THE ANNEXATION OF THE TRANSVAAL AND THE CONVENTIONS OF 1881 AND 1884.
1.—The “Gold Mines” Argument.
When Dr. Kuyper asserts that “the gold mines of the Rand became the misfortune of the Transvaal,” it is clear, that in his endeavour to convince his readers, he has no regard to the facts of the case, but that his aim is to suggest the idea that England’s sole object in the present war has been to possess herself of the gold mines. Here Dr. Kuyper employs the arguments of L’Intransigeant, La Libre Parole, and Le Petit Journal; for he is perfectly well aware that England will derive no benefit from the gold mines, nor will she take possession of them any more than she has done of the gold mines of Australia. They are private property.
Further, Dr. Kuyper well knows that the gold mines of the Rand were only discovered in 1886, and he himself states that the annexation of the Transvaal took place on April 12th, 1877. The annexation therefore was prompted by other motives than the possession of the gold mines, but Dr. Kuyper is careful not to suggest these to his readers.
He informs us that Sir Theophilus Shepstone “entered Pretoria at the head of a small army.” In reality, he had with him five-and-twenty policemen. Why then did the Boers, “so essentially men of war and politics,” permit this?
“Once again, the fate of the natives served as pretext,” Mr. Kuyper adds “but the wheel of fortune turns; two years later the English, themselves, were at daggers drawn with the natives, and massacred 10,000 men, women and children.” That is how Dr. Kuyper writes history! The pretext was not the fate of the natives, but the fate of the Boers, who, having gone to war with Sekukuni, had been beaten. This is admitted in the “Petition of Rights”: “At first, our operations were not very successful, our opponents declare that we were unable to defend ourselves against the natives.”
[Footnote 6: Le Siecle, March 26th, 1900.]
The truth is, that after the Sand River Convention, the most complete anarchy existed among the Transvaal Boers; and that as much after the promulgation of their Constitution of 1857 as before. The republicans of Potchefstroom had taken the title of The South African Republic, but their Raad maintained authority only over a small district; Lydenburg, Zoutpansberg, Utrecht, formed themselves into independent republics. It is estimated that, at that time, the entire population of the Transvaal consisted of 8,000 Boers; admitting that this number comprised only the young men and adults capable of bearing arms, and old men, then each republic would be composed, approximately, of 2,000 men. On the death of Andries Pretorius and of Potgieter, who hated each other like poison, the son of Pretorius conceived the design of making himself