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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 30

The South African Colonies

The South African Colonies.

We have not here the same prosperity and progress which are seen in Australasia and Canada. It is a maxim in the colonial service, and one which has proved but too true, that the difficulties of the administration of the Cape Colony and Natal are such as to ensure the ruin of any reputation. The South African Colonies, without the recently-acquired territory of Bechuanaland, are about the size of Austria-Hungary—that is, a quarter of a million square miles in extent, but with only a million and a half inhabitants. Ever since they came into British possession they have been the scene of incessant warfare and rebellion. The Kaffirs, the Hottentots or Totties, the Dutch Boers, and the Zulus have all given us very serious trouble. All must deplore that a region so favoured by nature, so delightful in climate, should have brought so little good comparatively to the human race. Whether or not we should not have done better to retain the fertile island of Java ceded in 1814, and handed back the Cape of Good Hope to the Dutch, our forerunners in the East, it is too late to inquire. But one great lesson should not be lost upon the statesmen of to-day, and that is, that an independent constitutional and representative Government does not prove successful unless granted to a perfectly united nation existing but for one purpose.

Sailing up the Indian Ocean we pass the sugar island of Mauritius, sorely depressed by the German bounty system, and come to