In spite of all that was said and done, however, no progress was made. The debate was closed on the third day, the request of the memorialists was refused, and they were referred for satisfaction to the existing laws.
About this time the Transvaal came very near to war with Great Britain. As before
stated, Mr. Kruger was much bound up with the affairs of the Netherlands Railway
Company and its Hollander-
But Mr. Kruger was not to be defeated. In October 1895, he closed the drifts or fords of the Vaal to all waggon loads of goods from Cape Colony. Unfortunately the President had overreached himself The people of Cape Colony and those of the Free State were indignant, and the High Commissioner, Sir Hercules Robinson, and the Cape Premier, Mr. Rhodes, both brought their influence to bear on the President. He was obdurate. Mr. Chamberlain, the new Colonial Secretary, came to the rescue. He put his foot down, and a determined foot it was. He sent an ultimatum to Mr. Kruger announcing that closure of the drifts after the 15th of November would be considered an act of war.
The drifts were reopened. But the Netherlands Railway Company still stuck to their tariffs and their aim of depriving the British Colonies of the custom dues and railway rates on the traffic of Johannesburg. Consequently this thorn in the side of the British Colonists was left to fester.
Day by day the discontent grew, and the cry of "No taxation without representation" became the Uitlanders motto. They perceived that they were deprived of rights, yet expected to serve as much cows for the fattening of a State that was arming itself at all points against them, and they came to the conclusion that some strong measures must now be taken for their protection. The Chamber of Mines and the Transvaal National Union had spent some time in advocating purely constitutional methods, the Chamber of Mines exploiting the grievances of the Gold Mining industry, while the National Union struggled for general reforms which should make the conditions of Uitlander life less intolerable than they were. The Reformers, whose chairman was Mr Charles Leonard, a solicitor of good practice in Johannesburg, were mostly men of the middle and professional classes. The capitalists, being anxious to keep in with the Transvaal Government, were some what shy of the National Unionists; while the working men on their side were suspicious of the motives of the Reformers, and were chary of lending themselves to any scheme which might conduce to the profit of the millionaires. The National Union clearly expressed its aims in a manifesto which ended with the cxposition of the Charter which its members hoped to obtain. it said:
1. The establishment of this Republic as a true Republic.
2. A Grondwet, or Constitution, which shall be framed by competent persons selected by representatives of the whole people, and framed on lines laid down by them.
3. An equitable Franchise Law and fair representation.
4. Equality of the Dutch and English languages.
5. Responsibility to the Legislature of the heads of the great departments.
6. Removal of religious disabilities.
7. Independence of the Courts of Justice with adequate and secured remuneration of the Judges.
8. Liberal and comprehensive Education.
9.Efficient Civil Service, with adequate provision for pay and pension.
10. Free Trade in South African products."
The Manifesto wound up with the pertinent question, "How shall we get it?"
The "how" was to have been decided at a public meeting fixed for the 27th of December 1895, and subsequently postponed till January 8th, 1896. But what the National Union proposed the Jameson Raid disposed. The meeting was destined never to take place!
|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|