THE BRITISH-BOER WAR

Opinions of Members of the Faculty on the South Africa Conflict.

The opinions of several members of the Faculty on the war between Great Britain and the Boers follow:

Assistant Professor A. C. Coolidge says: "I believe that the Uitlanders have had many causes of just complaint, that the policy of the Boers has often been short-sighted and that England is acting as any other great power would probably act in her place. I sympathize with the Boers because they are fighting heroically for their national existence and for the right to govern their own land. However mistaken they may have been in many of their acts, they have only acted in self defense. I am convinced that until almost the last moment hostilities could have been avoided by England, while the Boers were left with no choice but war or surrender. If their country had been less valuable and had been less in the way of dominion from Cape to Cairo, we should have heard less about their ignorance and conservatism. The story is as old as Naboth's vineyard. The contest is at bottom one for empire on the one side for independence on the other. The disproportion of resources between the two contestants reminds one of the Persians and Greeks. Our own ancestors had infinitely smaller odds to face when they rose in revolt. The doctrine that we should sympathize with a nation, regardless of the rights of any dispute, merely because it is more civilized, seems to me to be destructive to the principles of international morality."

Professor de Sumichrast says: "The war, in my opinion, was deliberately brought about by the Transvaal government which, ever since the retrocession, entered upon a policy having for its object the ultimate exclusion of the British from the whole of South Africa. The interview between Reitz and Schreiner, the brother of the present premier of Cape Colony, at the time of the establishing of the Afrikander Bund, proves that war with England was then contemplated and being prepared for. The recent statement, publicly made, by Dr. Levds, the Hollander agent of the Transvaal, that large quantities of ammunition had been accumulated for years, is another proof of the bellicose intentions of the Boer government. The idea that it was the Jameson raid which impelled the Transvaal to arm is frivolous. The arming had been going on for years. A final proof of Boer premeditation is found in the fact that the Orange Free State, which had absolutely no quarrel with Britain, threw in its lot with the Transvaal."

Professor Strobel says: "One can not help sympathizing with the Boers as the weaker and struggling for independence, but in view of the great interest Great Britain has in South Africa and the evident desire on the part of the Boers to establish an independent republic as evinced in Kruger's policy since 1881, Great Britain is acting as any other nation would act under the circumstances. This is explained by the fact that the importance of the Dutch element in the British colonies would seriously endanger Great Britain's future possession of those colonies. The question is a racial one which can hardly be settled in any other way. The war will decide whether the British or Dutch will take the supremacy in South Africa."

Professor Macvane believes that the Boers are utterly in the wrong, that they have broken every agreement with the British, and that they have tried to hold the majority under the control of the minority in a selfish and oppressive way. They have shown themselves an ignorant and corrupt oligarchy and all the evidence goes to prove that they were about to attack England at the first opportunity. The fact that should have weight with Americans is the oppressive and cruel apprenticeship, so-called, under which the blacks are held, forming a condition practically equalling that in America before the Civil War."

Professor Wendell says: "My sympathies are with the English, because I believe that in the struggle for political existence inevitably to come, the real contest is between what may broadly be called the Common Law of England--a system of which our own government is a direct development--and the ideals of law and government, which have dominated continental Europe. In the end, the failure of England would mean disaster to the ideals of law and of morality which are the foundations of our own national existence."

Professor Francke says: "My sympathy is entirely with the Boers as men fighting for home and liberty. I hope for a restoration of Dutch supremacy in South Africa, because the Dutch have identified themselves with the soil, while the English go there merely for commercial purposes. I should, of course, regret the crumbling to pieces of the British empire, but I do not see why this would be of necessity the consequence of an English defeat in South Africa. For, together with the United States and Germany, England will be able to hold her own against Russia and France, even though she should have to retire from Cape Colony."

Professor Schilling is of the opinion that, ever since the Jameson raid, it has been certain that England's intention was to absorb the South African republics. Britain's unwillingness for a peaceable settlement when a fair proposal was made shows this, as does the continual massing of troops on the Boers' borders. The true inwardness of the matter is not and can not be known for some time, but right seems to be on the side of the Boers. At least the sight of a nation leaving all and going in a body to the front to fight for their homes ought to inspire the admiration of a republic like America and compel it to suspend its judgment.

Professor Channing expressed no sympathy for the Boers. They were fighting not for independence, but for the right to oppress the Anglo-Saxons living in the Transvaal. The promise of naturalization was illusory and hedged round with so many restrictions that the Transvaal government could at any time make it invalid.

Professor Morgan says: "I hope that the English will be speedily and thoroughly victorious because I believe that wherever English institutions are established, they are established for the good of the whole world.

Professor Palmer says that the war is a very unrighteous one and that the English have not a leg to stand on; but--that nevertheless, it would be a great catastrophe if the English should get beaten.

Professor Shaler is sorry for the Boers as brave men fighting for their country, but is convinced that the interests of civilization call for the British success.

Professor Hart declares the English are doing precisely what the United States would do under the circumstances and what in the long run tends to a civilized and an orderly government.

Professor Ames says: "The war on the part of the British is unjustifiable morally, and a blunder politically."

Professor Norton sympathizes with the English, but thinks the subject so complicated as to require too many modifications for such a limited space