9 November 1899 – lord Salisbury verklaar Brittanje se doel met oorlog

Raar, maar waar … Vandag 121 jaar gelede, op 9 November 1899, verklaar die Britse eerste minister, lord Salisbury, tydens ’n burgemeestersbanket in Londen Brittanje se doel met die oorlog teen die ZAR en die OVS:

“We seek no goldfields: we seek no territory. What we desire is equal rights for all men of all races, and security for our fellow-subjects and for the Empire. I will not ask by what means those results are to be obtained – the hour for asking that has not yet come – but these are the objects – these are the only objects – that we seek, and we do not allow any other consideration to cross our path.”

Die Britse joernalis Edward T. Cook skryf in 1902 in sy boek The rights and wrongs of the Transvaal War ook oor hierdie stelling van Salisbury. Hy verdedig die eerste minister se standpunt (selfs nog in 1902 toe die oorlog reeds tot ’n einde gekom het) en sê:

“[W]hat he was defining in that speech was the motive with which the British nation had entered into the struggle. And in denying the allegation that we had entered into it from lust of gold or territory, he was perfectly right. If the territories are now annexed, it is because no other means could be found for obtaining the things we did go to war for – namely, ‘equal rights’ and ‘security for our fellow-subjects and for the Empire’. Terms that would have been readily and unreservedly accepted by this country in order to avert war became impossible by the logic of the stricken field.”

(Illustrasie: ’n Illustrasie van die Britse eerste minister Lord Salisbury wat op 20 Desember 1900 in die tydskrif Vanity Fair verskyn het.)