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Article posted  by: White Nation correspondent Cape Town October 6   2017





Edited by Hannes Engelbrecht (Front National)
WHEN I came into the pretty little town of Pretoria, the capital of the Transvaal, where the President lives and where he mingles daily with the populace with as much freedom and informality as a country squire, there was a rapid transformation in my opinion of the man. The Boers worship their leader; to them he is a second George Washington, and even a few Englishmen there speak with admiration of him.


When the hour of my appointment with the President arrived there was a unanimous desire among the Boers gathered around to accompany me. It was finally decided by them that six would be a sufficient number, and among those chosen were Postmaster-General Van Alpen, who was a representative at the Postal Congress in Washington several years ago; Commissioner of Mines P. Kroebler, Commissioner of War J. J. Smidt, Justice of the Peace Dillingham, and former Commandant-General Stephanne Schoeman.

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The front door of the cottage, or “White House,” as they call it, was wide open. There was no flunkey in livery to take our cards, no white-aproned servant girls to tra-la-la our names. The executive mansion of the President was as free and open to visitors as the farmhouse of the humblest burgher of the republic. There was less formality and red tape in meeting “Oom Paul ” than would be required to have a word with Queen Victoria’s butcher or President McKinley’s office-boy. The interpreter was repeating a question to him when the President suddenly interrupted, as is frequently his custom during a conversation, and asked: “Do the American people know the history of our people? I will tell you truthfully and briefly. You have heard the English version always; now I will given you ours.”

When I was a child we were so maltreated by the English in Cape Colony that we could no longer bear the abuses to which we were subjected. In 1835 we migrated northward with our cattle and possessions and settled in Natal, just south of Zululand, where by unavoidable fighting we acquired territory from the Zulus. We had hardly settled that country and established ourselves and a local form of government when our old enemies followed, and by various high-handed methods made life so unendurable that we were again compelled to move our families and possessions. This time we travelled five hundred miles inland over the trackless veldt and across the Vaal River, and after many hardships and trials settled in the Transvaal. The country was so poor, so uninviting, that the English colonists did not think it worth their while to settle in the land which we had chosen for our abiding-place.

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“Our people increased in number, and, as the years passed, established a form of government such as yours in America. The British thought they were better able to govern us than we were ourselves, and once took our country from us. Their defeats at Laing’s Nek and Majuba Hill taught them that we were fighters, and they gave us our independence and allowed us to live peaceably for a number of years. They did not think the country valuable enough to warrant the repetition of the fighting for it.

When it became known all over the world twelve years ago that the most extensive gold fields on the globe had been discovered in our apparently worthless country, England became envious and laid plans to annex such a valuable prize. Thousands of people were attracted hither by our wonderful gold mines at Johannesburg, and the English statesmen renewed their attacks on us. They made all sorts of pretexts to rob us of our country, and when they could not do it in a way that was honest and would be commended by other nations, they planned the Jameson raid, which was merely a bold attempt to steal our country.”

The President declared that England’s attitude toward them had changed completely since the discovery of the gold fields. “Up to that time we had been living in harmony with every one. We always tried to be peaceable and to prevent strife between our neighbours, but we have been continually harassed since the natural wealth of our land has been uncovered.” Comparing the Boers’ conduct in South Africa with that of the English, the President said: “Ever since we left Cape Colony in 1835 we have not taken any territory from the natives by conquest except that of one chief whose murderous maraudings compelled us to drive him away from his country. We bartered and bought every inch of land we now have. England has taken all the land she has in South Africa at the muzzles of repeating rifles and machine guns. That is the civilized method of extending the bounds of the empire they talk about so much.”

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“We are high protectionists because ours is a young country. These new mines have cost the Government great amounts of money, and it is necessary for us to raise as much as we expend. They want us to give them everything gratuitously, so that we may become bankrupt and they can take our country for the debt. If they don’t like our laws, why don’t they stay away?” 
The President’s reply was guarded: “The English say they can starve us out of our country by placing barriers of soldiers along the borders. Starve us they can, if it is the will of God that such should be our fate. If God is on our side they can build a big wall around us and we can still live and flourish. We don’t want war. My wish is to live in peace with everybody.”

Question: “Have you ever had any intention of securing Delagoa Bay from the Portuguese, in order that you might have a seacoast, as has been rumoured many times?” I asked the President. Delagoa Bay, the finest harbour in Africa, is within a few miles of the Transvaal, and might be of great service to it in the event of war. “‘Cursed be he who removes the landmarks of his neighbour,’” quoted he. “I never want to do anything that would bring the vengeance of God on me. We want our country, nothing more, nothing less.”

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Mr. Rhodes is the cause of all the troubles between our country and England. He desires to form all the country south of the Zambezi River into a United States of South Africa, and before he can do this he must have possession of the Transvaal and the Orange Free State. His aim in life is to be President of the United States of South Africa. He initiated the Jameson raid, and he has stirred up the spirit of discontent which is being shown by the Englishmen in the Transvaal. Our Government endeavors to treat every one with like favor, but these Englishmen are never satisfied with anything we do. They want the English flag to wave over the Transvaal territory, and nothing less. Rhodes spent millions of pounds in efforts to steal our country, and will probably spend millions more. But we will never leave this land, which we found, settled, and protected.”

“We will fight until not one Boer remains to defend our flag and country; our women and children will fight for their liberties; and even I, an old man, will take the gun which I have used against them twice before and use it again to defend the country I love. But I hope there will be no war. I want none and the Boers want none. If war comes, we shall not be to blame. I have done all in my power for peace, and have taken many insults from Englishmen merely that my people might not be plunged into war. I want no war. I hope that I may spend the rest of my days in peace.”

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The President’s carriage had arrived in front of the cottage to convey him to the Government Building, and the time had arrived for him to appear before one of the Volksraads. He displayed no eagerness to end the interview, and continued it by asking me to describe the personality and ability of President McKinley. He expressed his admiration of former President Cleveland, with whose Department of State he had some dealings while John Hays Hammond was confined in the Pretoria prison for complicity in the Jameson raid.”
He hesitated to send any message to the sister republic in America, lest his English enemies might construe it to mean that he curried America’s favor. His friends finally persuaded him to make a statement, and he dictated this expression of good fellowship and respect: “So long as the different sections of the United States live in peace and harmony, so long will they be happy and prosperous. My wish is that the great republic in America may become the greatest nation on earth, and that she may continue to act as the great peace nation. I wish that prosperity may be hers and her people’s, and in my daily prayers I ask that God may protect her and bless her bounteously.”

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It being far past the time for his appearance at the Government Building, the President ended the interview abruptly. He refilled his pipe, bade farewell to us, and bustled from the room with all the vigor of a young man. On the piazza he met his little, silver-haired wife, who, with a half-knit stocking pendant from her fingers, was conversing with the countrymen sitting on the benches. The President bent down and kissed her affectionately, then jumped into the carriage and was rapidly conveyed to the Government Building. When the dust obscured the carriage and the cavalrymen attending it, one of my companions turned to me and remarked: “Ah! there goes a great man!”


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