It may be remembered that in and after 1854, the Boers commenced to block up the path of travellers, and in some cases to cause expulsion of visitors across the Vaal. Doubtless this policy of expulsion originated in the nefarious traffic in "apprentices, which they wished to carry on uninterruptedly, but there was also another reason for their precautions. Stray discoveries of gold had been made from time to time, and gold prospectors began to take an uncomfortable interest in the district. Now the Boers had no desire to open up their country to the mining population, or to run any risks which might interfere with their hardly won independence. After the discoveries of the German explorer Manch, however, they were unable entirely to resist invasion. The ears of the public were tickled. The hint of nuggets in the Transvaal naturally drew thither a horde of adventurous Europeans who would not be denied. The first immigrants betook themselves to Barberton, and some three or four years later to the Witwatersrandt. These appear mostly to have been Scotsmen, for President Burgers christened the earliest goldflelds Mac Mac in consequence of the names of the invaders. Miners and speculators of all kinds commenced to pour into those districts, Some to make a fortune as quickly as possible, and rush off to spend it gsewhere, others to settle themselves in the country and develop schemes for financial outlay, profitable alike to themselves and ty the land of their adoption. Now these permanerit visitors were scarcely appreciated by the Boers. They foresaw the alien transformed into the citizen, and objected to him. The power which they had acquired, both by long years of hardship and long hours of scheming, they wished to iceep entirely in their own hands. With the arrival of further settlers they feared this independence would be materially weakened In order that further possible citizens might not be attracted to the Transvaal, the Volksraad passed a law calculated to damp their ardour. This law imposed on all candidates for the franchise a residence of five years, to be accompanied by register on the Field Cornet's books, and a payment of £25 on admission to the rights of citizenship.
The first discoverers of the great goldfield are reported to be the Brothers Struben, owing to whose perseverance and patience the Witwatersrandt became the Eldorado of speculators' dreams. In 1886 this locality was declared a public goldfield by formal proclamation, and the South African golden age began.
In a little while the regions north of the Limpopo began to be investigated, and each in their turn to yield up their treasures. In 1888 a concession to work mineral upon his territory was obtained from Lobengula, the Matabele king. A year later the British South Africa Company was founded. The Company having obtained its charter, no time was lost. In 1890, we find the now noted pioneer expedition plying its activities in Mashonaland.
Mr. Basil Worsfold, in a most instructive article in the Fortnightly Review, affords
an excellent insight into the energy that characterised the Company's proceedings
The other fields which yield gold are the Transvaal, Lydenberg. and De Kaap fields,
and the Klerksdorp and Potchefstrom fields. The output of these fields continues
to grow apace, but how much longer the growth will be maintained is uncertain. The
opinion of Mr. Hamilton Smith, who wrote to the Times on the subject in 1895, is
worth consideration. He says, "In 1894 the value of the Randt g&d bullion was £7,000,000,
and this without any increase from the new deep-
It is interesting to find that Mr. Smith's maximum figrure was already exceeded in the year 1898, when the total yield of gold was 4,295,602 oz., valued at £1 5,250,000!
The following table, based on Mr. H. Smith's and Dr. Soetbeer's estimates, affords us an opportunity for comparing the South African output with that of other countries, and the world's present supply with that of former years
Of the stimulus given to railway construction by the establishment of the gold industry
Mr. Worsfold speaks with authority. He says, "To-
The telegraph advanced more speedily even than railroads, and the population has kept pace with wire and rail. Johannesburg has a population of 120, 500 souls, and Buluwayo, a savage desert not long ago, has now an European society of over 5000 persons. It is therefore somewhat questionable if Mr. Froude is justified in his opinion that diamonds and gold are not the stuff of which nations are made. Nations, if they are to expand, must be fed, and while diamond and gold mines give up of their wealth, we are assured o( sufficient food to foster expansion. That done, it remains merely with the Government of the flourishing nation to decide whether its work shall be little or large.
It is curious to note that in spite of the disturbance in the Transvaal the mines
continued to maintain their position, with the result that the gold output from the
Randt for July shows a considerable increase upon previous months. According to
the official figures received from the Chamber of Mines, the returns were as follows
456,474 ozs. for the Witwatersrandt district
22,019 ozs. for the outside district 478,493 Ozs.
The production in June 1899 was 445,763 ozs. for the Witwatersrandt district 2 1,508 ozs. for the outside district In all 467,271 ozs.
And in July 1898 359,343 ozs. for the Witwatersrandt district 22,663 ozs. for the outside district In all 382,006 ozs.
This table shows that during the twelve months since July 1898 the production of
gold on the Randt has increased by 100,000 ozs. a month-
|The Growth of the Transvaal|
|The Web Thickens|
|The Zulu War|
|Isandlwana, an hour by hour account|
|Affairs at Home|
|The First Anglo Boer War|
|Between the Wars|
|The Fate of SGT Elliot|
|The Siege of Pretoria|
|The Reform Movement|
|The Critical Moment|
|The Fate of the Raiders|