John George Fraser.

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other regarding terms of peace, and on the 3rd of
August a Convention was signed, re-establishing
the independence of the South African Republic.
About this time a political association termed
"The Afrikander Bond," which had its origin at
the Paarl, in Cape Colony, was founded by the
Keverend S. J. du Toit, in the years 1 879-1 880.
It was an expression of the animosity aroused
during the British occupation of the Transvaal,
and the anti-British feeling which inspired a
certain section of the Dutch population. The
object of the Bond was to foster the national
consciousness which had been awakened by the
Transvaal War of Independence, i88f'-8i. The
Bond was to be the preparation for the future
confederation of all the States and colonies of
South Africa, under their own flag, but it was
only upon the retrocession of the Transvaal by
Gladstone in 1881 that it took definite shape, and
branches were established on a draft constitution



Member and Chairman, Volksraad, O.F.S. yy

in the Colony and Transvaal. In 1883 an amalga-
mation took place between the Bond and the
Farmers' Protection Association, which was a
society started by Mr. J. H. Hofmeyr and Mr. D. P.
van den Heever to watch over the general
interest of farmers, and to arouse in them an
interest in political life and parliamentary elec-
tions. By this amalgamation a very much
wider scope for the propagation of the Bond
principles was obtained, and ostensibly a change
was made in the declaration of its policy whereby
the open expression of hostility to everything
English was eliminated, and its aim represented
as the union of the Dutch and English people in
South Africa in a common antagonism to Great'
Britain's power, influence, and presence in the
land. Mr. Reitz, at that time Chief Justice of the
Orange Free State, and Mr. Carl Borckenhagen,
editor of the " Express," a paper published in the
Orange Free State, were strong protagonists of
the Afrikander Bond, and tried by every means
to establish branches of it in the Orange Free State.
On a certain afternoon these gentlemen called
at my house in Bloemfontein and invited me to
accompany them to a meeting to be held by
Mr. J. H. Hofmeyr, in which he was to advocate
the establishment of a Free State branch of the
association. I, however, refused point-blank
to have anything to do with it, pointing out that
we had our own Government, flag, language, and



yS Episodes ill My Life.

exevy pri\'ilege of a free nation, and I saw nothing
but danger to the peace of our State in the pro-
posed estabhshment of that pohtical association
in our midst. It was about that time, too, that the
meeting took place at Richmond, in the Cape
Colony, at which the amalgamation of the Bond
and the Farmers' Congress took place. One
morning President Brand sent for me to his
office, and handed me a letter, which he had just
received from the High Commissioner in Cape
Town, in which he asked the question w^hether it
was with the President's knowledge and appro\'al
that the Chief Justice of the Orange Free State
was attending and taking part in a political
meeting at Richmond, in the Cape Colony, the
object of which was clearly hostile to the British
Government. When I asked whether Mr. Reitz
did not mention the object of his journey when he
asked for leave, the President said that he had
only asked for leave to visit the Cape Colony, and
added : " What must you do with such an indi-
vidual, who does not say a word, but goes and
exposes me to such a breach of ordinary etiquette,
to the suspicion of being accessor}' to it and to the
humiliation of having to reply to it ? "

It was not long after this that President Brand
declared his opposition to the existence of the
Afrikander Bond in the Orange Free State at a
meeting of the burghers at Smithfield, on the 19th
October, 1881, w^hen the following Address was
presented to him : —



Member and Chairman, Volksraad, O.F.S. 79

Address to His Honour the President oj the Orange
Free State.

Smithfield,

October 19th, 1881.

Honourable Sir,

The undersigned members of the youthful union
•of the Afrikander Bond for this district humbly
request a^so to be permitted to show homage
and respect to Your Honour.

Your aim is also our aim, namely, to take care
of the welfare of South Africa, wherein Your
Honour's useful and active life affords us so
excellent an example, which will be gratefully and
lovingly held in remembrance by our descendants.

Great Leader ! In the event of our weak
endeavours not being unwelcome to you, we shall
expect to see, ere long, our imperfections corrected.

To tender homage to Your Honour as an Afri-
kander is to us encouraging and enjoyable. We
will strive to lighten your heavy task and hope
that your life, that is so indispensable for South
Africa, may by God's will be spared.

We remain, etc.,

JOHS. SCHNEHAGE,
S. J. M. V. NiEKERK,

W. C. Peeters,

and about 90 others.



8o Episodes in My Life.

To this Address His Honour, President Brandy
made the following reply : —

Smithfield,

October 22nd, 1881.
Gentlemen.

I would wish to repeat in writing what I have
said verbally, and to tender m\' gratitude to you
for the hearty welcome with which I was received
at such a distance from Smithfield, and make
known my objections to the propriety or suitable-
ness of the Afrikander Bond.

It was agreeable to me to meet vou once more in
health, among whom I have so many old friends
and acquaintances, but it was not gratifying
to me that in your salutation of w-elcome you
placed the Afrikander Bond so prominently in
the foreground. However, since this has occurred,
I may not pass over it in silence, and exercise my
duty in warning you against the dangers which
I see beforehand in order that the seeds of dis-
sension may not now be sown where unity should
exist.

I am a thorough Afrikander. My career demon-
strates that I love the Free State and that I have
endeavoured to promote its interests. You are-
Free Staters and inhabitants of South Africa.

Poets of all nations have sung of patriotism.
Rightly, says Vondel, " love for his country is
inborn in every man." Therefore it is not neces-
sary for you nor for me to be members of the



Member and Chaivman, Volksraad, O.F.S. 8i

Afrikander Bond to show our love for our native
land. Have not you, have not all the inhabitants
of the Orange Free State, proved, during the
troublous times of the war in 1865-66, that you
were bound together in soul and spirit to fight for
and to vindicate our rights ?

To foster and promote that harmony, that
hearty co-operation and friendly relationship
among the inhabitants of the Orange Free
State, and the whole of South Africa, must be
our closest endeavour. This can only be done
by drawing closer the bonds of love between
one another, and this we can only accomplish
by giving offence to no one and respecting the
feelings of each one as we would that others
should do unto us : by everyone in his own
sphere doing his best to promote the welfare
and prosperity of the Orange Free State, and
thereby also of the whole of South Africa, and
by strengthening and confirming the most
amicable relations with the Governments and
inhabitants of the neighbouring colonies.

If you consider any amendment in this or that
matter necessary in the Free State, use, then,
the means which for that purpose are afforded
by the constitution. Your representative will
support your wishes in the Honourable the
Volksraad in the same way as he has done hitherto,
and earnestly- strive to do what is best for the
countr\' or its inhabitants.



82 Episodes in My Life.

But as your friend I nuist tell you plainly
that I entertain grave doubts whether the path
which the Afrikander Bond has adopted is
calculated to lead to that unity and fraterni-
sation which is so indispensable for the bright
future of South Africa. According to my
conception the constitution of the Afrikander
Bond appears desirous of exalting itself above
the established Government and forming an
imperium in imperio.

Wishing, etc., etc.,

I remain,

Your sincere well-wishing friend and servant,

J. H. Brand.

A Congress was held at Potchefstroom, from
whence the petition for closer union with the
Orange Free State originated, almost simul-
taneously with the production of »the petition
before the Volksraad. A motion was brought
forward to enter upon an offensive and defensive
alliance with the South African Republic. The
Volksraad, however, rejected these petitions,
but it w^as an open secret that this agitation was
started and fostered by persons who, it was
w-ell known, would persist therein.

On the 28th May, 1886, this matter was brought
before the Volksraad again, and after discussion
was again rejected under declaration that as



Member and Chairman, Volksraad, O.F.S. 83

long as the South African Republic was under
Suzerainty to the Government of Great Britain
the Volksraad could not entertain it. This
did not^ however, end the matter, because in
the following session it was moved in the Volks-
raad by Mr. Abraham Fischer to ascertain from
the Government of the South African Repubhc
whether it would be willing to receive a com-
mission from the Volksraad to discuss matters
•of mutual interest to both, and a reply being
received consenting to receive such a commission,
the Volksraad, on the 17th May, 1887, nomi-
nated Messrs. Myburgh, Klynveld, and myself
as members of the commission to proceed to
Pretoria and discuss the matter with the Govern-
ment there. Mr. Klynveld secured the ap-
pointment of Mr. Carl Borckenhagen, the editor
of the newspaper, " The Free State Express, "
as secretary to the commission. To this appoint-
ment I felt it my duty to object, as the said
gentleman held no official position under our
Government at that time, and, moreover, I did
not think it advisable that he, as a pressman,
should be admitted to the confidential conferences
of the commissions. Further, I knew that he
was strongly in favour of the union of the two
Republics, and might, therefore, only influence
the discussions. In any case, I desired to have
an absolutely impartial and accurate account
■of the proceedings. My object on was not



84 Episo(fcs in My Life.

fa\'oiired by my co-delegates, who were in the
majority, and I could then only point out that
as chairman of the commission I would expect
the usual work of a secretary and performance
of duty from Mr. Carl Borckenhagen.

We departed for Pretoria on the 17th May,
1887, and we reached that place on the 30th
May. We then met President Kruger and
the Transvaal Commission^ and were introduced
to the Volksraad, which was then in session,
on the 31st May, 1887.

I produce herein a certified copy of the minutes
of the proceedings of the first commission in
conference, with copies of Report and Resolu-
tions of the Transvaal Volksraad, originals of
which were produced to the Volksraad on the
nth June, 1887, on our return to Bloemfontein.

Translation : Literal).

Minutes of three meetings held at Pretoria
on Tuesday, the 31st May, and Wednesday, the
1st June, 1887, between the Government of the
South African Republic, and a commission ap-
pointed by the Volksraad of the South African
Republic to examine the correspondence with
the Orange Free State and report upon it, on
the one side, and the Orange Free State Depu-
tation, delegated by the Volksraad of the Orange
Free State, by virtue of Resolution dated 17th
May, 1887, on the other side.



Member and Chairman, Volksraad, O.F.S. 85

Meeting in the Council Chamber (Tuesday,
31st May, at 2 p.m.).

Present : President Kruger, the State Attorney,
the State Secretary, and the commission elected
to examine the Free State correspondence, and
to report thereon, - Messrs. F. Wolmarans, Klopper,
Taljaard, Lombard and Spies,— besides the members
of the Executive Council, and some members of
the Volksraad. The Free State Deputation :
Messrs. Fraser, Klynveld, and Myburgh.

President Kruger : I heartily welcome this depu-
tation, seeing a token therein that the two Re-
publics begin to view their interests practically,
as it ought to be, because our advantage is your
advantage, and your advantage ours. Let us
discuss matters between us and show each other
where we can help, animated by a fixed resolve
to agree. Although the interests of all South
Africa bind, it cannot be denied that the two
Repub ics have special interests, which I wish to
foster. If I must choose, I would rather work with
the Free State and break with outside, because
what is to the damage of the Free State we cannot
permit. I trust that the deputation, as well as
we, will speak out freely, and our interests, will
be discussed clearly, and be pointed out, then
we can draw up an Agreement later concerning
the Treaty* that is held by the Government f

* Treaty of Amity and Commerce, 1869.
f Government ol the Orange Free State.



86 Episodes in My Life.

to have lapsed and by us to exist. We differ in
form but not in intention, but we will co-operate
as we have shown by protection of Free State
products. For a Customs Union with the colonies
we are not at present prepared : there is danger
therein for our side, but \\ith the Free State we
can and will work together, and if there are dif-
ferences let us clear them out of the way, that
we can come closer and closer together, cs if we
were almost one State.

Mr. Fraser (having handed over a credential
for the deputation), said : It is a pleasure to have
heard the encouraging words uttered by His
Honour. We have been instructed to communicate
the tidings that the Government and people of
the Orange Free State cherish unchanged feelings
of interest in the Government and people of the
South African Republic, and to state that from
our side nothing is more warmly desired than to
conserve the good understanding between the
two countries, and to find a way to promote the
true interests of both countries. We therefore
thank the President for the sentiments expressed.
It is possible that there may be differences on
some points, and we trust to your co-operation
and guidance. The deputation has desired me
to be their spokesman, reserving the right for
my co-delegates that, where I fall short, they may
also express their views. In order to reach an
understanding sooner it \\\\\ be advisable to discuss



Member and Chairman, Volksraad, O.F.S. 87

point for point. The first point in question is
railway extension between the Free State and
the South African Repubhc. This question has
lately been drawing the attention of the public
greatly, and has been judged differently from
different sides. The alteration of circumstances
in both countries, resulting from the development
of the goldfields, demands the construction of
rapid means of transport to secure the prosperity
which we expect and have reasonable grounds
to expect. The Volksraad of the Orange Free
State, with a \dew to the requisite co-operation
of both Republics, did not wish, however, to
consider and decide this matter without knowledge
of your feelings, and to secure your support in
order to have such railway extension as is in
the interest of both the Republics. Whereas it
appeared from the correspondence exchanged
between the two Governments that the Kimberley-
Pretoria route was disapproved of by you and
your people, the Volksraad felt that it was wise
to send a deputation to endeavour to obtain
from your side the line desired by us, and without
competition. This is the first point we desire
to place before you. Railway connection between
Colesberg, via Bloemfontein, to the Vaal River,
with the assurance from your side that your
Government will support us herein — that we
shall have no competition.

President Krnger : We understand your



88 Iif^isoihs in My Life.

position we^l. The Volksraad and the people
with the Government are earnestly for your
interests in this matter, but not at present.
I mean that the advantage of the Free State
and this Republic demands that the Delagoa
Bay Railway be built, and afterwards that
from Colesberg. At present the latter would
damage our trade, because where the line is
first made, there the trade will vest itself. Your
line would not be a Free State line, but only
a through line for the Colony, and damage our
interest. We have a gate. You have not,
but Delagoa Bay ought to become your gate.
It would do great damage to our railway if we
allow the trade to vest elsewhere. Once vested
it will be to our advantage to extend our railway
to the Free State and to get into connection
with all South Africa. But, if you now build
a railway you damage us, and, moreover, I see
no great benefit for you in a railway. You have
no great export, and the railway is not so very
necessary. Perhaps the railway will now do
you more harm than good, because railways,
as has been shown in the Colony, do not pay,
and even if the railway comes only to Vaal
River from your side, it damages us by the trade
being vested elsewhere. This is the reason why
we are against the line from Colesberg.

Mr. Frasev : You will allow me to mention
some reasons to show that the position is urgent



Member and Chairman, Volksraad, O.F.S. 89

for us. First of all our geographical position.
If the Free State were situated on- one side of
the central line there would be no question of
connection, but as our country is situated sur-
rounded by all States and colonies, the Govern-
ment cannot contemplate connection with
Delagoa Bay only. The southern portion of our
country is^ and remains, dependent on the Colonial
harbours. The eastern and northern portion of
the State is dependent on you. We stand in
this position that if we connect only on the one
side, we neglect the interests of the other side.
We have, however, the welfare and the prosperity
•of the whole in our heart. Then again, the
conventions of 1852-1854 have given us a claim
to Customs levied on the coast : these have
hitherto not been granted to ' us. Through
the new conditions which have arisen the op-
portunity exists for ourselves and you to obtain
these equitable claims, especially if our Govern-
ments co-operate. For our case, it is of great
interest that this has occurred, because for a
Government with so small a revenue as ours,
it is impossible to secure the payment of interest
for railway extension, and other useful and
necessary public works, without securing the
Customs accruing to us. We acknowledge that
for the situation of the Transvaal, Delagoa Bay
is the natural connection, but would it not be



90 Episodes in My Life.

desirable to ensure two doors for the South
African Repubhc ? When one reckons with the
eventuaUties of a European conflict, and its
consequences, which perhaps might bring
Delagoa Bay into other hands, then that would
even appear necessary. The same Resolution
that binds you to Portugal binds us also, — but
if the troubles referred to by me should arise, and
your imports be hindered or stopped, open then
your eyes to the dangers which will arise for
a people totally dependent on one gate, and
how much more favourable if a friendly neigh-
bour held the key of a second door in his hands.
Regarding the fear that the trade once vested
on our line would injure yours, there exist laws
in the lives of peoples and indi\dduals which
regulate trade. Where one can trade cheaper,,
there the trade will go. If your people can
obtain their goods cheaper from Delagoa Bay,
they will trade nowhere else. No railway
connection with the south will stand in the way
of railway connection with the east. While
this is the case, and while there is no mention at
present of railway extension from Pretoria to
the border, we cannot share your difficulties.
Besides, your railway to Pretoria wi^l be finished
before ours to the Vaal River, and the danger
you foresee will thereby be prevented. We rejoice
over your willingness not to allow any line except
to, and through, the Free State, and trust that



Member and Chairman, Volksraad, O.F.S. 91

you will also meet us further, as our line will
not be a hindrance to yours.

President Kritger : On the first point of Customs
owing to you. I agree that the south side of the
Free State is near to the Colonial ports. I doubt,
however, if you will get goods thence cheaper.
For us the great object is not immediate ad-
vantages, and even if we now only gave you
an assurance of connection with the Colony
our cause would suffer. It may be true that
trade seeks the shortest way. Notwithstanding,
the advantage does not lie in your obtaining
immediate railway connection, because you
are near enough to Colonial railway lines. As
regards Customs, we can also obtain the premium
of Customs in a General Customs Union. But
we know that policy, so long as it is in their interest
they withhold it from us, but if not, they surrender
it. I believe readily that they will finally give
us the Custonis, but when it finally comes down
to the actual question, we shall sit referred to
ourselves. When we can meet them as con-
tracting parties, well ; but as long as they sit
over us as guardians, it is otherwise. I have good
hope that you will have need of our trade, but
as long as we have not our own port, it will not
help us. I grant them all benefits, but as long
as we remain dependent, we get only a share.
Where are we then ? Quite otherwise if we make
ourselves altogether independent. I agree that



i^2 Hpisodcs in My Life.

European troubles could alter the position on
our borders, but free through traffic is assured
to us, whatever becomes of Delagoa Bay, because
treaties with all great powers assure this for
us. The Volksraad has already granted the
power to equalise the through traffic from all
sides. If I saw an advantage for you in what
you ask it would be otherwise, but you have
waited so long, and the issue is so near that if
by any action you now force us against what we
deem our interests we will make our border
our port. I hope that the Free State will
recognise this, and observe it, and let the railway
rest for a little, and not touch a General Customs
Union until the question of our own harbour
is decided.

Mr. Klynveld : I admit your position, and
understand your difficulties, and will not place
my views against yours, but, as a Free Stater,
I would prejudice the interests of my country
if I did not call your attention to cur difficult
and dangerous position. The Free State is a poor
country, and has little to count upon. Through
your goodwill, and the circumstances, our
position is improved. We have at least attained
a position which opens prospects for us. If,
however, it is meant that we must stand still
until the Delagoa Bay Railway is completed, then
the Free State will have lost its chance com-
pletely. Now we can obtain what is for us of



Member and Chairman , Volksraad, O.F.S. 93

vital import. It is the object of the deputation
to secure this, if so much sympathy exists on
your part that, with renunciation of some ad-
vantages, you can extend to us a helping hand,
the future is now for us. If Delagoa Bay weighs
so heavily that you demand from us that we
must assure the position for you, well then, in
your turn, you can do much to make our position
safe and prosperous. I understand that diffi-
culties exist in certain vagueness in the Delagoa
Bay Concession regarding the tariff question.
If the concessionnaires, however, know that there
is a possibility and likelihood of a Free State
Railway, will they not be more willing to meet
you now and in the future ? Understand, Your
Honour, if we wait, we get nothing. When the
Lebombo — Pretoria Railway is finished, all our
southern interests disappear, and surrounded
as we are, the onty chance remains to help our-
selves, and not to make our interests dependent
on others. Unfortunately, we have not the
means for that at our disposal, and there remains
thus only the plea, is there in your Government
sufficient goodwill to help us. If " Yes " — do
it and help us, if not, the future is dark for us.
President Kruger : On our side there is full
willingness to make sacrifices for the Free State,
— but not one which will hurt us and you. You
allege that when the Lebombo — Pretoria Line
is finished the chance for you is past. I cannot



94 Episodes in My Life. <

see that. Believe me firmly it will unt be long
ere the railway will rim through all Africa. You
will not be disappointed. I will guarantee that
we will bring it to the Free State because we



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