Henry Morton Stanley Writes To His Publisher About The Anglo-Boer War, 1899
Henry Morton Stanley, the Victorian-era explorer wrote this fascinating letter to his publisher, Major Pond, on October 10, 1899. He comments on the Anglo-Boer War taking place in South Africa and calls the South Africa President Kruger "a confirmed ass and an obstinate old fool." Signed, "Henry Morton Stanley."
FURZE HILL, PIRBRIGHT SURREY October 10, 1899 My dear Major, Your introduction of Mr. Howland of the “Outlook” has resulted as you are probably aware in the publication of an article in the Magazine on Anglo-Saxon responsibilities. I have just seen it, though it was written before the Transvaal Crisis became intense. Subsequent facts have, I think, borne my thoughts out. The above is my present address where I am simply roughing it away due to the chaos prevailing inside and out. I am therefore in no condition for writing letter for the public eye as you yourself would be the first one to admit if you could see my surroundings. Besides, I cannot see the object of interesting the public in anything just now. The Anglo-Boer relations are the topics of a thousand pens more or less capable of instructing everybody who can read I think. Whether we shall fight or not depends wholly upon Krueger. He has it alone in his power to stay the storm but whether he will use that power or not -no one, probably not Krueger even – can say. My opinion of Krueger differs from almost every writer in the fact that I say he is a confirmed ass or, if you prefer the true meaning of it, an obstinate old fool. I wrote “Through South Africa” some two years ago and if you will look at Chapter 7, I think, I have not the book by me, you will see how the present crisis and the probable termination of it fulfilling the prediction I made. I really do not know which to pity the most, the English who hate war and would do anything in honour to avoid it – dragged to war and future trouble against their will – or the Boers whose stupid obstinacy is likely their ruin. A few years ago, before the Jameson Raid, Krueger said to me, “I will never give you anything, and now let the storm burst.” It is a bad tempered man who said that – and Krueger’s bad temper has caused all this now and will eventually bring him to shame, unless, May the Gods Grant it – he is thoroughly frightened by a stronger, sterner, fiercer will. I have known individuals like Krueger before and though their obstinate wills seemed adamantine many yielded before a greater and superior will. The South African War – should it take place – will prove the Salvation of South Africa if it is conducted rightly. We should have an overwhelming force over there, and the utmost energy should be employed to bring it to a perfect finale – where all whites should be free and equal. The country should be given up to the people and outsiders should refrain from meddling in their affairs. But love to all your family and don’t forget when you come over here – that your opinion of this place will be required by yours most cordially. (SIGNED)Henry Morton Stanley
South Africa President Paul Kruger, 1898
Cartoon - President Kruger with the British Foreign Secretary