National Geographic : 1896 Nov
THE REVOLT OF THE UITLANDERS Thus, except in the resources appropriate to pioneers, they had been left behind in the march of civilization. The British colonial policy in the early decades of this century had not yet developed into its modern phase of mildness in any part of the world. In 1815 took place a little disturbance which has been designated by the exaggerated name of the " rebellion " of Slachter's Nek.* Two of the insurgent Boers and one Hot tentot British soldier only were killed, yet the British punished the revolt by hanging five men, none of whom had shed a drop of blood, while thirty-two others were condemned to banishment, imprisonment, or fines. This cruel sentence, followed by no com mutation, has never been forgotten by the Boers, and small is the wonder. The use of the Dutch language was forbidden in the courts of Cape Colony in 1827, and for a short time those who did not understand English were even disqualified from jury duty. In 1834 the slaves were emancipated suddenly by act of Parliament. The compensation proposed was only one third of the appraised value, and the conditions of obtaining this fraction were so onerous that the colonists in many cases realized only a fifth or a sixth of the actual value, and sometimes nothing at all. Many families were reduced to want, and great misery was caused by the injudicious execution of a measure the prin ciple of which was laudable. The emancipated negroes were placed on a political equality with their recent masters, and the government refused to pass vagrant laws to control the blacks. This was a period when philanthropists were very enthusiastic on the subject of the universal brotherhood of man, and it was supposed by many well-meaning people that Kaffir tribes were intrinsically on a par with white communities. The Boers knew better. Their refusal to acknowledge the equality of white and black drew down on them the wrath of the missionaries, who were extremely influential both in London and Cape Town. There seems to be no doubt that the Dutch were represented as far more cruel to the natives than they really were, while the blacks were painted as far less barbarous than they are known to have been. t Thus the mutual antagonism of the Boers and the English was fomented by the apostles of peace. *The origin of this affair was the refusal of a Boer named Bezuidenhout to comply with a summons to answer a charge of having ill-treated a colored servant. There seems to have been no politics in it. tThat some terrible cruelties have been perpetrated by the Boers on the blacks during periods of hostility is not to be doubted. It must be remembered that white prisoners taken by the blacks were and are tortured with indignities sickening to hear of and quite indescribable in print.