“It was the opinion of many philanthropists that the only way to insure good Government in the Transvaal—justice to the natives, the suppression of slavery, the security of neighbouring tribes—was by England’s insisting on the Boer’s observance of the Treaty which had been made to this effect, and the delimitation of the boundary of their territory in order to prevent aggression. With this object in view meetings were held in the City, petitions presented by Members of Parliament, resolutions moved in the House; and when at last it was discovered that Mr. Gladstone’s Government was unwilling to fulfil its pledges in reference to South Africa, and that in consequence the native inhabitants would not receive the support they had been led to expect, considerable indignation was felt amongst the friends of the aborigines. The demand which they made seems to have been moderate. The Transvaal, which before the war, had been reckoned, for its protection, a portion of the British dominions, was now made simply a State under British Suzerainty, with a debt to England of about a quarter of a million (in lieu of the English outlay during the three years of its annexation), and a covenant for the protection of the 800,000 natives in the State, and the Zulu, Bechuana, and Swazi tribes upon its borders. The English sympathisers with these natives simply asked that the covenant should be adhered to. There was little chance of the debt being paid, and that they were willing to forego; but they maintained that honour and humanity demanded that the Boers should not be allowed to treat their agreement with us as so much waste paper.
“The Prime Minister and the Secretary of State for the Colonies received the Transvaal delegates graciously, but the doors of the Mansion House were shut against them. Its occupant at that time would neither receive them into his house nor bid them God-speed. He had made a careful study of the South African question, and he felt no doubt that this deputation represented a body of European settlers who were depriving the natives of their land, slaying their men, and enslaving their women and children. He desired to extend the hospitality of the Mansion House to visitors from all countries, and to all creeds and political parties; but the line must be drawn somewhere, and he would draw it at the Boers. The boldness of his action on this occasion startled some even of his friends. He was, of course, attacked by that portion of the press which supported the Government. On the other hand, he had numerous sympathisers. Approving letters and telegrams came from many quarters, one telegram coming from the ‘Loyalists of Kimberley’ with ’hearty congratulations.’ As for his opponents, he was not in the least moved by anything they said. He held it to be impossible for any respectable person who knew the Boers to support them. This was no doubt strong language, but it was not stronger than that of Moffat and Livingstone; not a whit stronger either than that used by W.E. Forster, who had been a member of the Gladstonian Government.”