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ity. “We now come to our new Government,” he said, "and offer them our loyalty, but we ask them again to think what we have been, that we have been a free people, the freest in the world.” But for the most part, General Smuts, who had resumed his practice in Pretoria as an advocate, kept silence. When Botha, Delarey and Smuts were offered seats in the nominated Legislative Council of the Transvaal they refused. They did not choose to place themselves in a position where they would be held partially responsible for a government they could in no way control.
So they went quietly to their tasks and Smuts, to quote the words of a much quoted letter, "read the Critique of Pure Reason and watered his roses." His home outside Pretoria was, and is, a very happy one. The family tie is a strong one among the Boers, and General Smuts is a son of his race in this as in other respects.
As long as his father lived he was a constant visitor to the old home. Before the war he had married a Miss Krige of Klipfontein, but during the whole of the Boer War General and Mrs. Smuts met only once, at Standerton. She was not interned, but was allowed to retire to Natal. When they returned to their home they found it intact, but it had been used for quarters for the officers and soldiers of the British Army, and General Smuts would show where the leaves of the books of his valuable library had been torn out to serve as pipe lighters. Since those days he has built himself a new house at the top of a kloof, a simple place on bungalow lines with a wide stoop. There he has a farm which is a model of its kind, though without any kind of elaboration.
This quiet life was not to last for long. In 1905 he went to London. It is generally stated that during this visit he convinced Sir H. Campbell-Bannerman and Mr. Asquith that the Dutch would be loyal to the British flag if self-government was granted. However that may be General Botha and he, after his return from London, began a campaign in the Transvaal on the subjects of Chinese labour and the domination of the mining magnates. This campaign was misrepresented in the British press, but throughout Smuts did as a matter of fact preach the doctrine of conciliation and cooperation between the two races which had been his text before the war broke out, and which was only interrupted by the war. When the first responsible Government was formed in the Transvaal in 1907 General Botha was Prime Minister, and Smuts was Colonial Secretary (home secretary) in his cabinet. One of their first pieces of work was the repatriation of the Chinese coolies employed in the mines, and they set to work at once on it,
On one point the Colonial Secretary did not succeed entirely in imposing his will, and he never has quite succeeded.' He could not overcome the difficulties with Mr. Gandhi and the Indian immigrants in the Transvaal. Eventually he made a compromise with the Indians already resident on the sound reasoning that you could not, if you would, imprison them all, and that therefore the only thing was to come to terms with them. But that controversy is still not healed, and the exclusion of immigrants from India to South Afriea and to places where the South African Government has influence is one of the difficult questions which the recent Imperial Conference failed to solve.
But the cooperation between Botha and Smuts was most fruitful when Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman, in the teeth of the opposition of Lord Milner, High Commissioner in South Africa, and in spite of the fears and misgivings of some of his own colleagues, decided to give self-government to South Africa. A A constitution had to be drafted which would secure lasting peace and cooperation between the two white races, which would not affront the sturdy independence but would assuage the bitterness of the Boer population, and would yet not seem to the Britishers like a surrender to the late enemy or allow them to feel that an undue proportion of power lay in the hands of those enemies.
It was a hard task. The men who worked on that settlement included some of the best brains of South Africa. Among them were General Botha, Mr. Merriman, Dr. Starr Jameson, and M. de Villiers, the most famous of South African jurists, and others. But, by common consent, the honours rested with General Smuts.
In that immense work his acute and subtle brain was supreme. He was the intellectual inspiration of the Convention. There was no conflict that he could not resolve, no knot so hard that he could not untie it, no problem too delicate for his deft handling. The Convention would come to a dead impasse. Here was no way through, here the whole scheme seemed to fall to pieces. And, lo, General Smuts appeared next morning with his cunningly contrived solution, and once more the machine of negotiation rumbled for. ward, oiled by the large benignity of General Botha, its way made clear by the fertile and constructive genius of his lieutenant.
General Smuts had fought like a brave man to the bitter end for the cause of that nationalism in which he had been reared, but now that the end had come he accepted the consequences as boldly as he had resisted them before, and turned all the energies of his powerful mind to healing the wounds of war and to building up a South African confederation from which all bitterness should be purged. He became the architect of a constitution which is held to be the best model of such an instrument the world offers; and in the stormy years of the European War and the subsequent peace he has worked it in circumstances of almost unparalleled difficulty with a wisdom and an inflexibility which have made the concession of self-government to South Africa the most shining chapter in the history of the British Empire.
Even at this time General Smuts was regarded with some suspicion in South Africa. He displeased the parrower Boer partisans because he had himself no exclusive nationalism and because his mind was not confined by party shibboleths. On the one hand, he was too liberal for an agrarian party, essentially conservative. On the other, he was thought by the English to be a dangerously clever man who might be playing some deep game against them. The memories of the Boer War were not yet effaced.
It was the task of the new Government of the Union to efface those hatreds and to foster a new national South African sense in place of the old provincial patriotism of the Cape Colony, the Transvaal, the Orange Free State and Natal. The process of fusion was accompanied by many setbacks. The first Cabinet of the Union with General Botha at its head, stood between a narrow Hertzogism on the one hand