All honor for ever be given from us whom age and circumstances have kept at home to those who have voluntarily come forward to risk their lives, and give their lives on the field of battle on land and on sea. They have their reward in enduring fame and honor. And all honor be from us to the brave armies and navies of our Allies, who have exhibited such splendid courage and noble patriotism. The admiration they have aroused, and their comradeship in arms, will be an ennobling and enduring memory between us, cementing friendships and perpetuating national good will. For all of us who are serving the State at home or in whatever capacity, whether officials, or employers, or wage earners, doing our utmost to carry on the national life in this time of stress, there is the knowledge that there can be no nobler opportunity than that of serving one’s country when its existence is at stake, and when the cause is just and right; and never was there a time in our national history when the crisis was so great and so imperative, or the cause more just and right.
South Africa’s Romantic Blue Paper
Recording the Vision of “Oom Niklaas,” the Boer Seer of Lichtenburg
[From THE NEW YORK TIMES, April 18, 1915.]
The South African “Blue Paper” is out. It is unique. However widely and however eagerly the official documents of the other countries involved in the present war may have been read, they could not be called romantic in any sense of the word.
The “Blue Paper” issued by the Union of South Africa presents a distinct contrast. In the third paragraph of the very first page of this weighty document, which deals with the recent rebellion, is the following unusual sentence:
It is not surprising, then, that in the ferment aroused by the gigantic struggle in Europe, which seemed to be shaking the world to its foundations, young men began to see visions and old men to dream dreams of what the outcome might be for South Africa.
And this is followed by a still stranger passage:
The times were not without their signs. There was a seer in Lichtenburg who had visions of strange import. Years ago and long before any one in this country had dreamed of war he beheld a great fight of bulls, six or seven of them, engaged in bloody combat; a gray bull had emerged victorious from the contest.
The bulls signified the great nations of Europe, and the gray bull was Germany. Thousands had discussed this strange vision and had remembered its prophetic character when, later, war actually broke out. The vision seemed ominous. Germany was predestined to triumph.
The seer is Niklaas van Rensburg, and he runs through this Government report like a scarlet thread through gray homespun. It is around his influence that the uprising of Sept. 15 is built. It is under his roof that all manner of lurid conspiracies are hatched. Not only do his words carry with the crowds that gather before his house to hear his prophecy, but his warnings shape the actions of some of the Transvaal Generals. The Government report will not go so far as to brand “Oom Niklaas” as a hoax. Says the preface: