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[history COLONY system of the South African Republic, this Government in power on the Bond’s support, his position was un- sentative is convinced that no ground whatever exists for active interference doubtedly a trying one. At the same time, as Prime in the internal affairs of that Republic. Minister of a British colony, it was strongly felt by loyal This letter was precipitate and unfortunate. On 11th colonists that he should at least have refrained from openly interfering between the Transvaal and the July, after seeing Mr Hofmeyr on his return, Mr Imperial Government during the course of most difficult Schreiner made a personal appeal to President Kruger to negotiations. His public expressions of opinion were approach the Imperial Government in a friendly spirit. hostile in tone to the policy pursued by Mr Chamberlain At this time an incident occurred which raised the feeling and Sir Alfred Milner. The effect of them, it was against Mr Schreiner to a very high pitch. On 7th July believed, might conceivably be to encourage President 500 rifles and 1,000,000 rounds of ammunition were Kruger in persisting in his rejection of the British terms. landed at Port Elizabeth, consigned to the Free State Mr Mr Schreiner, it is true, used directly what influence he Government, and forwarded to Bloemfontein. possessed to induce President Kruger to adopt a reason- Schreiner’s attention was called to this consignment at the able course. But however excellent his intentions, his time, but he refused to stop it, alleging as his reason publicly expressed disapproval of the Chamberlain-Milner that, inasmuch as Great Britain was at peace with the policy probably did more harm than his private influence Free State, he had no right to interdict the passage of with Mr Kruger could possibly do good. On 11th June arms through the Cape Colony. The British colonist is 1899, shortly after the Bloemfontein Conference, from as capable of a grim jest as the Transvaal Boer, and this of Mr Schreiner’s won for him the nickname which Sir Alfred Milner had just returned, Mr Schreiner action u Ammunition Bill.” At a later date he was accused of asked the High Commissioner to inform Mr Chamberlain that he and his colleagues agreed in regarding President delay in forwarding artillery and rifles for the defence of Kruger’s Bloemfontein proposals as ct practical, reasonable, Kimberley, Mafeking, and other towns of _ the colony. and a considerable step in the right direction.” Early in The reason he gave for delay was that he did not anticiJune, however, the Cape Dutch politicians began to pate war; and that he did not wish to excite unwarrantrealize that President Kruger’s attitude was not so reason- able suspicions in the minds of the Free State. . His able as they had endeavoured to persuade themselves, and conduct in both instances may have been technically Mr Hofmeyr, accompanied by Mr Herholdt, the Cape correct, but it was much resented by loyal colonists. On 28th July Mr Chamberlain sent a conciliatory Minister of Agriculture, visited Pretoria. On arrival, they despatch to President Kruger, suggesting a meeting of found that the Transvaal Yolksraad, in a spirit of defiance and even levity, had just passed a resolution offering four delegates to consider and report on his last franchise pronew seats in the Yolksraad to the mining districts, and posals, which were complex to a degree. Mr Schreiner, fifteen to exclusively burgher districts. Mr Hofmeyr, on on 3rd August, telegraphed to Mr Fischer begging the meeting the executive, freely expressed indignation at Transvaal to welcome Mr Chamberlain’s proposal. At a these proceedings. Unfortunately, Mr Hofmeyr s in- later date, on receiving an inquiry from the Free State as fluence was more than counterbalanced by an emissary to the movements of British troops, Mr Schreiner curtly from the Free State, Mr Abraham Fischer, who, while refused any information, and referred the Free State to affecting to be a peacemaker, practically encouraged the the High Commissioner. On 28th August Sir Gordon Boer executive to take extreme measures. Mr Hofmeyr’s Sprigg in the House of Assembly moved the adjournment established reputation as an astute diplomatist, and as of the debate, to discuss the removal of arms to the Free the trusted leader for years of the Cape Dutch party, State. Mr Schreiner, in reply, used expressions which made him as powerful a delegate as it was possible to called down upon him the severest censure and indignafind. His political insight enabled him at once to see tion, both in the colony and in Great Britain. He stated that a concession to those' moderate franchise demands that, should the storm burst, he would keep the colony which constituted the substance of Sir Alfred Milner’s aloof with regard both to its forces and its people. In proposals at Bloemfontein, and which came to be known the course of the speech he also read a telegram from as the “ Milner Minimum,” might safely be accepted by President Steyn, in which the president repudiated all the Transvaal without jeopardizing its independence. He contemplated aggressive action on the part of the Free recognized that a free admission of the U itlanders to the State as absurd. The speech created a great sensation franchise, with some additional ten Uitlander seats in the in the British press. It was probably forgotten at Yolksraad, would not only leave the independence of the the time (though Lord Kimberley afterwards publicly Transvaal unimpaired, but would leave the Boers largely stated it) that one of the chief reasons why the masters of the situation; while he trusted to time to Gladstone Government had granted the retrocession ol reconcile other differences, such as the questions of the Transvaal after Majuba, was the fear that the Cape voting for President and Commandant-General. If any Colonial Dutch would join their kinsmen if the war emissary could accomplish anything in the way of persuad- continued. What was a danger in 1881, Mr Schreiner ing Mr Kruger, it was assuredly Mr Hofmeyr. Much knew to be a still greater danger in 1899. At the same was looked for from his mission by moderate men of all time it is quite obvious, from a review of Mr Schreiner s parties, and by none more so, it is fair to believe, than by conduct through the latter half of 1899, that he took an Mr Schreiner. But Mr Hofmeyr’s mission, like every entirely mistaken view of the Transvaal situation. He other mission to Mr Kruger to induce him to take a evinced, as Premier of the Cape Colony, the same inabi ity reasonable and equitable course, proved entirely fruitless. to understand the Uitlanders’ grievances, the same futile He returned to Cape Town disappointed, but probably not belief in the eventual fairness of President Kruger, as lie altogether surprised at the failure of his mission. Mean- had shown when giving evidence before the British South while a new proposal was drafted by the Boer executive, Africa Select Committee into the causes of the Jameson which, before it was received in its entirety, or at least Eaid. Actual experience taught him that President before it was clearly understood, elicited^ from ^ Mr Kruger was beyond an appeal to reason, and that the Schreiner a letter on 7th July to the South African News, protestations of President Steyn were insincere. War had no sooner commenced with the ultimatum of the rans in which, referring to his Government, he said: vaal Bepublic on 9th October 1899, than Mr Sc ireiner ‘ ‘ While anxious and continually active with good hope in the found himself called upon to deal with the conduct ox cause of securing reasonable modifications of the existing lepie572

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