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HOW DE WET WAS TAKEN, Issue 15696, 9 January 1915
HOW DE WET WAS TAKEN
HARASSED DAY AND NIGHT
General lie Wet and the remnants of his commando, who were taken prisoners by Colonel Brits, arrived in .lohanuesharg on the morning of December 4 by special train, in charge of a strong escort. De Wet was quietly smoking his pipe when the train stopped, but he looked haggard and somewhat depressed. As he left the coach, the police, on a. sharp order being given, fixed bayonets, and after Do Wet had said farewell to Colonel Swemrtier and Colonel Jordaan, who actu-
ally effected his. capture, he was quickie taken out through a. side rrafo and ronto the Fort in ;i motor car. 1f is 11 foUoivci'.s went on foot.
Oho of the. escort, told a. newspaper man that De Wot wa.s apparently taken, totally by .M.rpi-;.-"., Wi.™ ho' C'olonol Brits's men advance, he. tried to jump oil his horse; I rut t'ne men closed in. and \)e Wet realised that the, ga-mo was up. The rebels, as far as could he seen. woro Very short of everything, especially ammunition. First of all they were q-uiet, u-nd took their capture coolly : hut later on got very nasty, and promised to make thing's hot for the soldiers. That e,,is the, reason why the prisoners were at once, taken to Yryburi,'.
An interview with another officer of the Motor Transport Corps, who was present when De Wet was captured, shows that by means of meehanienl transport. Colonel Brits hurried mid harassed the fugitives riay and night. Eventually, when the. rebels wen; located, ihey apparently intended to hold the position, as tlu'V took the horses to the rear and spread, themselves) in extended order. Then the motor cars justified themselves. Ela.nkiii(.r movements were, carried cm, and every attempt on tho part, of the rebels to force an opening was frustrated, !ho motors being too quick for tho wornout animals of the, rebels. LONDON PRESS COMMENT.
Tho London papers dwell on what is termed th" inglorious end of the South African rebellion, and comment very favoraWv on the smart, operations ending in the capture of J)e Wet.
Tiie '.Daily News' says nothing in the last stage of his career entitles Do Wet to any sort of consideration, but the ea.se with which he was caught and his remarkable isoiati'm amid loyal enthusiasm, may perhaps be deemed sullkient to ju.'lify his old colleagues sparing his life.
The 'Daily Chronich:' remarks that General Botha has again proved himself t'> he a. master of strategy and military organisation, with no superior in South African military history. The paper is of oninion that the problem of the treatment of the rebel chiefs will bo difficult. Doubtless justice will he tempered with mercy, but it, <;riiiM which could scarcely be exceeded in its blackness cannot, the paper declares, be lightly dealt with'.
The. 'Westminster Gazette' Bays t "This | five-shilling rebellion ha,s only served to I demonstrate the essential loyalty of South J Africa Any question of racialism is now unthinkable.''' The 'Pa.ll Mall Gazette' thinks General Botha's moral stability and. tdzatrgie genius are qualities of a higher order than mere guerrala ingenuity, and adds: '* J)e Wet ' has failed alike, m his appeal to racial prejudice and actual fighting. There can he little to temper the sternness of justice, though something may depend on his precise position with German intrigue." The 'Evening .Standard' expresses the. j opinion that it is charitable to suppose j De Wet was radically upset by a para- j lytic seizure some time ago, but add;. ' Unit to condone Ids conduct would be foolish.
The 'Globe' savs: "The capture oi De Wet is a bad blow for Germany's ambitions. The rebellion has been very painful for the Dutch, who made frie:x:.: with us so valia,afly. it is for South Africa to decide De Wet's fate. Britain will acouieseo in the decision, whatever it be." '
South Africans in Loudon warmly appreciate the unanimity of the opinion that whatever late the Union Government decide for De Wet, the decision will be whole-heartedly supported as a tribute to th« solendid skill and loyalty of Generals Botha and Smuts.
HOW DE WET WAS TAKEN, Issue 15696, 9 January 1915
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