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“HONOUR TO ...WHOM HONOUR 32 109
and instead of proceeding, I handed in my resignation and claim, which were accepted, whilst my services in some undefined capacity were retained. The men were kept in service for but eighteen days more.
It is but justice to them to publish the address they received at the time, which is the only proper acknowledgment they may ever have of their undoubtedly good service—a service rendered under the most trying and painful circumstances conceivable.
“ORDERs, LYDENBERG, 30th May 1877.
“MR ADJUTANT WHITE AND GENTLEMEN, -Before you separate, I feel it incumbent on me to thank you for the personal devotion you have exhibited to me during the period of my command; and in doing so I think it not unfitting that I should enter upon a résumé of your services, and a criticism of your conduct. Your behaviour in the field has been better than could have been expected from volunteers hastily drawn together from different sources and of various nationalities. Your readiness to obey, unquestioningly and promptly, the orders of your officers; your coolness under fire and firmness in retreat—even under difficult circumstances—deserve praise. You have borne hunger, thirst, and fatigue uncomplainingly; and your discipline has been such, that even under almost unbearable neglect, you have never given your commander one moment's anxiety. You have been thanked six times by the State for ordinary, and twice for special, services. Your treatment of the halfhostile population whom you were called upon to assist, has, notwithstanding their marked ingratitude, been characterised by forbearance and generosity. I may here advert to the fact that you served without pay, or even the hope of receiving it, from the 14th of August 1876 to the 17th April 1877; and that, although crippled by want of resources —horses and other military necessaries—you have actually performed all your officers engaged that you should do—that is, hold the fort, cover the Lydenberg district, and harass the enemy. You have faced fever in its stronghold, as well as a treacherous enemy in the most rugged and difficult part of the theatre of the late war. You have lost one captain, two lieutenants, one sergeant, two corporals, and six men—a very large number in proportion to your strength and the losses of other corps engaged on similar service; and several of you have suffered much from wounds and sickness. Let us rejoice that through your charity and valour, the bodies of all our comrades have received Christian burial, not one of them being finally left to the enemy or the desert. You have never forsaken your wounded on the field, no matter how dangerous the task of bringing them out of the power of the enemy. And here I feel called upon to mention, with the highest commendation, the conduct of those men, foremost amongst whom were Dr Ashton and Philip Ribas, who assisted your bravest officer, the late Captain von Schlieckmann, from under fire at Mahera's Kloof.
“In one thing only you have disappointed me, you have failed to assist your leaders to carry out their original plans. We sought to obtain your consent to a deed of partnership, by which you would have become “a corporation,” as well as a company of soldiers. Had you done so, your finances would have been to-day in a flourishing condition, and your power could have been exercised to the direction of so large an immigration to the country granted you by the Volksraad that the great and serious difficulties of the “settler' question could never have arisen. For reckless courage we will ever remember that Adolph Kuhneisen and Karl Haagman deserve our meed of praise. To name all who have distinguished themselves would be an impossible task, as well as an invidious one, when so many have earned honourable mention. I trust that you will ever remember to speak well of our native ally Windvogel, whose services have been priceless to the Company. Amongst the officers I have specially to thank Captain Reidel for his cordial co-operation ; Lieutenants White, Bayley, and Eckersley, for their assistance both in the field and fort; and Lieutenant von Steitencron for his perfect performance of many fatiguing and dangerous duties. Amongst the non-commissioned officers, Messrs Ashley, Rogin, England, Ryan, and Degenkolw, merit especial mention. The Company should also remember that it owes a debt of gratitude to Messrs Jwy and Pearson, for having, after six months' mismanagement, taken the books in hand, and put the accounts in the clear, fair, and complete form in which they were finally presented to Government. Mr Beeton, in his department, has also deserved well of the Company. “In conclusion, I can only say that your conduct, when engaged in the suppression of certain civil disturbances—your patience under trial and neglect—your discipline, obedience, good conduct, and freedom from crime, have disproved the whole of the slanders circulated against you by those who said you were picked out of the “gutter.” I have only to call on those who enter the services of the new Government, to be as faithful, loyal, and obedient to its officers, as the Company has been to its most obedient servant, THE COMMANDANT.”
The next step taken by the Government was to forward to Pretoria all the arms and military stores from Fort Burgers, leaving the north-eastern border utterly defenceless in the event of an attack from any quarter. Very strong representations, however, secured for Lydenberg 1 gun and 66 rifles, 25 of which were, by Captain Clarke, lent to the Gold Fields community, who were subject to ill-defined fears, probably the effects of remorse of conscience. I shall now deal with the after-treatment of the volunteers by Government— a treatment which nothing can palliate or justify. In doing this, I make no attack upon Sir Theophilus Shepstone, whose valuable time had to be hourly devoted to the consideration of more important questions. Whatever wrong has been done proceeds entirely from the little views of little men, whom the unfortunate circumstance of the connection of the new Government with Natal brought into office,
BROKEN CONTRACTS. 11 1
A very large number of the volunteers had sold their farm rights for ridiculously disproportionate sums as they were mustered out. These, of course, should be disallowed, as a few of these sales only were completed with the formalities required by the Dutch Government. One bad boy sold his “right” for £2, 7s.6d.; while the highest price obtained on any of these occasions was £20. These sales were all, as a rule, contrary to the laws of the corps, which provided that farms should be sold subject to the production of substitutes, who would perform the five years' border and occupation duty contemplated by the law, gazetted October 28, 1876. But still a very large number retained their certificates, announced their willingness to fulfil the occupation clauses, and expected to be put in possession of their property. Than this proposition nothing could be fairer. Government could insist on a five years' occupancy of the neutral and conquered territory, in the face of which it would have been comparatively easy to them to have bought up the rights of the individuals, fairly and openly, for what they might be worth when tested along with all their servitudes and inconveniences.
This course, unhappily, did not commend itself to the little men I have referred to. They devised a scheme called the “bonus’ arrangement, and then, denying that the war had been brought to a successful conclusion, repudiated in toto the land-claims of the corps, offering to each man £20, for which he was to sign the following receipt:
“I hereby acknowledge to have received the sum of £20 sterling from Captain Clarke, R.A., his Eaccellency's Special Commissioner for Lydenberg, being the bonus allowed by Government to Private — on his discharge from the Lydenberg Volunteer Corps.”
This receipt was readily signed, as it said nothing about. the lands. In Pretoria, however, men on signing were asked to give up their land-certificates, which some of them did. The bonus is now held to be a complete settlement of all claims against the Government. By this, bond fide purchasers have been defeated; the border, which would have been protected by a corps of military settlers, left utterly undefended; and much discontent created. Secocoeni was also, by this
foolish measure, led to believe himself unconquered, and was enabled to reoccupy territory from which his people had been banished during the war. The result is now patent. Government has had recently to pay as much as 6s. per man per day cash, and all found, for a police force, and £10 a-month each to volunteers, to go over the old ground, although, I am sorry to say, not in the old way or with the old success. Thus ends the history of the Lydenberg Volunteers, who were really not volunteers at all, but the properly enlisted soldiers of the little State which has ceased to exist. Many of the men have since rendered good service to the new Government; and, as I think I mention elsewhere, a majority of those who have fallen with honour under the British flag belonged to that corps which Government last year got rid of so cavalierly.
Land-sharks—Professional mine-salters—Artistic swindling—The reason why —Agriculture—A happy home—Princely profits—What we can grow— Statistical—Stock-farming—Profit and loss—A shameful gold-swindle— Our mines—Glacial action—Sculptured stones.
WHEREVER one goes to, throughout South Africa, excepting always the western provinces of the Cape of Good Hope, a man is apt to have forced upon him, sometimes by wellmeaning men, but oftener by rogues and fools, or by fussy and over-sanguine persons, most deplorable accounts of neglected riches, of unexplored and unworked mines, and of most pitiably and unaccountably undeveloped sources of wealth which are represented as abounding on every side. In the Transvaal especially the stranger is wearied by the endless parade of resources: to-day it is a gold rush; tomorrow it may be cinnabar; yesterday it was cobalt ; last month it was lead; and in a year hence it may be coal or iron. Some people seem almost to have “minerals on the brain.” By some people I undoubtedly mean those who impudently speak of themselves as “the people”—the goodhumoured, lazy, cigar-smoking, brandy-and-water-drinking shopkeepers, agents, waiters on Providence, barmen, and loafers, comprising the unproductive class, whose sole idea of progress is a something grand and sudden, by which things generally will be doubled in value about twice amonth.” Now these fellows, as a rule, have no property,
* “In the English colonies in South Africa at any rate, there are a set of people who answer to the mean whites of the Southern States of America. A large portion of our people are more or less vagabonds.” —FROUDE.