Only too soon we shall come to the broken heads.
This, then, is a synopsis of what had occurred up to the signing of
the Convention, which finally established, or failed to establish,
the position of the South African Republic. We must now leave the
larger questions, and descend to the internal affairs of that small
State, and especially to that train of events which has stirred the
mind of our people more than anything since the Indian Mutiny.
THE CAUSE OF QUARREL.
There might almost seem to be some subtle connection between the
barrenness and worthlessness of a surface and the value of the
minerals which lie beneath it. The craggy mountains of Western
America, the arid plains of West Australia, the ice-bound gorges of
the Klondyke, and the bare slopes of the Witwatersrand veld - these
are the lids which cover the great treasure chests of the world.
Gold had been known to exist in the Transvaal before, but it was
only in 1886 that it was realised that the deposits which lie some
thirty miles south of the capital are of a very extraordinary and
valuable nature. The proportion of gold in the quartz is not
particularly high, nor are the veins of a remarkable thickness, but
the peculiarity of the Rand mines lies in the fact that throughout
this 'banket' formation the metal is so uniformly distributed that
the enterprise can claim a certainty which is not usually
associated with the industry.