Skip to main content
Hide Articles List

14 articles on this Page



JAMESON RAID. MEETING OF THE SOUTH AFRICA COMMITTEE. IR. RHODES CALLED, CROSS-EXAMINED BY SIR W- HARCOURT. IMPORTANT ADMISSIONS. The Select Committee appointed to inquire into the administration of the Charteied Com- pany, more particularly with reference to what is known as the Jameson raid, re assembled in Westminster-hall, London, on Tu-eecLay. Its proceedings were for the first open to the press, and thus began upon classic ground an investigation which will rank as of historical importance. Now that the preliminaries are over, and the Committee have fairly settled down to their inquisitorial functions, it may be well to re-oall the precise terms of the reference. These are:—"That a Select Committee be appointed to inquire into the origin and cir- crarastanres of the incursion into the South African Republic by an armed far39, and into the administration of the British South Africa Company, and to report thereon; and, further, to report what alterations are desirable in the government of the territories under the control of the company." CONSTITUTION OF THE COMMITTEE. The Select Committee is constituted as follows;—The Right Hem. W. L. Jackson (chairman), the Attorney-General, JMtt Big- ham, Q.C., the Hon. E. Blake, Mr- Sydney Buxton, Sir H. Oajnpbell-BainiOTnan, Mr. Chamberlain, the Chancellor of ihe i.xcfcequer, Mr. Cripps, Q.C., Sir Wm. Hart-Dyke, Mr. John Ellis, Sir Wm. Harcourt, Mr. Labou- chere, Mr. Wharton, and Mr. George Wynd- ham. UNUSUAL ARRANGEMENTS. In view of the fact that no Select Committee of our time has approached the pmseut one in popular interest and Imperial impor- tance, it was fitting that the arrangements for it should be carried out upon quite an t'laisual scale. The place of meeting was the lerge room built upon the site of one of the old Law Courts, which was formerly uted by the Labour Commission. It is entered from the lower end of Westminster hall—itself the scene of famous State trials in olden times. But upon the present occasion the Graat Hall of Kurus, as it generally is called, was empty, except mat, by special leave of the Office ot Works, OL-e corner of it was appropriated for tables for the use of those press transcribers engaged in meeting the urgent demands of the evening newspapers. The Committee room itself, spacious as it is, did not prove more than suffi- cient for the exceptional demand made upon t £ s accommodation. INTEREST IN THE INQUIRY. The interest taken in the occasion wu so keen end widespread that applications were received from a vast number of newspapers, mot only in this country, but also foreign and Colonial, especially South African, to have representatives. The chairman of the Com- mittee and the Serjeant-at-Arms together did their utmost to meet these requirements and to provide as much accommodation as could be made available for reporters. The result was that upwards of thirty seats were provided along one side of the room, all ticketed in such a way as to prevent confusion. PROVISION FOR MEMBERS. Upon the other side of the room provision was made for members of Parliament and other privileged visitors, of whom there was a neces- sarily biniaJ.1, but distinguished, company. Before half-past eleven o'clock a number of gentlesnen had already ftaken possession of places reserved for members of the House of Commons, including Sir H. Meysey Thompson, [Mr. Hayes iFWiar, Mr. Hetlmker Hettton, Mr. Hothouse, and Sir Donald Currie. The Chaplain of the House of Commons (Canon Wilberforoe) was accompanied by a party of ladies. The Serjeant-at-Arms (Mr. Erskine), who has been chiefly responsible for the seat- ing arrangements, and wiho has done admirably well in regard thereto, was observed busily passing to and fro. THE ASSEMBLAGE GROWS. In the outer hall, ag twelve o'clock ap- proached, the assemblage grew steadily in num- bers. Mr. GeraJd Loder was another repre- sentative of the Lower House, followed im- mediately by Earl Selborne, Under- Secretary of State for the Colonies, while a number of fair visitors were oondiuoted to the top of che flight of stairs leading to the Com- mittee-room for the purpose at securing s gianoe at the interior. ARRIVAL OF SILK. Mr. Pember, Q.C., in wig and silk, WM the first member of the legal profession to appear. In attendance was learned gentleman's clerk, carrying a hsrief-!ba>g, which evidently contained things of weight and 'bulk. Mr. Blake and Mr. laiboucha-e (moembers of the Committee) walked from the House together. By this time the general attendance had considerably swollen, afnd included the Duke of Abercorn, Mr. Thomas Ellis (chief Liberal Whip), Lady Louisa Loder, Sir E. Aahmead-Rartlett, Colonel Saunderson, Sir Francis Evans, and Mr. Changing. Other gentlemen of the long robe next to arrive were Mr. Pope, Q.C., and Mr. Trevor White. MR. CHAMBERLAIN. Three minutes before the hour Mr. Chamberlain entered the hall, looking, if anything, fresher and eprightlier for his enforced temporary absence from his Parliamentary duties. The chairman (Mr. Jackson) came a moment after, looking very ilL The right hon. gentleman was assisted up the staircase by his private secre- tary, and even with the help afforded made but slow and painful progress unto the Committee- room. APPEARANCE OF MR. RHODES. As Big Ben was booming twelve the folding doors at the main entrance were once more thrown open and Mr. Cecil Rhodes appeared, accompanied by the solicitor to the Chartered Company (Mr. Hawkaley). Mir. Rhodes wore a. close-fitting, dark overcook and a. silk hat. He came with a. brisk walk, and rapidly passed out of the-view of the general publio occupying the floor of the lower hall. Mr. Rhodes was easily reoogtnisaible, but had lost a great deal of the South African ruddiness which was obeer- wablo on his arrival ail; Tilbury Dock. THE PRINCE IS SALUTED. A general raising of hats denoted the approach of the Prince of Wales, who was acoompaoied by Sir Dightan Probyn. It was observed how well his Royal Highness looked, his appearance certainly denoting the most robust state of health. The Irish Solicitor-General (Mr. Kenny), Mr. Munro Ferguson, and Mr. Bryce are the names of other well-known personages noticed. The Chancellor of the Exchequer and the Attorney-General were two members of the Cammrtfcee Who f-ITi ved rather late. Shortly before twelve o'clock counsel entered .and took their seats. Mr. Pope, Q.C., and Mr. Pember, Q.C., ap. peered jointly for the Chartered Company, Mr. Rhodes, and Mr. Beit; Mr. Arthur Cohen, Q C., and Mr. Trevor White appeared for Mr. Lionel Phillips. About the same time Sir William Harcourt, Mr. Labouchere, Mr. John Ellie and other members of the Committee entered the room, but soon passed into an ante- room, where they and tine other members of the Committee held a fjroJonged preliminary con- sultation. Meanwhtte there was ample time to obeervo the disposition of the rest of the company. The Duke of Aberoorn, Earl Bel- borne, and Mr. Cochrane, M.P., Parliamentary private secretary to Mr. Chaaniberlfcin, sat at the far side of the horseshoe-shaped table re- served for members of the Committee; behind them bmajr a huge ma.p of Africa, drawn upon guch a scale as to be easily available for refe- rence. THE PRINCE SEATS HIMSELF. Punctually ait noon the Serjeant-at-Arms ushered in the Prince of Wales. Most of those present stood whilst his Royal Highness took a seat beside Earl Selborne. On the other side of the Prince in tha window space sat Mr. F. A S. Hopwoo<J, acting private hon. secretary to Mr. J ackson; Mr. L. V. Haroourt, aDd one or two Colonial officials. At the end of the counsel's table sat Mr. Hawkaley, solicitor to the Chartered Company. Behind counsel sat the directors of the Char. tered Company—Mr. Cecal Rhodes, Colonel Rjbodes, Mr. Beit, Mr. Cawston, &o. Mr. Rhodes himself looked in excellent health, but bad an anxious and pre-oœupjied air, apparently j little disposed to engage in the easy chat which occupied some of his friends. Behind the directors sat the members of Parliament who were not members of the Committee, and other favoured visitors, including two ladaes who modestly occupied places in the back- ground. After a period of waiting, the Serjeant-at- Arms announoed that, at the request of the Committee, all persons must retire outside, except members of either Houses a of Parliament, counsel, re- presentatives of the press, or private secretaries. In obedience to this edict Mr. Rhodes ,and many others, including the two ladies, withdrew temporarily from the room. It was ten minutes to one o'clock before the Committee came in. Mr. Jackson, who •cknowledged the greetings of several members as he passed up the gangway, limped heavily as he moved to his chair. Next in order on his right were Mr. Chamberlain, Sir M. Hicks-Beach, the Attorney-General, Sir W. Hart-Dyke, Mr. Wharton, Mr. Cripps, and Mr. Bigham. On the left of the chairman, m the order in which the niunes are .iven were Sir W. Haroourt, Sr H. CaropbeH-Banmerman, Mr. J. Ellis, and1 Mr. Sydney Buxton. At the extreme end of the table on this side sat ■ Mr. La.bouchere, t'nd as the hon. member for • Northampton moved to has seal, Air. Cecil Rhodes, from his «e\t below the bar, fixed a steady gaze upon him. Order being called, the Chairman rfad the decision of the court, already published, as to procedure, the calling of the presence of counsel. He then called m a loud, firm voice. "Mr. Cecil Rhodes." CECIL RHODES CALLED. Mr. Rhodes stepped up to tho otMps-tabIe. his faoo betokening no little de, oe of force and determination. Some onlookers might have thought it even grim. He took the oath and sat down. "Mr Rhodes, just one or t^o questiors to fret an will," remarked the Chairman, "Your name is Cecil J. Rhodes? Witress: That is my name. You are one of he.* Majesty's Privy Coua- cil? I sin. And a. member of the Cape Legislative Assembly ? I am. You were formerly Prime Minister of the Cape? I wae. Up to what date? I think last January. And you were managing director of the British South Africa Company ? I was. You have resigned that office? I have. Do you remember when? I think about June. The British South Africa Company holds a charter from the Crown ? It does. The Chairman: The Committee, of course, recognise that for the purposes of thi6 inquiry you are able to give them that assistance, and, perhaps, it would be convenient if I put that question to you now, as to whether you desire to make to the Committee any statement. Witness: Yes, I thirk it would be better for me to make a simple statement which I have drawn out, The Chairman: Would that practically cover the whole ground ? Witness: I think so. MR. RHODES'S STATEMENT. I. I^hodes__ then read, amidst breathless interest, the following statement, viz.—"From the date of the establishment of the gold industry on a. large scale at Johannesburg, much discontent has been caused bv the restrictions and impositions placed upon it by the Trans- vaal Government, by the corrupt administra- tion of that Government, and by the denial of to ^7 growing Uitlander population. This discontent had gradually, but steadily, increased, and a considerable time ago I learned from my intercourse with many of the leading persons in Johannesburg that the position of affairs there had beoome intolerable. After long efforts they despaired of obtaining redress by constitutional means, and were resolved to seek, by extra constitu- taonaa means such a change of the Government of the South African Republic as Should give to the majority of the population possessing moreitbam half the land, nine-tenths of the wealth, and paying ndneteen-twentieths of the taxes of the country, a share in its administration. I sympathised with, and as one largelv interested in the Transvaal, shared in the Uiitlanders' grievances, and, further, as a citizen of Cape Colony. I felt that the persistently unfriendly attitude of the Government of the South African Republic to- wards the Colony was the great obstacle to oommon action for practical purposes among the various States of South Africa. Under these oircumstanoes, I assisted the movement in Johannesburg with my purse and influence. Fu^r<r'-racting' wifchin my rights, in the autumn of 1895, I placed on territory, under the admini- stration of the British South Africa Company, upon the borders of the Transvaal, a body of troops, under Dr. Jameson, prepared to act in the Transvaal in certain eventualities. I did not oommtmioate these viewa to the board of directors of the British South Africa Company. With reference to the Jameson raid, I may state that Dr. Jameson went on without mnr authority. Having said this, I desire to add that I am willing generally to accept the finding as to facts contained in the report of the Cape Parliament. I must admit that in all my actions I was greatflv influenced by my belief that the policy of the present Govern- ment of the South African Republic was to introduce the influence of another foreign Power into tihe already complicated system of South Africa, and thereby render more diffi- cult in the future the closer union of the different States." SIR WILIIAM HAROOURT CROSS- EXAMINES. Sir William Harcourt: I observe you speak in this statement of the "persistently unfriendly attitude of the Government of the South African Republic towards the Colony," and I gather that the object of your action was to overthrow the Government? Witness: To bring about a change. When did you first entertain that idea?—A small minority could not permanently rule a husre population under such circumstances. Bat, apart from constitutional agitation, when did you first contemplate such action by force as ultimately took place? AN INDEPENDENT MOVEMENT. I oould not know when it might become neces- sary. There was an independent movement in Johannesburg. Would it be about October, 1895, when mea- sures were first taken against the Government of the outh African Republic ?—People had been thinking about it for two years. Your brother. Colonel F. Rhodes, had beon Administrator when the company obtained ^ower^over the Bedhuanaland Protectorate, in Yes, about October 19. He went to Johannes- burg to take the place of my ether brother, who came home. On his arrival a new conces- sions aooount was opened, and I found a letter of October 24-, written from Johannesburg to Mr. Stevens, secretary, from Colonel F. Rhodes, who wrote:—"As agreed upon with my 'brother, Mr. Cecil Rhodes, I have drawn on the Chartered Company for the sum of £1,000 at sight, to be placed to the debift of the new concessions account. Please honour the draft." I find that the Chartered Com- pany, between then and the January follow- ing, paid sums amounting to £61,500, By what right did Colonel Rhodes draw en the yhartered Company's account? Witness: The Chartered Company had many accounts. It was a sort of clearing-house. It tutd the Trans-Continental Railway, the Beira Railway, the Bechuanaland Railway, &c. When there was a difference between revenue and 6T. penditure I paid the deficit. When my atten- tion was called to these drafts I paid them. Sir Wm. Harcourt: The Chartered Company appears in the accounts as responsible for the money during the whole of that period—from October 24 to January 15. Witness: I was away at the time. Directly I came back I re-paid the drafts. Sir Wm. Harcourt asked what was the "new concession" which witness authorised Colonel Rhodes to call for from the Chartered Com- pany. Witness replied that, Be he had already said in his statement, he helped the movement in Johannesburg with his purse. Sir W. Harcourt: So you authoraed Colonel Rhodes to draw upon the Chartered Company ? Witneas: I told him that if he wanted money I would meet his drafts. Did yon give him any instructions as to what was to be done with the money ? No; he had to use his own judgment. I thought my brother was using the money in connection with the movement in Johannes- burg, but I had no connection with him. At that time there was a quantity of arms introuced into Johannesburg?—Yes. Was that mainly through the instrumen- tality of the De Beers Company?—No. Yo. have the statement of Mr. Gardner Williams. Sir William Harcourt called the attention of the witness to certain statements of evidence in the Blue Book a6 to a certain Captain Holden, and asked: How came Captain Holden to have authority to deal in the matter of smuggling arms?—I do not know. I heard afterwards, when Mr. Gardner Williams gave his evidence at Cape Town. I never met Captain Hodden, or had amy communication with him. My answer is not a matter of denying responsi- bility. That is the situation. Sir W. Harcourt: Have you never given any one sanction to carry on these transactions of smuggling arms into the Transvaal contrary to law?—I decline to answer the question. 1 knew these guns were being sent in. Sir W. Harcourt: Did you sanction—had vou any co-operation with the persoDc3 in tho De Beers Company in sending theae arms sur- reptitiously into the Transvaal ?—I think you had better read Mr. Gardner Williams's evi. dence. I am prepared to abide by it. Who authorised Captain Holden to go into the; De Beers Company's premises and carry out these transactions ?—That is a question I prefer not to answer. SIR WILLIAM EXPOSTULATES. Sir William Haroourt: But, Mr. Rhodes, this is a very serious matter?—I may tell you that I did not authorise Captain Holden to oarry them out. Sir W. Haroourt: Was it a fact you were not awars this thing was going on ?—I told you that I knew they were sending gune into the Transvaal, not from De Beers but through De Beers, and not by any authority of ths company. Sir W. Haroourt: But by an officer of tile company?—Yes, and he has been punished. I suppose you have noticed his trial at Cape Town, haven't you ? Sir Wm. Harcourt did not answer. Sir W. Haroourt (quoting): ''Acting within my rights"?—I had the right to put on the borders of the Transvaal a body of troops under Dr. Jameson prepared to act in the Transvaal in certain eventualities. May I ask vou what you mean by saying "acting within my rights?"—I had the right to put them there. Sir William Harcourt With the object, as you say, of changing the Government of the South African Republic?—I have told you exactly what I did. I admit I was wrong. Sir William Harcourt If you were acting within your rights, was there any reason why It should not been avowed—why you should not have informed Sir Hercules Robin- son? Mr. Rhodes: Do you want an answer? Sir William Harcourt: Mr. Rhodes: Well, I think you must get that answer from Sir Hercules Robinson. (Laugh- ter from Mr. Labouchere). Further questioned by Sir William Haroourt, witnee;s said he accepted the statements made by Lord Roemead (Sir Hercules Robinson) as to representations regarding the concentration of forces. He had a cpnversation with Sir G. Bowyer as to the probability of a rising in Johannesburg, and suggested that it would be wise to have the forces on the border. If there had been a defensive revolution in Johannes- burg the force never would have been used. If Sir William Harcourt read closely he would see that certain people had an interview with Mr. Kruger. Had they received promises that he would make the changes desired by them there would have been no revolution. He (Mr. Rhodes) had the right to put forces on the border because that portion of the Protectorate had been transferred. Then your right was as managing director of the Chaptered Company?—Quite true. And it was as managing director that you made these preparations ?—Yes, but without the other directors' authority. Further questioned by Sir William Harcourt, witness preferred that certain interrogations as to his conversations with Mr. Newton should be put to that gentleman. He saw Mr. Newton at Cape Town, and talked generally on the question. Witness and Dr. Jameson were at Cape Town on the 1st of November, and it was with Dr. Jameson that he arranged for the movement of troops to Mafeking. NOT A MANUFACTURED REVOLU- TION. Sir William Harcourt: So far as the revolu- tion was concerned, you supplied the funds?— Some of them, not all. If you suppose it was a. manufactured revolution you are mistaken. Then, shall I call it a subsidised revolution ? —Nothing of the sort can be done without funds. Who supplied the rest of the funds 1-1 really cannot say. Mr. Rhodes was then cross-examined closely and at much length by Sir William Harcourt with reference to the publication in the- "Times" i on the 1st of January, 1896, of the letter from Colonel Rhodes, and three or four other leading inhabitants of Johannesburg inviting him and his force into that town. Mr. Rhodes admitted that he had given autho- rity to have that letter cabled to England. He had done so in order that the public at home might know that there had been communications between the leaders at Johannesburg, but he professed to have no knowledge of how it oame that the letter in question oame to be dated 28th December, 1895, or how it came to be stated that it had been received by Dr. Jameson "on Saturday," whereas the fact was that Dr. Jame- son had received it nearly two months pre- viously. Sir W. Haroourt: The effect of the publica- tion of that letter was to induce people here to t believe that Dr. Jameson acted suddenly upon an urgent invitation from these people in Johannesburg. Witness: It was not sent with that intention. Was there not, in fact, reason to believe that at the time the raid actually took place, the writers of that letter were actually not desirous that Dr. Jameson should then come into Johannesburg ?—Yes. OBJECT OF THE LETTER'S PUBLICA- TION. The principal object of publishing the letter was to show that there had been communica- tions between Dr. Jameson and the leaders there, not necessarily as solely accounting for his action at that particular time. Never- theless, in replying, after five days' delay, to the telegraphed inquiry from London from the Chartered Company, you refer pointedly to that letter as explaining the raid, adOmg that Dr. Jameson had taken the bit in his mouth and bolted off. Witness: I could only form a judgment as to Dr. Jameson's reasons for aoting, but I do not wish to save my own position by trying to put anything off upon hiim. Dr. Jameson acted for the best, a.nd I may gay that I look upon myself as very culpaMe in the matter. Johannes- burg had been often m the verge of revolution for years before the raid. A small minority cannot under our modern principle's of govern- ment, rule a huge mass who own the wealth and pay most of the taxes. I imagine Johannes- burg will go on preparing for a change until the vast majority get their civil rights. After being further questioned concerning a telegram in which he admitted that the refe- rence to a "polo tournament" meant the insurrection, Mr. Rhodes was asked by Sir W. Haroourt whether the pressure for the insurrec- tion came from Johannesburg or from Mafeking and Cape Town. Witness replied that very strong feeling existed in Johannesburg, and added it might be assumed that the people there would not risk their lives and liberty—for at one time most of the citizens were in gaol—if they were actuated only by pressure from outside. Being pressed as to the contents of a certain telegram quoted from the Blue Book, Mr. Rhodes said, smilingly, "It is one of those cases where other people oome in, is it not?" Then he continued, "Yes, I got that message, and I sent it on to my brother. It came from the person who deals with the Colonial article in the Times." She has sadd she sent it entirely at her own discretion and without instruc- tions from any others connected with the paper. Replying to questions as to such expressions as "instant flotation" appearing in the tele- grams, Mr. Rhodes replied somewhat sharply, "I think the telegrams speak for themselves." Sir W. Haroourt: There is an important tele- gram of December 21 from Colonel Rhodes, say- ing nothing could be done unless the "chair- man" and yourself agree to oome, and he asks whether a special Istiter to the "chairman" it necessary. He also says that the ,hole in- surrection depended upon the assurance from you that the "chairman" would come with you to Johannesburg if the insurrection took place. Now, I ask you does that refer to Sir Hercules Robinson? Witness (after hesitation): If you have no objection, I should like to think it over before I answer. Sir W. Harcourt again called attention to the date of the telegram, and reiterated his view of its importance. Witness: It seems rather absurd, doesn't it? But I should like to think it over. Sir William Haxoourt might think I am evading, an answer, but I never saw the telegram. Further Ques- tioned by the same member as to whether pressure for insurrection came from Cape Town as well as from Pitsani, witness replied he could hardly say that, and lie re- minded Sir William that there were telegrams subsequent to those upon which etress had been laid showing a change, Dr. Jameson was very anxious to "start," but if Sir William took the telegrams of the last week those tele- granM were really prohibiting it Sir W. Harcourt: Surely, It is not negative to secure the Post Office silence?" Witness: I do not know. It seems absurd, does it not? You must take the subsequent telegrams stopping Dr. Jameson. Sir William: He was to start on the Satur- day? Witness: Yes; provided he was in oamanu- nicaftian with Johannesburg. That was the point. The Johanneeburgers were masters of the situation. If you will turn to the date of the 26th of December you will find this. "That it was absolutely necessary to postpone." ADJOURNED UNTIL FRIDAY. At three o'clock the court adjourned until twelve o'clock on Friday. The Prince of Wales did not remain during tho whole sit- ting. His Royal Highness left Westminster Hall shortly after two. MR. STEAD AND THE RAID, I see from the current issue of the Review of Reviews" (says a London correspondent) that Mr. Stead persists in his insinuations that the Jameson raid did not come upon Mr. Cham- berlain altogether as a surprise. He hints that the evidence to be taken before the Committee will support this view. I believe, however, that in making these attacks Mr. Stead is lean- ing upon a broken reed. Mr. Stead advanced hste opinion some months ago. He had what he thought was a good authority for doing so. The authority, I am told, was a legal gentle- man interested in South African affairs. But this gentleman's conclusion was based upon a supposition which has einoe proved to be in- correct. Mr. Chamberlain has already given an empibatio denial to the suggestion.




[No title]





■ wi i i mmmmm—mmmmmmmm AN…