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The Convention spirit was active, and public men of very party made speeches extolling the Union and attering peans of congratulation at the burial for all time of racial animosities. But the test of practical politics put an end to pious aspirations and comforting dreams. Elections for the Union Parliament took place in 1910, and it may be interesting to recall a dramatic incident. The seat at Standerton was a safe one for General Botha, but he decided, unwisely, as it turned out, to contest the Pretoria East constituency against Sir Percy Fitzpatrick. After an exciting fight, he was beaten by 95 votes, and, for the moment, he took the rebuff greatly to heart. The polls, however, were quite decisive, giving the South African Party 67 seats-a majority of thirteen over the rest of the House-which comprised, in addition, 37 Unionists, 13 Natal Independents, and 4 Labour members. The success of his Party restored General Botha's equanimity, and he then accepted the Losberg seat and became Prime Minister of the Union.
Aspirants for the fame and flesh-pots of office abounded; and no Cabinet of workable size could have been created that would not have left a good many ambitions unsatisfied, with the inevitable foundation for opposing factions to build upon. Still, the principles at stake were vital, and the psychological moment presented itself for a really great statesman to have taken the risk of drawing a diagonal line across racial boundaries once and for all. A man with the strength of character and vision of Lord Chatham would have taken the plunge, even had he been overwhelmed in consequence. General Botha preached goodwill and conciliation in season and out of season, but he failed at that moment to put into practice the one effective step towards harmony by disregarding the racial origin of his Ministers. While it is true that the seven members of the Cabinet were not exclusively Dutch South-Africans, they were predominantly so; and, with the exception of Mr Hull, who became Treasurer, they had all been, in previous days, exclusively identified with the South African Party. The one man whose inclusion in the Cabinet would have been accepted as the true emblem of racial union, Sir Starr Jameson, was omitted.
Thus it came about that the first elections fo Union parliament, held in September 1910, were fou practically on the old lines; and to-day we appear to as far from the 'one-stream' policy as we were th But appearances may be deceptive. Experience education, not unmixed with lessons of the Great W are at work; and, although no practical steps have been taken to bridge the gulf, there are not want signs of an impending change. The Dutch themsel have recently split into two factions; the one, styled Nationalist Party, under General Hertzog, wishes disregard the pledges given at Vereeniging; the oth called the South African Party, under General Sm respects them. The latter party, on account of its lo attitude and more progressive outlook, has attracted its ranks considerable support from the inhabitants British birth or origin, with the general result that English-speaking section has partly lost its identity the South African Party, and is otherwise about equa represented by the Unionist and Labour members.
It is devoutly to be wished for South African p gress and happiness that some means may be fou of speedily bringing about more stable conditions in t political arena. The republican propaganda need not viewed with undue apprehension, because a consideral section of the Dutch, born and bred under the Briti flag, would be against its disappearance. The whole the English, of course, are of the same mind; and t natives would be most unquestionably opposed to t formation of what they would regard as a Dut Republic. They have a lively recollection of the description as scepsels (creatures) in the old Transva grondwet (constitution). I am impelled to say at th point that Mr Bonar Law could hardly have giv weighty consideration to the statement he made in t House of Commons on March 30 of this year (in t debate on Irish Home Rule), that, if the self-governi dominions chose to-morrow to say, "We will no long make a part of the British Empire," we would not try force them.' The Cape of Good Hope is one of the mo important strategic points in the whole Empire; and i secession would probably be viewed at home and in t rest of the British Empire somewhat in the same lig
as that in which the North viewed the proposed secession of the South from the United States of America.
General Botha came over to England to attend the Imperial Conference in 1907 and 1911; and upon these as on all other occasions his romantic figure marked him out for special popularity in this country. The keynote of his attitude in regard to Imperial affairs has been freedom of action for the Dominions in their domestic policy, and unity in all external matters. His quarrel with Hertzog originated over the latter's unbridled antiimperial speeches, particularly in connexion with the South African contribution to the Navy, and his 'twostream' policy, under which he advocated racialism of the worst kind. Botha finally expelled him from his Cabinet. From that event sprang the consolidation and rise of what is now known as the Nationalist Party, led by Hertzog and represented in the House of Assembly to-day by no less than forty-four seats. It would be incorrect to say that the whole of the Nationalist Party would like to see the British flag expelled from South Africa. Some at least of the followers of Hertzog are sufficiently versed in the world's affairs to realise the defenceless position of a country like South Africa, in its present state of population and development, against attack by any first-rate Power, without the support of the British Empire. Still, the great majority of the members of that party are unsophisticated farmers from the back-veld, with little knowledge of the world, a belief that South Africa is the hub of the universe, a partiality for the patriarchal views of President Kruger, and a conviction that the Dutch of South Africa are exclusively 'the people' and should be endowed with exclusive rule. Power in the hands of a Government set up by such a party would bring about a repetition of many of the errors that led to the troubles of the past and might end in civil war.
In the Johannesburg labour troubles of July 1913, Botha at first failed to realise the penalty that always The forces of disorder were allowed to accumulate, and waits upon supineness on the part of the Government. the gold-mining industry was brought to a standstill. Extremist sections marched from mine to mine and forced the workers to come out on strike, until by the
end of the week everything was closed down and market-square at Johannesburg, which holds tens thousands of people, contained a seething mass strikers and sight-seers, inextricably mixed up. nightfall on the evening of Friday, July 4, the t bulent and destructive elements burned down the Pa Station and the 'Star' offices, and were only prevent from wrecking the Corner House by the police usi their fire-arms. On the following day, General Bot and General Smuts came over to the Rand and fou that order could not be restored without a great penditure of innocent blood besides that of the d turbers of the peace. Botha, not having realised t effect of previous inaction, was, I think, justified refusing to face the horror then confronting him. E therefore, surrendered to the strikers. Work w resumed on the following Monday under conditio better imagined than described. The white miners, w regard themselves as the workers, in spite of most the work being done by the natives, were masters of t situation and did exactly what they liked. Within s months, a further strike was threatened, and inde begun; but, profiting by the experience previous gained, the Government took adequate precautions, a the stoppage of the industry lasted only half a da On this occasion, the leaders of the movement did n succeed in gaining anything by the turmoil they ha created. The strikes of July 1913, and of January 191 are remarkable examples of the effect of weak or strong government; and no one, I think, grasped th situation more clearly than Botha.
While it would be out of place here to discuss & length the subject last referred to, it is worth while point out that the white man in South Africa (wh enjoys the position of a supervisor, on the one han but claims, on the other, all the rights of combination copied from the procedure in England) is placing himse in a very dangerous situation, because he has but t teach the native worker (which he is doing) to follow hi example, and some day he will find himself as well a his fellow-citizens in a most precarious position.
So much has been written of General Botha's cours
of action since the outbreak of the world-war that it would be superfluous to dwell at length upon that period, but that he never wavered for one moment from his allegiance to the Empire is unquestionable. That the necessity for crushing rebellion among his own compatriots must have been abhorrent to him is equally certain. He was a man whose cast of mind turned to compromise, conciliation, and persuasion as the way of winning through. To be forced to pursue and destroy men of his own race, even in open rebellion, must have caused him the keenest pain, but he never hesitated. Great Britain was at war, and South Africa was at war; there could be no question in his mind of optional neutrality. He appealed to Mr Steyn, former President of the Orange Free State, to use his influence to bring the rebels to reason, but the answer was unfavourable, as Mr Steyn objected to General Botha's invasion of South-West Africa. Botha brought that campaign to a rapid conclusion in a series of brilliant tactical moves, with but little loss of life. He then deputed his chief lieutenant, General Smuts, to take control of the East African campaign, which proved to be a much more lengthy and arduous undertaking. Finally, when the horrors of the struggle in Europe and elsewhere were brought to a close by the Armistice of November 1918, General Botha came over to England for the Peace Conference, visiting countries in Europe where problems had to be studied in anticipation of the Treaty of Peace. He was welcomed here with all the marks of affection and esteem to which he had been accustomed on previous occasions, and, of course, had he so desired, would have received almost any honour or decoration to which he might have aspired. No doubt partly in deference to the views of his compatriots, he declined any titular distinction, but became a member of His Majesty's Privy Council, having previously accepted an honorary Generalship in the British Army, which he valued very highly as a mark of distinction rarely granted. His intimate friends were aware that the state of his health left much to be desired, but no one anticipated his early death, which took place at midnight on Aug. 27, 1919.
The briefness of this narrative necessitates the omission of a great many points in this distinguished