Thomas Smartt

Last updated

Sir William Thomas Smartt KCMG PC (Ireland, 22 February 1858 - Cape Town, 17 April 1929) was a South African politician, and founder and leader of the Unionist Party.

Sir Thomas Smartt SirThomasSmartt.jpg
Sir Thomas Smartt

He graduated in medicine at Trinity College Dublin in 1880 and left for South Africa where he went to Britstown as physician. A keen farmer, he later founded the Smartt Syndicate, one of the largest dams in the then Cape Colony at Houwater near Britstown. He kept good relationships with local farmers and was an enthusiastic member of the Afrikaner Bond.

Smartt was chairman of the commission called Scab in 1892 and his report led to the Organisation nominating him as their candidate for the constituency in Wodehouse in the 1894 general election. He took his place in the Cape Legislative Assembly. In 1897, when Rhodes's government fell, Smartt was interior minister in Sir Gordon Sprigg's cabinet. In 1898 the Sprigg government also collapsed and Smartt was a member of the Legislative Assembly to be elected in Cathcart. With the outbreak of the Anglo-Boer War in 1899 he was with Rhodes in Kimberley when it was besieged. He went on to become a commissioner in 1900 (Minister) for public works, but withdrew his support of Sprigg when the latter was opposed to the abolition of the Constitution. Smartt increased pressure for his claims to the premiership of Cape Colony in 1904 on Leander Starr Jameson, but was minister of lands and public works in Jameson's cabinet from 1904 to 1908.

As acting prime minister in 1905 he supported the expansion of the colony for white settlements in Kakamas and set up a select committee for the allocation of vacant Crown land to eligible applicants. From 1908 to 1909 Smartt member of the National Convention, paving the way for the Union in 1910. In 1911 he founded the British Unionist wing, the Official Opposition in Parliament to the South African Party. He followed Jameson as party leader in 1912. Meanwhile, as his first election after unification, he was elected as Member of Parliament for Fort Beaufort. He was removed in 1915 and again in 192. In 1920, he signed a coalition agreement with Gen.Jan Smuts and was minister of agriculture. [1] When Gen. Jan Smuts was defeated in 1924, Smartt became as second in command of the Official Opposition.

He retired from politics before the 1929 election and died on 17 April that same year.

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Transvaal Colony</span> British colony from 1877 to 1881 and 1902 to 1910

The Second Anglo-Boer War had no sooner commenced with the ultimatum of the Transvaal Republic on 9 October 1899, than Mr Schreiner found himself called upon to deal with the conduct of Cape rebels. The rebels joined the invading forces of President Steyn, whose false assurances Mr Schreiner had offered to an indignant House of Assembly only a few weeks before. The war on the part of the Republics was evidently not to be merely one of self-defence. It was one of aggression and aggrandisement. Mr Schreiner ultimately addressed, as prime minister, a sharp remonstrance to President Steyn for allowing his burghers to invade the colony. He also co-operated with Sir Alfred Milner, and used his influence to restrain the Bond.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">John X. Merriman</span> South African politician (1841–1926)

John Xavier Merriman was the last prime minister of the Cape Colony before the formation of the Union of South Africa in 1910.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">William Schreiner</span> Prime Minister of the Cape Colony from 1898 to 1900

William Philip Schreiner was a barrister, politician, statesman and Prime Minister of the Cape Colony during the Second Boer War.

The Unionist Party was a pre-apartheid South African political party, which contested elections to the Union of South Africa parliament from the 1910 South African general election until its merger into the South African Party just before the 1921 South African general election.

The South African Party was a political party that existed in the Union of South Africa from 1911 to 1934.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">1910 South African general election</span>

General elections were held in South Africa on 15 September 1910 to elect the 121 members of the House of Assembly. They were the first general election after the Union of South Africa was created on 31 May 1910.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Jan Smuts in the South African Republic</span> Jan Smuts from his return to South Africa (1894-1899)

Field Marshal Jan Christian Smuts, OM, CH, ED, KC, FRS was a prominent South African and Commonwealth statesman, military leader, and philosopher. He served as a Boer General during the Boer War, a British General during the First World War and was appointed Field Marshal by King George VI during the Second World War. In addition to various cabinet appointments, he served as Prime Minister of the Union of South Africa from 1919 until 1924 and from 1939 until 1948. From 1917 to 1919 he was one of five members of the British War Cabinet, helping to create the Royal Air Force. He played a leading part in the post-war settlements at the end of both world wars, making significant contributions towards the creation of the League of Nations and the United Nations. He did much to redefine the relationship between Britain and the Dominions and Colonies, leading to the formation of the British Commonwealth.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Leader of the Opposition (South Africa)</span> Politician who leads the official opposition in South Africa

The Leader of the Opposition in South Africa is the leader of the largest political party in the National Assembly that is not in government. The House of Assembly was the most important House from 1910 to 1994 and the National Assembly from 1994. The leader of the opposition acts as the public face of the opposition, leading the Official Opposition Shadow Cabinet and the challenge to the government on the floor of Parliament. They thus act as a chief critic of the government and ultimately attempt to portray the opposition as a feasible alternate government.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Gordon Sprigg</span> British administrator, politician and prime minister of Cape Colony

Sir John Gordon Sprigg, was an English-born colonial administrator and politician who served as prime minister of the Cape Colony on four different occasions.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Thomas Charles Scanlen</span>

Sir Thomas Charles Scanlen was a politician and administrator of the Cape Colony.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">South African Wars (1879–1915)</span> Series of conflicts

The South African Wars, including – and commonly referred to as – the Confederation Wars, were a series of wars that occurred in the southern portion of the African continent between 1879 and 1915. Ethnic, political, and social tensions between European colonial powers and indigenous Africans led to increasing hostilities, culminating in a series of wars and revolts, which had lasting repercussions on the entire region. A key factor behind the growth of these tensions was the pursuit of commerce and resources, both by countries and individuals, especially following the discoveries of diamonds in the region in 1867 and gold in 1862.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Jacobus Wilhelmus Sauer</span>

Jacobus Wilhelmus ("J.W.") Sauer, was a prominent liberal politician of the Cape Colony. He served as Minister in multiple Cape governments, and was influential in several unsuccessful attempts to enshrine equal political rights for black South Africans in the constitution of the Union of South Africa. He was also a strong early supporter of women's rights and suffrage.

The Progressive Party of the Cape Colony was a political party in the Cape Parliament that was primarily composed of and supported by white immigrants to the Cape. It supported pro-imperialist policies, and was in power from 1900 until 1908.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Frederick Schermbrucker</span>

Frederick Schermbrucker (1832–1904) was a soldier and an influential parliamentarian of the Cape Colony. He was a strong pro-imperialist, one of the foremost supporters of Cecil Rhodes and an early leader of the Progressive Party of the Cape.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Cape Qualified Franchise</span>

The Cape Qualified Franchise was the system of non-racial franchise that was adhered to in the Cape Colony, and in the Cape Province in the early years of the Union of South Africa. Qualifications for the right to vote at parliamentary elections were applied equally to all men, regardless of race.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Parliament of the Cape of Good Hope</span> Historic legislature of the British Cape Colony

The Parliament of the Cape of Good Hope functioned as the legislature of the Cape Colony, from its founding in 1853, until the creation of the Union of South Africa in 1910, when it was dissolved and the Parliament of South Africa was established. It consisted of the House of Assembly and the legislative council.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">1904 Cape Colony parliamentary election</span>

Elections for the House of Assembly were held in Cape Colony in 1904. The election was a victory for the Progressives under Leander Starr Jameson, who had first achieved prominence for his role in the ill-fated Jameson Raid.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">National Convention (South Africa)</span>

The National Convention, also known as the Convention on the Closer Union of South Africa or the Closer Union Convention, was a constitutional convention held between 1908 and 1909 in Durban, Cape Town and Bloemfontein. The convention led to the adoption of the South Africa Act by the British Parliament and thus to the creation of the Union of South Africa. The four colonies of the area that would become South Africa - the Cape Colony, Natal Colony, the Orange River Colony and the Transvaal Colony - were represented at the convention, along with a delegation from Rhodesia. There were 33 delegates in total, with the Cape being represented by 12, the Transvaal eight, the Orange River five, Natal five, and Rhodesia three. The convention was held behind closed doors, in the fear that a public affair would lead delegates to refuse compromising on contentious areas of disagreement. All the delegates were white men, a third of them were farmers, ten were lawyers, and some were academics. Two-thirds had fought on either side of the Second Boer War.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">John William Jagger</span>

John William Jagger was a South African businessman and cabinet minister.


  1. "SOUTH AFRICA". Examiner (Launceston, Tas. : 1900 - 1954). 25 October 1926. p. 6. Retrieved 23 October 2018.