Изображения страниц

under the leadership of General Herzog, he, as premier, having succeeded General Smuts, who, like his predecessor, General Botha, had endeavored to obliterate the old antagonism by establishing goodwill between the two racial factions in an effort to promote the industrial and economic solidarity of South Africa. While we were there, however, General Herzog stated frankly in public that neither he nor his party had any intention of advocating secession from the British commonwealth. Nevertheless the attempt to introduce Afrikaans in place of High Dutch in the proceedings of Parliament marks a tendency that is regrettable, because it perpetuates a schism, which, to an American, seems out of date and highly prejudicial to the best interests of the country. Afrikaans is only a dialect; it is not a literary language, as is proved by the fact that it has not yet crystallized into a dictionary. Any boy or girl of Dutch stock that restricts himself or herself to the Boer jargon is cut off completely from the great body of literature in which the history and philosophy of the world are preserved. In Afrikaans, a dining-car is eet salon, and a railroad is spurwegen, which means track-way, so that it fails to signify the characteristic of the steel road on which our material civilization has progressed for a hundred years.

The Boer Premier resides in the house of his former antagonist, Rhodes, who left his place of residence, Groote Schurr, for the use of the premiers who would succeed him. The grounds that went with the house are now a public park. This is situated on the northern slope of Table Mountain, on which also, at a higher level, is the memorial to Rhodes, placed near the spot where he used to sit, and, looking steadily northward, dream his dream of extending the British dominion into the untrodden wilderness. A bronze statue, in contemplative pose, guarded by two rows of lions, in serried steps, is inscribed with the words: "To the spirit and life-work of Cecil John Rhodes, who loved and served South Africa." Yes, as Kipling has written, "living he was the land, and dead his soul shall be her soul." The spirit of Rhodes survives, the tradition of his work is strong through

out South Africa, and no orator can speak of the past or future of the country without invoking his memory.

From Cape Town we went to Kimberley, the center of the diamond mines whose story is so closely linked with Rhodes. When a boy of 18, in 1871, he came to the diggings from a cotton farm in Natal, to which he had gone from England for his health. Rhodes and his brother pegged some claims at Kimberley, and in due course he became one of the chief operators. Soon he acquired great wealth, which he used for the fulfillment of his political designs, to paint the map of South Africa pink-to make it British. He was, as Roseberry said, a practical visionary; he combined the commercial with the imaginative. The diamond industry of Kimberley not only yielded Rhodes the money needed to win success in his crude but effective methods of statesmanship, the mines were the first step of an industrial expansion that gave form and substance to the dream of the empirebuilder. The slave-trader, the missionary, and the biggame hunter in turn had traversed the jungle and the wilderness of what in our schoolboy days was Darkest Africa, a blank on the map wherein the Mountains of the Moon, the sources of the Nile, and the caves of the pigmies lurked in tropic obscurity. The slave-driver, the missionary, and the hunter pulled the curtain aside momentarily as each in turn emerged from the darkness, but the curtain closed behind them promptly, and no light entered the gloomy hinterlands of South Africa. It was the miner that tore the curtain down and admitted civilization into the jungle. In 1867 a little child, playing on the banks of the Orange River, picked up a shining pebble. It was a diamond. The discovery led to the development of a greatly productive industry, which in turn supplied the capital for the gold mines of the Witwatersrand, when, in 1886, they were discovered in the Transvaal. Rhodes was one of the first to participate in the acquisition of mining rights in what became. the greatest gold-field in the world. Last year it yielded $200,000,000 in gold. We went thither from Kimberley.

This mining district is known as the Rand, which is abbreviated from Witwatersrand, or White Waters Range, the name given by the Boer herdsmen when they found clear water on these wind-swept highlands, six thousand feet above the sea. The mines are distributed for a distance of sixty miles along the strike, or line, of a seam of conglomerate that yields gold in the proportion of a third of an ounce per ton. The deepest workings are now 6500 feet vertically below the surface. The digging is done by Kaffirs, the generic term for various negroid races recruited in the adjoining regions. Of these 180,000 work in the mines under the supervision of 19,000 whites. The natives live in compounds, rectangular enclosures made by lines of single-storied housing facing inward. They are well fed, they receive medical care, and they are paid five shillings per day on agreement to remain at work for various lengths of time, from six to eighteen months. The white man underground averages 25 shillings per day. He is separated from the native by a color bar, that is, the native is restricted mainly to labor of a purely mechanical kind, leaving skilled work to the white. This differentiation is recognized by regulations, and even by law. The idea is chiefly Dutch, the purpose being to give the inefficient white man a better chance of employment. This question was being discussed in the Union parliament during my visit, and much intellectual dishonesty was apparent in the debate. The Dutch and the Labor party wished to restrict the native's chances, in favor of the poorer kind of whites, whereas those interested in the mines, the financiers and promoters, representing what we in the United States term 'the big interests,' wanted to enlarge the scope of the black men in order to curb the arrogance of the labor unions, and decrease the cost of mining the gold by lowering the average wages.

In approaching this question of racial ascendancy, we must recognize the fact that the Kaffirs are not a decaying, but a virile race; in the next fifty years they are likely to increase to 16,500,000, as against the 5,000,000 now in the

Union of South Africa. The question is whether to educate them to the full privileges of citizenship or to limit their training to manual labor? It seems to me that it will be best for both races, the European and the African, that the limited intelligence of the Negro be not tried too severely by forcing upon him an education that is only a cerebral ferment, but that he be given a manual training, plus instruction in hygiene and agriculture. To give him the same teaching as a white child entails the eventual granting of citizenship, which would again bring an end to white domination, and result in the industrial ruin of the country, if not worse. The people of South Africa are faced with a condition, a deeply serious one, and not a theory, however attractive. may be the generous thought of equal treatment for every member of the community.

While at Johannesburg we went by automobile to Pretoria, 32 miles distant, the capital of the Transvaal during Kruger's règime and now the administrative center of the Union. There we saw the new Government building, and also Kruger's cottage, in the porch of which rest couchant two lions in white marble, the gift of one of the Jewish mine operators. Opposite is the church that he attended, the clock in the tower being remarkable on account of having no hands to mark the time. It is said that another mining magnate gave two golden hands for this clock, and that when Kruger fled from Pretoria, in 1900, on the approach of the British forces, he took them with him in his flight to Delagoa Bay. The story may be only ben trovato but I can testify to the fact that the hands of the clock are gone!

Paul Kruger was a survivor from an older dispensation; he was an ignorant, obstinate, but shrewd man, who, in his attempt to maintain the Boer ascendancy, profited from the blunders of his opponents. Their chief blunder was a criminal fiasco; I refer to the Jameson raid, which was a piece of rank filibustering, and by its failure stultified all the efforts of Rhodes and others to promote goodwill between the Dutch and English settlers in South Africa. The Boer trek into the wilderness, and the founding of the Transvaal

had much in common with the Mormon settlement on the shore of the Great Salt Lake. Brigham Young and his followers wished to be isolated, the better to live in their own fashion, including the practice of polygamy; Kruger and his followers likewise detached themselves from the Cape Colony in the desire to live in their own way, unhampered by the restraints of European culture, more particularly the British edict against slavery. Both the Mormon and the Boer communities thought they had isolated themselves completely, but the great tide of industrial civilization overtook them, swamped them, and left only a heroic memory of their great adventure.

From Johannesburg we went, by rail, to Bulawayo, a distance of 681 miles. We passed through Mafeking, a name now synonymous with hysteric jubilation, on account of the wild celebrations that marked the news of the relief of this town after a long siege by the Boers, on May 17, 1900. The day after our arrival at Bulawayo we went 30 miles by automobile to the foot of the Matoppo hills where Rhodes is buried. We walked for three-quarters of a mile to the top of a granite tor, a weather-worn mass of rock. In the granite floor, among several large boulders that shelter it, is the grave of the empire-builder. The inscription reads: "Here lie the remains of Cecil John Rhodes." Nearby, outside the circle of granite boulders, sleeps Jameson. "Here lies Leader Starr Jameson." I like the absence of titles; in the presence of Death all prefixes and suffixes seem pitiful. Rhodes chose this site as the Valhalla of Rhodesia; he called it the View of the World, at the time when he found the body of Moselikatse, the famous Matabele warrior, in one of the caves on the top of these Matoppo hills. As a matter of fact the view is not anything wonderful, but today the eye of the imagination gains a wide perspective and all the romantic drama of South Africa development is recalled as one stands by the tomb of Rhodes and that of his faithful comrade. The town of Bulawayo has its monument to Rhodes, but I liked the other memorials of him even more, the avenues of trees that he planted in many parts of South

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »