‘Methods of Bar-Boer-ism’ part 2

Continuing the ‘methods of Bar-Boer-ism’ theme, here are some diary extracts from the Rev. Gerard Bailey, Anglican Vicar of Dundee, written after his parish was over-run, annexed and thoroughly looted by the ‘noble’ Boers we are all meant to think of as the goodies / victims of the piece:

October 23rd 1899:

‘… a little later, a Boer brought in the following letter to the Magistrate. It was in Dutch.

Dear Sir,
Unless you, sir, hand over the town of Dundee before or by 2 o’clock this afternoon, I will treat the above mentioned town as I see fit and bombard the same.

I remain,
Yours, &c.
D. Erasmus
(Asst. General)

The Boer forces, after entering the town, immediately began looting – all stores and offices came in for the same treatment. The only two that successfully resisted the looters were Messrs Oldacres and Handley’s, and these only to a limited extent, as later on they were taken over by the Transvaal authorities and then the looting was done in a more genteel manner.
The Boer in his looting has his own particular fancies. Macintoshes were eagerly snapped up. Sardines were never passed over, and Dutch Bibles were taken as Godsends.’

17 November 1899

‘The Boer population in Dundee is being added to daily. Many fresh families have arrived. They are making themselves comfortable in the houses, and appear to have made up their minds that this is to be a Boer dorp now and always. Henceforth it is be ‘Meyersdorp’, named after Lucas Meyer’

[The open-minded reader will agree that this rather flies in the face of the nonsense peddled by the likes of Pakenham, Pretorius and Nasson about the Boer invasion of Natal being somehow ‘defensive’ in nature]

11 February 1900

‘At the commencement of the occupation they talked about giving Dundee the new name of Meyersdorp. I saw an envelope so addressed; but now they have gone a step further, and are in reality renaming the streets. I saw yesterday near the gaol and Court House some erections which I thought were signposts, directing strangers to public buildings, but on going to examine I found them to be inscribed ‘General Joubert Straat’ (street between Vicarage and the gaol), ‘ Reitz Straat’ (street past Wilson’s house, Handley’s house and on to the cemetary), ‘President Kruger Straat’ (Main Street), ‘Wolmarans Straat’ (street from market place to Hogo’s house). All this tickled my fancy so much that when I came upon the sign posts for the first time, I had a laughing fit in the street. Fancy this move, and the next town Ladysmith, not yet in their hands – rather premature! There signboards were, after the relief of Ladysmith, stealthily removed’.

2 March 1900

‘This has been a distinctly cheery day. As I lay in bed at 5 am, I was roused by a heavy report which shook the house. I knew at once the meaning of it. It told of the Boer retreat and blowing up the bridges. Another, half and hour later, and then another. I am told that other explosions were heard earlier, but they did not disturb me. This is indeed a good business. At midday, a train full of Boer families, late residents of Dundee, steamed away. A distinctly good sign for the Boer women are far from desirous of quitting their comfortable abodes. Most of them have never had such a good time in their lives. You can be sure they are not going away empty, and I doubt if any Dundee housewives will ever set eyes upon their stocks of linen and the clothes they left behind’.

[again, the open-minded reader will wonder why Boer families had taken up residence in Dundee were the Boers only keen on occupying ‘defensive positions, just over the border’]

15 May 1900

‘Relieved! Again safe and sound under British rule! … I had a small tree cut down the previous day for a flagstaff and was soon fastening to it the flag which I had had in hiding for the last 7 months… About 0830 my coloured gardener came rushing up. He had seen three soldiers. ‘Up with the flag then!’. There wasn’t a breath of wind, not a breeze for her to wave to. Quite disappointing; but there she was, aloft and proud, the supreme symbol of our freedom’.

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