Johannesburg was in a ferment, while General Sir William Butler, who acted as high commissioner in Milner's absence, had allowed it to be seen that he did not take a favourable view of the Uitlander grievances.
The police afford no adequate protection to the lives and property of the inhabitants of Johannesburg; they are rather a source of danger to the peace and safety of the Uitlander population.
The persistent attempt of the South African Republic to assert its full independence, culminating in a formal denial of British suzerainty, made it additionally incumbent on Great Britain to carry its point as to the Uitlander grievances, while, from Mr Kruger's point of view, the admission of the Uitlanders to real political rights meant the doom of his oligarchical regime, and appeared in the light of a direct menace to Boer supremacy.
The soundness of these views and the legitimacy of Uitlander aspirations were recognized by a few Boer officials at Pretoria.
The policy of delay in the execution of the plot which the Uitlander leaders found themselves compelled to adopt was determined by a variety of causes.
It was only later that it was seen that if Great Britain intended effectually to champion the Uitlander cause, the moment for a test of strength had inevitably arrived.
A meeting of Uitlander leaders was hastily summoned on the 25th of December.
The franchise, again, was an internal affair, in which the convention gave Great Britain no right to interfere, while if Great Britain relied on certain definite breaches of the convention, satisfaction for which was sought in the first place in such a guarantee of amendment as the Uitlander franchise would involve, the Boer answer was an offer of arbitration, a course which Great Britain could not accept without admitting the South African Republic to the position of an equal.
In fact, from its geographical position reaped the benefits without incurring the anxieties consequent on the settlement of a large uitlander population on the Rand.
Refugee and Uitlander committees were formed both at Durban and Maritzburg, and, in conjunction with the colonists, they did all in their power to assist in recruiting irregular corps, and also in furnishing relief to the sick and needy.