Both Branches Of The Anglo-Celtic Race
Have Grappled With The Question, And In Each It Has Led To Trouble.
The British Government in South Africa has always played the
unpopular part of the friend and protector of the native servants.
It was upon this very point that the first friction appeared
between the old settlers and the new administration.
A rising with
bloodshed followed the arrest of a Dutch farmer who had maltreated
his slave. It was suppressed, and five of the participants were
hanged. This punishment was unduly severe and exceedingly
injudicious. A brave race can forget the victims of the field of
battle, but never those of the scaffold. The making of political
martyrs is the last insanity of statesmanship. It is true that both
the man who arrested and the judge who condemned the prisoners were
Dutch, and that the British Governor interfered on the side of
mercy; but all this was forgotten afterwards in the desire to make
racial capital out of the incident. It is typical of the enduring
resentment which was left behind that when, after the Jameson raid,
it seemed that the leaders of that ill-fated venture might be
hanged, the beam was actually brought from a farmhouse at Cookhouse
Drift to Pretoria, that the Englishmen might die as the Dutchmen
had died in 1816. Slagter's Nek marked the dividing of the ways
between the British Government and the Afrikaners.
And the separation soon became more marked. There were injudicious
tamperings with the local government and the local ways, with a
substitution of English for Dutch in the law courts.
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