Page:1902 Encyclopædia Britannica - Volume 26 - AUS-CHI.pdf/620

This page needs to be proofread.


570

CAPE

COLONY

expression in Pretoria, and which operated from Pretoria to Cape Town, could not but be resented by loyal colonists. From 1881 down to 1898, Mr Hofmeyr practically determined how Dutch members should vote, and also what policy the Bond should adopt at every juncture in its history. The influence of this action on Cape politics was a demoralizing one. Other well-known politicians at the Cape subsequently found it convenient to adapt their views a good deal too readily to those held by the Bond. In justice to Mr Hofmeyr, however, it is only fair to say that after the Warren expedition in 1884, which was at least evidence that Great Britain did not intend to renounce her supremacy in South Africa altogether, he adopted a less hostile or anti-British attitude. The views and attitude of Mr Hofmeyr between 1881 and 1884— when even loyal British colonists, looking to the events which followed Majuba, had almost come to believe that Great Britain had little desire to maintain her supremacy —can scarcely be wondered at. Recognizing the difficulties of the position, Mr Rhodes from the outset of his political career showed his desire to conciliate Dutch sentiment by considerate treatment and regard for Dutch prejudices. Mr Rhodes was first returned as member of the House of Assembly for Barkly West in 1880, and in spite of all vicissitudes this constituency remained loyal to him. He supported the Bill permitting Dutch to be used in the House of Assembly in 1882, and early in 1884 he first took office, as TreasurerGeneral, under Sir Thomas Scanlen. Mr Rhodes had only held this position for six weeks when Sir Thomas Scanlen resigned, and later in the same year he was persuaded by Sir Hercules Robinson to proceed to British Bechuanaland as Special Commissioner in succession to Mr Mackenzie. In 1885 the territories of Cape Colony were further extended, and Tembuland, Bomvanaland, and Galekaland were formally added to the colony. In 1886 Sir Gordon Sprigg succeeded Sir Thomas Upington as Prime Minister. The period from 1878 to 1885 in Cape Colony had been one of considerable unrest. In this short time there occurred a series of native disturbances which were followed by the Boer war of 1881, and the Bechuanaland disturbances of 1884. In spite, however, of these drawbacks, the development of the country proceeded. The diamond industry was flourishing. In 1887 a conference was held in London for “promoting a closer union between the various parts of the British Empire by means of an Imperial tariff of customs.” At this conference it is worthy of note that Mr Hofmeyr propounded a sort of “ Zollverein ” scheme, in which Imperial customs were to be levied independently of the duties payable on all goods entering the empire from abroad. In making the proposition he stated that his objects were “ to promote the union of the empire, and at the same time to obtain revenue for the purposes of general defence.” The scheme was not at the time found practicable. But its authorship, as well as the sentiments accompanying it, created a favourable view of Mr Hofmeyr’s attitude. In the year 1888, in spite of the failure of statesmen and High Commissioners to bring about political confederation, the members of the Cape Parliament set about the establishment of a South African Customs Union. A Customs Union Bill was passed, and this in itself constituted a considerable development of the idea of federation. Shortly after the passing of the Bill the Orange Free State entered the Union. An endeavour was also made then, and for many years afterwards, to get the Transvaal to join. But President Kruger, consistently pursuing his own policy, hoped through the Delagoa Bay Railway to make the South African Republic entirely independent

[history

of Cape Colony, The endeavour to bring about a Customs Union which would embrace the Transvaal was also little to the taste of President Krugers Hollander advisers, interested as they were in the Netherlands Railway schemes. Another event of considerable commercial importance to the Cape Colony, and indeed to South Africa, was the amalgamation of the diamond-mining companies, chiefly brought about by Mr Cecil Rhodes, Mr Alfred Beit, and Mr Barnato in 1889. One of the principal and most beneficent results of the discovery and development of the diamond mines was the great impetus which it gave to railway extension. Lines were opened up to Worcester and Beaufort West, to Grahamstown, Graaff Reinet, and Queenstown. Kimberley was reached in 1885. In 1890 the line was extended northwards on the western frontier of the Transvaal as far as Yryburg in Bechuanaland. In 1889 the Free State entered into an arrangement with the Cape Colony whereby the main trunk railway was extended to Bloemfontein, the Free State receiving half the profits. Subsequently the Free State bought at cost price the portion of the railway in its own territory. In 1891 the Free State Railway was still further extended to Yiljoen’s Drift on the Yaal river, and in 1892 it reached Pretoria and Johannesburg. In 1889 Sir Henry Loch was appointed High Commissioner and Governor of Cape Colony in succession to Sir Hercules Robinson. In 1890 Sir Gordon Sprigg, the Premier of the colony, resigned, and a Government was formed under Mr Rhodes. Prior to the formation of this ministry (see Table at end of article), and while Sir Gordon Sprigg was still in office, Mr Hofmeyr approached Mr Rhodes and offered to put him in office as a Bond nominee. This offer Mr Rhodes declined. When, however, he was invited to take office after the downfall of the Sprigg ministry, he asked the Bond leaders to meet him and discuss the situation. His policy of Customs union and railway union between the various states, added to the personal esteem in which he was at this time held by many of the Dutchmen, enabled him to undertake and to carry on successfully the business of government. The colonies of British Bechuanaland and Basutoland were now taken into the Customs Union existing between the Orange Free State and Cape Colony. Pondoland, another native territory, was added to the colony in 1894, and the year was marked by a departure in native policy for which Mr Rhodes was chiefly responsible. It dealt with the natives residing in certain native reserves, and in addition to providing for their interests and holdings, and in other ways protecting the privileges accorded to them, the principle of the duty of some degree of labour devolving upon every able-bodied native enjoying these privileges was asserted, and a small labour tax was levied. This Act, entitled the Glen Grey Act, enjoined that “ every male native residing in the district, exclusive of natives in possession of lands under ordinary quit-rent titles, or in freehold, who, in the judgment of the resident magistrate, is fit for and capable of labour, shall pay to the public revenue a tax of ten shillings per annum unless he can show to the satisfaction of the magistrate that he has been in service beyond the borders of the district for at least three months out of the previous twelve, when he will be exempt from the tax for that year, or unless he can show that he has been employed for a total period of three years, when he will be exempt altogether.” This is in many respects the most statesmanlike Act dealing with natives on the statute-book; and in the session of 1895 Mr Rhodes was able to report to the Cape Parliament that the Act then applied to 160,000 natives.