The War in South Africa
For some reason, which may be either arrogance or apathy, the British are very slow to state their case to the world. At present the reasons for our actions and the methods which we have used are set forth in many Blue-books, tracts, and leaflets, but have never, so far as I know, been collected into one small volume. In view of the persistent slanders to which our politicians and our soldiers have been equally exposed, it becomes a duty which we owe to our national honour to lay the facts before the world. I wish someone more competent, and with some official authority, had undertaken the task, which I have tried to do as best I might from an independent standpoint.
There was never a war in history in which the right was absolutely on one side, or in which no incidents of the campaign were open to criticism. I do not pretend that it was so here. But I do not think that any unprejudiced man can read the facts without acknowledging that the British Government has done its best to avoid war, and the British Army to wage it with humanity.
To my publisher and to myself this work has been its own reward. In this way we hope to put the price within the reach of all, and yet leave a profit for the vendor. Our further ambition is, however, to translate it into all European tongues, and to send a free copy to every deputy and every newspaper on the Continent and in America. For this work money will be needed—a considerable sum. We propose to make an appeal to the public for these funds. Any sums which are sent to me or to my publisher will be devoted to this work. There cannot be too much, for the more we get the more we shall do.
I may add that I have not burdened my pages with continual references. My quotations are reliable and can always, if necessary, be substantiated.
A. CONAN DOYLE.