South Africa: Aftermath of the Boer War

  • Ronald Hyam


Gladstone had spoken of the South African question in 1881 as ‘the one great unsolved, perhaps unsolvable problem of our colonial system’. This strain of pessimism was never far away from Liberal thinking about South Africa. Long before the end of the nineteenth century, there was an underlying realisation that South Africa had already receded beyond imperial control. It was for this reason that Liberals regarded Sir Alfred Milner as a dangerous high commissioner (1897–1905). The day had long passed when a policy of vigour could be safely indulged. Persistence in such a course must lead inevitably to the creation of another Ireland, a Teutonic not a Celtic Ireland. Any attempt to repeat the policy of ‘the pale’ in Ireland was foredoomed to failure because of the numerical preponderance of the Dutch.1


Prime Minister Land Settlement Responsible Government British Government Representative Government 
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  1. 1.
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  3. 1.
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    A vague statement by Lloyd George to Lord Riddell is the source of this misconception: ‘At the outset, only two of us were with him, John Burns and myself. But his speech convinced the whole cabinet’ (Lord Riddell, More pages from my diary (1934), 144–5, 27 Apr 13. It will be noted that the question at issue was not precisely stated).Google Scholar
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Copyright information

© Ronald Hyam 1968

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ronald Hyam
    • 1
  1. 1.University of CambridgeUK

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