Will it be considered the mere fancy of enthusiasts, which admits the thought of occult forces of a sinister kind set in array to overturn beneficent dispensations, that the evil one, the father of lies, has been active in all this marring of peace? Had that personage or evil principle, if this term is more acceptable, not scored with his malignant skill of deception 6,000 years ago, and been walking up and down his domain ever since, intent upon undoing redemptive provisions and counteracting all endeavours to ameliorate the miseries of humanity? His malice would seem discernible against the Boer nation, the people who continued in the simple faith which had been kept by their ancestors despite the persecutions heaped upon them in France and by the oppressor of Holland; he must have viewed with growing rage the designs of a gracious Providence surrounding that very people with the blessings of security and peace and accumulations of unparalleled riches, all construable as in compensation for the sacrifices so willingly submitted to by their forefathers and for their own fidelity to the faith. Would he tamely brook that—and not bend on all his artifices to reverse those provisions and to divert those rich dispensations in favour of his own devotees instead, or else rather cause them to be devoured by wasting war? He has so far succeeded in instigating the Boer nation to acts which involve the forfeiture of their special heirlooms. He would also thwart the programme of the world's nations for the civilization of Central Africa, and would gratify his malice against the people to whom is largely attributable the spread of governmental principles of equity and liberty. He would seek to stamp with failure those hitherto successful and self-rewarding methods, and so strike an effective blow against their further adoption as being goody-goody, weak and inefficient.
We see civilized humanity congested with over-population, excess of energy and of production and suffering from a plethora of capital, the entire condition rife on the one hand with prodigal waste and on the other fraught with the cruel want of toiling and jostling millions vainly fighting for space and the most modest means of existence—conditions which presage an inevitable and universal crash unless checked by a Malthusian or else by a beneficent and humane remedy. We know the right remedy for at least staving off the impending universal crisis lies in the manifold opportunities of creating outlets. These exist to the full in the vast fallow regions of Africa, and in the scope for industries and commerce in Asia and elsewhere. Each well-devised colonizing scheme, every railway built, and every other new investment would afford improved employment and relieve the general strain; every true convert gained by the spread of Christianity would become an obedient and reliable unit towards the menaced stability of authorized Governments. We see capital impelled to vast enterprises, as it were by secret forces; we are aware of the activity of nations singly and in co-operation in promoting and sustaining such projects. All those efforts and outlets would serve as safety-valves for the discontent of the ill-provided masses, and their success would render them governable at a lesser cost, and even admit the reduction of standing armies and other objects treated by the recent Peace Conference at the Hague. The essential thing, indeed, is peace, and that in turn would consolidate security and progress. But the enemy is interested exactly the other way. His ascendancy is coincident, not with the mitigation of the conditions of human existence, but in accentuating the misery of the masses, driving them to desperation and to embrace illogic and deceptive maxims of socialism and violent anarchy. It is with those forces that he intends to uproot and usurp divinely instituted authority expressly set up to repress evil and to protect person and property. He wants by licence and not liberty to hasten the advent of that murderous political power prophetically depicted with the statue standing upon feet of clay and iron: supreme authority vested in the world's proletariat in unstable and uncohesive union with militarism, Satan himself the actual lawless animator. As to the scope for outlets in the East, it is more restricted to industries and commerce, but those enterprises, however brilliantly promising, are fraught with the risks incidental to hostile rivalries and political complications, while in Africa the openings are at least as vast and inviting immigration on a huge scale as well, but all with much greater security, inasmuch as the spheres of operation are definitely apportioned to various nations, and where in the nature of things the success of each would be promoted by joint-solidarity, and thus afford a guarantee for the peaceable and prosperous development of the whole continent. Our common enemy would fain frustrate it all with his Afrikaner Bond device, and then finally gloat over the accomplished ruin of his deluded Boer victims.
Africa has for some thousands of years been the enemy's favourite and undisturbed haunt for his gory orgies, for the hecatombs of millions of immolated victims each year, the teeming recruiting preserve for his contingents.
Is he likely to surrender it all to an invading beneficent operation? Will he not rather continue a most determined and desperate resistance and oppose the most advanced of his subtle devices? The malignant power of his agencies is ever and anon manifest—if restrained in one direction his sway is doubly asserted in another. While the Boer war is proceeding a diversion upon a large scale is being effected in Asia which may result in deferring progress in Africa, or history may be brought to repeat itself by the production of some African Attila or Grenseric or a Saladin or another Moselikatse or Mahdi, whose overrunning hordes will efface all the good work thus far done and restore conditions in accord with his murderous sway, whilst at the same time revelling over the ominous developments looming in Europe and America for the production of giant strikes and other imminent socialistic outbursts which could all be prevented, or at least staved off for a long time, if the existing immense spheres for civilizing outlets could only be peaceably utilized.
13. One of those enterprises is the railway which is to connect the Cape with Cairo.
14. Pro-Boer Propaganda is persisting in designating England as answering to that prophetic image destined to signal destruction.