Politics and Personalities—A Dignified Assembly—Jackals and their Tails—Political Meeting a "Howling" Success— The First Union Parliament—Myself through Another's Eyes —The Flag Bill Debate—John Xavier Merriman—Sir Starr Jameson—General Botha: A Great Leader—General the Honourable J. B. M. Hertzog—General the Right Honourable J. C. Smuts, P.C., C.H., K.C., D.T.D.—Kimberley: My Home.

The old Cape House was a very dignified assembly. When I first entered Parliament in 1897, Sir Henry Juta was Speaker. The role fitted him like the proverbial glove. He was tall, handsome, dignified and learned, and for many years previous had been a leading Counsel at the bar in the Cape Colony.

He was at all times diplomatic and impartial, and as befits an ideal Speaker, he was very definite in his rulings. His decisions were never questioned. He ruled the House with silvery words, but withal he maintained a firmness that brooked no questioning. When Juta had spoken, no member dared to bark. Popular and respected by all parties alike, he was the member for Oudtshoorn.

A curious "turn of the tide" took place during one of the pending elections. Feeling it was somewhat infra dig tor a Speaker personally to canvass the electors or address meetings, he decided to leave the conduct of his election campaign to the tender mercies of his friends and a committee. It was presumed that the result was a foregone conclusion, and, as often happens, a policy of "do-nothing" was pursued. It was quite a mistaken idea, and to the astonishment of both his political friends and opponents, he was defeated by a very narrow majority. Had he addressed a few meetings, and not taken things as a matter of course, he would, by his eloquence and personality, assuredly have gained the seat by a thumping majority.

Dr. Bissett Berry succeeded Sir Henry Juta in the Chair. He, too, was a charming man with great scholastic attainments, but he was not a patch on his distinguished predecessor. When Sir Henry had lost his seat, Sir Gordon Sprigg found himself on the horns of a dilemma. He " sounded'' me when looking round for a new Speaker, and endeavoured to persuade me to indulge in the fruits of office. Taken by surprise, I thanked him for the offer and the confidence he reposed in me, but, as I told him, I was as much fitted to occupy that position as I was to discharge the duties of the Archbishop of Canterbury.

In the old Cape House members received one guinea a day for attendance, and those residing outside a boundary of thirty miles were allowed an additional ten shillings and sixpence per diem. During a normal session, the maximum number of days for which payment was received was ninety, but even if the House sat longer than that period no "refresher" was granted. Usually at the termination of the ninety days the House prorogued. It could not sit longer, because it was almost impossible to keep a quorum beyond that period.

In those far-off times members were more particular in their mode of dress than they are to-day. They invariably attended in morning coats, with but very few in ordinary jacket suits. The Dutch members were proud of their position, and always added dignity to the occasion.

I well recall a motion moved by one such member, who, anxious to secure uniformity in dress, suggested that "members attending sittings of the House should do so wearing black morning coats." Of course, nothing came of the resolution, but it was, at any rate, evidence of the pardonable pride the Dutch members took in their Parliament.

To-day things have changed. Members appear not the least concerned about matters sartorial, and some attend in white suits, others after having discarded their waistcoats. Why, a few years back red neckties were the popular vogue among certain members. Lately, however, they have left them in their wardrobes because they recognise they are not in keeping with the policy they propounded before two Labour leaders found a place in the Pact Ministry.

In 1898 the Cape Government decided to pay an amount of seven shillings and sixpence for each jackal destroyed. It was freely admitted that they were a serious menace to farmers, who complained that, through the depredations of these roving animals, they were sustaining great losses in small stock. In one year the Government paid over £30,000 for the destruction of these animals, and it was consequently felt that there was something wrong "in the State of Denmark." A Select Committee was appointed to inquire into the matter, and after a thorough investigation it reported that the scheme was being greatly abused. It appeared that farmers living within the borders of the Transvaal and Free State, where there were no rewards, were handing the tails of jackals to their friends who claimed the seven shillings and sixpence offered from Cape Colony magistrates. This, of course, meant that the Cape Government was paying for jackals being destroyed in the two Republics.

When the report was presented to the House, it gave rise to a long debate. I endeavoured to pour ridicule on the whole idea, and observed jokingly that imitation jackal tails were being imported from Birmingham with the idea of claiming compensation from the Government. I was also in facetious vein when I remarked that many farmers were cutting off the tails of jackals and allowing them to run again.

Mr. Hockly, a well-known farmer, who had been Chairman of Committees, and was President of the Farmers' Association, took strong exception to my remarks, and wound up his speech by saying, " My honourable friend the member for Kimberley is, I admit, a great authority on diamond mining, but he will excuse me for saying that he has a poor knowledge of farming if he thinks that when you cut off the tail of a jackal it will grow again."

In my reply, I admitted my ignorance of farming, but said that I knew full well that if you cut off the tail of a jackal the tail will not grow again, but a tailless jackal could produce another jackal with a seven shillings and sixpenny tail!

The inquiry and debate eventually resulted in the reward being reduced to two shillings and sixpence, and now the tail was ignored and the head was required as evidence to ensure the reward.

In 1904 Sir Abe Bailey and I contested an election. It was the fight for the seat at Barkly West, which then returned two members to the Cape Parliament (the constituency was represented by Rhodes during the whole of his political career). The alluvial river diggings formed portion of the area, which constituted the largest in the Colony, so a great deal of travelling was necessary, and the preparation of many speeches. Having addressed meetings in three or four of the larger centres, we now decided to dispense with the services of reporters. This move left us perfectly free to repeat, if necessary, some of the speeches we had made at former meetings, without being suspected by some of our hot-headed constituents of being unable to tell them anything really new.

The heterogeneous assembly of diggers—keen students of politics, but no respecters of persons —formed a body of very inquisitive voters, who cultivated the habit of putting many awkward questions to travelling candidates.

At Longlands we met with a veritable bombardment from a phalanx of diggers. The meeting was held at night in a small corrugated iron building, boasting of a mud floor, and dimly lit by paraffin lamps and candles placed on tables. One can imagine the intense heat in this closely packed building which, in addition, was badly ventilated. The local butcher was voted chairman. He was a man of small stature, with a face adorned by a scrubby beard. His appearance might have been all the better had such a long interval not been allowed to lapse since his last bath, if ever he had taken one. He had not changed his clothes since he had left his shop, with the result that a strong smell oozed from his person—an odour suggestive of doubtful sausages and meat that should have been consumed in bygone days. Too much blame however, should not be attached to his attire as the contents of the poor fellow's wardrobe might possibly have been limited to the clothes he wore that night—a shabby suit, a shirt, and quite conceivably no collars or neckties. Well, he did his best, so one must overlook the shortcomings of this village butcher.

By the time Bailey and I had finished our oratory, perspiration, visible even by the dim lights mentioned, was running down the faces of the audience, while a much greater measure of discomfort was being suffered by those who had rushed to gain early seats, and had thus elected to sit near the chairman.

When question time arrived Bailey was the first "victim." He seemed to satisfy his inquisitive audience, until one burly digger came forward. It was now that a number of infuriated dogs seemed to take a hand in the meeting, and they set up one continuous howl, which made it difficult to hear one's own voice.

Some sort of order was eventually restored, and the now impatient questioner recommenced his fusillade of queries regarding the importation of Chinese labour to the Gold Mines of the Rand.

Digger: Are you in favour of importing Chinese into this country?

Candidate: This is a Transvaal question that has no bearing on Cape politics. Digger: That won't do, Mr. Bailey. Please give a straightforward answer to a straightforward man.

Candidate: I have already done so. What more can I say?

Digger: 'Ere, none of that quibbling, Mr. Bailey. Don't try to bluff me.

Candidate: I have done nothing of the sort. I have answered your question.

Digger: I'll be damned if you have. Now no more prevarication. Are you in favour of Chinese immigration? I want a plain answer, "yes" or "no?"

At this awkward moment, when Bailey was in a predicament, the dogs commenced to bark, and a general uproar followed. The animals attacked each other furiously, and before long the meeting was in a state of chaos. Dust from the floor made the atmosphere unpleasant, and in a wild stampede tables were overturned and the lamps put out, throwing the hall into darkness.

Scenting blood, some of the wild animals dashed to the chairman's table, and there was a general scramble to leave the hall. In the pandemonium that now held sway, politics were entirely forgotten, and some of the audience probably wished that the Chinese labourers were already there to lend a helping hand.

While the tumult was at its height, I spotted the owner of the hall, who was also the proprietor of the adjacent hotel. He was persuaded to spend a "fiver" in drinks in the interests of the candidates.

He immediately grasped the situation. "Come on boys! You must be thirsty. Have drinks with me!" he shouted. The invitation brooked no delay. As quick as lightning the bar was over-crowded, and one of the first to head the rush was the burly questioner, his mind having been hurriedly turned from Chinamen to liquor.

Thus the meeting ended, thanks to the providential intervention of the dogs. . . .

Bailey and I were returned by a big majority to represent Barkly West. This enabled Dr. Jameson to become Prime Minister of the Cape Colony less than nine years after the Jameson Raid. Who would have thought that possible?

The first Session of the Union Parliament under the new constitution was held in the enlarged House of Assembly in Cape Town on the 31st October, 1910, His Royal Highness the Duke of Connaught and Strathearn officiating at the opening ceremony, which was a very brilliant affair. The Cabinet was composed as follows:

 

Prime Minister and Minister of Agriculture

Gen. The Hon. Louis Botha

 

Minister of Railways and Harbours

The Hon. J. W. Sauer.

 

Minister of Mines, Defence and Interior

Gen. The Hon. J. C. Smuts K.C.

 

Minister of Justice

Gen. The Hon. J. B. M. Hertzog.

 

Minister of Education

The Hon. F. S. Malan.

 

Minister of Finance

The Hon. H. C. Hull.

 

Minister of Lands

The Rt. Hon. Abraham Fischer, P.C.

 

Minister of Native Affairs

The Hon. Henry Burton, K.C.

 

Minister of Commerce and Industries

The Hon. George Leuchars, C.M.G., D.S.O.

 

Minister of Public Works, Posts and Telegraphs

Sir David P. de Villiers Graaff, Bart.

 

Minister without Portfolio

Senator The Hon. C. O'Grady Gubbins.

A few days before Parliament assembled, the principal members of the party met with the object of appointing a new Speaker; it was generally believed that General Beyers would be chosen for this post as he had presided with great ability and impartiality over the deliberations of the Transvaal Parliament. Every English member of that Assembly bore testimony to his dignity and scrupulous fairness. General Beyers was a very handsome man of splendid physique, standing about six feet two inches, and well proportioned; he would have graced the Chair of any elected Parliament. But it was not to be. Mr. Merriman, whose sympathies were with the Cape Colony, and whose temper was probably ruffled by not being appointed Prime Minister, having been ousted by a Transvaaler, proposed James Molteno, a son of a former Prime Minister of the Cape Colony in whose Cabinet Merriman had served. The meeting feeling that Merriman was hurt and disappointed at being passed over for Premier, chivalrously gave way, desiring to appease this powerful debater and distinguished statesman, so, to the surprise of the large majority of members, Beyers was shunted to make way for Molteno.

Beyers was subsequently appointed Commandant General of Union Forces, but he must have been labouring under a sense of injustice regarding the Speakership for he took a most prominent part in organising the Rebellion and took the field against the Botha Government in 1914, when a large Union force was actively engaged in German South-West Africa. If Beyers had been appointed Speaker in 1914, I doubt if there would have been a rebellion. The rebels were ultimately defeated by Botha, General de Wet was taken prisoner and Beyers met his death while swimming across the Vaal River when being pursued by Government forces, a sad chapter of South Africa's history which might have been avoided.

The following flattering description of myself, written by a political opponent, appeared in a South African journal in 1921. At the risk of being considered immodest I have included it in my memoirs. My friend fell into an error in stating that I was an opponent of women's franchise, as I am an ardent supporter of that cause, and voted in its favour every time it came before the House of Assembly. This can be verified on reference to Hansard. The rest of my friend's remarks it is not for me to criticise.

The genial Member for Beaconsfield is not only a real good Politician, but he is also one of that type of men that make a first-class soldier. Sir David Harris received the honour of the C.M.G. and the V.D. for good work as a warrior many years ago, and for the defence of Kimberley against the Boers in 1899-1900 he was the recipient of the K.C.M.G. He is one of the class of men who, although he has had honours bestowed upon him, is not of the advertising sort. He is known as a most charitable man and does his good works by stealth. In Kimberley where he has resided for over 50 years he is most popular, especially among the workers of De Beers Company, of which mighty concern he is to-day the brain-centre and great driving force. In Parliament Sir David is a moderate politician and goes his own way if he does not think that his party is correct. Being the representative of the diamond industry in the House, he is often attacked by both Labourites and Nationalists, a little unfairly sometimes, I think. But then he wants no sympathy because he can always give as much as he gets.

Although the member for Beaconsfield does not speak very often, he gives you good stuff when he does address the House, and he is one of the few members of our present House of Assembly whom one can really report verbatim, without it being necessary to sub-edit his speeches. A quiet, calm speaker with a good voice and a pleasant accent, Sir David's speeches are generally packed with good common sense and hard facts. Naturally his ideas on some subjects are to our minds rather conservative, but he always strikes me as meaning well to all men, and he certainly is not the "ogre" some people paint him. He sits alongside Mr. Merriman, right on top of the back benches on the Government side, and appears to me to be a great admirer of the G.O.M. of our Parliament. He is probably the only man in our House who can take liberties with Mr. Merriman, and I have often seen him tug at the coat of the Member for Stellenbosch when that erudite gentleman makes some slip of the tongue, a thing he often does nowadays. I think Sir David Harris keeps Mr. Merriman on the rails. In any case the Right Honourable the Father of the House does not seem to mind these tuggings at the coat tails by his old crony at his side.

The Diamond King is certainly not a supporter of women's franchise, and he can always be found among the stalwarts who oppose the bringing down of women to man's level, as far as politics are concerned. However, in many questions he is democratic, and it stands to his credit that for years before the eight-hour day was introduced in any mine or in any Government undertaking, De Beers Company's employees were working those hours. He has always advocated fair treatment to his employees (he is the Chairman of Jagersfontein Diamond Company, as well as being the leading Director of De Beers), with the result that the De Beers employees are perhaps the best off of any of the workers of South Africa.

There can be no doubt that it was Sir David Harris who saved Kimberley during the Boer War. He practically planned all the fortifications and the mines that guarded the town, and was the life and soul of the defence.

When Lord Plumer was a one-pip officer he was greatly assisted by Sir David, who got together at great trouble and expense to himself a Regiment for Rhodesia. This Regiment made Plumer's name, and was his first step towards promotion. He has never forgotten the man who helped him up the first rung of the ladder, and when Sir David visited the Curragh, in Ireland a few years ago, Lord Plumer turned out all the forces with massed bands to meet him, and made a good deal of the popular South African soldier.

Sir David Harris' pet hobbies seem to be racing, bowls and helping distressed people. On the turf he is a popular owner who races to win, and breeds a number of his own horses. As a philanthropist he is well known in Kimberley, where many poor people speak of his good deeds. I think he is rather tired of the political arena in which he sees much dust and little palms. It is quite probable that he will not seek re-election again. If he does not, he will be missed in the House, for he is a sage Counsellor. He has probably been returned unopposed to Parliament more times than any other member. Taking him all in all he is not a bad type of Capitalist.

During my long membership of the House of Assembly, I made many speeches—good, bad and indifferent, but as they were mostly bad, I do not intend inflicting on my readers more than one, and my only reason for doing even that much is to indicate the state of feeling which at the time existed over that vexed and race-stirring question, the Flag Bill.

Dr. Malan, Minister of the Interior, was the sponsor of the measure. An eloquent speaker, he was formerly Minister of the Gospel of the Dutch Reformed Church, and descended from the pulpit to enter the lower arena of politics. From such a source one expected to hear a speech couched in soothing and moderate language, but to the surprise of many his was quite the reverse.

Dr. Malan, in the course of a studied analysis of the measure, created at the outset an atmosphere of hostility among the English members of the House (excepting those Labourites having seats in the Cabinet) by not disguising his attitude towards England. His utter disregard for the feelings of those who hail from the Motherland was contained in one particular sentence, which is indelibly impressed on my mind. He said, in effect, that the Union's assent to a display on certain occasions of the flag of the Empire was a concession worth something to English-speaking South Africans.

Concession forsooth! What an affront to the intelligence of British-born subjects! Needless to say, the Bill gave rise to much excitement and agitation throughout the country, especially in Natal, so much so that the measure was left in abeyance for the subsequent session of Parliament when a compromise was effected, and an ugly situation, which might possibly have ended in bloodshed, was narrowly averted.

During the course of this contentious debate, on the 27th of May, 1927, I said:

There were so many interjections during this debate that I think the speakers should be allowed five minutes over the allotted time, in order to make up for the time lost by interruptions. If the question before the House could be sent to a laboratory and were capable of analysis, it would be shown that the Dutch of the Free State and the Transvaal have a real love for the Vierkleur, but the representatives in the House, to my mind, have such a bitter and intense hatred for the Union Jack, that they are determined to eliminate both the Vierkleur and the Union Jack from the National Flag of the Union, without the slightest regard for the feelings of the English-speaking section of the country. Now, English money is quite good enough to build our railways, our irrigation works, and for the development of the Union; English markets are quite welcome to purchase our produce, and the British Navy would be received with open arms in certain events, not only to protect our shores, but to safeguard our trade routes, but hon. members opposite say: "Away with the British Flag, we will have none of it." In face of that, we on this side of the House, are accused of racialism.

When the South Africa Act was passed and the Union of the four provinces was effected, the general opinion throughout the country was that racialism would be a thing of the past, never to raise its head again. But our hopes have been dashed to pieces. Since Union we have had the two-stream policy. When that subsided, and feeling had cooled down, the secession movement was inaugurated. Then came the Great War, and the open sympathy of hon. members opposite was expressed for Germany and the enemies of the Empire, and that attitude, I am sorry to say, was supported by the Labour Members then in the House. It was very painful to me, as an Englishman, that members of this Parliament, born under the British Flag, were in sympathy with the enemies of England. It was mortifying that some of my own countrymen were also in sympathy with the expressions that fell from the Nationalists on that subject. Now we have the Flag Bill. There has been a periodical stirring up of English feeling. Before one irritating question subsided another equally disturbing subject was foisted on the country. During the Great War, when our sons were being killed and wounded, the Nationalists did not disguise their sympathy for Germany. We bore their insults in silence, not desiring to stir up feeling or complicate matters. We were also afraid of offending the susceptibilities of the Dutch community. If the other side had as much regard for the feelings of the English as the English had for the feelings of the Dutch, there would be no racialism to-day. In face of all that the South African Party is accused of racialism. More of it exists on the other side of the House. No one can accuse me of being unfriendly disposed to the Dutch. I have been in this country for 56 years. I have had tempting offers to settle in England, but I have thrown in my lot with South Africa. I love the country, and I have an affection for its people, but I am also devoted to the land of my birth and revere its Flag,—

Lives there a man with soul so dead Who never to himself has said, This is my own, my native land?

I can give many instances of this feeling of regard for the Dutch. I will give one notable example. I have been Chairman of the Jagersfontein Diamond Mining Company for many years. I occupied the position during the Boer War. Just before the War that company employed 90 per cent, of Free Staters, and a few Trans-vaalers, and the balance were tradesmen from overseas. When the war broke out these white employees joined their different Commandoes. The mine was closed for three years at a loss of three-quarters of a million of money to the shareholders. When the war was over the General Manager wrote and asked me what policy to adopt with regard to the old employees. I said that every employee who was there when war broke out, and who joined his Commando, could re-join the Company, and those who did not do so should never be re-employed. I fought against the Republic in those days, and I respected the men who fought so bravely for it. Some of those men are still in the employ of this Company.

To my mind it is the primary duty of Government to allay, and not excite bitter feeling, to appease and not irritate, to bring people together and not divide them and to aim at contentment, not discord. This Bill violates all those principles of good Government. There was no real need to change the Flag. The moderates of both sides were satisfied with the Vierkleur and Union Jack. Why then throw this bombshell amongst us? The country was reconciled to the two Flags until it, unfortunately, entered the mind of the Minister of the Interior to haul down the Union Jack. This flag has flown over the Cape Province for 120 years, and in Natal since its earliest days. I had a letter from a man whom you might consider to be an extremist, a hot-head, and in that letter to me he said:

" If this Bill passes and becomes law, at some future time some hot-headed Minister will bring in a Bill to make it an offence to rise in your seat or to raise your hat when the band plays 'God save the King.' This would probably get some support from the Labour Party if two or three of their members were in the Cabinet. ... I cannot excuse an Englishman voting for the Bill. The action of the Members of the Conference at East London who voted in favour of neutrality when their own countrymen were engaged in a life and death struggle, was unpardonable. They had not the inclination to fight themselves, so thought they would prevent others joining, to justify their own conduct, whilst hundreds of thousands of their own countrymen were laying down their lives to maintain the integrity of the British Empire."

Thank God Britons are made of sterner stuff than those gentlemen, otherwise we should not be discussing the Union Jack in this House to-day; the German flag would be floating over this country, and it would have gone hard with those who tried to pull down that flag.

An Hon. Member: "What did you do?"

Col. Sir David Harris: "Those of us who were too old, their sons went. I am not referring to the Members of the Labour Party who went to the front."

An Hon. Member: "I am one of those."

Col. Sir David Harris: "You are, but you are in bad company. War is a terrible thing. It always brings suffering and ruin and pain to both sides. Just after the conclusion of peace I visited the battlefields of France, and there saw towns destroyed, whole districts devastated, cities with populations of from twenty to fifty thousand people. Cathedrals, churches, hotels, theatres, houses of the rich and poor were blown to atoms, and these big towns were nothing but pulverised debris heaps."

Mr. Mostert:"You did not think of the devastation which took place in the Transvaal during the Boer War."

Col. Sir David Harris: "Will the hon. member have patience? When the late residents returned to Ypres, where I visited with Mr. Feetham and the Prime Minister of Australia, they came back and could not recognise where their homes formerly stood. There was nothing left of the town. I know that people suffered in this country during the Boer War. At the beginning the Cape Colony and Natal were invaded, and they suffered. Compared with the sufferings of the French and Belgians in the Great War, the people in this country in comparison were in clover. The suffering was not one-sided. Thousands of English people and families had to leave Johannesburg and came down to the Cape, and people who had comfortable homes had to live on charity in Cape Town."

Mr. Le Roux: "Who forced them to come?" Col. Sir David Harris: "The Republics forced them to come. Five thousand people forced from the Transvaal rushed into Kimberley. One thousand five hundred people in Barkly West were escorted from their homes to Modder River, and were handed over to the British Forces. They were marched over 50 miles of country in the height of summer. They also suffered. I do not want to go too much into details, it is a painful subject. During the Kimberley Siege—I know something about it, because I was second in command—500 civilians were killed from shellfire or died of scurvy. We have not squealed about it. We have not made a fuss about it, like the hon. member from Winburg (Dr. van der Merwe), who was in his cradle when the war broke out. I suffered during the defence of Kimberley. I lost seventeen pounds in weight. When we were relieved all we said was: ' Thank God we kept the Flag flying.' It was the Flag we thought about, and not what we suffered.

" It is a marvellous thing to me that hon. members on the other side, who did not fight in the Boer War, are more bitter and irreconcilable than the Burghers who fought right through the Boer War. I cannot understand the mentality of the present generation. I will give an example: When the war commenced a big commando dashed around Kimberley and swept off 700 head of cattle. That was quite correct; it was one of the incidents of war, and no one complained about it. In their orders the generals complimented the commando on capturing 700 head of cattle from Kimberley. In December, near Christmas, when the people were hungry, I was instrumental in capturing 187 head of Boer cattle, which were grazing between Susanna and Olifantsfontein, five or six miles from Kimberley. Five or six days after a spy brought in a newspaper, and the first thing I saw was a paragraph referring to Col. Harris as the cattle thief. That is their mentality. I 'stole' but the Burghers 'captured.' The Flag which proudly waved over Kimberley during the war hon. members on the other side are endeavouring to pull down by legislative enactment. It is nothing to be proud of. Men who were formerly clergymen, are raking up the past and stirring up feeling and discord, when they should be preaching peace and goodwill to all men. During the Boer War both sides suffered. There is no doubt about it, we all acknowledge, everybody must acknowledge, history will acknowledge, that the Boers put up a grand fight during the war. I appreciated it and I admired them for it. The races that have been brought together by the statesmen who framed the South Africa Acts, are being torn asunder by prejudiced politicians. Why not let things remain as they were, and let the people be free to fly the flag they like, the Vierkleur or the Union Jack, or embody the two in one flag? The Dutch have every reason to be proud of the Vierkleur. There is no episode in history that excels the heroism, the bravery and the prowess of the Voortrekkers, and I am proud to think that in that commando there was a sprinkling of Englishmen. Their defeat of Dingaan is an epic. I take off my hat and I salute the Vierkleur and on the 16th December every year I raise the Vierkleur on the flagstaff of my house."

Mr. Mostert: "You never saluted it when it was flying."

Col Sir David Harris: "And we are equally proud of the Union Jack. Why not combine the two. It would be a compliment, the greatest compliment that the two brave races could pay to each other. In conclusion, let me say this, what has been truly said and verified in history, that by unity the smallest States thrive, by discord the greatest are destroyed."

Many men who were on the Diamond Fields in the early days afterwards became prominent in the political arena. Among others, Mr. 'Moore rose to be Sir Frederick R. Moore (Prime Minister of Natal), Charles Coghlan was the first Prime Minister of Rhodesia, Colonel Schermbrucker was Minister of Public Works in the Sprigg Government, Fischer, Prime Minister of the Orange Free State, and H. C. Hull held the portfolio of Finance in the Botha Ministry.

In 1872 John Xavier Merriman was buying diamonds in Kimberley. He soon acquired political fame, and for over fifty years was ranked as the best debater in Parliament. At times he would hit the Opposition very hard; he would let down his supporters very lightly, and he would at times criticise them fearlessly when he thought they had taken the wrong turning.

If ever a man held the scales of justice evenly, it was Merriman. He would shudder to think that a Bill or a motion of any kind would not deal fairly with white or black. Socially he was one of the most charming of men, and it was an education in itself to be on friendly terms with him.

Frequently we sat together in the Lobby of the House and chatted over a cup of tea. I invariably did most of the listening, as I felt I could gain more by a silent tongue than by forcing my views on a man whose opinions were always to be respected. He frequently encouraged new members by words of welcome and sane advice. I always felt a proud man when he would say to me, "Harris, my boy, you delivered a fine speech."

Merriman harboured a grievance. It was that he was not appointed to the position of first Prime Minister of the Union. He considered he was entitled to this honour, because at the time of the amalgamation of the four Provinces he was Prime Minister of the senior Province—Cape Colony. Botha offered him a seat in the first Cabinet of the Union, but he declined. Despite his sense of disappointment, he did not retain any ill feeling against Botha. On the contrary, he gave him every support, though at times he criticised his policy in measured terms.

He had the greatest admiration for General Smuts, and in the House he often referred to the General's "plucky and wonderful advance to the Cape during the Boer War," and to the manner in which he had "watered the horses of his Commando under the shadow of Table Mountain—a marvellous achievement worthy of a great warrior."

Merriman hated obstruction during debates. It irritated him, and if opportunity arose he would lash out at the delinquents, who more often than not felt sorry they had spoken.

Mr. and Mrs. Merriman were a most devoted couple. She was ever solicitous for his physical welfare, and it was not an uncommon sight, when the weather was bad—wind, rain or hail—for her to bring an umbrella and overcoat to the Lobby, and insist on his making use of them. She died suddenly one afternoon in her home. Merriman was then eighty years of age, and he never really got over the loss.

As time went on, it was plain to every member of the House that he was a greatly changed man. Gone was his clear line of thought; cohesion gave way to rambling. He could not follow his notes in proper sequence, and he now frequently jumbled his figures. For about ten years I sat next to him on the back benches, and could see the great change. The charming voice remained, but the giant had become a weakling. The entire House grieved when it was so apparent that he was declining.

I often tried to help him when he would mislay his notes, or lose his spectacles, and would prompt him when he was confusing sentences or forgetting the right adjective. Occasionally, I felt I was of some assistance, but it was like trying to revive the trunk of a mighty tree that was rapidly decaying. He was too ill to come forward as a candidate for the 1924 General Election, and passed away on the 2nd of August, 1926, in his eighty-fifth year.

Parliament, which he loved and elevated for half a century, saw him no more. When shall we see his like again?

Doctor Jameson, more familiarly known as "Dr. Jim," started in the medical profession in the early days of Kimberley. With good credentials, he quickly established himself, and in a very short time he enjoyed the leading practice in the town. Always cheerful and easy-going, he became very popular among his many patients who benefited by his skill and attention.

A few years after his arrival he struck up a friendship with Rhodes—a friendship which was destined to continue uninterruptedly until the death of the great Empire builder in 1902. An ardent Imperialist, in full sympathy with Rhodes' policy of Empire extension, he agreed with Rhodes' scheme of direct railway communication from Cape to Cairo, with the British flag flying over the entire distance. This could have been an accomplished fact if that exclusive Belgian nation had not been allowed to block the way North of Rhodesia.

Dr. Jameson became Administrator of Rhodesia, and fully justified the high opinion in which he was held by Rhodes, and filled a difficult position with much distinction until the unfortunate Raid which deprived him of his important office.

He sincerely sympathised with the British residents in Johannesburg. A lover of freedom, he hated the idea that so many of his countrymen were to be treated as political helots when they were contributing the bulk of the revenue to the Transvaal Treasury, and were, as a body, far more intelligent than Kruger's burghers.

When, therefore, he was approached by the English residents of the Rand, among whom were many of his old friends, their appeal for help did not fall on deaf ears. So much, however, has been written from time to time about the Jameson Raid, that I need not, at this stage, repeat facts which are already widely known.

In 1900 Jameson was elected a Member of the Cape Parliament for Kimberley. He sat there for two whole sessions as a silent member. He was attacked, criticised and condemned by his political opponents for the part he had played in the Raid, but not a word escaped his lips in his own defence. He took the gruelling without a murmur. He sat quiet and uncomplaining, and bore the ordeal as unflinchingly as he did his sentence of imprisonment in 1896.

In 1904 he was elected a Member for Grahams-town, and he became Prime Minister of the Cape Colony after the General Election of that year— less than nine years after the Raid. He had a working majority of seven or eight in a House composed of seventy-nine Members, and he held the reins of Government for about four years with signal tact and ability. He was popular on both sides of the House, and the Opposition henceforth refrained from making any allusions to incidents of the Raid.

During the Boer War a large number of Dutch Colonials rebelled by joining the forces of the Transvaal and Orange Free State Republics. They were all disfranchised by the Schreiner Government, which probably accounted for Jameson's majority at the 1904 General Election. While in office, however, Jameson carried through an Amnesty Bill which again placed the erring Colonials on the Voters Roll.

Jameson must have fully realised that this step would mean his downfall at the pending General Election, particularly as those replaced on the Electoral roll were strong supporters of the Bond Party. Notwithstanding this, he did the chivalrous thing, feeling no doubt that he, too, had also taken a wrong step, and that "to err is human, to forgive divine."

This undaunted Scotsman has long since been gathered unto his fathers, and is resting on the majestic Matopos beside the grave of his great chief.

Imbued with sentiment and patriotism in a large measure, General Botha was a lovable man. South Africa and his people were always uppermost in his thoughts. He was one of the best politicians the country has yet produced; while as a Boer General he was a born soldier and had no equal.

I had a great affection for this rugged son of the veld. For his successor, General Smuts, I hold an immense admiration. His outstanding ability, culture, intellect and remarkable knowledge of world affairs must stamp him as an acquisition to the country he loves so well.

It is well known that General Botha would never take any important step on his own account. He invariably consulted his versatile lieutenant, who has piloted the ship of State through many stormy seas. South Africa practically owes her history to the Botha-Smuts combination, which governed the country during the first ten years under the new constitution. During this time the development and prosperity of South Africa went steadily ahead.

Botha was the type of man whose word was his bond. He was one of the signatories to the Vereeniging Treaty at the conclusion of the Boer War, and through strictly adhering to its conditions he lost the support of many of his commandants and comrades. This he deeply regretted, but having once placed his signature to the document that brought about the much-wanted peace, he strictly abided by its terms, and nothing would shake his determination to carry out his obligation to the letter.

General Botha's bitterest and saddest trial was the Rebellion of 1914, when many of his trusted Generals and Commandants turned and took the field against him. I happened to be in Cape Town when this military drama was acted.

On the verandah of the Civil Service Club I met General Smuts, and at the time he wore a worried look. I asked him if the news of the Rebellion was true. "I am afraid it is," he answered gravely, "but the worst feature of the rising is that we have very little ammunition, and it is almost impossible to get any just now. We have cabled to England, Australia and other British countries to help us in this direction. We can only get a limited supply from India, and it cannot arrive here until four or five weeks hence."

I sympathised with him in his plight. From personal experience I knew what a large number of cartridges are blazed off in but one action, so I was much concerned about the shortage. I suddenly remembered that there was a large quantity of .303 ammunition in Kimberley, a stock left over from the siege, so I willingly offered him 100,000 rounds from that supply. General Smuts lost no time in sending a telegram in code to Colonel Thackeray (then District Staff Officer), and four hours later the ammunition was railed to its destination.

General Botha soon took the field with the loyal burghers, and the remnants of different contingents who had not yet left for the German West Campaign, and by skilfully manoeuvring his forces he defeated the rebels, who surrendered after a few sharp fights. It was with a sore heart that this Afrikander stalwart was forced to battle against his own people. Throughout the Rebellion he was anxious to shed as little blood as possible, and consequently issued strict orders that, until the enemy showed fight, they were not to be fired on. Several loyal men were killed and wounded owing to this instruction, because the rebels generally fired first, before the Government forces could reply. General Botha desired his Commandants to encircle the enemy and so compel them to surrender, but unfortunately this plan did not materialise because of the aggressive tactics of the rebels. Two very old friends of mine, W. Pickering and Percy Ross Frames, lost two gallant and promising sons while fighting with the Union troops in this lamentable campaign.

When the Rebellion was nearing an end, and while a large force was resting for a while in Kimberley, I had the pleasure of entertaining several of the officers to lunch. One of them, Captain Noltke, told me that his brother had been killed while advancing under cover of a white flag to parley with the rebels, and that he and several officers would not fight again under like orders.

General Botha was greatly concerned with the part played by the Navy in the Great War, and took a very serious view of Admiral Von Spee's victory near the Falkland Islands. He realised that the extensive coast of South Africa was entirely unprotected, and was at the mercy of the German battle squadrons. At this time a large force from the Union was operating in German West Africa, and it would have gone hard with them had a German squadron of the strength of that of Admiral Von Spee blockaded the ports of German South West, and landed a large contingent in the rear. Communication by sea would have been entirely cut, and General Botha's forces would have been compelled to retire for hundreds of miles over a difficult and waterless country. It was therefore a great relief when Admiral Von Spee's fleet was afterwards practically annihilated by Admiral Sturdee.

Generals Botha and Smuts proceeded to England in 1919 to attend the Peace Conference at a time when the Union Parliament was in Session. When the Assembly prorogued, I immediately sailed for England, and frequently met General Botha at the Savoy Hotel. On several occasions he telephoned to me to see him, as he was anxious to learn what had transpired in Parliament during his absence.

One day I found him in confidential mood. "Harris," he said, "the terms demanded by the Allies are too severe. Germany can never fulfil the conditions insisted on. It will ruin her, and probably lead to another big war before very long. Germany is a proud nation, and will not submit to financial and economic strangulation without making a last desperate effort to extricate herself."

The Allies certainly seemed bent on adhering to the severe conditions laid down, and it appeared quite impossible to shake their determination. Lloyd George was a prominent member of the Conference, and exercised great influence over its deliberations.

Botha then told me that he had reminded Lloyd George of the fact that if the English had been more moderate in their terms at the first Peace Conference at Vereeniging, peace would have been arranged eighteen months before the close of the Boer War, thereby greatly reducing the casualties, suffering and expense. He also said that if the same terms at the Second Peace Conference had been offered at first, the war would have been finished.

Lloyd George was evidently impressed, and said he would endeavour to induce the Conference to be more lenient towards Germany. He succeeded, very much to Botha's satisfaction.

The leader of the South African people returned to the Union shortly afterwards. One Friday morning I bade him farewell at the Savoy Hotel. At the time he was wearing the uniform of a General, as he was about to pay some official visits before leaving Waterloo. There was no time for conversation. I wished him a pleasant voyage and a safe arrival.

He clasped my hand in a tight grip, and said cordially, " Good-bye, Oom1 David. Jannie (meaning Smuts) and I have done our best to bring about a lasting peace, and I am now returning to South Africa to do my very best for my own people."

We parted, never to see each other again. A week before I reached Cape Town, a Marconi message received on board contained the sad news that this great statesman and outstanding soldier had gone to his eternal rest.

General Hertzog, the present Prime Minister of the Union of South Africa, appears to have two distinct individualities. Privately he is most courteous, kind-hearted and considerate, a most affectionate husband, with a love for his children that could not be excelled. Socially, it is a pleasure to converse with him; he is so natural a conversationalist, does not put on airs, nor presume on his high position. He is a good friend, and has assisted relatives when his income was very limited and perhaps only sufficient for his own personal requirements. Apart from politics, he is a most lovable man, but this is where we meet the second personality. I believe he has great admiration and sincere regard for the present Governor-General and his tactful, charming wife, Princess Alice, but in his heart of hearts he considers their presence, in their official capacity, unnecessary, because they represent England and in a measure constitute a bond between South Africa and the Empire. I have known the General since his boyhood, and have had special opportunities of watching his career. His private, domestic and social qualities leave nothing to be desired, but as a politician he at times is very bitter and unreasonable, and not quite fair to his opponents. In debate he allows his passions to run away from his better judgment, and he lashes out right and left, General Smuts being generally selected for his great fund of invective. In very heated party debates he never pours oil on the troubled waters, but increases it to fever heat by going one better than any of his extremist supporters. It is a great pity that he cannot exercise control of himself on these occasions, for if he could do so he would make an ideal leader. That he is unfriendly disposed to England is apparent to most people. His two-stream policy, secession movement, flag question, and German Treaty alone prove this up to the hilt, not to mention the desire to limit the purchasing of English manufactures, a shortsighted policy, considering that England is far and away South Africa's best customer for its agricultural products, and would be in a position to buy more if South Africa increased her purchases from the United Kingdom—which she could do were it not for restrictions imposed by the Nationalist Party.

About four or five years ago I was in England when there was a Conference with the Prime Ministers of the Dominions. General Hertzog was in London at the time. An historical banquet was held at Guildhall, the Lord Chancellor presided, and the cream of England was present, including Cabinet Ministers—about 700 sat down to a most brilliant affair. Two Prime Ministers were conspicuous by their absence—the Irish Premier and General Hertzog. I thought this very significant, neither gentleman being a lover of England, though both would gladly welcome the assistance and protection of the British Navy if the coasts of their respective countries were threatened by a hostile fleet, for neither country possesses even one cruiser.

General J. C. Smuts is an outstanding man, with a world-wide reputation. He has been wise enough to throw off his dislike of England engendered during the Boer War, feeling, no doubt, that the best interests of South Africa depend on friendly relations and reciprocal trade between Great Britain and the Union. Smuts has kept his party together when other leaders would have failed. It is no secret that there is a diversity of opinion among his supporters on the native question— this was apparent at many Caucus Meetings I attended in the House of Assembly, but Smuts, with his great tact and persuasive powers, managed to extricate the party from its dilemma, so, despite the difference existing on a most important and difficult question, the South African Party to a man is loyal to Smuts even after he prematurely dissolved Parliament in 1924 at the height of his Government's unpopularity. When I entered the House on the Monday afternoon to my great surprise Smuts was announcing his intention to appeal to the country. This he did on a majority vote of the Cabinet which met that morning. After he had taken the fateful step, the party was summoned to a Caucus Meeting the next morning. He should have consulted his party before announcing his resignation; had he done so a large majority would have been opposed to dissolution. He could have carried on for at least another year before Parliament dissolved by effluxion of time, and probably lived down some of the pettifogging and irritating taxing measures which should never have been imposed. I doubt if then he would have been returned to power, but I am confident he would not have encountered such a decisive and crushing defeat. Smuts must have thought that many Dutch constituencies would resent the inclusion of labour members in the Nationalist Ministry, but he left out of his calculations the large number of Hertzog's blind followers who support the man regardless of his policy and intentions. Smuts' mistake will, in all probability, keep him out of office for at least ten years. But he is not, by far, the only statesman who has misjudged the situation. The measure of man's genius is estimated by the gravity of his errors; there are many examples of this in ancient and modern history.

If Smuts were a Britisher, England would be proud of him, the greatest and most important positions would be open to him. The House of Lords would welcome him, he would be an acquisition to the House of Commons, but in the country of his ancestors and birth a large number of his own countrymen, from feelings of jealousy, petty spite, and for political purposes, have never a good word for him, oppose and attack him most persistently beyond the bounds of fair and reasonable criticism. Their jealousy is practically a sign of their own inferiority.

As a rule Smuts is calm and cool in the most exciting debates, and when being personally attacked. I saw him lose his temper on one occasion only when Prime Minister. The front opposition bench were condemning General Botha a few years after his death, and, losing all control of themselves, accused this great patriotic Statesman and soldier of being a traitor to his country. Smuts, with all his calmness and self-control, could not stand this. I shall never forget his scathing language when replying to this gross libel; it will remain indelibly imprinted in my memory. I can almost see Smuts, when replying, pointing the finger of scorn at the opposition and saying heatedly, "You remind me of a lot of yelping curs snarling round the grave of a dead lion"; could anything be more effective?

Smuts' loyalty to General Botha is beyond all praise. In education, culture, legal knowledge and eloquence he was far superior to his chief, though his political instincts were not equal. Neither by intrigue nor other methods did he ever try to supersede him as Premier; such a thought never entered his head. If Botha had lived and been leader of his party for fifty years, Smuts would have loyally stood by and assisted him with all his great ability. The friendship and mutual affection of these two outstanding men earned the admiration of their followers. Both Smuts and Botha strictly adhered to the Treaty of Vereeniging, despite the loss of many Dutch supporters who still harbour hatred of England, as was evident in the Great War, when they openly sympathised with Germany, advocated the neutrality of South Africa, and opposed the Union assisting the Allies. Botha and Smuts, on the contrary, did everything possible to encourage recruiting, which resulted in South Africa supplying its full quota of men to the British Army.

After the death of Botha and before the General Election of 1920, Smuts issued his manifesto having for its object the bringing of the two different white races together. I, like many others, was influenced, feeling that this policy was in the best interests of the country, so I immediately joined his party and have remained a staunch supporter. When Parliament dissolved in 1924 I determined not to seek re-election again as I did not relish the idea of spending my declining years in Parliament, having had the painful experience of seeing two distinguished men, Sir Gordon Sprigg and Merriman, do so. Smuts, however, begged me to stand, and sent urgent messages and telegrams requesting me to be "his comrade in the coming Electoral campaign." I felt it to be my duty as a Britisher to stand by the man who had done so much and at such great sacrifice to assist the Empire in its great hour of need, so I agreed, and was again returned to Parliament with a bumping majority. The thought struck me that if I refused his request his Dutch followers might have said, "Smuts, you did a lot for the British Empire, many of your old comrades who fought with you through the Boer War have parted company with you owing to the policy you are adopting, you asked an Englishman to make a small sacrifice to help you and he refused"; with these thoughts running through my mind, I exerted every ounce of strength I had in a contested election, as I was opposed by a most formidable opponent who was cocksure of defeating me. He was much too optimistic, for I beat him badly.

There are naturally many incidents in a long career that have escaped my memory. Several of my escapades are too trivial to relate; others are too personal a character to chronicle without doing so at the risk of being written down as a man of vanity. Had a friend undertaken the task of the compilation of this book, he probably would have included in these memoirs many extracts from newspapers, political speeches and despatches, but, animated by a feeling of diffidence, I have embodied only incidents of a general character which might interest my readers.

This short summary of part of my life refers more particularly to events which have actually occurred, rather than to the unimportant part played by myself in the general development of South Africa, for when I write of Rhodes, Botha, Smuts, Merriman, Jameson and Hertzog, I feel very insignificant compared with these outstanding men, who have made their mark in the history of the country.

Since I first trod the soil of South Africa, Kimberley has been my home, and even if my choice were given to me again, I would select no other. Its inhabitants have always been more than kind to me. In joy and in sorrow, they have expressed both their pleasure and sympathy, and when I decided to retire from Parliament in 1929, I received many touching manifestations of appreciation and affection from all classes of the community.

Kimberley has passed through good times and bad. Is there any town which has had so many vicissitudes ? No centre in the Empire has proved itself so self-reliant in time of siege and pestilence. There has never been any crying out for help— the people have always buckled to and helped themselves.

During the siege there was not a rifle to spare. We could easily have armed an additional 2,000 men, all eager to join the Defence Force, had the necessary weapons been forthcoming from the Bond Government.

In the plague of 1918, men, women and girls came forward voluntarily to succour and nurse those who were stricken down, and many of them paid the penalty for their heroism. There was no scarcity of civilian helpers, and as their numbers dwindled, the gaps were immediately filled by others as undaunted as those who would nurse no more.

In all the native wars Kimberley supplied its full quota of citizen soldiers, and during the Great War no city in the Empire having the same population provided a greater proportion of recruits. This town has a fine record, and I indeed feel proud to be associated with its people.

During the thirty-two years I represented Griqualand West in Parliament, the electors gave me practically discretionary powers. They stood loyally by me, returning me unopposed on three different occasions.

I can never adequately repay them for their confidence and consideration. They have showered honours on me greater than I deserve. Racialism, the curse of South Africa, is entirely absent from Kimberley. Such a thing as a colour bar does not exist. There is no other place in the Union where the coloured community is so happy and contented. Here they are free to profit by the ability with which Nature has endowed them. The white inhabitants are a broad-minded people, imbued with the spirit of Rhodes —the spirit that first breathed that memorable utterance

" Equal rights to all civilised men South of the Zambesi."

I have frequently refused to accept many tempting offers to settle down in England, preferring to remain in Kimberley, where I am happy and contented, and among whose good people I hope to end my days

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