11 MAY 1901, Page 14


Sin,—I beg to submit the following letter for your columns, which is a copy of one addressed by me to a private corre. spondent.—I am, Sir, &c., Wagenaars Kraal, Cape Colony, April 8th. A. H. PAGAN.

DEAR —,--Owing to the scantiness of the information that reaches us in South Africa, except indirectly through the English papers, it is well nigh impossible for us to criticise the course of events, but perhaps one might be permitted to dissent from the opinion expressed in nearly every paper and letter from home,— that the present state of guerilla warfare is ruining the country, and can bring no benefit to either side. I will not venture to say whether in the late Republics the material damage in recent months has been very serious, or whether they can be reduced to a much more desolate condition than that in which they already are, but writing, as I do, from a part of Cape Colony which has since the beginning of the year been infested by the enemy, I venture to think that their presence Fill in the long run prove to have been the crowning benefit of the war. It has brought home to the entire population through martial law how they stand to the British Government, and how helpless the Dutch are when they are made to act up to their boastful threats, or renounce for ever the hope of Dutch supremacy. The sweeping away of everything, from a horse to a boot, that the Boers might want, and the destruction of all forage may seem harsh and wasteful, but that is the language the Dutch farmer understands. Besides, it has in an easy way solved the problem of disarmament in the Colony, and it is to be hoped the Government may be in no hurry to return the arms, but give compensation instead. The extension of guerilla war to Cape Colony has brought much immediate suffering, especially to the loyal farmers, but that suffering will bring abundant compensation for the fut ure in having enabled the Government to set a seal on the rebellious spirit, that till the close of last year was flaunting itself unchal- lenged before the eyes of every loyal subject. The effect of this exercise of authority in every corner of the Colony is having an equally great influence in showing the native population how things really stand, and the recent brutalities of! the Boers will bring home to them the blessing of the British victory. No doubt this changed attitude of mind has been gradually at work, despite all the misrepresentations of how the struggle was going, but only since January last has it been openly confessed and revealed. The sacrifice of life and treasure may have seemed useless and inglorious at home, but to many of us here it seems that this slow and desultory struggle is not the least important act in the drama, and that it is, as surely as the march to Pretoria, gradually subjugating the enemy and working for victory and peace.

A. H. P. Cape Colony, April 8th.