Oom Paul's People - Howard Hillegas
This book gives an excellent introduction to the situation in South Africa, immediately preceding the Anglo-Boer War of 1899-1902. The Boers were a small community of Dutch farmers that had lived in South Africa for over 200 years. In the early 19th century they migrated to a barren region known as the Transvaal in order to escape British control. But when an enormous reserve of gold was found on their land, conflicts with Britain again arose.
PRESIDENT KRUGER ON THE PIAZZA OF THE EXECUTIVE MANSION, PRETORIA.
American enterprises in South Africa, and especially in the Transvaal, have assumed such large proportions in the last five years that the affairs of the country and the people are steadily gaining in interest the land over. As almost all the interest is centred in the Transvaal and the Boers, an unprejudiced opinion of the country and its people may serve to correct some of the many popular misconceptions concerning them. The Boers constitute a nation, and are deserving of the consideration which many writings concerning them fail to display. They have their failings, as many a more powerful nation has, but they also have noble traits. In these pages an effort has been made to describe the Boers as they impressed themselves upon my mind while I associated with them in the farmhouses on the veldt, in the drawing-rooms in the cities, in the chambers of the Government House, and in the mansion of the Executive.
The alleged grievances of the Uitlanders are so complex and multitudinous that a mere enumeration of them would necessitate a separate volume, and consequently they are not touched upon except collectively. As a layman, it is not within my province to discuss the diplomatic features of South African affairs, and I have shown only the moral aspect as it was unfolded to an American whose pride in the Anglo-Saxon race causes him to wish that there were more justice and less venom in the grievances.
To the many South Africans with whose hospitable treatment I was favoured I am deeply and sincerely grateful. Englishmen, Afrikanders, Dutchmen, Boers, and Uitlanders were exceptionally gracious in many ways, and, however they may have differed on local topics, were unanimously courteous in their entertainment of a citizen of the country for which they frequently expressed such great admiration. I am especially indebted to Sir Alfred Milner, the Queen's High Commissioner to South Africa and Governor of Cape Colony, and Sir James Sivewright, the Acting Premier of Cape Colony, for many courtesies and much information; to President S. J. P. Kruger for many kindnesses and a greatly treasured Transvaal flag; to Postmaster-General Van Alphen, Mr. Peter Dillingham, Commissioner of War Smidt, and many other Government officials, for valuable assistance given to me in Pretoria. To those stanch Americans, Mr. Gardner F. Williams, of Kimberley, and Dr. J. Perrott Prince, of Durban, I am indebted for many pleasant excursions and experiences, and finally to my friend Mr. W. M. B. Tuttle, of New York city, for valuable assistance in this work.
|HOWARD C. HELLEGAS.|
NEW YORK CITY, September 4, 1899.
MAP OF SOUTH AFRICA.