Anglo African writers

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Anglo-African Writers
by A.G. Hales

A speech in reply to Mr. Winston Churchill; the exploits of Major Burnham. From: Daily News (London, England), Tuesday, November 13, 1900; Issue 17048.

The monthly dinner of the Anglo-African Writer Club took place last night at the Grand Hotel, Charing Cross. Mr. F. H. Hamilton presided, and the company included Mr. A.G. Hales (Special Correspondent of the "Daily News"), Major F. R. Burnham, Lord Rosalyn, Mr. Lionel Phillips, the Hon. C. Macintosh (Governor of the North-West Canada), Mr. Stuart Cumberland, Captain J. Barlow, the Hon. Howard Spensley, Major Ricardo Seaver, Mr. Stephan J. Graff, the Hon. A. Wilmot, Mr. Spencer B. Todd, Mr. Arnold White, Sir Bartle Frere, Mr. Leigh Wood, Mr. G.E. Matherson, Mr. H. Spottiswood, and Mr. W.T. Madge.

The Chairman proposing "Our Guests," said any one of Major Burnham's adventures would provide the ordinary man with conversation for the rest of his life. He was an American, who first came in contact wit the practical work of fighting the operations of the great Indian reservations. Afterwards he was in the Western States at a time when lawlessness was rampant.

Major Burnham in South Africa[edit]

Of his work in Rhodesia they already knew something. They knew how his reconnotoring services in the Matabele war were the greatest possible assistance to the Chartered Company. They knew how he accompanied the Wilson patrol. Perhaps they also knew how he had tracked out copper and other mines in Rhodesia. He represented a principle in warfare -- the principle of individual resources and initiative. In the Boer war he seemed to have gone pretty well where he liked. When Cronje was making his last stand Major Burnham penetrated into the laager and saw all he wished to see (Cheers.) Before Johannesburg was taken Major Burnham blew up the railway in three places and thus prevented the enemy removing their locomotive (Cheers.) When Lord Roberts made his dash upon Pretoria, Major Burnham, carrying a quantity of explosives, essayed to blow up the rail east of the town. For once the Boers saw and fired at him, killing his horse, and the animal fell upon him, causing severe injury. But he clung to his explosives, crawled through the Boer lines and blew up the railway east of Pretoria thereby preventing the Boer removing 3,000 British prisoners. Lord Roberts, the supreme judge of Major Burnham's achievements, wrote the following letter, which had not before been made public:

"Dear Major Burnham. As I hear you are about to return to Europe, I take this opportunity of thanking you for the valuable services you have rendered since you joined my headquarters at Paardeberg last February. I doubt if any other man in the force could have successfully carried out the thrilling enterprises in demanding as they did the training of a lifetime, combined with exceptional courage, caution, and powers of endurance. I was very sorry to hear of the seriousness of the accident you met with on your last successful attempt on the enemy's lines of rail, and I trust sincerely to hear that you are quite well again. Believe me, your sincerely, --Roberts." (Loud cheers)