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how mistaken and unpatriotic was the course they permitted themselves to be led into by their dominant faction—“the huckster's party.” The gold-miners had been granted exceptional privileges, and returned two members to the Wolksraad or Parliament of the country, whose views were ever listened to with respect. If they made a bad choice, and sent men who did not represent them properly to Parliament, the Republic is not to blame. It showed itself to be catholic enough and liberal enough to welcome new blood, and to seek the counsels of progressive men. Even this did not please the Gold Fields community. They went on from bad to worse; one of their idols was committed for contempt of court by their magistrate — John Scoble — an Englishman; and this event serving as an excuse for a display of most unwarrantable passion, they released the prisoner. It is painful to have to state the discreditable fact that they added to this outrage personal insult to the highly respectable gentleman filling the office of Gold Commissioner. They knocked him down, insulted his white hairs, pulled his beard, and subjected him to vilifications and indignities. Such conduct could not be permitted to continue. It had not been participated in by all the inhabitants of the Fields; in fact, considerable numbers viewed the proceedings with displeasure. The rowdy element was but a small part of the little mining community; but as it had been encouraged and let loose by the workings of a political party which loudly proclaimed itself to be “the people,” there was, for a moment, some danger that order might be seriously disturbed. It was impossible to expect impartiality from the insulted officials. The chief of my district—Landdrost Roth—a man of great tact, experience, and ability, was absent on a taxcollecting tour. Captain von Brandis, formerly an officer in the English service, requested me to intervene, and at all events restore the rule of law and order. From the fort was concentrated on Kruger's Post all our available horsemen; and a guard of infantry accompanied Captain Reidel and a cannon to a spot convenient for the assumption of the offensive should hostilities ensue. If the whole of the population of the Fields had chosen to revolt they could have been starved out, and brought to their senses in ten days. Below their mountains, to the east, stretched (cutting them off from Delagoa Bay) the fever and the fly; to the north and south lay the pathless mountains of Secocoeni and the Amaswazi. Only through Lydenberg could they receive help; and the presence of the volunteers on the main road effectually prevented this. I was, however, satisfied that the diggers were anything but unanimous against the Republic, and that the disorderly party must speedily be abandoned by its more intelligent members if the quarrel were not allowed to go too far. Leaving the troop at Kruger's Post, I went in alone to the Fields. On my arrival I found that, with tact, the matter admitted of settlement. Eighteen of the principals, at my solicitation, surrendered themselves, and were put on their trial for riot. I then bailed out all the prisoners, and succeeded in patching up matters between the editor and the magistrate. There had undoubtedly been faults on both sides; but rather than have permitted a breach of the peace, I would have removed the officials and installed myself as Gold Commissioner. Suavity and determination carried the day, and I was more pleased with the pacific settlement of the Gold Fields question, by which I put down the rising enmity between English and Dutch, than I would have been had I won ten victories over the Kafirs." The matter came up again in a month, but all ill-feeling had then died away, and everybody has ever since lived on the best possible terms with everybody else. It was March 1st when I returned to my camp, which I speedily broke up, sending the men again to the frontier. The after-history of the Gold Fields I may as well insert here. British government, as everybody knows, was proclaimed over the Transvaal on April 12, 1877. Just forty-two days after the rising above mentioned, Captain Clarke, R.A., went down the Pilgrim's Hill, and entered the village, escorted by the tag-rag and bob-tail, who look on free drinks as the wisest and most natural result of revolutions. He was preceded
THE GOLD FIELDs A FAILURF. . . . 101
by Gunn’s celebrated piper, playing a triumphant march,
and was closely attended by the Glynns of Kruger's Post -
(two in number), who had always hitherto described themselves as “her Majesty's British subjects in the Transvaal.” Champagne-corks flew in every direction, rags looked sprightly for one sunny day, tumble-down shanties put on a festive appearance, and Pilgrim's Rest was very gay as it hailed the representative of the new order of things. The rejoicings have been short-lived. Even Captain Clarke could not turn a poor patchy diggings into a gold-field; he had no influence with the clerk of the weather. A season of drought, difficulty, poverty, and even hunger, followed swiftly upon the hour of triumph, and the population began dwindling away,+vanishing from hour to hour, as their misery and their necessities compelled them to abandon the luckless place. Their weekly post-cart—their solitary connecting-link with civilisation—was soon taken from them ; and when, in February last, a fresh war broke out with Secocoeni, the Dutchmen, whom they hated, had the pleasure of seeing that no special protection was afforded to them by the new Government, while their best men volunteered and were drafted off to the fort beyond Middleburg. Their condition as a community was, in fact, rendered worse than ever through the abandonment of Fort Burgers —the advanced post on their side of the Lulus. Between drought, war, and want of luck, Providence has dealt hardly with the diggers and the hucksters. The Kafirs have thrice since the British government was established invaded their valleys and carried off their cattle; and their numbers are reduced to less than 124 adults, who eke out a miserable existence on the scene of their former boastfulness and folly. They never had a “gold-field ; ” and I emphatically warn every person who may read this book, to avoid Pilgrim's Rest, Peach-tree Rush, Plum-tree Creek, Macmac, and Spitzkop as they would the workhouse. I have known respectable men, hard-working, honest creatures, sober and industrious, who have slaved and starved for many weary months on these so-called “Gold Fields,” unable to obtain, day by day, more than some crushed maize or Kafir corn to assuage their hunger or keep up their strength.
... : : The “ Pilgrims," with their thirst for gold and their fool.
---ish “making haste to be rich,” have been the real and principal cause of the annexation of the Transvaal, and the estrangement of its Dutch inhabitants from their English colonial brethren. God send that this may not result in anything worse than the destruction which fell like a blight on the gold-diggers themselves | As a community, they have no longer any influence, political or otherwise. Their newspaper has been prosecuted by the Government it invoked, and has happily ceased to exist.
Sic transit /
At this time—the beginning of March—when the Gold Fields affair was brought to a happy and peaceful conclusion, the President wrote us a letter, in which, after thanking the corps for its services, he proposed its disembodiment. This was speedily followed by another announcing that the contract with the corps had terminated, that its pay and allowances were forthwith to cease, and that at as early a date as possible, surveyors would be sent to put them in possession of their lands. Thus the Company had fairly completed its service, and so far had earned all the rewards, grants of land, burgher rights, and other privileges included in its contract with the State. An obligation was created, which certainly is entitled to take its place amongst those contemplated and guaranteed in the following paragraph of Sir T. Shepstone's annexation proclamation,-" All the bonā fide concessions and contracts with governments, companies, or individuals, by which the State is now bound, will be honourably maintained and respected, and the payment of the debts of the State must be provided for.” Up to this date no actual cash by way of pay, with the exception of the £25 advanced for our use in Pretoria, had come to hand. The men had received, as a Company, credit to a large amount; and this, through the enterprise of the representatives of Paul Henwood & Co. of London, and Percy Hope & Co. of Durban, with others, had been largely