Page:National Life and Character.djvu/49

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time, though great in comparison with the Dutch, was so inconsiderable as to be only five to the square mile.[1] The new possession offered great advantages of soil and climate. A great deal of it is rich land, and it rises in plateaus from the coast, so that several varieties of temperature may be enjoyed. During the first years of settlement there was no danger from the Zulus, whose warriors had almost been exterminated in Dingan's wars. From time to time assisted immigrants were poured literally in thousands into the country. In 1878-79 the presence of a large British army made the fortunes of contractors and farmers. For years the diamond-fields and gold-diggings of the Orange Free State have reflected prosperity over Natal. Nevertheless, in 1891, nearly fifty years after its first settlement, Natal has only 36,000 Europeans out of 481,000 settlers, the remainder being chiefly Zulus, though partly Hindoos and Chinamen. The lower races have nearly doubled in proportion since 1863, when one-seventh of the population was European. The reasons of this are not far to seek. British rule means order and peace, industry and trade, and the enjoyment of property under fairly equal laws. To the African native the establishment of a colony like Natal is like throwing open the gates of paradise.[2] He streams in, offering his cheap though not very regular labour, and supplying all his own wants at the very smallest expenditure of toil. Where he multiplies, however, the British race begins to consider labour of all but the highest kinds

  1. "Before the Dutch occupied it, the blacks were only as one to six square miles."—Aylward's Transvaal, p. 5.
  2. Although the Dutch rule is far less tender to the natives than the British, the immigration of natives began from the establishment of government by the Dutch in 1839. "In their own expressive way of speaking, they could sleep without fear under the shield of the white man."—Theale's South African History, chap. xxxi.