“Neither the Chamber of Mines, nor, to my knowledge, anyone directly, or indirectly, connected with mining interests did anything to embarass the government in its financial negotiations. It is useless to abstain from plain speaking; on the contrary, I hold it to be my duty to be frank and to state to the government that if it failed in its negotiations, it is due to its bad financial policy; to its want of an efficient system of audit; to its costly and terribly wasteful administration; to the want of precise information as to the object of the loan, and the manner in which it was to be expended.”
In fine, Law I. of 1897, and the fantastic method of legislation adopted by the Volksraad, show that the Government of Pretoria offers no better guarantee to people dealing with it than did the Grand Turk, some fifty years ago.
7.—Fleecing the Uitlanders!
Taxation, to the Boer, means getting all he can out of the Uitlander, the old characteristic of all oligarchies. The Boer may cheerfully augment both the taxes and his expenditure. It is not he who will suffer.
I admire the Frenchmen, Belgians, Swiss, &c., who pretend that the Uitlanders are a bad lot for not being delighted with such a government.
MONOPOLIES IN THE TRANSVAAL AND THE NETHERLANDS RAILWAY COMPANY.
1.—Article XIV. and the Monopolies.
The avowed taxes are far from representing the whole of the burden laid upon the Uitlanders by the Government of Pretoria.
The Convention of 1881 guaranteed freedom of commerce; nevertheless, from 1882 onwards “the triumvirate who ruled the country,” says Mr. FitzPatrick (The Transvaal from Within), “granted numbers of concessions, ostensibly for the purpose of opening up industries. The real reasons are generally considered to have been personal.” In 1884, Article XIV. renewed the guarantee of freedom of commerce; the Volksraad itself one day passed a resolution condemning monopolies in principle: and in December 1895 the President granted a monopoly for the importation of products, under the guise of a government agency with a commission to the agent!
One of the first monopolies established was for the manufacture of spirits. The quality of liquor it supplies to the natives is atrocious. To drunkenness is attributed a loss of 15 per cent. on the labour of 90,000 natives whose pay and food are equivalent to L40 per head, a loss therefore of L550,000 a year.
[Footnote 16: Le Siecle, April 5th, 1900.]
2.—The Dynamite Monopoly.
Two despatches, one from Mr. Chamberlain, dated January 13th, 1899, and the other from the Transvaal Government, dated March 9th, 1899, indicate how Mr. Krueger always meant to interpret Article XIV. of the Convention of 1884:
On October 13th, 1893, the Transvaal Government granted a monopoly of the dynamite trade to Mr. L.G. Vorstman for a period of 15 years. The price of No. 1 dynamite was fixed at L4 15s. per case, of which 5s. was to be paid to the Government.