But At Least
They Had Again Put Their Case Publicly Upon Record, And It Had Been
Endorsed By The Most Respected Of The Burghers.
Gradually in the
press of the English-speaking countries the raid was ceasing to
obscure the issue.
More and more clearly it was coming out that no
permanent settlement was possible where the majority of the
population was oppressed by the minority. They had tried peaceful
means and failed. They had tried warlike means and failed. What was
there left for them to do? Their own country, the paramount power
of South Africa, had never helped them. Perhaps if it were directly
appealed to it might do so. It could not, if only for the sake of
its own imperial prestige, leave its children for ever in a state
of subjection. The Uitlanders determined upon a petition to the
Queen, and in doing so they brought their grievances out of the
limits of a local controversy into the broader field of
international politics. Great Britain must either protect them or
acknowledge that their protection was beyond her power. A direct
petition to the Queen praying for protection was signed in April
1899 by twenty-one thousand Uitlanders. From that time events moved
inevitably towards the one end. Sometimes the surface was troubled
and sometimes smooth, but the stream always ran swiftly and the
roar of the fall sounded ever louder in the ears.
The British Government and the British people do not desire any
direct authority in South Africa.
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