Steyn, Marthinus Theunis (ON HOLD)

Rare signature while last President of the Orange Free State, led Boers in 1899-1902 2nd Boer War against Great Britain

Price: $150.00

Description:
(1857-1916) South African-born lawyer, politician, and statesman, 6th (and last) President of the independent Orange Free State 1896-1902. His family bought a farm 13 miles from Bloemfontein where Steyn spent most of his youth. Steyn started his school years in a small school 40 minutes by horse and was taught in English. At 16 he left school to farm. After finishing his studies at Grey College and farming for 4 years he went to Holland to study law at the Rijks University in Leiden. In Sept. 1879 he moved to England to get an English certificate and trained to practice law in South Africa. He was called to the English bar in Nov. 1882 and shortly returned to South Africa as barrister in Bloemfontein. In 1889 Steyn was appointed state attorney for The Orange Free State, later becoming a high court judge. His interest in politics was initiated by the annexation of the Kimberley diamond fields by the British Government in 1871. Britain, driven by its "New Imperialism", agreed that Cape Governor Sir Henry Barkley could annex the land in conflict with the wishes of the Cape Colony Government and the 1854 Orange River Convention (Bloemfontein Convention). The payment of a mere 90,000 and the 1876 building of a railway to the Orange Free State by the British Government was not acceptable to the people. In 1895, on the resignation of state president Reitz, Steyn was the pan-Dutch party candidate for the vacant post. The Feb. 1896 election resulted in a decisive victory for Steyn, and he assumed office as President. The beginning of the 2nd Boer War in 1899 caused Steyn to link the fortunes of his state with those of the Transvaal, allying with them against the British. While the Orange Free Street was under British occupation, Steyn ran his government from the field, playing a key role in continuing Boer resistance and the coordination of guerilla warfare that made up most of the Boer War from 1900 onwards. Regarded as one of the most irreconcilable of Boer leaders, he took part, however, in the April 1902 preliminary peace negotiations at Klerksdorp but was prevented by illness from signing the Treaty of Vereeniging at Pretoria 31 May 1902. The treaty ended the Orange Free State's independence and his presidency. By 1902 Steyn was ill and in July 1902 sailed for Europe, remaining until autumn 1904. He then took the oath of allegiance to the British crown and returning to South Africa partially restored to health, resuming active participation in politics. He was VP of the Closer Union Convention 1908-09, distinguished for his statesmanlike and conciliatory attitude, while maintaining the rights of the Boer community. While addressing a meeting in Bloemfontein, he collapsed and died of a heart attack at 58. Rare signature as "Staatspresident" 4 x 8 1/4, cut from a document in Dutch with orange Orange Free State official seal at left, Np (Bloemfontein), Nd (1896-1902), signed also by n unknowna government secretary. With 16 x 9 Aug. 9, 1900 Vanity Fair color portrait of "ex-President Steyn" by Arthur George Witherby ("WAG") (1856-1937), cartoonist and co-owner of Vanity Fair. The Orange Free State was an independent Boer republic in south Africa in the 2nd half of the 19th century, later a British colony and province of the Union of South Africa. It is the precursor to the present-day Free State province, between the Vaal and Orange rivers, its borders set by the British in 1848 when the region was proclaimed as the Orange River Sovereignty, with a British Resident in Bloemfontein. In the north part of the territory a Voortrekker Republic was established in 1837, in federation with the Republic of Potchefstroom, later part of the South African Republic (Transvaal). After granting sovereignty to the Transvaal Republic, the British recognized the independence of the Orange River Sovereignty which became independent as the Orange Free State 23 Feb. 1854, by the signing of the Orange River Convention. a politically and economically successful republic, it experienced chronic conflict with the British in the Boer Wars until finally annexed as the Orange River Colony in 1900. It ceased to exist as an independent Boer Republic on 31 May 1902 with the signing of the Treaty of Vereeniging at the end of the 2nd Anglo-Boer War. After a period of direct British rule, it joined the Union of South Africa in 1910 as the Orange Free State Province, with the Cape Province, Natal and the Transvaal. In 1961, the Union of South Africa became the Republic of South Africa. The official Orange Free State language was Dutch. "Boer" is the Dutch/Afrikaans word for "farmer", denoting descendants of Dutch-speaking settlers of the eastern Cape frontier in southern Africa in the 18th century. The Dutch East Africa Company long controlled the area, eventually taken over by England and incorporated into the British Empire. The term was applied to those who left the Cape Colony in the 19th century to settle in the Orange Free State, Transvaal (together known as the Boer Republics), and to a lesser extent Natal. They left the Cape to escape British rule and constant border wars between the British and tribes on the eastern frontier. NOTE: Because of size of the print, extra shipping charge of $15 will apply. Can be purchased without print if desired.

Condition: Fair, strengthened folds and sides, small piece missing at lower left, few light stains not affecting signature. WAG portrait is very good, slight nicks at top right carefully repaired
Type:Signature






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