The Transvaal War-like a gigantic picture-cannot be considered at close quarters. To fully appreciate the situation, and all that it embraces, the critic must stand at a suitable distance. He must gaze not merely with the eye of to-day, or even of the whole nineteenth century, but with his mind educated to the strange conditions of earlier civilisation. For in these conditions will be found the root of the widespread mischief the answer to many a riddle which superficial observers have been unable to comprehend. The racial hatred between Boer and Briton is not a thing of new growth; it has expanded with the expansion of the Boer settlers themselves. In fact, on the Boer side, it is the only thing independent of British enterprise which has grown and expanded since the Dutch first set foot in the Cape. This took place in 1652. Then, Jan Van Riebeck, of the Dutch East India Company, first established an European settlement, and a few years later the burghers began life as cattle-breeders, agriculturists, and itinerant traders. These original Cape Colonists were descendants of Dutchmen of the lower classes, men of peasant stamp, who were joined in 1689 by a contingent of Huguenot refugees. The Boers, or peasants, of that day were men of fine type, a blend between the gipsy and the evangelist. They were nomadic in their taste, lawless, and impatient of restrictions, bigoted though devout, and inspired in all and through all by an unconquerable love of independence. With manners they had nothing to do, with progress still less. Isolation from the civilised world, and contact with Bushmen, Hottentots, and Kaffirs, kept them from advancing with the times. Their slaves outnumbered themselves, and their treatment of these makes anything but enlivening reading. From all accounts the Boer went about with the Bible in one hand and the jambok in the other, instructing himself assiduously with the Word, while asserting himself liberally with the deed. Yet he was a first-rate sporting man, a shrewd trafficker, and at times an energetic tiller of the soil. The early settlements were Rondebosch, Stellenbosch, and Drakenstein, in the valley of the Berg River. Here the Dutch community laboured, and smoked, and, married, multiplying itself with amazing rapidity, and expanding well beyond the original limits.
Dutch domination at the Cape lasted for 143 years after the landing of Van Riebeck, but gradually internal dissensions among the settlers resulted in absolute revolt. Meanwhile the Dutch in Europe had lost their political prestige, and the country was overrun by a Prussian army commissioned to support the House of Orange. In 1793, in a war against allied England axid Holland, France gained the day, and a Republic was set up under French protection, thereby rendering Holland and her colonies of necessity antagonistic to Great Britain. After this the fortunes of the Cape were fluctuating. In 179S Admiral Elphinstone and General Craig brought about the surrender of the colony to Great Britain. Later on it was returned to the Batavian Republic at the Peace of Amiens, only to be afterwards recaptured by Sir David Baird in 1806. Finally, in 1814, our claim to the Cape and other Dutch colonies was recognised on payment of the sum of £6,ooo,ooo sterling.
Now for the first time began the real emicrration of the British. They settled at Bathurst, near Algoa Bay, but Thdugh their numbers gradually swelled, they never equalled the number of the inhabitants of Dutch origin.
At this time South Africa was an ideal place for the pioneer. The was maunificent. There were mountain gorges or scenery kloofs, roaring cataracts, vast plains, and verdant tracts of succulent grasses. There was big game enough to delight the heart of a race of Nimrods. Lions, elephants, hippopotami, rhinoceroses, antelopes, and birds of all kinds, offered horns, hides, tusks, and feathers to the adventurous sportsman. All these things the nomadic Boer had hitherto freely enjoyed, plying now his rifle, now his plough, and, taking little thought for the morrow or for the moving world outside the narrow circle of his family experiences. With the appearance of British paramountcy at the Cape came a hint of law and order, of progress and its accompaniment- taxation. The bare whisper of discipline of any kind was sufficient to send the truculent Boer trekking away to the far freedom of the veldt. Quantities of them took to their lumbering tented wagons, drawn by long teams of oxen, and put a safe distance between themselves and the new comers. All they wanted was a free home, conducted in their own gipsy fashion-their kraals by the river, their camp fires, their flocks and herds, and immunity from the vexation of monopolies and taxes. And here at once will be seen how the seeds sprang up of a rooted antagonism between Boer and Briton that nothing can ever remove, and no diplomacy can smooth away. The Boer nature naturally inclines to a sluggish content, while the British one invariably pants for advance. The temperamental tug of war, therefore, has been one that has grown stronger and stronger with the progress of years. The principles of give and take have been tried, but they have failed. Reciprocity is not in the nature of the Boer, and without reciprocity society and States are at a standstill. The Boer is accredited with the primitive virtues, innocence, sturdiness, contentment. If he has these, he has also the defects of his qualities. He is crafty, stubborn, and narrow, and intolerant of everything beyond the limits of his native comprehension. Innovations of any kind are sufficient to fill him with suspicion, and those started by the British in their first efforts at Cape government were as gall and wormwood to his untrammelled taste. These efforts, it must be owned, were not altogether happy. There was first a rearrangement of local governments and of the Law Courts; then, in 3827, followed a decree that English should be the official language. As at that time not more than one colonist in seven was British, the new arrangement was calculated to make confusion worse confounded! The disgust of the Cape Dutch may be imagined! The finishing touch came in 1834. By the abolition of slavery-humane though its object was-the Cape colonists were exceedingly hard hit; and though the owners of slaves were compensated to the tune of a million and a quarter (the slaves were valued at three millions sterling), they continued to maintain a simmering resentment. Added to this came the intervention of the missionaries, who attempted to instil into the Boer mind a sense of the equality, in the sight of Heaven, of the black and the white races.
At this time 32,000 Kaffirs had crossed over the border and invaded the settlements, dealing death and destruction wherever they went. They were finally repulsed by the British, and Sir Benjamin D'Urban, the Governor at the C ape, proclaimed the annexation of the country beyond the Keiskamma, on the eastern boundary of the Colony, as far as the Kei. But no sooner had he accomplished this diplomatic move in his wise discretion, than orders came from the British Government to the effect that the land was to be restored to the Kaffirs and the frontier boundary moved back to its original place-Keiskamma. Sir Benjamin D'Urban carried out these orders much to his disgust, for he deemed the annexation of the province to be necessary to the peace of all the surrounding districts. But this was neither the first nor the last occasion in the history of Cape government on which men of practical experience have had to give way before wise heads in Downing Street arm-chairs.
This action on the part of the Government was as the last straw to the overladen camel. The patience of the Dutch Boers broke down. The introduction of a foreign and incomprehensible tongue, the abolition of slavery, and finally the restoration to the despised Kaffirs of a conquered province, were indignities past bearing. There was a general exodus. Off to the neighbourhood of the Orange and the Vaal Rivers lumbered the long waggon trains drawn by innumerable oxen, bearing, to pastures new and undefiled by the British, the irate Boers and their household gods. It was a pathetic departure, this voluntary exile into strange and unknown regions. The first pioneers, after a long and wearisome journey to Delagoa Bay, fell sick and retraced their steps to Natal only to die. The next great company started forth in the winter of 1836. Some went to the districts between the Orange and the Vaal Rivers-the district now known as the Orange Free State; others went into the country north of the Vaal River-the district now called the Transvaal; while others again went beyond the mountains to the district now named Natal. Here the Boer hoped to lead a new and a peaceful life, to encamp himself by some river course with his kraal for his sheep and his goats, the wide veldt for his carpet, and the blue dome of heaven or the canvas of his waggon for his untaxed roof. But his hopes were of short duration. The poor trekker-to use the vulgar phrase-had fallen out of the frying-pan into the fire. He had fled from the "British tyrant" only to encounter the Matabele Zulu savage. A terrible feud between the Bantu tribes was then causing much violence and blood-spilling, and the Zulu chief Moselekalse, having driven the Bechuanas beyond the Limpopo, had established the kingdom of the. Matabele. With this chief, the Boer Potgieter and a party of burghers, on exploration intent, came suddenly into collision. Some of the Boers fled, the rest were promptly massacred. Those who remained alive made plans for self-defence. They lashed their waggons together to form a laager, and within it placed their women and children in partial safety. They then gave the warriors of Moselekalse a warm reception. The fight was maintained with' great energy, the Zulus raining assegais over the waggons, while the Boers returned the compliment with their firearms. For these they had plenty of ammunition, and relays of guns were loaded and handed out gallantly by their women from within the laager.
The Boers were victorious. Their aim was true, their pluck enormous, and after a sharp engagement the enemy were forced to retire. The savages were not vanquished, however, till terrible damage had been inflicted on the laager. Not content with the loss of many of their number, their sheep and their cattle, the plucky Boers started forth to punish the Matabele. Though few in number the burghers had the advantage of rifles, and succeeded In triumphing over the enemy and establishing themselves at Winburg, on the Vet River, to west of Harrismith. Later on the Boer farmers prepared to trek into Natal. They had prospected the place and found it entirely suited to their agricultural needs. Water and game were plentiful, and the whole country was fertile as a garden. Here they proposed to settle down. At Port Natal-now known by the name of Durban-was a party of Englishmen with whom the Doer explorers got on friendly terms. Both Englishmen and Boers were aware that the district was under Zulu sway, and it was decided that the chief, Dingaan, should be interviewed as to the approaching settlement of the Doers. The wily Zulu received his late enemies with every show of amity. He offered them. refreshments, he made entertainments for their amusement. He finally agreed to cede such territory as was demanded by the Doers, provided they would secure to him certain cattle that had been stolen from him by a chief named Sikonyela. This the Boers agreed to do. They promptly travelled to see Sikdnyela, and by threats, persuasions, or other mysterious means, extracted from him his ill-gotten gains. With the restored cattle the whole party of Boers then passed on their way from Drakensberg to Natal, full of the hope of finally making a settlement in a region so well suited to their pastoral instincts.
On again visiting the chief Dingaan, they were again received with honoun More festivities were arranged, and the date of the signing of the treaty was fixed for the 4th of February 1838.
The day came. The burghers arrived in the customary picturesqueness of woollen shirts, round hats, rough coats, and leathern veldt-broeks. Dingaan, amiable to excess, insisted that they should accompany him to his kraal, and there make a formal leave-taking. They were requested to leave their arms outside as an earnest of good faith, and, with some suspicion, they acceded. Their reception was splendid. Their health was drunk, the calabash passed round, and then-then, at a given signal from the chief, the Zulu hordes rushed in, fully armed and raging. In less time than it takes to describe the deed, the defenceless company of Boer farmers were slaughtered \in cold blood-slaughtered before they could lift even a fist in self defence! This horrible act of treachery served to do away at one fell swoop with the whole Boer party. Their bones, piled in a heap without the kraal, alone remained to tell to their kindred the tale of their undoing.. The Zulus then proceeded in their tens of thousands to attack the nearest encampment, and cut down all who came in their way. Men-women-children-they spared none. The tidings being carried to the outer encampments of the Boers, they prepared themselves for the worst. They and their gallant vrows, who fought with as cod and obstinate a courage as their husbands, resisted the onslaught staunchly and successfully; but they paid dearly for their boldness. Their cattle were demolished, and their numbers were miserably thinned. Some thought of retiring from Natal; some contemplated revenge.
The pathetic state of the Boers attracted the sympathy of the Englishmen then in Natal, and they joined hands. Potgieter and Uys then commanded a force, and marched out on the enemy, but unfortunately fell into an ambush and were slain. Among the dead were the commandant Uys and his son.
Then the Englishmen, not to be behindhand in the fray, came to the rescue. Though there were but seventeen of them, they went out accompanied by 1500 Hottentots to meet the enemy. They followed the retreating savages beyond the Tugela, when suddenly they found themselves face to face, with a fierce multitude of 70,000 Zulus. A conflict of the most terrible kind ensued: a conflict the more terrible because at the same time so heroic and so hopeless. From this appalling fight only four Englishmen escaped. These had succeeded in cutting their way through the enemy; the rest had been surrounded, and died fighting valiantly, and were almost buried among the dead bodies of their antagonists.
But this was not to be the finale of the Boer resistance to the wild Zulu. The above tragic engagement between the Englishmen and Zulus took place in April 1835. By December of the same year they had gathered themselves under the banner of their fine leader Andries Pretorius, a farmer from the district of Graff Reinet, and started forth again to meet the treacherous Dingaan, and pay him the debt they owed him.
A word or two of this Pretorius, after whom the now notable town of Pretoria was named. He was a born leader of men: he was a Cromwell in his way. At that date he was forty years of age, in the prime of strength and manhood. He was tall, and vigorous in mind as well as in body, cdm and deliberating in counsel, but prompt and fiery in action. His.descent is traced from one Johannes Pretorius, son of a clergyman at Goeree in South Holland, one of the very early settlers-a pious and worthy man, whose piety and worth had been inherited by several generations. Like the rest of his countrymen, Pretorius would brook no control. Though he was indubitably brave and immensely capable, he had the conservative instincts of his race. He shrunk from all innovations, he disliked everything connected with civilisation that might in the smallest degree interfere with the personal liberty of the individual. Freedom was as the very breath of his nostrils, and here was the great link between this really exceptional nian and the body of his pastoral followers.
Pretorius, bent on the punishment of the treachery of Dingaan, set out, as has been said, with his expedition in the winter of 1838. This expedition has been named by the Boers the Win Commando. He had but three small pieces of cannon and a force composed of about four hundred white men and some native auxiliaries, yet the admirable tactics of Pretorius, the stout hearts and fine shooting of his followers, combined to bring about a victory over the Zulus. These were totally routed, and lost one third of their number.
The bravery and splendid persistence of the Boers filled the hearts with admiration, particularly when, after several well-directed attacks, they eventually succeeded in utterly breaking the Zulu power Dingaan was dethroned and driven into exile, and his kraal and property burnt. A Christian burial service was read over the place where lay the bones of the assassinated Retief and his companions. The date, the 16th December 1838, on which the Zulu power met its first check from white men, is one ever remembered in Boer history. It goes by the name of Dingaan's Day, and is annually celebrated with great rejoicings throughout the Transvaal.
The Boers had now succeeded in inspiring wholesome awe in the heart of Panda, the new chieftain who occupied the place once held by his brother, the exiled Dingaan. He was not a person of bellicose disposition, and thinking discretion the better part of valour, was ready enough to swear to keep peace with his late enemies. In these circumstances the Boers with prayer and thanksgiving were able to pursue the promptings of their long-checked ambition. Soon several hundreds of waggons drawn by long teams of oxen came lumbeting into Natal, for the purpose of establishing there the Republic, which had so often been planned out in imagination and never yet found any but an abortive existence. This ideal State was eventually formed and called the Republic of Natalia, and it enjoyed for several years an independent existence.
As Natal became the first cause of armed conflict between the British and the Boers, its then position in regard to the authorities at the Cape may as well be reviewed. Though the new Republic maintained its perfectly independent existence, its inhabitants were still mentioned by the Governor of Cape Colony as British subjects. It must be remembered that prior to the occupation of Natal by the Boers, and the formation of their cherished Republic, the Governor of Cape Colony had issued a proclamation announcing his intention of occupying Natal later on, and stating that the emigrants-who were then making active preparations for the attack of Dingaan-were British subjects. In Great Britain, however, the authorities had not yet decided to follow the advice so often given by their representatives at the Cape. They were still declaring it inexpedient to extend their territory, and likewise their responsibilities, in South Africa. But the incursion of the Doers in the neighbourhood of Port Natal put a new complexion on affairs. The British Government began to open its eyes td the value of a seaport, with two good harbours on the South African coast, as a colonial possession. It could not fail to recognise also that the members of the new State were already bitter foes to the British and their ways; and that it would be dangerous to allow them to establish themselves as an independent power on the coast, and entirely throw off their duty of allegiance. Accordingly Sir George Napier, the then Governor of the Cape, sent troops to occupy Natal. He remained undecided as to the mode of dealing with the emigrant Doers, however, for, while declaring them British subjects, he yet was not prepared to afford them protection from attacks of the natives. It is scarcely surprising that this half-and-half paternity of the Government failed to satisfy the men whose kith and kin had fallen in their numbers at Weenen and the Hill of Blood, and the consequent disaffection of the Doers grew deeper as signs of British authority increased.
But at first, in the rest of their territory outside Natal the Doer Government remained unmolested. Their district was bounded by the sea and the Drakenberg mountains, the Tugela and Umzimubu Rivers, and there for a time things went well. Pretorius was Commandant General in Natal, Potgieter Chief Commandant in the allied Western Districts. The legislative power was in the hands of a Volksraad of twenty-four members, whose ways were more vacillating and erratic than advantageous. "Every man for himself and God for all" seemed to be the convenient motto of this assembly, except perhaps on urgent occasions, when Pretorius and Potgieter were called upon as joint dictators to settle some knotty problem relating to external affairs.
At the close of 1840 this Volksraad commenced negotiations with the Cape Government with a view to getting their independence formally recognised. The Governor at the Cape was again in the old quandary. While he personally desired to put an end to troubles from within and without by establishing a strong government over the whole country, he was crippled by the Ministry at home, which was consistent in maintaining its policy of inconsistency, and tried to maintain its hold on the Cape; while steadily refusing to increase Great Britain's responsibility in South Africa.
The demands of the Volksraad (presented in January 1841,) were scarcely acceptable at headquarters. The nature of them is interesting, and shows the then attitude of people who described themselves as "willing and desirous to enter into a perpetual alliance with the Government of Her Majesty."
They bargained that the Republic of Natalia was to be acknowledged as a free and independent State, in close alliance with the British Government. If attacked by sea by any other power, Great Britain might interpose either by negotiation or arms. If Great Britain were at war, however, the Republic was to remain neutral. Wine, strong liquors, and articles "prejudicial to this Republic," were to be taxed more highly than other things, which would be taxed as for a British Colony. British subjects residing in the Republic would have equal protection, and the same taxes as burghers, while in case of war every assistance would be given to a British or Colonial force marching through the territory. The slave trade would not be permitted, and every facility for the propagation of the Gospel among the neighbouring tribes would be afforded. The Republic guaranteed to make no hostile movements against natives in the direction of the Colony without permission of the Governor, unless circumstances of violence, or the inroad of tribes, rendered immediate action obligatory.
There were other clauses of less importance which need not be specified. Suffice it to say, that while these terms were being considered, a cattle and slave-stealing Boer raid, headed by Pretorius, took place. The excuse for the proceeding was the lifting of certain of their own cattle, but the action served as an object lesson for those in power at the Cape. The Volksraad was politely in-formed that the Boers were still British subjects, and a letter from the Home Government to Sir George Napier was received, stating that Her Majesty "could not acknowledge a portion of her own subjects as an independent Republic, but that on their receiving a military force from the Colony, their trade would be placed on the footing of the trade of a British possession. But the Boers flouted authority they refused to accept the situation. They put forth a proclamation appealing against the oppression of man and to the justice of God, with all the fervour of the Old Testament Christians they were.
The arrogance of Pretorius and his crew had now so seriously increased that Sir George Napier, seeing danger ahead, decided to establish a camp near the border of the State, and Durban was occupied. Captain Smith, in command of some three hundred men, made a rapid march across country to Natal, merely to be informed that the Boors had placed themselves under the protection of Holland.
It may be noted that when this statement reached the ears of the King of Holland, he emphatically repudiated it. He addressed the British Government, saying "that the disloyal communication of the emigrant farmers had been repelled with indignation, and that the King of Holland had taken every possible step to mark his disapproval of the unjustifiable use made of his name by the individuals referred to." Captain Smith, who fortunately had not been imposed upon by what the Boers considered their neat ruse, made preparations to attack them. But he overestimated his own or underrated his adversary's strength. He fell into ambush and lost heavily. He was then driven to entrench himself in Durban. One of his men managed to escape, however, and by riding to Grahamstown through dangerous country, contrived to convey the intelligence of Captain Smith's misfortune, and to bring reinforcements to his aid. These reinforcements arrived in Durban harbour on the 25th of June 1842. At sight of the British frigate and the goodly display of redcoats, the Boers, who had been besieging Captain Smith for a month with three guns and six hundred men, made good their escape, leaving Pretorius no alternative but to make terms. Thus Natal became a British possession.
In 1844 the place was declared to be a dependency of Cape Colony. Many of the emigrants admitted themselves to be British subjects and remained there, but the great majority took to their waggons and lumbered back across the Drakensberg to their old settling-place.
There the original Voortrekkers had scattered themselves on both sides of the Vaal River, and helped to found the Transvaal and the Orange Free State. As may be imagined at this juncture, the natural hostility to the British, which has now become part of the Boor character, was growing apace. The voluntary exiles from Natal, on moving to the north of the Orange River, determined to evade the British, and proclaim the whole of that locality an independent Republic. The authorities at the Cape, however, frustrated the new struggle for independence. They laid claim for Great Britain to the whole territory east of E. long. 22 and south of S. lat. .25, with the exception of the land already owned by Portugal or by friendly native chiefs.
It may be remembered that one of the causes of the great Trek was the restoration of their province to Kaffirs, thereby according to the blacks an independence that was not enjoyed by the Boers. No astonishment, therefore, will be felt at the exasperation of the Boers when they found that the Cape Government had entered into treaties with the Griquas-treaties which seemed to them to promise more freedom to the savage than was accorded to themselves. Grievances of many kinds-some real and some ridiculous-continued daily to occur. Things serious and things trivial were liable to cause them equal indignation. According to Livingstone, the ignorant followers of Potgieter-who were posted at Magaliesberg, a thousand miles from the Cape-were moved to wrath merely by the arrival of Herschel's great telescope at the Cape Observatory! What right, said they, had the Government to erect that huge instrument at the Cape for the purpose of seeing what they were doing behind the Kashan mountains?
But of just grievances they had several, and these Pretorius, as spokesman of his people, wished to lay before the Governor at the Cape. Sir Henry Pottinger, who occupied that post in 1847, unfortunately declined the interview; consequently affairs went from bad to worse. In the end of the year Sir Henry Smith arrived as Governor of the colony, and great things were expected of him. He knew the native races, he knew the Boers, and they both knew him. Pretorius, who was arranging a final emigration from Natal, was summoned to confer with the new Governor Sir Henry wished to gauge the feelings of the farmers prior to issuing a proclamation (dated February 3, 1848), declaring the Queen's sovereignty over the whole country between the Orange and Vaal Rivers to eastward of the Quathlamba Mountains. According to Pretorius, the conference was an unsatisfactory one. He assured the Governor that his people would never consent to it. Sir Henry Smith nevertheless considered himself justified in taking the step, and the Home Government, whose policy it had been to consolidate the peaceful native States along the border, eventually coincided with his view.
No sooner was the proclamation gene rally known than the horde of Pretorius' followers flew to arms. They swept southward, driving every British official beyond the Orange River. Major Warden, the resident at Bloemfontein, where a British fort and garrison had been placed some two years before, was forced to capitulate.
Sir Harry Smith, on becoming acquainted with the news, at once offered a thousand pounds for the arrest of Pretorius. He also began a march to the front. The Governor thought that he had but to come, see, and conquer; but he was mistaken. He had tough work before him. The Boers, about a thousand strong, had entrenched themselves in a formidable position. They were superior in point of numbers, horses, and guns to Sir Harry's forces; but he pursued his way, nothing daunted. He stormed the position, and, after a hard fight, scattered the enemy. They fled from Boomplaats, where the engagement had taken place, and hastened back across the Vaal to their native haunts. The date of the battle was the 29th of August 1848, and the father of President Kruger is said to have been the first man to fire a shot at the British on that occasion!
After this period various dissensions arose in the Boer camp between Pretorius, who styled himself "Chief of the whole united emigrant force," and Potgieter, who looked upon himse if somewhat in the light of a rival. While these worthies fell out Sir Harry Smith saw the annexation carried through, and the territory of the modern Free State was united to Cape Colony, under the title of the Orange River Sovereignty. The contumacious Boers took themselves off with their leader across the Vaal, and fresh European settlers came in and established themselves in the fertile plains that were deserted. For some time after this things prospered, and Sir Harry saw before him the prospect of a new self-governing Dutch colony, which would resemble and equal those of Natal and the Cape. But he reckoned without his host, and all that he had taken the trouble to do was ultimately undone. In 1852 the Government at home declared its policy to be the ultimate abandonment of the Orange River Sovereignty. For this pusillanimous policy there were several reasons, the greatest being a fear of a Basuto rising and the trouble it would entail. The British Government therefore decided to maintain its rights over the Transvaal no further, and by the Sand River Convention, signed on the 17th of January 1852, the emigrant farmers beyond the Vaal River were given the right to manage their own affairs, subject only to the condition that they should neither permit nor encourage slavery.
About this time commenced the threatened rise of the Basutos in the neighbourhood of the Orange River territory. The Basutos are a branch of the Bechuana race, who had been formed by their chiefs Motlume and Moshesh into a powerful nation, which could hold its own against Boer or Zulu. With this race the Home Government desired to have nothing to do, and the Colonial Office, viewing the political game as not worth the candle, definitely withdrew from the Orange River Sovereignty, leaving the Free State to come into being, and devise its own plans for overawing its enemies on the other side of the border. Accordingly, in 1854, Sir Harry Smith's programme of annexation was entirely wiped out, British sovereignty renounced, and the Orange Free State left to become a Republic and take care of itself.