So was set the stage for the disgraceful struggle involving a tiny White nation and the most powerful and acquisitive empire in the world. War came in 1899. It cannot be too strongly stressed that it was not the British who fought the Afrikaners. It was the international money powers who manipulated the British Government of the day to send English, Welsh, Scotch and Irish soldiers to fight and die on the battlefields of South Africa. Stripped down to basics, the Boer War was a criminal act of cosmic proportions. Not all were fooled by the conspirators and their chicanery.
On December 18, 1898 – before the outbreak of war – Lieutenant-General William Butler, then Commander-in-Chief of British Forces in SA and Acting High Commissioner during Milner’s absence in England, wrote from the Cape to the Secretary of the Colonies: “All the political questions in South Africa and nearly all the information sent from Cape Town are being worked by what I have already described as a colossal syndicate for the spread of false information.”
Totally disgusted with the treachery of those whom he termed “the train-layers setting the political gunpowder,” Butler, an Irishman who had served the Empire loyally and with distinction in India, Canada, West Africa and elsewhere, resigned his post immediately after Milner’s return and returned to Britain.
Similar comment came from J.A. Hobson, the Hampstead intellectual, classical scholar and Manchest Guardian correspondent who visited the Transvaal just before the outbreak of war. He, too, warned that “finance-capitalists” were seeking war for their own ends. He wrote: “We are fighting to place a small international oligarchy of mine owners and speculators in power in Pretoria. Englishmen would do well to recognise that the economic and political destinies of South Africa are, and seem likely to remain, in the hands of men, most of whom are foreigners by origin, whose trade is finance and whose trade interests are not British.”