The Christian Art of War
Theosophist, June, 1880
Will some reverend preacher, devoted to the work of propagating Christianity among the “poor Heathens,” generously read at his next Bible-class, Sunday-school, or open-air meeting the following extract from a great London journal as a practical illustration of how a Christian army wages war upon naked savages: it will make a deep impression. Says the Cape Town correspondent of the Daily News:—
Sad accounts are being brought to light of the atrocities committed by our allies the Amaswazi in the Secocoeni expedition. They are reported to have spared neither man, woman, nor child in their course; and the dreadful particulars are enough to freeze one’s blood. These things will possibly never come to light. Had they been done under any other flag, they would have called down a world of just indignation; but the name of civilization is supposed to throw a cloak over such atrocities. It is a deep stain on our national honour that, in order to avenge a doubtful quarrel with a man who at least seemed to be capable of understanding the rudiments of civilization, we let loose upon him 10,000 of the greatest barbarians in South Africa and, according to more than one report, absolutely stamped out his clan. Nothing can justify the employment of the Amaswazi in the Secocoeni campaign—certainly not success or cheapness, which seem to be the great merits of the operation. It is enough to make one despair of Christianity to think that in the nineteenth century its professors are able to justify such deeds, and to take credit for adopting towards the natives of this continent the same measures by which the Spaniards of the sixteenth century converted the Indians of the Spanish Main. Slavery may be a bad thing, but between that and extermination there is mighty little to choose and the employment of such ruffians as the Amaswazi means extermination, or it means nothing. That such deeds should take place at all, is sad enough. That they should take place under the British flag is enough to make every right-minded Englishman demand a searching inquiry, and to insist that no official verbiage shall gloss over deeds which, if committed by Boers or colonists, would be subjected to a storm of righteous indignation. The following telegram has been received this morning by the Volksblad, a Dutch organ, which certainly cannot be accused of undue philanthropy:—“Fearful atrocities by Swazis at Secocoeni’s come to light. Volkterm mentions few, such as cutting off women’s breasts, burning infants, cutting throats, and flaying children of five and six years.” It is enough to add that these deeds were said to be done by our allies, or rather by our auxiliaries under the British flag.