G.W. Eybers.

Select constitutional documents illustrating South African history, 1795-1910 online

. (page 56 of 70)
Online LibraryG.W. EybersSelect constitutional documents illustrating South African history, 1795-1910 → online text (page 56 of 70)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

te legmen, en zoo dit geen gewenscht gevolg moge hebben, hetgeen de
Regenng diep zou betreuren, en alsnog niet liuin gdfooven, dan te trachten
de vriendsc£appeliike hulp en bemiddeling van andere moe;endheden
in te roepen, en allereerst van die, welke de onafhankelijkheid van
dezen Staat hebben erkend. Tot leden van die commissie worden
benoemd, de WelEd. Gestr. heeren Dr. E. J. P. Jorissen, Staatspro-
cureur, en S. J. P. Kniger, Vice-President van de Zuid Afrikaansche

Locale Wetten der Z,A, Rep. I. 698.

immediately to send a commission of delegates to Europe
and America, empowered and instructed to add a third

Eerson to their number should this seem necessary, in order
rst of all to attempt to lay the interests and the wishes of
the people before H.M.'s Government, and should this not
have the desired effect, — ^which would deeply grieve the
Government, and which as yet they can not believe will
happen, — ^then to try to call in the friendly assistance and
mecuation of other Powers, banning with those who have
acknowledged the independence of this State. As members
of that commission are appointed Dr. E. J. P. Jorissen, the
State Attorney, and S. J. P. Kruger, Vice-President of the
South African Republic.

THE BRITISH EMPIRE, [12 April 1877.]

Proclamation, — ^By His Excellency Sir Theophilus Shep-
STONE, Knight Commander of the Most Distinguished
Order of St. Michael and St. George, Her Majesty's Special
Commissioner for certain purposes in South Africa.

Whereas at a meeting held on the sixteenth day of
January, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred
and fifty-two, at the Sand River, between Her Majesty's
Assistant Commissioners, Major Hogge and C. M. Owen, Esq.,
on the one part, and a deputation from the emigrant farmers
then residing north of the. Vaal River, at the head of which was
Commandant-General A. W. J. Pretorius, on the other part,
the said Her Majesty's Assistant Commissioners did " guaran*
tee in the fullest manner on the part of the British Government
to the emigrant farmers north of the Vaal River the right to
manage their own affairs, and to govern themselves according
to their own laws, without any mterference on the part of
the British Government " :

Digitized by



And whereas the evident objects and inciting motives of
the Assistant Commissioners in granting such guarantee or
permission to persons who were Her Majesty's subjects, were
" to promote peace, free trade and friendly intercourse "
with and among the inhabitants of the Transvaal, in tiie hope
and belief that the territory which a few years afterwaras,
namely, in February 1858, became known by the style and
title of " The South African Republic," would become a flourish-
ing and self-sustaining State, a source of strength and security
to neighbouring European communities, and a point from
which Christianity and civilisation might rapidly spread
towards Central Africa :

And whereas the hopes and expectations upon which this
mutual compact was reasonably and honourably founded have
been disappointed, and the circumstances as set forth more
at length m my Address to the people, of to-day's date, here-
unto attached,^ show that increasmg weakness in the State
itself on the one side and more than corresponding growth
of real strength and confidence among the native tribes on
the other, have produced their natural and inevitable con-
sequences, as will more fully appear from a brief allusion to
the facts that, after more or less of irritating contact with
aboriginal tribes to the north, there commenced about the
year 1867 gradual abandonment to the natives in that direction
of territory settled by burghers of this State, in well-buUt
towns and villages, and on granted farms ; that this was
succeeded by the extinction of all effective rule over extensive
tracts of country included within the boundaries of the State,
and as a consequence of the practical independence, which
still continues, 01 large native tribes residing therein who had
until then considered themselves subjects :

That some few farmers, unwilling to forfeit homes which
they had created for their families, and to which they held

grants from the Government of the Transvaal, which grant
ad, however, ceased, and still fail to protect them in their
occupation, made terms with the native chiefs, and now
occupy their farms on conditions of periodical payments to
those chiefs, notwithstanding the acknowledgment which such
payments involve :

That this decay of power and ebb of authority in the north
is being followed by smiilar processes in the south under yet
more dangerous circumstances, people of this State residing in
that direction having been compelled within the last three
months at the bidding of native chiefs, and at a moment's
notice, to leave thdr farms and homes, their standing crops,
some of which were ready for reaping, and other property,

1 Attempts to find this Address have not been successful.

' Digitized by Google


all to be taken possession of by natives, but that the Govern-
ment is more powerless than ever to vindicate its assumed
rights, or to resist the declension that is threatening its exist-
ence. That all confidence in its stability once felt by sur-
rounding and distant European communities has been with-
drawn. That commerce is well-nigh destroyed. That the
country is in a state of bankruptcy. That the white inhabi-
tants, discontented with their condition, are divided into
factions. That the Government has fallen into helpless
paralysis from causes which it has been and is unable to con-
trol or counteract. And that the prospect of the election of a
new President, so far from allaymg the general anxiety, or
from inspiring hope in the future, is looked forward to by all
parties as most likely to result in civil war, with its attendant
anarchy and bloodshed.

That the condition above described affords strong tempta-
tion to neighbouring native powers, who are known to be
anxious and ready to do so, to make attacks and inroads
upon the state, which from its weakness it cannot repel, and
from which it has hitherto been saved by the restraining
influence of the British Government, exercised from Natal by
Her Majesty's representative in that colony, in the hope, yet
unfulfilled, that a friendly understanding might be arrived at
between the Government of the Transvaal and the complaining
native chiefs :

That the Sicocoeni war, which would have produced but
little effect upon a healthy constitution, has not only proved
suddenly fatal to the resources and reputation of the RepubUc,
but has shown itself to be a culminating point in the history
of South Africa, in that a Makatee or Basuto tribe, unwarlike,
and of no account in Zulu estimation, successfully withstood
the strength of the state, and disclosed for liie fcrst time to
the native tribes outside the Republic, from the Zambesi to
the Cape, the great change that had taken place in the relative
strengfli of the white and the black races. That this dis-
closure at once shook the prestige of the white man in South
Africa, and placed every European community in peril. That
this common danger has caused universal anxiety, has given to
2JI concerned the right to investigate its causes, and to protect
themselves firom its consequences, and has imposed the duty
upon those who have the power to shield enfeebled civilisation
from the encroachments of barbarism and inhumanity :

And whereas the inherent weakness of this Government
and state, from causes above alluded to, and briefly ^et forth,
and the fact that the past poUcy of the Republic has not only
failed to conciliate the friendship and goodwill, but has for-
feited the respect of the overwhelming native populations

Digitized by



within and beyond its boundaries, which together probably
exceed one and a half million, render it certain that the
Transvaal wiD be the first to suiSer from the consequences of
a pressure that has already reduced its poUtical Ufe to so
feeble a condition :

And whereas the ravaging of an adjoining friendly state
by warlike savage tribes cannot for a moment be contemplated
by Her Majesty's Government without the most earnest and
painful soUcitude, both on accoimt of the miseries which such
an event must inflict ui)on the inhabitants of the Transvaal,
and because of the peril and insecurity to which it would
expose Her Majesty's possessions and subjects in South Africa,
and seeing that the curcumstances of the case have, from the
inherent weakness of the country already touched upon,
become so grave that neither this country nor the Bntish
colonies in South Africa can be saved from the most calamitous
circumstances except by the extension over this state of Her
Majesty's authority and protection, by means of which alone
oneness of purpose and action can be secured, and a fair
prospect of peace and prosperity in the future be established :

And whereas I have be^n satisfied by nimierous ad(kesses,
memorials, and letters which I have received, and by the
abundant assurances which personal intercourse has given
me, that a large proportion of the inhabitants of the Transvaal
see in a clearer and stronjger light than I am able to describe
them, the urgency and imminence of the circumstances by
which they are surrounded, the ruined condition of the country,
and the absence within it of any element capable of rescuing
it from its depressed and afSicted state, and therefore earnestly
desire the estabUshment within and over it of Her Majesty's
authority and rule ; and whereas the Government has been
unable to point out or devise any means by which the country
can save itself, and as a consequence relieve the other white
communities of South Africa from the danger of the dire
events, certain speedily to result from the circumstances by
which it is surroimded, and can entertain no reasonable hope
that it possesses, or is likely under its present form of govern-
ment to possess, the means to raise itself to a safe and prosperous
condition :

And whereas the emergency seems to me to be such as to
render it necessary, in order to secure the peace and safety
of the Transvaal territory as well as the peace and safety of
Her Majesty's Colonies and of Her Majesty's subjects else-
where, that the said Transvaal territory should provisionally,
and pending the announcement of Her Majesty's pleasure,
be aoministered in Her Majesty's name and on her behalf :

Now, therefore, I do in virtue of the power and authority

Digitized by



conferred upon me by Her Majesty's Royal Commission,
dated at Balmoral, the fifth day of October 1876, and pub-
lished herewith, and in accordance with instructions conveyed
to me thereby and otherwise, proclaim and make known that
from and after the pubUcation hereof the territory heretofore
known as the South African Republic, as now measured and
bounded, subject, however, to such, local modifications as
may hereafter appear necessary, and as may be approved of
by Her Majesty, shall be and shall be taken to be British
territory ; and 1 hereby call upon and require the inhabitants
of the Transvaal, of every class and degree, and all Her
Majesty's subjects in South Africa, to take notice of this my
Proclamation and to guide themselves accordingly :

And I hereby further proclaim and declare that I shall
hold responsible all such persons who in the Transvaal shall
venture opposition, armed or otherwise, to Her Majesty's
authority hereby proclaimed, or who shall by seditious and
inflanmiatory language or exhortations or otherwise incite or
encoiu'age others to offer such opposition, or who shall injure,
harass, disturb, or molest others oecause they may not think
with them on political matters ; and I do warn all such that
upon conviction of any of the above offences they will be
liable to the severe penalties which the law in such cases
ordains ; and I hereby appeal to and call upon the orderly,
right-thinking, and peace-loving people of the Transvaal to be
aiding and supporting Her Majesty's authority :

And I proclaim further that all legal courts of justice now
in existence for the trial of criminal or civdl cases or questions
are hereby continued and kept in full force and effect, and
that 2JI decrees, judgments and sentences, rules and orders
lawfully made or issued, or to be made and issued by such
courts shall be as good and valid as if this Proclamation had
not been published ; all civil obligations, all suits and actions,
civil, penal, criminal, or mixed, and all criminal acts here
committed which may have been incurred, commenced, done,
or committed before the publication of this Proclamation,
but which are not fully tried and determined, may be tried
and determined by any such lawful courts or by such others
as it may be found hereafter necessary to estabUsh for that
purpose :

And I further proclaim and make known that the Transvaal
will remain a separate Government, with its own laws and
legislature, and that it is the wish of Her Most Gracious
Majesty that it shall enjoy the fullest legislative privileges
compatible with the circumstances of the coimtry and the
intelligence of its people. That arrangements will be made
by which the Dutch language will practically be as much the

Digitized by



officdal language as the English ; all laws, proclamations, and
Government notices will be published in the Dutch language ;
in the Legislative Assembly members may, as they do now,
use either language ; and in the courts of law the same may
be done at the option of suitors to a cause. The laws now
in force in the state wiD be retained until altered by competent
legislative authority.

Equal justice is guaranteed to the persons and property
of botii white and coloured ; but the adoption of this principle
does not and should not involve the granting of equal civil
rights, such as the exercise of the right of voting by savages,
or their becoming members of a Leg^lative Body, or their
being entitled to other civil privileges which are incompatible
with their unciviUsed condition.

The native tribes Uving within the jurisdiction and imder
the protection of the Government must be taught due obedience
to tne paramount authority, and be made to contribute their
fair share towards the support of the state that protects

All private bona fide rights to property, guaranteed by the
existing laws of the coimtey and sanctioned by them, wiD be

All officers now serving the Government, and who may
be able and willing to serve under the altered circumstances
of the coimtry, shall be entitled to retain their positions, and
such rights as their positions now give them.

All bona fide concessions and contracts with Governments,
companies, or individuals, by which the state is now bound,
will be honourably maintained and respected, and the pay-
ment of the debts of the state must be provided for.

The appointments of licenses, in virtue of which attorneys,
land surveyors, and others are entitled to practise their callings,
shall be respected in accordance with the terms and conditions
of such appointments or Ucenses.

God Save the Queen.

Given under my hand and seal at Pretoria, in the South
African RepubUc, this twelfth day of April in the year
of our Lord one thousand eight himdred and seventy-

T. Shepstone, Her Majesty's Special

By command of His Excellency,

M. OSBORN, Secretary.

S. W. Silver & Co.'s Transvaal (London, 1878).

Digitized by



Mo. IM. PROCLAMATIE. [12 April 1877.]

Nademaal Rarer Britsche Majesteits Speciale Commissaris. Sir
Theophilus Shepstone, in weerwil van mijn plegti^ protest op gisteren
gelegd tegen Zimer Excellenties voomemen, mij per missieve dd.
9 April, medegeaeeld, goed heeft gedacht dat voomemen uit te voeren
en neden het gezag van Harer Britsche Majesteits Regering heeft
geproclameerd over de Zuid-Afrikaansche Republiek.

£n nademaal de Regering besloten heeft voorlopig onder protest
te berusten, ten einde intusschen een gezantschap naar Enropa en
Amerika te zenden, in de personen van de WelEd. heeren S. J. P.
Kruger en E. J. P. Jorissen, ten einde daar de regten des volks te
verdedigen en te trachten langs vreedzamen weg de zaak op te lessen.

Zoo is het dat ik, Thomas Fran9ois BurTOrs, Staatspresident der
Z.A. RepubHek, bij dezen uit naam en op advies van den Uitv. Raad
alle ambtenaren, burgers en ingezetenen gelast om zich te onthouden
van eenig woord of eenige daad van geweld waardoor de zending
vruchteloos zou kunnen e^emaakt worden. En ik vermaan alle burgers
en ingezetenen het besluit der Regering te helpen handhaven en bij
te staan tot de bewaring van orde en het voorkomen van bloedver-

Thos. Burgbrs, StaeUspresidetU.
Locale WetUn der Z.A, R^p. I. 699.

No. 199. PROCLAMATION. [12 April 1877.]

Whereas Her Britannic Majesty's Special Commissioner,
Sir Theophilus Shepstone, in spite of my solemn protest made
yesterday against His Excellency's intention commimicated
to me by letter dated 9th April, has thought fit to carry out
that intention and has this day proclaimed the authority of
Her Britannic Majesty's Government over the South African
Republic ;

And whereas the Government has decided to submit for
the present under protest, in order to send a mission to Europe
and America consisting of Messrs. S. J. P. Kruger and E. J. P.
Jorissen to defend there the rights of the people and try to
settle the matter in a peaceful manner ;

Now therefore, I, Thomas Frangois Burgers, State President
of the S.A. Republic, in the name and by the advice of the
Executive Council, command all officials, burghers and inhabi-
tants to refrain from any word or deed of violence whereby
the mission could be rendered futile. And I admoni^ aU
burffhers and inhabitants to aid in carrying out the resolution
of the Government and to assist in preserving order and pre-
venting bloodshed.

Digitized by




[3 Aug. 1881.]

Convention * for the Settlement of the Transvaal Territory.

Her Majesty's Commissioners for the settlement of the
Transvaal territory, duly appointed as such by a Commission
passed under the Royal Sign Manual and Signet, bearing date
the 5th of April 1881, do hereby undertake and guarantee, on
behalf of Her Majesty, that from and after the 8th day of
August 1881, complete self-government, subject to the suzer-
ainty of Her Majesty, her heirs and successors, will be accorded
to the inhabitants of the Transvaal territory, upon the following
terms and conditions, and subject to the following reservations
and limitations :

Article I. The said territory, to be hereinafter called the
Transvaal State, will embrace the land l3dng between the
following boundaries, to wit : [Boundaries given here.]

II. Her Majesty reserves to herself, her heirs and suc-
cessors, (a) the right from time to time to appoint a British
Resident in and for the said State, with such duties and
functions as are hereinafter defined ; (ft) the right to move
troops through the said State in time of war, or in case of the
apprehension of immediate war between the Suzerain Power
and any foreign State, or Native tribe in South Africa ; and
(c) the control of the external relations of the said State, in-
cluding the conclusion of treaties, and the conduct of diplo-
matic mtercourse with foreign powers, such intercourse to be
carried on through Her Majesty's diplomatic and consular
officers abroad.

III. Until altered by the Volksraad or other competent
authority, all laws, whether passed before or after the an-
nexation of the Transvaal territory to Her Majesty's dominions,
shall, except in so far as they are inconsistent with, or re-
pugnant to, the provisions of this Convention, be and remain
in force in the said State, in so far as they shall be applicable
thereto : Provided that no future enactment specially affect-
ing the interests of natives shall have any force or effect in the
said State without the consent of Her Majesty, her heirs and
successors, first had and obtained and signified to the Govern-
ment of the said State through the Britidi Resident : Provided
further, that in no case will the repeal or amendment of any
laws which have been enacted since the annexation have
a retrospective effect so as to invalidate any acts done or
liabilities incurred by virtue of such laws.

rV. On the 8th day of August 1881, the Government of the
said State, together with all rights and obligations thereto
* Superseded by the Landon Convention, 27 Feb. 1884.

Digitized by



appertaining, and all State propert}^ taken over at the time
of annexation, save and except munitions of war, will be handed
over to Messrs.

Stephanus Johannes Paulus Kruger,
Martinus Wessel Pretorius, and
Petrus' Jacobus Joubert,

or the survivor or survivors of them, who will forthwith cause
a Volksraad to be elected and convened ; and the Volksraad
thus elected and convened will decide as to the further ad-
ministration of the Government of the said State.

V. All sentences passed upon persons who may be con-
victed of offences contrary to the rules of civilised warfare,
committed during the recent hostilities, will be duly carried out,
and no alteration or mitigation of such sentences will be made
or allowed by the Government of the Transvaal State without
Her Majesty s consent, conveyed through the British Resident.
In case there shall be any pnsoners in any of the gaols of the
Transvaal State, whose respective sentences of imprisonment
have been remitted in part by Her Majesty's Administrator,
or other officer administering the Government, such remission
will be recognised and acted upon by the future Government
of the said State.

VI. Her Majesty's Government will make due compensa-
tion for all losses or damage sustained by reason of such acts as
are in the 8th Article hereinafter specified, which may have been
conunitted by Her Majesty's forces during the recent hostilities,
except for such losses or damage as may already have been
compensated for, and the Government of the Transvaal State
will make due compensation for all losses or damage sustained
by reason of such acts as are in the 8th Article hereinafter
specified, which may have been committed by the people who
were in arms against Her Majesty during the recent hostilities,
except for such losses or damage as may already have been
compensated for.

VII. The decision of all claims for compensation, as in the
last preceding article mentioned, will be referred to a Sub-
Commission, consisting of the Honourable George Hudson,
the Honourable Jacobus Petrus de Wet, and the Honourable
John Gilbert KoizL

In case one or more of such Sub-Commissioners shall be
unable or unwilling to act, the remaining Sub-Commissioner or
Sub-Commissioners will, after consultation with the Govern-
ment of the Transvaal State, submit for the approval of Her
Majesty's High Commissioner, the names of one or more
persons to be appointed by him, to fill the place or places thus

Digitized by



The decision of the said Sub-Commissioners, or of a majority
of them, will be final.

The said Sub-Commissioners will enter upon and perform
their duties with all convenient speed. They will, before
taking evidence, or ordering evidence to be taken, in respect of
any daim, decide whether such claim can be entertained at all
under the rules laid down in the next succeeding article.

In regard to claims which can be so entertained, the Sub-
Commissioners will, in the first instance, afford every facility
for an amicable arrangement as to the amount payable in
respect of any claim, and only in cases in which there is no
reasonable groimd for believing that an immediate amicable
arrangement can be arrived at, will they take evidence, or
order evidence to be taken.

For the purpose of taking evidence and reporting thereon,
the Sub-Commissioners may appoint deputies, who will with-
out delay submit records of the evidence and their reports to
the Sub-Commissioners.

The Sub-Commissioners wiU arrange their sittings, and the
sittings of their deputies, in such a manner as to afford the

Online LibraryG.W. EybersSelect constitutional documents illustrating South African history, 1795-1910 → online text (page 56 of 70)