Opening Lines from the Great Boer War by Conan Doyle

by Jim Morgan

from Opening Lines from The Great Boer War by Conan Doyle #books #quotes #boerwars #southafrica

Take a community of Dutchmen of the type of those who defended
themselves for fifty years against all the power of Spain at a time when
Spain was the greatest power in the world. Intermix with them a strain
of those inflexible French Huguenots who gave up home and fortune and
left their country for ever at the time of the revocation of the Edict
of Nantes. The product must obviously be one of the most rugged, virile,
unconquerable races ever seen upon earth. Take this formidable people
and train them for seven generations in constant warfare against savage
men and ferocious beasts, in circumstances under which no weakling could
survive, place them so that they acquire exceptional skill with weapons
and in horsemanship, give them a country which is eminently suited to
the tactics of the huntsman, the marksman, and the rider. Then, finally,
put a finer temper upon their military qualities by a dour fatalistic
Old Testament religion and an ardent and consuming patriotism. Combine
all these qualities and all these impulses in one individual, and you
have the modern Boer–the most formidable antagonist who ever crossed
the path of Imperial Britain. Our military history has largely consisted
in our conflicts with France, but Napoleon and all his veterans have
never treated us so roughly as these hard-bitten farmers with their
ancient theology and their inconveniently modern rifles.