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An Imperfect OccupationEnduring the South African War$
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John Boje

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780252039560

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: April 2017

DOI: 10.5406/illinois/9780252039560.001.0001

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The Failure of Protection

The Failure of Protection

(p.37) 2 The Failure of Protection
An Imperfect Occupation

John Boje

University of Illinois Press

This chapter examines the British proclamation, issued by Lord Roberts two days after the occupation of Bloemfontein in February 1900, which promised that those who “desist from any further hostility towards Her majesty’s Government … and who are found staying in their homes and quietly pursuing their ordinary occupations, will not be made to suffer in their persons or property on account of their having taken up arms in obedience to the order of their Government.” The chapter considers how the Boers’ disillusionment with the war made the proclamation extremely appealing to them and argues that the prospect of returning to a quiet life untouched by the war proved illusory because of Britain’s failure to keep the promise of protection made to those who had laid down their arms. Instead, surrendered burghers endured British harassment as a result of looting, requisitioning, the random operation of martial law, and the inability to differentiate between peaceable citizens and oath-breaking belligerents. This in addition to the problems presented by the return of commandos.

Keywords:   proclamation, Lord Roberts, Boers, Britain, burghers, harassment, martial law, commandos, looting, requisitioning

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