course, it was impossible for those responsible for the camps wholly to please either the burgher inhabitants of them or exacting critics in England. The broad fact is that throughout the year Great Britain was at enormous cost (in July, for example, the expenditure on the camps alone was 169,5461.) giving shelter, food and clothing, medical treatment and education to the children of almost the entire Boer non-combatant population of the two Colonies—for only a relatively small proportion of Boer women and children remained with the burghers in the areas of country, chiefly to the north and east of the Delagoa line, yet to be cleared by our troops. A study of the medical reports shows indisputably that the mortality among the children was greatly aggravated by the ignorance and, in some cases, by the indifference of the Boer parents to the value of child life, for there is some evidence that among the lower classes of Boers there was neglect and wilful opposition to measures for the restriction of disease. It would take up too much space to give the statistics of death; a few examples will suffice. In July there were 93,940 burghers in camp, of whom 46,366 were children, and of the children 1,124 died. In August, when a severe epidemic of measles prevailed, there were 105,347 whites in the camps16,695 men, 36,427 women, and 52,224 children. The deaths of whites were, men 62, women 271, children 1,545. In September the figures were : in camps 109,418 (including 54,326 children), and the deaths were, men 119, women 328, and children 1,964. Since then there has been a diminishing mortality, but an ever-present danger of a recrudescence of epidemic. A feature of the new arrangements as to the camps is that those remaining in the Transvaal and in the Orange River Colony are to be under the control of officers with special experience in dealing with plague and famine camps in India.
The renewed activity of De Wet and his success at Tweefontein in the early hours of Christmas Day had no effect in checking the resumption of industry, and the situation at the end of 1901 was not without its encouraging features. The lines of communication had for some months past been unbroken, though there were probably several thousand Boers yet in the field in the Transvaal and the Orange River Colony; every week, as the lines of blockhouses were increased, saw them cooped up in narrower spaces ; Cape Colony was said to be almost free of commandoes; the Natal borders were held inviolate; rapid progress was made in the reorganisation of civil government and the restarting of industry and agriculture in the former theatre of war; Rhodesia was recovering; in fact, throughout
[377 South Africa the New Year opened amid many signs of the commencement of that process of recuperation which Lord Milner warned the people must of necessity be slow, not so much because of the material destruction the war had brought in its train as because of the moral effects of its prolongation. Though no person of authority ventured to say when the fighting would definitely end, the universal impression was that the time and opportunities had arrived for constructive statesmanship to rebuild the edifice of South African life on the new foundation of British authority throughout the conquered and revolted territories.
Concerning Rhodesia a few definite particulars should be added, for the stagnation produced by the war has not been unrelieved during the past twelve months. The total output of gold in 1900 was 91,640 oz. In 1901 the output (on an approximate calculation of the December returns) reached about 170,000 oz. The administrative system under Mr. Milton and the Legislative Council has worked well. There has, naturally, been no marked development politically or industrially, for the energies of no mean portion of the white male population have been expended in the service of the Crown against the Boers ; but measures have been taken by the British South African and other companies for assisting the settlement of European agriculturists and importing live stock. The Legislature also has passed a Masters and Servants Ordinance for the regulation of labour conditions. The problem of the importation of labour has received attention, and measures are in train for attracting Indian immigrants..
THE STORY OF THE WAR.
At the opening of the year the activity of the Boers on the eastern line beyond Middelburg took the form of simultaneous night attacks, under the direction of CommandantGeneral Louis Botha, on Belfast, Dalmannutha, Machadodorp and other smaller posts. These were everywhere repulsed. The plans of the enemy, as stated by Lord Kitchener, whose despatches are the principal source of this narrative, which may therefore be depended upon for its general accuracy, were then as follows: Hertzog was to proceed to Lambert's Bay and there meet a ship bringing mercenaries, guns and ammunition from Europe, while De Wet was to go south by De Aar and join Hertzog in a combined attack upon Capetown, Botha invading Natal with a picked commando of 5,000 men as soon as he heard that the junction had been effected, Durban being his objective. In pursuance of this plan there had been a concentration of Boers in Ermelo, Carolina and Bethel, where there were large depôts of supply. Lord Kitchener therefore deemed it essential to sweep the country between the Delagoa Bay and Natal Railway lines, and concentrated columns at Mooi Plaats, Baps