Boer War Page 91a

Rare Boer War Discoveries

Below are some of the important items the Canadian Boer War Museum has added to its collections in its ongoing efforts to preserve outstanding memorabilia from this period.

Boer War Discoveries of the Month (Christmas 2001)

"Oom Paul" Kruger, President, Transvaal Republic
Great Canadian Heritage Treasure
Paul Kruger French-Canadian tobacco ad 1900
Orig. lithograph - Image Size - 15" x 19"
Found - Montreal, PQ
We were recently the fortunate recipient of this magnificent antique Boer War portrait of Paul Kruger, the last President of the Transvaal Republic in South Africa.
This original Canadian chromolithograph was found in Quebec, and made available through the courtesy of Lucie Favreau of Montreal, PQ.

Israel Tarte (1848-1907): This magnificent portrait is the finest and most flattering portrait of the President we have ever seen. It reflects perfectly the sharply divided opinion in Canada about Kruger - and the Boers - during the war.

British portraits of Paul Kruger were always unflattering, mirroring the views of print journalists throughout the British Empire who constantly described Kruger as one of the ugliest-looking men who ever lived. Canadian mothers threatened their children by invoking his name. "Go to sleep now or Paul Kruger will come and get you."

In Ontario, and other English dominated provinces, displaying this flattering picture would be regarded as tantamount to treason and would only be allowed on dart boards at local pubs.

Europeans and French-Canadians begged to differ.

This portrait could be found hanging in tobacco shops all over Quebec during the Anglo-Boer War. It was the French-Canadian gesture of support for a people in far-off Africa, who, like themselves, only wanted to be left alone to follow their own course through history but were being crushed by the might of the British war machine. They did not want Canada to have a hand in that. When Canada persisted, French-Canadians registered their protest privately, in public... by putting up these lithos in their shops, offices, and homes.


In Parliament, Israel Tarte (right), a minister in Prime Minister Laurier's federal cabinet, shouted, "99% of French-Canadians detest this war."

Sitting, surrounded by English-speaking ministers in the 1896 cabinet, Tarte (centre right) was a lonely voice speaking for a Canadian minority swamped in a sea of British jingoism. He felt what it was like to be a Boer in a British-dominated world.

But his colleagues were determined to get their war and get rid of Kruger and his republic who were making things tough on British businessmen and their interests in the Transvaal gold fields.


c Goldi Productions Ltd. 1996 & 2000