National Geographic : 1896 Nov
THE REVOLT OF THE UITLANDERS vastly less difficult than those with which President Kruger and Dr Leyds have successfully grappled during the past few months. This district might be governed by commissioners and a judiciary appointed by the president of the republic, almost precisely as the District of Columbia is administered. The efficiency of such an administration would depend only on securing able and honest men, and it is absurd to doubt that the Transvaal can secure the services of such. The present tyrannical oppres sion of the Rand disgraces a people to whom no sacrifices were too great for the attainment of their own freedom. They should be the first to appreciate the hardships under which the Uit landers are suffering, and to show the value they themselves put on liberty by imposing no unjust restraints upon others. The Uitlanders made repeated efforts, by passing resolutions and presenting petitions, to obtain the franchise and the redress of grievances. These efforts extended over several years, but they met with no success. During the closing months of 1895 the agitation for reform was accentuated. The discontent of the Uitlanders was at this stage fomented under the guise of sym pathy by residents of other portions of South Africa with a view to creating disturbances in the republic for ulterior ends. The idea was broached of making an armed demonstration, which it was hoped might impress the Boers sufficiently to bring about the desired changes. This seemed possible, because the Uit landers are supposed to number about 50,000 men and the Boers only about 25,000 * adult males. The plan of threatening the government with force of arms was unfortunate from its very inception. Many of the Uitlanders felt that while the grievances were sore, they were not great enough to justify armed revolt, and these men withdrew from the movement. The seceders were chiefly those least susceptible to the influence of the purely English element in South Africa, viz., the Germans and a few Frenchmen. The bad feeling and even alienation arising from this defection is not yet allayed. The split in the Chamber of Mines, which is now unfavorably affect ing business, was one of its results. While the Boers were fully equipped, the foreigners were almost unarmed, and the importa tion of arms is under legal restrictions, originating in the neces sity of limiting or suppressing the sale of guns to the blacks. To procure arms in any quantity, therefore, it was necessary to * This is Mr Charles Leonard's estimate. The Boers on that basis must count a total population of something like 125,000. The Uitlanders in the republic are very largely bachelors and probably number something like 75,000 men, women, and children.