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Teach Yourself History 


The Use of History, by A. L. Rowoe 

Pericles and the Athenian Tragedy, by A R. Burn 

Alexander the Orcnt arid the Hellenistic Empire, by A. R. Burn 

Julius Ciesar and the Fall ot the Roman Republic, by M. I. 


Constantine and the Conversion of Europe, by A. H. M. Jones 
Marco Polo and the Discovery of China, by G. F. Hudson 
John WyclifFc and the Lollards, by K. B. McFarlane 
Henry V and the Invasion of France, by E. F. Jacob 
Erasmus arid the Renaissance, by Margaret Mann Phillips 
Cranmer and the English Reformation, by F. E. Hutchinson 
Queen Elizabeth and Her Age, by A. L.. Rowse 
Raleigh and the British Empire, by D. B. Quinn 
Laud and the English Church, by Norman Sykes 
Cromwell and the Puritan Revolution, by Mary Coate 
Gustavus Adolphus and the Thirty Years' War, by Raymond Carr 
Richelieu and the French Monarchy, by C. V. Wedgwood 
Milton and the English Mind, by F. E. Hutchinson 
Louis XIV and the Greatness of France, by Maurice Ashley 
William III and the Grand Alliance, by Max Bcloff 
Wesley and the Methodist Movement, by Norman Sylces 
Chatham and the British Empire, by Sir Charles Grant Robertson 
Cook and the Opening of the Pacific, by James A. Williamson 
Catherine the Great and the Expansion of Russia, by Gladys 

Scott Thomson 

Warren Hastings and British India, by Penderel Moon 
Bolivar and the Independence of Spanish America, by J. B. Trend 
Pushkin and Russian Literature, by Janko Lavrin 
Livingstone and Central Africa, by Jack Simmons 
Abraham Lincoln and the United States, by K. C. Wheare 
Parnell and the Irish Nation, by Nicholas Mansergh 
Clemenceau and the Third Republic, by J. Hampden Jackson 
Wood row Wilson and American Liberalism, by E. M. Hugh-Jones 
Venizclos and Modern Greece, by J. Mavrotrordato 
Lenin and the Russian Revolution, by Christopher Hill 




South Africa 


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A General Introduction to the 

series has been undertaken in the con- 
* viction that there can be no subject of study 
more important than history. Great as have 
been the conquests of natural science in our time 
such that many think of ours as a scientific age 
par excellence it is even more urgent and necessary 
that advances should be made in the social 
sciences, if we are to gain control of the forces of 
nature loosed upon us. The bed out of which all 
the social sciences spring is history; there they 
find, in greater or lesser degree, subject-matter 
and material, verification or contradiction. 

There is no end to what we can learn from 
history, if only we will, for it is coterminous with 
life. Its special field is the life of man in society, 
and at every point we can learn vicariously from 
the experience of others before us in history, 

To take one point only the understanding of 
politics: how can we hope to understand the 
world of affairs around us if we do not know how 
it came to be what it is? How to understand 
Germany, or Soviet Russia, or the United States 
or ourselves, without knowing something of 
their history? 


There is no subject that is more useful, or 
indeed indispensable. 

Some evidence of the growing awareness of 
this may be seen in the immense increase in the 
interest of the reading public in history, and the 
much larger place the subject has come to take in 
education in our time. 

This series has been planned to meet the needs 
and demands of a very wide public and of educa- 
tion they are indeed the same. I am convinced 
that the most congenial, as well as the most con- 
crete and practical, approach to history is the 
biographical, through the lives of the great men 
whose actions have been so much part of history, 
and whose careers in turn have been so moulded 
and formed by events. 

The key idea of this series, and what dis- 
tinguishes it from any other that has appeared, 
is the intention by way of a biography of a great 
man to open up a significant historical theme; 
for example, Cromwell and the Puritan Revo- 
lution, or Lenin and the Russian Revolution. 

My hope is, in the end, as the series fills out 
and completes itself, by a sufficient number of 
biographies to cover whole periods and subjects 
in that way. To give you the history of the 
United States, for example, or the British Empire 
or France, via a number of biographies of their 
leading historical figures. 

That should be something new, as well as 
convenient and practical, in education. 



I need hardly say that I am a strong believer 
in people with good academic standards writing 
once more for the general reading public, and of 
the public being given the best that the univer- 
sities can provide. From this point of view this 
series is intended to bring the university into the 
homes of the people. 












AFRICAN WAR .... 32 









FOR WAR ..... 142 




xn. BOTHA AND SMUTS -par nobilefratrum . 203 


INDEX 212 

BI* ix 


THIS book has been a labour of love, 
prompted by a deep admiration of those 
two great men Botha and Smuts, and by a 
happy remembrance of four sojourns in South 

I am specially grateful for talks, especially 
about General Smuts, with the late Deneys 
Reitz and his English friends Mr. and Mrs. 


January, 1945 


Chapter One 

The Setting of the Scene 

LOUIS BOTHA was born in 1862 in Natal, 
and Jan Christiaan Smuts in 1870 in Gape 
Colony. Both therefore started life as British 
subjects. Botha's family, however, migrated to 
the Orange Free State in 1869 and thereafter 
Botha was never a British subject till 1903, where- 
as Smuts had renounced his British allegiance 
only seven years before that date. 

The South Africa of the decade in which these 
two great figures of the British Commonwealth of 
Nations first saw the light was a very different 
South Africa from that which they grew up to 
know. It is true the boundaries of the four 
modern provinces of the Union Cape Colony, 
Natal, the Orange Free State and the Transvaal 
had been more or less definitely marked out, but 
these separate states were still very far from the 
goal of Union which they finally attained nearly 
half a century after Botha's birth. So far indeed 
were they apart that they all had divergent 
interests and policies, both with regard to one 



another and not least in their relations with the 
natives within their borders. 

The original Dutch settlers at the Cape from 
1652 onwards formed an essentially pastoral and 
to a less extent agricultural community of Boers 
peasants requiring vast farms of some 5000 
acres on which to feed their flocks and herds, with 
relatively small patches for growing corn and 
vegetables for the family needs. An important 
accession to the Boer community came after the 
Revocation of the Edict of Nantes in 1685 with 
French Huguenot refugees, who brought with 
them a new industry, vine-growing and wine- 
making ; but though their families have always 
detained their original French names, such as 
De la Rey, Marais, de Villiers, etc., they other- 
wise became hardly distinguishable in habits or 
language from their Boer neighbours. As the 
population increased the restricted settlement in 
the Cape Peninsula became too confined for its 
needs, with the result that families with all their 
possessions began to trek further north and east 
in search of new pastures so far scarcely occupied 
by wandering native tribes. After the final 
British occupation of the Cape in 1803 there was 
little increase in immigration until the 1820 
settlement of discharged British soldiers with their 
families in the new Eastern province with 
headquarters at Port Elizabeth. 

The Boers had always been difficult to control, 
even by their own governors ; indeed, before the 


first British occupation in 1797 some of them had 
hived off and set up an independent government 
of their own out of reach of the Cape officials. 
With the final British occupation they found 
further grievances : English, which they did not 
understand, was made the only official language, 
and their own officials, field-cornets and magis- 
trates were generally replaced by Englishmen. 
Another grievance came with English and 
Scottish missionaries, chiefly concerned with 
proselytizing the natives and with the defence of 
native interests against their Boer masters, who 
treated them as slaves. Even to-day Slagter's 
Nek, where in 1815 five Boers were hanged for 
rebellion in support of a man accused of cruelty 
to his Hottentot slave, is still remembered against 
the British. Finally in 1834 came the emanci- 
pation of the slaves within the British Empire, 
subject indeed to compensation, which, however, 
was not only inadequate originally, but also 
whittled away by heavy deductions payable to 
the agents entrusted with its distribution. 

These and other grievances led to the Great 
Trek, or rather Treks, for there were several of 
them, beginning in 1835, of Boers dissatisfied with 
British rule, taking their families* and possessions 
in their great lumbering ox-wagons, and accom- 
panied by their flocks and herds, northwards 
across the Orange River, so as to be beyond the 

* One of these trek-Boer children was Paul Krugcr, then 
a boy of ten. 


reach of the alien government. Some settled 
between the Orange and Vaal rivers, others hived 
off still further north, beyond the Vaal, and others 
still eastwards into Natal. In these distant parts 
they set up little self-governing republics, which, 
however, had very uneasy times with invading 
native tribes, Matabeles, Basutos, Zulus, far fiercer 
than their native neighbours at the Cape. At first 
the British Government, on the principle that once 
a British subject always a British subject, refused 
to recognize the independent governments set up 
by the trekkers ; but, owing to the distances and 
the inadequate military forces at the Cape, could 
do little to enforce its authority. Natal, however, 
was in an exceptionable position : there was a 
good port the modern Durban which offered 
easy communication with India ; and in fact 
a small English settlement had been established 
there before the Boers came in. Moreover the 
sparsely scattered Boer settlers were in constant 
danger from their fierce and well-trained neigh- 
bours in Zululand. Accordingly the British 
Government had much justification for asserting 
its authority and definitely annexing the territory 
in 1845. In Trans-Orangia, too, the trek-Boers 
had trouble with Basutos on the east and Griquas 
on the west and intestine quarrels among them* 
selves. So great, indeed, were their difficulties 
that they made no serious opposition when, in 
1848, the Governor of the Cape, Sir Harry Smith, 
extended British rule over this territory under the 


name of the Orange River Sovereignty. But it 
was symptomatic of the British Government's 
vacillating policy at this period that in 1854, only 
six years later, it abandoned the attempt at control 
beyond the Orange River and by the Bloem- 
fontein Convention recognized the independence 
of the Orange Free State, as it was renamed. As 
for those Boers who had trekked further afield 
beyond the Vaal river, it was obvious from the 
first that they could not be controlled from Cape 
Town, nearly 1000 miles away : accordingly in 
1852, by the Sand River Convention, the inde- 
pendence of the new Transvaal republic had been 
recognised. It must not be imagined, however, 
that it was simply owing to dissatisfaction with 
British rule that these expeditions to pastures new 
had been undertaken. Apart from the instance 
already quoted of Boers hiving off from their own 
government in 1797, as late as 1874 a party of 
Transvaal burghers, partly from restlessness, 
partly from dissatisfaction with the existing 
government, had trekked off to the inhospitable 
country in S.W. Africa south of the Portuguese 
border, where their few wretched descendants 
were discovered by Colonel Reitz in 1924.* 

For a long time indeed the South African 
Republic of the Transvaal was too poverty- 
stricken and too much divided by factions to 
settle down satisfactorily. By 1877 the republic 
was almost bankrupt after an unsuccessful war 

* Sec his Ab Ortspan, 100117. 


with Sekukuni's native tribe in the Magaliesburg 
under an unpopular President, Burgers ; and the 
intestine disputes had come to such a pass that 
a section of the burghers even welcomed the 
annexation of the country by the British agent, 
Sir Theophilus Shepstone. This annexation was 
in furtherance of the Colonial Secretary, Lord 
Carnarvon's, scheme of forming a confederation 
of the four South African states, Cape Colony and 
Natal with the Orange River and the Transvaal 
republics, a scheme which entirely failed partly 
owing to the tactlessness of Carnarvon's agents, 
but chiefly because none of the four states was 
then in favour of it. Unfortunately too, Shep- 
stone failed to carry out his promise that the 
Transvaalers should retain full legislative powers, 
and they soon regretted their early acquiescence. 
Discontent increased under the rule of Shepstone 
and still more under that of his successor Sir Owen 
Lanyon : the defeat of the British troops at 
Isandhlwana by the neighbouring Zulus in 1879 
only added fuel to the flame : and in December 
of that year the Boers, at a public meeting at 
Paardekraal, proclaimed the South African 
Republic once more, under the guidance of 
Kruger, Pretorius and Joubert. British troops 
not only failed to suppress the revolt but suffered 
the crushing defeat of Majuba in 1881. As a result 
Gladstone's Government in the following August 
formally acknowledged once more the Transvaal 
republic, subject, however, to British suzerainty, 


a claim, however, not specifically repeated in the 
succeeding convention of 1883. By this time both 
Botha, then aged 21, and even Smuts, at 13, were 
old enough to recognize the importance of this 
set-back to British influence in South Africa. 

Further extensions of British or Boer rule were 
s^ill to come by the gradual absorption of outlying 
native tribes within their borders, and still more 
by the march of Rhodes' s pioneer expedition into 
the interior of the continent up to the Zambesi in 
1890 and later beyond that river. By that time, 
however, the South Africans were not left in 
undisputed control even of the south. The 
Portuguese, who had hitherto neglected their 
ancient establishments at Delagoa Bay, began to 
awaken to the importance of this territory on 
account of its port, the only one accessible to the 
Transvaal Boers, and later together with Beira 
useful for Rhodesia, and to reassert their almost 
dormant authority on the east, as well as their 
ancient claims to Angola on the west. But far 
more ominous for the security of the Cape was 
the gradual infiltration of Germans into South 
West Africa. In 1880 the British Government 
refused to extend protection to German traders 
there or to annex the country, as the Cape desired, 
and only agreed three years later to occupy 
Walvis Bay, the one good port in the territory. 
Accordingly, in 1884, Bismarck proclaimed a 
German protectorate over the remaining territory 
of South West Africa. In the following year, too, 


he established a protectorate over East African 
territory now known as Tanganyika, interrupting 
thereby Rhodes's design of an entirely British 
corridor from the Cape to Cairo. 

To return to the Cape, still in 1870 and for 
many years to come the dominant factor in South 
Africa. Though Canada had attained self- 
government in 1845, the Cape had not yet reached 
beyond the stage of having a legislative assembly, 
able indeed to criticize, but not to control, the 
governor's nominated officials. This delay in 
obtaining responsible government was due not 
so much to unwillingness in Downing Street to 
grant it as to the Cape politicians' hesitation to 
accept it. The fact is that though the territory of 
the Cape was already large, its European popu- 
lation, according to the census of 1865, was only 
181,000, intermingled with some 500,000 natives 
who contributed hardly anything to the colonial 
exchequer. But the main reason for the Cape's 
hesitation was due to the constant troubles on the 
frontiers with marauding natives, both within 
and without the colony, the suppression of which 
called for greater charges than the Cape felt able 
to supply from its own resources. For until the 
*70's the Cape was a relatively poor colony, 
depending almost entirely on its export trade to 
the mother-country of wool, hides and wine ; 
there was a colonial debt of 1,420,000, then 
considered a large amount, two-thirds of which 


was due to Great Britain for advances made to 
meet past deficits. 

Already, however, in the late sixties the first 
discoveries had been made of what soon appeared 
to be untold wealth in gold and diamonds. In 
1867 gold was found at Tati in the great Bcchuana- 
land corridor to the north, west of the Transvaal : 
and in 1869 the diamond later known as the Star 
of South Africa, which eventually changed hands 
for 25,000, was picked up in Griqualand, south- 
west of, if not actually within, the Free State 
border. One result of this discovery was a rush 
of diggers to Griqualand, which soon became an 
Alsatia dangerous to both claimants of the 
territory, the Cape and the Free State. The 
dispute as to ownership was referred to Keate, 
then governor of Natal, who, on the evidence 
before him, decided in favour of the British claim. 
In 1876, however, the evidence on which this 
decision was based was found to be questionable ; 
but by that time the territory in dispute was 
peopled almost entirely by British subjects, and 
the Free State, unwilling to take over their govern- 
ment, accepted the sum of 90,000 as compen- 
sation for the erroneous decision. Four years 
later Griqualand West, hitherto governed as a 
Crown Colony, was transferred to the Cape. 

But the excitement over the diamond fields of 
Kimberley and the surrounding district of Griqua- 
land West was soon overshadowed by the rich 
deposits of gold found mainly in the Transvaal, 


at Pietersburg in 1870, at Lydenburg in 1872, at 
Barberton in 1882 and on the Witwatersrand in 
1884. These discoveries, especially the last two, 
soon attracted vast crowds of prospectors and 
gold-miners to the Transvaal, which before and 
during the British occupation from 1877 to 1881 
was almost a bankrupt state, and suddenly 
became potentially the richest in South Africa. 
For Kruger, the new president of the Transvaal, 
took good care, by special taxation on the mines 
and by a monopoly of the dynamite essential for 
their working, to secure a large portion of their 
earnings for the benefit of the state. 

The new wealth accruing to the Cape, largely 
from the increased trade brought about to supply 
the needs of the diamond diggers in Griqualand 
West, disposed the Cape Colonists to accept the 
higher status of responsible government with a 
ministry commanding the support of the elector- 
ate, which the home government had long been 
pressing upon them. From the outset, it should 
be noted, though the franchise was restricted 
by a fairly high property-tax, there was no 
colour bar. Natives attaining the necessary 
property qualification and a certain standard of 
literacy were allowed the full exercise of the 
franchise, though, as might be expected, at first 
few passed both tests. At first, too, it is notable, 
the English section of the European population 
alone took much interest in this new responsibility. 

The fact is that in the early seventies the Boer 



farmers paid little attention to politics, being 
concerned almost exclusively with their pastoral 
and agricultural occupations, with looking after 
their native servants and with the daily reading 
of the Scriptures to their generally large families. 
In fact, they had little contact with the world 
outside their own domains, each of which 
amounted in extent to some 5000 acres, and it 
was the proud boast of most of these Boer 
farmers, each to be monarch of all he surveyed 
from his own farmhouse. Once a year, however, 
the farmers of each wide district did meet one 
another at the annual Naehtmaal Holy Com- 
munion celebrated at the principal, and some- 
times the only village of their district, which was 
often many miles distant from most of the farms. 
Packing their families in their great ox-wagons, 
the farmers would congregate at the appointed 
place, camp round the village for the celebration 
of the Naehtmaal and for several days thereafter, 
making their purchases at the village store and 
above all congregating to discuss the affairs of 
the neighbourhood and rumours of the great 
world beyond. Their political interests, so far 
as they had any, were in fact concerned solely 
with the district within which they lived and 
annually met their neighbours ; and they cared 
little for outside affairs as long as they were free 
to conduct their households and their farming 
operations as they pleased. Returned to their 
homes after these annual Sittings, they resumed 



their patriarchal life, ruling their families and 
servants on the whole, with occasional exceptions, 
fairly and benevolently, while retaining the right 
of castigating those caught thieving or scamping 
their duties. In many of these scattered farms the 
only literature to be found was the family Bible, 
read and expounded by the head of the family, at 
the daily prayers. The only interference with the 
patriarchal and pastoral state of existence was on 
the eastern border, liable to raids from fierce 
border tribes, Galekas and Basutos, which ne- 
cessitated the despatch of armed forces by the 
Cape Government. But even these raids did not 
at first stir up the Boer farmers to any consecutive 
interest in the central government, especially as 
the farmers there affected were mainly of English 

During the later seventies, however, came a 
notable awakening of the Cape Boers' interest in 
politics, due partly to their sympathy with the 
Transvaal Boers' revolt against the English 
Government's annexation of their country in 
1877, and perhaps eyen more to the proselytizing 
work of two men, the Rev. S. J. du Toit, a 
Hollander, and Jan H. Hofmeyr, of an old Boer 
family. To both is due the recognition of the Taalj 
a Dutch patois general among the Boers, instead 
of the High Dutch of Holland, as a national 
language on equal terms with English. How 
successful these two pioneers were in arousing 
their Boer fellow-countrymen from their political 



lethargy is illustrated by the remark of Deneys 
Reitz, a shrewd observer, when he was travelling 
through Namaqualand, one of the most out-of-the 
way districts of the Cape, over half a century 
later: " Politics is the ruling passion. For our 
farmers it takes the place of the theatres, cinemas 
and sport. It is the national pastime, like bull- 
fighting in Spain."* 

But in one important respect the two men had 
rather different aims ; du Toit being frankly 
anti-British and for the closest co-operation 
between the Boers of the Cape and those who had 
trekked into the interior to escape from British 
rule and established independent governments 
north of the Orange and Vaal rivers ; while 
Hofineyr, though just as keen as du Toit in en- 
couraging the Cape Boers to take an active part in 
politics, had no sympathy with du Toit's separatist 
aims. In the long run Hofineyr carried his less 
provocative policy against du Toit. He even 
obtained control of the Afrikander Bond, founded 
by du Toit, eliminating therefrom its founder's 
more aggressive policy. For Hofineyr, deter- 
mined as he was to procure for the Boers the 
influence their numbers justified in the govern- 
ment, always kept it as his aim to consolidate the 
unity in South Africa of Boer and British interests 
in fact, to create one South African nation in 
the same way as it has always been the aim of 
Canadian statesmen to merge the differences 

* D. Reitz, Ab Outspati, p. 35. 



between French and English Canadians in the 
common interests of Canada as a whole. Hofmeyr 
indeed gave the best proof of his sincerity in 
advocating Dutch and English co-operation when 
in the eighties he was leader of a compact body 
of 32 Boer representatives, and, though refusing 
Rhodes's invitation to join his newly-formed 
ministry, gave it his support. In fact, ever since 
then there have always been sections of both Boer 
and English communities anxious to form a united 
party keen only on the well-being of the whole of 
South Africa. 

Rhodes himself was entirely in accord with 
Hofmeyr in this policy, when he formed his 
ministry and for some time thereafter. Supported 
as he was by the Afrikander Bond as well as by a 
majority of the Cape members of British origin, 
he was able to carry out many useful measures, 
not the least being the Glen Grey Act, which, for 
the first time, gave to the Cape Natives an oppor- 
tunity for exercising individual responsibility in 
the management of their own affairs. 

The main difficulty in securing, if not real 
union, at any rate a working agreement between 
the Dutch and British elements in South Africa 
was undoubtedly the policy of President Kruger 
in regard to the gold-mining immigrants into the 
Transvaal, mostly of British origin, and contemp- 
tuously spoken of by the Boers as Uitlanders. 
They had no civic rights, were heavily taxed and 
were subject to a venal and bullying police force: 



Kruger even tried to kill the Cape railway traffic 
in goods to the Transvaal by prohibitive rates on 
the Transvaal stretch, and when the traders tried 
to circumvent this manoeuvre by derailing their 
goods at the Transvaal border and sending them 
by ox-wagons across the Vaal he closed the drifts 
on that river ; on a protest, however, from the 
Colonial Secretary, Chamberlain, Kruger had to 
give way on this point. But the Uitlanders' 
grievances were still unredressed. Then came the 
blow to South African unity prepared by Rhodes 
himself, hitherto one of the chief advocates of 
such unity. He determined, on his own responsi- 
bility, and without informing even his own Cape 
cabinet, to solve the difficulty by the coup de main 
of Jameson's raid into the Transvaal. The raid, 
unbelievably ill-prepared, was a ghastly fiasco : 
it only strengthened Kruger's hand and necessi- 
tated Rhodes's resignation as Cape Prime 
Minister. But its worst consequence was that for 
many years it postponed any possibility of 
harmonious co-operation between the two sections 
of the South African white population. 

Chapter Two 

The Apprenticeship of Botha 
and Smuts 

NO greater contrast could well be imagined 
than that between the training of Botha and 
Smuts in their early days : and he would have 
been a bold man who had prophesied that they 
were destined to become not only the dearest of 
friends but also workers with identical aims in 
the same field of national politics. 

The Botha family, according to one account, 
came to South Africa from Thuringia in the last 
quarter of the seventeenth century, though 
according to Lord Buxton, who no doubt obtained 
his information from Botha himself, they were of 
French Huguenot stock from Lorraine. But, 
whatever their origin, the Bothas had, like all 
these foreign immigrants, completely identified 
themselves in language and habits with the Boers 
of Dutch stock. Louis, born, as we have seen, in 
1862, was the ninth child of the characteristically 
large Boer family of thirteen. In 1869 the family 
migrated from their farm, Onrust, near Greytown 
in Natal, to the Orange Free State, finally 
settling down on a farm near Vrede. Here Botha 


and his brothers and sisters had some rudimentary 
schooling from neighbouring teachers, but their 
main education consisted in learning for the 
girls, household chores and simple cooking for the 
large family, for the boys, the South African 
farmer's craft on a large mixed farm of some 
5000 acres, where sheep, cattle and horses were 
pastured and a comparatively small patch given 
up to raising corn, oats and vegetables for the 
family needs. Besides looking after the cattle and 
breaking in the horses, the boys were taught to 
shoot straight and get an eye for country. Here, 
too, Louis learned to understand and sympathize 
with the Kaffirs first from the native servants 
on his father's farm and to speak familiarly two 
of the chief native languages, Zulu and Sesuto ; 
and not least to acquire his deep knowledge of his 
own Boer people in the rough and tumble of a 
large family ruled patriarchally by a notable 
father and mother, who became leaders of the 

As early as 1880, when he was only eighteen, he 
played a useful little part in the first Anglo-Boer 
War by cutting adrift all the boats and pontoons 
on his side of the Vaal, which were being used by 
English messengers to communicate with the 
troops on the Transvaal side. In the same year 
he was sent by his parents on his first independent 
adventure. With a bundle of food and clothing 
put up by his mother to strap on to his horse, at 
the beginning of winter he went off in charge of 



the family's sheep and cattle on the long month's 
trek across the Drakensberg range into the warm 
low-lying pastures on the border of Zululand. It 
was an adventure not without its perils, for Zulu- 
land in those days, owing to the exile of the 
paramount chief Cetewayo and Sir Garnet 
Wolseley's division of the country among several 
petty chiefs at odds with one another, was in 
constant unrest ; and on one occasion at least 
Botha needed all his presence of mind to avert 
a serious peril* Usibepu, the most formidable of 
these petty chiefs, hot, it is said, from the murder 
of a missionary, suddenly appeared with his impi 
in Botha's camp and truculently demanded some 
of his beasts to feed his impi. Young Botha, who 
at the time had only a few cartridges left, quietly 
lighted his pipe and, after reproving the chief for 
his unceremonious approach, offered him one 
sheep on condition he and his impi cleared off at 
once, which they did forthwith. This was not the 
last time Botha had dealings with Usibepu. 

These independent journeys with the family's 
flocks and herds, which he took off to the winter 
pastures over the border for four years in succession 
added to his earlier training on the family farm 
had already given Botha so much self-assurance 
and sense of responsibility that, on his father's 
death in 1884, he proposed to his brothers and 
sisters that he should be given the sole manage- 
ment of his father's estate, the annual proceeds of 
which he would, of course, divide fairly among 


them. But they would not hear of this proposal ; 
accordingly Louis, determined to find scope for 
his special gifts, left the Free State and crossed 
over the border to his winter haunts in Zululand. 
It so happened that at this juncture there was a 
bitter struggle between two Zulu chiefs, Dinizulu, 
the son of Cetewayo, and Usibepu, with whom 
Botha had already had dealings ; and Dinizulu 
had enlisted the help against his rival of Lukas 
Meyer, a Boer friend of Botha's, promising, if 
Usibepu were beaten, to hand over a Zululand 
district, later called Vryheid, to Meyer. Among 
other Boers who joined Meyer's small but efficient 
band was Botha ; and, though Usibepu was far 
the more effective fighter among the Zulus, 
Dinizulu's party, reinforced by Meyer and Botha 
and their friends, overcame him. Accordingly, 
the district of Vryheid became a little Boer repub- 
lic, independent for the time being of the 
Transvaal republic on its borders, with Botha's 
friend Lukas Meyer as its President. 

Botha himself was promptly given responsible 
work in the organisation of the new republic, his 
first tasks being to survey the country, delimit the 
boundaries of the farms to be allotted to the Boers 
who had been fighting on Dinizulu's side, and lay 
out the new township of Vryheid. To Botha 
himself was allotted the farm Waterval, of about 
* 3500 acres, close to Vryheid. Here was the home 
in which he began his married life ; for in 1886 he 
took as his bride Annie, daughter of John Cheerc 



Emmet, a collateral descendant of the famous 
Irish patriot, who had settled at Harrismith in 
the Orange Free State, and sister of one of Botha's 
co-adventurers in the fight against Usibepu. This 
proved an ideally happy marriage, for the two 
were in love with one another to the end, and to 
his business ability, gift of leadership and business 
acumen, she brought qualities somewhat lacking 
in him a good education, a love of music and 
a sense of humour. 

Two years after Botha's marriage the little 
republic of Vryheid was taken over by the 
Transvaal, and he very soon found thereby greater 
scope for his administrative talents. Field cornet 
of the district of Vryheid town in 1894, in the 
following year he was sent as a native com- 
missioner to Swaziland, then under the protec- 
torate of the Transvaal, and there did good work 
in suppressing some of the illicit liquor traffic 
which was doing untold harm to the natives. But 
efficient as he was in administration, his main 
interest, at this time, at any rate, was in his 
farming activities ; and he was only too glad at 
the end of the year to return to his own home at 
Vryheid where, while resuming his post as field 
cornet of the district, he could devote himself to 
the improvement of his property. At the outbreak 
of the Boer War in 1899 he had increased his 
holdings in various parts of the Transvaal, such 
as Standerton and the bushveld, to 16000 acres, 
and possessed a flock of some 6000 sheep, including 


a dozen imported pedigree rams, 600 heads of 
cattle and 400 fine mares served by specially 
selected stallions. Nor was he averse to invest- 
ment in other promising undertakings. In 1891 
he had bought 1800 acres containing coal 
measures which, some twenty years later, he sold 
for 9000. 

In spite of all these private activities he never 
lost sight of public affairs. In 1896, on news of 
the Jameson raid, he promptly mobilized the 
farmers of his field cornetcy and telegraphed to 
President Kruger, expressing the hope that " all 
rebels will be punished and made example of 
. . . Burghers were never more unanimous 
than now, and stand by the government as one 
man " ; indeed, he is said to have urged that 
Jameson should be shot as a filibuster : Jameson 
himself hearing of this advice many yekrs later 
remarked, so the story goes, " Yes, Botha was 
always right." But, though strongly supporting 
Kruger on this occasion, he was never in favour 
of Kruger's unenlightened methods of govern- 
ment, especially in regard to the Uitlanders ; and 
in the presidential election of 1895 had supported 
the more liberal Joubert against Kruger. In 
1897 he himself stood with his old chief, Lukas 
Meyer, for election to the Volksraad ; both were 
elected, but Botha himself headed the poll. In 
the Volksraad, Botha, with Meyer and Joubert, 
was generally opposed to Kruger's repressive 
policy against the Uitlanders and even proposed 

B2 21 


to cancel the iniquitous Nobel contract for 
dynamite, which bore so hardly on the mine 
industry, until he found that Kruger had bound 
the country to the contract and felt impelled to 
withdraw his opposition. But once the die was 
cast by the declaration of war against England 
in October, 1899, he was more than ready to do 
his duty by his own country. 

Jan Christiaan Smuts, eight years Botha's 
junior, was the second son of a family of eight by 
his father's first marriage, with two more to come 
from a second marriage. Smuts's parentage was 
more notable than Botha's, his father being a 
prosperous farmer of the rich Malmesbury district 
in Cape Colony, who was elected to the Cape 
Legislative Assembly, and his mother of an old 
Huguenot family, a woman of deep religious 
feeling and considerable culture. In his early 
days Smuts was of feeble health and a shy retiring 
lad, of little use on the farm, which his father had 
meant him to take over, his elder brother being 
destined for the office of predikant. It was not 
till he was ten or twelve years old (the authorities 
differ), when he was sent to a boarding school at 
Riebeek West, that for the first time, according to 
one of his biographers, he learned to read. But 
when he did start he became a voracious reader 
and was given special facilities by the headmaster, 
who soon realized his abilities and encouraged 
him in his new-found zeal for learning* At the 



age of sixteen he proved ripe for study at the 
Victoria College of Stellenbosch, first announcing 
his coming and asking for guidance in a touchingly 
naive letter to one of the professors. " Dear Sir," 
the letter begins, " Allow me the pleasure of your 
reading and answering these few lines* I intend 
coming to Stellenbosch in July next, and, having 
heard that you take an exceptionally great interest 
in the youth, I trust you will favour me by keeping 
your eye upon me and helping me with your 
kindly advice. Moreover, as I shall be a perfect 
stranger there, and, as you know, such a place, 
where a large puerile element exists, affords fair 
scope for moral, and, what is more important, 
religious temptation, which, if yielded to, will 
eclipse alike the expectations of my parents and 
the intentions of myself, a real friend will prove 
a lasting blessing for me. For of what use will 
a mind, enlarged and refined in all possible ways, 
be to me, if my religion be a deserted pilot, and 
morality a wreck ? "* 

At Stellenbosch he worked hard, and soon 
became so marked a student that when the great 
Rhodes came to address the college, he was chosen 
to return thanks for the students, and was noted 
by Rhodes as a young man of promise. But he 
still remained aloof from his fellows with one 
exception. Among the women students was a 
Sibella Kriege, six months younger than himself, 
with whom he soon found interests in common. 

* This letter is quoted in Millin, General Smuts, I, 12 14. 


Almost daily they would meet on their way to 
college ; they studied Greek, German and botany 
together, talked of high philosophy, and in fact 
discovered one another as kindred spirits. After 
five years at Stellenbosch this self-reliant young 
man determined to go to Cambridge to study law, 
and, though he seems to have had little help from 
his parents, scraped together enough money 
partly by borrowing from a Stellenbosch professor 
to be able to enter as an undergraduate at 
Christ's College. Here, too, he was very much of 
a solitary ; few, indeed, of his contemporaries 
seem to have met him. He himself later spoke of 
the debt he owed to Joseph Wolstenholme,. a 
mathematical fellow of his college, who gave him 
much help in his reading. The only Cambridge 
contemporaries I have met who had spoken to 
Smuts in those days are Dr. G. P. Gooch and 
Archdeacon Lambert ; but at any rate he 
attended the lectures of Henry Sidgwickon politics, 
and of that great humanist in law, Maitland, and 
worked to such purpose that he established a 
record by obtaining firsts in both parts of the Law 
Tripos in the same year. Then he went to the 
Middle Temple and was duly called to the bar. 
But law was not the only interest of this shy and 
solitary lawyer. In their walks and talks at 
Stellenbosch he and Sibella Kriege, besides 
reading Goethe, had tackled Walt Whitman, in 
whom Smuts discovered the germ of his Holistic 
philosophy, and, during his odd moments at the 



Temple, wrote a book entitled Walt Whitman, 
A Study in the Evolution of Personality, expounding 
Whitman's view of the world, sent it out to Sibella 
Kriege, who copied it out fair for him, and 
submitted it to a publisher. The publisher's 
reader was no less than George Meredith, who, 
while impressed by the book, thought it was not 
likely to attract enough readers to warrant publi- 
cation. Then, in spite of brilliant prospects at the 
English bar, he decided to return to his native 
land. So far, except for his one confidant and 
companion, Sibella Kriege, Smuts had been 
a solitary. 

Settling at Cape Town Smuts began practising 
at the bar, but does not appear to have found many 
clients. The Cape lawyers and politicians have 
always been a genial crowd, accustomed to meet 
at their clubs, exchanging gossip and chaffing one 
another good-humouredly while treating one 
another to friendly drinks. In such a crowd 
Smuts was not much in his element, for he was 
still shy and reserved, very abstemious in his 
habits and too serious to join in the genial chaff. 
So he was not likely to attract many clients and 
in fact got little business at the Cape bar. How- 
ever he was already an adept with his pen and 
to some extent made up for the dearth of briefs 
by journalism. Moreover, he found one influential 
friend in the leader of the Bond, Jan Hofmeyr, 
who was then allied with Rhodes, at that time 
premier of the Cape, and, though refusing to 



enter Rhodes's ministry, gave him powerful help 
in his endeavour to merge the Dutch and English 
communities in a common programme for the 
benefit not only of Europeans but also of the 
natives. This was a policy which attracted Smuts 
from the very first and indeed, except for the 
interval of the Anglo Boer War of 1899 to 1903, 
was always his main preoccupation in public 
affairs. Accordingly Hofmeyr recommended him 
to Rhodes as one likely to do good service for their 
common policy. Rhodes, indeed, perhaps hardly 
needed this advice, for he appears to have 
remembered the speech made by the lad in res- 
ponse to his own address at Stellenbosch in 1878, 
and invited him to make an electioneering speech 
on his behalf at Kimberley. No wonder Smuts, 
already inspired by the idea of a united South 
African nation, was attracted by the great man 
who seemed to have gone so far towards allaying, 
in the Cape at any rate, the differences between 
Boer and Briton, and accepted the invitation ; and 
he made a brilliant speech, in face of a by no 
means entirely favourable audience, in favour of 
Rhodes's policy and attacking Kruger for his 
obstinate isolationism. Then came the Raid in 
December, 1895, and the revelation of Rhodes's 
complicity. To Smuts, no less than to the 
Hofmeyrs and Schreiners, Krieges and all the 
Dutch in South Africa, this came as a negation of 
all Rhodes's talks of and plans for the union of 
the races. " He alone," wrote Smuts, " could 


have put the copestone to the arch of South 
African unity. He spurned the ethical code. 
The man that defies morality defies mankind." 
Smuts's action was no less prompt than his words. 
Full of fight and fizzing with energy, he gave up 
his British allegiance and went north to carve 
out a new career in the Transvaal.* 

On arriving at Johannesburg, besides giving 
law lectures and writing for the papers, he soon 
got a good practice at the bar, where there were 
then few who could rival his attainments. Thus 
he soon found himself well enough off to marry 
Sibella Kriege, his one confidant in his shy 
retiring days at Stellenbosch, where the wedding 
took place on 1st May, 1897 ; and so began a 
happy marriage of a pair united in common 
interests in literature and above all in public 

So successful had Smuts been at the Johannes- 
burg bar and so eminently had he proved his 
staunchness for the Boer cause at this dividing of 
the ways between Boer and Briton, that even the 
old conservative Kruger had marked his ability ; 
and in 1898 when Smuts was only twenty-eight, 
he was appointed State Attorney, second only in 
the ministry to the Secretary of State, Reitz. One 

* In later years Smuts came to recognize, in spite of the Raid, 
that in his essential aim, Rhodes's was identical with his own for 
a union of both South African nations. For at the South 
African National Convention of 1908 Smuts confided to 
Fitzpatrick, " Oh, if we only had Rhodes at this Convention, 
how he would put all straight." 



of Smuts's first actions as State Attorney was to 
clean up the Augean stable of the Johannesburg 
' police, which had made itself especially obnoxious 
to the Uitlanders, by dismissing its chief, whom 
he described as " a specially smart man, 
singularly unsuccessful in getting at criminals," 
especially in the illicit liquor traffic and in the 
numerous disorderly houses of Johannesburg ; 
and a law was passed, in spite even of Kruger, 
putting the detective force under the direct 
personal control of the State Attorney. It may 
have been on this occasion that Smuts, as he 
related in later days, was told by Kruger : " Your 
whip hits too hard." 

But even more serious matters than the dis- 
orderly state of Johannesburg soon monopolised 
the attention of Kruger and his government. Ever 
since the discovery of gold on the Rand an ever- 
increasing stream of foreign chiefly British 
immigrants, Uitlanders as the Boers called them, 
had been pouring into the city and the gold- 
diggings on the Rand. From the first the Boers, 
and not least Kruger himself, were alarmed at 
this foreign invasion, which threatened to swamp 
their comparatively small pastoral community, 
and to introduce habits of luxury and extrava- 
gance alien to their simple habits. But Kruger, 
realizing that these Uitlanders had come to stay, 
had determined at any rate to make them pay 
heavily for their accommodation. They were 
heavily taxed, not only directly, but also through 


concessions given by the government to foreign 
firms not without a consideration to the State 
for providing at exorbitant prices dynamite, etc., 
essential for working the mines : at the same time 
they were refused any say in the government of 
the country they were financing. For long their 
grievances found no redress, and after the fiasco 
of Jameson's raid, they were in even worse state. 
But in March, 1897, with the arrival of Milner as 
Governor of the Cape and High Commissioner for 
South Africa, they found a man prepared to stand 
up for what he regarded as British rights. Milner, 
backed by the Colonial Secretary, Chamberlain, 
was determined not only to remove their grievances, 
but also to assert in its most uncompromising 
form the suzerainty of the imperial factor through- 
out South Africa. After much correspondence 
between Milner and Kruger, finally, at the end 
of May 1899, a conference was arranged at 
Bloemfontein between Milner and the equally 
uncompromising old president. Milner on his 
side required no promptings from his staff, who 
merely acted as his secretaries. Kruger, on the 
other hand, had been careful to take as one of 
his chief assistants his clever and ingenious young 
State Attorney, who, besides being fecund in 
devices, realized better than his chief that some 
concessions were necessary to avoid a war which 
might prove fatal to the Transvaal. Encouraged 
by sympathisers at the Cape, Smuts persuaded 
Kruger to make important concessions on the 
B2* 29 


franchise for the Uitlanders, but he, no less 
than Kruger, was uncompromising about the 
suzerainty. However, Milner was not one to be 
content with any half-way house, and though a 
near approach was made to a satisfactory 
franchise, the conference broke down chiefly on 
the suzerainty question. 

Smuts, however, still hoped that war might be 
avoided. He got into touch with Conyngham 
Greene, the British agent in the Transvaal, 
suggesting a more liberal franchise for the 
Uitlanders and admitting a nominal suzerainty 
for Great Britain, if it were never exercised. But 
this rather hole-and-corner negotiation never 
came to anything ; for Kruger was not prepared 
to go as far as Smuts on the franchise question. 
Accordingly, Smuts, in his final letter to Greene, 
whittled away some of his original offer, and 
Milner insisted that any new approach from the 
Transvaal should come direct to him. Meanwhile, 
while Great Britain was still unprepared for war 
in South Africa, Kruger had been making his 
final preparations, nd was waiting only for the 
first October rains, to bring on the grass for his 
mounted commandos, before proclaiming war. 
On 9th October he sent an ultimatum to England 
demanding that all British troops should be 
moved from the borders and, reinforcements 
coming by sea sent back at once. On llth Oc- 
tober, 1899, hostilities began, with an invasion of 
Natal by Boer commandos. Thereupon Smuts , 


wrote A Century of Wrong, a pamphlet recounting 
all England's so-called iniquities in South Africa, 
and ending with a peroration urging the unifi- 
cation of all South Africa under the Dutch 
Vierkleur flag. The pamphlet was forthwith 
issued by W. T. Stead in England ; Smuts is said 
later to have regretted its bitter hostility to 

Chapter Three 

Botha and Smuts 
in the South African War 

BOTHA, as we have seen, had been at least 
doubtful about the declaration of war by the 
Transvaal, but, the country once committed, he 
threw aside every doubt and was all for vigorous 
action. The war indeed soon proved the mettle 
of this quiet, wise man, then hardly more recog- 
nized, outside his own district of Vryheid, for 
what he was, than was Lincoln, " the prairie 
lawyer," before he first leaped into fame in his 
electioneering campaign against Douglas, the 
" pocket giant ". As a simple field cornet Botha 
accompanied Lukas Meyer's commando for the 
invasion of Natal, -but from the outset showed a 
dash and determination for aggressive action 
which soon brought him to the front, leading the 
first reconnoitring party across the Buffalo river 
and distinguishing himself in the battle of Dundee. 
Promotion soon came to him, for on 30th October, 
when Lukas Meyer fell sick, he was promoted to 
the rank of assistant-general, and shortly after- 
wards was put in command of the southern force 



investing Ladysmith. Here he was not content 
with the inactive policy of the Commandant- 
General Joubert, who proposed simply to sit 
round Ladysmith, blocking all communication for 
the garrison with the outside world until it was 
forced to surrender, but urged him, while leaving 
a blockading force round that town, to push on 
vigorously and possibly even reach the sea before 
the British reinforcements arrived. Yielding to 
Botha's pressing instances, Joubert crossed the 
Tugela river in November and swept round 
Estcourt in two columns. It is noteworthy that 
during this advance Botha ambushed an English 
armoured train near Chievely, and, meeting 
Mr. Winston Churchill unarmed and wandering 
about the line, took prisoner the future prime 
minister, and sent him up to his temporary prison 
at the high school in Pretoria. But British 
reinforcements were then beginning to arrive, 
and Joubert recrossed the Tugela and, shortly 
afterwards falling sick, left Botha as the senior 
officer in command round Ladysmith. 

Buller, on taking over command of the Natal 
forces at the end of November, decided to reach 
Ladysmith by a frontal attack on the Boer centre 
opposite Colenso. Botha, with that rare instinct 
for reading his opponent's mind, one of his most 
remarkable characteristics in the field, divined 
that Buller would choose this course, and accor- 
dingly, weakening his widely extended flanks, 
concentrated nearly all his strength on the centre. 



Here, on a semi-circle of hills facing the Tugela 
opposite Buller, he had dug himself in so securely 
and so unperceived by his enemy, that the 
advancing British troops were at his mercy. To 
make assurance doubly sure he gave orders that 
not a shot was to be fired until .the enemy were 
actually crossing the Tugela. The Boers, how- 
ever, when Long's guns came forward into action 
in an exposed position just south of the river, 
could no longer restrain themselves and, besides 
putting the battery out of action, so clearly 
revealed the strength of their position that Buller 
gave up his intended frontal attack. But had the 
Boer marksmen concealed their position a little 
longer, as Botha had instructed them, the victory 
would probably have been far more complete 
and a large portion of Buller's force put out of 

Botha himself, after his defeat of Buller at 
Colenso, was all for an immediate advance on 
the British forces before Buller had time to 
readjust his forces. But, unfortunately for the 
Boers, Botha was not then unquestioned master 
of their military decisions, since he had not yet 
been appointed to the supreme command ; while 
the various commandos besieging Ladysmith 
were too prone to act independently of one 
another. Nevertheless, when it came to actual 
fighting, Botha's clear vision and practical 
efficiency generally enabled him to impose his 
will on his colleagues. Thus at Tabanayama by 



his prompt call for volunteers to save the 
threatened right flank of the Boers he averted the 
danger. Again, in January, 1900, when a detach- 
ment of British troops had attained a commanding 
position on Spion Kop and many of the burghers 
had begun a panic-stricken retreat, Botha brought 
up guns to shell the British troops on the hill, 
rallied his burghers and launched a series of 
counter-attacks which finally dislodged the 
British. " It was," says one historian of this war, 
" Botha's persistent will to conquer that decided 
the issue." Again, in the last desperate fighting 
before Ladysmith in February, when Buller was 
working round the eastern flank, Botha forced 
him to retire from Vaalkranz, and telegraphed to 
Kruger, " With the help of the Lord, I expect 
that if only the spirit of the burghers keeps up as 
it did to-day, the enemy will suffer a great 
reverse." But after this Botha was constantly 
hampered by the less venturesome Meyer, who 
had returned to the front. After Buller's final 
success at Pieter's Hill on 27th February, Botha's 
attempt to rally the burghers was frustrated by 
Joubert himself, who gave the signal for a final 

On the same day as Pieter's Hill, Cronje had 
surrendered to Roberts at Paardeberg, and a 
month later Joubert died. Thereupon Botha 
was appointed to succeed him as Commandant 
General of the Transvaal. Such an appointment 
was in itself an innovation, for Botha was then 



only thirty-eight, one of the youngest even of the 
commando leaders, and the Boers had as a rule 
an exaggerated respect for age. But Joubert had 
already realized his worth, and the still younger 
State Attorney, Smuts, is said to have finally 
persuaded Kruger to appoint him. At any rate 
he soon proved his fitness for the position. He was 
not one to tolerate the slack independence of the 
commandos, too inclined to dribble away home 
after a bout of fighting instead of maintaining the 
pressure at the front. One of his first actions was 
to send peremptory telegrams to the landrosts of 
the eastern districts ordering them to send back 
to the front all shirkers from the commandos: 
" act on this immediately," he concluded, 
" because every minute lost is in itself a wrong 
which you are doing to your country and kin- 
dred " ; and he saw to it that his orders were 
obeyed. He also turned to better use the many 
foreign volunteers from Holland, France and 
Germany, hitherto looked on askance by the 
burghers, by enrolling them in a foreign legion 
divided into separate units, according to their 
respective nationalities and appointing in com- 
mand of the legion the Comte de Villebois 
Mareuil, formerly a distinguished officer in the 
French army. 

After the relief of Ladysmith by Buller on 
27th February, 1900, and Robertas victory of 
Paardeberg on the following day, there was little 
left for Botha to do in Natal, whereas Roberts's 



march through the Free State towards Johannes- 
burg and Pretoria threatened the very existence 
of the two Boer republics. So in May Botha 
took his newly reorganized commandos from 
Natal to the Free State. But with his force of 
only 10,000 as opposed to Roberts's 100,000, there 
was little he could do beyond delaying actions. 
At Doornkop on the outskirts of Johannesburg 
he made a gallant stand against odds, but could 
not prevent the occupation of the mining city and 
of the capital, Pretoria, by Roberts's troops. 
Just before the British Army's entry into Johannes- 
burg, Judge Kotze, a hater of England and all 
English ways, had proposed to blow up the gold 
mines and so deprive the British of the TransVaaFs 
main industry. Botha, however, lucidly happened 
to be at Johannesburg at the time ; he was not 
one to sanction such wanton destruction of what 
after all was still Boer property, and had Kotze 
arrested before he could carry out his plan. It is 
interesting, however, to note that-later, when the 
British were in full possession of Johannesburg, 
Smuts suggested a sudden coup-de-main by a force 
of 12,00015,000 Boers to destroy all the mines 
with dynamite. Smuts then seems to have 
believed that the only object of the British was for 
the possession of the wealth of the goldfields, and 
expressed the view that " our plans, if carried out, 
would have meant a speedy conclusion of war,'* 
a view of Great Britain's reasons for going to war 
certainly erroneous. At any rate he never 



persuaded Botha to embark on such a hare- 
brained scheme.* 

One last pitched battle, however, Botha had 
with the British shortly after the occupation of 
Pretoria. Kruger and most of his ministers, 
though abandoning the capital, had determined 
to carry on the government from a railway train, 
and were on their way eastwards by the line from 
Pretoria to Delagoa Bay. So, to prevent a 
premature success by the British advancing along 
the railway and so rendering the Boer Govern- 
ment's escape impossible, Botha decided to make 
a stand at Diamond Hill east of Pretoria ; and, 
though he won no victory, by his delaying action 
facilitated his government's escape to the 
Portuguese border. 

So far Smuts, barring occasional visits to the 
Natal front to visit his friends fighting against 
Buller, had been kept at his work in Pretoria. But 
when Kruger and the rest of his ministry, mostly 
old men, left Pretoria for the railway, Smuts, 
only thirty years old and as vigorous as ever, 
remained behind, having made up his mind that 
the only thing left that he could do for his country 
was to fight in a commando. But first he saw to 
it that the government should be provided with 
funds for carrying on the war. Kruger had gone 
off in such a hurry that he had left the state 
treasure, consisting of bar gold valued at^500,000, 

* Millin, Central Smuts, 1, 153. 


in one of the Pretoria banks. When Smuts went 
to demand delivery of the gold, the bank manager 
absolutely refused to part with it, but Smuts, 
escorted by fifty policemen, soon overcame the 
manager's scruples and obtained the gold, which 
he forthwith sent down the line to Kruger's train ; 
such a windfall was, of course, as nothing com- 
pared with the millions expended by Great 
Britain in the succeeding two years of war, but 
it served to some extent in providing equipment 
and food for the commandos that continued the 
fight for the next two years and more. Botha 
also was able to retrieve the 25,000 lodged in 
a bank in the name of the commandant-general 
for similar purposes. 

Smuts at first sight seemed one of the last men 
likely to make a success of guerilla fighting. It is 
true that he had, on his return to South Africa 
from Cambridge, joined a company of volunteers 
at Stellenbosch. But so far he had appeared 
mainly as a student and as a clever and ingenious 
lawyer. He had never, except in his early days 
on his father's farm, seemed interested in anything 
but books, and in general company was shy and 
reserved. He had, no doubt, as State Attorney 
learned much of human nature, both good and 
bad, and could hold his own against men like the 
rascally police chief of Johannesburg, and even 
to some extent against men of Milner's calibre. 
But on commando he- would have to be cheek-by- 
jowl mainly with men of little education except 



in farming work and uninterested in Smuts's bent 
for literary and philosophic speculation. But to 
compensate for these drawbacks he had an eager 
determination to make a success of anything he 
undertook ; and he shared with his fellow- 
burghers a passionate belief in his country's cause. 
Already, too, he was beginning to be known as 
" Slim Jannie," in a complimentary sense, for 
his ingenuity in dealing with rascally police 
officials, recalcitrant bank managers, and even, to 
some extent, with men of Milner's calibre. Such 
a man might well prove exceptionally useful in 
circumventing or harassing the somewhat lum- 
bering British columns roaming about the 
countryside. These merits were quickly appre- 
ciated by the wise and understanding comman- 
dantrgeneral, when Smuts applied to him for work 
on commando. Indeed, Botha seems at once to 
have recognised that in Smuts he had found an 
embryo leader in the hard struggle against over- 
whelming odds on which the Transvaal and the 
Free State were then embarking. So he accepted 
Smuts's offer and sent him to learn the guerilla's 
craft under his friend De la Rey, the ablest and 
most successful commandant in the Western 

The guerilla war that was started after the final 
pitched battle at Diamond Hill lasted for all but 
two years. In the end, of course, the Boers with 
forces far inferior in numbers, and with supplies 
limited to what they could find in their farms, 


which were being gradually bereft of inhabitants 
and produce by the columns of British troops, 
while the women and children were brought in 
to concentration camps driven too, as they were, 
from pillar to post and gradually reduced by 
capture or losses in engagements these fighting 
Boers were bound in the end to succumb to the 
overwhelming forces against them. But, suffering 
as they did, they earned the respect of their 
opponents and in the end secured a settlement 
which still kept the Boers as the predominant 
factor in South Africa. Among the Boer leaders 
of these guerilla bands, while many inflicted 
serious reverses on the British troops, four stand 
out as most prominent, the Free Stater de Wet, 
and the Transvaalers Botha, De la Rey and 

In organising the guerilla fighting Botha as a 
rule wisely entrusted the fighting in the various 
districts mainly to the commandos raised in those 
districts. There the men had their homes which 
they naturally wished to defend and also knew 
most of the by-ways from which they could make 
surprise attacks on the slow, heavily-moving 
English columns mostly confined to the well- 
marked roads or open country, or else evade them 
before they could be trapped by superior forces. 
Botha himself chiefly confined his own activities 
to the Eastern Transvaal, with which he was most 
familiar, but he managed, in spite of difficulties 
of communication, almost to the end of the war 



to keep in touch with the members of the two 
Boer Governments and the leaders of his scattered 
commandos. How wearing this guerilla warfare 
was to the British forces may be judged by an 
offer of Kitchener to meet Botha at Middleburg 
in February, 1901, to discuss terms of peace : the 
meeting took place, but without result, since 
Botha was not yet prepared to give up the 
independence of his people, a sine qua non on the 
British side. Kitchener, however, even at this 
meeting, was impressed by Botha's attitude, so 
much so that he wrote to the Secretary for War : 
" Botha is a quiet, capable man, and I have no 
doubt carries considerable weight with his 
burghers ; he will be, I should think, of valuable 
assistance to the future government of the country 
in an official capacity."* 

Six months later Kitchener, changing his 
tactics, tried threats instead of diplomacy to put 
an end to the tiresome war of which he was 
heartily sick, issuing a proclamation warning the 
Boers in the field that, if they had not surrendered 
by the 15th September, all their chief officers 
would be banished and the rank and file mulcted 
for the cost of keeping their wives and children in 
the concentration camps. Botha's answer to this 
threat was his own most spectacular expedition of 
the war. On the day after Kitchener's pro- 
clamation he issued orders to his commandos in 
the Western Transvaal. His plan was to invade 

* Quoted by Engdcnbcrg, General Lows Botha, 66. 


Natal, unmolested hitherto by the Boers for over 
a year since the relief of Ladysmith, and not too 
securely guarded. On 17th September General 
Gough had a serious reverse at Blood River Poort ; 
and though Botha failed in his immediate object 
of invading Natal, he attracted to his orbit several 
British columns hastily brought from other 
districts where they were much needed. These 
he evaded successfully, and then by magnificent 
marches on one day covering thirty miles 
suddenly swooped down on Benson's column, 
long the terror of the Eastern Transvaal and 
almost annihilated it at Bakenlaagte on 30th Oc- 
tober, 1901 : an effective reply to Kitchener's 
proclamation of 15th September. 

By July, 1901, Smuts had learned enough of 
the guerilla art under De la Rey in the Western 
Transvaal to be chosen by Botha as commandant 
of a little band of 400 men to ride through the 
Free State and, after crossing the Orange River, 
to arouse the Dutch in Cape Colony itself. Taking 
little more in his saddle-bags than Kant's Critique 
of Pure Reason and a Greek New Testament, he set 
off gaily on the adventure.* During August he 
was involved in one of Kitchener's great drives 
in the Free State, but, after many hairbreadth 
escapes, reached the Orange River at the 
beginning of September, only to find almost every 
drift across the river guarded by French's forces 

* Hertzog, another Boer guerilla leader, told me that he took 
a Tacitus in his saddle-bags. 



in Cape Colony. Smuts, however, who always did 
his own reconnaissances himself, often alone* 
found one unguarded passage by which he led 
his men across. Henceforward for the rest of the 
war he remained in Cape Colony, eluding the 
English even French himself always pursued, 
often almost starving for want of food, but also 
occasionally surprising an English detachment and 
helping himself to English supplies and clothing. 
On one occasion he had got so far south as to be* 
within sight of Port Elizabeth, and thence 
diverged westward to his own Malmesbury dis- 
trict, where he was met by a brother-in-law 
Kriege, bringing him a large sum of money from 
Smuts's father. He gained a few recruits from 
the local Dutch, but not so many as he had hoped, 
since the English forces had commandeered most 
of the horses and the Boer guerilla bands were 
comparatively helpless without horses, whereas 
the British could bring up their reinforcements by 
train. Occasional reinforcements however came 
to him from other Boer parties from the Free 
State, his most notable recruit being Deneys 
Reitz, son of a former President of the Orange 
Free State, who became the most lively chronicler 
of the adventure.! On one occasion French 
himself was within an ace of being captured by 
Smuts's little force, which had come to a halt one 

* On another of his daring reconnaissances, when he took 
three others with him, the party was ambushed by a British 
patrol, and Smuts alone survived to return to his commando. 

t In his book Commando, for which Smuts wrote a preface. 


tight by the railway line just as a train was 
approaching. They could easily have de-railed 
the train, but Smuts forbade it, as it might contain 
women and children : in fact, as he subsequently 
learned, it contained only French and his staff on 
the way to reorganize his forces in the pursuit of 
Smuts's little commando. Finally Smuts, rein- 
forced by more volunteers mainly from the two 
republics until his commando had increased to 
over 2000 men, made his way as far north as 
Ookiep in Namaqualand, where, after capturing 
a British fort, he was called away to discuss the 
final peace proposals at Vereeniging. 

Smuts's incursion into Cape Colony, in spite of 
all his difficulties, had been one of the most 
brilliant performances in the Boer War. With 
his own small force he had kept 80009000 
British troops employed in defending British 
territory, and though he had won no great 
victories, he had at any rate kept his enemy 
guessing and to a considerable extent distracted. 
He had no hesitation in risking his own life, and 
in fact always ihsisted on doing his own recon- 
noitring and by his tact and personal courage 
kept his force, barring casualties, intact and 
enthusiastic to the end. After his years of active 
service in the open air, his very appearance had 
changed. When he first came to Johannesburg 
in 1896 he was described as " pale-faced, tre- 
mendously serious, with a hungry look, and 
seemingly taking no notice of what was around 



him "; now his closest relations did not recognise 
him with his new alertness and vigour, with " the 
breezes of the veld in his smile, its vast spaces in 
the sweep of his arm, its strength and unrelenting 
spirit in the springiness of his rapid gait."* 
As to his military achievements, many years later, 
French, his chief adversary, presiding at a dinner 
to Smuts in London, said of him : " Smuts 
impressed me far more than any opponent I ever 
met, with his power as a great commander and 
leader of men." 

A full account of the meeting of Free State and 
Transvaal delegates at Vereeniging is to be found 
in de Wet's Three Years' War : and a very moving 
account it is. Those most intent on continuing 
the war were chiefly from the Free State, notably 
President Steyn, ex-President Reitz and de Wet, 
though they at first found several from the 
Transvaal holding the same view. Against them 
was the majority of the Transvaal delegates and 
notably Botha and Smuts, who pointed to the 
almost complete exhaustion of their resources, 
the devastation of the country, the separation 
from their wives and children in the concentration 
camps and the comparative leniency of the 
English terms as almost irrefutable arguments for 
submission : the only alternative being the well- 
nigh complete annihilation of those who persisted 
in fighting against overwhelming odds. " We 

* N. Levi, Jan Smuts, 35 sqq. 


must save the nation " was the burden of both 
men's speeches to the delegates. " Terms might 
be secured now," said Botha, " terms which 
would save the language, customs and ideals of 
the people. The fatal thing would be to secure 
no terms at all and yet be forced to surrender. 
We are slipping back. We must save the nation 
by a permanent peace under which both Boer 
and British would be able to dwell here side by 
side."* With the same intent Smuts exposed 
with Thucydidean art the weakness of the 
national forces, praised their heroism and appealed 
to his countrymen to face realities and for the time 
being to yield " with the assured hope of attaining 
later," as he put it, " the glory of a nobler future, 
the light of a brighter day." 

In settling details of the treaty both Botha and 
Smuts had several conferences with Milner and 
Kitchener, of whom the latter conceived a great 
admiration and liking for Botha, and by his frank 
talks with Smuts, in which he prophesied that 
within two years the Liberals would be in power 
in England and likely to grant a satisfactory 
constitution to the two new colonies of the 
Transvaal and the Orange River, greatly facili- 
tated the Boers' acceptance of the British terms. 
At the final meeting of the Boer delegates on 
31st May, 1902, when the British terms were 
presented for acceptance or rejection, the pro- 

* The last words of this quotation come from E. V. Engelenbcrg, 
Central Lends Botha. 



ccedings, as was usual with the Boers on such 
solemn occasions, were opened with prayer ; and, 
after a few speeches, the treaty of peace as 
presented was finally accepted by fifty-four votes 
to six. Vice-President Burger of the Transvaal 
then spoke : " We are standing here at the grave 
of the two Republics. Much yet remains to be 
done . . . Let us not draw our hands back 
from the work which it is our duty to accomplish. 
Let us ask God to guide us, and to show us how we 
shall be enabled to keep our nation together. We 
must be ready to forgive and to forget whenever 
we meet our brethren. That part of the nation 
which has proved unfaithful* we must not 
reject." " Then this," so the chronicle ends, 
" the last meeting of the two Republics, was 
closed with prayer." 

On the British side, as soon as the treaty of 
Vereejiiging was signed on 31st May, 1902, " We 
are good friends now," said Kitchener, as he 
shook hands with Botha, whom he had learned to 
respect as a formidable and straightforward 
antagonist, a sentiment entirely reciprocated by 
Botha about Kitchener himself, for whom he 
conceived a lasting affection. 

* I.e., the National Scouts, Boen who had fought on the 
British side. 

Chapter Four 

From Responsible Government 
To Union 

AS soon as the treaty of Vereeniging had been 
formally cornpleted, Botha called together 
his staff officers to thank them for their faithful 
services, concluding his speech with these pro- 
phetic words : " One consolation remains to all 
of you : you can now go and rest a little. As for 
me, my real work only begins at this hour. The 
day when rest will be mine will be the day when 
they lower me into the grave. The sacrifices we 
had to make were terrific, but we are going to see 
a Greater South Africa."* No prophecy could 
have been truer. 

One of the first duties Botha imposed on himself 
was to seek relief for his own scattered people, 
most of whose houses had been destroyed, their 
livestock commandeered and their wives and 
children kept in concentration camps. It is true 
that 3,000,000 had been promised in the treaty 
by the British Government for restoring the 
burghers to their farms, but this was quite in- 
sufficient to make good their losses ; so Botha, 

* Engelenberg, i.e. 99. 



accompanied by De Wet and De la Rey, went off 
to Europe to raise funds from sympathisers in 
England and was particularly touched by his 
friendly and informal reception by King Edward 
and his wife ; but jieither in England nor on the 
continent, which he also visited, were the sums 
contributed to his fund for widows and orphans at 
all commensurate with his hopes. 

On his return his immediate need was to find 
a new home, for his farm buildings at Waterval 
had been destroyed in the war ; and the district 
of Vryheid, where they were, had been handed 
over to Natal at the peace. Accordingly Botha, 
who had made up his mind to remain a Trans- 
vaaler, bought a farm in the Standerton district, 
which he renamed Rusthof, Haven of Rest, 
gradually adding to it out-lying properties. until 
by 1912 he owned 11,000 acres. What Botha did 
not know about high-veld farming was not worth 
knowing, especially in stock-raising of sheep, 
horses and cattle. As he himself once remarked 
to a friend, " They may call me a soldier or a 
statesman in reality I am a farmer and nothing 
else."* The story is told that on his visit to 
Europe in 1909 he was given a special permit to 
visit the French Government's merino sjud farm 
and to purchase a few rams. Out of a flock of 
150 he finally picked out three, which the manager 
declared to be the best on the farm : " Tell your 
Minister," he exclaimed, " that when I was 

* Engelenberg, I.e. 122. 


notified of the coming of the famous Boer general, 
I never dreamt he was such an exceptionally clever 
sheep expert ; on such occasions I always have 
our very best rams kept out ; " and when Botha 
asked to make a selection of the two-year v -olds, 
" Never ! " exclaimed the worried manager, " I 
shall never be allowed to permit such a capable 
expert to take the pick of my two-year-olds. We 
have to keep them for our own use."* As a prac- 
tical farmer, indeed, Botha was far ahead of the 
ordinary Boer farmers, who were quite content 
with the roughest unscientific farming which 
enabled them merely to provide little more, as a 
rule, than was necessary for their own households. 
In fact, much as he disliked Milner's methods of 
government in most respects, he made an excep- 
tion in favour of his agricultural department, 
which did magnificent work in improving the 
Boers' happy-go-lucky system of farming. 

But after his return from the disappointing visit 
to Europe he had little leisure at first for farming 
activities, for he had made up his mind that his 
primary duty was to help his own countrymen in 
their distress. Accordingly he took a house in 
Pretoria, where he was always accessible to those 
who came to him with grievances against the 
government and generous to those in special need. 
Though he and Smuts, who had resumed his 
practice at the bar, were offered places on Milner's 
nominated council to advise the government, they 

* Engclenberg, I.e. p. 186. 


both refused, as they disagreed with Milner's 
policy and felt that as outside critics they would 
be for more effective than as a minority in an 
unrepresentative assembly. 

Smuts, the other outstanding figure among the 
Transvaal Boers, had after Vereeniging, during 
the last period of Milner's regime, at first given 
way to bitterness and despair as to the future of 
his country, especially when the employment of 
Chinese on the mines added another complication 
to the uneasy mixture of races in South Africa. 
His chief confidant in England was Miss Hobhouse 
who during the war had visited the concentration 
camps and done much to arouse indignation at 
home against the early defects of that system. 
Writing to her on the probable results of Milner's 
scheme of increasing the output of the mines by 
Chinese labour, he concluded : " I see the day 
coming when British South Africa will appeal to 
the Dutch to save them from the consequences of 
their insane policy of to-day. And I fear I some- 
times fear with an agony bitterer than death 
that the Dutch will no more be there to save them 
or South Africa. For the Dutch too are being 
undermined and demoralised by disaster and des- 
pair, and God only knows how far this process will 
be allowed to go on."* 

But this defeatist attitude happily proved only 

* Millin, 1, 193 5. One of his bitter effusions was published 
without, I believe, his consent, and was answered by a bitter 
ode of Owen Seaman's in Punch. 



a passing mood, and Smuts was soon inspired by 
Botha to take an active part in his scheme for 
reviving the spirit of the Boers by starting a party 
to be named Het Volk, " The People," which, as 
its name implied, was to include the whole Boer 
people. The chief difficulty to be overcome was 
the unwillingness of the Bitter-enders, who had 
fought to the last, to have any association with 
Hands-uppers, Boers who had surrendered in earlier 
days and in many cases enlisted in the National 
Scouts organised by the British to fight against 
their own countrymen. But at the inaugural 
meeting of Het Volk in May, 1904, Botha made it 
plain at the outset that the composition of Het Volk 
must be as universal as its name : " Let us," he 
said, " put back the past so far that it nq longer 
has any power to keep us apart. Less than a year 
ago we were in opposite camps men of the same 
home passed each other without a handshake. 
To-night we are gathered in order to consider the 
fortunes of one and all. So mote it be. Let us do 
all we can to heal the breach, then we shall again 
become great. Let the names of * Hands-upper ' 
and c National Scout ' be excised from our vocab- 
ulary. The honour of the people is a thing too 
great and delicate to be tarnished by such 
stains."* From this time forward H& Volk 
flourished under Botha's wise and tolerant guid- 
ance, aided by Smuts's resourcefulness and 

* Engdenberg, 1312. 
3 S3 


diplomatic ability* until in 1910 it became 
merged in the more comprehensive South African 
party, which by that time included also many of 
British stock; and even such obstinate extremists 
as Deneys Reitz, son of an ex-President of the 
Orange Free State, who had at first refused to 
take the oath of allegiance to Great Britain, 
" learned to see Botha's great vision of a united 
South African people, to whom the memories of 
the Boer War would mean no longer bitterness, but 
only the richness and inspiration of a spiritual 
experience. The loyalty of a Boer boy ripened 
into the broader liberty of the South African."f 

The general election in England of 1905, which 
brought in the Liberals with an overwhelming 
majority was nowhere more enthusiastically 
acclaimed than in the Transvaal and the Orange 
River Colony, as it was then for a brief period 
called. The aim of Botha and Smuts was no mere 
half-way house of representative institutions, such 
as the abortive Lyttelton constitution proposed, 
without full responsible government by the 
people's chosen parliament : and there seemed to 
be a chance of obtaining full responsibility under 
the Liberals. So Smuts was sent over by Het Volk 
to explore the ground in England. He saw 
several of the new ministers, none of whom gave 
him much satisfaction until he came to Campbell 

* Recognising Smuts's diplomatic ability, the Boen chose him 
to expound their grievances to Chamberlain on his visit to 
South Africa in 1904. 

t D. Reitz, Commando. (Preface by J. Smuts.) 



Bannerman himself. The Prime Minister asked 
him many searching questions about the past. 
Why had they not accepted Milner's offer of seats 
on the legislative council, or Lyttelton's Crown 
Colony government with seats in the legislature ; 
questions to which Smuts answered that the one 
thing that could make the wheels run was self- 
government, giving his reasons at length. Smuts 
concludes his account of the interview. " I went 
on explaining, I could see Campbell Bannerman 
was listening sympathetically. Without being 
brilliant he was the sort of sane personality large- 
hearted and honest on whom people depend. 
He reminded me of Botha. He told me there was 
to be a cabinet meeting next day, and he added, 
' Smuts, you have convinced me.' "* The story 
is well known of that cabinet meeting at which 
Campbell Bannerman, speaking against the view 
of all but two of his colleagues, by his " plain, 
kindly, simple utterance," which lasted only ten 
minutes, moved at least one member to tears and 
converted them all to the acceptance of the 
decision he had himself come to, to trust the 
enemies of barely four years ago, and grant the 
Transvaal and the Orange Free State, as it was 
once more to be entitled to call itself, as free and 
responsible a government as that of any of our 
dominions. " They gave us back," said Smuts, 
" in everything but name our country. After 
four years ! Has such a miracle of trust and 

* Millin, l.c. I, 21314, 



magnanimity ever happened before ? Only people 
like the English could do it. They make mistakes, 
but they are a big people." Botha, on the news 
of Campbell Bannerman's death in 1908, cabled 
to London his grief at the loss of " one of the 
Empire's wisest statesmen and one of the Trans- 
vaal's truest friends. In securing self-government 
for the new colonies he not only raised an im- 
perishable monument to himself, but through the 
policy of trust he inspired the people of South 
Africa with a new feeling of hopefulness and 
co-operation. In making it possible for the two 
races to live and work together harmoniously, he 
had laid the foundation of a united South Africa." 
At the first elections under the new constitution 
Het Volk secured majorities in both the new 
colonies. But it was an encouraging feature of the 
election, in the Transvaal at any rate, that a 
certain number of English-speaking electors voted 
for Het Volk candidates and that some even of 
those elected on that side were of English origin. 
For it was the aim of both Botha and Smuts to 
merge these racial distinctions in a common 
patriotism for a South African nation. It was the 
aim, too, already proclaimed by a much chastened 
Rhodes as early as the end of 1900 when the war 
was thought to be all but ended : " You think," 
he said, to a meeting in Gape Town, " you have 
beaten the Dutch ! But it is not so. The Dutch 
are not beaten ; what is beaten is Krugerism, a 
corrupt and evil government, no more Dutch in 



essence than English. No ! The Dutch are as 
vigorous and unconquered to-day as they have 
ever been ; the country is still as much theirs as it 
is yours, and you will have to live and work with 
them hereafter as 'in the past. Remember that 
when you go back to your homes in the towns or 
in the up-country farms and villages, make your 
Dutch neighbours feel that the bitterness is past 
and that the need of co-operation is greater than 
ever. Teach your children to remember when 
they go to their village school that the little Dutch 
boys and girls they find sitting on the same benches 
with them are as much part of the South African 
nation as they are themselves, and that, as they 
learn the same lessons together now, so hereafter 
they must work together as comrades for a 
common object the good of South Africa."* 

With the majority secured at the polls by Het 
Volk, it seemed natural that Botha should be 
called upon to form a Ministry. At first indeed 
there had been an idea that Sir Richard Solomon, 
a Cape Colonial who had been Milner's Attorney- 
general, but had stood for Pretoria as a Het Volk 
candidate, might be chosen ; but being defeated 
at the polls, he was out of the question. Smuts 
also was thought of by some of Het Volk, but he 
wisely stood aside for Botha. Writing to Merri- 
man at the Cape he says : "I might have been 
Premier, but considered that it would be a mis- 

* Quoted in my Cecil Rhodes, 319 20 ; I was fortunate 
enough to hear the speech. 



take to take precedence over Botha, who is really 
one of the first men South Africa has ever pro- 
duced. If he had culture, as he has chivalry and 
commonsense, there would not be his equal in 
South Africa."t In fact Botha soon proved that 
actually there was not his equal in South Africa. 

At the outset Botha showed his determination 
to make no racial distinctions in the composition 
of his small cabinet of six members. Besides being 
prime minister himself he also, most appropriately, 
took charge of the department of agriculture ; 
Smuts, his fidus Achates, doubled the functions of 
colonial secretary and minister of education ; of 
the four remaining ministers, two were of Dutch 
origin, but the two important offices of finance 
and public works were assigned to Hull and 
Solomon, both of British origin. Smuts indeed 
was justified in writing about a proposed testi- 
monial to Botha. " The victory of the people's 
party at the polls is chiefly due to his never- 
flagging endeavours, which began on the day 
peace was proclaimed, in the cause of welding the 
inhabitants of the Transvaal into a compact, 
lasting organization ; to his commonsense and 
well-considered counsel ; to his moderate 
policy and his work for cordial race co- 

As might have been expected, when self- 
government was established in the two former 
Boer states, in both of which, especially in the 

t Engclcnbcrg Lc. 147. * Ib. 145. 



Free State, there was a large Boer majority, there 
was much pressure by these majorities to clear 
away lock, stock and barrel, most of Milner's 
schemes and dismiss his imported officials, inclu- 
ding especially the inner ring, the so-called 
" kindergarten/' most of them first-rate young 
men. In the Free State, where Hertzog was 
minister of education, this policy was pursued 
with some vigour : but Botha in the Transvaal 
resolutely opposed such drastic measures, and in 
that was supported by Smuts. A few of the 
English officials resigned of their own accord, but 
all the best were willing to stay and were main- 
tained in office ; while most of Milner's schemes 
for developing industry, especially agriculture, 
were obviously too good to be scrapped. It is told 
of Botha that when a deputation of Boer farmers 
came to ask him to send back to England Milner's 
director of agriculture, F. B. Smith, later a dis- 
tinguished fellow of Downing, he replied : " Wait 
till he has got rid of the cattle-plague, then I may 
see about it." In the same way he kept on all the 
other agricultural experts from overseas, who 
had been doing admirable work in encouraging 
the new scientific methods in veterinary science, 
agrostology, etc. Botha himself, of course, being 
one of the most expert farmers in South Africa, 
was fully entitled to judge ; but even in this, and 
still more in other matters, he was not one to give 
his final decision without deep reflection. As one 
of his officials said : " When I first put up a 



proposal to him, he generally knew little about 
the matter, but would say : c Well, I will think it 
over, and give you my decision.' When, a few 
days later, the decision came, it was invariably 

The two questions which had loomed largest in 
the recent elections had been the importation of 
Chinese labour for the mines owing to a supposed 
dearth of native labour, and the education policy 
in the schools. As to the first Botha, with his 
extensive knowledge of native tribes and their 
habits, was convinced that with judicious and 
tactful treatment the native labourers would once 
more flock to the mines, and equally convinced 
that the introduction of another race with entirely 
alien habits into the already heterogeneous 
elements in South Africa was a cardinal error. 
But, unlike some of his Boer followers, who would 
at once have sent all the Chinese labourers 
packing, whatever effect that might have on the 
mines, he realised the importance to South Africa 
of the gold-mining industry, and was determined 
not to make too sudden a change which might 
disorganise it for an indefinite period. He there- 
fore, though determined to get rid of the Chinese 
labourers in the long run, only gradually repat- 
riated them until the new supplies of native labour 
which he was tapping had proved large enough 
to take their place entirely. Botha was well 
justified in his policy. Between January, 1907, 
and December, 1908, the natives on the mines 


had increased from 94,000 to 150,000 and by 
March, 1910, the last Chinese labourer had left 
South Africa. 

Smuts's chief achievement in this first and last 
ministry of the Transvaal as a self-governing unit 
of the British Empire was to elaborate a new 
educational policy. Under Milner's regime the 
old school buildings had been taken over as Crown 
property and a code passed which greatly im- 
proved the curriculum imposed by the former 
Boer government, with this serious defect that the 
medium of education was to be entirely English ; 
with the result that the Boers had formed an 
Association of Christian National Education and 
started schools of their own to which they sent 
their own children wherever possible. Smuts's 
Education Act of 1907 wisely did away with this 
dual system and established free primary schools 
throughout the Transvaal, in which both lan- 
guages, English and Dutch, were given equal 
rights according to the choice of the parents, 
thereby accustoming children of both nationalities, 
as Rhodes had foreshadowed, to come together at 
an early stage in the same schools. By this 
tolerant attitude Smuts antagonized many of the 
more bigoted Boer ministers of religion, and it 
may account for the charge sometimes brought 
against him of irreligion. At any rate in this 
reform, which was far more liberal than that 
instituted by Hertzog in the Free State, Smuts 
was warmly backed up by Botha, who, though no 
B3* 61 


scholar and ignorant of the technical aspects of 
education, was all for good and cheap schools and 
above all for a system fair to English as well as 
Dutch : Botha indeed, used to say that the older 
generation could only be saved by tremendous 
efforts, and therefore everything should be done 
to educate the children at least.* In another 
respect Smuts was not so successful ; for it fell to 
him to have the first dealings with a man and a 
problem that for more than ten years proved 
thorns in the flesh to himself and many others in 
the British Empire Gandhi and the rights of 
Indian settlers in South Africa : but this problem 
may be more conveniently dealt with at a later 

So far the grant of responsible government to 
the Transvaal had more than justified Campbell 
Bannerman's courageous decision to incorporate 
the two former Boer states as self-governing 
members of the British Empire. One of the first 
acts\of the Botha government had been to present 
to the King, as a token of gratitude and goodwill, 
the great Cullinan diamond, the largest in the 
world, as an addition tp the crown jewels. Within 
his first year, too, as premier, Botha had gone to 
the meeting of the Imperial Conference and there 
made his mark even among such experienced 
colleagues as Laurier from Canada, Deakin from 
Australia, and the former raider Jameson from 
Cape Colony ; and he gained the affection of the 

Engdenberg, 15&9. 


British public by the many public speeches he was 
called upon to make during his brief sojourn in 
the country. 

How sincere, too, was his determination to be 
a loyal member of the British Empire was illus- 
trated by his consenting in 1908 to become a vice- 
president of the Champlain Tercentenary & 
Quebec Battlefields Association, as evidence of his 
right to take part in the consecration of the ground 
where the foundation of the British Empire 
was laid. 

From the outset of their careers as responsible 
ministers of the crown both Botha and Smuts, as 
we have seen, had set before themselves as their 
main object to sink the differences between the 
two races, Boer and Briton, and weld them into 
one South African community intent only on the 
welfare of their common heritage. It was no easy 
task, for on both sides the rancour nurtured by 
the recent war was still alive. The British victors, 
in a minority in all the South African states except 
Natal, felt that, with the large Boer majorities in 
the two defeated states, the Transvaal and the 
Orange Free State, and with a preponderance of 
Boer voters even in Gape Colony, the fruits of 
victory had been thrown away ; while the Boers 
on their side, especially in the Free State, were 
inclined to make up for their defeat in the field by 
their voting power in the elections. To Botha 
and Smuts it appeared that much of this racial 


antagonism might disappear if the four indepen- 
dent colonies could be merged into a comprehen- 
sive st^te concerned with the common well-being 
of the whole. There were other practical reasons 
for such a union. Each had its own customs 
policy, each its own railway system, to a great 
extent competing with those of the other three 
colonies, and each its own separate legal system 
and law courts. In fact, South Africa was over- 
governed, a cause, inter alia, of wasteful expen- 
diture. Smuts, indeed, almost from the outset of 
responsible government in the Transvaal, had 
begun studying the question of federation or even 
complete union and comparing the different 
systems adopted for one of these solutions in the 
Union of England and Scotland, the Dominion of 
Canada, and the more recent Commonwealth of 
Australia ; and, no doubt also, the clumsy old 
system of - the former Dutch Republic. Others 
had also been working along parallel lines, 
especially some of Milner's former " Kinder- 
garten," as it was called, young enthusiasts such 
as Lionel Curtis, Robert Brand, Richard Feetham 
and Philip Kerr (Marquess of Lothian) ; while 
at the Cape men such as Merriman, Schreiner, 
Hofmeyr, and the new governor of the Transvaal, 
Lord Sclborne, were turning their thoughts in the 
same direction. Indeed, as early as 1903 Milner 
had made a first attempt by his Intercolonial 
Council to deal with the common problems of 
railways and police for the two recently conquered 


Transvaal and Orange River colonies as a first 
stage towards closer co-operation throughout 
South Africa. 

The question was first brought to a head in 1907 
at a meeting of the Intercolonial Council, to 
which were now added Cape Colony and Natal. 
At this meeting the divergent interests of the four 
colonies were found so irreconcilable under 
existing circumstances that the only resolution 
adopted, on Smuts's motion, was that " the best 
interests and the permanent prosperity of South 
Africa was only to be secured by an early union, 
under the Crown of Great Britain." Accordingly 
in 1908 a National Convention was summoned of 
representatives from all the four colonies. * Mean- 
while a battle royal had been going on between 
the looser federationists and the advocates of the 
closest possible union. The most notable advo- 
cates of the federal solution were Hofmeyr and 
W. P. Schreiner at the Cape, neither of whom, 
however, was a member of the Convention, for 
Jan Hofmeyr always preferred to work behind 
the scenes, while Schreiner had accepted a brief 
for Dinizulu, the Zulu chief, whose trial for 
treason was impending, and so felt unable, for 
the time being, to accept other work. 

The Transvaal in fact was the headquarters of 
the unitary movement. Botha and Smuts had 

* Delegates with a watching brief were also admitted from 
Southern Rhodesia, as it was then thought that colony might 
later join the Union. 



fully made up their minds that the closest possible 
union would be the only effective solution of the 
fissiparous difficulties in the existing constitutions 
of the four existing colonies. " There is no 
alternative to Union except separatism. We must 
go the whole hog, one way or the other . 
What use is there in these tin-pot shows in South 
Africa . . . [We must] start a Union to rule 
the country from Table Bay to the Congo, and 
even beyond that " * was Smuts's ambitious 
scheme. To this end much good spade work was 
done by the so-called " Kindergarten " and their 
friends, both in the Transvaal and the Cape. 
Accordingly, when the National Convention was 
opened at Durban,f the Transvaal deputation, 
headed by Botha and Smuts, was the one best 
prepared to carry their views. Smuts indeed 
proved the most effective advocate of the unitary 
system, for he, in the words of the historian of the 
Convention, " had made a deep study of the 
question in all its details, and there seemed no 
aspect of the problem that he had not investigated 
with his habitual , thoroughness . . . the 
clearness of his mind was fortunately accompanied 
by a corresponding lucidity of expression, and 
after the opening days there was no delegate that 
carried greater weight than General Smuts " ; 
and of his speech in favour of the unitary system 
he says that it " made an impression that will 

* N. Levi, Jan Smuts, 1224. 

t Later the meetings were transferred to Gape Town. 




never be effaced from the minds of those who 
heard it."* So convincing indeed was this speech 
that Jameson, hitherto a protagonist of the looser 
federal constitution, acknowledged that he had 
been convinced by Smuts's arguments, and 
thenceforward supported the solution of complete 

But though thus early in the proceedings the 
crucial question of the form of union had been 
settled, there were still many difficulties to be 
overcome. At the outset Jameson, the ex-raider, 
had greatly facilitated a good understanding 
between the delegates by carrying his motion that 
English and the Taalf should both be regarded 
as official languages. Many other contentious 
questions arose, one of which, the question of the 
capital of the Union, aroused so much feeling 
among the different delegations that for a time it 
almost looked as if the whole scheme would have 
to be abandoned. It was in such difficulties that 
Botha stood out as the wise conciliator. He had 
not the wide knowledge or the daemonic energy 
of Smuts, who, besides taking a notable part in 
the daily discussions, was often working half the 
night in preparing for the next meeting, while 
Botha preferred to relax with games of bridge in 
the evenings. But, when it came to momentous 
decisions, by his tact in dealing with his fellow- 

* Sir . Walton, Inner History of the National Convention of South 
Africa, 1912. 

t The form of Dutch used by the Boers in South Africa. 



countrymen such as De la Rey and others, the 
respect in which he was held by them as well as 
by the British delegates, and his practical common 
sense in seizing upon the essential factor in a 
difficult situation, Botha was outstanding. It was 
largely due to him and Smuts that a solution was 
found for the difficulty about the Union capital. 
When, for example, De la Rey was proving 
obstinate about this question, Botha finally 
convinced him of the wisdom of the compromise 
finally adopted, telling him that " the Empire and 
the world were looking at them, and they would 
be eternally disgraced if they broke up the Con- 
vention on such an issue. What would be said of 
us ; what would the King say of us at such a 
fiasco ? " The final compromise, whereby Pre- 
toria was declared the seat of government, Cape 
Town the meeting place of the Union parliament 
and Bloemfontein the seat of the Supreme Court, 
was not in itself an ideal solution : but at any rate 
it was then the only means of preventing a break- 
down of the whole negotiation. After the final 
sitting of the convention, the correspondent of 
The Times went to see Botha and found him 
" looking like a happy schoolboy " at the con- 
clusion of their prolonged and anxious discussions. 
Thus finally was accomplished, largely owing 
to the initiative and enthusiasm of Botha and 
Smuts, a union of the four governments in South 
Africa, which, as far back as the middle of the 



nineteenth century, had been the ultimate aim 
to be attained by different methods no doubt of 
governors like Harry Smith and Grey and Frere, 
secretaries of state such as Carnarvon and repub- 
lican presidents such as Brand of the Free State 
and Kruger of the Transvaal. It came at the 
earliest moment that it could have come without 
what would have amounted to civil war ; and it 
has been, on the whole, a most successful venture. 

This successful issue of the National Conven- 
tion's labours though helped on by the har- 
monious relations between the delegates, in spite 
of differing opinions, and by valuable interven- 
tions on crucial matters by Merriman, Jameson, 
Farrar, and other delegates, and not least by the 
deeply respected chairman, Chief Justice De 
VilHers was mainly due to the exhaustive prepar- 
ation made for it by the Transvaal delegation and 
on critical points of difference, by the influence of 
its two leaders Botha and Smuts. Smuts indeed 
had been the thinker throughout with a complete 
scheme which he had carefully thought out and 
which he was equally successful in expounding. 
But when it came to almost insuperable difficulties 
such as the question of the capital, Botha was the 
great conciliator and guide. The habit of 
command which he had acquired in war he never 
abandoned, and all who approached him acknow- 
ledged it to be his right. He also had the saving 


gift of childlike simplicity. When the great work 
of the Convention was concluded, he rejoiced at 
its success like a boy at play. Childlike also was 
his loyalty to friends and causes, and his inability 
to understand what seemed disloyalty in others.* 
Notable too is the letter he wrote to Asquith 
after the happy conclusion of the Convention : 
"Now that the South African Bill has safely 
passed both Houses of Parliament and thereby 
the Union of the four self-governing Colonies 
in South Africa has practically become an 
established fact, I cannot refrain from con- 
gratulating you and the great party of which 
you are the leader upon the success which 
has followed your liberal policy in South Africa 
.... Only one thing is certain that only the 
liberal policy of your Government has made 
that Union possible .... Only after a policy 
of trust in the whole population of Transvaal 
and O.R.C. had taken place of one of coercion 
could we dream of the possibility of a Union 
of the Colonies, and above all of the two white 
races. My greatest regret is that one noble 
figure is missing one man who should have 
lived to see the fruits of his work the late Sir 
Henry Campbell Bannerman."f 

* As special correspondent for The Times at the South African 
National Convention, I was privileged to know most of the 
delegates, notably that lovable Irishman, Sir Percy Fitzpatrick, 
of the Transvaal, and to learn much of the Convention's 
proceedings and difficulties. 

t Memoirs and Reflections by the Earl of Oxford and 
Asquith I. 197. 


Chapter Five 

Union Versus the Two Stream 

WHEN the Union Constitution, embodied in 
the South Africa Act, had been passed by 
the Imperial Parliament and assented to by the 
King on 20th September, 1909, the question arose 
as to who should be the first prime minister of the 
Union, and whether the first ministry should be 
a coalition ministry of all parties or one con- 
structed on purely party lines. To the post of 
prime minister Merriman, the Nestor among 
South African statesmen, the last premier of the 
Cape and easily the greatest orator in South Africa 
in the noble Gladstonian manner, had consider- 
able claims, even though these great merits were 
to some extent offset by his being too great a 
master of flouts and gibes. Undoubtedly, how- 
ever, the chief reason why the Governor General, 
Lord Gladstone, offered the post to Botha rather 
than to Merriman was that in the National 
Convention which had elaborated the new consti- 
tution, the Transvaal delegation, headed by Botha 
and his lieutenant Smuts, had been the prime 


movers and the most influential delegation. 
Botha accordingly accepted the post of prime 
minister. In forming his ministry he at first 
considered the scheme strongly urged by Jameson 
for a coalition ministry composed of the best and 
most representative men chosen from all parties 
in the Union ; but, on consulting the leading 
members of his own South African party, he found 
them dead against it, nor did the chief Cape 
politicians favour it. But, though he rejected the 
idea of a non-party ministry, he was naturally 
careful to include in his cabinet representatives of 
each of the former colonies ; he could hardly do 
less in the recently formed union of provinces, the 
respective interest of which had to be carefully 
considered, at any rate until a more comprehensive 
South African feeling had come to maturity. As 
before, his most trusted colleague was Smuts, to 
whom were assigned no less than three portfolios, 
of Defence, Mines and Interior.* He himself, 
besides being prime minister, also took, as before, 
the department of agriculture as his special 

It is no derogation to several of the very able 
men included by Botha in his first South African 
Ministry that the only two members who really 
counted in it for general policy were Botha him- 
self and his second in command, Smuts. Their 
partnership in politics which had begun almost 

* The Ministry of the Interior corresponded in function with 
that of Colonial Secretary held by Smuts in the Transvaal. 



immediately after the peace of Vereeniging, in 
1902, thenceforward lasted unbroken till Botha's 
death. Now that they had united the four South 
African colonies, their great aim was to reconcile 
the two European races, Boer and Briton, and 
merge them in one united South African com- 
munity with common aims and interests. As early 
as 1904, when bitter memories of the war were 
still vivid, Botha had declared, " Let us learn 
English, let the English learn Dutch, that will 
increase the chances of our forming a great 
nation " ;* and in 1912 as prime minister of the 
Union he declared his deliberate policy to be " the 
building up a united nation on non-racial lines." 
Later Lord Buxton, who as Governor General was 
in constant touch with Botha, and left a touching 
appreciation of him, thus described his aspira- 
tions,f "that the Omnipotent Father would 
embrace with unanimity all the white inhabitants 
of South Africa, so that one nation may arise from 
them fit to occupy a position of dignity among the 
nations of the world, where the name of Boer will 
be greeted with honour and applause." J And in 
this aspiration he found an enthusiastic supporter 
in Smuts, who, since the grant of self-government 
to the Transvaal, had entirely shed all the pessi- 
mistic views he had entertained directly after the 
peace of Vereeniging. Smuts indeed " Jannie " 

* Engdenberg, 231. 

t Buxton, General Botha, 12. 

J/&. 11. 



as Botha called him affectionately was far 
cleverer than his leader, and ready out of his own 
brain to find ingenious solutions of difficulties. 
Botha himself was the first to realize this ; and, 
when an old Boer complained to him that Smuts 
had too much power in his cabinet, replied : 
" Old son, you people don't know Smuts yet. 
Our country is too young yet to play about with 
brains."* Moreover, except with Botha, he was 
more secretive in arriving at his decisions, which, 
though generally wise, were, owing to this secrecy, 
not so readily accepted by his opponents or 
sometimes even by his own party. In his long- 
drawn-out controversies with the diabolically 
ingenious Gandhi,*}* for example, he by no means 
always had the best of it, and, though he finally 
arrived at a working solution of the Indian diffi- 
culty, on several points he was obliged to climb 
down. On the other hand, in constructive 
schemes, such as the South African constitution, 
he always took a wide and tolerant view, which 
generally gained for them wide acceptance. Thus 
the two men were an ideal combination, as is well 
expressed by Botha's biographer: J "What Smuts 
was able to accomplish, thanks to his trained 

* F. S. Crafford, Jan Smuts, 1944. 

t Gandhi has always been a specially difficult man to deal 
with, largely because he never becomes bitter or angry in his 
controversies. When he was in prison in Johannesburg he made 
a pair of sandals which he presented to Smuts, who had put 
him there. 

J Engelcnberg, I.e. 332. 



intellect, Botha achieved by sheer intuition. Botha 
and Smuts mutually felt the need of each other in 
public life. No petty jealousies ever vitiated 
their relations." 

As Minister of the Interior, Smuts still had to 
tackle the thorny problem of Indian immigration, 
on which as Colonial Secretary of the Transvaal 
he had already had serious passages of arms with 
that redoubtable adversary, Gandhi. Indians 
had been admitted to the Transvaal during 
Kruger's regime, but only as hewers of wood and 
drawers of water, and were compelled, like the 
natives of South Africa, to live in separate loca- 
tions and forbidden to own land : during the 
South African war many more, who had been 
doing hospital work for the British Army, found 
their way in, and, by the time responsible govern- 
ment was granted to the Transvaal, over 15,000 
Indians had settled there, some having come 
direct from India and many more having trickled 
through from Natal, where they had at first been 
welcomed as cheap labourers on the sugar- 
plantations. The native inhabitants of South 
Africa were enough of a problem in themselves, 
but the added complication of another non- 
European race, mostly at a lower stage of civili- 
zation from Boers and British, was one that Smuts 
was determined, if possible, to remove. But, 
though Smuts himself was called " slim," he met 
in Gandhi one much slimmer than himself. 
Gandhi's chief points were first, that Indians as 


members of the British Empire, were entitled to 
migrate to other parts of that Empire, and 
secondly, that though it might be reasonable to 
impose restrictions on the free movement of 
coolies at a low level of civilization, it was out- 
rageous that highly-educated Indians, like him- 
self, should be forced to live in sordid locations 
where their freedom of movement was seriously 
restricted.* Gandhi by his agitation succeeded in 
securing the powerful support of the Indian 
Government against South Africa's restrictive 
policy ; and, by the time he left South Africa in 
1914, to embark on his campaign for swarqj (self 
government) in India itself, he had secured a 
notable alleviation of Indian grievances in South 
Africa.f He was indeed one of the very few men 
in whom Smuts more than met his match. 

Smuts's main achievement in the early days of 
the Union Government was his successful measure 
as Minister of Defence for the organisation of a 
national defence force. This task involved prob- 
lems even more difficult than those concerned 
with education. Hitherto the British Colonies of 

* When Gandhi, who had been called to the bar, first 
travelled from Durban to practice at Johannesburg, though 
armed with a first-class ticket, he was roughly 
police into one of the carriages reserved fojt-Jxrtfivef, 
entirely uncivilized. 

t It was not, however, till 1927, that aj^atou^dnent, 
by Smuts with the Indian Government ira924ytyas given legal 

force by an Act passed by the Hertzogf 1 *"' A 

summary of the Indian trouble is givenL, ,_ ___ 

to* South 4frica, 1804. II <l D P R [ 


the Gape and Natal had mainly depended for 
protection against native risings on volunteer 
organisations recruited in South Africa ; but, in 
the case of serious difficulties even against natives 
such as the Basutos, and still more in the Trans- 
vaal War of the 1880's and the South African War 
of 1899 1902, the main fighting had to be under- 
taken by troops from Great Britain, reinforced in 
the latter case by voluntary contingents from 
Canada, Australia and New Zealand. After the 
peace of Vereeniging the old Boer commando 
system of the Transvaal and the Free State was 
naturally in abeyance and a considerable body of 
imperial troops was retained in South Africa to 
meet any emergency. But, on the grant of self- 
government to the two Boer states and still more 
after the consummation of Union, it was obvious, 
both to the imperial government and to South 
Africa itself, that the Union itself must assume full 
responsibility for its own internal and external 

Thus one of the new government's most urgent 
problems was to raise a national South African 
force capable of defending the frontiers against 
any foreign enemy or, in case of serious civil dis- 
turbances, to supplement the police force of the 
Union. The old Boer system of raising comman- 
dos from the various districts of the Transvaal and 
Orange Free State had proved hardly a practical 
method of meeting the difficulty, for, though every 
able-bodied Boer was by law required, when 


summoned by his district field cornet, to present 
himself with his own horse and gun and provision 
for his own and his horse's upkeep, this system had 
been proved too haphazard to be satisfactory even 
in such a national war as that of 1899 1902. The 
full strength of a commando could never be relied 
upon, as its members were apt to take French 
leave to visit their families at home or on the plea 
of obtaining fresh provisions ; and it required the 
authority of a Botha or a de Wet to enforce a better 
discipline among the men under them ; and even 
they often found it impossible to prevent not 
infrequent leakages. Indeed Smuts, in a parlia- 
mentary debate, went so far as to suggest that, but 
for the Boers' lack of discipline and trained officers, 
the result of the South African War might have 
been different. For a national force to be ulti- 
mately responsible for good order throughout 
South Africa and, if need be, for defence against 
an external foe, it was obviously necessary to 
establish a disciplined national force not liable to 
evaporate at the moment of need. For this 
difficult task, especially difficult as being alien to 
the established customs of the Boer section of the 
community, Botha, relying on the practical 
resourcefulness and energy of Smuts, was well 
content to leave him in charge of the problem, 
especially as he could hand over to him sugges- 
tions he had received from Haldane, during a 
recent visit to England, about the reforms in the 



reorganisation of the British Army fcarried out by 
that great war minister. 

As early as March, 1911, Smuts was able to 
outline to Parliament, his ideas of military 
reorganization, and in the following year presented 
his completed bill. " We want," he said, in an 
address to the staff college at Bloemfontein, " an 
organisation that shall not be Boer or English, but 
a South African Army." There was to be a 
nucleus permanent force of 20,000 25,000 men, 
made up chiefly from such former regiments as 
the Cape Mounted Rifles, the Mounted Police and 
the Cape Garrison Artillery, all voluntarily 
enlisted men. Next there was to be a Citizen 
Reserve, comprising men between the ages of 
twenty-one and forty-five who had voluntarily 
submitted to training ; lastly there was to be a 
National Reserve, to be called out only on the 
gravest emergency and to comprise all citizens 
from seventeen to sixty. It was stipulated, how- 
ever, that neither the permanent force nor the 
national reserve could be called out except for the 
defence of South Africa itself. He introduced his 
bill in a characteristically exhaustive speech, 
lasting two and a half hours and passed it without 
great difficulty. Naturally the scheme took some 
' time to be elaborated in practice, and though one 
of the main considerations for its ready acceptance 
by the Boers was that the national force, when 
fully organised would render unnecessary the 
garrison of imperial troops that had been retained 


in South Africa since the peace of Vereeniging, 
few months had elapsed before these troops were 
found indispensable for the maintenance of order 
in the Union owing to a dangerous strike on the 
Rand in 1913. But in the following year, 1914, 
when an even more serious outbreak threatened 
life and property at Johannesburg, the govern- 
ment were able to quell it entirely with the 
defence force, and at the end of the same year, 
when every British regiment was needed at home 
to fight the Germans, the remaining regiments 
still in South Africa were sent back to England, 
leaving the Union entirely dependent on Smuts's 
new defence force for internal and external 

Meanwhile Botha had been called upon to heal 
a serious breach in the harmony of his cabinet, on 
the all-important question of the relations between 
Boer and English citizens of the Union, especially 
in the Free State. In Cape Colony and the 
Transvaal, indeed, though the Dutch were in a 
majority, the citizens of British origin were 
numerous and influential, and, in those provinces 
of the Union, while it is true there were some 
irreconcilables on both sides, their influence was 
comparatively negligible ; in Natal the white 
population was mainly of British origin, but on 
the whole this province worked well with the 

* To be strictly accurate, the last British soldiers quartered 
in South Africa, for the defence of Table Bay, did not quit till 
1921, a century and a quarter since we first established a 
garrison there* 



conciliatory policy of Botha and Smuts : the real 
difficulty was in the Orange Free State province. 
Here a remarkable change of attitude had taken 
place since the death of President Brand, who had 
kept his state in friendly relations with the Cape, 
and was by no means in agreement with Kruger's 
anti-English attitude in the Transvaal. But, after 
Brand's death in 1888, the two succeeding 
Presidents, Reitz and Steyn, were violently anti- 
British ; and, both during and after the Boer War, 
some of the most prominent " bitter-enders " 
came from this state. For a long time after the 
peace of Vereeniging, among the leading Free 
Staters who at first refused to acknowledge British 
sovereignty, were ex-President Reitz and his 
sons.* Even among those who accepted the peace 
of Vereeniging, many in the Free State would 
have nothing to do with Botha's and Smuts's 
conciliatory policy and aimed at continuing the 
rift between the two nationalities. The most 
prominent of these was tlertzog, Minister of 
Education of the Free State till the Union, and 
then included in Botha's South African ministry 
as Minister of Justice. 

Though Hertzog had accepted office under 
Botha, who for his part was pledged to the recon- 
ciling policy of moulding into a South African 
nation both Boers and British, and so, as he put it, 

* One of these sons was Deneys Reitz, who later became 
reconciled and was subsequently High Commissioner for South 
Africa in London. 



establishing " the gospel of lasting peace among 
the white races," Hertzog on the other side aimed 
at keeping the two races apart by what he called 
his " two-stream policy." For some time Hertzog, 
though outwardly polite to Botha at cabinet 
meetings, had been going about the country 
decrying the British connexion and emphasizing 
his own " two-stream policy " in opposition to the 
rest of his colleagues. He especially opposed any 
contribution from South Africa to the Royal Navy, 
though Botha had declared that " the cabinet 
recognised their responsibility to undertake the 
naval defence of South Africa, as they had done on 
land," asserting that he had the Dutch people 
behind him in loyalty to the Empire. 

Hertzog was a cultivated, well-read man, with 
a considerable knowledge of the classics, an enter- 
taining talker on non-political topics, a clever 
lawyer and an able debater. But he had an 
idle fixe about the necessity of keeping his own 
people, the Boers, uncontaminated by too close 
an identity of interests with the British section of 
the community, by his " two-stream policy " as 
he called it. Occasionally swayed by a less 
exclusive and more generous impulse, as, later, he 
was for a short time after Balfour's definition at 
the Imperial Conference of 1926 of the absolute 
freedom in unity of the British Empire's com- 
ponent parts, he was always apt to revert to his 
particularist attitude about his Boer fellow- 
countrymen. Botha and Smuts, as well as 



Hertzog, were good South Africans, but, as Olive 
Schreiner said of the last, " he had the hardness 
and narrowness of South African life." At any 
rate at an early stage of his official career in the 
first Union cabinet, he began preaching his par- 
ticularist " two-stream " doctrine, not so much 
at cabinet meetings, but at excited meetings of 
his own Boer fellow-countrymen in the country- 
side, decrying the British connexion, and doing 
his utmost to counteract the more generous policy 
of Botha and Smuts to unite in their common 
interests the two races, British and Boer, and so 
to create a South African, rather than a racially 
divided, community. In fact, Hertzog seemed to 
be doing all he could to exacerbate and perpetuate 
the differences between the two races. 

Botha himself, when forming his ministry, had 
been very doubtful about offering a place in it 
to Hertzog, whose bitter anti-English attitude had 
been to some extent illustrated by his much less 
liberal education act in the Free State than that 
drawn up by Smuts for the Transvaal ;* " When 
Hertzog thought to improve relations between the 
two races, as he caustically put it, 4 by talk about 
the possible treachery of the British' he reminds 
me of a man on his honeymoon telling people 
what he would do if his wife proved unfaithful to 
him. "t But he had been over-persuaded by 
Smuts to admit him to the cabinet. For a long 

* See above, p. 61. 

t H. Spender, Gvurd Botha, 334. 



time Botha, though himself convinced that " the 
true interests of South Africa are not, and need 
not be, in conflict with those of the Empire, from 
which we derive our free constitution," bore with 
the difficulties Hertzog was creating by his 
inflammatory speeches in the countryside. But 
finally, in 1912, after a speech from Hertzog 
denouncing two of the most prominent English 
members of the South African Parliament as 
" foreign adventurers," whereupon the only 
representative of Natal in the cabinet resigned, 
Botha declared that his choice was, either to work 
with Hertzog ** and see the two white races of 
South Africa divided into two hostile camps, or 
to remain true to the principles of co-operation 
upon which party and government had been 
formed,"* and that he had no alternative but to 
call upon Hertzog, as the real source of trouble in 
the cabinet, to resign. Hertzog characteristically 
refused to resign from a cabinet in which he was 
in a minority of one ; so Botha felt that the only 
course left open was to resign himself on behalf of 
the whole cabinet. The Governor-General, Lord 
Gladstone, thereupon called on him to form a 
new cabinet, from which, of course, Hertzog was 
excluded. Botha himself, besides being Prime 
Minister, resumed his office of Minister of Agri- 
culture, for which he was so well fitted ; Smuts 
gave up his previous portfolios of Interior and 
Mines, but retained his post as Minister of Defence 

* L. E. Ncamc, Central Htrt&g, 137. 
B4 85 


and was also charged with the Finance Ministry. 

At the Treasury Smuts was not perhaps at his 
best in his budget speeches, in fact after one of 
them, when troubles at Johannesburg had made 
him for the time being a tired man, he suffered a 
defeat for one of his proposals. But as Minister 
of Defence he, in conjunction with Botha, had 
a signal success in overcoming two serious dis- 
turbances on the Rand. The first of these was in 
July, 1913, when the white miners came out on 
strike and created a dangerous situation by firing 
public buildings, and, what seemed even more 
serious, urging the native workers to come out on 
strike also and attack the white inhabitants of the 
city. Botha and Smuts at once came up to the 
threatened city and, as the new South African 
defence force had not yet had time to be effectively 
organized, they were obliged to call up contin- 
gents of the Imperial forces still in South Africa, 
to quell the rising. Thereupon for the time being 
a somewhat unsatisfactory truce for it can be 
called no more was made with the strike leaders. 

Early in 1914 there was a far more serious strike 
with even more violent rioting, started by the 
railwaymen, w&ich for a short time paralysed the 
railways, and supported by the Rand workers. For 
a time Johannesburg was almost in the power of 
the strikers. But this time the government was 
well-prepared. Martial law was proclaimed, but 
there was no need to call out the Imperial troops, 
for the defence force of the Union was then ready 


to take action. A commando of 1000 citizen 
soldiers was brought into Johannesburg and De la 
Rey from the west came up with another force 
and trained guns on the headquarters of the 
strikers in the Trades Hall. In imminent danger 
of their lives Botha and Smuts went about, almost 
unguarded, through the city, getting into touch 
with the truculent leaders and finally, in view of 
the display offeree, persuading them to call off the 
strike. But this time stern measures were taken 
with the chief fomenters of the disturbances, who 
were not let off so easily as in the previous year : 
for Smuts, apparently on his own responsibility 
alone, and without any judicial formalities, 
secretly sent off nine of the strike-leaders to 
Durban, where they were forcibly put on the 
Umgeni and deported to England before they had 
time to apply to the courts for a writ of Habeas 
Corpus.* Naturally this high-handed action was 
questioned not only in England, but also in the 
South African parliament, where the government 
introduced an Indemnity Bill to cover it. Smuts 
himself spoke for three and a half hours on the first 
day of the debate on the second reading and 
another two hours on the second day ; and, 
though the second reading was carried, he had to 
face prolonged opposition on every clause of the 
bill in committee. Finally the bill was passed 

* One of these men thus deported, as in the case of Gandhi, 
showed no animus against Smuts, and later became secretary of 
Smuts's political party. 



rather unwillingly by the South African parlia- 
ment. In England, too, Smuts's high-handed 
action was seriously questioned by many who had 
hitherto given continued support to him and 

It was fortunate that by 1914 Smuts's defence 
force had been fully organised for action, since 
with the opening of the " World War " with 
Germany in that year the British Government had 
to recall for action in Europe the remainder of its 
troops in South Africa. Fortunately, too, the 
Botha Government was able to assure the London 
cabinet that not only was it prepared to assume 
full responsibility for the defence of Union terri- 
tories, but also to undertake the conquest of 
German South-West Africa, which otherwise 
might prove not only menacing to South Africa 
but also a danger to our command of the alterna- 
tive route to India and our other eastern posses- 
sions. Accordingly orders were issued for the 
mobilisation of the defence force, to be directed by 
Botha himself, with Smuts as his second-in- 
command, for immediate action against the 
German colony. 

But before carrying out their engagement to the 
Mother Country the two statesmen had to deal 
with a serious internal danger. It was charac- 
teristic of Botha's cautious and deliberate methods 
that, though he had forthwith assured the British 
Government that he would undertake the con- 


quest of German South-West Africa, for some 
time he made no public announcement of his 
intentions. From the outset he had seen he would 
have to tread warily with his own people. Many 
of the South African Dutch who favoured the 
" two-stream " policy of Hertzog, especially in 
the Free State, and many even of Botha's own 
supporters in the Transvaal, besides a considerable 
section in Cape Colony, were disposed to take up 
the attitude that the war was none of their busi- 
ness and that South Africa should remain neutral. 
As early, however, as in 1911, when the Dutch 
paper Volkstem was putting forward a plea for the 
rights of the Dominions to be neutral in any war 
in which Great Britain was involved, Botha had 
declared that, according to constitutional laws 
affecting the Empire, such neutrality was un- 
thinkable, and no enemy would respect it.* 

Nevertheless, in 1914 he was soon faced with a 
serious revolt against his policy. Beyers himself, 
the commandant of the new burgher defence 
force, de Wet in the Free State and Maritz com- 
manding the force on the German frontier, took 
up arms against the policy of active intervention 
in the war, some of them even in concert with the 
Germans. Botha's own feelings at this revolt of 
his own people, many of whom had recently been 
his trusted companions in arms against the 
English in the Boer War, and his equal determin- 
ation to do his present duty as a member of the 

* Engelenberg, I.e. 281. 



British Empire are plain from his answer to a 
deputation from Pretoria : " For myself I am 
willing to submit to any personal humiliation, if 
this is necessary, rather than take up arms against 
my own people, many of whom fought with me 
through the war. But I will not betray my trust 
and if, after I have tried every method of nego- 
tiating, they still refuse to come in, I will move out 
against them with the commandos that I know 
will stand by me : " and to the new Governor- 
General, Lord Buxton, he said : " It is my duty 
[to command the loyal forces], and it is the only 
thing for me to do. Beyers and De Wet are strong 
men and have a big following in the country. 
There is no one else I can put in my place just 
now, so I must go myself." Moreover he tried his 
best to avoid fratricidal bloodshed. " My orders," 
as he told Lord Buxton, " were that the rebels 
were to be scattered and captured : let the rebels 
fire first. " * In words recalling President Lincoln's 
attitude to the South he said, " I consider the 
central idea pervading this struggle is the necessity 
that is upon us of proving that popular govern- 
ment is not an absurdity. We must settle this 
question now : whether in a free government the 
minority have the right to break up the govern- 
ment whenever they choose."f It was charac- 
teristic too of his determination to avoid the 
danger of renewing an Anglo-Boer racial conflict 

* Lord Buxton, Central Botha, 78 sqq. 
t Neame, I.e. 174. 



that the commandos numbering some 40,000 men 
he called out to suppress the rebellion were taken 
almost entirely from the Dutch districts. On 
28th October with these loyal Dutch commandos, 
since the rebels would not give in, he smote Beyer's 
main force near Rustenberg so effectually that it 
never recovered cohesion, while Beyers himself, 
after wandering about with small detachments, 
was drowned in the Vaal on 8th November. In 
the same month Botha had defeated de Wet's 
force at Mushroom Valley, near Winburg, and 
de Wet himself was captured by a force under 
Coen Brits after a long flight through the western 
desert. By the end of February, 1915, the last 
rebels in the field had surrendered. 

While Botha was thus disposing with con- 
siderable ease of the rebel forces in the field, Smuts, 
hisfidus Achates , had been doing yeoman's service 
as Minister of Defence at Pretoria. When Beyers, 
before taking the field, had sent him a bitter letter 
denouncing Great Britain for overlooking the 
rights of small nations, disregarding treaties and 
employing barbarous methods in the South 
African War, Smuts sent him a truly devastating 
reply : " your bitter attack on Great Britain 
. . . is entirely baseless . . . your refer- 
ence to barbarous acts during the South African 
War cannot justify the criminal devastation of 
Belgium, and can only be calculated to sow hatred 
and division among the people of South Africa. 
You forget to mention that since the South African 



War the British people gave South Africa her 
entire freedom under a constitution which makes 
it possible for us to realize our national ideals 
along our own lines, and which incidentally 
allows you to write a letter for which you would 
without doubt be liable in the German Empire to 
the supreme penalty . . . My conviction is 
that the people of South Africa will have a clearer 
perception of duty and honour than is to be 
deduced from your letter and action."* To 
Smuts's work at headquarters during the rebellion, 
directing the movement of troops to reinforce this 
or that commando in the field, Botha paid this 
glowing tribute : " Nobody can appreciate suffi- 
ciently the great work General Smuts has done. 
It has been greater than any other man's through- 
out this unhappy period. He was at his post day 
and night. His brilliant intellect, his calm judg- 
ment, his undaunted courage have been assets of 
inestimable value to the Union in the hour of 
trial."t Smuts in his turn nobly acknowledged 
the even greater debt South Africa owed to his 
chief for the line he took in these critical months : 
" Few know," he said, " what Botha had gone 
through in the rebellion. He lost friendships of a 
lifetime, friendships he valued perhaps more than 
anything in life. But Botha's line remained 
absolutely consistent. No one else in South Africa 
could have stuck it out. You wanted a man for. 

* R. H. Kiernan, General Smuts, p. 73. 
t N. Levi, Jon Smuts, 246. 



that, very broad-minded, large-hearted. People 
may say he went too far in that direction, but it is 
a policy that helped South Africa over its worst 
stile. It was quite on the cards that after the Boer 
War the bad old policy would revive. Botha 
managed to wean the people of that."* 

After the complete defeat of the rebels in the 
field Botha and Smuts showed a wise clemency. 
Only one man was condemned to be shot and that 
for a peculiarly dastardly and unnecessary murder 
of twelve loyalists : of the rest only the leaders 
had mild punishments, de Wet, one of the worst 
ringleaders, for example, though sentenced to six 
years' imprisonment, being released after a few 
months. In fact the two statesmen's chief aim was 
to wipe out the memory of this fratricidal incident 
as soon as possible ; for, as Botha told Lord 
Buxton, " For myself, personally, the last three 
months have provided the saddest experience of 
my life. I can say the same for General Smuts. 
This is no time for exultation or recrimination. 
Remember we liave to live together long after the 
war is ended."f 

* Lcvi, l.c. 260. Engdcnbcrg, I.e. 332. 
t Buxton, l.c. 81. 

4* 93 

Chapter Six 

Botha and Smuts 
in the Great War 

A S soon as the rebellion had been quelled, 
./jLBotha and Smuts resumed the task they 
had undertaken for the British Government, to 
take an active part against the Germans in South- 
West Africa. This German territory comprised an 
area of some 322,000 square miles, stretching from 
Portuguese Angola in the north to the Orange 
River on the south and from the sea to Bechuana- 
land on the east, with a narrow " Caprivi strip " 
on the north-west giving access to the Zambesi. 
Before its annexation by Bismarck in 1884 we had 
taken possession of Walvis Bay, the only good port 
on the Atlantic, leaving only two very inferior 
ports, Swakopmund, just north of Walvis Bay, 
and Luderitzbucht, further south, to the Germans. 
It was mostly an arid tract of territory, chiefly 
inhabited by wandering tribes, many of whom had 
been ruthlessly exterminated by a previous 
governor. The coast belt was almost uninhabit- 
able, with hardly any water in the red-hot sand 
and burning rock ; but the interior rose to an 



average height of 4,500 feet and had much 
potential wealth. When war was declared the 
regular armed forces of the Germans amounted 
to 2000 men, with 140 officers, under Colonel 
Heyderich ; but in addition the settlers could 
provide some 7000 reservists ; and there was a 
plentiful reserve of arms. Already, too, the 
Germans had established a system of railway 
communications, 1400 miles in length, with a line 
through the central plateau from Kalkfontein, 
near the southern border, to Tsameb, no great 
distance from Angola in the north, and connected 
by branch lines with Luderitzbucht in the south- 
west and Swakopmund in the north-west of the 
colony. Among the chief reasons why the British 
Government had asked Botha to seize the territory 
was that at the capital, Windhoek, in its centre, 
was a powerful wireless station, able to send 
messages to Berlin about the movements of our 
shipping along the west coast of Africa, and that 
at the beginning of the war the Germans had- 
seized Walvis Bay, our only port on the west coast. 
In this campaign also Botha took supreme 
command in the field, for, as he told the Governor 
General, " the plain fact of the situation is there 
is no one available to be placed in supreme 
command, except myself, who would have the 
full confidence of both sections, English and 
Dutch, of which [our troops] are composed."* 
But this time it was no longer necessary to confine 
* Burton, I.e. 



himself almost entirely to Boer units of the 
national defence force, since both sections were at 
one in wishing to remove the German danger 
from South Africa. Already, before the rebellion, 
described in the last chapter, had begun, a force 
of 2000 under Colonel Beves had been sent by sea 
to seize Luderitzbucht with the ample provision, 
in view of the waterless, barren coast-country to 
be invaded, of 750,000 gallons of water and 500 
tons of cold storage meat ; the port had been 
taken without difficulty, and its 750 German 
inhabitants transferred to Cape Colony. While 
the rebellion lasted, operations in South-West 
Africa had been more or less at a standstill, though 
a small detachment of 257 had been cut off by 
the Germans in September, 1914, partly no doubt 
owing to the defection of Maritz, who was in 
command of the South African troops on the 
southern border of German South- West Africa. 
As early, however, as 8th February, 1915, the 
rebellion had been scotched and Botha was able 
to take stock himself of the position by visits to 
Luderitzbucht and Walvis Bay, which had already 
been recaptured from the Germans, and Swakop- 
mund, which they had evacuated in January. 

In actual manpower Botha had a great 
superiority over the Germans, with 40,000 Union 
troops all told, but in other respects the Germans 
had great advantages, with their command of a 
well-planned railway system enabling them to 
concentrate troops rapidly on any threatened 


points, whereas, until the railways had been 
secured, Botha's forces had to march through arid 
deserts where, too, many of the existing water- 
holes had been carefully poisoned by the 
Germans. Accordingly, Botha's primary object 
was to obtain control of the railway lines as soon 
as possible. Having secured the principal bases 
on the coast, Swakopmund and Walvis Bay on 
the north and Luderitzbucht on the south, his 
plan was to advance along the railway from those 
points and close in on the enemy's main forces by 
a pincer movement. He himself took immediate 
command of the northern advance, while to Smuts 
was entrusted the direction of three converging 
forces up the main central line from the south. 
The three forces assigned to Smuts were Berrange's 
advancing from Kuruman on the east across a 
long stretch of the Kalahari desert, Deventer's 
from south of the Orange River in the centre, and 
Mackenzie's on the west from the base already 
established at Luderitzbucht. 

By the end of April, Smuts's three columns had, 
after some fighting and considerable hardship in 
the march by desert tracks, reached the central 
railway, as planned ; and Smuts, after a visit to 
Botha in the north took directions for an advance 
up the railway simultaneously with the Comman- 
der-in-Chief 's advance, north-east from Swakop- 
mund. Smuts himself, after the advance up the 
central railway had been continued for some time 
by his three columns under Berrange, Deventer 



and Mackenzie, had to return to Pretoria, where 
his presence was urgently needed at the Ministry 
of Defence in seeing to the prompt despatch of 
stores and equipment to the front ; and the brunt 
of the fighting fell to Botha and his immediate 
command. By a magnificent march of forty miles 
without a halt through waterless country, Botha 
reached Karibib at the junction of the central and 
north-eastern railway lines, thus securing on 
18th May the bloodless surrender of the capital, 
Windhoek, where the wireless station had already 
been destroyed by the Germans. Thereupon the 
German commander made the cool proposal that 
each side should be left in possession of the terri- 
tory it was then holding, a proposal summarily 
rejected by Botha. Accordingly, after a month's 
halt at Windhoek for a needed rest and reorgani- 
sation of his troops, he continued his sweep up the 
central railway with his main body, until he 
reached the last junction, Otavi, with detachments 
under Myburgh and Brits ahead of him further 
north. Then at last, on 9th July, the German 
governor, Seitz, was forced to agree to the 
surrender of all German South- West Africa ; but 
in other respects Botha's terms were lenient, as he 
felt, so hetold the Governor-General, Lord Buxton, 
that " we should not do anything to hurt their 
pride unnecessarily ; and you know how bitter 
such demands (at Vereeniging) on us made 'us 
feel."* The German troops, numbering by that 

* Buxton, Lc. 114. 


time 204 officers and 3166 other ranks, were 
allowed to keep their arms for defence against the 
natives and to return to their farms. Of the 
40,000 South African troops engaged, only 
269 were killed and 263 wounded, so that this 
important conquest was lightly gained. It is 
notable that the British Navy gave useful assistance 
in this campaign by keeping the waters clear of 
mines, escorting Union troops to the disembar- 
kation ports and even providing armoured motor- 
cars for the northern advance. 

To Botha there was no vainglorious exultation 
at his victory. In a spirit of simple piety he thus 
addressed his men : " When you consider the 
hardships we met, the lack of water, the poisoned 
wells and how wonderfully we were spared, you 
must realise and believe God's hand protected us 
and it is due to His intervention we are safe 
to-day."* On the conclusion of negotiations, too, 
he issued to them this characteristic order : 
" Peace having been arranged in South- West 
Africa, all ranks of the Union forces in that terri- 
tory are reminded that self-restraint, courtesy and 
consideration of the feelings of others on the part 
of the troops whose good fortune it is to be victors 
are essential." Throughout, too, Botha's attitude 
was all of a piece with this generous behaviour to 
a beaten foe : when, for example, after the 
torpedoing of the Lusitania, there were fierce anti- 
German riots in Johannesburg, he took the same 

* Buxton, I.e. 40. 



noble line : " Those johnnies," he declared, " are 
too funky to fight armed Germans, so they are bent 
upon ruining the unarmed ones, and wreaking 
their vengeance on poor women and children. I 
shall insist on protecting our German citizens."* 

This successful campaign of a South African 
army, composed of British and Dutch fighting 
side by side, was characterised by Smuts, as 
Minister of Defence, in a general order to the 
troops, as " the first achievement of a united 
South African nation : both nations have com- 
bined all their best and most virile characteris- 
tics.'^ But, unfortunately, this healthier form of 
Union between the two races was not recognized 
so fully in the political field. The general election 
of 1915 was fought most bitterly, largely on racial 
lines. The antagonism to Smuts in some of the 
Dutch districts was especially virulent, and even 
Botha was hailed as "Judas, traitor, bloodhound, 
murderer," by some of his former supporters. 
Still, Botha's government retained a majority over 
the so-called Nationalists, while a strong party of 
Unionists, mostly British, in the main supported 
his policy. 

At the outset of the war Botha's ministry, 
especially in view of the divided attitude of their 
own people in South Africa, had proposed to con- 
fine their military activity to the conquest of 
German South-West Africa, the most obvious 

* Engelenberg, I.e. 284. 
t N. Lcvi, Jon 5mU, 256. 



danger-spot to the Union itself. But they very 
soon came to realise that the war could not be 
carried out in watertight compartments, and that 
a German victory in East Africa or even in 
Europe might threaten the independence of 
South Africa itself. Accordingly, when in 1915 
the British Government appealed for further 
support from Botha's government, not only in 
East Africa but also in France, a ready response 
was made in allowing purely voluntary contin- 
gents to serve on both these fronts : and for the 
rest of the war South African troops gave 
valorous support to the Empire's efforts in Africa 
and in Europe. 

In German East Africa the need for help was 
especially pressing. This vast territory, co- 
terminous on the north with Kenya and Uganda, 
on the west with the Belgian Congo, Nyasaland 
and Northern Rhodesia, and on the south with 
Portuguese East Africa, was a standing menace to 
South Africa itself. At first the British Govern- 
ment appears to have thought that a force of 
8000 Indian soldiers sent to Kenya and naval 
activity on the coast of German East Africa would 
at least enable us to hold our own. But unfor- 
tunately in September, 1914, H.M.S. Pegasus was 
sunk by the Konigsbtrg at Zanzibar, and though in 
the following July the Konigsberg in her turn was 
sunk, her crew and ten of her guns were safely 



landed and much needed rifles and ammunition 
were also brought ashore. Moreover, in their 
commander-in-chief here, von Lettow Vorbeck, 
the Germans had one of their ablest and most 
resourceful leaders, with his comparatively small 
force of some 3600 Europeans and 11000 Askaris, 
the finest native fighters in East Africa, and with 
sixty guns and eighty machine-guns at his disposal. 
By the end of 1915 the Germans had established 
themselves at Taveta within Kenya Colony itself 
and were threatening its main railway communi- 
cation between Mombasa and the capital Nairobi. 

By the beginning of 1916 reinforcements from 
South Africa were arriving in Kenya, and Smith 
Dorrien, famous for his gallant stand at Le Gateau, 
had been sent out to take command of operations 
in East Africa. But Smith Dorrien became so 
seriously ill on arrival at Cape Town that he had 
to be replaced. The British Government's first 
choice for the command had been Botha. He, 
however, felt that he could not abandon his post 
as Prime Minister, especially as communications 
with him in Kenya would be difficult, whereas in 
German South West Africa he was within com- 
paratively easy reach of his own country. The 
next choice was Smuts, and, as South African 
troops were already there, Botha consented to his 
accepting the command. 

Smuts lost no time in getting to work. Appointed 
commander-in-chief on 6th February, 1916, he 
arrived at Mombasa on the 19th, and immediately 



went up country to make a personal reconnaisance 
of the enemy's position. As one who fought under 
both Botha and Smuts writes : " In German 
South- West Africa General Botha and in German 
East Africa General Smuts were either with, or 
immediately behind, and in closest touch with the 
fighting troops throughout the advances. The 
presence of their commander was looked for by 
the commandos, whose soldiers would have en- 
tirely misconstrued the action of a commander 
who conducted their operations remote from 
them."* Nay more, when, during the subsequent 
campaign, Smuts wished to make certain of the 
position, it is recorded that on at least two 
occasions with a few staff officers he went well 
ahead of his troops to reconnoitre, on the second 
occasion with only one Mauser pistol between the 
whole party, which might easily have been cap- 
tured by half a dozen Askaris.f But, as in his 
incursion into Cape Colony during the Boer War, 
he seemed to have a charmed life. 

During this preliminary reconnaissance he 
found the German invaders strongly posted on the 
eastern slopes of Mt. Kilimanjaro and holding the 
Ngulu gap between Kilimanjaro and the Same 
and Par Mountains from Taveta in Kenya 
towards the Sangani River to the west. He at 
once decided that the first thing to be done was 

* J. J. Gollycr, The South Africans with Smuts in German East 
Africa, 74. 
f Ib. passim. 



to clear the enemy out of the colony and then 
drive them southwards through their own terri- 
tory. By a turning movement of detachments east 
and west of Kilimanjaro, synchronising with an 
attack on the enemy's force holding the Ngulu 
gap, he drove them entirely out of Kenya towards 
the Same and Par Mountains south of the Ngulu 
gap. In connexion with this auspicious opening 
of Smuts's campaign, it is related that, when von 
Lettow Vorbeck met Smuts after the war, he asked 
him why he had posted Deventer with a small 
force on a hill overlooking a German outpost. 
" Why," answered slim Jannie, " to induce you 
to bring up reinforcements there, so that I could 
circumvent you further west, as in fact occurred." 
After this initial success he halted for a redistri- 
bution of his own forces. Deventer, the ablest of 
his generals, who had already done good work in 
South- West Africa, was given a semi-independent 
command with the task of guarding the western 
flank of Smuts's main advance. Starting from 
Moski, south of Mt. Kilimanjaro, Deventer was 
to turn the Germans out of their strongly-held 
position at Kondoa Iranji and thence to push for- 
ward to Dodoma, on the central railway from 
Kigoma on Lake Tanganyika to Dar-es-Salaam, 
in co-operation with Belgian and British forces 
sweeping eastwards from the Belgian Congo, 
Uganda and Lake Tanganyika. Smuts himself, 
with the main force, proposed to clear the enemy 
out of the Par and Usumbara Mountains south 


of the Ngulu gap, obtain command of the sub- 
sidiary railway from Morika to Tanga on the 
coast, and then to advance southwards to Moro- 
goro, east of Dodoma, on the central railway, 
where Deventer was to rejoin him. 

Deventer, with one division, was the first to 
start on the southward march on 3rd April, 1916, 
reaching Kondoa Irangi on the 19th. Here he 
had to remain for three months, short of supplies 
and exposed to attacks from the enemy under the 
command of von Lettow Vorbeck himself ; but 
he managed, with difficulty, to hold his own. 
Smuts, who had retained the other two divisions 
under his immediate command, had an even more 
arduous task. Repairs had to be made to the 
railway ending at Tanga, part of which was now 
in his hands, and a reshuffling of his forces to be 
carried out ; and it was not till 22nd May that he 
was able to advance. By the end of May he was 
master of the Par6 Mountains, which the German 
missionaries on the spot had predicted it would 
take him two years to accomplish. When the War 
Office requested him to remove these German 
missionaries he protested on the ground that " it 
was an odious task which would be resented by 
Christians everywhere " ; they were, he said, a 
civilising element, and, if these special missionaries 
must go, he urged that well-disposed missionaries 
should at once replace them, so that the good they 
had achieved should not be entirely lost,* On 

*J.J.Collyer,l.c. 135. 



2nd June, during a halt for supplies to come up, 
he undertook the cross-journey of 300 miles to 
Kondoa Irangi to discuss Deventer's difficulties 
with him on the spot. Arriving there two days 
later, he found him hard pressed for adequate 
supplies and transport, and, after arranging for 
these defects to be remedied, was back on his own 
front by 10th June. By 12th June the Usumbara 
Mountains to the south of the Par Mountains had 
been cleared, and Smuts established his head- 
quarters at Handeni, some 100 miles north of his 
rendezvous with Deventer on the main railway. 
At Handeni, however, there had to be a long 
halt. The fall of torrential rains made the trans- 
port of much-needed supplies a slow and laborious 
business, while thirty-one per cent, of his troops, 
including Smuts himself, were for a time stricken 
with malaria and other tropical diseases in the 
pestilential climate. But during this dreary period 
of sickness and inaction, there was one brief ray of 
light, when Botha himself found time for a flying 
visit of two days to Smuts's headquarters, much to 
the delight of the South African troops and of 
Smuts himself, who 'was able to discuss plans and 
news of South Africa with his wise and experienced 
chief. Already, by 7th July, Smuts had secured 
the whole of the German northern railway, inclu- 
ding the important port of Tanga, from Moski 
to the sea ; and now he began his drive down to 
the central railway, the only one still left to the 
.Germans. By the end of July, Deventer had 
1 06 


reached Dodoma, due south of Kondoa Irangi, 
according to plan ; less than a month later Smuts 
himself was established at Morogoro, the capital 
of German East Africa, further down the line ; 
early in September he had captured Dar-es- 
Salaam, the last important sea-port, while the 
whole railway from Kigoma on the eastern bank 
of Lake Tanganyika to Dar-es-Salaam was in the 
hands of the imperial troops. By the end of Sept- 
ember practically the whole coast from Mombasa 
to the Portuguese border was in our possession, so 
that the Germans could no longer hope for any 
help from Europe. 

Meanwhile von Lettow Vorbeck had taken up 
a position in the Uluguru Mountains just south of 
the railway with another detachment in the 
Mahenge range further to the south-west, almost 
the only fairly healthy parts left to him. Smuts, 
now co-operating with Deventer, had cleared the 
Uluguru range by the end of September, but was 
never able to gain a complete victory over the 
main German forces, which, by the end of the war, 
though much attenuated, were still unbeaten. At 
this stage of the war Smuts realized that troops of 
European origin were too much subject to malaria 
and other wasting diseases to be of much further 
use, and began sending many of his South Africans 
home, relying more on Indian and West African 
troops who were less liable to these tropical 
diseases. He himself at the beginning of 1917 was 
needed in London for consultation with the 



imperial government, since Botha still felt he could 
not absent himself from South Africa : he had 
therefore to give up his East African command. 

During one year in that pestilential and difficult 
country he had worked wonders, aided, it is true, 
in the later months of his command by contingents 
from Uganda, the Belgian Congo, Nyasaland and 
Northern Rhodesia. Von Lettow Vorbeck's force 
of 2700 Europeans and 12000 Askaris had by this 
time been reduced to 155 and 1168 respectively, 
and hardly any healthy parts of the colony were 
left to him ; still he managed to give some trouble 
and maintain his tiny force in being till peace had 
been declared. It is characteristic of Smuts's 
appreciation of a gallant enemy that, hearing of 
the German's promotion to the Prussian Ordrepour 
le nitrite, he at once sent him news of it by a flag of 
truce, " proof,'* as his adversary said, " of the 
mutual personal esteem and chivalry which 
existed throughout."* For his own men, Smuts 
was the ideal commander : he understood them, 
and they understood, him and had immense con- 
fidence in him : he not only shared their dangers 
in the fore-front of the fighting, but took even 
greater risks than most of them by his adventurous 
scouting expeditions. Assuredly in his own con- 
duct of these operations he cannot be accused of 
the errors of which he accused some British 

* V. Lettow Vorbcck, My Rermmsctncts in East Africa, 1920, 
p. 170. 



commanders : " You are prepared to lose a cer- 
tain number of men, and you make your plans 
accordingly, but when a temporary check comes, 
you do not care to commit yourselves, and some- 
times you do not follow up a victory fast enough 
. . . Tired, thirsty ! there is no such thing 
when the success of a big operation trembles in 
the balance."* 

Meanwhile Botha had not been having an easy 
time in his own country. Though he had won the 
election and was in most respects supported by the 
Unionist party, he was constantly faced with 
carping criticisms from Hertzog and his party, who 
while professing their loyalty to the Vereeniging 
settlement, made no secret of their preference for 
a purely republican form of government outside 
the Empire. In 1917 they opposed the grant of 
leave to Smuts to go over to England and in 1918 
Botha's motion hoping that God would bring 
victory to Great Britain. They made great play 
with the difficulties that had arisen as to the price 
to be paid by Great Britain for the South African 
woolclip, on which nevertheless South African 
farmers eventually made large profits. At the 
conclusion of the war Hertzog renewed his claim 
for more freedom from the British Government for 
South Africa in a fiery speech declaring that " our 
blood had been poured out, our money wasted, 
our markets closed to forward the interests of Great 
Britain . . . our task master " : " in fact," 

* Quoted by N. Levi, Jan Smuts, 290. 



he concluded, " we are the spittoon of the Em- 
pire."* Hertzog and his friends even chartered 
a Dutch ship, refusing a passage offered them on 
a British man-of-war, and through the kind offices 
of Botha, then in Europe, had an interview with 
Lloyd George to press their views for a republican 
constitution no longer subject to Great Britain ; 
but they obtained from him, as might have been 
expected, no satisfactory answer. 

Botha took this opposition of Hertzog and many 
of his old companions-in-arms very hardly. But, 
whatever his personal grief, he held staunchly to 
his oath of allegiance at Vereeniging, made all the 
more binding to him after Campbell Bannerman's 
generous gesture of trust, in the grant of responsible 
government so soon after the Boer War. In those 
hard years he missed the help of his dear friend 
Smuts, while Smuts was absent in East Africa or 
London, especially as he himself was often ailing 
with the seeds of the illness in him which was so 
soon to carry him off. In those hard years, how- 
ever, it is good to feel he could always count on 
the Governor General, Lord Buxton's, sympathy. 
To him Botha's lovable nature, child-like some- 
times in desponding moods, but always rising 
above his troubles when he saw his duty plain, 
was crystal clear. Buxton's General Botha is indeed 
a noble tribute to Botha as a man and a statesman. 

* L. . Neamc, General Hert&g, 2002. 

Chapter Seven 

London, Pretoria & Versailles : 
Death of Botha 

SMUTS arrived in England on 17th March, 
1917, expecting no doubt to return to his 
post in South Africa within a few weeks or at most 
a month or so. In fact, he remained in Europe for 
just on two years and a half. He had not indeed 
been in England for more than a few weeks before 
he showed what a valuable counsellor he would 
prove at the headquarters of the Empire, "full of 
courage," as he said of himself, and fertile in expe- 
dients to hasten on victory at a time when at best 
we seemed drifting to a stalemate. But his deepest 
conviction was expressed in the inscription he 
wrote on one of his photographs in this year : 
" Let us have faith that Right is Might, and in 
that Faith as to the end try to do our duty. 
J. C. Smuts." 

Very soon after arriving in England he went on 
a tour of the French front, and on his return to 
London strongly urged a diversion of some of our 
troops either to Salonica or Palestine, whereupon 
he was offered the command of an army in Pales- 



tine. This he refused, as he had little confidence 
in the policy of Robertson, then chief of the staff at 
the War Office.* The Jews, however, grateful for 
his advocacy of their cause, subsequently named 
a strip in the valley of Zebulan Ramat Jochanan 
Smuts. In May he was entertained at a banquet 
in the Royal Gallery of the House of Lords, with 
Lord French, his old adversary in the Boer War, 
in the chair, and made a notable speech defining 
the British Empire as a misnomer, but rather as a 
community of states and nations, not forming one 
nation in itself, but a community " for consul- 
tation and co-operation, plus complete autono- 
my " for its constituent parts anticipating in fact 
Balfour's famous definition of the Empire in 1926. 
In June he was invited to a seat in the War 
Cabinet and accepted it, subject to the proviso 
that he should not be called upon to deal with the 
purely internal affairs of Great Britain ; even that 
stipulation, however, as will appear, was not 
strictly observed. So effective indeed were his 
speeches on imperial, and sometimes even on 
domestic affairs, that the well-known journalist, 
A. G. Gardiner, not inaptly dubbed him the 
" Orator for the Empire." 

How pregnant with prophecies, later to be veri- 
fied, his speeches often were, may be illustrated by 
his estimate of the consequences of the* Russian 
revolution, at a time when most Englishmen 
deplored it, as marking the loss of an ally, and the 

* D. Uoyd George, War Memoirs, IV, 1830 sgq. 


fall of Russia into a quagmire from which she was 
never likely to escape. Very soon after the first 
appearance of Lenin, Smuts at the end of May, 
1917, prophesied that " Russia . . . now 
seething in the revolutionary crisis . . . will 
concentrate itself, organise itself, discipline itself 
and then march again at the head of civilisation." 
Two months later, on the eve of the Brest-Litovsk 
negotiations, " If I were a German statesman," he 
said, " I would bear in mind the wise old Bis- 
marckian policy and avoid making the Slav the 
future historic enemy of the Teuton," adding, even 
in the dark days of 1918, before the Germans had 
collapsed, " Let the Germans remember that 
Russia, now blind and turning the mill at Gaza 
may yet make the whole proud structure of 
German Imperialism topple down in ruin and 
confusion,"* words which some of our own states- 
men might well have borne in mind. 

Apart from his invigorating speeches about the 
Empire, his organising capacity had very early 
been recognised by Lloyd George and put to 
practical uses. Among other activities he was set 
to preside over the Committee for reorganising 
the Air Force : on his advice it was greatly in- 
creased, partly to deal more efficiently with the 
Zeppelin attacks on London ; and, largely owing 
to his insistence, the R.A.F. was given an indepen- 
dent .command, with a status equal to that of the 

* Quoted in 77k* Times, 7-5-43. 



Army and Navy.* He also became a sort of 
handyman to the cabinet in going out to report 
on various fronts. Thus, he was sent out several 
times to France to hear Haig's views, to Egypt to 
discuss the Palestine and Mesopotamia operations 
with Allenby ; and he accompanied Lloyd George 
to consult about the restoration of the Italian front 
after the disaster of Caporetto. He went alsp on 
two secret diplomatic missions to Switzerland to 
meet Mensdorff and an emissary of the Prime 
Minister Gzernin, when Austria was toying with 
the idea of a separate peace, " dapplings for 
peace," which came to nothing, as the Austrians 
were too much bound to Germany to venture, . 
when it came to the point, on a separate under- 
standing. On both these missions, it is interesting 
to note, he was accompanied by his friend of the 
South African National Convention days, Philip 
Kerr (Marquess of Lothian). 

Moreover, though lie had originally stipulated 
that he should take no part in purely English 
politics, he even consented, at a critical stage of 
the war, to try his hand at stopping the Welsh 
miners' strike at Tonypandy. As he was leaving 
London, Lloyd George gave him just one word of 
advice : " Remember that my countrymen are 
great singers." So, when faced with an uproarious 
meeting of strikers apparently determined not to 

D. Lloyd George, War Mtmoirs, IV, 1883 sqq. ; R. H. 
Kkraan, Gmmd Smuts, 100109. 



listen to him, Smuts, in a momentary pause in the 
din, shouted to them : " I come from far away, 
as you know. I do not belong to this country. 
I have come a long way to do my bit for this war 
and I am going to talk to you about this trouble. 
But I've heard that the Welsh are among the 
greatest singers in the world, and before I start I 
want you to sing to me some of the songs of your 
people." The response was immediate. Some 
started singing The Land of our Fathers. Thereupon 
the others to a man joined in the glorious singing : 
Smuts then had to speak for only a few minutes 
before the assemblage agreed to call off the 

When, in November, 1918, the armistice was 
signed, the last service given by Smuts as a member 
of the British ministry was to preside over the 
committee to deal with the question of demobili- 
sation, but on 18th December he resigned so as 
to be able to take an independent line on the peace 
negotiations as one of the South African 

Lloyd George, who had ample opportunity of 
judging Smuts's work, said of him : " He is one 
of the most remarkable personalities of his time. 
He is that fine blend of intellect and sympathy 
which constitutes the understanding man. 
[Though a great fighting man], his sympathies 
were too broad to make of him a mere fighting 
man . . He had rare and fine gifts of mind 

* D. Lloyd George, Ib. Ill, 1373 sqq. 



and heart. Of his practical contributions to our 
counsels during these trying years, it is difficult to 
speak too highly.* 

Meanwhile Botha, during the long period when 
his faithful colleague was not there to help him 
with his buoyant optimism and fertility in expe- 
dients to overcome difficulties, was having a hard 
time in South Africa. He took especially to heart 
the persistent attacks of Hertzog and of so many 
of his old comrades in the South African war. 
They resented his loyalty to Great Britain and 
determination to rule South Africa in the common 
interest of the British as well as the Dutch section 
of the population. Of Botha's difficulties in 1917 
Smuts from England said : " He is bearing a 
burden in South Africa which no other man can 
bear, and it is unfortunate in a sense that I have 
to take the place [in Europe] of my right honour- 
able friend." To add to his difficulties Botha in 
that same year was seriously troubled, no doubt 
with the illness which ultimately proved fatal a few 
years later. Writing to a friend he said : " I was 
absolutely finished. I had given up hope en- 
tirely, thinking I should never see you people 
again ; I felt that to go on living was an absolute 
impossibility " ; but his spirit was great, and he 
ends Jthe letter with these words of courage : " For 
a month now I have had no pain whatever 

* D. Lloyd Geoigc, Ib. IV, 176S-4. 


. . . the heart is strong . . . blood- 
pressure rather high, but better than it was ; I 
walk up to nine miles a day and ride three hours 
. . . my mind is clear ; I am full of ambition 
and schemes for a long life."* 

In many respects he was more successful in 
dealing with his Boer compatriots than was Smuts 
with all his cleverness. Smuts, for example, was 
too impatient to deal with them in the old leisurely 
way to which they had been accustomed in 
Kruger's time, when they could come as a depu- 
tation to talk over some grievance with the old 
President and were allowed to sit on his stoop, 
smoking, drinking coffee and slowly discussing the 
matter for hours. Botha, on the other hand, 
favoured the old President's method. He would 
allow them to go through all their grievances, and, 
even if they did not obtain all they wanted, they 
felt some satisfaction in having been able to put 
their case at length. Botha, too, could smooth 
them down, even if he did not give way to them, 
by a joke or a happy retort that they could appre- 
ciate, as in the instance, already quoted,t of his 
answer to a deputation of angry Boer farmers 
demanding the dismissal of the English director 
of agriculture and the replacing of him by a Boer. 
By such tactful methods, indeed, Botha, in spite 
of his parliamentary difficulties, in which he was 
perhaps not at his best, or at any rate not so skilful 

* Engdenberg, I.e. 332 sqq. 
t See above, p. 59. 

BS "7 


in debate as Smuts, was often able to smooth away 
the opposition of his country Boers. 

Botha, too, was fortunate in always being able 
to depend on the sympathy and good counsel of 
Lord Buxton, the Governor-General during the 
period of the war, and above all of his own 
beloved wife from the first days of his married life 
to the end. She, indeed, while never interfering 
with his work, made their successive homes in the 
Vryheid district and, after the war, in Pretoria 
and the farm at Nooitgedacht, the havens of rest 
and happiness that he needed. When, as so often 
happened during his life as prime minister, 
successively of the Transvaal and of South Africa, 
he had to be in Pretoria or Cape Town without 
her, every night his clerk had to get Standerton 
on the telephone : then Botha would take up the 
receiver and a lovely smile would come over his 
face : "Is that you, Annie ? " and, after being 
assured she was well, he would enquire about the 
state of the farm : "Is the dam full of water ? " 
" Yes." " Well, that's all right," and so to bed 
happy. It was indeed a true love match to the 
end. An English friend once happened to be 
calling on him at his hotel in London on an 
evening when General and Mrs. Botha were to 
dine at Buckingham Palace : after he had had 
some talk with Botha, Mrs. Botha .came in, 
dressed for the occasion, and asked Botha, " Louis, 
do I look all right ? " " Annie," he answered, 
" you look beautiful," and kissed her. Lord 


Buxton, in his little volume oh General Botha, gives 
the most intimate and charming picture we have 
of the man. " I have known many big men," he 
writes, " Botha was the most human and the most 
lovable of them all. He was," he adds, " dignified, 
simple and natural, courteous and considerate : 
his stand was based on his natural sense of honour, 
duty and obligation. Essentially modest and 
unassuming, he hated personal quarrels, was a 
steadfast friend and a chivalrous enemy." His 
simple piety is well illustrated by his address to his 
men after the South- West African campaign, 
recorded by Lord Buxton, in which he attributes 
their safety and success to God's hand protecting 
them.* Above all, Botha, as a politician, was 
determined to do all he could to break down the 
barriers between the two races, English and Dutch, 
in South Africa. As the American statesman, 
Lansing, said of him after meeting him at Ver- 
sailles : "A less broadminded and far-seeing 
statesman than the Transvaal general would have 
kept alive a spirit of revenge among his country- 
men and counselled passive resistance to the 
British authorities, thus making amalgamation 
between the two nationalities a long and painful 
process. It would have conformed with the 
common conception of patriotism and the usual 
sentiment of the vanquished towards the victors, 
but it did not conform with General Botha's views 
as to what was wise and practical . . . He 
* See above, p. 99. 

< 119 


did not permit vain regrets or false hopes to cloud 
his vision as to the future or to impair his sound 
common sense in dealing with new conditions 
resulting from the British victory . . . He 
accepted the fact of defeat with philosophic calm- 
ness and exerted all his influence in reconciling 
his fellow-countrymen to their new allegiance. Of 
the men I have met Botha was one of the 
greatest. 5 '* Even Hertzog, after Botha's death, was 
fain to admit that "the two races are learning 
more to appreciate what in the past they had re- 
garded as each other's shortcomings." Of Smuts, 
Lansing took a less favourable view, saying that 
"he was often head in air and lost in thought . . . 
He had vivacity of mind which comes from a rest- 
less imagination and . . . impatience." But this 
restless imagination, even the impatience with 
obstacles, formed just the right complement to 
Botha's wise caution. At any rate they worked 
together to the same ends. Between these two 
great South Africans there was never a misunder- 
standing, still less a rift. Botha, speaking of this 
affectionate intimacy, would dilate on " the 
brilliant intellect, calm judgment, amazing energy, 
undaunted courage " of his beloved friend : what 
Smuts felt for Botha was expressed in the touching 
funeral oration he made when the final parting 
had come. 

For the peace settlement at Versailles Botha had 
come to Europe as representative of South Africa, 

* Qpoted in Engelenberg I.e. 332 and Armstrong, Grey Steel, 250. 


together with Smuts, already on the spot. Smuts's 
last piece of work for the imperial government 
was to preside over the cabinet committee on 
demobilisation, but naturally, when appointed a 
South African plenipotentiary at Versailles, he 
resigned from the British cabinet. The great con- 
tribution that Smuts made to the peace conference 
was his earnest support of President Wilson's 
scheme for a League of Nations. In fact, Smuts 
has almost as much claim to the paternity of the 
scheme as Wilson himself, for it was he who drew 
up the original scheme of the charter which, with 
amendments added after discussion by the full 
conference, was finally adopted at Versailles. 
Unfortunately, owing to the subsequent defection 
of America, Smuts proved wrong in his prophecy 
that " the League of Nations supplies the key to 
most of the new troubles . . . and it will 
bring America to our side in the politics of the 
future." At Versailles Botha used to sit next to 
Milner, since his South African days much 
mellowed as a statesman and one of the most 
helpful ministers in Lloyd George's cabinet. To 
Milner Botha during the peace proceedings said : 
" We have triumphed because justice has tri- 
umphed ; but you must not in revenge . destroy 
a nation ... I and my colleague General 
Smuts alone here have fought a war and lost all, 
government, flag, all and we remember. We 
knew the bitterness of defeat. [But] the English 
gave us peace without vengeance. They helped 



us to rise again, and that is why we stand by them 
again."* Smuts took the same line : " You may 
strip Germany of her colonies, reduce her arma- 
ments to a mere police force and her navy to that 
of a fifth-rate power ; all the same in the end, if 
she feels herself unjustly treated in the peace of 
1919, she will find means of exacting retribution 
from her conquerors."f 

No wonder then that, when the treaty had been 
elaborated by the allies, and the Germans, with- 
out an opportunity of discussing its conditions, 
had no alternative but to sign what their enemies 
had decided, such a peremptory conclusion to 
their labours proved a bitter disappointment to 
Botha and Smuts. Maybe they judged the 
Germans by their own standards, and believed 
that, had they been given more generous terms, or 
at any rate ,been consulted, as had been the case 
at Vereeniging, the chances of a lasting peace 
would have been greater. Smuts indeed went so 
far as to refuse at first to sign the treaty, till he was 
urged by Botha not to stand aloof after all his hard 
work at Versailles, and reminded by him that 
without the treaty his own special clauses creating 
a League of Nations to prevent future wars, would 
fall to the ground : so Smuts finally gave his 
signature. But he afterwards wrote : " This 
Treaty is not the peace ; it is the last echo of the 
war. It closes the war and armistice stage. The 

* H. C. Armstrong, Grey Steel, 324 5. 

f Millin, I.e. II, 209 sq. 


real peace must still come and it must be made 
by the Peoples." Botha wrote on his agenda 
paper for that day in Dutch : " God's justice will 
be meted out to every nation in His righteousness 
under the new sun. We shall persist in prayer in 
order that it may be done to mankind in Peace 
and Christian charity. To-day, the 31st May, 
1902, comes back to me." 

After the conclusion of the treaty Botha at once 
returned to South Africa. Smuts was much 
pressed to stay in England and he was sorely 
tempted to do so, but, as he said himself, " In the 
end I came back because of Botha. It was a choice 
between my loyalty to Botha and my missioner's 
feeling for the League. Almost at once I was left 
to do my work alone. It was good that I came 
back." So long had he been away that his two 
youngest children barely knew him : the two 
eldest, he found, thought he should not have 
signed the treaty.* 

It was well that Smuts returned to South Africa, 
for, within a few weeks of his return, Botha him- 
self, literally worn out by his incessant cares and 
labours in the field and the council-chamber, died 
on 27th August, 1919. His death was a calamity 
to South Africa, and hardly less so to the whole 
British Empire. Loyal Devoir might well have been 
his motto. Once having given his word for peace 
at Vereeniging, still more owing to the prompt 
trust reposed in him and his by the grant of self- 

* Millin, I.e. II, 28992 ; see p. 199, for Smuts's children. 



government, no power in heaven or earth the 
advice of old companions in arms or momentary 
political expedience could move him from its 
implications. In his last speech, delivered at 
Bloemfontein only a week before he died, " he 
spoke," says Deneys Reitz, " in homely words of 
his desire for peace and unity."* His not infre- 
quent visits to London had won him the respect 
and affection of Englishmen. His few brief 
speeches, always given in Dutch and rendered 
into English by an interpreter, breathed an air of 
sincerity and gallant courtesy, and above all of 
loyalty to his trust as a subject of the King that 
carried conviction of the man's nobility of nature. 
In his own country the verdict of the immense 
majority of both English and Dutch was the same. 
True, some of those, like Hertzog, who had parted 
from him, thought he was too much wedded to 
the English connexion : but all felt him to be a 
simple, God-fearing man, with a lovable nature, 
not clever, but with the immense wisdom of the 
patient and the loving, such as he was. He was at 
his best, and certainly happiest, in his own 
prosperous and beautiful farm, where, with his 
beloved wife and family, he lived a patriarchal 
life, entertaining simply, and always the best 
of hosts. 

Smuts, the colleague most unlike him in most 
ways, yet the one who knew and loved 1dm best, 
said these words at his graveside : " He had no 

* No Outspan, 27. 


equal as a friend. We have worked together with 
a closeness seldom vouchsafed to friends. This 
entitles me to call him the greatest, cleanest, 
sweetest soul of all my days. Great in his lifetime, 
he was happy in his death. To his friend is left 
the bitter task of burying him and to defend his 
works, which were almost too heavy for him to 

BS* "5 

Chapter Eight 

Smuts, Philosopher and Statesman 

IT was said of Smuts : " With far greater intel- 
lectual power than Botha, with equal tenacity 
of purpose and indefatigable energy, with the same 
ardent patriotism, the younger statesman is not 
so well endowed with the gracious patience that 
made the late prime minister's person so winsome, 
for all men." Smuts himself recognised this when 
he said : " I deal with administration, Botha deals 
with people." Later Smuts learned from hard 
experience some of Botha's gracious patience, but 
not till he had been tried in the wilderness of 
opposition for nine years, and then after close on 
seven years of co-operation with the man who first 
drove him from power in South Africa. 

On Botha's death in 1919 Smuts naturally 
succeeded him as prime minister : but the results 
of the general election in 1920 showed that he 
could not carry on in the existing state of parties, 
for he mustered only forty supporters of his South 
African party against Hertzog's forty-five Nation- 
alists, the rest of the House being composed of 
twenty-five Unionists (British), twenty-one Labour 


members and three Independents. First Smuts 
made a bid for support from Hertzog's party, but 
that fell through on the issue of a republican 
system, then Hertzog's sine qua non, whereas 
Smuts's attitude was that " if freedom could be 
gained only by way of a republic, I should be a 
republican. But our present status as a member 
of the Empire and of the League of Nations gives 
us complete freedom." Accordingly he then 
approached the Unionists, who in fact differed 
little from Smuts's policy, and agreed to be 
merged in his South African party. On this 
understanding he went to the country again in 
1921, and obtained a comfortable majority of 
seventy-nine for his new South African party 
against Hertzog's forty-five and Labour's nine. 
It was unfortunate, however, for the prospects of 
the new ministry, composed of five Dutchmen and 
five Englishmen, that almost immediately after its 
formation Smuts himself was called to attend 
another Imperial Conference in England. At this 
conference Smuts was one of the first to warn the 
Empire about the dangers of Japan's jingoistic 
policy in the Pacific, which he regarded as a 
special menace to South African security. As 
usual, too, he was invited to resume his role as 
handyman of the Empire. He was asked to draft 
the King's speech for the opening session of the 
Ulster parliament, a speech which contained a 
message of peace not only to Ulster but also to the 
rest of Ireland, then seething with discontent. 


Smuts indeed was keen on Ireland as a whole 
obtaining Dominion status, but, from his own 
experience in South Africa, had no sympathy with 
de Valera's claim for an independent Irish repub- 
lic ; so when Lloyd George asked him to discuss 
matters with de Valera, then in hiding in Ireland, 
he at once agreed. Travelling as " Mr. Smith," 
he was taken to meet de Valera, Griffiths and 
Erskine Childers in their secret lair in Dublin ; 
and, though he found de Valera and Childers 
opposed to any compromise on complete indepen- 
dence, Griffiths agreed to dominion status, as 
afterwards adopted. During this sojourn in 
England Smuts came very close to George V, and 
was much impressed by his " wisdom, modesty, 
and unselfishness," adding that he had " the 
honour to be called his friend." 

He returned to South Africa to find difficulties 
accumulating. The short boom which had 
followed the peace was succeeded by a period of 
intense depression. To make matters worse, in 
January, 1922, another strike broke out in Johan- 
nesburg, supported by some of the Nationalist 
party : there was a reign of terror in the city, and 
some of the leaders openly demanded a republic. 
So serious was the situation that Smuts himself, 
immediately after a speech in parliament, secretly 
went off by train from Cape Town -to supervise 
measures on the spot. Some way from Johannes- 
burg his train was brought to a standstill by demo- 
litions on the line : but this did not deter him. 


Commandeering a motor car he drove on to the 
city, past crowds of strikers who even fired on him : 
he himself was not hit, but a tyre was burst and 
while it was being mended he remained cool and 
unruffled by the roadside surrounded by an angry 
mob. On arriving at Johannesburg he took 
personal command of the situation. Absolutely 
fearless at a time when many of the Rand and 
business magnates had fled to their country houses, 
he went about unarmed to address murderous 
crowds, escaping with his life solely by the respect 
his dauntless behaviour inspired ; and, after 
calling in the citizen defence force, finally scotched 
the rebellion. When order had been restored he 
urged the mine-owners to show leniency to the 
strikers and reinstate most of the rank and file in 
their jobs. 

In spite of this personal success, the economic 
condition in South Africa showed no sign of 
improvement, and, as usual in such circumstances, 
the government bore most of the blame for the 
depression, while Hertzog's prospects of obtain- 
ing power were rapidly improving. The prospect 
of a Hertzog government in the near future was 
especially unfortunate at this time for Smuts's 
cherished scheme for a greater South African 
state extending to the Zambezi and even beyond. 
It so happened that the first step in that direction 
seemed feasible in 1923, when Southern Rhodesia 
obtained responsible government. Smuts there- 
upon undertook a missionary journey to the new 



self-governing colony to persuade it to join the 
South African dominion as one of its provinces, 
instead of remaining isolated in the middle of 
Africa. But the Rhodesians remained deaf to his 
eloquent pleadings that they would not only gain 
in material prosperity, but also carry more weight 
in the counsels of the Empire than if they remained 
a comparatively small and isolated community in 
the middle of Africa. Had they been convinced 
that Smuts and his South African party would 
remain in power, they might possibly have listened 
more favourably to his pleading : but the growing 
strength of Hertzog's Nationalist party, which 
then cared little for the British connexion, seemed 
to them an irrefutable argument against any 
change of status. Since then the opportunity has 
never recurred. 

In the same year Smuts, after attending another 
Imperial Conference in London, returned to find 
his majority in the South African parliament 
gradually dwindling from the original twenty-five 
to seven ; and, after a crushing defeat at a by- 
election in the following spring, he dissolved 
parliament. At the ensuing general election 
Hertzog gained sixty-three seats against Smuts's 
fifty-three, and, on a promise to give up his claim 
to set up a republic, obtained the support of 
Labour's eighteen members. Smuts at once , 
resigned and Hertzog formed a ministry, leaving 
Smuts in opposition. 



The nine years of opposition that followed 
gave Smuts the time to deliver lectures, 
eagerly sought after in England, Scotland and 
America, and, in 1931, to preside over the 
British Association. Above all, also, he now at 
last found time to complete his book on Holism and 
Evolution, the philosophical system which was 
partly the outcome of his early talks and readings 
with Sibella Kriege at Stellenbosch. He was able, 
too, to take more holidays in the open air, such as 
he had had very few opportunities of enjoying 
since Vereeniging. His first recorded j aunt was on 
his return from England in December, 1923, when 
he went with his dear friend Deneys Reitz on a 
trip to Zululand. On this journey, " his first real 
holiday for many years," Reitz records,* " he 
threw off the cares of state and we agreed to forget 
our political troubles for the time being ; so we 
rode along gaily and he told us many interesting 
things about his work in England and Europe 
during the past years." On their way natives were 
warned of their approach by " bush-telegraph," 
and warriors appeared with tom-tom and war 
dances and presented them with a fat goat, of 
which they were supposed to take only the titbits, 
the rest going to the chief's retinue : at another 
place they were met by warriors of two hostile 
tribes, but fortunately, instead of a battle between 
them, they staged a combined war dance in 
* Smuts's honour. Otherwise, when he could spare 

* P. Reitz, No Outspan, 60, sqq. 


a few hours, Smuts's only physical relaxation was 
climbing difficult pitches and there are many 
on Table Mountain or in the Basuto Mountains. 
Even in his book on Holism he manages to bring in 
an allusion to his beloved pastime : " knowledge 
has given the key of power and mastery over the 
conditions which previously towered like an 
unscaleable mountain escarpment athwart its path 
of progress."* It is said that even to-day, when 
this youthful septuagenarian occasionally clears 
his brain by a stiff climb, the police escort attached 
to him in war-time, men much younger but less 
agile than himself, have considerable trouble in 
keeping up with their prime minister. 

Hitherto Smuts had been known in England 
mainly for his work in the War Cabinet during 
the 1914 1918 war ; but except for his address 
to the Tonypandy miners, he had had little oppor- 
tunity of coming into touch with the general 
public, his work, as we have seen, having been 
mostly administrative and diplomatic. But from 
1924 to 1933, being more of a freelance, he was 
able to respond to some of the numerous invita- 
tions sent him from England, Scotland and the 
United States to address learned societies and 
others on any topic he might choose. In 1929 he 
delivered the Rhodes Lectures at Oxford, dealing 
chiefly with South African and especially native 
questions in the Union, lectures which proved 
somewhat disappointing to ardent negrophilists. 

* J. C. Smuts, Holism and Evolution, 249. 


In 1931 he was elected president of the British 
Association for its centenary meetings held in 
London and at York and took his duties very 
seriously, for besides his inaugural address on 
The Scientific World Picture of To-day, dealing largely 
with his own theory of Holism, he also spoke at 
several of the sectional meetings ; and in the same 
year he presided at the Clerk Maxwell Centenary 
celebrations at Cambridge. From America also 
he was overwhelmed with invitations to lecture. 
One enterprising lecture-agent proposed to him a 
lightning tour of the States, in which he was to 
deliver fifty lectures on any subjects he might 
choose, the remuneration offered being $500 for 
each lecture : he was also invited to give a course 
of lectures at Johns Hopkins university : both 
these offers he turned down. On the other hand 
he accepted with enthusiasm a proposal that he 
should make a tour of American and Canadian 
universities to address them on the League of 
Nations, the topic which he had almost more at 
heart than any other : it was a strenuous tour, but 
it probably did more than ever had been done 
before to arouse interest in the western continent 
on this subject. During this period, too, ever 
watchful of the Jewish problem in Palestine,* he 
made vigorous protests against the stringent regu- 
lations on their entry into what he had hoped 
would be a real national home for the Jews. 

By 1934 he was once more in a South African 

* See above, p. 112. 


ministry, nevertheless he managed in that year to 
fulfil a long-promised engagement to deliver the 
Rectorial Address, some time overdue, to the 
University of St. Andrews. This proved to be one 
of the most interesting of his speeches in Great 
Britain. The subject he chose was Freedom, taking 
as his text a favourite passage from Pericles's 
Funeral Oration, " Happiness is based on 
freedom and freedom on courage." At the 
start he put his Scottish audience in good humour 
by telling them of a talk with an old Hottentot 
shepherd at the time of the Majuba war, who, 
when asked who would win, replied " the 
English " : " Are then the English the greatest 
nation in the world ? " " No," was the olid 
Hottentot's answer, " the Scots, of whom the 
English are very much afraid." Then drawing a 
parallel between the Scots and his own Boer 
countrymen as belonging, both of them, to small 
nations, while both took their full share in shoul- 
dering the burdens and promoting the welfare of 
their common Empire, he enlarged specially on 
the great civilizing and humanitarian work of 
their fellow-countryman, Livingstone, in his own 
continent. Passing on to the failure of Christian 
civilization in the Great War and the great chance 
missed for a better ordering of the future at the 
peace of Versailles, he then struck the more opti- 
mistic note of his central creed. In spite, he said, 
of past errors, " the world is still good to-day, it 
is a friendly world, built for heroism, but also for 


beauty, tenderness, mercy : that is my ultimate 
credo : for there is no decadence, but more good- 
will and good feeling than ever before : " and 
that in spite of " the new tyranny (in Germany), 
disguised in attractive, patriotic colours, which is 
enticing youth everywhere into its service, a new 
tyranny, which in the words of Burke, was 
' a weed which grows in all soils, and it is its 
nature to spread.' " As opposed to this new 
tyranny " to me the individual is basic to good 
world order. Individual freedom, individual 
independence of mind, individual participation in 
the difficult work of government seem to be the 
essential of all progress . . . Freedom is the 
most ineradicable craving of human nature ; 
without it, peace, contentment and happiness, 
even manhood itself, are not possible. The fight 
for human freedom," he concluded, " is the 
supreme issue of the future, as it has always been 
in the past." 

This last passage in his address at St. Andrews 
is specially interesting as introducing one of the 
main ideas underlying Smuts's book on Holism and 
Evolution, published in 1926, the result of half a 
life-time's thought since his first crude attempt to 
expound his philosophy of life in Walt Whitman, a 
Study in the Evolution of Personality.* Since that 
first attempt he had found further inspiration in 
the works of Whitehead, Lloyd Morgan and 

* See above, pp. 24-5. 



Adler, who said that in Holism 4< I see clearly 
described . . . the key of our science " ; 
while Robert Bridges declared that his own 
Testament of Beauty was a poetical adumbration of 
an almost identical thesis. 

In this mature volume Smuts sets out by de- 
fining " Holism " as " underlying the synthetic 
tendency in the universe, and the principle which 
makes for the origin and progress of wholes in the 
universe ; " and by stating his aim as being " to 
account for the fundamental unity and continuity 
which underlie and connect Matter, Life and 
Mind," not merely in the human personality, but 
in varying degree throughout nature animate and 
inanimate. Well equipped for his task by his 
mastery of Darwin's theories of natural selection, 
he had also studied to some purpose Einstein's 
concept of space and time in advance of Newton's 
discoveries, and he was familiar with the experi- 
ments made by Rutherford and others on the 
nature of the atom and of radio-activity in matter. 
Making full use of these recent advances in science^ 
he claims that his theory of wholes or holism 
explains " tlie structure of matter and the arising, 
in, or through, matter of life and mind and per- 
sonality," or, as he might have put it, mens agitat 
molem. To him indeed Personality is " the whole," 
expressed, not only in its highest, human aspect, 
but throughout nature, and always implying 
Freedom : " the function," as he puts it, " of the 


ideal of Freedom is to secure the inward self- 
determination of the personality, its riddance of 
all alien obstructive elements, and thus its perfec- 
tion as a pure, radiant, transparent, homogeneous 
self-activity." Again, evolution to him is not 
merely a process, but is actually creative of " new 
materials and new forms from the synthesis of the 
new with the old materials." 

An interesting parallel to Smuts's theory of the 
whole is to be found in that notable Essay on the 
Dramatic Character of Sir John Falstaff by Maurice 
Morgann (1777): 

"Bodies of all kinds, whether of metals, plants, 
or animals, are supposed to possess certain first 
principles of being, and to have an existence 
independent of the accidents, which form their 
magnitude or growth ... It was not enough 
for Shakespeare to have formed his characters in 
the most perfect truth and coherence ; it was 
further necessary that he should possess a won- 
derful facility of compressing, as it were, his own 
spirit into these images, and of giving animation 
to the forms. This was not done from without; 
he must have felt every varied situation, and have 
spoken through the organ he had formed. Such 
an intuitive comprehension of things and such 
a facility, must unite to form a Shakespeare. The 
reader will not now be surprised if I affirm that 
those characters in Shakespeare, which are seen 
only in part, are yet capable of being unfolded and 
understood as a whole ; every part being in fact 


relative, and inferring all the rest ... If the 
characters of Shakespeare are thus whole > and as it 
were original, whilst those of all other writers are 
mere imitation, it may be fit to consider them 
rather as Historic than Dramatic beings ; and, 
when occasion requires, to account for their 
conduct from the whole of character, from general 
principles, from latent motives, and from policies 
not avowed." 

Professor A. D. Ritchie's view of Smuts's theory, 
which I am allowed to quote, is that " What 
seems to me the most interesting part of his theory 
is that it is an attempt to mediate between the 
view that what is new and emergent comes from 
without by sheer magic and the view that it is 
imposed from without by a transcendent Creator. 
The second view precludes any attempt at a scien- 
tific account by introducing something of which 
science itself is not cognisant. The first seems 
scientifically absurd. Holism is an attempt at a 
third line of approach." 

Whether one accepts Smuts's views on the 
nature of man and the universe generally or not, 
at any rate there are moving passages in this 
book which not only stimulate thought but also 
give a noble and encouraging stimulus to human 

Take this passage in which he imagines a uni- 
verse without mind : "It would have gone on 
sublimely unconscious of itself. It would have 
had no soul or souls ; it would have harboured no 



passionate exaltations ; no poignant regrets or 
bitter sorrows would have disturbed its profound 
peace. For it, neither the great lights nor the deep 
shadows. Truth, beauty and goodness would 
have been there, but unknown, unseen, unloved. 
[With mind has come] sin and sorrow, faith and 
love, the great vision of knowledge, and the cons- 
cious effort to master all hampering conditions and 
to work out the great redemption. Purpose marks 
the liberation of Mind from the domination of cir- 
cumstances and indicates its free creative activity 
from the trammels of the present and the past ; " 
or this noble passage in his last chapter : 

" This is a universe of whole-making, not of 
soul-making only . . . Wholeness or the 
holistic character of Nature . . . has its 
friendly intimate influences and its subtle appeal 
to all the wholes in Nature and especially to the 
spiritual in us. For the overwrought mind there 
is no peace like Nature's, for the wounded spirit 
there is no healing like hers. There are indeed 
times when human companionship becomes un- 
bearable, and we fly to Nature for that silent 
sympathy and communion spent under the open 
African sky . . . The intimate rapport with 
Nature is one of the most precious things in life. 
Nature is indeed very close to us, sometimes closer 
than hands and feet, of which in truth she is but 
the extension. The emotional appeal of Nature is 
tremendous, sometimes more than one can 
bear ... 


" Everywhere I have seen men search and 
struggle for the Good with grim determination and 
earnestness, and with a sincerity of purpose which 
added to the poignancy of the fratricidal strife. 
But we are still very far from the goal to which 
Holism points. The great war, with its infinite 
loss and suffering, its toll of untold lives, the 
shattering of great States and almost of civilization, 
the fearful waste of goodwill and sincere human 
ideals which followed the close of that great 
tragedy has been proof enough for our day and 
generation that we are yet far off the attainment 
of the ideal of a really Holistic universe. But, 
everywhere, too, I have seen that it was at bottom 
a struggle for the Good, a wild stirring towards 
human betterment ; that blindly, and through 
blinding mists of passion and illusions, men are 
yet sincerely, earnestly, groping towards the light, 
towards the ideal of a better, more secure life for 
themselves and their fellows. Thus the League of 
Nations, the chief constructive outcome of the 
Great War, is but the expression of the deeply felt 
aspiration to a more stable holistic state of society. 
And the faith has been strengthened in me that 
what has here been called Holism is at work even 
in the conflicts and confusions of men ; that in 
spite of all appearances to the contrary, eventual 
victory is serenely and securely waiting, and that 
the immeasurable sacrifices have not been in vain. 
The groaning and travailing of the Universe is 
never aimless or resultless. Its profound labours 


mean new creation, the slow painful birth of 
wholes, of new and higher wholes, and the slow 
but steady realisation of the Good which all the 
wholes of the Universe in their various grades 
dimly yearn and strive for. 

" It is in the nature of the Universe to strive for 
and slowly, but in ever increasing measure, to 
attain wholeness, fullness, blessedness. The real 
defeat for men, as for other grades of the Universe 
would be to ease the pain by a cessation of effort, 
to cease from striving towards the Good. The 
holistic nisus which rises like a living fountain 
from the very depths of the Universe is the guaran- 
tee that failure does not await us, that the ideas of 
Well-being, of Truth, Beauty and Goodness are 
firmly grounded in the nature of things, and will 
not eventually be endangered or lost. Wholeness, 
healing, holiness all expressions and ideas spring- 
ing from the same root in language, as in experi- 
ence lie on the rugged, upward path of the 
Universe, and are secure of attaining it in part 
here and now, and eventually more fully and 
truly. The rise and perfection of wholes in the 
Whole is the slow but unerring process and goal of 
this Holistic Universe." 

Since this was written, even worse calamities 
have befallen us : but Smuts himself and those 
who share his noble belief in human progress have 
never faltered in the struggle for a better, kinder 
and more holistic world. 

Chapter Nine 

Coalition with Hertzog : 
Heading for War 

A LTHOUGH during his nine years out of 
jLVoffice, Smuts found time, not only to com- 
plete his philosophical work on Holism and 
Evolution, but also by his lecturing tours in Great 
Britain and America to act as a missionary both ot 
the Empire and of the League of Nations ; yet he 
never neglected his duties as leader of the opposi- 
tion in the South African parliament. He took 
part in the heated discussions on the Union Flag 
Bill which lasted through the three sessions of 
1925 27, and, with Hertzog and Thielman Roos, 
finally settled the difficulty by the compromise 
flag, which, though hardly inspiring as a national 
emblem, at any rate allayed the respective 
susceptibilities of the Dutch- and British-born 
citizens and averted a threatened secession from 
the Union by Natal. 

On the far more important question of the 
natives' rights, and especially their exercise of the 
franchise, on which Hertzog introduced four bills 
in 1926, Smuts was critical not so much of 


Hertzog's principles as of his methods of dealing 
with the difficulties : but at any rate Smuts's 
criticisms of Hertzog's proposals and the still more 
fundamental objections of the ardent defenders of 
the natives' rights, such as Rose Innes, formerly 
chief justice at the Cape, and Hofmeyr, one of 
Smuts's own most faithful supporters in other 
respects, caused the postponement of a final 
decision on Hertzog's proposals for another 'ten 
years, by which time Hertzog, Smuts and Hofmeyr 
were colleagues in the same ministry. 

Meanwhile Hertzog seemed more firmly estab- 
lished in power than ever by his success in the 
general election of 1929 ; a result at which Smuts 
was frankly disappointed. But he agreed with 
Hertzog in deploring Great Britain's refusal at the 
Imperial Conference of 1930, to consider a policy 
of colonial preference, and went so far as to say 
that " What might have been the most brilliant, 
the most successful and greatest of all Imperial 
Conferences has ended in disillusion and dis- 
appointment for every part of the British Com- 
monwealth ... If the final settlement of 
Dominion status had gone hand in hand with a 
great gesture of fellowship and comradeship, with 
the holding out and the grasping of a helping hand 
all round in this common hour of trial, what a 
landmark the Conference would have been in the 
history of the Empire."* But at any rate he had 
the satisfaction of finding that Hertzog agreed 

* Quoted in Annual Register, 1930. 



with him in welcoming Balfour's definition of the 
Empire at the previous conference of 1926 as 
" autonomous communities within the British 
Empire, equal in status, in no way subordinate 
one to another in any aspect of their domestic or 
external affairs, though united by a common 
allegiance to the Grown and freely associated as 
members of the British Commonwealth of 
Nations," a definition finally given the force of 
law in the Statute of Westminster of 1931. 

But by 1931 Hertzog's majority had begun to 
disintegrate. By that year the general slump in 
trade had spread to South Africa, and the Labour 
members who had hitherto supported him 
declared that their pact with him was at an end. 
Smuts was one of the first to realise that the main- 
tenance of the gold standard, already abandoned 
by Great Britain, would lead the country into 
bankruptcy. But Hertzog obstinately clung to it 
and was supported by a report from a packed 
committee of parliament. Natal, disgusted with 
Hertzog's policy, again threatened secession, and 
even Hertzog's Nationalist party was getting 
restive ; a by-election at Germiston, regarded as 
a safe Nationalist seat was won by Smuts's South 
African party. Then appeared, the man who 
regarded himself as the Deus ex machina to settle the 
country on a secure basis Thielman Roos, a 
former minister under Hertzog, who had recently 
accepted a judgeship, which he now resigned with 
the intention of securing a coalition government 



from Hertzog's nationalist and Smuts's South 
African party, undfcr his own leadership. 

Smuts himself also called on Hertzog to resign 
and to make a new start with a really national 
government on non-racial lines, for, as he told the 
House in February, 1933, South Africa's economic 
plight was so parlous that it could be cured only 
on national lines by a merger of his own South 
African party with Hertzog's Nationalists : "if 
there is a general election," he said, " I do not 
fear the result ; but even with a complete victory 
for my party, people will feel that bitterness will 
remain. There is no way towards a change except 
through the resignation of the government ; " and 
that then, not Roos, nor himself should be prime 
minister, but that Hertzog should resume office 
as head of a coalition government taken from 
Hertzog's and his own parties. Accordingly, at 
this time, as always, great as the temptation may 
have been, he carefully abstained from saying 
anything bitter about his opponents, as he might 
have had good excuse for doing : for he always 
remained faithful to the great aim that he and 
Botha had set before themselves, to have a real 
union between the two European races in South 

And so it was arranged in that same year, 1933, 
no more being heard of Roos, who was then almost 
a dying man. But then came a hitch. Hertzog 
naturally offered high office in the new cabinet 
to his old rival Smuts, as leader of the South 


African party : but Smuts himself, who had been 
in opposition to Hertzog for more than twenty 
years was at first unwilling to serve under him and 
even thought of retiring from politics altogether, 
in spite of his party's urgent demand that he 
should still lead them. Finally however, after a 
climb on his beloved Table Mountain with a 
couple of old and trusted friends to think things 
out in peace, he decided that, if there were no 
other reason, he could not leave in the lurch such 
faithful supporters as Patrick Duncan, Hofmeyr 
and Deneys Reitz, who had decided, on his own 
advice, to join the new ministry. So he accepted 
Hertzog's offer that he should take the post of 
deputy prime minister. Smuts himself said of his 
own party, which, in the general election of 1933, 
obtained a majority, " we deliberately gave up 
certain victory for the sake of peace and co-opera- 
tion between the two white races of South Africa."* 
For the next six years Smuts and Hertzog 
worked together in the same ministry. Hertzog 
by this time seemed to have become quite recon- 
ciled to the inclusion of South Africa within the 
British Empire on the lines laid down by Balfour 
in 1926 ; he had come to recognise that for the 
financial stability of the Union the abandonment 
of the gold standard, as Smuts 'had urged, was 
essential. On the great question of the abolition 
of the parliamentary franchise for natives, which 
had been hanging fire for nearly ten years, and 

* D. Reitz, No Outspan, 16770 (on election). 


the substitution of some more effective means of 
securing the representation of native views and 
interests, there appeared to be no fundamental 
divergence between them, though, in fact, Smuts is 
more liberal-minded on native questions than 
Hertzog ever was ; but he agreed to Hertzog's 
native policy for fear of breaking up the ministry. 
Undoubtedly, during these six years, Smuts though 
occupying only the second place in the ministry, 
was the master-mind of the cabinet : as Hertzog 
himself said to J. W. Lamont, an American writer 
well acquainted with South African conditions : 
" Yes, I have the title [of prime minister], but it 
is General Smuts who runs the Government."* In 
private Hertzog could be a pleasant companion 
he was well-read and, like Smuts, had, as we have 
seen, more than a bowing acquaintance with the 
classics ; but in politics he was of an uneasy and 
somewhat jealous temperament and apt to resent 
criticism by his colleagues. As Reitz said of him : 
" He was a man of culture and a gentleman, but 
of an uneasy temperament, and there were fre- 
quent crises when some of our colleagues resigned ; 
he never realised that his wing of the Unity party 
was a minority kept in power, "f Smuts, on the 
other hand, throughout the six years of the 
coalition showed real statesmanship in the vital 
effort on which he was engaged to get Dutch and 

* Quoted by J. W. Lamont in Saturday Review of Literature, 
N.Y.,'6May, 1944. 

t D. Reitz, JVb Outspan, 230 sqq. 



English to work together, and was determined not 
to break up the coalition except on a question of 
national importance. 

In this coalition government's first six years, 
when the country was at peace externally and 
internally, important schemes for developing home 
industries and natural resources were carried out 
with great success. The Vaal-Harts irrigation 
scheme, originally projected by Rhodes, was 
carried to completion chiefly under Reitz's super- 
vision, whereby, at a cost of ^6,000,000, a vast 
inland sea of some ninety miles of fresh water was 
created to irrigate a specially thirsty land. Reitz 
too was largely responsible for developing the 
great Kruger National Park, where visitors in 
their motor-cars can drive in perfect safety to 
within a stone's throw of lions, buffaloes, giraffes, 
hippopotami and every kind of deer, though they 
are ranging where they list in perfect liberty. 
Sometimes Reitz would persuade Smuts to 
accompany him on an aeroplane jaunt of inspec- 
tion, when the two friends chaffed each other, 
enjoying themselves like a couple of schoolboys. 
The only pastime in which Reitz would not join 
his chief was mountaineering, and he had the 
laugh of him once when he found him in bed with 
two doctors attending him for overstrain on Table 
Mountain, and quoted to him the Japanese 
saying : "He who hasn't climbed Fujiyama once 


is 4 fool, and he who climbs him twice is a 
damned fool."* 

In 1935 Hertzog introduced the government's 
two measures for dealing with the native question : 
(1) the Natives Representation Bill, and (2) the 
Native Trust and Land Bill. By the first Bill it 
was proposed to abolish the franchise hitherto 
allowed to educated natives in the Cape and 
Natal, except in the case of individual natives 
then living and already exercising it. In Natal, it 
is true, the native franchise had always been a 
farce, applying to only a handful of natives ; but 
in the Cape it actually gave the natives entitled to 
the vote a majority in certain constituencies ; 
though in fact, as the representatives they elected 
were exclusively of European origin, these repre- 
sentatives, after election, rarely paid much atten- 
tion to their native constituents' interests. It was 
proposed, however, as compensation for the loss 
of voting power, to set up a Natives' Represen- 
tative Council, empowered not only to discuss 
native needs and grievances for representation to 
the government but also to elect four European 
senators to represent their views in the South 
African parliament. This Bill aroused a good deal 
of opposition, not only among the educated 
natives of the Cape, but also from an important 
section of the white community, especially in the 
Cape Province, which for long had prided itself 
on having enfranchised educated natives. The 

* Reitz, l.c. 196210. 

B6 . 149 


opposing partisans were led by the veteran ex- 
chief justice, Sir James Rose limes, and supported 
by Smuts's friend J. H. Hofmeyr, who resigned 
from the ministry on this question. Smuts, 
speaking on this Bill, emphasised the important 
role of the proposed Natives' Representative 
Council, as providing for the first time a platform 
for the expression of genuine native opinion and 
wants. The second, Native Trust and Land, Bill 
was intended to create a trust for securing more 
land for native settlements. Such a measure was 
urgently needed since, according to the official 
statistics of 1929, while the European population 
of the Union was 22.4 per cent, of the total popu- 
lation, that of the natives amounted to 67.9 per 
cent., whereas the land available for native settle- 
ment was at best in inverse proportion. By this 
Native Trust and Land Bill more land was to be 
gradually acquired to remedy this glaring dis- 
crepancy : but, though the Bill was passed, it 
does not appear that the natives have yet acquired 
a sensible, or at any rate a sufficient, increase c. 

In some respects the Natives' Representation 
Act has been of advantage to the natives. Smuts 
himself went to preside at the first meeting of their 
Representative Council in December, 1937, and 
for the first time the native community was able 
to feel that serious attention was being paid to 
their needs and grievances. Moreover, there is 
no doubt that in parliament itself the presence of 


representatives elected by the Native Council, 
such as Mrs. Ballinger who for years has been 
devoting her noble energies to improving the lot 
of the natives in compounds at Johannesburg and 
other cities where there is a large demand for 
native workmen and servants, and generally 
looking after their interests is attracting more 
serious attention to the needs of South Africa's 
largest, but, as far as rights go, most neglected 
population. It must be all the more galling to 
natives educated up to European standards at 
such colleges as that at Fort Hare, or of the calibre 
of the late Tengo Jabavu, that eminent native 
journalist, and of his son, Professor Davidson 
Jabavu, on the staff of the Hare University College 
or of native doctors who are sometimes consulted 
by European patients, to have been deprived of 
the Cape franchise. Smuts himself, as will appear 
later, has gradually, owing to his experience in 
the present war, begun to realise that a section, at 
any rate, of this population deserves better 
treatment than has hitherto been allotted to it. 

Meanwhile Germany was fast moving towards 
war, which Smuts, among the very few in South 
Africa, was beginning to realise might be inevitable. 
Hertzog, in his New Year message of 1937, took a 
highly optimistic view of the prospects of peace ; 
Smuts was less hopeful. " Faith," he said, " in 
international co-operation and in collective secu- 
rity seems almost to have perished from the earth, 


and, in despair, the nations are rushing to arms 
and arming for safety."* Of one thing, however, 
Smuts was convinced, that if it came to war 
between Great Britain and Germany, South 
Africa must take her part on Britain's side, and in 
the general election of 1938 he made his position 
on that point perfectly clear. The aim of the 
government, he said, was to maintain the best 
relations with Great Britain and the British 
Commonwealth of Nations : " That position," he 
added, " is final. We are not thinking of seces- 
sion. Even though some of our old republicans 
sometimes talk of republicanism, they have bound 
themselves in honour as members of our party and 
adherents to our policy to stand by the British 
Commonwealth of Nations." 

But as the prospect of war became clearer in 
1939, a cleavage of view in the cabinet itself 
became apparent. In April, Hertzog made a 
speech indicating that, though the Union would 
never break with her greatest friend, Great Britain, 
she would not necessarily, in case of war, take up 
arms on Britain's side'; Smuts, speaking at his 
birthplace, Malmesbury, a little later, declared 
emphatically that in such a case South Africa 
should and would fight with the mother-country. 
Then came the declaration of war by Great 
Britain against Germany on 3rd September, 1939. 

At this juncture it was fortunate for Great 
Britain and for South Africa that the lawyers dis- 

* Annual Register, 1937. 


covered that the life of the Senate would expire 
within a few weeks, and that, unless parliament 
met on 2nd September to extend its period of 
office, no legislation could be passed. It was 
fortunate because it appears to have been the 
intention of Hertzog, as head of the government, 
to declare, without consulting parliament or 
apparently even the cabinet, that, subject to 
certain contractual obligations to Great Britain, 
South Africa would remain neutral. Questioned 
by members on his policy at the first meeting of 
parliament on the 2nd, Hertzog postponed his 
answer in parliament for two days and summoned 
the cabinet for the 3rd September to hear his 
decision. According to Reitz, who gives a graphic 
account of the; cabinet meetings,* Hertzog opened 
the discussion in the cabinet with a speech lasting 
three hours, in which he raked up all his grievances 
against England and praised Hitler's policy, and 
thereupon adjourned the discussion to the follow- 
ing day, when he again delivered a lengthy 
harangue on the policy he had chosen. Smuts, 
supported by Reitz, thereupon declared that he 
would test this decision in a parliamentary debate. 
When the House met, on 5th September, Hertzog, 
as he had informed the cabinet, moved that South 
Africa should remain neutral in the European war. 
He was followed by Smuts, then Deputy Prime 
Minister and Minister of Justice, who moved as 
an amendment: (1) that the Union's relations 

* M Outspan, 23044. 



with Germany should be severed, (2) that the 
Union should carry out the obligations to which 
it had agreed and continue co-operation with the 
British Commonwealth of Nations, (3) that the 
Union should take all defence measures necessary, 
but not send forces overseas ; and (4) that the 
Union's freedom and independence was at stake 
and that, it should oppose force as an instrument 
of policy. After Reitz had supported Smuts's 
amendment a long debate ensued, and finally 
Smuts's motion was carried by eighty votes to 
sixty-seven. Thereupon Hertzog asked the Gover- 
nor-General, Sir Patrick Duncan, to dissolve 
parliament and have a general election, .a 
proposal rejected by Duncan owing to the critical 
state of affairs. Hertzog then had no alternative 
but to resign, and Smuts formed a new ministry, 
with himself as Prime Minister and Minister both 
of Defence and External affairs, and including 
his friend Reitz as Minister of Native affairs and 
Hofmeyr of Finance and Education, while Colonel 
Stallard, the Labour representative, accepted the 
Ministry of Mines : - it was a strong and united 
ministry which since then has lasted with very 
little change. 

Nevertheless for the first year and a half of its 
existence Hertzog and his friends made no less 
than three more attempts to draw out of the war. 
In January, 1940, Hertzog moved " that the time 
had come for the war against Germany to be 
ended and for peace to be restored." Smuts in his 


reply emphasized that " no outside pressure of 
any kind [as Hertzog had suggested] had been 
put upon us ... Great Britain had asked 
us for nothing, had given us no advice . . . 
but left the matter entirely to the free decision of 
the people of South Africa and so we have decided 
. The decision ... is first and fore- 
most in the interests of South Africa . . ." 
Germany was still anxious to recover her old 
colonies, especially South- West Africa, and " we 
have no hope of defending South- West Africa if 
Great Britain stands aside and if the British fleet 
is not helping us." Again, in August, 1940, after 
Dunkirk, Hertzog once more moved that South 
Africa should forthwith make peace with Germany 
and Italy, arguing that England was then without 
allies and had but the slenderest chance of victory 
against the powerful combination against her, 
while South Africa was " doomed like a second 
Sancho Panza to serve as Europe's imperial 
satellite on behalf of Europe's warmonger [Eng- 
land]." Smuts made a slashing reply, reprobating 
Hertzog for glorifying Germany, for "praising Herr 
Hitler to the skies," for proposing to take the 
" Petain road," and he reminded the House of 
German ambitions in Kenya, South- West Africa 
and of other dangerous designs in their continent. 
Hertzog's motion was this time defeated by 
eighty-three to sixty-five. One more attempt, the 
fourth and the most long-drawn of all, was made 
by Hertzog's friend, Dr. Malan, by a motion of no 


confidence in the government, the debate on which 
lasted from 4th to 7th February, 1941 . Once more 
Smuts dwelt on the danger of German and, by 
this time, Italian ambitions in Africa, and, as a 
counterpoise, on the Union's increasingly good 
relations with the Portuguese and Belgian colonies, 
and above all on the closer relations between the 
British Commonwealth of Nations and the 
Americas, all to the advantage of their own 
country, for by sticking to Great Britain, he 
argued, South Africa would be able to develop as 
a young country without any compulsion. This 
time he defeated his opponents by seventy-six to 

In this last debate Hertzog took no part, for he 
was no longer in parliament. The leaders of 
the opposition, Pirow and Malan, who succeeded 
him, were even more ferocious opponents of the 
British connexion than himself. A week before 
this last debate Smuts had made a generous gesture 
to Hertzog, his former colleague and old opponent, 
in proposing that a pension should be voted to 
him in his retirement. He had not, he said, 
proposed it when Hertzog left the ministry in 1939, 
as it might have looked like a bribe. But now he 
felt free to eulogize Hertzog's clean fighting, 
unselfishness and public spirit : " our political and 
public life in South Africa in general is clean, 
clean of corruption," he said, echoing a somewhat 
similar eulogy by Rhodes of the Cape Parliament, 
as contrasted with " the methods of Australian 



and other colonies, where members indulge in 
vulgar personalities."* " We are pleased," con- 
cluded Smuts, " to do honour to General Hertzog 
as one of the most outstanding leaders the people 
of South Africa have ever had." Hertzog died 
less than two years later, in November, 1943. 

* Quoted in my Cecil Rhodes, 188. The extracts from the 

speeches made in these debates are quoted from House of 
Assembly Debates. 

B6* 157 

Chapter Ten 

Smuts and the War in Africa 

"T7UROPE has landed itself in a terrible 
JLJmess;" said Hertzog in May, 1940, "through 
the stupidity of General Smuts we are in it too." 
Smuts's reaction was different : " Yes, I'm well, 
I'm ready. The time is here, and I'm ready 
. I am going to fight Germany ; and I 
don't care where it is, so long as it is against 
Germany. Some want to fight it behind this river 
or behind that mountain, and hope to heaven the 
enemy is not there. But we want to fight Ger- 
many. She is the enemy and the enemy of the 

, human race ; Germany is our enemy and Africa 
is a big place in which to fight." Like Churchill, 
he had no doubt about the event. " The Germans 
will take Paris," he realized in May, 1940, " the 
Italians are in : we'll win the war." From the 
very beginning he was convinced first, that the 
U.S.A. were bound sooner or later, to come in 
and secondly that " you cannot defeat the English, 
because their hearts are too strong." Still he 
realised that in those early days it was a matter of 
touch and go, and quoted tp a friend the prayer 
of Adam Kok, King of the Griquas : " God ! in 


spite of all our prayers, we keep on losing our 
battles. Tomorrow we are fighting a really big 
battle. We need help very badly, God, and there 
is something I must say to You. Tomorrow's 
battle will be a serious affair. It will be no place 
for children. I ask You therefore not to send 
Your Son to help us. Come Yourself." 

Unlike Churchill, he had no united country 
behind him. In June, 1940, when Germany was 
winning all along the line, " the Nazi opposition 
(in South Africa) have issued an appeal for 
surrender " it was recorded, " they propose to 
hold protest meetings and generally hinder the 
Government's war efforts. General Smuts," they 
say, " offers up South Africa once again and 
perhaps for the last time on the altar of im- 
perialism, his personal lust for honour and his 
cold-blooded contempt for our country's most 
sacred interests. He now declares that he is 
prepared to make South Africa a partner in 
England's fate to the bitter end. The time has 
come to call a halt to General Smuts's mad 

Smuts indeed was faced with a hard task when 
he undertook to bring his country into the war on 
the side of Great Britain. It is true that in each of 
the debates on the issue of peace or war, recorded 

* The quotations in these two paragraphs are taken from 
Mrs. Millin's World Black Out, 1944, in which she records, in 
diary form, opinions she heard in South Africa during the first 
three years of the war. 



in the last chapter, he had carried the day by 
slightly increasing majorities, but in each of these 
debates it appeared that considerably more than 
a third of the members were, if not pro-German, 
at any rate violently opposed to any intervention 
on behalf of the Allies. But these figures hardly 
represented the real views of the country. Accor- 
ding to an estimate made by Deneys Reitz* and 
subsequently verified by the election of 1943, of 
the total white population, consisting only of 
between two and three millions, fifty-five per cent, 
were of Dutch and forty-five per cent, of British 
descent ; but of the fifty-five per cent. Dutch only 
about half stood aloof from the war effort, holding 
that the war was only in the interest of Great 
Britain and that there was no need for South 
Africa to be drawn into the maelstrom ; the 
remaining half of the Dutch made common cause 
with the British population : in other words, 
about seventy-two per cent, of the white popu- 
lation were on Smuts's side for active participation 
in the war : but to the end the dissentient 
minority of twenty-eight per cent, was a heavy 
burden for Smuts to carry. 

For one thing, though foiled in successive 
attempts to reverse the war policy, the extreme 
members of the opposition both in parliament and 
in the country, started more or less secret organi- 
sations with the avowed object of sabotaging the 

* No Outspcm, 276. 
1 60 


war effort. The most dangerous of these organi- 
sations was the so-called Ossewa-Brandwag (the 
ox- wagon picket). This was started in 1938 by 
Van Rensburg, then administrator of the Free 
State, for the comparatively innocuous purpose 
of celebrating the centenary of the great Boer trek 
up country in 1838 to escape from British rule in 
Cape Colony. Smuts himself took part in this 
Boer national celebration, addressing, with Van 
Rensburg, a great Boer gathering at Pietersburg 
on that occasion, and, it is related, after his speech 
joining his fellow-Boers at a huge bonfire where 
they all toasted sausages and sang patriotic songs: 
but, needless to say, he had no sympathy with the 
subsequent activities of Ossewa-Brandwag. For 
after 1939 it was used, not so much by Van 
Rensburg himself, as by its extremist members, as 
an instrument for opposing Smuts's war policy, 
and for a time was active in sabotaging railways 
and factories, and even in beating up or murdering 
supporters of the government ; in the early stages 
of the war it claimed to have as many as 250,000 
members, and was obviously dangerous. It 
identified itself, as far as possible, with Hitler's 
Nazi organisation; its members adopted the 
Swastika badge, gave the Hitler salute, armed and 
drilled in secret, took up the slogan " Wir fahren 
nach England," threatened death to the Jews and 
the bureaucrats, had camps with barracks, each 
holding sixteen members of the organisation. " In 
fact," as Smuts said, " we are fighting this war 



not only at the front, but internally as well."* 
Some of the worst offenders, caught red-handed, 
suffered the due penalties of the law : but Smuts, 
supported by his friend Reitz, wisely thought it 
would be a mistake to take too drastic measures 
with the organisation as such, believing, as he said, 
the South Africans were too level-headed to be led 
astray by such nonsense, and that it would be a 
mistake to create cheap martyrs. " Leave it to 
us," he said, to those who urged the total suppres- 
sion of the organisation, " Leave it to us, we know 
what we are doing : please don't rock the boat."f 
In one respect, however, the Germans played 
into Smuts's hands. They had not forgotten that 
their two colonies of German South- West and 
German East Africa had been lost in the previous 
war, and made no secret of their intention to 
recapture them and so once more to become a 
menace to South Africa itself *- and few even of 
the most rabid anti-British Boers were keen to 
have such uneasy neighbours once more on their 
borders. Already too, the German Navy and its 
swarms of U-boats were threatening South African 
communications with Europe and the East, which 
the British Navy, then barely holding its own in 
the Atlantic and the Mediterranean, was in no 
position to safeguard. The loss, in October, 1940, 
of Dakar, the most westerly French port on the 
Atlantic, " as important in its way as Suez," as 

* Millin, The Reeling Earth 66-7. 
t D. Reitz, No Outspan, 256 sqq. 


Smuts said, " involved all our movements in the 
Atlantic."* All these dangers were clear enough 
to him, who, at the outset and throughout the 
war, tried to bring home to his people that, if for 
no other reason, it was essential for their own 
safety and practical independence, within or 
outside the British Empire, to resist German and 
Italian aggression. Smuts no doubt himself 
realized from the earliest days of the war, that it 
could not be confined to separate compartments 
of the globe, and that a defeat of the Germans 
and Italians in Europe would bring their designs 
on other parts of the world to nought even 
more effectively than victories in Africa. But he 
had to work with the tools available at any given 
moment, and realized that, with his people divided 
his most effective appeal to them for the time being 
was to bring home to them their own peculiar 
danger from the Axis powers on the continent of 
Africa. And so at first it was agreed on Smuts's 
own motion in parliament that, while South 
African soldiers might be called upon to fight 
anywhere in Africa, they should not be sent out- 
side their own continent. 

Not content with calling on his own people to 
defend their heritage, he realized that German 
ambitions might very well affect other parts of 
South Africa. As early as 1924 he had, as we have 
seen, tried to induce Southern Rhodesia tp join in 
a common policy with the Union on matters of 

* 7A 9Q 1f\ 
ID, tO 9 O\J, 



defence, etc., but had then found no response.* 
Now, however, with the threat from common 
enemies to all British possessions in Africa, he 
found a readier response. " Now is the time," 
said Smuts, " for us to readjust our outlook on 
African affairs and to develop a new conception of 
our relations with our neighbours . . . We 
cannot stand aloof, we of this richly-endowed 
South Africa. If we wish to take our rightful place 
as leader in Pan- African development and in 
shaping future policies and events in this vast 
continent, we must face realities of the present 
and seize the opportunities which those offer, "f 
This time his proposal was welcomed. In a ges- 
ture of complete trust the South Rhodesian 
government confided their armed forces to the 
command of General Smuts ; and Sir Godfrey 
Huggins, their prime minister, worked in close 
co-operation with Smuts and his ministers. 
Similar co-operation was agreed upon between 
South Africa and the crown colony of Northern 
Rhodesia, with Nyasaland and even the distant 
Kenya, where South African troops were lining 
the borders against Abyssinia even before the 
Italian threat had materialised. Smuts also 
extended his invitations to co-operation in the 
defence of African interest against German and 
Italian ambitions to the Belgian Congo and the 
Portuguese provinces of Angola and Lourengo 

* Sec above, p. 130. 
t Annual Register, 1940. 


Marques, invitations which were glady accepted. 
So effective had this new policy of co-operation 
among all the anti-Nazi communities throughout 
the African continent become that in September, 
1943, Smuts was able to present it as an accom- 
plished fact. " The most striking thing about 
Africa to-day," he said, " is the new conception 
which is slowly growing up. People are no longer 
thinking in terms of sovereignties and flags, but 
of common action and common interest . . . 
In Africa, to-day, South Africa, the Rhodesias, 
the Congo and the Portuguese colonies are 
gradually evolving common policies on matters 
such as trade, transport, communications and 
native affairs. This means a complete reversal of 
the old Roman theory, whereby you had 
Imperium or sovereignty first, and then ruled the 
country as you wanted it. Now the countries 
work together in harmony on common principles, 
without seeking to conquer each other or upset 
local loyalties, or languages, or methods of 
administration . " * 

There was indeed much leeway to be made up 
in providing even for the defence of South Africa 
itself. As early as 1924 an agreement had been 
made by Smuts and Churchill that instead of the 
British admiralty South Africa should thence- 
forward be responsible for the defence of the naval 

* Quoted from South Africa of 4 Sept., 1939. A more detailed 
exposition of Smuts's view in this respect was given by Mr. 
Heaton Nichols at Chatham House on The Part of the Union in 
the Development of Africa, on 27 March, 1945. 



base at Simonstown : but it was not till the out- 
break of war in 1939, that the Union created a 
Seaward Defence Force for patrolling the coast, 
minesweeping, etc., a force which soon proved 
very effective against German and, later, Italian 
sea-marauders. An even more important change 
was made in the duties of the South African 
defence force. As this force was originally consti- 
tuted by Smuts himself in 1912, it was doubtful 
whether it could be required to act outside the 
borders of South Africa;* accordingly he now 
started a new army on a voluntary system, whereby 
recruits undertook to serve " anywhere in Africa," 
so as to be available to resist any encroachments 
by the Italians from f Abyssinia or the Germans 
from overseas on British or Allied possessions in 
Africa. This re-organisation proved an immense 
success : recruits of both Dutch and English 
lineage flocked to the colours ; and every man or 
woman embodied in this new African defence 
force wore the " orange flash," indicating willing- 
ness to serve anywhere in the African continent. 
In fact, by March, 1S44, Smuts was able to claim 
in the South African Parliament that one out of 
every three South Africans between twenty and 
sixty had volunteered for the forces ; "an 
incredible feat," as he called it. 

An important subsidiary to this force was ob- 
tained by the voluntary enrolment of natives, 
unarmed, indeed, but of the greatest service for 

* See above, pp. 80-1. 


work as pioneers, and signalmen and for road- 
making and transport. Among the tribes most 
forward in supplying men for these pioneer corps 
were Swazis and Basutos, and besides them there 
were Indians domiciled in South Africa ; and all 
were proud of the valiant help they were able to 
give. As a Basuto Sergeant in a Pioneer Signals 
Company said : " We belong to the Eighth Army. 
We charged their batteries, drove their trucks, 
unloaded their signal stores, carried their telegraph 
poles, mended their wires. We were bombed with 
them, we enjoyed the same rations, we laughed at 
the same jokes, we were blown up by the same 
mines."* By January, 1943, no less than 70,000 
African tribesmen were serving in the army and 
of" coloured " troops (i.e., Indians or Malays), as 
many as 45,000. 

Apart from the voluntary forces enlisted for the 
defence of Africa, of which South Africans are 
justly proud, they have also cause for pride in the 
readiness with which, under the inspiration of 
their great ruler, they turned a country hitherto 
chiefly concerned with internal and mainly peace- 
ful interests into a veritable arsenal for total war- 
fare. The rapid development of the seaward 
defence forces and of a new army prepared to fight 
anywhere in Africa has already been noted : but 
these activities form only a small part of South 
Africa's contribution to victory. Smuts himself 

* Quoted from South Africa of 4 Sept. 1943. 



has always been air-minded, and, as we have seen,* 
has some right to be called the father of the Royal 
Air Force of Great Britain. During the twenty 
yea,rs interval of peace he delighted in long air- 
borne voyages in South Africa, often with his dear 
friend Deneys Reitz : nevertheless at the outbreak 
of the second war in 1939, the supply of operational 
craft and trained pilots in South Africa was 
alarmingly short. Accordingly he at once set 
about repairing deficiencies, aiming first at three 
complete squadrons, partly for patrolling thou- 
sands of miles of coast-line and safeguarding the 
all-important Cape route by sea, partly for active 
operations on land. So effective were these 
measures that within twenty-four hours of the 
outbreak of war with Italy, South African airmen 
were raiding Italian bases in Abyssinia and 
Somaliland, and, though greatly outnumbered by 
the Italian air force, almost from the outset 
established complete air superiority. By August, 
1941, on the South African Air Force's twenty-first 
birthday, Smuts could claim that it contained 
27,000 personnel and would eventually number 
some 50,000 a remarkable contribution from a 
population of well under 3,000,000, 

In many other respects South Africa made 
valuable contributions to the war effort. Already, 
during Hertzog's last ministry, the great Iron and 
Steel Corporation, Iscor, near Pretoria, was 
starting an important new industry, so was fully 

* See above, p. 113. 


prepared to switch off to manufacturing armour- 
plate, steel helmets, shells and spare parts of 
equipment, besides providing most of the steel 
required for factories engaged in producing 
howitzers, mortars, armoured cars, etc. Hence, 
South Africa was soon prepared, not only to 
supply most of its own military requirements, but 
also through the British government or the Eastern 
Supply Council to bring help to other fronts. In 
fact, by 1942 South Africa had become the repair 
shop for the Middle East.* The manufacture of 
explosives, needed in great quantities by the mines 
in peace time, was easily switched off to provide 
some of the vast quantities of ammunition required 
in such a war. With the restrictions now inevit- 
able on importation from other countries, new 
industries had to be improvised to supply neces- 
sities. Paper for example, for which South Africa 
depended largely on Norway, suddenly became 
alarmingly scarce ; accordingly three new fac- 
tories, equipped with special machinery, were 
established, one of which was soon able to provide 
some 12,000 14,000 tons of paper and cardboard 
annually. South Africa, the home of diamonds, 
used to export to Holland, the headquarters of 
the world's diamond-cutters, most of the diamonds 
needed for industrial purposes, such as lens-cutting 
and various processes in munition factories ; but 
with the capture of Holland by the Germans, this 
outlet was closed ; accordingly, in May, 1942, a 

* Annual Register, 1942. 



factory was established in Johannesburg for this 
special industry. The most curious of all these 
new industries was that on which three men of the 
South African Medical Corps were employed in 
catching and extracting serum from cobras, puff- 
adders and mombas, the most dangerous snakes in 
South Africa, for the manufacture of the very 
necessary anti-snakebite serum for men bitten in 
many of the snake-haunted districts of Africa. 

The work, too, of the women of South Africa, 
as in other countries, has been an indispensable 
adjunct of the war effort. In November, 1939, 
the Women's Auxiliary Army Service and the 
Women's Auxiliary Air Force, each with a mem- 
bership soon amounting to 5,000 were officially 
constituted. The ease and rapidity with which 
these services were organised were, however, due 
to the foresight of South African women more than 
a year earlier. Already in 1938 they realised that 
war was impending, and immediately began, as 
the South African Women's Auxiliary Service, 
registering the names of women willing, in case of 
need, to give their .help. Thus, when war was 
actually declared, the government was presented 
with a comprehensive register of women volun- 
teers, with thousands of names card-indexed into 
categories of service, thereby enormously assisting 
the rapid organisation of the two women's corps 
for service with the army and the air force and of 
those required for munitions work, or as operators 
of delicate technical instruments in the coastal 


defence system, quite apart from the many women 
engaged in the new factories and industries needed 
for the war effort. 

The Union indeed might well be proud of its 
contributions to the war effort of the Allies. In 
June, 1943, it was officially stated that the Union 
defence force had a total strength of 169,000 
European men and women not including 30,000 
discharged 50,000 volunteers on part-time ser- 
vice, and 60,000 in the women's auxiliary services. 
With only 570,000 males between twenty and 
sixty years of age the number of 190,000 males 
volunteering for service (one in three of the age 
group) was unsurpassed by any of the Allied 
Nations. Of these 86,000 had served in East 
Africa, the Middle East and Madagascar. In 
addition, 30,000 of the 102,000 volunteers from 
the Malay, Indian and native communities had 
served outside South Africa. War supplies valued 
at 100,000,000 had been sent to Britain and the 
Allies, including armoured cars supplied to British 
and French units in Africa and in Burma. In 
addition, there were 130 factories of army clothing 
and equipment, and mass production of foodstuffs 
for home and abroad.* 

Over all these new activities, as well as over the 
military activities of the Union in Africa itself and 
beyond, brooded the spirit of South Africa's great 
prime minister ; and his tireless exertions were 
well supported by the united cabinet he had 

* These figures are taken from the Annual Register, 1943. 



created. It is no derogation to the value of the 
other members to pick out two of them as those on 
whom he specially relied, Hofmeyr and Deneys 
Reitz. Hofmeyr had, as noted above, withdrawn 
for a time from the coalition cabinet under Hert- 
zog, feeling as he did so strongly on the native 
question, as well as on a somewhat dubious 
appointment to the cabinet : but when Smuts 
had formed his cabinet he soon returned to office 
and eventually, as Minister of Finance, proved 
singularly effective in providing funds for his 
chief's warlike efforts. Deneys Reitz, Smuts's 
dearest friend, became deputy prime minister, 
and also took over the portfolio of native affairs ; 
but when, in 1942, there was a vacancy in the 
office of High Commissioner in London, Smuts 
chose him for this part. No choice could have 
been happier, for though Reitz had at first, after 
Vereeniging, remained a bitter-ender and taken up 
a job as transport rider in Madagascar, he had, 
after being nursed through a dangerous illness for 
a year by Smuts and his wife, become entirely 
converted to his host's broader and wiser outlook. 
In fact, during the last war he had taken part in 
Smuts's campaign in German South Africa and 
eventually became colonel of a Guards battalion 
on the western front. As High Commissioner in 
London, he was an ideal representative of his 
country, courteous and accessible to all, and, while 
jealously guarding the independent rights of his 
dominion, doing more than any previous High 


Commissioner, except perhaps Schreiner, in 
strengthening the bonds of union between Great 
Britain and South Africa. His sudden death in 
October, 1944, was a grievous loss to both 
countries. To Smuts himself, to whom he was 
the dearest of companions, probably the only one 
hi these strenuous days intimate enough to relieve 
something of the stress of war by his genial, boyish 
chaff and deep affection, this sudden death came 
very hard. In a tribute to him Smuts spoke of 
him as " a dear friend and comrade, a faithful 
companion through vicissitudes such as few have 
passed through. He was true, straight and 
upright every inch of him and he leaves a 
personal memory which I shall cherish all my 
days." To us in England, he is best known by his 
three delightful tales of adventure and good com- 
panionship, On Commando, Trekking On and No 
Outspan, which rank with Sir Percy Fitzpatrick's 
Jock of the Bushveld as the most engaging pictures 
we have of South African scenery and personalities 
at their best.* 

South Africans were justly proud of their men's 
achievements in the war against Germans and 
Italians in their own continent. When Italy 
entered the war South African forces were ready 
/or them on the borders of Kenya and took their 
part in driving the Italians out of their ill-gotten 

* The concluding words of this paragraph were written 
immediately after the touching memorial service to Dencys Reitz 
at St. Martin-in-the-Fields, a service partly in Dutch, partly 
in English, on 25 October, 1944. 


possession of Abyssinia. In switching off" to 
Northern Africa they still had to deal with Italians 
in Tripoli, but were also ranged against the far 
more formidable Germans under Rommel. In 
May, 1942, two South African brigades were 
captured in Tobruk, whereupon Smuts in a broad- 
cast appealed not vainly for 7,000 recruits to 
come forward to fill the gaps ; in September 
Tobruk was recaptured and the 1st South African 
Division under General Pienaar had the honour 
of being the first to re-enter the town. Already in 
June the South African Brigade of the 8th Army 
had borne the brunt of the successful fight at 
Alamein, but in Montgomery's final victory at the 
same place the South African forces were too 
depleted to share in the victory. When, however, 
after this defeat, Rommel was in full retreat from 
North Africa, there was nothing left for Smuts's 
reorganised army, with its " orange flash," to do 
on their own continent except tedious garrison 
work. But by that time, as Smuts had foreseen, 
South Africans generally had awoken to the fact 
that such a war, against such an enemy could not 
be confined to one continent. They were proud 
of their army and proud of its commander-in-chief, 
as was shown in 1943 by a gift of 250,000 raised 
from voluntary subscriptions to Smuts personally, 
a gift which he handed over for the use of the 

Smuts himself had always realized that a victory 
for Hitler in Europe or for Japan in the Pacific 


might be just as fatal to South African security as 
a complete defeat in Africa. Accordingly in May, 
1942, after the fall of France, he had sanctioned 
the embarkation of a South African detachment 
on the fleet commanded by Admiral Syfret, him- 
self a South African by birth, to secure Mada- 
gascar, dangerously close to South Africa, from 
falling into the hands of the Japanese. In 
January, 1943, he was attacked in Parliament for 
this apparent breach of the understanding that 
South Africans should not fight outside Africa,* 
but easily carried the House with him, when he 
pointed out the imminent danger it would be to 
the country to have the Japanese within such easy 
reach of South Africa. Encouraged by this 
success, a fortnight later he moved that the general 
ban imposed on South African troops from 
fighting outside their own continent should be 
repealed so that they could carry on the pursuit 
of the Germans and Italians, then driven out of 
North Africa, into Sicily and Italy, reminding the 
House that Great Britain's Navy and Air Force 
were still contributing a large part to the security 
of the South Africans' own coastline : and that it 
was impossible to mark out a total war such as 
this into watertight compartments. After the 
debate, to which the opposition contributed most 
of the fifty-two speeches made, Smuts carried his 
motion by a handsome majority. 

Accordingly, from 1943 onwards, South African 

* See above, p. 163. 



troops were fighting as gallantly as ever in the 
Middle East, notably in the easy conquest of 
Sicily and the correspondingly arduous and 
bitterly-contested campaign in Italy. As Smuts 
declared, after one of his visits to the Italian front, 
" I have seen for myself something of the terrain 
over which our (6th) division has been advancing 
often through rain and mud over the mountains 
and deep valleys. They have accomplished pro- 
digious feats. They have fnaintained their 
pursuit in country where every feature has 
favoured the defence . . . We can be justly 
proud of this crack division, rivalling in prowess 
our First and Second Divisions in North Africa." 
Throughout the war, indeed, Smuts himself always 
made a point of heartening the troops by visits to 
them in the forefront of operations, whether in 
Africa or in Europe. 

Encouraged by his majority in the debate of 
January, 1943, Smuts decided to have a general 
election in the autumn of 1943 in spite even of 
Reitz's advice that the. risk of reducing his majority 
was too great ; to which he replied : " We are 
fighting for liberty and I am going on with it." 
This decision was more than justified by the 
event. In the old parliament he could reckon at 
most on eighty-four supporters against an oppo- 
sition of sixty-six : by the new general election he 
increased his own United Party to eighty-nine 
with general support from Labour, Dominion and 


Independent parties numbering eighteen more, 
while the opposition had dwindled to forty-three.* 

Smuts owed this notable electoral success chiefly, 
no doubt, to the resounding success of his policy, 
partly also to his tactful dealing with the oppo- 
sition in parliament and its intestine feuds. The 
three most prominent members of the opposition 
were Van Rensburg, the founder of Ossewa- 
Brandwag,t who had been Administrator of the 
Orange Free State province, Pirow and Malan, 
who had been ministers in Hertzog's cabinet. Van 
Rensburg himself was a man with a sense of 
responsibility and, though opposed to the war, on 
the whole acted on constitutional lines, though in 
the first two years of the war many of the members 
of his Ossewa-Brandwag were guilty of sabotage 
on the railways and even murder, being to some 
extent influenced by one Leibbrandt, an extremist 
and a noted boxer, said to have been landed from 
a German U-boat, but now locked up in gaol. 
Pirow was at first the most dangerous of Smuts's 
opponents, he had been an able minister and 
already before the war, when he visited Germany, 
had come under Hitler's influence : but now 
being no longer in parliament, with but a small 
personal following, he is much less formidable. 
Malan, a very eloquent and sincere man, the only 
one of the trio still in parliament, is endeavouring 

* Later a by-election at Wakkcrstroom, always an uncertain 
constituency, raised the opposition to forty-four. 

t See above, p. 161. 



to gather together the various sections of the 
opposition to form a united party. Smuts himself, 
though respected, was perhaps still, as his best friend 
once told me in the early years of the war, hardly 
popular in his own country. He is, and always 
will be, too quick in sizing up the maun points of 
policy to be pursued and in acting promptly on 
his decisions for his solid, slow-thinking Dutch 
fellow-countrymen ; for he has never had the 
inspired patience of Botha in discussing with them 
at enormous length the pros and cons of policy. 
But his wonderful success in the conduct of the 
war, his wisdom in allowing as much rope as 
possible to his opponents, a growing mellowness 
in his outlook, and above all, perhaps, his con- 
viction of the major part to be played on the 
African continent by the Union are bringing 
even his opponents to recognize his patriotism and 
his wisdom. Though there are still, and no doubt 
will long remain, extremists in the two camps of 
British and Boer lineage, their number is gradually 
diminishing, owing partly to the great increase in 
mixed marriages, but chiefly to the increase of 
common interests in this war for self-preservation 
and to the wise tolerance of their great prime 


Chapter Eleven 

Smuts on (i) Native and 

(2) Empire Problems ; (3) Smuts 

at Home 


TAKEN up as he has been during the war with 
world affairs, Smuts, in spite of his seventy- 
five years, is still young enough in spirit to discover 
and attempt to remedy defects in the social and 
administrative conditions of his own beloved South 
Africa, especially in regard to the natives. It is, it 
may be admitted, hardly surprising that the South 
Africans of European lineage should have con- 
siderable uneasiness as to their security where the 
native population so greatly exceeds the 
Europeans. Smuts himself at one time shared 
these apprehensions, for it is related that, shortly 
after the Boer War, he and Botha, being much 
disturbed by rumours of a proposed native rising 
in the east, went to General Lyttelton, then 
G.O.C. in South Africa, to express their fears. 
" Don't you be worried," said the bluff old 
general, " we have managed somehow to beat 



you, so you need have no fear that we shall not be 
able to deal with a native rising." But Smuts 
himself soon shed his apprehensions, especially 
after many journeys into regions mostly inhabited 
by natives, which made him deeply interested in 
their customs. One of his daughters, when at 
college, visited the Realm of the Rain Queen, on 
which a Kriege nephew published a book in 1943, 
in a far-distant corner of East Africa, and he 
himself, stirred by their descriptions, visited this 
" wonderful woman," as he called her, " the rain- 
maker par excellence of South Africa, well over 
sixty, but strong in body and character, every inch 
a Queen." So enthusiastic was he that he wrote 
a preface to his nephew's book, finding it " a fasci- 
nating distraction to the war problems which form 
my life," and the Queen sent him a letter when he 
was prime minister, saying how glad she was to 
have met the man " wearing the crown of South 
Africa." Both he and Deneys Reitz in their 
travels and inspections before and during the war, 
sometimes together, sometimes separately, always 
made a point of getting into touch with the 
natives, especially in out-of-the-way districts, 
where they were at their simplest and best. 

Lord Harlech, recently High Commissioner in 
charge of the three native territories, Basutoland, 
Swaziland and Bechuanaland, an acute and sym- 
pathetic observer of South African conditions, 
reckons the population of the Union itself at 
10,000,000, of whom only two and a quarter 
1 80 


millions are of European race forty per cent, of 
these being English and sixty per cent. Dutch- 
speaking the remainder including 7,000,000 
natives and 500,000 Cape coloured (made up of 
Bushmen, Hottentots, Malays) and 250,000 
Indians. Small as the proportion of Europeans is 
to other races in South Africa he points out that 
they are actually more in number than the total 
number of Europeans of all races throughout the 
whole of the rest of the continent, including even 
French North Africa. Unfortunately among these 
Europeans in South Africa is a considerable 
number of so-called " poor whites," who are mostly 
illiterate and have sunk below the level of many 
educated natives, but still cling to their rights as 
belonging to a Herren Volk. Considerable strides, 
as he points out, in providing education for the 
natives have recently been made ; the great 
native college at Fort Hare in Cape Colony is a 
constituent of the University of South Africa and 
admits to full university degrees ; and even in the 
Transvaal, which is not so advanced in outlook on 
native affairs as the Cape,* the Witwatersrand 
University has opened its medical faculty to the 
natives, especially in view of the great need of 
medical services in predominantly native districts. 
The difficulties of race contact are most promi- 
nent where the natives are working in the mines 
or on the railways and other public works, and not 
least when serving as domestics in European 

* Education, it must be remembered, is a provincial concern. 
B7 l8l 


households in the towns. In most of these services 
they are housed in compounds, often at a con- 
siderable distance from their work and not only 
destitute of any amenities, but overcrowded and 
sometimes barely in a sanitary condition. Some- 
thing indeed has already been done to improve 
such conditions, largely through the devoted 
services of such workers as Mrs. Ballinger, who is 
one of the representatives of native interests in 
parliament : but there is still much leeway to 
make up. Those undertaking work on country 
farms are generally better off, living as they do on 
the farms, sometimes with their families, and on 
the whole carefully provided for by the farmers. 
Those living on the native reserves, such as the 
Transkei, where Rhodes's Glen Grey Act, pro- 
viding them with separate allotments and encour- 
aging individual enterprise, are the best off in the 
Union. But so great is the demand for native 
labour, that a great many natives come in for 
periods of work from Zululand or from outside 
the Union, especially from Portuguese East Africa, 
and have for their term of service to live without 
their families. 

One of the crying grievances of the natives 
domiciled within the Union, is the comparatively 
small amount of land reserved for them. When in 
1936 the franchise was taken from them, as a 
partial compensation a Native Land Trust was 
established to hold 7,250,000 morgen (about 
14,500,000 acres) of land for settlement by native 


families ; but by 1943 only 3,000,000 morgen had 
been acquired for that purpose, most of it at a 
vast expense ; for one farm, for example, in the 
Pietersberg district, valued at 89, the price was 
raised to 700 for the Land Trust and similar 
fantastic sums were demanded and paid in other 

Smuts himself, largely no doubt owing to the 
enthusiastic support by the native community of 
the war effort, and the gallantry of the unarmed 
native auxiliaries in the field, of which he had 
personally been witness in his visits to the 
front, made a striking confession in an address 
to the Institute of Race Relations at Cape Town in 
January, 1942. f Three views, he said, had hither- 
to been held in South Africa on the question of 
the policy to be adopted with natives : (1) for 
equality between the races, white and black ; 
(2) for the theory of the superior race of the 
whites over the natives ; (3) for trusteeship which 
Rhodes had proclaimed as the duty of whites as 
guardians of their black fellow-citizens who should 
be treated as wards ; or, as was expressed in the 
Mandates Section of the League of Nations 
Covenant " the advancement, the upliftment of 
the backward peoples is the sacred trust of 
civilisation." This trusteeship was not merely, 
he added, an ethical or religious question, but one 

t This speech has been published, and it is commented on in 
Alexander F. Campbell's Smutt and the Swastika, 1932. 

B8 183 


of self-interest for the trustee, who, if he neglected 
it, would sink to the level of his ward, and per- 
petuate the alienation between black and white. 
In two departments, he added, there was much 
leeway to make up in education, though much 
had been done by the missionaries, the efforts of 
the government had been halting and tardy, while 
for health practically nothing had been done to 
prevent the heavy death rate of the native children 
and sickness of the adults, who, as he said, were 
" carrying the country on their backs " ; and he 
called special attention to the need of improved 
health services and decent housing for natives in 
the urban districts and for more adequate wages 
and living conditions. " We have," he concluded, 
" accepted the idea of trusteeship ; we must now 
begin to carry out our obligations " ; and he 
found much encouragement for the future in 
" the excellent feeling in the armies of North 
Africa between natives, not only from South 
Africa," and their comrades of European descent. 
Undoubtedly the growing claims of the natives 
for better conditions and more opportunity to 
control their own affairs are meeting a response 
from many of their Dutch .and British fellow- 
citizens. Hofmeyr, one of Smuts's chief ministers, 
has always been the staunch apostle of native 
rights ; of another minister and special confidant 
of Smuts, Deneys Reitz, Minister of Native 
Affairs until he went to London as High Com- 
missioner, the Native Representative Council 


recorded its " appreciation of the meritorious 
services [he] rendered to the cause of Bantu 
progress. By his courageous utterances on Union 
native policy and his obvious determination to see 
justice done to the African he did much to restore 
the confidence of the African people in the 
Ministry of Native Affairs." Then the presence 
in the South African Parliament of the earnest 
advocates elected as their representatives by the 
natives in council enables the native point of view 
to be effectively presented. In the Transvaal 
alone the number of native children in school has 
sensibly increased, and the Union grant for that 
purpose has risen by over 220,000 in three years. 
Enlightened mine managers, too, on the reef and 
other employers of native labour have for some 
years been improving the conditions of native 
labour and even encouraging the native workers 
to discuss their own wants and suggest im- 

In many other ways evidence is given, not only 
of the growing claims of the natives for better 
conditions of life and more opportunities to gain 
control of their own concerns, but also of the help 
given them to satisfy these claims by many of 

* When I was on a visit to Johannesburg in 1936 I was 
privileged to attend a discussion group of native mine-workers on 
the Rand, in a club-room reserved for them by the managers, 
where there was no attempt to interfere with the free debate by 
any European. An address, on 28 February, 1945, by the 
High Commissioner for the Union of South Africa to the Royal 
Empire and Royal African Councils gives an encouraging 
account of recent advances in Native policy. 



their Dutch and British South African fellow- 
citizens. The South African Outlook^ " a monthly 
journal dealing with missionary and racial 
affairs," gives interesting particulars of native 
life, native grievances and more and more of the 
evident inclination not only of the government 
but also of some of the great industrial organisa- 
tions to meet their just demands. We find in it, 
for example, an interesting report from a judicial 
commission on riots at the Pretoria municipal 
compounds, the main conclusions of which are 
that the city council should " improve the living 
conditions of its native employees," that the 
natives should have an " improved scale of 
rations," and that " an endeavour should be made 
to give reasonable satisfaction to the native 
demand for some voice in the management of 
their own affairs." It is encouraging, too, to read 
of a Johannesburg Joint Council of Africans and 
Europeans with its Bantu Children's Holiday 
Home at the seaside, where sick African children 
are sent for a couple of weeks' convalescence, of 
the raising of salaries for teachers in native 
secondary schools, of proposals for raising the very 
low pay of natives in the mines, and of no colour 
line being admitted for benefits by the South 
African Gifts and Comforts Fund and the South 
African Red Cross during the war. There is also 
a quarterly magazine, Race Relations, dealing with 
such subjects as the Crisis in Native Education, 
Immigration and the Future of the Non-Europeans 
1 86 


and the Record of a Joint Council established in 
the mining district of Germiston " to promote 
the welfare of the country through discussion 
and co-operation between Europeans and non- 
Europeans." E pur se muove. 

There is still of course a good deal of appre- 
hension among many of the backveld and even of 
other South Africans who dread the danger of too 
well-educated natives rising in their millions 
against the much smaller dominant Anglo-Boer 
community, but the example set by Smuts, 
Hofineyr and Deneys Reitz is gradually bringing 
home the almost certain truth that a general rise 
in native education and fairer dealing will only 
result in a more homogeneous community of South 
Africans, black as well as white, co-operating in 
an even more stable and self-respecting state. 


Smuts, like Churchill, has been an indefatigable 
traveller during the war, visiting his men wherever 
they might be fighting in Africa or in Italy 
heartening them by his presence and rejoicing in 
their successes. He also kept well in touch with 
the centre of the Empire by visits to England. His 
work indeed both for South Africa and for the 
British Commonwealth of Nations was fully 
recognised in May, 1941, by the award to him of 
the supreme military distinction of Field-Marshal 
in the British Army ; though at home in South 
Africa he and his people still affectionately cling 



by preference to his title of General, the rank he 
held during the South African war as one of the 
outstanding leaders of a Boer commando, and 
also, after the Union, when he commanded British 
and Boer South African units in the East African 

In his visits to England, as usual, he was called 
upon to address enthusiastic audiences, who were 
always heartened by his confident views on the 
ultimate results of the war and on the whole- 
hearted unity of the British Commonwealth of 
Nations. Among his speeches specially to be 
noted is his address to both Houses of Parlia- 
ment on 21 October, 1942, in which he paid this 
notable tribute to our own Prime Minister and the 
spirit of our nation : " He [Churchill] remains 
the embodiment of the spirit of eternal youth and 
resilience, the spirit of a great undying nation in 
one of the greatest moments of history. Let us 
recognise with gratitude that we have been nobly 
blessed with wonderful leadership, both in the last 
war and in this ... I speak of that inward 
glory, that splendour of the spirit which has shone 
over this land from the soul of its people . . . 
I feel I have come to a greater, prouder, more 
glorious home of the free than I ever learned to 
know in its palmiest days. This is the glory of the 
spirit, which sees and knows no defeat or loss but 
. . . sustains the will to final victory." In the 
concluding words of this speech he turns to the 
future of the world, expressing a hope that this 


struggle will bring about a new spirit of human 
solidarity between nations and result in much- 
needed improvements in our health, housing, 
education and decent social amenities : " May it 
be our privilege to see that this suffering, this 
travail and search of man's spirit shall not be in 

A year later, encouraged by the result of the 
general election in South Africa, he was able to 
spend some two months in England for further 
consultation on war plans. This time he was 
called upon to address a representative audience 
at the Guildhall in October, and to make another 
speech to a meeting of both Houses of Parliament 
in November. Now too he could speak with more 
assured confidence in a complete victory for the 
Allies and go on to consider the methods to adopt 
for securing the future peace of the world. Spec- 
ially interesting and suggestive was the second of 
these addresses, in which he outlined his ideas 
about the future of the British Empire. Assuming 
that the end of the war would result in the pre- 
dominance of the three great Powers, " Russia the 
colossus of Europe, Great Britain with her feet in 
all continents, but crippled materially here in 
Europe, and the United States of America with 
enormous assets, with wealth and resources and 
potentialities of power beyond measure," he is 
specially concerned with the future of Great 
Britain. In Europe he foresees that Great Britain, 
as contrasted with Russia and the United States 



with their vast internal resources, will be weak in 
her European resources, and suggests that we 
should strengthen ourselves here " by working 
closely together with the smaller democracies in 
Western Europe, which are of our way of thinking, 
. . . but which by themselves may be lost, as 
they are lost to-day, and as they may be lost 
again." In this way Great Britain, he believes, 
may still, as protector and close ally of these 
liberal democracies, preserve her position as one 
of the great pacific powers of Europe. Turning 
then to Great Britain's supreme source of strength 
as leader of the world-wide agglomeration of self- 
ruling states and dependencies within the British 
Empire, he has nothing but praise for " the 
strength of soul, the inner freedom " which 
characterize the free relations between the Mother 
Country and her self-governing Dominions. But, 
as he had said as early as 1930, " the last ten years 
have been devoted to the elaboration and per- 
fection of the freedom of the Dominions ; the next 
ten years should be given to the elaboration of 
co-operation within the Commonwealth." 

On the other hand, as opposed to this principle 
of decentralization, there is the closely centralized 
system of our Colonial Empire, scattered as it is 
all over the globe ; and he doubts whether such 
a dual system can endure within the Empire 
centralized and the Commonwealth decentralized. 
Accordingly he suggests that it is necessary to 
reduce the number of independent colonial units 


and group others, " and so tidy up the show." In 
this connection Smuts's abortive attempt in 1923 
to induce the new self-governing colony of 
Southern Rhodesia to join up with the Union* 
will be remembered. Now he was in a much 
stronger position for pressing his suggestion for 
" tidying up the show." Southern Rhodesia had 
already gone so far as to put its war contingents 
under his command, t Since then the Colonial 
Office has recently established a consultative 
council to discuss the common interests of the 
Southern and Northeryl Rhodesias and Nyasa- 
land ; and Southern Rhodesia is already deman- 
ding that these three colonies should be amalga- 
mated under one government. J If such an 
amalgamation took place it would no doubt be 
but the prelude to the design attributed to Smuts, 
though never so far expressed by him publicly, of 
comprehending within the Union of South Africa 
itself these three northern colonies, which, with 
the addition of South- West Africa, already man- 
dated to the Union, would create a Dominion, or 
Union, for the whole of Southern Africa. 

To Smuts himself and to South Africans gen- 
erally no doubt the most pressing scheme for 
" tidying up the show " relates to the three native 
territories, Basutoland, Swaziland and Bechuana- 
land, which, though on or within the borders of 

* See above, pp. 129-30. 
t See above, pp. 164-5. 

J An interesting leading article in South Africa of 28th October, 
1941, prases for such a solution. 

B8* 191 


the Union, are still under a High Commissioner 
sent from England. South Africa has long been 
anxious to incorporate them within the Union, 
a transfer which no doubt would long ago have 
been effected, were it not for the fact that all three 
tribes prefer to remain under the Imperial 
government. It remains to be seen how far the 
more liberal native policy urged by Smuts* will 
remove their objections, and satisfy Downing 

Suggestive, too, was the Letter which, at the 
request of the Council for Education in World 
Citizenship, Smuts sent on Armistice Day, 1943, to 
the Youth of Britain. Recalling that twice before 
he had been invited to send similar letters in 
1931, " when the small storm cloud was gathering 
far away in Manchuria," in 1937, " when the 
threatening storm centre had passed to Africa, to 
Abyssinia ; and now when the storm has burst 
and spread over the whole world ... so do 
small mistakes lead in the end of their immeasur- 
able consequences." Telling of a talk he had 
recently " with one of the greatest scientists in the 
worldf who had escaped from the Nazis, he found 
him " strangely optimistic ; in spite of the 
catastrophe which had so suddenly overtaken 
them ; they felt that England was bound to win 
in the 9nd, and that all they had lost would be 
recovered again . . . Millions have lost their 

See above, pp. 183-4. 
t Einstein presumably. 


lives, many more millions have lost all hope, and 
drift along like dumb, driven cattle. But some- 
thing remains, greater than disaster, greater than 
all the countless losses. It is faith, faith in our 
cause, faith in good, faith in God. Truly it is no 
world tonday for easy optimism, but for holding 
on with both hands and with our very souls to the 
things we believe in, the things which have raised 
us above the mere animal level, and have never 
let us down. Faith is the password " ; a truly 
heartening message and one that no man more 
than Smuts is justified in handing down to the 

Both as leader of his country and as far-seeing 
statesman of the Empire, Smuts was naturally 
called upon to play an important part in formu- 
lating the post-war settlement. Arriving in 
London on 3 April, 1945, in his aeroplane which, 
incidentally, had been struck by lightning in the 
middle of Africa, he attended an Empire con- 
ference before proceeding to the San Francisco 
Convention which was to draw up the Charter of 
the United Nations. There his main work was as 
president of the commission to deal with all 
matters connected with the General Assembly, 
which included provisions for security, the creation 
of a Social and Economic Council and the system 


of Trusteeship. He was also in demand for con- 
sultation and discussion on the numberless difficult 
problems which cropped up in other departments 
of the Convention, and was entrusted with the 
drafting of the Charter's Preamble, which, with 
slight amendments, was adopted by the Convention 
in the following form : 

" We, the peoples of the United Nations, deter- 
mined to save succeeding generations from the 
scourge of war, which twice in our lifetime has 
brought untold sorrow to mankind, and 

to reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights, 
in the dignity and value of the human person, 
in the equal rights of men and women and of 
nations large and small, and 

to establish conditions under which justice 
and respect for the obligations arising from 
treaties and other sources of international law 
can be maintained, and 

to promote social progress and better standards 
of life in larger freedom, 

and for these ends 

to practise tolerance and live together in peace 
with one another as good neighbours, and 

to unite our strength to maintain international 
peace and security, and 

by the accepting of principles and the institution 
of methods to insure that armed force shall not be 
used, save in the common interest, and 

to employ international machinery for the pro- 
motion of economic and social advancement of all 


peoples have resolved to combine our efforts to 
accomplish these aims. 

Accordingly, our respective Governments, 
through representatives assembled in the City of 
San Francisco, who have exhibited their full 
powers found to be in good and due form, have 
agreed to the present charter of the United 
Nations and do hereby establish an international 
organization to be known as the United Nations." 

On May 1 he presided over a plenary session 
of the Convention in which he urged strongly that 
the five Great Powers' unanimity for taking action 
was essential ; and by the calm force of his wisdom 
prevented a breaking up of the proceedings on this 
crucial question. 

Not content with his arduous labours at San 
Francisco, at their conclusion this gallant young 
man of 75 found time and energy to address the 
Canadian Club at Ottawa. In this address he 
spoke on his favourite theme that " the human 
soul is not in the long run satisfied with material 
goods. Man cannot live by bread and comfort 
alone. . . If he has no right sense of ultimate 
values, he will (as the Nazis did) create false 
debased values, which always end in brute force. 
At heart our human problem is this issue of 
ultimate values, of ultimate beliefs, of religion, 
the recession or decay of which has been, and 


may be again, the precursor of untold mis- 
fortunes to mankind." On 2 July he flew 
to London ; had a great reception from South 
African returned prisoners of war at Brighton ; 
visited the South African troops still in Italy and 
Egypt and finally arrived at Pretoria on 16 July. 
During his three and a half months' absence he 
had flown 29,000 miles and, when not in the air, 
had been working unceasingly. Small wonder 
that his South Africans gave him the greatest 
home-coming welcome accorded to any South 
African, as he made his triumphal progress through 
Pretoria's crowded streets, lined with troops and 
with an aerial escort, to the Union buildings. He 
himself said at San Fransciso that this was " the 
last battle of the old war-horse " credat Judxus. 


We have seen in an earlier chapter how closely 
Jan Smuts and Sibella Kriege Jannie and Isie 
as they arc known to their closest friends were 
bound together, ahjiost from childhood, by 
common interests and enthusiasms an intimacy 
hardly interrupted by Smuts's absence at Gam- 
bridge and the English bar, and in May, 1897, 
when he was finding his feet at the Johannesburg 
bar, crowned by their happy marriage.* But by 
that time the storm was gathering which for over 
two years was to part husband and wife. After 

* See above pp. 23-5, 27. 


the occupation of Pretoria by Roberts in the 
middle of 1900 the Boer Government had been 
dispersed, and Smuts began his apprenticeship for 
the guerilla warfare which eventually brought 
him through the Free State and Cape Colony 
almost up to its north-western border. 

At first Mrs. Smuts stayed on at Pretoria, where 
their little son, their only child so far, died. Later 
she was deported by the British to Pietermaritz- 
burg in Natal. Not only did she never see her 
husband during these two years, but received no 
letters from him, only stray rumours, generally to 
the effect that he had been killed. While in Natal 
she was anxious to help the other mothers and give 
some teaching to the children in the concentration 
camps, but was not allowed to do any teaching ; 
and she suffered all the more in her enforced idle- 
ness, under her bereavement by the little son's 
death, by her anxiety about her husband's fate, 
and from her grief and horror at the deaths of 
many thousand women and children in the 
concentration camps. 

After the treaty of Vereeniging, Smuts and his 
wife returned to Pretoria, he to resume his 
practice at the bar, and both at first embittered 
by the results of the peace and the grievances they 
felt against the Milner regime. She, even more 
than her husband, lived a very quiet life here, 
quite independent of society of any kind, busying 
herself chiefly with her new babies, her books and 



her household affairs. At that time she seldom 
wrote even to well-tried friends in England, such 
as Miss Hobhouse, who had exposed the evils of 
the concentration camps, but if any such came to 
see her she always had a warm welcome for them. 
She fully shared the views expressed by her 
husband in a letter to Miss Hobhouse which was 
published in England, 1 " and on one occasion 
created quite a flutter in government circles by 
appearing in the Pretoria Zoological Gardens with 
a Vierklcur flag as a kerchief draped across her 

But when, in May, 1904, Botha founded Het 
Volkfi not only to reconcile the so-called Hands- 
uppers who had fallen by the way with the more 
stalwart Bitter-enders, but also to give voice to the 
needs of the Boer people, not in opposition to, but 
in co-operation with the English section of the 
community, she, with her husband, threw herself 
enthusiastically into the movement. Thereafter, 
always in close unity with him, she entered more 
and more into the greatness of his work in building 
up co-operation between those who, in the past, 
had fought each other. Under her leadership a 
band of women colleagues went about the country 
with her, travelling on arduous journeys, arousing 
and organizing the interest of women in the cause. 
Her organizing powers at elections were put to 

* See p. 52. 

t See above, p. 53. 



even more important use during the last and the 
present wars. She has always loved young people, 
so it was natural that the fighting forces of South 
Africa stirred her deepest sympathy. In both wars, 
especially in this one, she has been foremost in 
arranging from home for their support in every 
way that her quick understanding prompted ; 
gifts and comforts in well thought out detail have 
been sent under her inspiration to every front 
where South African soldiers, English- or 
Afrikaans-speaking, as well as native and coloured 
auxiliaries, are to be found. In this connexion 
Smuts himself, hard worker as he is, has often said 
that he could never have done what she has 

At home Smuts and his wife have been blessed 
with three daughters and three more sons to succeed 
the son they lost in those three bitter years of the 
Boer War Santa, married to Mr. Weyers, the 
manager of Smuts's home farm, who has three 
children ; Gato, who married an English girl, 
Miss Clark, and has five children ; Jacob Daniel, 
"Jappie," born 1906, now married with four 
daughters ; Sylma, who married an English South 
African ; Jannie Christiaan, born 1912, married 
to an English South African girl ; Louis Annie 
(named after Botha and his wife), born 1914, now 
a qualified doctor and married to an Ulsterman. 
When their father came back in 1919 after his 
long absence in German East Africa, in England 



and the continent, the two youngest children 
barely knew him, while the eldest thought he 
should not have signed the Treaty of, Versailles.* 
At any rate it looks as if the Jannie and Sibclla 
Smuts stock is not likely to be soon extinguished. 

When in office, during the parliamentary 
session, Smuts lives at Groote Schoor in the Cape 
peninsula, left by Rhodes to the prime minister of 
the Union he foresaw : but, beautiful as its house 
and grounds are, it is inconvenient in many ways 
and expensive to keep up. Smuts's real home is 
at Irene, the next station to Pretoria on the railway 
to Johannesburg. Originally bought in a some- 
what ramshackle condition shortly after the Boer 
War, it was then quite small, but has gradually 
been enlarged, somewhat at haphazard, to meet 
the needs of a growing family. It is still a modest, 
typically Boer house, with its wide stoep, the chief 
meeting-place of the family and of his numerous 

Like Botha, too, Smuts has aspirations to be 
a farmer. He cultivates, with the help of a 
manager, the farm comprised in his Irene property 
and keeps there a prize bull and pedigree cattle. 
He also owns a back-veld farm, seventy miles north 
of Pretoria, where he has a herd of Afrikaner 
cattle for trek-work ; and, considering his other 
manifold activities as statesman, philosopher and 
writer, he has proved successful even in that field, 

* Mrs. Millin, World Block Out, 70. 


In their hospitable home at Irene, both Smuts 
and his wife are only too glad to welcome their 
numerous visitors from all parts of the world ; and 
fortunate are those invited to stay for the family 
tea, presided over by Mrs. Smuts, where the 
general talk is unrestrained and always interesting. 
Specially favoured guests are then sometimes 
invited to a private talk with the master himself in 
his vast library, his special sanctum and the most 
notable room in the house.* Smuts's library con- 
tains the books he needs for his almost encyclopaedic 
interests books on philosophy, religion, science in 
all its branches, history political and constitu- 
tional memoirs, military strategy and tactics, 
poetry. He himself is a voracious reader, able, 
even in the times of the greatest political or military 
crises, to throw off for the moment the affairs of 
state to master some new book on an apparently 
extraneous topic. In the black December of 1939, 
for example, he remarked casually to a friend : 
" I've been reading two new books about Jesus, by 
a Frenchman and a Jew."f I n reality such a 
confession may not be so paradoxical as it at first 
sight appears : for after all the primum mobile for 
Smuts in all his hotly-contested wars has been to 
clear away tyrannies and shackles on the human 
spirit and get down to the really important business 
of peace, the abolition of tyranny and the growth 

* A delightful account of Smuts's table-talk is given in 
B. K. Long's In Smuts's Camp, pp. 86-91. 

t Mfflin, World Black Out, 70. 



of the human spirit. As he himself once said to an 
American friend during a night talk together in 
the Kruger Park : " I have but* one merit, that 
of never despairing. I remain at heart an opti- 
mist ; " an optimism which his friend attributed 
to " His bodily vigour, his power of work, the 
range and clarity of his mind, his delight in the 
fauna and flora of his own beloved native land, 
his immense interest in almost every phase of 
science . . . and his sure conviction that in 
this world Good is finally more powerful than 

* I. W. Lament, Smuts, World Leader in War and Peace t in 
Saturday Review of Literature, N.Y., 6 May, 1944. 

I am deeply indebted to Mr. and Mrs. Gillctt, friends of 
General Smuts for nearly a quarter of a century, for information 
in this and many other chapters. 


Chapter Twelve 

Botha and Smuts Par Nobile 

'TT'HERE can be few, if any, parallels in history 
JL of such close co-operation between two 
statesmen, so utterly different in training, attain- 
ments and character, as that between Botha and 
Smuts. Richelieu and Father Joseph may at first 
sight come to mind ; but in that instance, though 
there was close co-operation directed towards the 
same ultimate objects, the statesman and the 
subterranean worker were always strictly in the 
relation of master and servant. Botha and Smuts, 
on the other hand, are always rightly thought of 
as colleagues and the closest of friends, each having 
the same objects, and each contributing his own 
special characteristics to the furtherance of their 
common aims. Among our own statesmen, the 
close alliance of Cobden, the great thinker on free 
trade, and Bright, the great orator of the move- 
ment, may be a closer parallel to the great South 
African pair. 

Both South African statesmen took a leading 
part in persuading their people to agree to the 
treaty of Vereeniging, not because they liked it, 



but because they realized that it was the only 
means left for preserving them as a people at all. 
Having accomplished this as the first step to 
resurgence for a time, but only for a brief time, 
the two took different lines. Botha forthwith set 
himself to revive the spirit of his Boer fellow- 
countrymen, constituting himself their natural 
leader and adviser in all their difficulties, pressing 
their claims on the Milner government, and setting 
them an example of good husbandry in giving up 
his ruined farm at Vryheid and gradually building 
up a new model farm with first-class stock and 
up-to-date equipment at Standerton. Smuts, 
perhaps for the only time in his life, gave way to 
despair and bitterness of spirit, but this phase 
lasted only until, in 1904, Botha started organizing 
Het Volk to express the grievances and aspirations 
of his people and so to exert pressure on the 
British government. Smuts at once joined the 
new organisation with enthusiasm ; and forth- 
with became one of its main leaders after Botha. 
Then, on the formation of the Campbell Banner- 
man government, he went, with Botha's blessing, 
to England to press his country's claims to have a 
voice in their own affairs, and was doubtless largely 
instrumental in persuading the prime minister to 
make his wise and magnificent gesture, to confer 
the franchise on those who only four years before 
had been England's enemies in the field. 

From this time forward Botha and Smuts 
became the almost undisputed leaders of South 


Africa, bound together not merely by patriotic 
aims but also by the closest personal affection. 
In this happy combination Botha, Oubaas the old 
chief was the man of poise and sober judgment, 
Smuts the brilliant adventurer, onze Jannic, the 
Klein Baas, as he was called by the chief for whom 
he had an almost filial love. It was they who, after 
the brief period of responsible government in the 
Transvaal and the Free State, were the leading 
spirits in settling the form of Union adopted by the 
four South African colonies. They also were the 
only two ministers who counted in the first two 
Union ministries until the death of Botha in 1919. 
No two men could have been better complements 
to one another. Botha was one of those rare men 
who appear, and are, solid as a rock. Not clever, 
nor, as a rule, quick in arriving at his decisions, 
more sensitive than Smuts to opposition, he had 
his occasional fits of depression : but when, after 
discussions with his fellow-countrymen, sometimes 
carried on to inordinate length, he had once made 
up his mind, he was immovable in abiding by the 
decision he had come to. Smuts, on the other hand, 
impatient of long discussions and relying mainly 
on the cabinet of his own mind, often came to his 
decisions secretly and rapidly, much to the dis- 
turbance of his slow-thinking fellow-Boers and 
sometimes even of the more agile-minded English 
section. Instances of such surprise decisions may 
be found in his secret deportation of labour leaders 
after the riots and strike in Johannesburg in 1914, 



and his own secret and risky journey to the same 
city to deal, personally and unguarded, with the 
even more serious riots in 1922.* 

Of the two, Botha was less an object of violent 
attack from his own Boer nationals than Smuts. 
Always more accessible to the common man, a 
farmer himself, as were most of his own country- 
men, and so easily understanding their difficulties, 
Botha was always willing to talk with them on 
topics with which they were familiar, as the old 
President, Kruger, used to do on his stoep. But 
even he had his moments of depression, especially 
in the last few years of his life, when he was left 
alone without his beloved Jannie, then in England, . 
to help him, and when he was laid low by 
his growing illness and had increasing difficulties 
with his own countrymen. But even then, as 
appears in Lord Buxton's loving appreciation of 
him, he still had brave powers of resilience. 
Happily in the last years of his life he was able to 
rejoin Smuts at Versailles and to persuade him to 
agree to the treaty, though both of them disagreed 
with some of its provisions, so that the League of 
Nations clauses, so dear to them both, might be 
preserved. Even his opponents could assent to 
Smuts's touching words at his burial : " the 
greatest, cleanest, sweetest soul of all my days." 
To us in this country he must always appear as 
one of the great bulwarks of our safety by his 
staunch adherence to the oath he had taken at 

* See above, pp. 87, 128-9. 


Vereeniging and to the debt he owed us in 
icturning to our Boer fellow-citizens of the Empire 
the practical independence they had lost in the 
Boer War. 

Smuts is a far more complicated character. He 
is not only a statesman and a successful soldier in 
war, but also a notable student and philosopher, 
with a complete theory of the universe of his own. 
Indeed, one might call him one of the most all- 
embracing geniuses of our age. This very 
diversity of interests has made him suspect to 
many, both here and in South Africa, who cannot 
believe that such a comprehension of so many 
interests does not conceal some hidden flaw. But 
in his variegated career he has always, when the 
need has appeared, put first things first. As a 
soldier in the Boer War, and in German West 
and East Africa he was absorbed in military needs 
and strategy to the temporary exclusion of all his 
other interests. As a statesman in South African 
politics before the Boer War and as minister after 
the war, his only rival to pre-eminence was his 
friend Botha, during Botha's too short-lived career. 
Nor has his statecraft been limited to South Africa. 
During the last war he took a notable part in 
British and continental politics and administration, 
and he has been one of the foremost advocates of 
the League of Nations, which owed much to his 
enthusiastic initiative and support, both at its 
inception at Versailles and since then by hearten- 
ing addresses delivered in Europe, America and 



South Africa. In this present war he has still 
shown himself pregnant of wise counsels for ths 
rehabilitation of a shattered world. In his 
politics he has never been static, especially in his 
growing appreciation of the need for developiijg 
and encouraging better treatment of the native 
races and for giving them more direct control of 
their own affairs. As an athlete he has long been 
known as a formidable mountaineer on the by no 
means negligible mountains of South Africa. 
Last, but not least, he has a philosophy of life and 
the universe expounded in his eloquent and 
attractive volume on Holism. 

How far does this almost universal genius of his 
carry conviction, it may be asked. To be entirely 
popular he has perhaps spread himself too much. 
No one section of the populations he has addressed 
in person or through his books feels inclined to 
award him the highest palm, for there is always an 
instinctive distrust of the universal genius. Never- 
theless there can be no question but that he is one 
of the most vital and effective personalities of his 
age, whether as statesman, soldier or thinker. 
How far is he popular ? In this country immensely 
so, by his understanding of our way of life, of our 
politics and of our literature, and his readiness to 
express his sincere admiration of the charac- 
teristics of which we are most proud. As to his 
popularity in his own country I once asked one 
of his dearest friends if the remark of one of his 
biographers that he was " the idol of the army " 


was true. " No," was the reply, u hardly that : 
he is respected, but hardly popular," a verdict 
which would probably satisfy Smuts himself. 
Today, however, the wonderful enthusiasm with 
which Oubaas (as he is now in turn called) was 
acclaimed by the gigantic gathering of all sections 
of the South African community, on his return 
from San Francisco in July, 1945, indicates that he 
has attained popularity as well as profound 

To both these great men may be applied that 
brave Boer motto : 

Alles zal recht kom. 



The following books and pamphlets have been found to 
be useful material for this book. 

Annual Register (various dates). 

H. C. Armstrong, Grey Steel (i.e., J. C. Smuts), 1937. 

Lord Buxton, General Botha, 1924. 

A. F. Campbell, Smuts and the Swastika, 1942. General 

Smuts, 1943. 
J. J. Collyer, The Africans with General Smuts in German East 

Africa, 1939. 

F. S. Crafford, Jan Smuts, 1944. 

J. H. V. Crowe, General Smuts 9 s Campaign in East Africa, 1918. 
P. V. Engelengbcrg, General .Louis Botha, 1929. 
J. H. Hofmeyr, South Africa.* 
R. H. Kiernan, General Smuts, 1943. 
J. W. Lament, Smuts : World Leader in War and Peace, in 

Saturday Review of Literature, N.Y., May, 1944. 
N. Leyis, Jan Smuts, 1917. 
D. Lloyd George, War Memoirs (v.d.) 

B. K. Long, In Smuts 1 s Camp, 1945. 

Sir Chas. Lucas, The Empire at War, Vol. 4, 1925. 

S. G. Millin, General Smuts, 2 Vols.; World Black-out, 1944. 

The Reeling Earth, 1945. 
L. . Ncame, General Hertzog, 1930. 
Official History of the Great, War ; East Africa I, 1941. 
Race Relations News, a monthly bulletin on native questions. 
D. Reitz, On Commando, Trekking On, No Outspan (v.d.) 
. W. Smith, Aggrey of Africa, A Study in Black and White, 

1929. (Useful for native questions). 
H. Spender, General Botha. 
J. C. Smuts, Holism and Evolution, 1926. Reviewed in : 

Journal of Philosophic Studies, 1927. Nature, 1927. 

International Journal of Ethics, 1926-27. 
Addresses by f Africa and Some World Problems, 1930. 
Gen. Smuts \ Freedom, 1934. And many others. 


South African House of Assembly Debates. 

Von Lcttow Vorbcck, My Reminiscences in E. Africa, 1920. 

South African Outlook. (Useful for native questions). 

South Africa 9 weekly journal published in London. 

E. Walker, The British Empire. 

Sir E. Walton, Inner History of National Convention of South 

Africa, 1912. 
Basil Williams, Cecil Rhodes; Articles on Botha in D.N.B. ; 

South Africa in Encycl. Brit. 

I have also been much helped by information given in 
talks and letters of the late Deneys Reitz, S. E. Goetzee 
at South Africa House, and many others. 



African Field Force, 166 
Afrikander Bond, 13, 14 
Air Force (S.A.), 168 
America, Smuts lectures in, 

133, 142 
Angola, 7 
Askaris, 102-3 

Bakenlaagte, 43 

Balfour, A. J. (Earl), defines 
Empire, 144, 146 

Ballingcr, Mrs., 151, 182 

Basutos, 12 

Beira, 7 

Beves, Col., 96 

Beyers, Gen., in Boer rising, 

Bitter-enders, 53, 198 

Bloemfontein Convention, 5 ; 
Conference, 29, 30 

Boer farmers in Cape, 11-14 

Botha, Louis Birth, family, 
early life, i, 16-19 ; 
marriage, 19, 20 ; at Vry- 
heid and Swaziland, 19, 20 ; 
in Volksraad, 21-2 ; in 
S. African War, ch. Ill ; 
Commandant General, 
35-6 ; saves gold mines, 37 ; 
seizes bank deposit, 39 ; 
organizes guerilla war, 41 ; 
meets Kitchener in 1901, 42; 
destroys Benson's Column, 
43 ; at Vereeniging, 47-8 ; 
to Europe, 49, 50 ; farm at 
Standerton, 50 ; gets French " 
sheep, 50-1; 53; 55-7 ; P.M. 
of T.V., 56-60, 62 ; at 
Imperial Conference, 62 ; 
for Union, 63-4 ; at Na* 
tional Convention, 66-71 ; 
P.M. of S.A., 72-4 ; on 
Smuts, 75-6, 120 ; on Hert- 
zog, 82-5 ; and Boer rising, 
88-93; i** German S.W. 

Africa, 94-100 ; at general 
election, 1915, 100 ; in 
front line, 103 ; in E. Africa, 
1 06 ; difficulties in S.A., 
109-10, 116-7 > andBuxton, 
118-9 ; at Versailles, 120-3 
last speech, 124 ; death and 
funeral, 123-5; I26 J 1 7&' 
198 ; summary, 202-8 

Botha, Mrs. (Annie Emmet), 
19, 20, 118 

Brand, Sir J. H., 62 

Brits, Coen, 91 

Buller, Gen. Sir Redvers, 
33-6, 38 

Burger, S. W.V.-Pres. of T.V., 6 

Buxton, Sidney, Earl, and 
Botha, 16, 74, 90, 93, 95, 
98, no, 118, 205 

Campbell Bannerman, Sir H., 

gives resp. govt., 54-5 ; 71 ; 

death, 56; 203 
Cape Colony, early history, 

1-3, 8-10 ; resp. govt., 10 

(see too Boer farmers) 
Carnarvon, Lord, 6, 70 
Chamberlain, Joseph, 15, 29 
Chinese on mines, 52 ; sent 

back, 60-1 
Churchill, Rt. Hon. W., cap- 

tured by Botha, 33, 158-^, 


Colenso battle, 33-4 
Concentration camps, 49 
Cronje, Gen., surrenders, 35 
Gullinan diamond, 62 
Curtis, Lionel, 64 

Defence scheme (S.A.), 77-81, 


Delagoa Bay, 7 
De la Key, J. H., 40-1, 43. 7 



De Valera, Eamon, talk with 

Smuts, 128 
Deventer, Sir J. L. V., Gen. in 

E. Africa, 104-7 
DC Vffliers, Lord, 70 
DC Wet, C. R.,gucrilla fighter, 

41, 43 ; his Three Tears' War, 

46 ; in rebellion, 90-1, 93 
Diamond fields, 9 
Diamond Hill battle, 38, 40 
Dinizulu, Zulu Chief, 19, 65 
Doornkop, 37 
Duncan, Sir Patrick, 146 ; 

Gov. Gen., 154 
Durban, 4 
Dutch in S.A. divided on war, 

1 60 
Du Toit, Rev. S. J,, 12, 13 

East Africa, German, cam- 
paign, 1 01-9 

Emmet, J. C., Mrs. Botha's 
father, 19, 20 

European population in S.A., 

Farrar, Sir Geo., 70 
Fitzpatrick, Sir Percy, 71 (note), 

French, J. D. P., F.M., E. of 
Ypres, and Smuts, 44-6, 112 
Frcre, Sir Bartlc, 70 

Galekas, 12 

Gandhi, Mahatma, 62, 75-7 

General elections (S.A.), 100, 

126-7, 130, 176-7 
George V, Smuts on, 128 
German danger to S.A., 162-3 
German E. Africa, 8 ; Cam- 
paign, 101-9 (see too Tan- 
German S. W. Africa, 7 ; Cam- 
paign, 94-100, 155 
Gillctt, Mr. and Mrs., friends 
of Smuts, 201 (note) 

Gladstone, Herbert, Vst., G.G. 


Glen Grey Act, 14, 182 
Gold discoveries in T.V., 9, 10 
Gold Standard, 144, 146 
Gough Gen., reverse, 43, 75 
Greene, Conyngham and 

Smuts, 30 
Grey, Sir George, govr. of 

C.C., 70 
Griqualand West transferred 

to C.C., 9, 10 
Groote Schuur, 199 

Haldane, R. B., Vst., 79 
Hands-uppers, 53, 56, 198 
Harlech, Lord, H. C. in S.A., 


Hertzog, Jan H., 43, 61 ; 
two stream policy, 82-5 ; 
opposition, 109-10, 127-8 ; 
on Botha, 120; P.M. after 
election, 129-30, 142-5 J 
coalition with Smuts, 145-8 ; 
character, 147 ; native poli- 
cy, 149-50 ; on Germany 
and war, 151-6 ; resigns, 
154; 155; pension, 156; 
death, 157; 158; 168 
Het Volk, 53-4, 56-?, 198 
Hcyderick, Col., 95, 98 
Hobhouse, Eleanor, 52, 197 
Hofmeyr, Jan. H. (elder), 

12-14, 25-6, 64-5 

Hofmeyr, J. H. (nephew), 77, 

146 ; resigns on native 

question, 150 ; in Smuts's 

cabinet, 154 ; his value, 

172 ; on natives, 184, 187 

Holism and Evolution, 24, 131-2, 

Huguenots at Cape, 2 

Imperial Conferences, 62, 83 
Indians in T.V., 76-7 ; in 
Union, 181 


Inter-colonial Council, 64-5 
Isandhlwana, 6 
Iscor, 168-9 

Jabavu, Tengo, 151 
Jameson, Sir Lcandcr Star, 

raid, 15, 21, 26, 29, 62, 

68, 70, 72 
Johannesburg captured, 37 ; 

riots, 86-7, 99, "8-9 
Joubert, P. J., 6, 21 ; in S.A. 

War, 32-5 ; death, 35, 36 

Keate award, 9 

Kilimanjaro Mm., 103 

Kindergarten, Milner's, 64, 66 

Kitchener, H.H., Earl, meets 
Botha, 42 ; proclamation to 
Boers, 42-3 ; at Vereeniging 


Kok, Adam, on God's help, 

Konigsberg sunk, 101 

K6tze, Judge, 37 

Kriege, Mrs. Smuts's brother 

Kriege, Sibella (see Smuts, 

Kruger National Park, 148 

Krugcr, Paul, 3, 6, 10, 14-15, 
21-2 ; and Smuts, 27-8 ; 
at Bloemfontein, etc., 29, 
30 ; 36 ; escapes from Pre- 
toria, 38-9 ; 70, 117, 205 

Ladysmith, siege and relief, 

Lansing, Robert, on Botha and 

Smuts, 119-20 
Lanyon, Sir Owen, 6 
League of Nations, 121-2, 

142, 206 

Leibhrant, boxer, arrested, 177 
Lettow Vorbeck, von, 102, 

104-5, 107-8 

Lloyd George, David (Earl), 

and Smuts, 113-16 
Lyttelton, Alfred, constitution, 

Lyttelton, Gen. Sir Neville, 

Maitland, Sir Peregrine, govr. 

of G.C., 24 
Majuba, 6 
Malan, Dr., motions against 

Smuts, 155-6, 177 
Manufactures, War, in S.A., 

Mareuil, Gte de Villebois 

volunteer with Boers, 36 
Maritz, rebel, 96 
Meredith, George, rejects 

Smuts's first book, 25 
Merriman, J. X., P.M. of G.C., 

57, 64, 70, 72 
Meyer, Lukas, 19, 21, 32 
Milner, Sir Alfred, Vst. H.C. 

at Cape, 29, 30, 35, 39, 40 ; 

at Vereeniging, 47, 51-2, 

57,61 64 
Missionaries, German, Smuts 

on, 105 
Morgann, Maurice, Falstaff 

quoted, 137-3 

Nachtmaal, Annual, 1 1 

Natal founded, 4, 8 1 ; minister 
resigns, 85 ; threat of seces- 
sion, 142, 144 

National Convention (Union), 

National Scouts, 48, 53 

Nationalist party, 44-5 

Natives (S. A.), education, 181 ; 
enrolled in war, 166-7 
franchise in C.C., 10, 
146-7; abolished, 149-51; 
in mines etc., 181*2 ; 
Land Trust, 182-3, l8 5 


Ookicp, 45 

'Orange flash', 166, 174 

Orange Free State, 55, 64, 

8 1-2 
Ossewa-Brandwag, 161-2, 177 

Paardeberg, 35 

Pienaar, Gen., 174 

Pieter's Hill, 35 

Pirow, O. M. L. A., 156, 177 

Poor Whites, 181 

Population of Union, 180-1 

Pretoria captured, 37, 51 

Rain Queen, 180 

Reitz, Deneys, on Boer politics, 
I3 44, 53, I2 4 i jaunts with 
Smuts, 131-2, 146-9, 153, 
1 68 ; in Smuts's ministry, 
154, 1 60, 162 ; High 
Commr. in London, 172-3 ; 
death, 173, 176, 180 ; on 
natives, 184-5, l8 7 

Reitz, F. W. ex-president 
O.F.S., 46, 82 

Responsible government to 
T.V. and O.R.G., 55-6 

Rhodes, Cecil, 7, 8, 14, 15, 23 ; 
and Smuts, 25-6; 56-7, 148, 
156, 182, 199 

Rhodesia, Southern, 65 (note) ; 
Smuts urges union with S.A., 
129-30 ; co-operates with 
S.A. in war, 163-5 

Ritchie, Prof. A. D., on 
Holism, 138 

Roberts, Fred., Earl, 35-7, 160 

Rommel, F.M., in N. Africa, 


Roos, Thielman, 142, 144-5 
Rose Inncs, Sir James, C.J., 

on natives, 143, 150 
Rufthof, Botha's farm, 50 

Sand River Convention, 5 

Schreincr, Olive, 84 

Schrciner, W. P., 64-5, 173 

Seaward Defence Force (S.A.), 
1 66 

Seitz, Governor, surrenders 
German S.W. Africa, 98 

Selborne, Earl of, 64 

Shepstone, Sir Theophilus, 6 

Sidgwick, Henry, Smuts 
attends lectures, 24 

Slagtcr's Nek, 3 

Smith, F. B., and Botha, 59 

Smith, Sir Harry, 70 

Smith Dorrien, Gen. Sir H. L., 

Smuts, Jan Christiaan, 7, 16 ; 
parentage, early life, 22 ; 
at Stellenbosch, 23-4 ; at 
Cambridge, 24 ; at Middle 
Temple, 24-5 ; book on 
Whitman rejected by Geo. 
Meredith, 25 ; at Cape bar, 
25 ; speaks for Rhodes, 
26-7 ; disowns Rhodes and 
goes to T.V., 26-7 ; mar- 
riage, 27 ; State Attorney, 
27-8 ; at Bloemfontein con- 
ference, etc., 29, 30 ; ne- 
gotiates with Greene, 30 ; 
his Century of Wrong, 31 ; 
supports Botha for C. in C., 
36 ; urges destruction of 
gold mines, 37 ; saves Boer 
gold, 39 ; trains for guerilla, 
war, 39, 40 ; raid into- 
O.F.S. and C.C., 43-5 ; at 
Vereeniging, 46-7 ; returns 
to bar, embittered, 51-2 ; 
joins Het Volk, 53-4 ; sees 
Campbell Bannerman, 545 \ 
T.V. ministers, 57-9 ; edu- 
cation policy, 6 1-2 ; for 
Union, 63-5 ; at National 
Convention, 66-70; 72, 74; 
and Gandhi, 75-7 ; Defence 
scheme, 77-81, 85, 88 ; at 
Rand riots, 86-8 ; at re- 


bcllion, 91-3 ; in S.W. 
Africa, 94, 97-8, 100 ; in 
general election, 100 ; in 
E. Africa campaign, 102-10; 
in front line, 102 ; and 
v. L. Vorbeck, 108 ; care 
of men, 108-9 > to England, 
109 sqq. ; and Jews, 112, 
133 ; in War Cabinet, 112 ; 
on Russia, 112-13; orga- 
nizes R.A.F., 113-14; 
missions abroad, 114 ; with 
Welsh miners, 114-15; im- 
patience, 117 ; at Versailles, 
120-2 ; returns to S.A., 
123 ; at Botha's funeral, 
124-5 > compared with 
Botha, 1 26 ; prune minister, 

126 ; approaches Hertzog, 

127 ; to Imperial Con- 
ference, 127 ; to Ireland, 
127-8 ; to J'burg riots, 
128-9; resigns, 130; lec- 
turing tours, 130-5 ; Holism 
and Evolution, 126-41 ; in 
opposition, 1424 ; on col- 
onial preference, 143 ; coal- 
ition with Hertzog, 146-8 ; 
mountaineer, 146, 148-9 ; 
jaunts with Reitz, 148-9 ; 
on native policy, 150 ; on 
Germany and war, 152-6 ; 
forms new ministry, x 54 ; 
replies to Hertzog, etc., 
i55- ; tributes to Hertzog, 
156-7 optimism on war, 
158 ; difficulties, 159-63 ; 
on pan-African co-operation, 
163-6 ; inspires war effort, 
171, 173; tribute to, 174; 
at Italian front, &c., 176, 
178, 187 ; interest in natives, 
179-80, 183-4, 187, 191-2 ; 
visits Rain Queen, 180 ; 
Field Marshal, 187 ; visits 
and speeches in England 
and Canada, 187-92, 195-6 ; 
on United Nations Charter, 


193-5 ; children, 199 ; 

home at Irene, 199, 200 ; 

farmer, 200 ; library, 200-1; 

optimist, 20 1 ; summary, 

Smuts, Mrs. (Sibclla Kriege), 

23-5, 131 ; marriage, 27, 

172, 196-200 
S. African Republic (see 


Taal (Boer language), 12, 68 
Tabanayama battle, 34-5 
Tanganyika, 8 (see too German 

S.W. Africa) 

Transvaal (S. African Re- 
public), 4, 5, 6, 55, 65 
Trek, Great, 3 

Uitlanders, 14, 15, 21, 28 
Union flag, 142 
Union of S.A. formed, 64 
Usibepu, Zulu chief, 18-20 

Vaal-Hartz irrigation, 148 
Van Rensburg and Ossewa 

Brandwag, 161, 177 
Vereeniging treaty, 46-9, 78, 


Versailles treaty, 120-3 
Vryheid, Botha at, 19, 20 

Walvis Bay, 7, 94-7 
Westminster, Statute of, 144 
Whitman, Walt, Smuts on, 25 
Windhoek, 95, 98 
Witwatersrand goldficlds, 10 
Wolstenholme, J., helps Smuts 

at Christ's, 24 
Women's war work, 170-1 

Zululand, Botha in, 18, 19 


ftj\ OCEAN