It was arranged, as has been mentioned, that the rising at Johannesburg should take place on the night of the 4th of January. The arsenal at Pretoria was to be seized, and Dr. Jameson with his troops was to make his appearance, assist the Reformers in urging their claims, and, if necessary, save the women and children from possible violence.
"According to the original plan," says Mrs. Lionel Phillips in her ' South African
Recollections," "what with the smuggled rifles, those in private hands, the spare
weapons to be brought by Jameson's men, and those men (the Reformers) themselves,
Johannesburg must have mustered a little army of not less than 5000 men, to say nothing
of the guns which might possibly be captured in the arsenal. It was believed that
with this force the town could be held against any attack that might be made by the
Transvaal forces, and that, upon a failure in the first assault, the Doers would
have adopted their well-
But by the time the plot should have neared competion, the conspirators, as has been shown, had ceased to be of one accord on the subject. On Christmas Day Mr. Leonard interviewed Mr. Rhodes in Cape Town, and represented to him the divided state of affairs. Meanwhile the Reformers in Johannesburg desired to make known to Dr. Jameson their change of front, and, to prevent him on the expedition, despatched two messengers to starting Pitsani Camp by different routes. These messages were received on December the 28th, and with them other telegraphic ones from Mr. Leonard and Mr. Rhodes explicitly directing the expedition not to start.
The news that Dr. Jameson had started, in spite of these messages, came on the Reformers
like a thunderclap. They were not ready-
"Notice is hereby given, that this Committee adheres to the National Union Manifesto, and reiterates its desire to maintain the independence of the Republic. The fact that rumours are in course of circulation to the effect that a force has crossed the Bechuanaland border, renders it necessary to take active steps for the defence of Johannesburg and the preservation of order. The Committee earnestly desires that the inhabitants should refrain from taking any action which can be considered as an overt act of hostility against the Government."
The High Commissioner and the Premier of Cape Colony were communicated with and
informed that Dr. Jameson, having started with an armed force, Johannesburg was in
peril which there was no means to avert. The High Commissioner was further invited
to come to Johannesburg to effect a settlement and prevent civil war. Arrangements
were then made for the arming of some 2000 men. These preparations and others speedily
became known to the Government in Pretoria. No steps, it appears, had been taken
to preserve secrecy, as the Committee did not hold themselves responsible for Dr.
Jameson's action. The result was the publication of the following Proclamation by
"PROCLAMATION BY HIS HONOUR THE STATE PRESIDENT OF THE SOUTH AFRICAN REPUBLIC
"Whereas, it has appeared to the Government of the South African Republic that there are rumours in circulation to the effect that earnest endeavours arc being made to endanger the public safety of Johannesburg; and whereas the Government is convinced that, in case such rumours may contain any truth, such endeavours can only emanate from a smafl portion of the inhabitants, and that the greater portion of the Johannesburg inhabitants are peaceful, and are prepared to support the Government in its endeavours to maintain law and order.
"Now, know you that I, Stephanus Johannes Paulus Kruger, State President of the South
African Republic, with the advice and consent of the Executive Council, according
to Article 913 of its minutes, dated the 30th of December 1895, do hereby warn those
The High Commissioner also issued a Proclamation calling on Dr. Jameson to return
to British territory at once, and this was forwarded to him at different points in
order that there might be no mistake and that the invasion might yet be arrested.
Meanwhile Mr. Marais (the editor of the leading Dutch paper) and Mr. Malan (the
It was subsequently decided that a deputation of Reformers should negotiate with
the Government for a peaceful settlement on the basis of the Manifesto. Their programme
was somewhat broad. They were to approach the Government pacifically and at the same
time insist on their rights and the redress of their grievances-
They also, in answer to a telegram from the British Agent, refused to repudiate Dr. Jameson, and said, "in order to avert bloodshed on grounds of Dr. Jameson's action, if Government will allow Dr Jameson to come in unmolested, the Committee will guarantee with their persons if necessary that he will leave again peacefully with as little delay as possible."
Meanwhile the committee remained in the most horrible doubt and suspense. No word came from Jameson. That he had started they knew, and that was the extent of their knowledge. They still trusted that, on ascertaining that there was no necessity for intervention on behalf of the Uitlanders, he and his troops would obey the orders of the High Commissioner, and retire peacefully from the Transvaal.
|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|