You are here

قراءة كتاب South African Memories Social, Warlike & Sporting from Diaries Written at the Time

تنويه: تعرض هنا نبذة من اول ١٠ صفحات فقط من الكتاب الالكتروني، لقراءة الكتاب كاملا اضغط على الزر “اشتر الآن"

‏اللغة: English
South African Memories
Social, Warlike & Sporting from Diaries Written at the Time

South African Memories Social, Warlike & Sporting from Diaries Written at the Time

No votes yet
دار النشر: Project Gutenberg
الصفحة رقم: 6

us of scenes being enacted on the mysterious veldt, not 300 miles away. It was not till Saturday, January 4, that we knew what had happened, and any hopes we had entertained that the freebooters had either joined forces with their friends in Johannesburg, or else had made good their escape, were dashed to the ground as the fulness of the catastrophe became known. For hours, however, the aghast Kimberleyites refused to believe that Dr. Jameson and his entire corps had been taken prisoners, having been hopelessly outnumbered and outmanoeuvred after several hours' fighting at Krugersdorp; and, when doubt was no longer possible, loud and deep were the execrations levelled at the Johannesburgers, who, it was strenuously reiterated, had invited the Raiders to come to their succour, and who, when the pinch came, never even left the town to go to their assistance. If the real history of the Raid is ever written, when the march of time renders such a thing possible, it will be interesting reading; but, as matters stand now, it is better to say as little as possible of such a deplorable fiasco, wherein the only points which stood out clearly appeared to be that Englishmen were as brave, and perhaps also as foolhardy, as ever; that President Kruger, while pretending to shut his eyes, had known exactly all that was going forward; that the Boers had lost nothing of their old skill in shooting and ambushing, while the rapid rising and massing of their despised forces was as remarkable in its way as Jameson's forced march.

It was said at the time that the proclamation issued by the Government at home, repudiating the rebels, was the factor which prevented the Johannesburgers from joining forces with the Raiders when they arrived at Krugersdorp, as no doubt had been arranged, and that this step of the Home Government had, curiously enough, not been foreseen by the organizers of this deeply-laid plot. There is no doubt that there were two forces at work in Johannesburg, as, indeed, I had surmised during our voyage out: the one comprising the financiers, which strove to attain its ends by manifesto and public meeting, with the hint of sterner measures to follow; and the other impatient of delay, and thus impelled to seek the help of those who undoubtedly became freebooters the moment they crossed the Transvaal border. Certainly Dr. Jameson's reported words seemed to echo with reproach and disappointment—the reproach of a man who has been deceived; but whatever his feelings were at that moment of despair, when his lucky star seemed at length to have deserted him with a vengeance, I happen to know he never bore any lasting grudge against his Johannesburg friends, and that he remained on terms of perfect friendship even with the five members of the Reform Committee, with whom all the negotiations had gone forward. These included Colonel Frank Rhodes,[3] always one of his favourite companions.

As an instance of how acute was the feeling suddenly roused respecting Englishmen, I remember that Mr. Harry Lawson, who was staying in the same house as ourselves, and had decided to leave for Johannesburg as special correspondent to his father's paper, the Daily Telegraph, was actually obliged to travel under a foreign name; and even then, if my memory serves me right, he did not succeed in reaching the Rand. In the meantime, as the daily papers received fuller details, harrowing accounts came to hand of the exodus from Johannesburg of men, women, and children travelling twenty in a compartment meant for eight, while others, not so fortunate, had to put up with cattle-trucks. The Boers were said to have shown themselves humane and magnanimous. Mr. Chamberlain, the papers wrote, was strengthening the hands of the President, to avert civil war, which must have been dangerously near; but the most important man of the moment in South Africa was grudgingly admitted to be "Oom Paul." His personal influence alone, it was stated, had restrained his wild bands of armed burghers, with which the land was simply bristling, and he was then in close confabulation with Her Majesty's High Commissioner, Sir Hercules Robinson, whom he had summoned to Pretoria to deal with such refractory Englishmen. The journals also took advantage of the occasion to bid Kruger remember this was the opportunity to show himself forgiving, and to strengthen his corrupt Government, thereby earning the gratitude of those Afrikanders, for whom, indeed, he was not expected to have any affection, but to whom he was indebted for the present flourishing financial state of his republic, which, it was called to mind, was next door to bankrupt when England declared its independence in 1884. If such articles were translated and read out to that wily old President, as he sipped his coffee on his stoep, with his bland and inscrutable smile, it must have added zest to his evening pipe. I read in Mr. Seymour Fort's "Life of Dr. Jameson" that the Raid cost the Chartered Company £75,000 worth of material, most of which passed into the hands of the Boer Government, while the confiscated arms at Johannesburg amounted to several thousand rifles and a great deal of ammunition. Respecting the guns taken from Jameson's force, curiously enough, we surmised during the siege of Mafeking, four years later, that some of these were being used against us. Their shells fired into the town, many of which did not explode, and of which I possess a specimen, were the old seven-pound studded M.L. type, with the Woolwich mark on them.



Died at Groot Schuurr in September, 1905.