Sir Alfred Milner quote

by Jim Morgan

from my blog

#boerwars #doyle #books

A dispatch from Sir Alfred Milner, giving his views upon the situation, made the British public recognise, as nothing else had done, how serious the position was, and how essential it was that an earnest national effort should be made to set it right. In it he said:

‘The case for intervention is overwhelming. The only attempted answer
is that things will right themselves if left alone. But, in fact, the
policy of leaving things alone has been tried for years, and it has led
to their going from bad to worse. It is not true that this is owing to
the raid. They were going from bad to worse before the raid. We were on
the verge of war before the raid, and the Transvaal was on the verge
of revolution. The effect of the raid has been to give the policy of
leaving things alone a new lease of life, and with the old consequences.

‘The spectacle of thousands of British subjects kept permanently in the
position of helots, constantly chafing under undoubted grievances, and
calling vainly to her Majesty’s Government for redress, does steadily
undermine the influence and reputation of Great Britain within the
Queen’s dominions. A section of the press, not in the Transvaal only,
preaches openly and constantly the doctrine of a republic embracing all
South Africa, and supports it by menacing references to the armaments of
the Transvaal, its alliance with the Orange Free State, and the active
sympathy which, in case of war, it would receive from a section of her
Majesty’s subjects. I regret to say that this doctrine, supported as it
is by a ceaseless stream of malignant lies about the intentions of her
Majesty’s Government, is producing a great effect on a large number of
our Dutch fellow colonists. Language is frequently used which seems to
imply that the Dutch have some superior right, even in this colony,
to their fellow-citizens of British birth. Thousands of men peaceably
disposed, and if left alone perfectly satisfied with their position
as British subjects, are being drawn into disaffection, and there is a
corresponding exasperation upon the part of the British.

‘I can see nothing which will put a stop to this mischievous propaganda
but some striking proof of the intention of her Majesty’s Government not
to be ousted from its position in South Africa.’ [EMPHASIS ADDED]