The Milner Papers - Vol. 2

The Milner Papers - Vol. 2

The Milner Papers - Vol. 2

The Milner Papers - Vol. 2

Excerpt

The voluminous papers relating to his long career, preserved by Lord Milner, contain a mass of information invaluable to the future historian, and not without significance in modern politics. The present volume, which concludes the South African series, covers a period of intensive development unsurpassed in the history of any country. It shows the High Commissioner at grips with the problems arising out of the Boer War, the negotiations for Peace, and the reconstruction and development of a new South Africa after the War. Many long and important despatches by him on these subjects have already been published in Blue Books of the time. It would have needed another volume to print them in full here. Yet only so, perhaps, could the full magnitude of Lord Milner's labours for South Africa be adequately displayed. But since they are thus available for historians, it has seemed best to use the published despatches mainly as material for an historical narrative, with full references to the Blue Books and the Milner Papers upon which it is based. There remains a multitude of documents of the first importance both from the point of view of present-day problems and historical controversies. There are, for instance, Lord Milner's views upon native policy; upon the new Imperialism, of which he was a pioneer ; upon the suspension of the Cape Constitution ; and upon the weaknesses of the party system. The political circumstances attending the importation of Chinese labour, and Lord Milner's criticisms of the military campaigns, and his suggestions as to how they might have been conducted, are here dearly revealed for the first time. The same is true of his differences with Lord Kitchener, differences not of persons but of policy, over the negotiations and terms of Peace.

Finally we see him turning, with the speed and energy of a racer who has been held up at the starting-post, to the stupendous task of building up a new civilization, based upon clean administration and economic and agricultural development in the new Colonies. That tremendous work, so tensely wrought, and planned with such . . .

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