Page 3529

3529 THE TWENTIETH CENTURY-THE GREAT WAR.

haul down the Union Jack. But at the

head of the South African Union, as its

Premier, stood General Louis Botha, former commander-in-chief of the Boer forces.

General Botha had solemnly sworn that

the British would never regret their generous course toward him and his compatriots, and, it cannot be doubted, he

also remembered that of the British Cabinet

then in power many had openly denounced

the course of the Conservative Government

in the Boer War and had openly sympathized with the burghers in their struggle.

To those who came with suggestions that

now was an opportune time to throw off

British rule he replied that the Boers

already had all that they wanted, that

they controlled the Government, which

was virtually independent, and he expressed strong doubts whether, if Germany

won the war and overthrew the British

Empire, the lot of the people of South

Africa would be as enviable as it was

under the British flag.

There was, however, an incipient revolt. Lieutenant-Colonel Maritz, commander of a force that had been gathered

on the border of German Southwest Africa,

went over to the enemy with a handful

of his men; while General Christian De

Wet, General Beyers, and some others

of the old Boer leaders raised the standard

of revolt in the northern Free State and

the western Transvaal. General Botha

acted, however, with great firmness and

energy, and the movement was soon

suppressed with but little bloodshed. General De Wet, who was captured on December 1, and some of his compatriots were

kept in easy confinement for almost a

year, but when conditions became opportune, General Botha released his old

friends, being no doubt inclined to condone

their actions, the motives for which were

easily understandable to him.

Meantime, General Botha proceeded

to attempt the conquest of German Southwest Africa. The forces for this purpose

were raised almost wholly in South Africa,

and they were commanded by General

Botha in person, with General Smuts

second in command. The Germans had

considerable forces in the colony, and were

aided by the great size of the country,