"Together, sundered once by blood and speech,
Joined here in equal muster of the brave,
Lie Boer and Briton, foes each worthy each.
May peace strike root into their common grave,
And blossoming where the fathers fought and died,
Bear fruit for sons that labour side by side."
— Edmund Garrett in the Monthly Review
HILE progress and the fruits of civilisation followed the Mashonaland Pioneers to golden Rhodesia, the Transvaal
under its President,
As time went on, the voices of the Outlanders grew louder: their grievances increased. "Reform! reform!" they cried persistently. But the old President was firm. He would concede nothing to these Outlanders—nothing. He could not be brought to see that the very principle of acting in accordance with the wishes of the people, which had induced England to forego her dominion over the Transvaal, now pointed to new conditions of government, in which Outlanders and Dutch should have equal political rights.
"Africa," said Herodotus of old, "is a land of surprises."
British Possessions in Africa, 1837
A surprise was now in store for all. It was the end of December 1895. Some of the Outlanders, tired of their
vain efforts to obtain justice by other means, planned rebellion. They were in communication with Cecil Rhodes,
Prime Minister at the Cape, and
But no punishment could undo the evil that had been done. Kruger was sterner than ever with the Outlanders, and a Government, elected by only one class of the population, was carried on. Arms for the Dutch burghers now poured into the Transvaal in ever-increasing quantities. Rapidly and feverishly, preparations for inevitable war were pushed on, until 1899. It was a question of who was to be supreme in South Africa.
"Africa for the Africanders!" cried the Dutch.
"Equal rights for all white men!" cried the English.
It was an impossible state of affairs. A conference between Lord Milner and
British Possessions in Africa, 1903
But the great statesman, who had seen from the first that progress and modern ideas of government were bound up with a British South Africa, lay sleeping his last sleep amid the Matoppo hills in Rhodesia. Before peace was proclaimed, Cecil Rhodes had died in the land of his adoption. With all his faults, he was the greatest statesman South Africa has ever seen; with all his limitations, he was cast in "heroic mould, with an impulse towards noble ends." A "dreamer devout by vision led, beyond our guess or reach," his ideas were colossal, his outlook on life was vast, his strength magnificent. One purpose ran through his life, and he worked with all his manhood's power to achieve that purpose.
His wish to be buried among the Matoppo hills above Buluwayo, looking forth "across the lands he won," was characteristic of the man's solitary grandeur; and as the long procession wound amid the hills and valleys of Rhodesia, even the natives dimly realised that a great man had passed from their midst.
"The immense and brooding spirit still
Shall quicken and control;
Living, he was the land; and dead,
His soul shall be her soul."
Within two months of his death, in 1902, peace was declared.
To-day Boer and Briton stand shoulder to shoulder, "forged in strong fires, by equal war made one," both members of one great Empire; and as time rolls onward into space, they may feel
"The touch of human brotherhood, and act
As one great nation, true and strong as steel."