G. Seymour Fort.

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touch with many of the Dutch farmers and repre-
sentatives, and eventually persuaded two Bond
members to sit on the agricultural Commission of
enquiry which the Bond caucus and Opposition
had, for political reasons, opposed. Moreover, their
constituents supported these two members in their
refusal to sacrifice their obvious economic interests
to the mere political dictates of the Bond ; and such
revolts have been rare occurrences in its history.

In the spring of 1905, Jameson represented the
Cape at a conference at Johannesburg on the
subject of railway rates for over-sea traffic, at which
representatives from the Transvaal, Natal and
Delagoa Bay were also present. Its object was to


readjust the arrangement whereby Delagoa Bay
had secured a bigger share of the carrying trade,
and to endeavour to arrive at a more equitable
distribution of traffic between the competitors.
For months previously he had been negotiat-
ing for this conference, and it was only through
Lord Milner's assistance that it was convened.
On these occasions each representative naturally
endeavours to secure the best bargain possible for
his own colony or port, but the discussions which
involve mazes of figures and technicalities are
usually left to experts. Jameson, however, was
determined to master for himself in detail the whole
question, and, with extraordinary pertinacity, stuck
to his task, working day and night, and also during
every waking moment of a two-and-a-half days'
railway journey to Johannesburg. At the end of
seven days' discussion he practically got the
Delagoa Bay representatives to agree to a principle
of distribution whereby the Cape, Natal and
Delagoa Bay were each to have the carriage, ap-
proximately, of one-third of the total volume of
over-sea imported goods for the north. The agree-
ment, however, was subject to ratification in Lisbon.
To obtain this ratification as speedily as possible

was vital to Cape railway revenue, and to its mer-



chants and agents, but the delays of the Foreign
Office officials in London and Lisbon proved an
insurmountable obstacle ; and it was not till
Jameson had personally and persistently visited
the Foreign Office in London that any pressure was
brought to bear upon Lisbon for a reply.

Immediately after the conference, he motored
from Johannesburg to Cape Town via Basutoland,
for the purpose of investigating a proposed
railway extension to tap the resources of that
territory. Shortly after his return he was laid
up with a troublesome and painful illness. It was
the busiest moment before the session, and lying in
bed or on the sofa, he daily received an endless
stream of callers, listening with patience to their
statements, only to writhe with agony the moment
they had left the room.

Perhaps the most important legislative measure
of the busy session of 1905 was the Education
Bill. In their zeal for exclusiveness, the Dutch
are especially jealous in endeavouring to protect
their children from any form of education which
might possibly weaken their national consciousness
or racial prejudice. The average Boer predikante
is generally an embittered anti-Briton and hands
on the torch of racialism from generation to genera-


tion. Great care has to be taken lest the Boer
children should be so educated in history that they
could question his authority and the truth of his
too often false and distorted racial utterances.

The real fight lay in the appointment of teachers,
and Jameson wisely, not wishing to force the
situation, agreed to a compromise whereby the
control of elementary education remained in the
hands of the local committees, subject, however,
to the final supervision and authority of the Edu-
cation Department. But having compromised with
the Opposition on this matter, he resolutely fought
them on their motion to include the Taal amongst
the subjects for the Civil Service examinations.

In no great dependency of our Empire have the
conditions for agricultural development been en-
tirely favourable. Australia has her droughts,
Canada her winter. In South Africa, and certainly
in Cape Colony, one of the many obstacles has been
the antipathy of the Dutch landowner to any
departure from the rude, wasteful methods of his
ancestors in farming and wine-making. Especially
has he objected to any State interference in the
direction of enforced regulations to prevent the
spread of scab or other animal diseases. Jameson

made every effort to overcome their prejudices ; and



previous to the 1905 session, he had appointed an
agricultural Commission of enquiry, and in defiance
of the orders of the Bond caucus, had succeeded in
persuading two Bond members to accept seats
thereon. As a result of the work of the Com-
mission, he was able to carry through a Bill for re-
organizing the Agricultural Department, and for
creating Agricultural Boards in order to supply up-
to-date information throughout the Colony.

The work of the session also included a Work-
men's Compensation Bill, and a rather interesting
anti-Trust measure, in the shape of a Meat
Monopoly Bill, for the purpose of protecting retail
butchers from being crushed out by the various
cold storage companies and organizations.

Meanwhile, as the session progressed, it became
evident that the flame of racial feeling was abating.
The debates became less rancorous. Members
freely crossed the floor of the House to speak to
each other, and a much more genial and companion-
able spirit prevailed. Doubtless, many causes co-
operated in this direction ; but the two principal
factors were, firstly, the non-racial character of the
Government's administration, its genuine attempts
to assist the agricultural and commercial interests
of the Colony, the unexpected generosity of the


Amnesty Act, and the tactful compromise on the
Education Bill. Secondly, Jameson's personal mag-
netism had daily made itself more felt. By his
firmness, his wonderful self-command, his tact and
cleverness in meeting difficult situations, he had
not only justified to his party their election of him
as a leader, but the Dutch, who have all the
Oriental's respect for strength that makes itself
felt, were obliged somewhat reluctantly to admit
the just and moderate manner in which he exercised
his power. The charm of his personality had begun
to affect even the most disaffected. " I came to
Parliament, meaning to hunt him," said a staunch
Bondman, " but it looks as if I meant to follow

On a youthful occasion Lord Curzon, in depre-
cating the personal influence of Mr. Gladstone on
political parties, said, " He has introduced the
paradoxes of lovers into the lobby of the House of
Commons." Dutchmen do not usually fly to such
rhetorical heights as these ; but in their more simple
speech they expressed much the same thing.

A Dutch lady of social position confessed to the
writer that she spent her time stiffening the Boer
members to resist the magnetism of a personality
that was revolutionizing them politically and


socially ; while another lady, whose influence was
considerable with Dutch families, and who was at
first Jameson's bitter opponent, came to write of
him that " he will live as the great peace-maker."
The largest pears the writer has ever seen were sent
as a present to the Doctor by one of his previously
most rancorous Dutch detractors.

But there was no real break-up of the solidarity
of the Bond positions, and the racial cleavage was
constantly in evidence. As, for instance, when
there were two candidates for a post in the House,
one a Britisher and the other an Afrikander, no
Progressive voted for the latter, and no member of
the Opposition for the former. Again, after the
defeat of Mr. Malan's motion for making the Taal
a compulsory subject in the Civil Service examina-
tion, many of the Dutch members, for the purpose
of staging their motion, continued the debates
for a short time in Dutch ; as soon, however, as
their disappointment was over they relapsed into
English. Notwithstanding the growing confidence
that Jameson had enkindled for his policy, both in
the House and throughout the country, he was un-
able to prevent the inevitable tendency towards
division that displayed itself within the Progressive
party. Towards the end of the session some


of the country members, whose farms were pro-
gressing and whose stock had multiplied, demanded
protective meat duties, while the constituencies of
Port Elizabeth and East London, in their despair
at the continued diversion of their trade both to
Delagoa Bay and to Beira, threatened to turn out
their Progressive representatives.

The session closed gloomily, and he returned
to England in broken health. Unfortunately,
the treatment at Carlsbad was not successful, and
for some considerable time afterwards he was
seriously unwell. But despite everything, he did
not for one moment neglect to work tooth and nail
to arouse the Colonial and Foreign Offices to the
urgent necessity of bringing pressure to bear upon
the Portuguese Government to ratify the railway
rates according to the arrangement arrived at in
Johannesburg early in the year. As already ex-
plained, the delay in Lisbon in ratifying this
agreement was causing a serious loss at the Cape,
and he was determined if possible to have the
matter settled. The writer was present one morn-
ing when his doctor insisted upon performing at
once a painful operation upon his side. Jameson
immediately sent a message to the Colonial and
Foreign Offices, where he had appointments, asking


them to postpone the interviews arranged for that
morning till the afternoon. Scarcely was the wound
bandaged than he was dressed, and within two
hours, despite great pain, was impressing upon
British officialdom in its sacred precincts the urgent
need of prompt action.

It was a revelation to witness such a passionate
service for purely impersonal ends, and any zeal for
personal aggrandizement pales before the fire of
Jameson's conception of loyalty and duty. In the
midst of all this he suffered the loss by death of
Mr. Owen Lewis, who had been associated with
him from the start of his political career, whose
expert knowledge of organization had been placed
at his service, and who for some time past had
lived as his friend and companion at Groote

Meanwhile, however, the pressure of his work
increased. In addition to the Lisbon matter, there
was also a conference on shipping freights, at
which representatives from the other colonies were
present. Every morning his room at 2, Down
Street, was, from nine till eleven, crowded with
visitors. British and South African politicians,
financiers, journalists, sculptors, pioneers, fruit and
tobacco merchants, all thronged to snatch a short


interview with him. From these he would escape
to attend a meeting of De Beers or the Chartered
Company, or of Rhodes' trustees, and on each and
all he was a fund of energy and initiation. His
days of holiday were few and far between, and, even
on these, he was as often as not visiting British
statesmen of both parties, impressing upon them
the big issues at stake in South Africa. It is no
slight honour for a colony that its Premier should
enjoy the personal confidence of his Sovereign and
of the leading men of both parties in England.

With nothing definite in hand to show for his
efforts, Jameson returned early in January, 1906,
to Cape Town. Here he found a somewhat dis-
sentient and faint-hearted party awaiting him.
So profound, indeed, was their despondency, that
many openly prophesied the downfall of the Pro-
gressives within the first weeks of the coming
session. He at once attacked the situation with
every weapon in his armoury. He interviewed
without ceasing, argued with recalcitrants, over-
persuaded those of doubtful heart, was by turns
tactful and forceful, ever belittling the fears of
his followers, and infecting them with that spirit
of raillery that had always concealed the doggedness
of his purpose.


His immediate work was to prepare for the im-
portant conference to be held at Pietermaritzburg,
in Natal, on railways and Customs Union, at which
every state in South Africa, including Rhodesia,
was to be represented. He left early in March
with two Dutch members, whom he had selected
to join with him in representing the Colony on this
occasion. The work of the conference was to re-
consider all previous inter-colonial settlements, both
with regard to railway charges and customs duties ;
and so to adjust the railway profits as to make it
possible for all the states, inland and coast, to
accept one fixed, uniform tariff on all imported
goods. In other words, this conference was nothing
else but a big bargaining arrangement whereby,
in a comprehensive scheme of give and take, rail-
way rates were bartered against customs dues.
For instance, the Cape would grant the Transvaal
some advantage in respect of certain customs duties
in return for the Transvaal agreeing to a certain
scale of railway charges for the carriage of over-
sea goods from the Cape ports. Or the Cape, again,
would give Natal certain preferential rates for her
coal to Kimberley in return for Natal agreeing
to accept a smaller share of the carrying trade of
imported goods to the north. In the absence of


any formal federation on these matters, these
conferences were, at the best, only makeshift
arrangements for tempering the competition between
the railway systems of the different states, and for
enabling the coast states to collect the customs
dues and distribute them upon an accepted
uniform basis. In view of the maelstrom of op-
posing interests that prevailed, it was obvious that
the difficulties in the way of any settlement at this
conference of 1906 were very great, and it was
not until after weeks of discussion that a uniform
tariff for all the colonies was agreed upon, and the
principle established that, when once a uniform
duty is fixed by the Union and has been ratified
by the Parliament of each colony, no one colony
can deviate from the duty so fixed without the
consent of all other parties to the Union. Thus,
when it was subsequently proposed by a majority
vote of the Cape House of Assembly to raise the
duty on imported meat to two-pence per pound,
the Government was unable to bring in a Bill
to give effect to the proposal until it had asked
for the consent of the governments of the other

So far as the Cape was concerned, Jameson
had every reason to be satisfied with the results


of his efforts. For his farmers he had secured
preferential railway rates for their produce over
Orange River and Transvaal railways ; and the
duty of the Transvaal against Cape brandy and
wine was reduced from fourteen shillings to six
shillings per gallon. For his merchants and for
the general body of taxpayers he had gained
a more favourable share in the carrying trade of
imported goods ; while the establishment of the
principle of the Customs Union was a definite step
in the direction of that closer union or federation
on which, both in the interests of his Colony and of
the sub-continent, his heart was set.

Unfortunately, however, the results of the con-
ference were not generally well received outside
Cape Colony. The Transvaal and Orange River
Colony did not get the cheap railway freights
they wanted, and there was an outcry against the
preferential rate to Cape brandy, and more general
dissatisfaction with the fact that the cost of living
was not rendered cheaper. In fact, the Transvaal
authorities only agreed to ratify the Union on the
understanding that the whole question was to be re-
discussed at a conference to be called in 1908, when
the existing arrangement was automatically to be
declared at an end. Notwithstanding the economic


advantages of the Customs Convention, especially
to the Dutch farmers and wine-growers, the Bond
party, for political purposes, opposed the clause
therein granting a preferential rate of twenty-five
per cent, to British goods, but they were easily
defeated, as some Bond members revolted, and
voted for the Government.

Despite Jameson's victory in this respect, the
growing discontent of the town representatives and
the generally disintegrated condition of his party
made his position daily more difficult ; and he
himself described it as " treading on egg-shells."

As already stated, the nature of the grant of
responsible government to the Transvaal had still
further disheartened the Progressives, who were
impatient at the failure of Jameson's policy to
alleviate their economic distress, and who had
already broken up into groups, each with its own
economic panacea for its particular interests. On
the other hand, the advent of Dutch political
ascendency in the two Colonies had stirred the
blood and ambitions of the entire Bond party, and
although the actual leaders, like Mr. Hofmeyr,
still counselled patience, the mere parliamentary
representatives were inspired to renew with
redoubled vigour their harassing tactics.


In pursuance of these methods Messrs. Merriman
and Sauer were very much to the fore. The former
introduced a motion to reaffirm the resolution
against Chinese labour that had already been
passed in both previous sessions. There was no
obvious reason for such a motion, but it gave them
an opportunity for making a personal attack upon
Jameson, so intemperate that it rallied his party
in indignant protest, and thus recoiled against
themselves. Jameson's speech in reply at once
threw a cold douche upon Mr. Merriman' s im-
passioned periods by quietly asking the House to
descend from " eloquence " to " common-sense."
He then went on to show that, in view of the
opposition in the Transvaal to the Customs Union,
and of the nightly meetings held against the
introduction of Cape brandy, "how foolish" it
would be to further embitter the relation between
the two colonies. Finally, he pointed out that
in less than a month the Transvaal would have
responsible government, and added a rider to Mr.
Merriman's motion, reaffirming previous resolutions
and deprecating any interference with the internal
arrangements of a neighbouring colony.

This discomfited the Opposition, and brought
Mr. Sauer on to his legs. White to the lips, he


gave Jameson the lie without scruple, and declared
that what he had said was not true, and that in
reality he was in favour of Asiatics. The first
and second time Jameson allowed this to pass, but
the third he rose. " I cannot be accused of false-
hoods across the floor of this House," he said with
deliberate, but emphatic, empressement. Unabashed
as usual, Mr. Sauer continued : "If ever there was
a piece of insincere humbug, it was this attempt
of the Prime Minister to talk about popular rights."
" He was a fine Constitutionalist ! " "A lot he had
cared for the rights of the people in the past ! "
and so on. It is only fair to say of the Dutch
representatives, especially those representing the
landowning interests, that however ready to sup-
port the harassing policy of their leaders, they had
more respect for themselves, and for the dignity
of the House, than to follow in the methods of in-
temperate personal attack so persistently adopted
by Mr. Sauer.

As a matter of fact, during the whole of the
latter part of the session of 1906, the Progressives
were simply treading water. The Opposition did
not consider the moment opportune for proving
their strength, while ministers simply held their
party together as well as they could, and merely


offered a silent, passive resistance to the un-
pleasant skirmishes of the Opposition.

In May of 1907, Jameson came to London re-
presenting his Colony at the Colonial Premiers' Con-
ference of that year. The strategical and Imperial
importance of the Cape has already been stated.
The naval base at Simon's Bay, for instance, must
eventually provide the main station for coaling,
repairing, and docking His Majesty's ships operat-
ing in southern waters in time of war. The closing
of the Mediterranean or the blocking of the Suez
Canal would force a vast confluence of traffic upon
Table Bay, East London, and Port Elizabeth, and
a proportionate naval squadron would be required
for its protection. If India were threatened, troops
and supplies would be crowding the same way.
"Or if," as Mr. Seddon predicted, " the Pacific
be the theatre of the next naval campaign, the
Cape again would be the strategic centre. So
essential is its maintenance as a military post, that
were all Africa even as the Sahara, the Cape and
its hinterland would be worth the terrible price we
have paid for them."

It was, therefore, appropriate that the first resolu-
tion that Jameson submitted to the London Con-
ference was one dealing comprehensively with the


whole question of defence amongst the sister-nations
of the Empire. The Cape itself contributes towards
the Imperial navy, and the maintenance of the West
African and Cape squadrons ; she also maintains a
force of seven hundred Mounted Rifles, ten thousand
horse and foot Volunteers, while every able-bodied
man is liable to be called for service in an emer-
gency. His proposal was that there should be one
big Imperial defence scheme, in which each de-
pendency should be assigned its proper quota and
contribution, while as complementary to this resolu-
tion, he next asked the Conference definitely to
affirm that the self-governing colonies demand, as
the essential condition of their taking due part
in a scheme of Inter-State defence, proper repre-
sentation upon an Imperial Council.

In this resolution Jameson was voicing the idea
that for many years had been very much in
Rhodes' mind. The same can be said of the
next resolution, dealing with preferential trade,
that he submitted, namely, that " This Con-
ference reaffirms the resolution adopted unani-
mously by the Colonial Conference held in London
in 1902, and recognizes with extreme gratification
the extent to which the principle of reciprocity
has been accepted by the various Colonies. This



Conference, while adhering to the principle of
preferential treatment of the products and manu-
factures of the United Kingdom, desires to impress
upon His Majesty's Government the opinion that
the continuance of such preferential treatment to
the producers and manufacturers of Great Britain
is largely dependent upon the granting of some
reciprocal privileges to British Colonies."

These were the more important proposals en-
trusted to Jameson. The others included the
desirability of providing alternate routes of cable
communication, the exemption for shareholders
resident in a British colony from taxation, both at
home and in that colony, and the enactment of
uniform laws for the granting and protection of
merchandise marks and patents.

In introducing these questions, his grasp and
lucidity of expression strongly impressed his
fellow-Premiers, and he was a conspicuous sup-
porter of Mr. Deakin, especially in the question of
granting preferential rates.

Avoiding all unnecessary publicity, he attended
as few public functions and entertainments as
possible, leaving these to his colleague, Dr. Smartt,
whose digestion, he declared, was stronger than
his own. Together with the other Premiers, he


received the freedom of the City of London, of
Manchester, and more especially, that of Edin-
burgh. Probably no honour or recognition that
he had received since his accession to power at the
Cape was so valued by him as this last, conferred
upon him by his fellow-countrymen. True Scotch-
man that he is, the sense of achievement recognized
in his own country, the pride of birthplace and
nationality, in a word, his clansman spirit, was then
aroused to the utmost. The congratulations of
his fellow-countrymen and townsmen fell like music
upon ears that had ever been deaf to flattery, and
the honour that Edinburgh that day conferred upon
her strenuous citizen for his Imperial services
formed a laurel crown that the city was proud to
grant and he proud to receive.

That General Botha and Jameson should repre-
sent respectively the Transvaal and the Cape at
this important Conference was significant of a

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