1887

n Historia - "The sacred tie": Sir Thomas Smartt, the Unionist Party and the British Empire, 1912-1920

Volume 57, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 0018-229X
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Abstract

The Irish born Thomas Smartt loved South Africa, and fervently believed that his adopted countryâ??s highest destiny could only be achieved by being in the British Empire. For him the imperial connection with Britain was a "sacred tie", and he saw it as his duty to protect and strengthen it. As the leader of the pro-imperial Unionist Party, the official parliamentary opposition, he had all the attributes - a genial personality, eloquence, proficiency in Afrikaans, widely admired integrity, boundless energy and a record of unselfish public service - to bolster the imperial link. And yet, he was a disastrous leader of the Unionist Party, and did much to harm the "sacred tie" with Britain.

Die Iers gebore Thomas Smartt was lief vir Suid-Afrika en het vuriglik geglo dat sy aangenome land net die hoogste voorbestemming kan bereik deur deel van die Britse Ryk te wees. Vir hom was die imperiale verbintenis met Brittanje 'n "onskendbare band", en hy het dit tussen 1912 en 1920 as sy plig gesien om hierdie band, as die leier van die pro-imperial Unioniste Party, die amptelike parlementêre opposisie, te beskerm en te versterk. Hy was egter 'n rampspoedige leier van die Unioniste Party wat die "onskendbare band" ernstige skade berokken het. Sy gebrekkige selfbeheer oor imperiale belange het tot gevolg gehad dat hy nie die Engelssprekendes in Suid-Afrika se gehegtheid aan Brittanje kon beheer en lei nie, en 'n vernietigende jingoïsme aangemoedig het. In die proses het hy die pogings van Louis Botha en J.C. Smuts ondermyn om die twee blanke groepe na die trauma van die Suid-Afrikaanse Oorlog te versoen, en 'n verenigde lojale Suid-Afrika binne die Ryk te skep.

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/content/hist/57/2/EJC129627
2012-11-01
2016-12-10

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