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Title: Through South Africa
       His Visit to Rhodesia, the Transvaal, Cape Colony, Natal

Author: Henry M. Stanley

Release Date: June 20, 2010 [EBook #32913]

Language: English

Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1


Produced by Nick Hodson of London, England

Henry M. Stanley, MP, DCL

"Through South Africa"


This little volume consists of the letters I wrote from Bulawayo, Johannesburg and Pretoria for the journal South Africa, which is exclusively devoted to matters relating to the region whence it derives its title. Each letter contains the researches of a week. As the public had already a sufficiency of books dealing with the history, geography, politics, raids and revolts, I confined myself to such impressions as one, who since 1867 had been closely connected with equatorial, northern and western Africa, might derive from a first view of the interior of South Africa. Being in no way associated with any political or pecuniary concern relating to the country, it struck me that my open-minded, disinterested and fresh impressions might be of some interest to others, who like myself had only a general sympathy with its civilisation and commercial development. And as I had necessarily to qualify myself for appearing in a journal which had for years treated of South African subjects, it involved much personal inquiry and careful consideration of facts communicated to roe, and an impartial weighing of their merits. To this motive, whatever may be the value of what I have written, I am greatly indebted personally; for henceforth I must carry with me for a long time a valuable kind of knowledge concerning the colonies and states I traversed, which no number of books could have given to me.

If, from my point of judgment, I differ in any way from other writers, all I care to urge is, that I have had some experience of my own in several new lands like the South African interior, and I have lived long enough to have seen the effects of what was good and what was bad policy in them. I prefer peaceful relations between England and the Boers of South Africa, if possible; I love what is just, fair, and best to and for both Britons and Boers. I naturally admire large-minded enterprise. I pity narrow-mindedness, and dislike to see a people refusing to advance, when all the world is so sympathetic and helpfully inclined towards them. These explanations, I think, will enable anyone to understand the spirit of these letters.

A curious thing occurred in connection with my sudden departure for South Africa. In the latter part of September, 1897, I was debating with my family, at a seaside hotel near Dieppe, as to the place we should visit after the adjournment of Parliament in 1898. After discussing the merits of many suggestions, it was finally determined that we should all try South Africa, because it was said to have such a divine climate; the country was, moreover, so interesting politically, and as it loomed so much in public interest it would be worth while to obtain some personal knowledge of South Africans at home. We had scarcely arrived at this conclusion, when the postman brought to us a telegram, which, to our intense surprise, was a request from the Bulawayo Festivities Committee that I would go to Bulawayo to attend the celebration of the arrival of the Great Peninsular Railway at the Capital of Matabele Land. We regarded it as a strange coincidence.

This opportunity to visit Bulawayo I considered rather premature, as towards the end of autumn many engagements crowd upon one, but after another animated family council it was resolved that I should accept the invitation were it only to qualify myself as a pioneer for the ladies.

We left Southampton on the Norman on the 9th October. I found then that there were five other members of the House of Commons on board—Messrs Saunderson, Llewellyn, Hayes Fisher, Peace, and Paullton, and the Duke of Roxburghe representing the House of Lords. Among the passengers there were Boers from Pretoria and Cape Colony, British Uitlanders from Johannesburg, English residents from the Cape and the two Dutch Republics, Afrikander farmers and vine-growers, and townspeople, some from the Cape District, others from the Eastern and Western Provinces, and not a few from Kimberley and Natal, besides a few ex-Raiders and Reformers. As may be imagined, there was no lack of instructive material, and naturally much divergence of political opinion. The smoking-room soon become like a debating club, but, notwithstanding the frankness and partisan character of the debates, the good temper with which each person delivered himself of his opinions was most astonishing.

From the Boers and Afrikanders I heard not one favourable remark about England, but all indulged in banter and irony, to prove that argument with them was of no avail. So extreme was their dislike that they even said “English servants and clerks are of no use, and they are most unreliable, as for instance,” and here followed incidents to prove what they said. While the English were false and could not be trusted, it was said that the Germans were “good” in the colonial sense, and made the best citizens. They were industrious and thrifty, and their improved condition did not alter their habits. The indenturing of the Bechuana rebels was a subject upon which much was said on both sides. But a Boer’s way of putting it was characteristic. “England, you say, considers it illegal. Ah, well, the English know nothing of the matter, and what they say don’t count. Rose-Innes, however, ought to have known better. Had he been asked by a Cape farmer whether, to keep the rebels from starving, we should give them work to do for wages, Rose-Innes would have said, ‘It is a good thing, and the best that can be done for them;’ but with the view of forming a party against the Government, of course, he denounces indenturing as illegal and iniquitous.” I have cited these extracts to show the process of how we became initiated into South African politics.

The treatment of natives by the Rhodesian Government was, according to the general opinion of Cape people, more liberal than they deserved, and such as any white colonist of no matter what country would approve. It was said, “Why, if we were to be governed by what these sentimental English societies—referring to the A.P.S.—think is right, we should have to abandon Africa altogether, for neither our lives nor property would be safe. Law-abiding men and lawless natives cannot live together unless one or the other is compelled to, and as we have taken the country and intend to live in it, common sense tells us that the natives must submit to the same law under which we must live.”

The greatest majority by far denounced the Raid, and yet everyone spoke kindly of the personality of Dr Jameson. A gentleman from the Eastern Province informed me that the Jameson family has suffered greatly in public estimation. One of the brothers who lived at King Williamstown had felt himself obliged to leave the Province and return to England, and if the Doctor succeeded in being elected to the Cape Parliament, it was said he would be certain to meet with much unpleasantness.

I believe there were 1,097 souls on board the Norman on this voyage. The noise was therefore terrific and continuous, and if any of the weaker constitutions suffered as much as I did through want of sleep and rest, they must on arrival at Cape Town have been in a pitiable state. Above and below it was perpetual unrest and uproar. Though large and beautiful, these Cape steamers are badly designed internally, and the cabins are extremely small, and so arranged that a passenger is subject to the caprices of his neighbours on either side. My neighbours were unfortunately quite ignorant of the meaning of the word “considerate.” When an Ismay, such as he who reformed the Anglo-American service, becomes interested in the passenger traffic to the Cape, he will find a multitude of little things to improve. On returning to England, I found the S.S. Moor much superior for passenger accommodation.

The inconveniences arising from an overcrowded steamer are too many to be disposed of in a paragraph, but it is enough to say that I was uncommonly glad when the voyage was ended, and I was free to seek a hotel.

It must impress anyone who takes a sympathetic interest in what he sees in South Africa, that in some things the country is far behind New Zealand, Tasmania, or any of the Australian Colonies. It is more backward than any of them in its hotels. There are, within my knowledge, only three hotels in all South Africa to which I would venture to recommend a lady to go. South Africans, of course, are able to endure anything, and as the Veld is comparatively but a step from most towns, any place that offers a decent lodging must be regarded by the men at least as infinitely superior to an ox-wagon, a zinc hut, or a farm shed. But I am thinking more of the effect such hotels as those of Cape Town must have on people from Europe. This city, which is the capital of Cape Colony, contains a population of about 52,000, exclusive of the suburbs, but it does not possess a single hotel that would bear comparison with those of Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Auckland, Christchurch or Dunedin. The very best is only just suited for commercial travellers, who must needs be satisfied with whatever may offer. The suburbs, however, which are peopled by about 32,000—and it is well that invalids and tourists should remember it—contain hotels where rest and quiet may be found, in the midst of oak and fir groves and scenes of surpassing beauty. No city that I know of in our colonies possesses superior suburbs. They are simply lovely. They are stretched along the base of Table Mountain, and an entire day’s carriage-drive would not exhaust the exquisite beauty for which the suburbs of Cape Town are famed.

Cape Colony possesses three valuable assets, which seem to me to have received scant attention. A traveller who has visited Southern California and Arizona will understand immediately he visits South Africa what fortunes might be made of the waste land, the rainfall, and the glorious climate with which Nature has blessed it. The land is unworthily despised, the rainfall is allowed to waste itself in thirsty sands deep down beneath the level of hungry plains, while the climate does not seem to have suggested to any capitalist that a revenue superior to that obtained from the Main Reef at Johannesburg might be drawn from it. The leaders of South African enterprise appear all absorbed in diamonds, gold mines, or dynamite.

If I were to follow the authorities of Worsfold in his “South Africa,” pages 126, 127, I should have to admit that this indifference to the land, the rainfall and climate, is due to the Boers. Captain Percival, in 1796, a hundred years ago, wrote:—

“The Dutch farmers never assist the soil by flooding; their only labour is sowing the seed, leaving the rest to chance and the excellent climate.”

“No part of the world has had its natural advantages so abused as the Cape of Good Hope. The very minds and dispositions of the settlers interfere with every plan of improvement and public utility.”

It may be that the Boers do cling to old-fashioned ideas somewhat more tenaciously than they ought to do; but they cannot possibly interfere with capitalists uniting to build up-to-date hotels on the most salubrious and scenic sites in Cape Colony, and beautifying their neighbourhoods with shade trees and gardens, so that the thousands of invalids who throng the watering-places and hydros of Europe, endure the snows of Davos, and the winter of the Engadine, might be tempted to try the Karroo of the Colony. They did not interfere with John D. Logan when he bought 100,000 acres of the Karroo at Matjesfontein and proceeded to turn it to remunerative account. They do not object to private companies or individuals making irrigation works, or planting groves, which thrive so wonderfully; and as Cape Colony has been British for over ninety years, it is rather hard that the Boers should bear all the blame.

Now the Cape Government may well plead guilty to having left many things undone which they ought to have done. I sincerely believe that the time will come when the climate, which has the quality of making old men young, and the consumptive strong, will become universally known and appreciated; but to attract invalids from the crowded Riviera and Switzerland, visitors must not be lodged in third-rate hotels, near noisy tram-lines, and fed on tinned meats.

I was about concluding this preface, when a South African appeared at my house and drew my attention to the Scriptural quotation in my Johannesburg letter—“It is expedient that one man should die for many,” and begged me to make my meaning clear. I read the paragraph over again, and as I see that to a wilfully contentious mind it might be construed into a meaning very different to what I intended, I will try to make it clearer.

Certain Johannesburgers at the Club had related to us the story of the various efforts they had made to obtain their political rights, and the reforms which were needed to work their mines profitably; and after they had finished, I replied that everyone was well aware of the demonstrations, mass-meetings, speeches, petitions to Kruger, menaces, Jameson’s Raid, and so on, and they themselves had just informed me how often they had yielded to bribery of officials, and yet withal they confessed they were not a whit further advanced. Their position had not been bettered, but was somewhat worse. “The corrective of it all,” I said, “seems to me to lie in the Scriptural verse, ‘it is expedient that one man should die for many.’ There is a vast mass of sympathy in England with you, but it is inert and inactive. To make that sympathy a living force in your behalf, it must be proved that you are in earnest, that nothing sordid lies behind this dissatisfaction. You must prove that you have a cause for which you are willing to suffer, even to the death. You say that you can do nothing without arms. You do not need any arms that I see. If you fight with weapons, you will be overcome, and I do not think your defeat will excite great sympathy. But if it be true that the impositions on you are intolerable, your taxes heavy, the claims of Government extortionate, and the demands excessive, why submit to them? It seems to me that if you were all united in the determination to pay no more of these claims, taxes and bribes, and folded your arms and dared them to do their worst, that Kruger must either yield or proceed to compulsion of some kind. He would probably confiscate your property, or put you in prison or banish you. Whatever he does that is violent and tyrannical will cause such an explosion of opinion that will prove to you all that England does not forget her children. No cause was ever won without suffering, and I am afraid that your cause, however good it may be, cannot be won without sacrifice and suffering of some kind. The leader of any movement is sure to be the object of a tyrant’s hate, and the leader or leaders of your cause ought not to venture in it without being prepared to suffer and endure whatever ills may follow.”

Having explained the Scriptural quotation at the request of others, I now proceed to be more definite in my own behalf with regard to the statement in the same letter, that “we cannot interfere until we know what Johannesburg has resolved upon doing.”

A gentleman present said that, during his recent visit to London, an English statesman asked him, “What would be the effect of sending 30,000 British troops to the Transvaal.” Whereupon he answered that he would be the first man who would take up his rifle against them.

This gentleman was an Englishman by birth. He had been the loudest and the most eloquent against the British Government for their disregard of the rights guaranteed by the Convention of 1884, he knew as well as anyone present the tenour of the despatches that had been exchanged between the British Government and the Transvaal Republic, and was perfectly acquainted with the patient and continuous efforts the Colonial Office had made to obtain a just consideration for the grievances of the Uitlanders. It was obvious to us that, if a British statesman had asked such a question, it must have been with the view of knowing—if diplomacy failed—what result would follow the final attempt to induce Kruger to listen to reason. From the shock this declaration from such a prominent Uitlander gave me and a colleague of mine, we understood what the feelings of the statesman referred to must have been, and we had no option left than to suppose the Uitlanders, despite all their clamour and affected indignation against the Transvaal Government, would prefer the Colonial Office to continue writing despatches than to take coercive measures. It must be an immense relief to Englishmen all over the country, as well as it was to me, to know that we were not expected to be at the trouble and cost of sending troops, and we may all feel sure that as despatch-writing is considered to be so efficacious, the Colonial Office will not begrudge the labour nor spare expense in stationery.

At any rate, seeing that the Uitlanders have told us frankly what to expect if we resort to force for their assistance, it is too obvious that nothing more can be done by our Government further than courteous diplomacy permits—until the united voice and the united action of the whole body of the Uitlanders certify to us in what other way England can serve them.

Henry M. Stanley.

London, January 28th, 1898.

Chapter One.

Bulawayo, November 5, 1897.

This extraordinary town does not disappoint expectations by its progress or present condition. It is in about as advanced a state as it could well be, considering the troubles it has endured. War and cattle-plague have retarded the progressive growth of a town that would have been by this, judging from the spirit of the people, a phenomenon in a century which has seen cities grow like mushrooms. It is cast on broad lines; its streets rival those of Washington for breadth, and its houses occupy as much space as decency requires, for unless they were pulled down and scattered over their respective lots, it is scarcely possible, with due respect to height, that they could occupy more.


Its situation, however, does not approach what I had anticipated to find. From its association with Lo Bengula, the dread Matabele despot on whose single word hung life and death, I had expected to find Bulawayo situate on a commanding eminence, looking down on broad lowlands and far-reaching views that fed the despot’s pride of power; instead of which we found it squatted low on a reddish plain, the ridges of its houses scarcely higher than the thorn bush that surrounds it. There are no hills or eminences anywhere in view, whence a large prospect could be obtained. In fact, the greater part of South Africa appears different to what I had imagined. Probably the partiality of all South African writers for Dutch terms had contributed to give me erroneous impressions. When I read Fenimore Cooper and Mayne Reid’s descriptions of the West, I fancied I knew what a prairie or plain was, and when, years afterwards, I came in view of them my impressions were only confirmed. But high, low, and bush veld, and Karroo, etc., have been always indefinite terms to me, and so I came to conceive aspects of land which were different to the reality. For a thousand miles we have been travelling over very level or slightly undulating plains, bush-covered over large spaces, the rest being genuine grassy prairie. After a thousand mites, or nearly three days by rail, over a flat country of this description, one naturally thinks that the objective point of such a journey must be of a different character. Most of the guests were on the qui vive for a pleasing change of scenery until we were within five minutes of Bulawayo station. All at once we caught sight of a few gleams of zinc roofs through the low thorn bush, and a single iron smoke-stack. When we came out of the bush, Bulawayo was spread out before us, squatted on what is undeniably a plain. This plain continues to be of the same character of levelness as far as Salisbury, ay, even as far as the northern edge of Mashonaland; it spreads out to Fort Victoria equally level; and as the land declines to N’gami and the Victoria Falls, it still retains the appearance of plains. Now, the wonder to me is, not that I am 1360 miles north of Cape Town, but that the railway limit should be fixed at Bulawayo, a mere bit of undistinguishable acreage in a flat area which extends to over half a million square miles. Why this place more than any other? There is no river near it, there is no topographic feature to distinguish it. Why not have continued this trunk line on to Salisbury, on to Tete, and the Zambesi? Why not have continued it on to the Victoria Falls?

The New Railway.

Considering that we have come all the way from London, 7300 miles away, to celebrate the arrival of the locomotive at Bulawayo, such questions may sound ungrateful, and considering that last night at the banquet every speaker had something favourable to say of the Bechuanaland Railway and its builders, such questions may be supposed to indicate disagreement with the general opinion. There is really no necessity to suppose anything of the kind. Both the builders and the railway deserve praise. The fact that some eight trains have already arrived at Bulawayo, and that every passenger expresses himself warmly as to the condition of the line, and the pleasure derived from the journey, ought to satisfy everyone that the railway is ready for traffic, and will serve for many years, I hope, to connect Bulawayo with Cape Town.

But I want my readers to thoroughly understand what has been done, without prejudice to Bulawayo, the railway, or its builders. I am not so surprised at the railway, as at the length of time people in South Africa were content to be without it. The whole country seems to have been created for railway making. It offers as few difficulties as the London Embankment Hyde Park is extremely uneven as compared with it. For nearly a thousand miles the railway sleepers have been laid at intervals of thirty inches on the natural face of the land; the rails have been laid across these, and connected together; the native navvies have scraped a little soil together, sufficient to cover the steel sleepers; and the iron road was thus ready for traffic. In March, 1896, the railway was but a few miles beyond Mafeking—say, about 880 miles from Cape Town—on November 4, 1897, it is 1360 miles in length from Cape Town, showing a construction of 480 miles in 19 months. There is nothing remarkable in this. The Union Pacific Railway between Omaha and Denver progressed at three, four, even five miles a day, over a much more irregular surface; but then, of course, the navvies were Irishmen, who handled the shovel like experts, and the rails with the precision and skill of master workmen. Natives could not be expected to attain the proficiency and organisation of the American Celts.

In one of the Cape Specials.

Our special train left Cape Town on Sunday at 4 p.m. A corridor train of six coaches, marked Bulawayo, at an ordinary provincial-looking station, seemed somewhat strange. Had it been marked Ujiji, or Yambuya, it could not have been more so. Three of us were put in a compartment for four. The fourth berth was available for hand luggage. Soon after starting we were served with tea and biscuits, and were it not for the flat wilderness scenery we might have imagined ourselves in an International sleeping car. Time tables were also furnished us, from which we learned that we were due at Kimberley, 647 miles, at 10:15 p.m. on the next day, November 1; at Mafeking, 870 miles, at 3:12 p.m. on November 2; Palachwe, in Khama’s country, 1132 miles, at 12:47 p.m., November 3; and at Bulawayo, 1360 miles, at 9:30 a.m. on November 4, which would be ninety hours at fifteen miles per hour.

It took us an hour to cross the Lowry Strait, which at no very distant period must have been covered by sea and separated the Cape Peninsula from the Continent.

At 5:30 we arrived at the Paarl, 35 miles, a beautiful place suggestive of Italy with its vineyards, gardens and shrubbery, and lovingly enfolded by the Drakenstein Range. With its groves of fir and eucalyptus, bright sunshine, and pleasant-faced people, with picturesque mountains round about, it seemed a most desirable place.

The Paarl Station and others we passed bear witness to the excellence of Cape railway administration. The names of the stations were boldly printed on japanned iron plates, and though the passage of so many trains crowded with distinguished strangers had drawn large assemblages of the Colonists, male and female, whites, mulattoes, and negroes, the cleanliness and orderliness that prevailed were very conspicuous.

A Message to Mr Labouchere.

At 6 p.m. we had passed Wellington, 45 miles, which went to prove the rate of travel. This town also drew from us admiring expressions for its picturesque situation in one of the folds of the Drakenstein, for the early summer green of its groves, vineyards, and fields, and its pretty white houses. I thought, as I marked the charming town and its church spires, and the sweet groves around, what a contrast it was to the time when the Hottentot reared his cattle in the valley, and the predatory bushman infested the neighbourhood, and preyed on ground game and goats.

On the platform, among those who welcomed our coming, were a dozen Radical shoemakers lately arrived from Leicester. They charged Colonel Saunderson, M.P., my fellow traveller, with an expressive message to Mr Labouchere. It is too forcible and inelegant for print, but it admirably illustrates the rapidity with which Radicals become perverted by travel.

Darkness found the train labouring through the mountainous defile of the Hex River. We could see but a loom of the rugged heights on either side, but from all accounts this part of the line is one of the show places which strangers are asked to note.

At daylight we were well on the Karroo, which at first sight was all but a desert. However, we were not long on it before we all took to it kindly. The air was strangely appetising, and we could not help regarding it with benevolence. The engineers who designed the line must have been skilful men, and by the track, as the train curves in and out of narrowing valleys and broadening plains, we are led to suppose that the Continent slopes gently from the interior down to Table Bay. The railway is a surface line, without a single tunnel or any serious cutting. The gradients in some places are stiff, but a single engine finds no difficulty in surmounting them.

At 4 p.m. of November 1 we reached the 458th mile from Cape Town, so that our rate of travel had been nineteen miles the hour. On tolerably level parts our speed, as timed by watch, was thirty miles; stoppages and steep gradients reduce this to nineteen miles.

We were fast asleep by the time we reached Kimberley. Night, and the short pause we made, prevented any correct impressions of the chief city of the Diamond Fields. At half-past six of November 2 we woke up at Taungs, 731 miles. The small stream over which we entered the late Crown Colony of Bechuanaland serves as a frontier line between it and Griqualand.

The Capabilities of Bechuanaland.

The first view of the country reminded me of East Central Africa, and I looked keenly at it to gauge its capabilities. To a new-comer it would not seem so full of promise as it was to me. It would appear as a waterless region, and too dry for a man accustomed to green fields and flowing rivers, but I have seen nothing between the immediate neighbourhood of the Missouri River and the Rocky Mountains to surpass it, and each mile we travelled in Bechuanaland confirmed that impression. Every few miles we crossed dry watercourses; but, though there was no water in sight, it does not derogate from its value as farm land. The plateau of Persia is a naked desert compared to it, and yet Persia possesses eight millions of people, and at one time contained double that number. The prairies of Nebraska, of Colorado, and Kansas are inferior in appearance, and I have seen them in their uninhabited state, but to-day they are remarkable for the growth of their many cities and their magnificent farming estates. All that is wanted to render Bechuanaland a desirable colony is water, so that every farm might draw irrigating supplies from reservoirs along these numerous watercourses. For Nature has so disposed the land that anyone with observant eyes may see with what little trouble water could be converted into rich green pastures and fields bearing weighty grain crops. The track of the railway runs over broad, almost level, valleys, hemmed in by masses of elevated land which have been broken up by ages of torrential rains, and whose soil has been swept by the floods over the valleys, naturally leaving the bases of the mountains higher than the central depression. If a Persian colonist came here he would say: “How admirable for my purpose! I shall begin my draining ditches or canauts from the bases of those hills and train them down towards the lower parts of these valleys, by which time I shall have as many constant and regular running streams as I have ditches, and my flocks and herds and fields shall have abundance of the necessary element.” A thousand of such Persians would create thus a central stream with the surplus water flowing along the valley, and its borders would become one continuous grove. As the Persians would do, the English colonists whose luck it may be to come to this land may also do, and enrich themselves faster than by labouring at gold mining.

These dry river-beds, now filled with sand, need only to have stone dams built across, every few hundred yards, to provide any number of reservoirs. They have been formed by rushing torrents which have furrowed the lowlands down to the bed rock, and the depth and breadth of the river courses show us what mighty supplies of water are wasted every year. As the torrents slackened their flow, they deposited their sediment, and finally filtered through underneath until no water was visible, but by digging down about two feet, it is found in liberal quantities, cool and sweet.

Even the improvident black has discovered what the greenness of the grass shows, that, though water is not visible, it is not far off. At one station the guards told me that they could find plenty of water by an hour’s digging, which was a marvel to many of our party. I was told in Khama’s territory that Khama, the chief, owned eight hundred thousand head of cattle before the rinderpest made its appearance and reduced his stock by half. If true, and there is no reason to doubt it, it shows what Bechuanaland might become with trifling improvements.


Before we came to Vryburg, the continuous valley had broadened out into a prairie, with not a hill in sight. The face of the land was as bare as though ploughed. By 4 p.m. we had come to the 850th mile, showing that the rate during the last twenty-four hours had been sixteen and a third miles an hour. Since Taungs, 731 miles, we had been closely skirting the Transvaal frontier, while to the west of the line lay what was once the mission-field of Livingstone and Moffatt. An hour later we arrived at Mafeking, on the Moloppo River, a tributary of the Orange River. Mafeking will always be celebrated in the future as the place whence Jameson started on his desperate incursion into the Dutch Republic. The Moloppo River contains lengthy pools of water along its deepened course, but the inhabitants of Mafeking are supplied by copious springs from Montsioa’s old farm. The town lies on the north, or right bank, and is 870 miles from Cape Town. It is 4194 feet above the sea. Already it has been laid out in broad streets which are planted with trees, and as these are flourishing they promise to furnish grateful shade in a few years. Outside of the town there is not a tree in sight, scarcely a shrub, and consequently it is more purely a prairie town than any other. Due east of it lies Pretoria, the Boer capital, about 180 miles distant, and it may be when the Boers take broader views of their duty to South Africa at large, and their own interests, that they will permit a railway to be constructed to connect the two towns, in which case the people of Mafeking cannot fail to profit by having exits at Delagoa Bay, Durban, and Cape Town. It will be passing strange also if the neighbourhood of Mafeking will not be found to contain some of the minerals for which the Transvaal is famous. The Malmani Gold Field is about 50 miles off, and the Zeerust Lead and Quicksilver Mine but a trifle further. For the growing of cereals it ought also to be as distinguished as the neighbouring state, for the soil is of the right colour.

In Khama’s Country.

On leaving Mafeking we were in the Bechuanaland Protectorate, a country of even greater promise than the Crown Colony. The next morning (November 3) we were well into Khama’s country, 1071 miles from Cape Town. A thin forest of acacia trees, about 20 feet in height, covered the face of the land. The soil was richly ochreous in colour. The grass was young and of a tender green, and the air cool and refreshing. The railway constructors must have rejoiced on finding so little labour required to perform their contract in this section. By skilfully chosen curves they were enabled to easily surmount any unevenness on the surface, and nothing more was required than to lay the steel sleepers on the ground, cross them with the rails, and add a few spadefuls of earth to complete the railway. The train runs wonderfully smooth and steady, and we experienced less discomfort than on some English trains I know. This is naturally due in a great measure to the slower and safer rate of speed we travel, and the newness of the rolling stock. During the whole day we were not once reminded by any jolt, jar, or swaying, of any imperfections, and our nights were undisturbed by loose play of rails or jumping.

At Three Sisters, 388 miles from Cape Town, we were at the highest altitude of the line, being 4518 feet above the sea. Thence to Bulawayo, a thousand miles, the greatest variation in altitude is 1500 feet; but were it not for the Railway Guide we should never have supposed that the variation was over 100 feet, so imperceptible are the ascents and descents of the line.

Magalapye Station (1088 miles) consisted of a third-class carriage and a goods van laid on three lengths of rail. We were halted nearly an hour near the Magalapye River, and learned that we were sixty miles inside of Khama’s country. Improvements are proceeding to make the line more secure during the torrential season. At present it descends into the bed of the broad stream of sand, and here, if anywhere, a smart rainfall would destroy the line. Consequently, a high embankment has been made, stone piers have been built, and an iron bridge will span the river at a sufficient height. Here we heard also that one of the special trains ahead of us had suffered an accident from the explosion of an oil engine, which generated the electric light, resulting in the burning of two men, one of them badly.

The Magalapye River is one of those sandy watercourses so common in South Africa. To provide water for the station a broad ditch was cut across the sandy course, which was soon filled with clear and excellent water—enough, in fact to supply a small township. It is to be hoped that all the guests noted this and carried away with them the object lesson.

What Water Storage would do.

The sight of this suggested to me that there was an opportunity for a genius like Rhodes to do more for South Africa than can be done by the discovery and exploitation of gold fields. A company called the United South African Waterworks might buy land along the principal watercourses, build a series of stone dams across them, clean out the sand between them, and so obtain hundreds of reservoirs for the townships that would certainly be established in their neighbourhood.

Beyond Palachwe (1132 miles) the thorn trees begin to disappear, and leafier woods, which resemble dwarf oak, take their place, though there are few trees higher than twenty feet. The soil is good, however, despite the fact that each dry season the fires destroy the grasses and the loams which are necessary for their nourishment. Most of the stations in this part are mere corrugated-iron cottages, or railway carriages, temporarily lent for the housing of the guards.

Pauperising the Native.

At each halting place since arriving in Bechuanaland, we have been made aware how quickly the Englishman’s generous disposition serves to teach natives to become beggars. Italy, Switzerland, Egypt, have thus suffered great harm. From Taungs to Palachwe, crowds of stalwart and able-bodied natives of both sexes have flocked around the kitchen-car to beg for bread, meat, and kitchen refuse. It is a novel and amusing sight at present, but in the course of time I fancy this practice of patronising beggars will make a callous and offensive breed that will not easily be put off with words.

At Shashi River, 5 p.m., the three special trains lay close together, because of the difficult gradient leading out of the bed of the river. While the engines assisted the trains up the steep, I came across an impromptu presentation of an address by the Mayor of Cape Town to Mr Logan, the caterer of the excursion parties. According to what was said, we were all made to believe that we could not have been better served had the first European caterer undertaken the provisioning, to which no one could make objection, and a duly signed testimonial to that effect was presented to that gentleman. The scene, however, seemed odd at unknown Shashi, and strongly illustrated a racial characteristic for speech-making and presentation of testimonials.

Nearing Bulawayo.

On the morning of November 4 we saw as we looked out of the carriage that the country was a continuation of that of the previous day. It was still as level, apparently, as a billiard table. We were drawing near to Bulawayo—were, in fact, due there about 9 a.m. We had been led to expect a more tropical vegetation, but as yet, though we were only sixty miles off, we saw no signs of it, but rather a return to the thorn bush of the Karroo and Southern Bechuanaland. One variation we noted, the rocky kopje is more frequent. These curious hill-heaps of rock are remnants of the primeval tableland that rose above the present face of the country from 100 to 300 feet. The sight of these curious kopjes deepened the idea that the seat of the “Killer,” Lo Bengula, would be found on a high eminence, protected by a cluster of these kopjes, but we looked long in vain for such a cluster of hills. Even the sight of a lordly tree would be welcomed, for the tame landscape was growing monotonous. The absence of scenery incidents did not diminish our friendly sympathies towards Rhodesia, and we made the most of what was actually visible, the blue sky, the dwarf trees, the low green herbage which dotted the ground in the midst of wide expanses of tawdiness, the burnt grass tussocks, which we knew would in a few days be covered as with a carpet of green. We see the land just before the season changes, and signs of vivifying spring approaching are abundant. A few days ago the first rains set in. The last two nights have witnessed a wonderful exhibition of electric display in the heavens, and severe thunderstorms have followed. In another fortnight it is said the plains will have become like a vast garden.

At thirty-five miles from Bulawayo we came to the Matoppo Siding. The engineers stopped for breakfast at a restaurant and boarding house! which was a grass hut 20 feet long. Near by a diminutive zinc hut was called “General Store.” Several tarpaulins sheltered various heaps of miscellanea. There a Matabele servant of a fur trader informed us that Lo Bengula was still alive, near the Zambesi, happy with abundance of mealies and cattle, and that any white man approaching his hiding-place would be surely killed, but that if any large number of white men went near him, he would again fly.

At the 1335th mile from Cape Town an accident to the special train ahead of us retarded us four hours. The engine, tender, water tank, and bogie car ran off the track. No one was hurt, fortunately, and by 1 p.m. we were all under way again, though the first lunch we were to have eaten together at Bulawayo was necessarily changed to the first dinner.

At 2:30 we were on the alert to catch a first view of Bulawayo, and at 2:55 p.m. a few stray gleams of white, seen through the thorn bush, were pointed out to us as the capital of Matabeleland. We had passed the famous Matoppo Hills to the right of us, but, excepting for their connection with the late war, there was nothing interesting in them. They consist of a series of these rocky kopjes of no great height, lying close together, mere wrecks of the crest of a great land wave, terrible enough when behind each rocky boulder and crevice a rifleman lies hidden, but peaceful now that the war is over, and the white man has made himself an irremovable home in the land.

Sir A. Milner at Bulawayo.

As was said, we entered Bulawayo a few minutes later, and saw the crude beginnings of a city that must, if all goes well, grow to a great distinction. As a new-comer with but an hour or two’s experience of it, I dare not venture upon saying anything more. We heard that the Governor, Sir A. Milner, had already officiated at the ceremony of opening the line, that his speech was not remarkable for any memorable words, that he had given the Victoria Cross to some trooper for gallant conduct in the field. I heard that Sir Alfred had also read a despatch from Mr Chamberlain, which was to the effect that at the opening of the railway to Bulawayo he was anxious to send a message to the settlers assembled to celebrate the event. He sympathised with their troubles, but he was gratified to think that there was a happier future in store for them. The railway would be a stimulus to every form of enterprise, and would effectually bind the north and south together.

In the evening the dinner took place at the Palace Hotel, which is a building that does not deserve such a title, as might be inferred from the haste with which it was constructed. Ten days ago, few believed that it would be in a fit state to receive any guests, but we found it sufficiently advanced to house the 400 who have arrived. Some portions of it, especially the reception room, would be no discredit to the best hotel at the Cape. The accounts of what occurred at the banquet, as described by the local reporters, I do not reproduce here, and refer my reader to the next chapter for what I have gathered of value from personal observation.

Chapter Two.

Bulawayo, November 10, 1897.

“Rhodesia has a Great Agricultural Future before It.”

The exploration and the development of Rhodesia have always been regarded by me with sentimental interest. Every new advance in this region has been hailed by me with infinite satisfaction, and no man regretted more than myself the lapses of the Founder and Administrator in December, 1895, which threatened to involve the whole of South Africa in trouble, and to arrest the progress which had begun. It appeared for a moment as if Rhodes and Jameson had relinquished golden substance for a shadow. It is not in human capacity to realise from a far distance the truth of the rumours which came from here respecting the intrinsic value of the land, and so I came here at a great inconvenience to myself to verify by actual observation what had been repeatedly stated. I have been rewarded for so doing by clear convictions, which, though they may be of no great value to others, are very satisfactory to myself, and will for ever remain fixed in my mind, despite all contrary assertions. There was a little speech delivered by Commandant Van Rensburg on Monday night, which, perhaps, will be thought by London editors of no importance, but it was most gratifying to me, inasmuch as I had become possessed with the same ideas. He said that it was generally supposed that without gold Rhodesia could not exist, but he differed from that view, as, he was certain in his own mind, it would remain an important country because of its many agricultural products, its native wood, coal, cement, etc., etc. He had come to the conclusion that Rhodesia was as fit for agriculture as any part of South Africa, though he had been rather doubtful of it before he had seen the land with his own eyes. That is precisely my view. It is natural that the large majority of visitors who have come here to satisfy themselves about the existence of gold in Rhodesia should pay but little attention to what may be seen on the surface; but those who have done so now know that Rhodesia has a great agricultural future before it.

The Opening of the Bulawayo Railway.

“Few Events of the Century Surpass it in Interest and Importance.”

Several hundreds of men, eminent in divers professions, have come from England, America, the Cape, Orange Free State, Natal, Basuto and Zulu Lands, the Transvaal, Bechuanaland, and Northern Rhodesia, to celebrate the railway achievement by which this young Colony has become connected with the oldest Colony in South Africa. In any other continent the opening of five hundred miles of new railway would be fittingly celebrated by the usual banquet and the after-dinner felicitations of those directly concerned with it; but in this instance there are six members of the Imperial Parliament, the High Commissioner of the Cape, the Governor of Natal, scores of members of the Colonial Legislatures, and scores of notabilities, leaders of thought and action, bankers, merchants, and clergy from every colony and state in the southern part of this continent. They all felt it to be a great event. Few events of the century surpass it in interest and importance. It marks the conclusion of an audacious enterprise, which less than ten years ago would have been deemed impossible, and only two years ago as most unlikely. It furnishes a lesson to all colonising nations. It teaches methods of operation never practised before. It suggests large and grand possibilities, completely reforms and alters our judgment with regard to Africa, effaces difficulties that impeded right views, and infuses a belief that, once the political and capitalist public realises what the occasion really signifies, this railway is but the precursor of many more in this continent. In fact, we have been publicly told that we are to expect others, and that the railway to the Victoria Falls of the Zambesi is the next on the programme.

An Embryo State “Fairly Started into Existence.”

The Rudd-Rhodes Concession was granted by Lo Bengula in 1888. The Charter to the South Africa Company was given in 1889; possession of Mashonaland was taken by Jameson and his pioneers on September 12th, 1890; Bulawayo was entered in 1893, and thus the Lo Bengula Concession grew to be Rhodesia. Only four years ago! But during this brief interval the advance has been so rapid that, though at home people may vaguely believe in it, one has to see the town of Bulawayo and to come in personal contact with its people to fully comprehend what has been done, and to rightly understand the situation. With the clearer view gained by a personal visit the huge map in the Stock Exchange, which shows the estates, farms, townships, and mines of Rhodesia, becomes an encyclopaedia of information—the plans of Bulawayo and Salisbury, and other towns which have arisen in Rhodesia, valuable directories. If fresh from an inspection and study of these you step out and look at the town of Bulawayo, and glance at the country, you begin to share the local knowledge of the inhabitants, see with their eyes, understand on what they base their hopes, and grasp the real meaning of pushing a railway 500 miles to reach a town of 3000 people. So that, while at home men were arguing that the Rudd-Rhodes Concession was valueless, and Rhodesia a fraud, the land was being avidly bought, prospectors had discovered gold reefs, shafts had been sunk, tunnels had been made to get a fair idea of the value of the reefs, a nominal capital of many millions—some say twenty millions, some say double that sum—had been assured for operations, towns had been created with all the comforts suited to new colonists, and the embryo State was fairly started into existence.

“Enormous Possibilities in View.”

While being instructed in the hopes and ambitions of several of the local people, my knowledge of how other young countries, such as the States, Canada, Australia, had been affected by the extension of the railway into parts as thinly inhabited as Rhodesia, induced me to cast my glance far beyond Rhodesia, that I might see what was likely to be its destiny, whether it was to be a Free State like Orange, self-sufficient and complacent within its own limits, or broadly ambitious like Illinois State, of which Chicago is the heart. Assuming that the energy which has already astonished us be continued, there are enormous possibilities in view. Bulawayo is 1360 miles from Cape Town, but it is only 1300 miles of land travel from Cairo, for the rest of the distance may be made over deep lakes and navigable rivers; it is but 1300 miles to Mossamedes, in Angola, which would bring the town within fifteen days from London; it is only 450 miles from Beira, on the East Coast, which would give it another port of entry open to commerce from the Suez Canal, India, Australia, and New Zealand; it is but 350 miles from N’gami; it must tap British Central Africa and the southern parts of the Congo State.

That is the position acquired by Bulawayo by the railway from Cape Town. Chicago, less than 60 years ago, had far less pretensions than this town, and yet it has now a million and a half of people.

Something of what Chicago has become Bulawayo may aspire to. The vast coal fields to which the new railway is to run, the stone, granite, sandstone, trachyte, the woods, minerals, gold, copper, lead, and iron, the enormous agricultural area, are valuable assets which must nourish it to an equal destiny. Then the Victoria Falls, larger than Niagara, what mighty electrical power lies stored there! I merely mention these things hap-hazard with the view of assisting my readers to understand the significance of these festivities. Many men will think and meditate on them, and new confidence, courage, and energy will be begotten to stimulate them to greater designs and larger effort.

The Founding of Rhodesia will cause a Re-Shaping of Policies.

But how does the scene at Bulawayo affect the political world? It seems to me to have great importance for all South African and British politicians for the way it affects Germany, Portugal, the Congo Free State, and Cape Colony. It will cause people to revise their opinions, and to clear their minds of all previous policies. Any influence that Germany may have hoped to exercise on South African politics has received a check by the insuperable barrier that has been created by those slender lines of steel between its South-West African Colony and the Dutch Republics. The Bechuana Crown Colony and Protectorate, through which they run, must receive a percentage of all immigrants to Rhodesia. These last two are far in advance of the German Colony, and each day must see them strengthened, so that they will become formidable obstacles in the way of German aspirations. These colonies lying along the length of the western frontier of the Transvaal State are four times larger than the Transvaal, and their grand stock-raising areas and agricultural plains having now become easily accessible, cannot remain long unoccupied. I fancy, therefore, that the ambition of Germany to rival our claims to the paramountcy will become wholly extinguished now, and that her thinkers, like wise men, will prepare their minds for the new problems which must be met in a not remote future.

The Lesson for Portugal.

The populating of Rhodesia by mixed races of whites of a superior order to any near it must exercise the Portuguese, whose territory lies between Rhodesia and the Indian Ocean. The iron road leading to it cannot be closed. The future of the country is no longer doubtful. We have tested its climate ourselves; we have heard the general conviction that these lofty plains, 4500 feet above the sea, suit the constitution of the white race; we have seen a hundred English children going from Bulawayo to a picnic to celebrate the arrival of the railway, and assuredly that would have been impossible on a tropical day in any other tropical country I know of. We have seen scores of infants on the streets, in the suburbs, on the plains outside, in arms, and in perambulators, and they all looked thriving, pink, and happy. The market of Bulawayo each day shows us English vegetables fresh from the garden. We have seen specimens of the cereals. Well, then, it appears to me certain that there will be a masterful population in this country before long, which it would be the height of unwisdom to vex overmuch with obsolete ordinances and bye-laws such as obtain in Portuguese Africa, and burdensome taxes and rates on the traffic that must arise as this country grows in wealth and population. It may be hoped that intelligent Portuguese will do all in their power to promote concord and good feeling with their neighbour, to check refractory chiefs from doing anything to disturb the peace, for nothing could make the people of Rhodesia more restless than interruption to traffic, and a sense of insecurity. If they do that the Portuguese territory must become enriched by the neighbourhood of Rhodesia.

Lessons to Northern Neighbours.

The Congo State will doubtless recognise its profit by the advent of the railway to Bulawayo and the extension of the line towards its southern borders, and the arrangements of the Government will be such as to ensure respect for boundaries and to teach the native tribes that transgression of such will be dangerous.

The British Government have a valuable object lesson for the development of African colonies. For over two hundred years the West African colonies have been stagnating for lack of such means of communication. They have been unable to utilise their resources. Their natural pretensions to the hinterlands have been grievously curtailed, and what ought to have been British is now French. Nyasaland has also too long suffered from Imperial parsimony. The function of government should comprise something more than police duty or the collection of taxes. The removal of causes injurious to health and life, and the establishment of communication as required by circumstances of climate, and needful to augment commerce, are just as urgent as the prevention of lawlessness and the collection of imposts. The climate of Nyasaland has slain more valuable men than the assegais of the Angoni. Against the latter the Government sent their Sikhs; against the former they have done nothing. Many of the sick colonists might have been saved, if, when weakened by anaemia, a little railway past the Shire Rapids had taken them quickly through the malarious land. If it be worth while to retain and administer Nyasaland, it is surely worth while to supply the population with certain means to send the fruits of their industry to the world’s markets, and to enable them to receive the necessaries of existence without endangering their lives in the effort or risking the loss of their goods. Therefore, to a Government that has shown such dread of constructing an insignificant railway a hundred miles in length, the enterprise of the Chartered Company in constructing one five hundred miles long—and starting immediately upon an extension two hundred and twenty miles—at the cost of one and three-quarter millions, must be exceedingly stimulative. The antique and barbarous method of porterage should be abolished in every British colony, more especially in tropical colonies, where exposure to sun and rain means death to white and black.

How an Enlightened Transvaal should view the Spread of Free Institutions in the North.

To the South African Republic it is vitally important to weigh well in what manner the Bulawayo railway will affect her future. The Republic will soon be surrounded by a rampart of steel on three sides and alien land and ocean on the other. From Beira, north of the Republic, a railway will run west to Salisbury, and thence south to Bulawayo and the Cape. With two ways of ingress from the sea a country like Rhodesia—with as good a climate as the Transvaal State, with resources which tend to rapid prosperity, enjoying impartial and liberal laws, just and pure administration, opening its arms widely to the whole world without regard to race, blessed with ample domains and suited to the needs of all classes—must necessarily prove more attractive to all people in search of homes, than a country which only favours Dutch burghers; and Rhodesia therefore bids fair in a few years to overtake the Republic in population, and even to surpass it. The Boers do not avail themselves of the advantages of their position to that fulness which would make it doubtful whether Rhodesia or the Transvaal offered the most inducements to intending settlers. On the contrary, the common report is that the object of the Boers is to restrict population and reserve the State for Boer progeny. I shall see the country for myself, I hope, and either verify or disprove it. But if true, the attempt to suppress population and growth by restrictions, monopolies, and vexatious ordinances is simple imbecility, as compared to the Chartered Company’s policy of stimulating commerce by giving free rein to enterprise, and keeping the paths and gates to its territory freely open to all comers. If there is an intelligent man in the Transvaal, it must be clear to him that the Republic must soon lose the rank among South African States to which she was entitled by her wonderful resources and undoubted advantages; and the only thing that can save her from degradation, neglect, and financial difficulties, is the absorption of that alien population which crowds her cities and clamours for political rights.

The Cape and German Pushfulness.

Cape Colony, though much is due to it for its support of the Bechuana railway, is not wholly free from the blame of inertness in the past. One cannot look at the map of Africa and miss seeing that extraordinary territory labelled German close to Cape Colony, without being reminded of the obtuseness shown by the Cape democracy. But the Germans are a great nation, rich, commerce-loving, and enterprising, and the Cape people need to be warned, considering that they are largely mixed up with Dutch Boers who are slow to move and sadly behind the times. If the Germans chose to invest 4,000,000 pounds in railways from the mouth of the Swakop to the banks of the Orange, they would be formidable competitors for the trade of Bechuanaland and the north of the colony, and Swakop is three days nearer Europe than Table Bay. The railways in America created cities and filled the wastes with settlers, and every new settler was supposed to be worth 200 pounds to the nation; and in that country they have a mile of railway to every twenty square miles of country.

The Cape has but a mile of railway to every 112 square miles. The railways should spread out like a fan from Cape Town. The existing lines require straightening greatly. It is not good policy that the line to Natal should run through alien States, nor is it conducive to the development of the Colony. Some railways may not show large dividends, but they are indispensable to development and communication: they give value to acres which otherwise would be worthless, and indirectly contribute to revenue in other ways than by dividends. Hence Cape Colony may learn a good deal from this new railway.

Bulawayo reminds Mr Stanley of Winnipeg.

I think I have said enough to illustrate the position in which Bulawayo has been placed by the arrival of the railway. At present its broad avenues and streets give one an idea that it has made too much of itself. When the avenues are about 90 feet wide and the streets 130 feet wide, naturally the corrugated-iron one-storeyed cottages and the one-storeyed brick buildings appear very diminutive; and the truth is that, were the streets of proportionate width to the height of the buildings, the town would appear very small. The plain upon which it stands gives an idea of infinity that renders poor one-storeyed Bulawayo very finite-looking indeed. The town, however, has laid itself out for future greatness, and the designers of it have been wise. Winnipeg, in Manitoba, which Bulawayo reminds me of by the surrounding plain, was laid out on just such a spacious plan; but ten years later six-storeyed buildings usurped the place of the isolated iron hut and cottage, and the streets were seen to be no whit too wide. Ten years hence Bulawayo will aspire higher towards the sky, and when the electric trams run in double lines between rows of shade trees, there will be no sense of disproportion between buildings and streets. On the walls of the Stock Exchange I found hanging plans and elevations of the brick and stone buildings already contracted for. They are not to be very lofty, none over two storeys, but architecturally they are most attractive. These new buildings will, perhaps, stand for about five years, for, according to my experience, it is not until the tenth year that the double storey becomes the fashion. At the twentieth year begins the triple storey; at thirty years the fourth storey begins to appear.

East of the town area devoted to commerce is a broad strip of park. It occupies a gentle hollow in the plain, watered by a crooked ditch, called spruit here, running through a rich, dark, and very thirsty earth. It contains a few puddles here and there along its course. Only a portion of the park is laid out as yet, and that has been well and carefully done. Its plots contain a few hundreds of grape vines, which look like currant bushes. There are also about a hundred very young orange trees, a few flowers, shrubs, etc. A stone column to the memory of Captain Lendy occupies an eminence in it. The whole park has a sombre appearance, owing to the dark soil and ironstone freely sprinkling it. But as the bushes, shrubs, and flowers have only been lately planted, and as around the forcing houses there is a large number of young plants in tins and pots, soon to be transplanted, a couple of years will make an immense difference in the appearance of the pleasaunce.

Beyond and east of the park is the residential part of Bulawayo, divided into two avenues and nine streets running east and west, and eight roads running north and south, named respectively Townsend, Lawley, Livingstone, Pauling, Clark, Duncan, and Heyman, and Park Road, parallel with the park.

Prices of Property and Stands in Bulawayo.

Messrs Adcock and Norton have furnished me with the prices of stands, or town lots, obtained by them during the last six months. The most noteworthy are Lot 708, with large wood and iron house, 1900 pounds; Lot 234, southern half only, bought by Curtis and Co., outfitters, Johannesburg, 3500 pounds; Lot 239, half only, bought by Gowie and Co., seedsmen, of Grahamstown, 2000 pounds; Lots 451-452 bought by a London firm, 3000 pounds; Lot 333, bought by Stuart Campbell and Co., merchants, Johannesburg, 2000 pounds; eastern half of Lot 133, 70 feet frontage, on 8th Avenue, purchased by Hepworths, manufacturers, Leeds, England, and South Africa, 5000 pounds; Lot 346, corner portion, bought by Knight and Co., boot and shoe makers, Grahamstown, 3600 pounds.

Hotel Life at Bulawayo.

From various people I have learned that the average estimate of the population is 3000 whites, one-fifth of whom are women and children. There are several hotels, the best of which are the Palace, Maxim, and Charter; but none of them are fit for ladies, and scarcely for gentlemen. The noise and clatter at these forbid sleep, except between midnight and 5 a.m. The food is somewhat coarse, but plentiful; the tea and coffee such as one may obtain on a Cape liner—that is, too strong an infusion of one, and a watery decoction of the other. The cooks evidently are common ship-cooks, as one may gather by the way they boil potatoes and cabbages. The bread is good, the butter is tolerable, the meat is like leather. The waiters, though civil and willing enough, are awkward and new to their work. Board and lodging may be obtained for from 14 to 18 pounds per month, two beds in a room 12 feet by 12 feet. At the cheaper boarding-houses it will cost between 4 and 10 pounds. The rent of lodgings in a small room amounts to 15 shillings per week.

Prices of Living and Wages at Bulawayo.

Prices are likely to be much lower shortly. At present tea is 3 shillings per pound, coffee 2 shillings 6 pence, rice 10 pence per pound, fresh meat 1 shilling 6 pence, corned beef 3 shillings per tin of 2 pounds, flour 6 pence per pound, soap per bar 1 shilling 6 pence, fresh butter 7 shillings to 8 shillings per pound, sugar 1 shilling, matches 1 penny per box, eggs 15 shillings to 18 shillings per dozen, candles 3 pence each, fowls 5 shillings each, potatoes 160 pounds for 4 pounds; vegetables dear.

Wages are high, as might be supposed. Masons and bricklayers obtain 30 shillings per day, tailors 35 shillings per day, carpenters 25 shillings to 30 shillings per day, compositors 9 pounds per week, plumbers and painters 9 pounds per week, waiters, 12 to 15 pounds per month, clerks, first-class, 35 pounds per month, ordinary clerks, 15 to 25 pounds per month, white labourers, 5 shillings per day, black labourers from 1 shilling 3 pence to 2 shillings per day. The Government lately gave eighty white labourers work on the park at 5 shillings per day to keep them from starvation.

Bulawayo’s Buildings and Institutions.

The finest buildings of Bulawayo are, first, the long, low building occupied by the Stock Exchange, Telegraph, and Post Office, the Bulawayo Club building, which is extremely comfortable, Sauer’s Chambers, and the Palace Hotel, the latter being incomplete; when finished commercial travellers will, no doubt, find it comfortable, and it may be suitable for ladies.

There are two daily papers, the Bulawayo Chronicle and Matabele Times, sold at 3 pence per copy. I have also seen the Rhodesia Review, which is, I believe, a weekly issue. There are seven churches—the Wesleyan, Congregational, Church of England, Dutch Reformed, Presbyterian, and Roman Catholic, and one Temperance Hall. There is, of course, a gaol, a fire brigade, and police station. In the gaol are several prisoners, white and black. The crimes of the whites have been burglary, theft, and drunkenness. Among the blacks are fourteen prisoners under sentence of death.

The railway station is fairly adapted for its purpose, though its construction was, necessarily, rapid. The settling reservoirs, fed by pipes from the dams, are not| far from it; but I fear that they will be of little use, as the soil is too porous. A coating of cement would make them effective, but the general opinion is that cement would be too costly.

Bulawayo’s Great Defect.—Better Water Supply Imperative.

The great defect of Bulawayo is the smallness of the water supply and the badness of it. At present the inhabitants depend on wells, and water is easily obtainable at 30 and 40 feet, but the water is of a hard and indifferent quality. Up on the Maatschesmuslopje stream, about two and a half miles from the town, there have been constructed three dams of different lengths and varying heights. Number 1 dam is the nearest to Bulawayo, and has a solid stone and cement core starting from the bedrock 10 feet wide, and decreasing by set-backs of 6 inches to a width of 2 feet at the top. Number 2 dam has a puddled core of clay faced with stone, and Number 3 is of similar construction. In April last these dams were full and overflowing, but unfortunately, through bad construction and want of care, there were several leaks, and it is now decided to demolish two of the dams and rebuild them. Numbers 2 and 3 are quite fit to retain the water catchment, and Number 1 will be finished by the end of the year. The estimated storage of water by the three dams is calculated to be between 40 and 45 million gallons. A fourth dam, about to be erected, will, it is thought, considerably increase the storage.

Several critics are of the opinion that the dams will not retain any water, though they were full last April.

We have had four copious showers of rain since our arrival on the 4th inst, but a few hours later the spruits, gullies, and watercourses were almost waterless, the streets showing scarcely a trace of the rain, so porous and thirsty is the soil. Daily it becomes apparent to me that the inhabitants of Bulawayo should lose no time in studying the art of water conservation. In a country just within the tropics an abundant supply of water is essential, and thirty gallons per head per day would not be excessive. Ten thousand inhabitants should be able to command 300,000 gallons daily, but Bulawayo within twenty years will have probably 20,000, and there is no river between here and Khama’s country that could supply 600,000 gallons daily. Numbers of little watersheds may be drained into reservoirs, but if I were a citizen of Bulawayo my anxiety would be mainly on the subject of water. The water question is not at all an insoluble one, because, for the matter of that, Bulawayo will have always the Zambesi tributaries to fall back upon, especially the Guay River.

Lo Ben’s Kraal.

At the north end of the town we come to a gate leading to an avenue which ran perfectly straight for two miles and a half. The carriage road, which it is intended to macadamise, is about 30 feet wide, and running parallel with it on either side is an enclosure 50 feet wide, to be planted with shade trees. Thus the avenue embraces a width of about 130 feet. At the extremity of it is the Government House, standing in grounds which four years ago were occupied by Lo Bengula’s kraal. We were all curious to see the place, and one of the first objects shown to us was the small tree under which the Matabele king dispensed his bloody judgments.

Here is a description of the place from “Zambesia”: “The King’s capital stands upon a ridge on the northern side of the Bulawayo River, in a most commanding position, overlooking as it does the entire country round. Every yard of the ground was covered with dung, layer after layer; the whole place was filthily dirty. The King used to sit on a block of wood in the middle of a great pole stockade, surrounded by sheep and goats.”

The first sentence is most misleading, though not inaccurate. The kraal stood upon the same level as the plain of New Bulawayo, but the “Bulawayo River”—a dry watercourse most of the year—has scoured out a broad hollow to a depth of about 20 feet in the plain, and, as the kraal was seated on the brow above it, it enables one to have a view of a circle of about fifteen miles in diameter, within which are probably three or four of these long, broad swells of plain land.

Government House is a long, low, white-washed house, in Dutch Colonial style, with a pillared verandah outside. It is the property of Mr Rhodes, as well as the avenue just mentioned. I am told he possesses about eighty square miles altogether hereabouts, and, by the way he is developing his estates, it will some day be a beautiful as well as valuable property.

From Cape Town to Bulawayo Mr Rhodes Spoken of “With Unqualified Admiration.”

This reminds me that I have not once mentioned Rhodes, though when describing Rhodesia one ought not to omit his name; but the fact is he has preferred to remain in the veld rather than undergo the fatigue of the banquets and ceremonies. From Cape Town here many men have spoken of him to me, and always with unqualified admiration. I know no man who occupies such a place in men’s thoughts. His absence has given rise to all kinds of conjectures as to the cause of it. Some say it is due to the fact that the Cape elections are approaching, and he did not wish to be forced to a pronouncement of policy; others that it is due to Dr Jameson’s zealous care of his health, as he suffers from heart complaint; others again say it is due to a wounded spirit, which too long grieving might easily end in a Timonian moroseness. Whatever the true cause may be, he has so planted himself in the affections of the people that no eccentricity of his can detract from his merits. When a man scatters 200,000 a year on the country out of which he made his wealth, it covers a multitude of sins in the minds of the recipients of his gratuitous favours.

“He does mad and fantastic execution
Engaging and redeeming of himself,
With such a careless face and forceless care,
As if that luck, in very spite of cunning,
Bade him win all.”

The festivities of the celebration end to-night, or rather to-morrow morning at 1 a.m., and then Bulawayo will be left to itself to begin its own proper work of development. We have seen what Bulawayo is as it terminated the employment of the ox-wagon, and had just emerged out of the sore troubles caused by war, famine, and rinderpest. The next train that arrives after our departure will be the beginning of a new era. The machinery that litters the road will be brought up, and the ox-wagons drawn by fourteen oxen, and the wagons drawn by twelve mules, and those drawn by twenty donkeys, will haul it to the mines, and hence we may hope at the end of a year or so that Rhodesia will have proved by its gold output its intrinsic value as a gold held. In my next letter I mean to touch upon this subject.

Chapter Three.

Bulawayo, November 11, 1897.

The New Era in Rhodesia.

The festivities are over, and the guests are departing. For seven days we have been entertained as well as the resources of Bulawayo would admit, and the Administrator and Committee have been continuously unflagging in their attentions to us. Next Monday the trains and railway will be occupied in bringing stores and machinery and cattle to supply the needs of the mining industry, and henceforward the traffic will be ordinary and uninterrupted between Cape Town and Bulawayo. On Monday morning also every Bulawayan intends to resume his own proper work, and I suppose that should be the real date of the beginning of the new era in Rhodesia.

What is Rhodesia?

And here, it seems to me, is a fitting place to ask: What is Rhodesia, about which so much has been said and written? What are its prospects? I cannot help but wish I were more qualified by local and technical knowledge to describe the country; but as I have been at some trouble in soliciting the judgment of experienced men, conscientiously weighing the merits of what was told me, and carefully considering what I have personally seen, I can only hope the following summary may have some value to those interested in Rhodesia.

The Land to the North.

I have been asked by my fellow guests at Bulawayo how the face of the country appeared as compared with the tropical regions further north with which I am more familiar. With regard to the superficial aspect of Rhodesia, I see but little difference between it and East Central Africa, and the southern portion of the Congo basin. Indeed, I am much struck with the uniformity of Inner Africa on the whole. Except in the neighbourhood of the great lakes, which mark the results of volcanic action, where great subsidences have occurred, and the great plains have been wrinkled up or heaved into mountains of great height, the body of Inner Africa away from the coasts is very much alike. The main difference is due to latitude. From the Cape Peninsula to north of Salisbury, or the Victoria Falls, the whole country is one continuous plain country. Between the tops of the highest hills and the highest grassy ridge in the Transvaal the difference of altitude seems solely due to the action of the rain. In the Zambesi basin you have a great shallow basin, and directly you cross the river and travel northward the ascent is being made to reach the crest of the watershed between the Zambesi and the Congo, which is but little higher than the highest grassy ridge in the neighbourhood of Salisbury. From thence a gradual descent is made to reach the central depression of the Congo basin. Northward of the Congo watershed, you gain the average altitudes of the grassy ridges of South Africa, and then begin a descent into the basin of the Tchad Lake, and from thence to the Mediterranean the same system of great land waves rolling and subsiding continues.

Noble Timber in Rhodesia.

Latitude—and I might say altitude—however, changes the appearance of the land. Rarely on the tableland of Equatorial Africa do we see the scrub and thorn trees of South Africa. The vegetation there is more robust, the trees taller, the leafage thicker and of a darker green; the mere grasses of the tropics are taller than the trees growing on the plains of Cape Colony, Bechuanaland, and Rhodesia, though in the latter country there are oases favourable to the growth of noble timber. In nitrous belts—fortunately of no great width—in Ugogo, Nyasaland, East Africa, we should be reminded of the thorny productions of Bechuanaland, and ten degrees north of the Equator we should again see a recurrence of them.

A Magnificent Forest of Teak.

It must have struck even the most unobservant of our guests how the land improved as we travelled northward. How the ungrateful looking Karroo of Cape Colony was presently followed by expansive plains covered with dwarf shrubs; how the plains became more promising after we passed the Hart River: how the rolling grassy prairie-like country of Southern Bechuana was followed by the acacias and mimosas of Northern Bechuana; and how as we neared Rhodesia these trees in a few hours of travel rose from 10 feet to 20 feet in height; how the land became more compact, and lost much of its loose porous texture, and consequently the grasses were higher and water might be found at a lesser depth. That improvement, I am told, continues as we go northward towards Salisbury, even though we may keep on a somewhat uniform level, that is on the tableland separating the river flowing eastward, south to the Limpopo and north-west to the Zambesi. So rapid is the effect of a lower altitude, and consequent greater heat and moisture, that about 80 miles from Bulawayo to the north-west a magnificent forest of teak has been found, from whose grand timber we saw several specimens of furniture, such as tables, desks, and bureaus, a log of 20 feet long and a foot square, besides a quantity of planks.

Rhodesia’s Fine Climate.

Now, this Rhodesia consists of Matabeleland and Mashonaland, and covers about a quarter of a million square miles. It is the northern portion of the Great South African tableland, and its highest elevations run north-east and south-west, varying from 4000 to nearly 6000 feet above the sea. This height declines on the eastern, southern, and north-western sides, as it slopes along with the rivers flowing from them. This high land, which is eminently suitable for European families, is about 70,000 square miles in extent, of solid, unbroken agricultural country as compared with Ireland, Scotland, and Wales. Those who remember what countries of similar superficial area in Europe can contain in population may be able to gauge what numbers of the white race may exist in Rhodesia. Outside the limit I have mentioned the resident must expect to be afflicted with malarial fevers, and the lower one descends towards the sea, the more frequent and severe will they become. There is this comfort, however, that long before the upper plateau is over-populated, population will have made a large portion of the malarious districts healthy and inhabitable—at least, it has been so found in every land that I have visited. On the upper lands, the resident who has come by way of the Cape and Bechuanaland need have no fear of malaria. I regard my own oft-tried system as a pretty sure indicator of the existence of malaria, for a very few hours’ residence in a country subjected to this scourge would soon remind me of my predisposition to it; but during the whole of the time I have spent in Rhodesia I have not felt the slightest symptom. I have seen white women driving their babies in perambulators on the plain outside Bulawayo in a sun as hot as any in the Egyptian or Moroccan desert, and, though I felt they were unwise, it was clear to me that in such a climate a sufficient head protection was the only thing necessary to guard against a sunstroke or the feverish feeling which naturally follows a rash exposure to heat.

The Rainy Season.

Rhodesia has been visited by us during what is generally said to be its worst period. The rainy season begins in November and ends in March. We arrived November 4, and, though we have been here only a week, we have had four showers and one all-night downpour. The rainfall during the season amounts to as much as 45 inches. I fancy few men have had larger experience of the pernicious effects of cold rains alternating with hot suns than I, and the composure of the Bulawayo population under what seems to promise four months of such weather strikes my imagination, and is to me a strong testimony of the healthfulness of the climate.

No Stint of Vegetables.

The park of Bulawayo, the grounds of Government House, and especially the advanced state of Mr Colenbrander’s charming gardens, afforded to me valuable proofs that the soil responded very readily to civilised treatment; but the most conclusive proof to me of the capacity of the soil was furnished by a large market garden laid out in a depression just outside of the town. From end to end the garden, supplied with water by a windpump from a well, was a mass of robust European vegetables, whence cabbages weighing 30 pounds each, and tomatoes of extraordinary size, have been sent to market. At the Palace Hotel the hundreds of guests made large demands for vegetables, and there was no stint of them. Further on towards old Gubulawayo we were attracted by native women hoeing in a field, and our attention was drawn to the native fields, which showed by the old corn-stalks that the Matabele must have found the black earth of the plains gracious to their toils. Here and there in these villa gardens, market gardens, public pleasaunces, and ornamental grounds we found sufficient evidences that, given water, the soil of Rhodesia was equal to supplying anything that civilised man with his fastidious taste and appetite could possibly demand.

The Gold of Rhodesia—Something to Satisfy an Anxious Mind.

The next thing to do was to find out something relating to the precious metal, whose presence in Rhodesia was the immediate cause of the railway. I remember last session having heard in the Smoking Room of the House of Commons the most disparaging views regarding the prospects of Rhodesia and the quality of the reefs. The gold of Rhodesia was said to be “pocket” gold, and that the ancients, whose presence long ago in this land is proved by the multitude of old workings and disused shafts, were too clever to have left any for us moderns. Not knowing how to controvert such statements, I had left them unanswered, half believing that they were true. Sir James Sivewright, in his speech on the first festal night, said that Bulawayo was built upon faith, and the majority of the guests I discovered held the most doubtful views, and I must confess little was needed to confirm the scepticism which had been planted in me in England. But when I heard that there was an exhibition of ores to be seen in the Hall of the Stock Exchange, I felt that the Reception Committee had provided for us something more valuable than banquets—something which should satisfy an anxious mind. Within a well-lighted, decent-sized hall, on an ample shelf ranged around it, a few of the mining companies of Rhodesia had sent various specimens of the ores. Above these shelves hung admirably-drawn maps to illustrate the reefs whence they were taken. I had noticed, as I went in, other specimens of Rhodesian products ranged along the passages—bulky lumps of coal from the Zambesian coal district, a coal that is said to give only from 8 per cent, to 12 per cent, of ash; fine red sandstone blocks, a stone closely resembling that of which most of the houses on Fifth Avenue, New York, are built; blocks of grey sandstone, to which substance I had already been attracted, it being so much used for lintels and doorways of Bulawayan houses; and rough and polished granite blocks, which reminded me of the famous Aberdeen stone, besides several limestone briquettes.

Plenty of Evidences of Gold.

The first exhibits of ores I happened to inspect were from the Camperdown Reef, in which the virgin gold was conspicuous enough to satisfy the most unbelieving. The next exhibit consisted of a number of briquettes of cement manufactured in Bulawayo. The third was a glass case which contained old gold beads, discovered at Zimbabwe, and attracted a great deal of attention from the dusky appearance of the metal which centuries had given it, the rude workmanship, evidently African, and the puerility of the ornaments. Beyond this the Rhodesia Ltd. Company had specimens from the Criterion Reef, situate eight miles from Bulawayo. The rock contained no visible gold, and the Curator who guided me round had the assurance to say that the quartz where gold was not visible was more appreciated than that which showed nuggets. This made me think of the mountains of white quartz I had seen on the Congo, and to wonder whether the Curator was indulging in unseemly levity. However, perceiving some doubt in my glance, he said it would be demonstrated shortly. Adjoining the Criterion ores was a heap from the Nellie Reef in the Insiza district, fifty miles from Bulawayo. The Curator said these were “very rich,” and taken from old workings; but despite the Curator and the old workings, I could not see a trace of gold in the rock, even with a magnifier. Next to the Nellie exhibit was a pile of rock from the Unit and Unicorn Reef—in the Selukwe district, Eastern Rhodesia—but I saw no gold in any one of these rocks.

A Successful Crushing of Gold Quartz.

Just at this juncture the Curator told me that one of these apparently valueless rocks was about to be crushed and panned for our instruction. We went out into a yard, where there was quite a crowd of curious people assembled. The lump of rock was put into a small iron mortar, and in a few minutes it was pounded into a dusty looking mass. It was then passed through a fine sieve and the larger fragments were returned into the mortar to be again pounded. A sufficient quantity of the greyish dust having been obtained, the mortar was emptied into a broad iron pan. The pan was dipped into a tub full of muddied water, a dexterous turn or twist of the wrist, and the coarser material was emptied into the tub. Frequent dippings and twists reduced the quantity of material in the pan, until at last there was barely a tablespoonful of it left, and still I saw no glitter. Again the dipping and twisting and rinsing were repeated, until at last there was only a teaspoonful of the dirt left; but all around the bottom of the pan was a thin thread of unmistakable gold dust. It was beyond belief that such a barren-looking piece of quartzose rock should contain gold; but then these experts are wonderful fellows. I pay them my most respectful homage.

How the Ancient Miners Worked.

Returning to the Hall under the influence of this very needful lesson, I resumed my examination of the exhibits. Beyond the Unit and Unicorn exhibit stood some planks of a teaky quality, beautifully polished, and showing numbers of small dark knots, and wavy patterns, which gave a walnuty appearance to the wood. The next exhibit was from the Gwanda district by the Geelong Gold Mining Company, taken from a 90-foot level. In this district the ancient workings are found deepest. The prehistoric miners were accustomed to build charcoal fires on the quartz, and when the rock was sufficiently heated threw water on it, which soon disintegrated it and enabled the picks and gads to be used. This reminded me how often I had done the same to huge rocks which blocked the way for my wagons on the Congo. The broken quartz, being brought to the surface, was handed to natives who crushed it to dust on blocks of granite with diorite hammers, or ground it as the modern natives do mealies. The dust was then panned in much the same way as is done by prospectors of to-day. In one of the old shafts, over 60-foot deep, was found the dome of a human skull and some pieces of human bone. These relics lay side by side with the quartz exhibits. One could moralise here if one had time.

Fine Specimens of Coal.

The exhibit of the Ellen Reef of the United Matabele Claims Development Company showed distinct gold. Just near it were blocks of fine-looking coal from the Matabele Gold Reefs and Estates Company. The coal field is situated 120 miles north of Bulawayo. The coal has been already tested, and is found to be admirable for all uses.

120 Ounces to the Ton.

The Nicholson Olympus Block, Gwanda district, showed specimens which panned 120 ounces to the ton. The Mary Reef specimens assayed 5 ounces 3 pennyweight 10 grains to the ton. Next to these was a clock frame made out of trachyte in the form of a Greek temple. This trachyte is greyish white in colour and easily workable, but hardens by exposure. As there is plenty of this material it is probable Bulawayo will make free use of it in future. Mansions and villas of this stone would look extremely chaste and beautiful.

The Tebekwe Mine.

Then we came to the exhibits from the Tebekwe Mine, Selukwe district, seventy miles from Bulawayo on the Salisbury Road. The large map above was worth studying. It illustrated a reef about 1000 yards in length, and eight oval-form excavations made by the ancients resembling the pits Kimberley diamond diggers formerly made in the blue clay. The base lines of these excavations were not much over 60 feet from the surface. On the appearance of water in each shaft the ancients were unable to make their fire on the exposed quartz reef, and consequently had to abandon it, and they probably made another excavation along the reef until the appearance of water compelled them to relinquish that also 900 yards of this reef have now been proved by means of twelve winzes, the majority of which have been sunk to the first level 154 feet below the surface. On this first level 887 feet of driving has been done up to the present. The second level is 234 feet below the surface, and three winzes have been sunk to it. The total footage to now made is 3,311 feet 10 inches. The average width of the reef is 41.5 inches, and the narrowest width is 15 inches. Throughout the mine the average width is 31 inches. I am told that the richest average value of the reef is 84 pennyweight per ton of 2000 pounds, and the poorest 5 pennyweight to the ton. Throughout the reef averages 1773 pennyweight of fine gold per ton; 12 pennyweight is considered a payable quantity at Bulawayo. A block of rock from the centre shaft showed 57 pennyweight to the ton.

A twenty-stamp battery is on the rails between Port Elizabeth and Bulawayo, beside steam hauling gear and electric pumping machinery, and it is anticipated that the mine will be in operation about October, 1898.

“The Best Mines in Rhodesia.”

I next came to the Gaikwa and Chicago Reef, whose old workings had a shaft 70 feet deep. Its present owners sunk this to 100 feet when they came to the abandoned reef. I think the assay showed 1 ounce 11 pennyweight to the ton.

Close to it were specimens from the Adventurers Reef in the Insiza district which assay 1 ounce to the ton. Beyond was the Willoughby’s Consolidated Company, Limited, which had exhibits from the favourite mines, called Bonsor, Dunraven, and Queen’s. Shafts in the Bonsor have been sunk to 365 feet, the lode is 30 inches wide, and the average assay per ton is 18 pennyweight. The Dunraven has been sunk to a depth of 320 feet, lode and assay the same as the Bonsor. The Queen’s has been penetrated 100 feet, lode 30 inches, and assay 18 pennyweight. People who have no pecuniary interest in mines have told me that the best mines in Rhodesia, and of which there is not the least doubt, are the Globe and Phoenix, Bonsor, Dunraven, Tebekwe, and Geelong, all of which are in the Selukwe district, excepting the last, which is in Gwanda.

Next were exhibits from the Matabele Sheba Gold Mining Company: dark quartz, of which there were fourteen specimens. This reef is twenty miles from Bulawayo, and assays 2 ounces 10 pennyweight per ton. The Marlborough Reef, four miles from Bulawayo; the Ullswater Reef, sixteen miles from town; Piper’s Reef, three miles from town, averaging respectively 1 ounce to 5 ounces, 15 pennyweight to 5 ounces, and 25 pennyweight. Very little gold is visible in these specimens; but the owners have panned repeatedly, and are satisfied that they contain the precious metal in profitable quantities.

Bulawayo the Centre of Auriferous Fields.

Just above these specimens was a large map showing the Rhodesian Gold Fields very clearly. From this I learned that the Gwanda district was south of Bulawayo; the Tuli district, which contains the Monarch Mine, is south-west from here, and constitutes a little republic of its own; the Bembezi field is north; Insiza district is east; and so is the Filabusi and Belingwe; the Selukwe district is east-north-east, comprising Gwelo; the Sebakwe, north-east; and the Mafungabusi district, north-north-east; so that the Bulawayan gold field seems to be the centre of this cluster of auriferous fields.

The Fort Victoria exhibit showed a large lump of native copper and excellent bits of gold quartz. The Masterton Reef, forty miles from Bulawayo, had two specimens and certificate of assay of 18 pennyweight and 22 pennyweight respectively. The Springs Reef, Belingwe district, exhibits consisted of galena, copper and gold, and appeared very fine.

The Unreliability of Assays.

From the Number 2 Kirkcubbin Reef, Bulawayo district, it appeared that an assay of 62 ounces 16 pennyweight to the ton was obtained, while from the Number 1 same reef there was an assay of 24 ounces 14 pennyweight to the ton. It should be observed that these assays, no matter by whom they are made, are misleading to the uninitiated, and though the panning is better, neither are to be relied on as sure guides to what the reef will prove throughout. When, say, 10,000 tons are crushed we shall better know by the result the true status of Rhodesia among gold-bearing countries. Nevertheless, every assay or panning has a value as indicating the presence of gold.

The next exhibit was from the Sinnanombi gold belt, south of the Matoppos. The Saint Helen’s Development Syndicate exhibit consisted of several pans full of grey powdered quartz ready for panning, each of which has been assayed by the Standard Bank with the following results: Thirkleby, Antelope, Rosebery, Constitution and Thela Reefs, in the Sinnanombi district, respectively 2 ounce 4 pennyweight, 136 pennyweight, 27 pennyweight 18 grains, 58 pennyweight, and 46 pennyweight. The Syndicate have also properties in the Insiza district, the Nellie Rey Reef, Eileen Reef in Mavin district, Ben Nevis and Guinea Fowl Reefs in Selukwe district.

“In Every Stone the Gold Sparkled.”

The West Glen May Mine exhibit contained sections, one of which was remarkable as showing a 60-foot wide reef. Its rock specimens were rich with visible gold. There was also a rich exhibit from the Christmas Reef, sixteen miles from Bulawayo—in every stone the gold sparkled.

From Purdon’s Reef, in the Makukuku district, alluvial gold was on show. There was also an old iron gad from the ancient workings. Alluvial gold is found in the Myema River, twenty miles from Bulawayo.

Among other things at the Chamber of Mines Exhibition was a thick log of fine grained teak, several planks, furniture from native woods, samples of lime, trachyte blocks, Bulawayo brick, coal blocks from Tuli coal districts 200 miles south-east of Bulawayo and the Zambesi district 120 north of Bulawayo, and a champagne case full of plumbago lately discovered at a spot fifty miles from the Zambesi.

For the patient courtesy shown to me while making my notes, and the instructing and interesting conduct of me round the room, I am under the warmest obligations to Mr Walter Broad, the Hon. Curator, who, as you will be interested to know, is a Canadian, and whose first impulse to seek Africa as a field for his labours was obtained through reading my “Dark Continent.”

A Visit to the Criterion Mine.

After this exhaustive inspection of the ores on exhibition, it remained for us to see one of these Rhodesian mines in operation to dispel the last remnant of doubt which eloquent sceptics had inspired me with. We chose the Criterion Mine, which is by no means the nearest to the town. It belongs to the Rhodesia Ltd. Company, and is situate eight miles south from Bulawayo, and as Mr Hirschler, the Engineer of the mine, was willing to take upon himself the trouble of being our guide, we flung ourselves gladly upon his generosity. In one hour and a half we made the distance in a spring cart drawn by four spirited little mules. We halted at the Engineer’s station on a commanding grassy ridge, which neighbours that once occupied by Mosilikatse’s old kraal of Gubulawayo during the forties, fifties, and sixties of this century. A few spaces from the spot where we outspanned we came to a series of “old workings” which ran along the crest of the ridge for about 2000 feet. Where one of these old workings was untouched by the Engineer, it reminded me of just such a big hole as might have been made to unearth a boulder, or to root out a large tree. One of these hollows was chosen by the Engineer to sink his first shaft. After penetrating through fifty feet of débris, he came upon the reef which the ancients had abandoned because of flooding, and time, aided by rain, had filled up. He continued for about 10 feet more, sampling every 3 feet as he went, to discover the grade of the ore. Since then he has sunk eight other shafts. The mine consists of 170 claims, but the development is concentrated on about twenty-five claims, ten of which are in the centre of the property, and fifteen towards the eastern boundary. In the centre two shafts are being sunk to the 150 foot level, and are at present connected by a drive 300 feet long. On this level the reef is throughout payable, while a chute 100 feet long is of high grade ore. Trenches on the line of the reef indicate its occurrence towards the eastern portion of the mine, where five shafts varying from 100 feet to 150 feet deep have been sunk. At the depth of 150 feet the various shafts will be connected by a gallery, which will give 2000 feet of reef material. At the present time work is being done for the purpose of developing sufficient ore to keep a twenty-stamp mill going. The necessary machinery has been ordered, and the engineers expect to begin producing some time about the middle of 1898. On examining the material at the mouths of the shafts, those among us who knew of what they were speaking declared that much of it was of high grade. High pyritic quartz abounded, and this was rich in fine gold. Sulphide galena was found in some of the quartz. At the mouth of one shaft visible gold was very frequent, and about forty of the visitors obtained specimens wherein miniature nuggets were plainly visible. Where the reef was being worked at the deepest shaft it showed a breadth of 24 inches; in some places it is only 18 inches wide; at others it is 48 inches broad.

“We saw enough to prove that Rhodesia is an Auriferous Country.”

My readers need scarcely be told that the exhibits of ores are only such as a few companies of Rhodesia were induced to send after urgent appeals from the public-spirited citizens of Bulawayo. I saw none from Salisbury, Mazoe, or any part of Mashonaland, and only a few mines in Matabeleland were represented. There was no time for a proper exhibition. Many more were en route, but the distances are great and the ox-wagon is slow. At any rate we have seen sufficient to prove that Rhodesia is an auriferous country though as yet no one knows what rank it will take among gold-producing lands. My own conviction—a conviction that is, I suppose, made up from what I have seen and heard from qualified men—is that Rhodesia will not be much inferior to the Transvaal. True, it has no Witwatersrand—forty miles of reefs; but the superficial area is twice the size of the Transvaal State, and the prospectors have only succeeded in discovering a few plums.

Then, though the railway has been brought to Bulawayo, it is still far from the Belingwe and Selukwe districts, and within a radius of 100 miles from the town there are many gold fields richer than those in the immediate neighbourhood of the railway terminus. It is necessary to state this in the clearest manner, for many will be carried away by the idea that now the railway is at Bulawayo the output of gold should follow immediately.

But even the most forward among the mining companies can only say: “We have ordered all the needful machinery and shall set to work as soon as it arrives.” The machinery in a few cases is on the rail between Port Elizabeth and Bulawayo; but the necessities of life must precede mining machinery, and several weeks more may elapse before any portion of the material may reach Bulawayo. Then we shall have to consider the terrible calamity endured by Rhodesia, as well as South Africa in general. The rinderpest is not over yet, and cattle, mules, and donkeys are scarce, and the haulage of heavy machinery over the veld with feeble and sickening cattle for forty, seventy, and a hundred miles will be a tedious business.

Then will come the erection of buildings, the fitting of engines, etc., etc., with inexpert natives, and I think I need but suggest that all these preliminaries will occupy much time. The more confident engineers declare that they will be ready to produce about the middle of next year. They may be as good as their word, knowing their business better than we casual visitors; but it seems to me but common prudence to withhold expectation of results until eighteen months from the present.

Rhodesia’s Requirements.

There is no doubt in my mind that gold will be produced in payable quantities from these Rhodesian mines; but the extent of profit depends upon circumstances. It is also as certain that Rhodesia cannot hope to compete with the Transvaal under present conditions. Bulawayo is 1360 miles from the sea, and at least 40 miles from the richest mines. Johannesburg is 390 miles from the sea, and is in the centre of its forty mile long gold field. That simple fact means a great deal, and shows an enormous disadvantage to Rhodesia. The latter country will have to pay four times more for freight than the Transvaal gold fields. Against this must be set the small duties that will have to be paid. After paying five per cent to Cape Colony, goods will be admitted free to Rhodesia. Then the heavy taxes paid to the Boers will still further diminish the disadvantages of Rhodesia; yet when we consider the time wasted in the long railway journey, and the haulage by ox-wagon to the mines, we shall find a much heavier bill of costs against the gold output of Rhodesia, than on that of the Transvaal. A good substantial railway from Beira or Sofala to Bulawayo, viâ Victoria, would completely reverse things. Bulawayo would then be about the same rail distance from the sea as Johannesburg is; the poorer ores could then be worked profitably, and the aggregate of gold product would in a few years rival that of the Rand. If I were a Chartered Director, my first object should be to get the shortest and most direct route to the sea from Bulawayo, and a substantial railway along it, and having obtained that, and a liberal mining law, I should feel that the prosperity of Rhodesia was assured.

Chapter Four.

Letter from Johannesburg.

Go-ahead Bulawayo.

Between Bulawayo and Johannesburg there is a great difference. In common with some 400 guests of the Festivities Committee, I looked in admiring wonderment at the exuberant vitality, the concentrated joyous energy, and the abounding hopefulness of the young sons of British fathers who, in the centre of Rhodesian life, were proud of showing us a portion of their big country, and what they had done towards beginning their new State. We shared with them their pride in their young city, their magnificently broad avenues, the exhibits of their resources, their park, their prize cabbages, and the fine, bold, go-ahead-iveness which distinguished their fellow-citizens. We felt they had every reason to be proud of their victories over the rebel Matabele, the endurance they had shown under various calamities, and the courageous confidence with which they intended to face the future. From our hearts we wished them all prosperity.

Johannesburg’s Wrongs.

At Johannesburg, however, different feelings possessed us. Without knowing exactly why, we felt that this population, once so favoured by fortune, so exultant and energetic, was in a subdued and despondent mood, and wore a defeated and cowed air. When we timidly inquired as to the cause, we found them labouring under a sense of wrong, and disposed to be querulous and recriminatory. They blamed both Boers and British: the whole civilised world and all but themselves seemed to have been unwise and unjust. They recapitulated without an error of fact the many failures and shames of British Colonial policy in the past, gave valid instances of their distrust of the present policy, pointed to the breaches of the Convention of 1884, and the manifest disregard of them by the Colonial Secretary, described at large the conditions under which they lived, and demanded to know if the manner in which the charter of their liberties was treated was at all compatible with what they had a right to expect under the express stipulations of the Convention. “Why,” said they, “between Boer arrogance and British indifference, every condition of that Power of Attorney granted to Paul Kruger has been disregarded by the Boer, and neglected by the British.” They then proceeded to dilate upon Boer oppression, Boer corruption, the cant and hypocrisy of President Kruger, the bakshish-begging Raad, the bribe-taking Ministry, the specious way in which promises were made, and, when their trust was won, the heartless way in which these same promises were broken. From these eloquent themes they proceeded to detail their worries from taxation, high wages, extortionate freight charges, the exactions levied upon every necessity of their industry, the exorbitant price for coal, and imposts on food designed expressly to pamper the burgher at the expense of the miner. Then in a more melancholy tone they discussed the mistakes of their friends—Jameson’s tactless raid—the poverty of the country, the decline of business in the city, the exodus of the Australians, and the prospects of a deficit in the Treasury, etc., etc.

Contact brings Conviction.

I wish that I could have taken down verbatim all that was said to me, for the spokesmen were of undoubted ability, fluent in speech, and full of facts, not a tithe of which I can remember. As I fear I cannot do justice to what was urged with such vehemence and detail, you must be content with the broad sense of their remarks only. These men have stories to say which should be said to shorthand writers. I have read many books and articles on South African politics, but I was never so interested or convinced as when these men told their stories straight from the heart.

Johannesburg Early Last Month.

I then turned an inquiring attention to the Johannesburg newspapers, and from a heap of them obtained their opinions on the gloom prevailing in the “Golden City.” There were columns of allusions to the general distress, of the unemployed becoming numerous, of tradespeople unable to find custom. Clergymen had been interviewed, who said that “poverty was rampant,” that shopkeepers were almost distracted through fear of insolvency, that the country’s credit was going and almost gone, that Australians were leaving in such numbers that sufficient berths on steamers could not be found, and that the inaction of the Government was driving skilled and willing workmen away.

Effects of Bad Times.

My hotel-keeper, a bright sociable man, was induced to give me his own opinions on the depression. He acknowledged that his own hotel was doing fairly well, but the other hotels were mostly empty. Tradesmen he knew were bitterly lamenting the want of custom, buildings in course of erection were stopped because the owners did not think themselves justified in proceeding with the structures, rents were hard to collect from tenants, the upper storeys were already empty, reductions had been made on the lower floors, and still there were no permanent tenants; goods stored in bonded warehouses had to be auctioned, as the proprietors had not the means to take them away, etc., etc.

One Man’s View—

Encountering a gentleman whom I knew in Sydney, Australia, and who is now on the Stock Exchange here, I inquired of him what he thought of the condition of things. He said: “Mostly everything is at a standstill, I think. To-day stocks and real estate are a trifle firmer, but I cannot conceive any reason for it. There is nothing within my knowledge to justify confidence. Old Kruger is relentless and implacable. He will never yield, whatever people may say. And unless the reforms are granted, so that the mines can be worked at a profit, Johannesburg must decline, and things will become as bad for the State as for ourselves. The old man positively hates us, and would be glad to see the town abandoned. On the strength of the Industrial Commission report, many of us bought largely, but when we found that there was a majority against us, we sold out in such a haste that for a while it looked like a panic. The majority in the Raad had been bought out by the Dynamite Company, and, of course, we were helpless. You people at home have no idea of the corruption of our Government. Kruger appears not to know that when he calls the Dynamite Company a corner-stone of the State, he is giving himself away. We know that the Company and its twin brother, the Netherlands Railway Company, support the twenty-four members of the Raad, and as they, with Kruger, are the State, those companies may well be called corner-stones.”

And Another’s.

At the club I met a gentleman whose moderate way of expressing himself made me regard him as being inclined to be impartial, and when urged to give his views, he said that “undoubtedly there were great grievances which every well-wisher of the State would desire to see removed. The administration was so corrupt that it was difficult to get a Boer official to attend to any business, unless his palm was oiled beforehand. The officials had got into the habit of excusing themselves from doing their duties because they were overwhelmed with work, or that they had no time. It is a way they have of hinting that unless it is made worth their while, they will not put themselves out to do what they are paid to do by Government. Many companies understand this so well that they set apart a fund from the profits to meet this necessity. You know, perhaps, that the Dynamite Concession is one of the most corrupt things in the State. One member of the Raad gets five shillings a case, and the Government pocket ten shillings for every case of dynamite sold in the Republic. When we know that forty-seven shillings would be a sufficient price for a case of dynamite, to invoice a case at forty shillings higher shows that some people must have grand pickings. Were the mines in full operation they would consume about 250,000 cases, and this extortion of 2 pounds a case means 500,000 blackmail on the mining industry. Then the railway administration is just as bad. The tariff is abnormally heavy. The first-class fares are greatly in excess, and as for freight charges, you can imagine how high they were when it was proved during the drift closure that ox-wagons could make the transport as cheaply as the railway.”

“Then you appear to justify Rhodes in his attempt to rectify this?” I said.

“No, I do not; but all that he stated before the Parliamentary Committee about the abuses is perfectly true. I cannot, however, absolve him for attempting to promote a revolution to effect a change. But about this corruption at Pretoria. I do not blame the Boers so much as I blame the Hollanders and our Jews here. They are the real causes of the disorders in the State. The corruption was started by the Hollanders, and the Jews have been only too willing to resort to bribery, until the share market has become demoralised. These fellows unite together to discredit a mine, until there is no option but to close it. Many of the mines have been closed through their intrigues. Mine is one of them, for instance.”

Passing Customs at Vereeniging.

This was my first day’s introduction to the moral condition of Johannesburg. But to begin at the beginning. On arriving at midnight at the frontier of the Transvaal, near the Vaal River, the train was stopped in the open veld until daylight, for Boer officials require daylight to make their conscientious examination of passengers and their luggage. Half-an-hour after dawn the train moved over the Vaal Bridge, and we were soon within the grip of the Boer Custom House. I was told later that the officials were insolent; but I saw nothing uncommon, except a methodical procedure such as might belong to a people resolved to make a more than usually thorough search. The officials came in at the rear end of the carriage, locked the door behind them, and informed us we were to go out before them. The male passengers were ushered into one corrugated-iron house, the females with their respective searchers behind them into another. One burly passenger had diamonds concealed on his person, but his clothes were only slightly felt. A small pale clergyman just behind him, however, received marked attention, and was obliged to take off his boots, and every article of his baggage was minutely scrutinised. Probably some of the women searchers performed their duties just as thoroughly. My servant was asked to pay duty on some of my shirts, but he refused to pay anything, on the ground that the shirts had been repeatedly worn and washed.

Getting News from the Rand.

The distance to Johannesburg from the frontier was but an hour and a half of ordinary running, but from the time we neared the Vaal River it occupied us eleven hours. A reporter from the Star had come aboard at the frontier station, and from him we learned a few facts regarding Johannesburg, such as that the uitlander miners intended to starve the burghers out by closing the mines, that the Australians were leaving in crowds, and though there were three Presidential candidates in the field, Kruger was sure to be returned for a fourth term, as General Joubert was known to be weak, and Schalk Burger almost unknown.

A Panoramic View of the Mines.

The Transvaal veld was much greener, and more rolling, than that of the Orange Free State. Johannesburg came into view about 9 a.m.; but instead of making direct for it, the train sheered off and came to a halt at Elandsfontein, six miles east. It was then we first obtained an intelligent comprehension of the term “Main Reef,” to whose production of gold the existence of Johannesburg is due. Its total length, I am told, is 38.5 miles, to be accurate, and along this a chain of mines, well equipped and developed, exists, out of which, however, only ten miles of the reef can be profitably worked under the present economic circumstances. The working of the remaining twenty-eight miles depends mainly upon the removal of the burdens, upon low wages, abundant labour, cheap transport, etc. The richer and dividend-paying section of the Reef contains such mines as the Langlaagte, Paarl Central, Crown Reef, Pioneer, Bonanza, Robinson, Worcester, Ferreira, Wemmer, Jubilee, City and Suburban, Meyer and Charlton, Wolhuter, George Goch, Henry Nourse, New Heriot, Jumpers, Geldenhuis, Stanhope, and Simmer and Jack. To either side of Elandsfontein runs a lengthy line of chimney stacks, engine houses, tall wooden frames, supporting the headgear, stamp mills, with clusters of sheds, huts and offices, hills of white tailings, and ore. To the westward these become more numerous, and as the train moved from Elandsfontein towards Johannesburg, it clung to the side of a commanding ridge by which we obtained a panoramic view of mine after mine, each surrounded by its reservoirs, hills of tailings, lofty stores of ore, iron sheds, mills, offices, and headgear structures, until finally they occupied an entire valley. Presently, while we still clung to the ridge, we saw that the scattered cottages, with their respective groves, were becoming more massed, and looking ahead of them we saw the city of Johannesburg, filling the breadth of a valley, girdled by a thin line of tall smoke-stacks, and dominated by two parallel lines of hills, the crests of which rose perhaps 300 feet or so above the city. The scent of eucalyptus groves filled the air, for now the ridge on our right was given up to cottages, villas, mansions, each separated by firs, eucalyptus, flower gardens, and varied shrubberies, the whole making a charming sight, and a worthy approach to the capital of the mining industry.

Population and Area of Johannesburg.

Reduced to matter-of-fact figures, Johannesburg proper covers four square miles; its roads and streets are 126 miles in length, twenty-one miles of which are macadamised, and ten miles have tram lines. The city’s parks and open spaces occupy eighty-four acres. There have been twenty miles of gas-piping laid, while the electric light is supplied by forty-two miles of wire. The waterworks supply 600,000 gallons of water daily for domestic use, exclusive of what is required for the mines and street watering. The population of the town at the census of July, 1896, consisted of 79,315 males and 22,763 females, of whom 32,357 males and 18,520 females were European, making a total European population of 50,877. It is believed that during the seventeen months which have elapsed this population has been augmented to about 55,000.

The Streets of Johannesburg.

The streets of the city generally are about 50 feet wide, while the principal business streets average 90 feet in width. Several of these are flanked by buildings which would be no discredit to any provincial city in England, while the array of shops have their windows as artistically dressed with wares as those of Regent Street in London, which gave me some idea of the character and good taste of the people.

Johannesburg as it was and is.

A photograph of Johannesburg taken in 1888 revealed a thin collection of galvanised iron structures, widely scattered over a roadless veld, while that of 1897 shows a mature city, compact, with an aspect of age, well furnished with churches, massive buildings, parks with trees over a hundred feet in height, rich villas and artistic mansions, etc. It was scarcely credible that in such a short period such a marvellous change had been wrought. The wonder was increased when I was driven along the length of Hospital Hill, and noted the streets of this suburb, bordered by artistic and costly houses, luxuriant shrubberies, flower gardens, and stately lines of shade trees. The marvel was greater still when my conductor told me that as late as 1892—five years ago—this suburb, now so flourishing, was a mere virgin grassy veld. “What, all these miles of groves and gardens and villas sprung up since 1892?”

“Yes, so prodigiously rapid is the growth of vegetation, trees, climbing plants and shrubs, when daily watered, that these shade trees which give the suburb such an appearance of age have only been planted during the last five years!”

Krupp Guns in Eden.

Now these picturesque and comfortable residences of such varying architecture, whose furniture I could just see through open windows and doors, and bespoke great wealth and taste, you must bear in mind would adorn Birmingham or Manchester. Imagine miles of such houses crowded with fair occupants and troops of daintily-clad children, their long hair floating in the wind as they sported in snowy garments on the lawns and amid the flowers, and then my surprise and something more as I suddenly came in view of a fort, which the rude Boers have built to terrorise this community. The superb ridge, which seemed to me with its beautiful houses and gardens a veritable Paradise after four thousand miles of travel over treeless plains, and which would certainly be an ornament to any city on the globe, had in its centre a large and ugly earthwork, behind which were monstrous Krupp guns to lay waste this Eden, should the humanity of Johannesburg ever be driven by despair to strive physically for the rights of freemen. The mere suggestion of it is brutish, and a Government which can coolly contemplate such a possibility and frighten timid women and young children with such horrid prospects, are only fit to be classed with the Herods of the Dark Ages.

Then and Now.

A short drive northward of the suburb placed me in a position to view the far-reaching desolate wastes of the primitive veld, and to realise more fully what human intellect, skill, energy, and capital have done on Hospital Hill and in Johannesburg itself. Twelve years ago there was not a vestige of life—human or vegetable, except the grass—to be seen within the entire range of vision from the Hill, and yet the creators of the remarkable transformation we had just seen were to be threatened with slaughter and devastation if once they plucked up courage to exact the rights which every civilised Government would long ago have granted to them!

Johannesburg and its Great Industry “Subject to Senile Madness and Boorish Insensibility.”

It were well now, after briefly showing what Johannesburg and its population is, that the chief of the State and his rustic burghers, in whose hands lie the future of this remarkable city and its industry, should be presented to your readers, in order that they might realise the striking incongruity of first-class mechanical ingenuity, spirited enterprise, business sagacity, and tireless industry being subject to senile madness and boorish insensibility. That such a thing should be is most preposterous and contrary to all human precedent. For elsewhere, and since the dawn of civilisation, Intellect has always become Master, Captain and King over Ignorance, but at Johannesburg it is Asinine Ignorance which rules Intellect. Another reversal of human custom is seen in the submissiveness of Intellect to Ignorance, and though, being naturally sensitive under the whip and restless under the goad, it remonstrates sometimes, its remonstrance is in such a sweet mild way that the spectator can only smile and wonder.

“Overmastering Surprise” at the State of Things on the Rand.

Fitting words are wanting to describe my overmastering surprise at the state of things in the Transvaal; I am limited by space and time, so that I must let my pen race over three pages and trust largely to the intelligence of those who read the lines. I have a printed cutting before me of a discussion in the First Raad of the Boer Republic, during which the President, in the support of his views, stands up and says that Isaiah had been told by the Lord that Israel had been punished because the rulers of that people had not hearkened unto the voice of the poor. Another speaker of similar intelligence rose up to contend that the Lord had enjoined that the rich, not the rulers, should help the poor, and Isaiah had not been told that the poor were to be helped with other people’s money. This construction of Scripture raised the President of the State to his feet again, and he reiterated the fact that the Lord had meant the rulers, whereupon another Senator interpolated the remark that some people were in the habit of shielding themselves behind the Bible with a view to saving their own pockets.

Nailing it with Scripture.

Fancy a discussion of that kind taking place in the Legislative of a British Colony! What vexation and shame we should feel that a Colonial Government should be based on what Isaiah had conceived had been told to him respecting Jewish elders and rulers! We should undoubtedly feel that such a discussion was an outrage on common sense and good taste, and that the Colony had mistaken a parliamentary hall for a synagogue. But at Pretoria such discussions appear to be everyday incidents—the most commonplace arguments are supported by quotations from Isaiah or some other prophet.

Kruger’s Cant.

At Standerton, the other day, the President was questioned as to the prospects of assistance being given to poor burghers. His entire reply is worth quoting, but I have only room for a small portion of it. Said he: “The burghers’ distress has been caused by the war (Jameson’s raid), and the subsequent unrest has not tended to improve matters. The burghers have suffered from these circumstances. The country has been compelled to spend a lot of money on the building of forts, nearly 2,000,000 pounds, by which our means have been exhausted. In the Zoutpansberg district especially, the condition of things I know to be most distressing. White families as well as black are dying rapidly. Still I expect you to turn to the Bible in a time of adversity like this. Follow the prophet Isaiah’s advice, and look to the Lord God who has so far befriended you. Why will men not follow in the path of the Lord instead of losing money at races and by gambling?” etc., etc.

Two Millions on Forts while People Starve.

One knows not which most to pity, the blundering muddle-headed President, or the wretched feeble-minded people who listen to him. Even little English school-boys would have had the courage and sense to tell the President how unfit to govern anything but a small pastorate on the veld he had proved himself after such a speech, and have pointed out to him that the two million pounds spent on unnecessary forts, had been the means of starving the Zoutpansberg frontier, and that it was blasphemy to make the Lord responsible for his own foolish and stupid extravagance, besides adding insult to injury to accuse people with love of horse-racing and gambling when they were starving through his criminal folly.

The burghers, however, lacking the intelligence of English school-boys, adjourn after the speech to banquet their venerable chief and to glorify him.

At Heidelberg the President was asked if the Secret Service Fund was divided into two sections. “Yes,” he replied, “for I have to keep my eyes wide open, and I have private detectives all over the country to prevent any surprise like that of the Jameson raid occurring again.”

What an extraordinary man, to devote 80,000 pounds a year fighting an enemy that does not exist, when, according to his own words, his burghers are dying of starvation at Zoutpansberg!

That Corner-Stone.

When questioned as to his objections to the Industrial Report, the President said that “if it had been accepted the independence of the Republic would have been lost.” Provided certain obstacles were removed, he was in favour of taking over the railway. The profits of the railway were divided at the rate of five per cent, to the Company, ten per cent, to the shareholders, and eighty-five per cent, to the State. The shareholders, according to him, were not the Netherlands Company. As regards dynamite, it was the corner-stone of the State’s independence.


Whenever President Kruger can get an opportunity to utter a word which will reach the public ear, he harps upon the independence of the country being in danger, and the dynamite concession being the corner-stone of that independence. The cry of the wolf being at the door has enabled him to enjoy fifteen years of office, with its princely emoluments, and to the ossified brains of his burghers the same old story may be related with endless repetitions.

The Dynamite Disgrace.

At one electioneering meeting the President said that he refused to have electric trams at Johannesburg because he could not see his burghers deprived of the means of selling their forage. He also assured his audience that the Dynamite Company should be compelled to manufacture dynamite from the products of the country—although it is well known that almost every constituent of it must be imported from Europe. He also stated that the Dynamite Company was essential to the independence of the State since it made the manufacture of gunpowder possible, whereas he knows well that the ingredients of the composition must be purchased abroad.

At another place the President said: “I get so much money from the mines that in a short time I shall be able to pay for the dynamite factory. I will not break the factory. I will not allow any importation of the ingredients to take place, but at the same time I will not throw up the factory.” The people were unable to perceive any nonsense in his words. As the factory can only manufacture 80,000 cases a year, and as 250,000 cases are needed, it never struck them that 170,000 cases would have to be bought elsewhere, nor that as dynamite cannot be made in the Transvaal without obtaining its constituents elsewhere did it seem necessary to ask how the President could keep his promise.

The Presidential Dotard will be Elected a Fourth Time.

If one will read the above carefully over, he will be able to gauge the intellect of this wonderful statesman fairly well, and measure the sense of the people who gape at these absurdities. What with political economy drawn from Isaiah and practical life being ordered by what the prophet Isaiah said, with a future policy based upon the manufacture of dynamite in the Transvaal, and the support of the tariffs of the Netherlands Railway, and the ensuring of a produce market at Johannesburg by not allowing the people of that city to have electric trams, the payment of 225,000 pounds a year to keep the forts in order, and 200,000 pounds interest on the capital expended on the wholly useless structures, the constant denunciation of the murderer Rhodes, the squandering of 80,000 pounds a year to spare the Transvaal from another surprise like the Jameson raid, It appears to the simple burghers that their President is the only fit man for the office he holds, and that Kruger is only second to Washington.

And yet both President and people are within reach and close connection with every possible civilised influence; but the truth is that their dull, dense, and dark minds are impenetrable to good sense, impervious to reason, and insensitive to the noble examples we see at Johannesburg. Though there may be neither rhyme nor reason in anything the Presidential dotard may say or do, the burgher farmer will cling to him and make him victor over all rivals for a fourth time.

My Advice to “The Bright, Clever Men at Johannesburg.”

This is the wonderful incongruity I spoke of that such a President and people as above described should be rulers over the enlightened progressive community of Johannesburg. At a dinner at the Club I quietly suggested a corrective of this incongruous and unprecedented condition of things, and said that it lay in the saying: “It was expedient that one man should die for many.” I was conscious of being stared at, and, indeed, if with all their intellectual capacity the idea never entered their minds before, I can quite understand their surprise. But it appears to me that if, according to their own admission, they have tried everything—pleading, arguments, petitions, resolutions, menaces, bribery—and all have failed, relief can only come through one of two things, viz.: Active interference of England, or a determination on their own part to endure no more. As to the first, every public man in England knows that the active interference of England in a matter of this kind is impossible. It may be her moral duty to interfere, but those bright, clever men at Johannesburg should know as well as we do that the present age and times will not admit of national action on grounds purely moral. The story of their wrongs will always receive sympathy, but to move a nation to action something more than sympathy is required. We delivered the Transvaal territory over to the charge of its own citizens, and they only are responsible for what happens in their territory. If their laws are oppressive or unjust to the strangers residing amongst them, the strangers may withdraw, or endure the evils of which they complain as well as they can. It is not for us to advise them what they should do; the choice must lie with themselves. They may fly the country or leave their properties in the charge of trustworthy Boer agents, if any such can be found, or they may continue to suffer all that the Boers may choose to inflict, or they may all unite in ceasing work and pay neither dues, taxes or bribes until justice be done to them, but we cannot interfere until we know what Johannesburg has resolved upon doing. What we may do in any event is not worth discussing—no, not until the Johannesburg people act like Englishmen.

Chapter Five.

Pretoria, South African Republic. November 23, 1897.

Paul and his Oil Painting.

I was fortunate enough to have an early morning (5:30 a.m.) interview with President Kruger before he departed on what may probably be his last electioneering tour. As he was fully dressed in the usual black suit and little old-fashioned top hat, and smoking on the verandah of his house, the old President must have risen from bed an hour earlier at least, and though all the clocks in this region are fully thirty minutes behind time, 5 a.m. is a remarkably early hour to begin business. Two armed guards in the uniform of London police inspectors stood in the street barring the way to the house; but a mere look from the President sufficed to give us admission. His “Good-morning” in English slipped from him unconsciously, and after a shake hands he led the way to a spacious saloon, wherein the first thing that attracted my attention was a large and coarse oil painting of him. It happened that the seat shown to me placed Mr Kruger and his picture directly in a line, in front of me, and I was thus forced to compare the original with the copy. The history of the painting I do not know, but as it is permitted to be hung so prominently in the reception room, it is to be presumed that the President and his friends regard it as a faithful likeness, and are consequently proud of it. This small fact proved to be the A B C of my study of the man of destiny of South Africa. It was clear that neither Kruger nor his friends knew anything of art, for the picture was an exaggerated reproduction of every defect in the President’s homely features, the low, narrow, unintellectual brow, over-small eyes, and heavy, massive expanse of face beneath. The man himself was almost beautiful in comparison with the monster on the canvas, and I really could not help pitying him for his innocent admiration of a thing that ought to be cast into the fire. But presently the President spoke—a mouthful of strange guttural words—in a voice that was like a loud gurgle, and as the great jaws and checks and mouth heaved and opened, I stole a glance at the picture, and it did not seem to me then as if the painter had libelled the man. At any rate, the explosive dialect so expanded the cheeks and widened the mouth that I perceived some resemblance to the brutal picture.

The Transvaal “Sir Oracle.”

I was told by my introducer, after the interview was over, that the President had already read a chapter in the Bible, and that it is his custom to do so every morning before appearing in public. I then understood the meaning and tone of his last words to me. Said he: “What I have said, shall be done.” He was alluding to the fact that the Dynamite Monopoly and Railway Rates were the children of the State, but they should be put into the hands of the Attorney-General, and if it were discovered that the terms of the concessions were in any way contravened, reparation should be made. The manner of his last words reminded me of the Jovic way—“and what I will, is fate”—but when I learned how he had been engaged, I knew he had been infected with the style of the Pentateuch.

The “Humbug Pose.”

This humour of Mr Kruger’s is becoming more pronounced as he ages. He has fully arrived at that stage of life which made Mr Gladstone so impossible in the Cabinet. There is abundance of life and vitality in the President, but he is so choleric that he is unable to brook any opposition. Any expression suggesting him to be mistaken in his views or policy rouses his temper, the thunderous gurgle is emitted, and the right arm swings powerfully about, while the eyes become considerably buried under the upper eyelids. I suppose, from the photograph of him now on sale at Pretoria, which represents his eyes looking upward, he fancies this to be the impressive gaze. He receives a stranger with the air of a pedagogue about to impress his new pupil, and methodically starts to inculcate the principles of true statesmanship; but he soon heats himself with the dissertation, and breaks out into the strong masterful style which his friends say is such a picturesque feature in his character, and which his critics call the “humbug pose.” If by the latter is meant the repetition of stale platitudes, and the reiteration of promises which will never be carried out, I fear I must agree with the critics.

Look on this Picture and—

Had I been asked to describe Mr Kruger’s character as conceived by me from what I had read of him, I should have summed him up after the style of an old author, thus: “What can be more extraordinary than that a man of no education, no fortune, no eminent qualities of body, should have had the courage to attempt, and the happiness to succeed, in wresting back this splendid country from the tenacious grasp of one of the greatest powers of the earth? That he should have the pluck and skill to defeat a British general in the field, even while that general was flattering himself for his successful manoeuvre, compel the British Government to relinquish what it had gained, and to reinstate the independence of his country by a Convention; and then upon second thoughts to cancel that Convention and substitute another which almost made his country a sovereign State; then, in flat opposition to the terms of that Convention, dare to disclose his vindictive hatred of the British race, among whom he was born and whom he often served, oppress so many thousands of his former fellow-subjects, curtail their guaranteed rights, trample upon them as he pleased, and spurn those who did not please his tastes, make every diplomatist who ventured to plead for them ridiculous for his failures; and while he dealt so hardly with those whom he characterised as his enemies, could make his friends understand that he was master, his burghers awe-stricken by his successes, at the same time make both friends and enemies give ready credence to his professions of justice and benevolence, to mock three of the most powerful nations of Europe by turns, and compel each with equal facility to maintain its distance; to make his illiterate and rude burghers feared and courted by the Governors of the several Colonies around him, to make their Governors and Legislatures humbly thank and congratulate him, to make one sovereign State solicit a nearer connection with his own, to be the dictator of the colony wherein he was born, and its Government obsequious to his slightest wish, and lastly (for there is no end to all the particulars of his glory), have talented and educated men of the world visit him, and depart for home enchanted with his condescension, enraptured with his humour and piety, and overflowing with admiration for his greatness and many excellences of character; to be able to have himself elected President for a fourth time, compel his ministers, generals, and rivals to sing his praises in their election addresses, and keep his burghers firm in the belief that he alone is the saviour of his country, and the only true patriot whom they can trust—to do all this is, at any rate, to be extraordinary.”

On This.

That was my ideal picture of Stephanus Johannes Paulus Kruger before the interview; but since I have been permitted to see him face to face, I am lost in amazement at the ridiculous picture my fancy, fed by cowardly and designing men, had conjured up. That so many people should have united in singing this man’s praises can only be accounted for by the fact that they must have had some interest, political or pecuniary, to serve, otherwise how is it that his “greatness” solely consists in my mind of what he has derived from the cowardice and weaknesses of others? “Many a mickle makes a muckle,” and hundreds of little advantages obtained over petitioners of all kinds, and by the follies and mistakes of others, constitute in the mind of the curious multitude what they have been pleased to term “greatness.” In appearance he is only a sullen, brutal-looking concierge, dressed in old-fashioned, ill-made black clothes. He appears to know absolutely nothing outside of burgherdom; he has neither manners nor taste; his only literature seems to be limited to the Bible, and a few treaties and documents about the Republic; he has no intrinsic excellence of character that should appeal to the admiration of the public; but what he does know, he knows well. He knows the simplicity of his rude and bearded brethren of the veld; he can play upon their fears, and their creed, with perfect effect, and it is in the nature of his ill-conditioned personality to say “no.” All the rest has fallen to him because he is so stubborn, so unyielding, and others so vacillating and so pitifully weak.

Kruger’s “Strength.”

I do not suppose there are any people in the world so well represented by a single prominent man as the Boers of South Africa are represented by Mr Kruger. He is pre-eminently the Boer of Boers in character, in intellect, and in disposition, and that is one reason why he has such absolute control over his people. His obstinacy—and no man with a face like his could be otherwise than obstinate—his people call strength. Age and its infirmities have intensified it. His reserve—born of self-pride, consciousness of force—limited ambitions, and self-reliance, they call a diplomatic gift. His disposition, morose from birth, breeding, isolation fostered by contact with his kind, is unyielding and selfish, and has been hardened by contempt of the verbose weaklings who have measured themselves against him.

“Dense, Ignorant, and Impenetrable.”

This is the man whom the Johannesburgers hope to weary with their prayers and petitions; but they never will do it. Nor will they convince him by their arguments, for he is too dense, ignorant and impenetrable. This is the man our new High Commissioner hopes to soften with his cultured letters and amiable allusions to the possibilities of restoring concord in South Africa. I feel a reluctance to say it, but his labour will be in vain. This is the man to whom the accomplished and lovable British Agent at Pretoria has been sent with a view to obliterate the memory of Jameson’s raid, and smooth the way to a kindly and humane consideration of his countrymen’s grievances; but he cannot make any impression on an unimpressible nature like Kruger’s.

The Efforts to Educate Kruger.

But the singular thing is that despite repeated, nay constant, rebuffs, all who have any dealings with Mr Kruger persist in hoping that he will relent in the end, and may genially try to exercise his authority for the termination of the existing unpleasantness. I spoke with all sorts and conditions of men at Johannesburg, and I only met one man who expressed his convictions that it was utterly impossible to induce the President to alter, or modify, his views. The rest, so often defeated and humbled, still continue to entertain a lively hope that things will improve. They are mostly clever and highly educated men, but whether it is that they have no time to study the disposition of the man, in whose hand lie their destinies, or their faith in themselves is so great, I know not, but it is certain that no sooner are they baffled in one attempt, than a new project has captivated their fancy, and enlisted their enthusiasm. They have tried to shame Kruger by their ill-considered demonstration in favour of Sir Henry Loch. The National Union has published its solemn declarations of uitlander claims and rights, they have had a Jameson raid, they have had the benefit of Lord Rosmead’s diplomacy, they have resorted to giving indiscriminate backsheesh, they have made much of the Progressive party, they have had an Industrial Commission, Chamber of Mines gatherings and speeches, but they are not a whit further advanced, and if to-morrow it is suggested that the mines should be closed, I suppose they would adopt that course or any other with equal belief in its efficacy.

Mr Chamberlain and the President.

Mr Chamberlain again, despite his better sense, and possibly his inclinations to try different methods, has—judging from the blue books which contain his letters—come round to the belief that the old methods of diplomacy are best, and now conscientiously exchanges courtesies in the blandest and most amiable fashion, as though there were no burning questions unsettled. He professes to cherish a profound belief in the integrity of Mr Kruger, and assumes an assurance that everything will be done by him according to the spirit of the London Convention. Sir Alfred Milner has been also heard to say that it is all “humbug and nonsense” to express a doubt of good relations being restored, and probably Mr Greene in the first flush of his coming has written in equally strong terms of the approaching pacification of South Africa. I wish I could share in this buoyant feeling, but the spirit of the Boer, as it has impressed itself on my mind, since I crossed the Vaal, forbids me to believe that while Kruger lives there can be any amelioration in the condition of the Johannesburger. The Boers have endowed Kruger with almost absolute power, and if up to seventy-two years of age Kruger has been the incarnation of hostility to England, it would be a miracle indeed if in his extreme old age he should be converted.

Paul’s Spoof.

It strikes me with wonder also that with all our astuteness, our experience, and our knowledge of human nature, we should be so credulous of these many professions of amity from the Transvaal. I am fresh from my visit to Mr Kruger. It was but yesterday I heard the many dismal complaints of Johannesburg; I have but now come in from a look at the fortified heights of Pretoria. I open the last blue book and extract the following from the Boer despatches:—

1. “No unfriendliness is intended by Volksraad. It would be unfair to interpret it as such.”

2. “This Government also can give the assurances that it has no other than peaceable intentions.”

3. “This Government again expresses its opinion that through friendly co-operation, the confidence so rudely shaken, as well as peace and prosperity, will be restored.”

9. “The Government readily gives the assurances that there is no intention on its part of infringing its obligations.”

5. “This Government need hardly assure Her Majesty’s Government that it will comply with its obligations as soon as It is in a position to do so.”

6. “His Honour the President requests me to assure you that there is no intention on his part to depart from the terms of the London Convention, and that he is anxious to act throughout in conformity with those assurances, etc.”

“A Boer Machiavelli.”

One who knows anything of the conditions under which the Johannesburgers live need not come to Pretoria to know how hollow and insincere these and countless other professions are; but when read at Pretoria with those four forts constructed at lavish expense commanding the approaches to the capital from the Johannesburg direction, the mendacity of the writer seems appalling. Take these in conjunction with the many promises President Kruger has uttered to interviewers, to casual English visitors, to deputations or in public speeches, in relation to his intentions to adhere strictly to the terms of the Convention of 1884, and one cannot but conclude that, though the President reads the Bible daily, he must have overlooked the sentences that apply to liars. If, despite the cordiality, conciliatoriness, and numerous expressions of goodwill, that are visible in Mr Chamberlain’s despatches, and the entreaties, remonstrances, and the continual patient efforts of the uitlanders to soften the asperities of Boer rule, President Kruger and his burghers, while writing in the style of the above quotations, build these great forts at Pretoria and Johannesburg, it is evident that English people have wholly failed to understand this man, and that their ideal of a “goodish sort of man, kindly and a little old-fashioned, a little slow perhaps, and stubborn after the Dutch type,” never existed since Pretoria was founded. On the contrary, the real Kruger is a Boer Machiavelli, astute and bigoted, obstinate as a mule, and remarkably opinionated, vain and puffed up with the power conferred on him, vindictive, covetous and always a Boer, which means a narrow-minded and obtuse provincial of the illiterate type.

How the Convention was Contravened.

“Go and tell your people,” said he once to a deputation from the uitlanders, “that I will never change my policy.”

For once he spoke the truth, and having seen him I feel convinced he never will, but he has persuaded so well and spoken so fairly, that I doubt if a Colonial Office official will abandon hope of him.

I recall to mind the last portion of Article 14 of the London Convention, which refers to those persons other than natives who may enter the South African Republic. “They shall not be subject, in their persons or property, commerce or industry, to any taxes, local or general, other than those which are or may be imposed on citizens of the South African Republic.”

How does that agree with a fourpenny tax on a four-pound loaf of bread? Or a shilling tax for every four pounds of meat, or a shilling tax on every four pounds of potatoes, or a sixpence for every half-pound of butter eaten at breakfast by a miner and his family?

The Racial War Bogey.

People at home do not stoop to consider what such details mean. They have probably more in their minds the general effect of a racial war in South Africa, and see red ruin in place of the peace and content that ought to prevail here. But what have we to do with racial war and its horrors? Our business is to look at the immediate present, and not anticipate events which need not take place. We have to abide by the Convention; why should not the other party also abide by it? It was a fair understanding. Kruger himself drew up the terms, and they were mutually agreed to, and it is scarcely common sense to suggest that the party which seeks to maintain the Convention instigates a racial war, while the party that has broken the Convention repeatedly should be held innocent and blameless.

The Laws of “A Choleric, Obstinate Old Man.”

There is another point in this article which has attracted my attention here. The first part of Article 14 says, “All persons other than natives, conforming themselves to the laws of the South African Republic, will have full liberty to enter, travel, or reside in any part of the South African Republic.” I am curious to know what laws were meant here. Were they any laws which the sacred twenty-four members of the First Raad might choose to impose, or were they such laws as might be made conformable to civilised countries? If the laws were made by the people of the Transvaal, we, of course, should not hear so much of grievances, but the existing laws of the South African Republic have mostly been proposed by President Kruger, and obsequiously enacted by the twenty-four members of the First Raad without reference to the people, and consequently they could not fail to be intolerable to the larger number. The Grondwet throws a light upon the character of the laws that were meant when the fourteenth Article of the Convention was framed. Its first chapter declares that the Government shall be Republican, that the territory of the Transvaal shall be free to all foreigners, and that there shall be liberty of the Press. Then I think that, as Her Majesty’s Ministers admitted and sanctioned the terms of the fourteenth Article, they understood the “Laws of the South African Republic” to mean the Constitution, and such other laws as obtain in civilised countries, for it is scarcely credible that they would have signed the Convention had they understood that Englishmen could not be admitted into the rights of burghership until after fifteen years’ residence, or if poverty was to be a barrier to that “full liberty” sanctioned by the Grondwet and the fourteenth Article. We may also rest assured that the British Commissioners would not have signed the Convention if that “full liberty” did not include free speech and a free Press, the full use of one’s native language, the full exercise of every faculty according to custom prevailing in all civilised countries, or if certain British individuals who happened to misconduct themselves were liable to receive excessive punishments, or if for writing a market note in English a 5 pound fine was to be imposed, or if for grumbling an Englishman was to be expelled from the country, or if for considering himself as being a little better than a Kaffir he should be compelled to wear a badge that marked him as inferior to a Boer. I think it may be taken for granted also that no British Commissioner would have attached his name to a Convention had he guessed that the Laws of the Republic might mean any odd or fantastic whim that might enter into the head of a choleric, obstinate old man like the present President for instance.

Uitlanders’ Rights secured by a Solemn Convention.

Far from deserving the title of great which some English visitors have bestowed upon Mr Kruger, it seems to be that the most fitting title would be “little.” The gifts the gods have given his State he resolutely refuses. His sole purpose and object seems to be to make the South African Republic the China of South Africa. He declines to admit men who are in every way qualified to the burghership, though every other new country is competing for such men. The Americans welcomed every able-bodied incomer as a fresh ally, and valued each workman as being worth 200 pounds to the State. Thirty years ago citizenship depended upon nativity, and could never be abandoned. The idea was a relic of the Middle Ages, and was traceable to tribal superstition of prehistoric times, but as nearly every country in the civilised world has consented to admit people of all races to citizenship after a probationary period of from three to five years, the South African Republic only marks its own retrogression to barbarism by extending the term to fifteen years. Mr Kruger, instead of granting to foreigners common rights which were sealed to them by a Solemn Convention, for which let it be always remembered the independence of the State was assured, prefers to keep 80,000 uitlanders outside the pale of citizenship, to irritate them by onerous laws passed by an oligarchy of twenty-four men, and to grind them with taxes. If he made them burghers his country would be the premier State in South Africa, and he might then do almost what he liked, except invade his neighbours’ territories. The worst that could befall a Boer is that some candidate might be thwarted in his hopes of the Presidency, but the inviolability of the Republic and its Independence would be placed beyond danger.

What Kruger’s Policy will Lead to.

Mr Kruger professes to seek the prosperity and progress of the State, but I will simply mention the dynamite and other monopolies, of which we have heard so much lately, and point out that it is only a Boer audience that could be persuaded to believe in him. The resources of the State are forbidden to be exploited, the Minister of Mines refuses to proclaim new gold fields; the taxation on those in operation is so heavy that only a few of the richest mines on the main reef can be profitably worked. The expenditure of the State is extravagant—quite 40 per cent, could be saved, I am told. The reforms lately mentioned by the Industrial Commission, if granted, would reduce the cost of working expenses by 4 shillings per ton, and be the means of re-opening mines which were closed as being unprofitable, as well as bringing several miles of the reef into the payable degree. But Mr Kruger’s idea of increasing the prosperity of the State is by raising the taxes on the mines that continue to pay dividends, in order to compensate the Treasury for the loss of revenue incurred from the collapse of the poorer mines. If, as one mine after another succumbs to the burden of taxation, he increases the taxes on the richer mines, every mine must become closed, because no gold mine was ever discovered that did not cost much money and high-priced labour to extract the gold from it.

Those who Pay the Piper.

Mr Kruger’s ideas of government are to divide the people into two classes—those who get their living from the surface soil and those who get it underground. He himself favours the former. According to him they only are entitled to have any voice in the Government, and to be considered as citizens of the Republic. As for the other class, they have no rights, and the country would be relieved if they departed. Yet, according to the last Budget, I find 3,799,913 pounds of the State’s revenue were derived from the class who labour underground, while only 1,086,586 pounds were obtained from the other class.

Kruger’s Cant.

But if we wish to know and realise Mr Kruger thoroughly, we should pay attention to his last election address, issued about a week ago. He says: “As I have before told you, I aim, as instructed by the Scriptures, at justice and righteousness to all men—to by down on our political territory the eternal principles of God as the foundation of our State. The taking to heart of the lessons of that Word enables us to be certain under all our difficulties. These lead us to a recognition of our absolute dependence, not on the great ones and power holders of the world, but upon Him who sent that Word to us.”

“Burghers and fellow-countrymen, the times are such that a wise and judicious development of our sources of aid requires the most earnest consideration. Therefore these must be protected and advanced, and while we lend a helping hand to the mining industry we must not lose sight of the agriculture and cattle farming, so that prosperity and progress may be brought to the doors, not of some only, but of all. That will be my earnest endeavour. Many of you have sustained almost irreparable losses through rinderpest, and you know what has been done in order to help you to tide over these hard times. I desire to proceed in this direction everywhere that such assistance may be required, to the end that many of the very pith of the people, at present bowed under the yoke of adversity and misery, may be helped and heartened by the strengthening of the feeble knees.”

I do not think I need quote any more. As will be seen by the first paragraph, Mr Kruger takes the Scriptures as his guide in matters of policy, and, as he considers the Boers to be the chosen people, we may infer what the miserable Canaanites who dwell along the Raad may expect from the course adopted by Joshua towards their ancient prototypes. The second paragraph is more secular, but the policy of Mr Kruger is just as distinctly indicated. The “very pith of the people,” the Boers, must be helped and heartened by the strengthening of the feeble knees, which means money must be taken from those who did not suffer in their flocks and herds, viz., the miners, and distributed amongst those that sustained almost “irreparable loss through rinderpest.”

Mr Chamberlain’s Lost Opportunity.

Mr Chamberlain has led us to believe that he has a policy which will set these matters right. He has great faith in Sir Alfred Milner and Mr Greene; he has also faith in himself. In brief, his policy consists of conciliatoriness and firmness combined. If I have succeeded in this letter to properly express my convictions and the grounds for them, it will not surprise anyone if, with all my belief in Mr Chamberlain’s genius, I utterly decline to share this faith. Time was, and that not many months back, when he might by other methods, not war, nor necessarily leading to war, have broken down Kruger’s obduracy, and made him more sensible; but that time has passed. It is now too late. Time was, and that not long ago, when the Johannesburgers might have imposed terms on Kruger and, unassisted by outsiders, have rectified matters themselves; but the opportunity was lost through Jameson’s interference.

Force no Remedy.

The Press has frequently suggested other means of bringing Mr Kruger to reason, the author of “Boers and Little Englanders” has stated what he thinks ought to be done, the Johannesburgers themselves are brimful of suggestions, but I think that, though some are partially right, I have not come across any which seems to meet the complex case entirely. We have the sentiments of the Colonies to consider as well as the sentiments of the people of Great Britain, and the whole of Europe in fact. Therefore forcible measures in cold blood are out of the question, because from what I heard I doubt that the people of Johannesburg themselves would be grateful if we resorted to them.

Salvation Lies in a United Johannesburg, Passively Resisting Tyranny.

I quite agree that it is the duty of Her Majesty’s Government to strengthen our forces in South Africa to show the Boers that we are serious, and that power is at hand in case of necessity, but as long as our forces remain inactive their effect will wear away, and the Boers will soon fall back again to their sullen and vindictive attitude. What, then, is to be done? Nothing, absolutely nothing, until the Johannesburgers themselves prove to us that they are serious, united, and firm, and make the first move. It will be said, however, that they have no arms. No arms are needed of any kind, but the will to suffer and the courage to endure. Their lives will be safe in any case, for even Boers do not shoot unarmed and unresisting men, but if they all say that the taxes are ruinous, that their property is confiscated by these legal exactions—why pay the taxes, why continue to pay bribes to those in authority for trifling relaxations, why assist in any way to perpetuate the “corrupt and rotten” Government of which they complain so bitterly? It amounts to this. The Boers have a right to administer their country as they think best, but if their administration is unjust and oppressive, surely the oppressed have the right of passive resistance, for it is in human nature to resist injustice. The consequence of passive resistance will be imprisonment. But when a sparsely populated State is obliged to imprison some score of thousands of non-taxpayers, and to feed them, bankruptcy is not far off. If any die in prison from starvation, or blood is shed, or general confiscation of property takes place, we then shall have a legitimate cause for action. I do not say that this policy of waiting upon Johannesburg is a noble one, but as we have been so indifferent to the obligations of the Convention, as we have closed every sense to our countrymen’s complaints, as we have been the slaves of every petty circumstance, as South Africa is so contentious and fault-finding, as the English uitlanders themselves have threatened to lift their rifles against us if we move to exert pressure on the Boers, it seems to me that we must wait upon Johannesburg and let the people of that city point the way. Every civilised people in Europe can furnish instances of how to resent injustice and defeat oppression. England, Ireland, Wales, France, Spain, Italy, Germany, etc., all have their examples of what courage can do when nerved by despair, and I think, if it is really serious, it is the turn of Johannesburg to show what it can do; otherwise we must wait until Mr Kruger’s nature changes, which will be “Never, no, never.”

Chapter Six.

Summary of a Few Impressions.

On my return from South Africa I was interviewed by a representative of South Africa. I had proposed to write on my voyage to England a closing communication describing my visit to Natal and summarising my views on the South African outlook generally. Unfortunately, I was attacked with severe rheumatic pains shortly after the steamer left Cape Town, and was not able to put pen to paper. I, however, gave the representative of South Africa the impressions I should have written on the voyage, had circumstances permitted me to do so.

The Labour Question in Natal.

“How were you impressed with Natal?”

“I was very much struck by its beauty and its fitness for a white population. There was one curious anomaly, however, in the fact that the natives in Natal are very numerous, and yet the Colonists suffer from a deficiency of labour. Ships often lie at the wharves for days, waiting for coal, because labourers cannot be got to put it on board. At the same time the labour party, or the white man’s party, at Durban are complaining that the coolies are being brought to Natal in too great numbers.”

“Those are points in economic development that want immediate tackling?”

“Something should be done to start the enlistment of Zulus of Natal in its labour forces for the development of the State. It is a most interesting little State, very quietly governed, and the people are an exceptional class of Colonists, but they seem to have some problems before them which will tax the ability of future Ministries.”

“The coolie immigration question, I take it, is not one of the least of these?”

“That is so. There are masses of white men in England and on the Continent, it seems to me, who would jump at the opportunity of getting allotments of land in Natal. The Government might do worse than afford some greater facilities for the importation of white labour. In Natal there are 45,000 white men against 400,000 Zulus. In addition to that they have taken Zululand with about half a million of Zulus, so that there are now 45,000 whites against 900,000 blacks.”

“Then, in your opinion, that mass of blacks wants leavening by the introduction of white men. The immigration would have to be worked from this end, would it not?”

“Yes, they would have to be liberally treated for the first few years to induce them to go. Natal, as I have said, is a very lovely country. There are enormous estates railed off for sheep and cattle raising, and it seemed to me that I saw more places there fit for small estates of white men than in any other part of the country, excepting Rhodesia.”

Mr Stanley was careful to further emphasise the exception to his rule furnished by Rhodesia.

“That opens up a very interesting question,” remarked the interviewer, “for emigration from this country has been allowed to take its own course without much assistance, save from the emigration agencies, who, of course, have to be approached by intending emigrants instead of approaching them.”

Natal should be Better Advertised.

“Yes,” rejoined Mr Stanley; “the wants of a Colony like Natal must be advertised, and its claims to the consideration of those desiring new homes should be pressed upon the people of England.”

“How do you think the white men in Natal now would regard the influx?”

“Well, they must be considered, but it is as much for their interests as for those of anyone else. If they are as narrow-minded as the labour party at Durban, there may probably be a serious calamity some day.”

“Had you an opportunity of discussing such problems with Mr Escombe or any of the leading politicians of the Colony?”

“I saw perhaps twenty, but I fancy they are rather afraid of saying what is in their minds, because the ultimate solution depends upon the democracy of Natal, and Ministers hesitate to be leaders in any such agitation.”

Although he has already treated the subject of Rhodesia and its future prospects so exhaustively, Mr Stanley had nevertheless still many points of importance to touch upon. He insisted very strongly upon the necessity for offering inducements to other settlers besides those engaged in mining.

More Settlers Wanted in South Africa.

“I think,” said he, “every Colony in South Africa has been very remiss in the matter of attracting immigrants. You have only to look at the statistics of population—black and white—to see how disproportionate are the two races. The Cape of Good Hope, with 221,000 square miles, has nearly a million and a quarter of coloured people to 377,000 whites, and the former are multiplying with extraordinary rapidity. Natal, again, as I have said, has 45,000 whites and nearly a million coloured people. British Bechuanaland, with only a little over 5000 whites, has 65,000 coloured people. Matabeleland, or rather what is now Rhodesia, had some years ago only 2500 whites and 250,000 natives. Of course, the whites are more numerous now, but still the disparity is sufficiently striking.”

“It has been asserted very freely that until the production of gold assumes large proportions the white population cannot increase, because they have nothing to subsist upon.”

“There is always a place for intending farmers. If the land is to be parcelled out among such, the present is as good a time for them as it is for the miners.”

“Men, of course, can support themselves on farms, even although there is no town in the vicinity to furnish a market for their surplus produce?”

“Exactly so. It is necessary in the end to have markets, of course; but the first necessary thing is to make a home. Considering the conditions of this country and the rapid growth of population, with the closure of the United States, with only Canada and Australia open to the surplus population, where is there a better country for Englishmen than Rhodesia?”

Immigration Wanted to Counterbalance Boer Influence.

“You think Mr Rhodes has perhaps overlooked the advantage of putting forward these considerations?”

“Not only Mr Rhodes, but all the politicians of the Cape Colony and Natal. The best work the British Government ever did was in sending those five thousand English people to South-East Africa in the early part of this century. The experiment unfortunately has never been repeated. There is a different kind of population going out now. When they go to the Cape, they begin to spread themselves over every part of South Africa as far as Salisbury. It seems to me that there ought to be three or four hundred families going out every week to settle in new homes. There is a great political question in the background, and if Englishmen are not awake to it they must be instructed. The Boers, not alluding to any political party such as the Afrikander Bond, or the Krugerites, or the Republicans of the Orange Free State and the Transvaal, but judging by their general conduct and the tone of their public utterances, seem to have determined to keep Englishmen out of South Africa in order to maintain the balance of power in their own favour. Their whole action tends to that. Supposing the Cape Colony had a grievance against the British Empire, and chose to form a Republic of its own, it would be a Boer Republic, because the Boers are more numerous than the English. It would be an addition to the Orange Free State and the Transvaal. Some great absorbing question might arise at any time; yet no one seems to have done anything to prepare for such a contingency, or to maintain the balance of power in favour of the English. The Dutch would naturally take sides with one another, as they did in the Jameson raid affair. Then all the Dutch population veered round in favour of the Transvaal, whereas before that, as in the Drifts question, the Cape Dutch rather thought that the Transvaal was wrong. The unjustifiable attack upon the Transvaal, so unexpected, like a bolt from the blue, gave the Dutch an impression that the British Government were at the back of the raiders, or if not the British Government, at least the British nation. They said to themselves, ‘the British people are ever hostile to us, and are determined to have this country English, and under the thumb of the British Government. We refuse to have the British Government vex us now as it has done in the past. They drove the Transvaal Dutch from the Cape Colony; and they may drive us away if we are not united in opposing this constant British hostility or meddlesomeness with our peculiar habits, principles, and ideas.’”

“It is perhaps more correct to say that the Dutch retired before the advance of the English rather than that the English drove them away by persecution.”

A Hint to Downing Street.

“An over-sensitive English sentiment is at the root of many of the past disturbances. When I was going to South Africa on the Norman the great question of the hour was the indenturing of the Bechuanaland rebels. I talked a good deal with Colonial people on board, and they were not disposed to be reticent about their feelings. They frankly said the British people were just beginning the same old game of meddlesomeness. ‘Here,’ they said, ‘are rebels whom we have caught in the act of fighting against us, raiding and murdering our fellow-colonists. We pay for the forces to suppress that rebellion; we have taken hold of the prisoners who have surrendered. We do not know what to do with them better than to distribute them, with their own consent, among the farmers for a term of five years, instead of imprisoning them, and thereby making them non-productive and a burden to the State. If we had sent them back to their own country, they would simply have died, or made it very dangerous for anyone with property to go near their country, and we should have had to begin again. You English say it is a form of slavery. We deny it. It is no more than Sir Charles Warren did in 1878. What the British Government did in 1878 we are doing now. Don’t you suppose that, having given us an almost independent Government, we have got plenty of pious, well-educated, intelligent men as capable of looking after our morals as the civilised people of England? Why do you all the time place English sentiment in opposition to us, with a view of tyrannising over us? We make our laws, and can correct them if they are wrong. We do not want you to interfere all the time. Our lives and our property, the welfare of our wives and children, depend upon good government. But immediately we do anything you raise the cry that we are barbarous and wicked, and are reducing rebels to the state of slaves, and thus you excite and disturb the people.’ ‘Supposing,’ said one of the speakers, ‘that the majority of the British nation were inclined to that opinion, and believed that we were so wickedly disposed as to subject our coloured people to a condition of slavery, Parliament would raise the question, and very possibly, if the sentiment has taken deep hold of your people, would pass a law to prevent it. Then a collision of interests would take place—Boers against English. The English would probably follow the British Government, except a few who have been resident in South Africa and understand those questions as well as the born Colonists. Thus the Colonists would become divided. The Boers and Afrikanders could not trek again, as Bechuanaland and Rhodesia shut them off from the north. They therefore would demand a republic, to cut themselves adrift from the Imperial Government. The same question would be raised as was raised in the United States when they separated from Great Britain. Danger only can arise from the English habit of interfering in Colonial matters which they do not understand, and from not giving the Colonists credit for being able to manage their own affairs.’”

“Then, in your opinion, the remedy for that is to reinforce the English population in South Africa, and for Exeter Hall here to exercise more reserve?”

“Precisely,” replied Mr Stanley. “If you have a manager of an estate and you suppose he is a man of ability and you entrust him with the management of your estate, and then cavil at everything he does, he will resign. That is just the sort of feeling that is so apt to be raised in South Africa—the incompatibility of temper between the people of South Africa and the too sentimental people of Great Britain. There are two parties in South Africa, Boer and British, and if the former are inclined to be tyrannical to the natives and subject them to slavery, you have the English party, which is as clever and intelligent as people here, ready to preach to and convert the oppressors and to act in opposition to them. Therefore, the English criticism at home is not needed, and it should not interfere with the Colonists’ domestic concerns. England must give the Colonists credit for their intelligence, and for a desire to act like civilised people. There would be no need then for a Republican, or a Separatist party at the Cape.”

A Great Emigration Company Wanted.

“What do you propose as a means towards the end you speak of?”

“It is natural,” replied Mr Stanley, “that the English of Cape Colony should be anxious for the future of the country in case of a separation from Great Britain, and that they should fear the establishment of a Boer Republic. I see in this a very strong reason why someone with power, wealth and influence should step forward and try to lead them to do something to prepare for maintaining the balance of power. Rhodesia, the Transvaal, the Orange Free State and Natal draw away from the Cape Colony a large number of enterprising Englishmen, and consequently the Boers, not being so enterprising, nor so very fond of running from one home to another unless a great political principal is at stake, prefer to stay on their farms and multiply there, whereas the English are all the time thinned down by those everlasting discoveries and developments in the north and north-east, so that they remain numerically inferior to the Dutch. If there was a Company with a man like Mr Rhodes at the head of it, which would buy land and settle on it new colonists of English birth, they would be all the time keeping up the equality that is necessary to prevent the English from being Boer-ridden.”

“Do you think Rhodesia would adapt itself to such a policy as well as the Cape Colony.”

“Quite as well. With the opening of all those mines reported to be so promising, and with the vast advertisement of the opening of the railway, Mr Rhodes ought to see that more miners have been coming into the country than agriculturalists, and something ought to be done to provide for the provisioning of so many people and keeping the prices of food down by multiplying the producers of food. The country is just as well adapted for them as any other in South Africa. If the Government of Rhodesia neglect this, the Boers will go on filtering through the Transvaal to Rhodesia, and the same mistakes will recur that have been made in the Cape Colony and the Transvaal, where the settled population is Dutch and the moving English.”

Australians Available.

“What are the principal countries outside South Africa from which such settlers could be drawn?”

“There are plenty of people in Australia, for instance, who would be very glad of the opportunity to settle in nice places in Rhodesia if they were tempted to do so. You must show that Rhodesia is better than Australia, where you have the fringes of the coast and the best parts of the interior already taken up. You have only to go to Melbourne, Sydney, and other large Australian towns, to find that they have a very large population who do not know what to do with themselves or where to go, who would be valuable to a new country like Rhodesia. Take, for example, the people who went from Australia to Paraguay. These would be far better in Rhodesia amongst Englishmen than in Paraguay surrounded by Spanish Americans, whose ideas and modes of life are so entirely different. When I was in Melbourne I had an offer from fifteen hundred Australians to settle in East Africa. I advised them not to do so until the railway was built. They wanted to start ranches and raise cattle there, but I said their stock would die before they could reach the pastures. In Rhodesia to-day, however, you have a country, to which such people would be very advantageous. Cape Colony has an enormous area that requires to be populated, and so has Natal. How are you to reach the class of people required for this? What are you to offer them? It must be something better than where they are now.”

“In your opinion Rhodesia is well adapted for cattle raising?”

“Yes; the Matabele found it so, and there are still many cattle there despite the rinderpest. New cattle will do well enough, I think, if you take them rapidly by railway across the malarial belt.”

“And seeing that the Cape is so much nearer to England than Australia, there is no reason why an export trade should not be developed in time?”

Charming East London.

“Certainly not,” was Mr Stanley’s emphatic rejoinder. Proceeding to deal more particularly with the future possibilities of various parts of the Cape Colony, he alluded to his visit to East London, which he thought one of the healthiest places he had ever seen, characterising the country around as a most charming one. “I was more taken with the south-east coast,” said he, “than with any other part of South Africa. Probably it was due to the season, but everything was as green as in England. People looked healthy, and little children as rosy as they could be. I admired the magnificent groves of trees planted by colonists and the flourishing estates that were visible all the way until we got into the Karroo. The best part of the eastern province is perhaps as large as Scotland. I should say it was just as well adapted for white people as any part of England, and yet the population is so scant as compared with the vast acreage. It was in that part that the English families were settled, and made beautiful towns like Grahamstown and King Williamstown.”

“And at that time,” interpolated the interviewer, “they had to contend with natives, who are now subdued?”

“Yes,” said Mr Stanley, “that is a disadvantage that settlers nowadays would be exempted from.”

“Is there not an obstacle to your scheme, in the circumstance that people nowadays are not content to go abroad for a mere living? They demand something more than they can get at home—not perhaps a fortune, but at least the chances of amassing sufficient money to raise them to a position of comparative independence?”

How Farmers Make Profits.

“But there are different ways of making a fortune or of saving money,” replied Mr Stanley. “It can be done by agriculture as well as by mining. The farmer, however, must be content to look upon the farm as his home, and the capital and labour devoted to it as constantly increasing in value. The farm which he buys at 10 shillings an acre may become worth in a few years from 5 to 10 pounds an acre. There is his profit. He buys an estate say of 200 acres for 100 pounds, and in five or ten years’ time it may be worth 500 or 1,000 pounds. It depends upon the progress made in the general development of a country by the working of its mineral resources and by its commerce and trade. The greater the development of the country the greater will be the value of the farmer’s land, because more people are constantly coming who don’t care to be pioneers, but will buy a farm already developed. The pioneer then goes from farm to farm, and in this he makes his profit. People who went from New England to Ohio or Kentucky, for instance, developed farms which they sold at an enhanced price, afterwards removing to Kansas; after getting, perhaps, twenty-five times as much for their farms in Kansas as they had paid for them, they went next to Colorado, where their farms ultimately fetched twenty-five or fifty times as much as their original cost. Then they went on to Salt Lake, Mexico, Arizona, or other parts of America, and repeated the same process. That is the way a farmer makes his money in such countries.”

Mr Stanley has already dealt at great length with the question of irrigation, which is so important in countries where the water supply is inconstant. In the course of his remarks with our representative he further elaborated this point, showing how the backwardness of agriculture in certain parts of South Africa, as well as in other comparatively new countries, is the fault of the people rather than of the countries.

“The other week,” said he, “I suggested the formation of a united South African waterworks company. There are hundreds of streams in Rhodesia and other parts of South Africa, and yet every casual tourist says the land is worth nothing for agriculture. That is what was said about Mildura, in Australia, until irrigation was started. The same system is necessary in South Africa, and a powerful irrigation company could distribute the water when available, and also conserve it for the dry seasons.”

“I daresay it is your opinion that little can be done in this direction by the isolated efforts of individuals?”

“Practically nothing,” replied Mr Stanley. “If new settlers see land near water they will buy it; but they come to the country with slender capital, perhaps two or three hundred pounds, and cannot afford to sink wells in the desert; but if someone will raise that water for them, and sell the land, it will be taken at once. The people who settle, supposing they are English, will constantly keep English influence equal to the Boer.”

Rhodesia in the Hands of Land Grabbers.

“Some existing African Companies hold farm lands,” remarked the interviewer. “Ought they turn their attention promptly to the agricultural development of those lands, instead of confining their attention so exclusively to mineral wealth?”

“Certainly,” said Mr Stanley. “Take, for instance, the Willoughby Consolidated. They have an enormous acreage of land. The people of Bulawayo wanted water, so a certain number formed a company to make the waterworks. They had to buy about 6000 acres from the Willoughby Consolidated to protect their watershed. Supposing these people had not bought the land for the sake of the waterworks, the Willoughby Consolidated would have kept all this vast acreage to themselves, and would have developed it only according to the necessities of the neighbourhood, or sold it to some settlers who wanted to live there. Most of Rhodesia has been divided in that way by the people who grabbed at the territory, so that poor settlers, the bone, marrow, and sinew, are frightened by the prices.”

“Do you, then, think that the best farms are already allotted?”

“One who was only in the country such a short time as myself cannot go into all these small details. He can only say that his impression is that the people complained that most of the best lands had been taken up by the great companies. Miners are disposed to hold very cheering ideas in regard to the minerals, and more miners come in than agriculturists. Therefore it strikes me, seeing those miners come in in such numbers, that something has been left undone; the responsible authorities ought to have seen that the proper settlers who could feed those people were induced to come at the same time. Earl Grey or some other Director should be asked if the Chartered Company had kept habitable land in Rhodesia which might be sold for farms; if they had reserved sufficient farming acreage for the wants of a farming population, or if they had sold it all to the great companies. It would be people like Earl Grey who could give you these details. We can only get impressions from the mutterings of those in the country who say, ‘What is the use of coming here? all the good land is gobbled up by the companies.’ One would be glad to have the matter explained. Farmers with 500 pounds capital, if they could get land cheap in Rhodesia, might be tempted to settle there, but if the land is in the hands of companies, those companies will want to make big profits. The Chartered Company are under the necessity of selling land to get money. The greater the run of farmers to Rhodesia the higher would be the prices of land. The Chartered Company, we can see, have been liberal enough to miners, but I doubt whether they have been so liberal to the farmer class.”

“From your experience of the conditions in England, do you think people at home would respond readily to an effort by Mr Rhodes and the Rhodesian Government to attract them to Rhodesia?”

“Yes, I do, because South Africa is as pleasant a place to live in as any part of the world that I have visited. It is certainly more pleasant than the cold north of Canada. America was very good, but it is not superior to South Africa. The United States Government, however, had a very large reserve of land which they could afford to give at 2.5 dollars an acre, and they gave 160 acres of land to anyone who would promise to settle there for five years and build houses and improve the land. That is what the Chartered Company should do. If you have an estate, you must invest a portion of your capital in seed and in machines for cultivating the land; if you regard a State as a farm, the best seed you can put into it is a farming population. Settlers who develop the soil contribute as much wealth to the State as those who dig for minerals. Perfected communication also adds value to every acre. I had at one time to explain why I did not consider the land of the Congo State worth a two-shilling piece, because it was impossible to reach it, but, I said, if you make it accessible to me it is worth so much an acre. If you leave me isolated in the heart of the Congo, I throw away my life and the two-shilling piece.”

“Is there in Rhodesia plenty of land beyond what is required for the Matabele and the Mashonas?”

What the Chartered Company should do.

“Well,” replied Mr Stanley, “the natives have always got the slopes of the country. It is, of course, a white man’s land, because the white man has taken it. At the same time there are reserves, and the question is, how much of the reserves for the whites has been put aside for agriculturists. Ought the Company to be satisfied with having only miners in Rhodesia who will employ the natives, and after all the gold is got will retire and leave Rhodesia the black man’s country that it was, or do the authorities intend to plant an English race permanently there? What are their offers? The Chartered Company ought to give 160 acres of land to any settlers who will undertake to develop it and remain on it for five years, after which the land would be their own. A somewhat similar system is adopted with regard to the mines. If you peg out claims you must work them. So it ought to be with the agricultural land. Having done this, it would remain for the Chartered Company to do their utmost to increase facilities for communication. If they gave reserves free to the natives whom they had conquered, they certainly ought to give at least the same advantages to the white settlers who are to make the country prosperous and to yield revenue by the payment of taxes.”

Rhodesian Railways.

“Did you observe the criticisms of the Financial News on your proposal regarding the railway from Bulawayo to the sea?” asked the interviewer.

“Yes,” said Mr Stanley. “The Financial News does not see the object of making two railways between Bulawayo and the coast, but I was writing from the Bulawayo standpoint. If Bulawayo is to be the capital of Matabeleland, it has as much right to branch out in all directions as Salisbury has in Mashonaland. Naturally, if I were a Bulawayan, I should not care to see Salisbury getting all the plums, especially as Bulawayo is better situated than Salisbury. A railway from Bulawayo to Victoria would bring out the merits of the latter place. There are already over a thousand whites between Bulawayo and Victoria, and a great many gold claims. Then, again, it is only twelve miles from Victoria to Zimbabwe. A great many people want to see the ruins. Tourists go to Victoria first, and thence drive in carriages to Zimbabwe. Thus, from all these sources, mines, settlers, merchants, and tourists, the railway would have a good revenue, while the company would have other indirect gains. From Victoria to Umtali you could make a junction with the existing line to Beira. Bulawayo should shoot out its right arm towards the Indian Ocean, for another reason. Supposing, in the event of an outbreak, a scheme were formed by the Boers to cross over the border and occupy the Bechuanaland Railway, where would Rhodesia be? Rhodesia would be cut off, unless it was abandoned, which is improbable. You thus see the necessity of two entrances, one from the east and one from the south. Supposing Bulawayo, on account of its two exits, begins to thrive, and the development of the land is increasing at a great pace, the next thing necessary is to extend its tentacles in other directions, and get more trade. It will not omit the Zambesi Coal Fields and the Victoria Falls. There is another object you have, not only for the tourist to see the Falls, but also the coal fields lying close to them. You reach the Victoria Falls and you have Loanda and the Trans-African Railway, which already reaches 160 miles to the interior; you can either join with that or you can construct a separate line to Mossamedes. You thus draw another line of country to increase the trade of Bulawayo. I am speaking now from the point of view of Bulawayo as a centre of trade. The competition between it and Salisbury might be compared to that which existed for a quarter of a century between Saint Louis and Chicago. The former was a very conservative city; it had its enormous fleet of steamers and the whole Mississippi tributary to it, and when it had 250,000 of a population, Chicago had only 50,000. The people of Chicago, however, were determined to tap every field of trade within reach. They struck off to California, Denver, Utah, Saint Louis, to the north-west, and down to New Orleans, so that to-day Chicago has a population of one and a half millions, and Saint Louis only 500,000. Bulawayo is more favourably situated for railway expansion than Salisbury, which is inclined too far to the north-east, whilst Bulawayo is almost as near to Beira as Salisbury is. It is, moreover, as near to Mossamedes as to the Cape, and it has the whole Congo State to the direct north of it. Consequently it would, become a kind of Chicago, drawing the trade of all those countries, so that as the new white men scattered, some to the Zambesi, raising a town near the coal fields, and hotels near, the Falls and Zimbabwe ruins, Bulawayo would feed them all. At the same time, Cape Town would become the New York of South Africa. If this were accomplished, then, in any eventuality, Bulawayo and Rhodesia would be secure in their independence, for they would have their two exits to the Indian Ocean and to the Atlantic, and could still remain British.”

“Probably Cape Town would look askance at any proposal to establish a port at Mossamedes?” said the interviewer.

“Yes,” replied Mr Stanley, “but Rhodesia does not belong to the Cape, and what is good for its prosperity must be considered apart from Cape Town, and, as Rhodesia thrives so long as it is connected with the Cape, the latter will always profit by it. Tourists will prefer to go to Cape Town because there they will be among Englishmen instead of Portuguese, but goods would go to Mossamedes and thus cut off five days in transit.”

Black and White.

“Do you think the black men in South Africa are likely to disappear as the whites increase?”

“No,” replied Mr Stanley, “I do not think they will. There are now so many wedges of white population between the native territories that any native movement can at once be checked. I see abundance of hope in that direction for the prevention of any federation of the natives such as used to be tried in the early days of the American Colonies. There the cause was want of communication, with an enormous area covered by Indians and only a few scattered settlements of whites, but in South Africa you have nothing of that kind. The natives will all be wanted. There are certain things that they alone can do, such as working in the open air in the summer. The white men are the makers of money, and the natives must naturally be the hewers of wood and drawers of water.”

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