The interview was published in the Tribune of September 24th, 1899.
Dr. Stewart said:—
“As to the principle politically in dispute, the British Government asks nothing more than this—That British subjects in the Transvaal shall enjoy—I cannot say the same privileges, but a faint shadow of what every Dutchman, as well as every man, white and black, in the Cape Colony enjoys. Every Dutchman in the Cape Colony is treated exactly as if he were an Englishman; and every subject of Her Majesty the Queen, black and white, is treated in the Transvaal, and has always been, as a man of an alien and subject race. The franchise is only one of many grievances, and it is utterly a mistake to suppose that England is going to war over a question of mere franchise. Let us be just, however. There are in the Cape Colony and out of it loyal Dutchmen, loyal as the day, to the British power, which is the ruling power. They know the freedom they enjoy under it, and the folly and futility of trying to upset it.
“No superfluous pity or sympathy need be wasted on President Kruger or the Transvaal Republic. The latter (Republic) is a shadow of a name, and as great a travesty and burlesque on the word as it is possible to conceive.
“Paul Kruger is at the present moment the real troubler of South Africa. If the spirit and principles which he himself and his Government represent were to prevail in this struggle, it would arrest the development of the southern half of the continent. It is too late in the day by the world’s clock for that type of man or government to continue.
“The plain fact is this:—President Kruger does not mean to give, never meant to give, and will not give anything as a concession in the shape of just and necessary rights, except what he is forced to give. He wants also to get rid of the suzerainty. That darkens and poisons his days and disturbs his nights by fearful dreams. There is no excuse for him, and, as I say, there need be no sentiment wasted on the subject. Let President Kruger and his supporters do what is right, and give what is barely and simply and only necessary as well as right, and the whole difficulty will pass into solution, to the relief of all concerned and the preservation of peace in South Africa. If not, the blame must rest with him.
“I am sorry I cannot give any information or express any views different from what I have now stated. They are the result of thirty years’ residence in Africa. But I would ask your readers to believe that the British Government are rather being forced into war than choosing it of their own accord. I would also ask your readers to believe that Sir Alfred Milner, the present Governor of Cape Colony, though undoubtedly a strong man, is also one of the least aggressive, most cautious, and pacific of men; and that he has the entire confidence of the whole British population of the Cape Colony. I know also that when he began his rule three years ago, he did so with the expectation that by pacific measures the Dutch question was capable of a happier and better solution than that in which the situation finds it to-day. The question and trouble to-day is, briefly, whether the British Government is able to give protection and secure reasonable rights for its subjects abroad.”