Rhodes, Cecil John (DNB12)

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RHODES, CECIL JOHN (1853–1902), imperialist and benefactor, born at Bishop Stortford in Hertfordshire on 5 July 1853, was fifth son of Francis William Rhodes (1806-1878), vicar of that parish, by his second wiie, Louisa, daughter of Anthony Taylor Peacock, of South Kyme, Lincolnshire (d. 1 Nov. 1873). The family consisted of nine sons, four of whom joined the army, and of two daughters, both unmarried. There survive the three youngest sons, Major Elmhirst (b. 1858), formerly of the Berkshire regiment and director of army signalling in South Africa during the Boer war (1899-1901), Arthur Montagu (b. 1859), and Bernard (b. 1861), captain R.A., and the elder daughter Louisa (b. 1847). The eldest son, Herbert, was killed in Central Africa in 1879. The third and sixth sons, Basil and Frederick, died. in infancy. The second son. Colonel Francis William, is noticed below. The fourth son, Ernest Frederick (b. 1852), captain R.E., died on 4 April 1907. The younger daughter, Edith Caroline (b. 1848), died on 8 Jan. 1905.

The father came of yeoman stock traceable to Staffordshire in the seventeenth century and thence to Cheshire. The father's great-great-grandfather, William Rhodes (d. 1768), described as a prosperous grazier, came south about 1720, purchased near London an estate, ’The Brill Farm,' which included the region now occupied by Mecklenburgh and Brunswick Squares and the Foundling Hospital, and was buried in March 1768 in Old St, Pancras churchyard, where a monument of granite now stands bearing the inscription 'Erected to replace two decayed family tombs by C. J. R. , 1890.' William Rhodes's only son, Thomas, churchwarden of St. Pancras in 1756 and 1757, married twice, and died in 1787, leaving a son, Samuel (1736-1794), of Hoxton, the possessor of brick and tile works marked 'Rhodes' Farm' in Carey's map of London (1819), in Islington parish, and the purchaser of the Dalston estate now held by the Rhodes trustees, Samuel's third son, William (1774-1843), married Anne Woolridge, whose mother was Danish, and settled at Leyton Grange in Essex, and his second son was Cecil Rhodes's father. The latter, born in 1806, graduated B,A, from Trinity College, Cambridge, in 1830 (M,A, 1833) and was perpetual curate of Brentwood in Essex from 1834 until 1849, when he became vicar of Bishop Stortford; he died at Fairlight, Sussex, on 28 Feb, 1878, Cecil, 'a slender, delicate-looking, but not delicate, boy, of a shy nature,' was sent to Bishop Stortford grammar school in 1861. He won a silver medal for reading aloud, and he showed efficiency in charge of a class in his father's Sunday school. In 1869, at sixteen, his health broke down, and since, to his father's disappointment, he had no vocation for the church, he was sent out to his eldest brother, Herbert, then settled in Natal, grooving cotton. He landed at Durban on 1 Oct. 1870. 'Very quiet and a great reader' he appeared to friends with whom he stayed in Natal on his way to his brother's rough quarters at Umkomaas. Forty-five acres of bush had been cleared and planted with cotton before Cecil's arrival; a few months later a hundred acres were planted, and the brothers won a prize at an important agricultural show. Herbert Rhodes was often away, and Cecil mainly ran the plantation, discovering a sympathy with native labourers and a turn for managing them which never failed him. He found congenial company in the son of the local resident magistrate, a retired soldier. In their spare time the youths tried to 'keep up their classics'; both cherished a dream that they should one day return to England and enter at Oxford 'without outside assistance,'

By this time the discovery of diamonds in the Orange Free State had resulted in the rush for Colesberg Kopje (now the Kimberley mine), Du Toit's Pan (later the De Beers mine), and other points in what is now the Kimberley division. The Rhodes brothers were drawn with the rest, Herbert starting for the diamond fields in Jan, 1871, while Cecil stayed behind to dispose of the stock and wind up their joint affairs. In Oct. 1871 he started for Colesberg Kopje in a Scotch cart drawn by a team of oxen, carrying a pick two spades, several volumes of the classics, and a Greek lexicon. At Kimberley as in Natal he was thrown much upon his own resources, for at the end of November his brother left for England and handed over to him the working of his claim. Rhodes is described in 1872 as 'a tall, fair boy, blue-eyed and with somewhat aquiline features, sitting at table diamond-sorting and superintending his gang of Kafirs near the edge of the huge open chasm or quarry which then constituted the mine' ; and again as ’pleasant-minded and clever, sometimes odd and abstracted and apt to fly off at a tangent.' The 'claim' modestly flourished, and was added to ; the brothers found themselves with a certain amount of ready money, and in the bracing air of the high veld Cecil's health was re-established.

In October 1873 Rhodes returned to England to fulfil his ambition of 'sending himself' to Oxford. He had hoped to enter University College, but the Master, Dr. G. G. (afterwards Dean) Bradley, finding him unprepared to read for honours, refused him admission, but gave him an introduction to Edward Hawkins [q. v.], provost of Oriel, whom he impressed. At Oriel he matriculated on 13 Oct. 1873, keeping Michaelmas term to 17 December, and living at 18 High Street. In November 1873 his mother died, the only human being with whom he is known at any time to have regularly corresponded. Early in the new year he caught a chill while rowing ; a specialist found both the heart and the lungs affected, and entered against his name in his case book 'Not six months to live.' His Oxford career was thus interupted, but it was not closed. He returned to South Africa and Kimberley, where his lungs soon ceased to trouble him ; henceforth, indeed, his heart caused him his only physical anxiety, and that was never cured. A growing absorption in South African affairs left unmodified his resolve to graduate in the university, and until this ambition was gratified he revisited Oxford from time to time at no long intervals. In 1876 and again in 1877 he kept each term of the academic year, spending only his long vacations in South Africa. On 16 May 1876, too, he entered himself as a student at the Inner Temple, and although he was not called to the bar his name remained on the books till it was withdrawn on 17 Dec. 1889, to be restored on 20 Feb. 1891. In 1878 he kept Lent, Easter, and Trinity terms at Oxford, living at 116 High Street. He was back again in Michaehnas term, 1881, when he at length by dogged effort passed the ordinary examination for B.A., and took that degree and proceeded M.A. on 17 Dec. He lodged at the time at 6 King Edward Street, where a tablet commemorates the fact. He retained his name on the college books, paying a composition fee. Though an indifferent horseman, he was master of the drag during his early sojourns at Oxford, and did a little rowing ; otherwise he is remembered as making one in 'a set which lived a good deal apart from both games and work.' Although he was 'not a great reading man,' he was always a devourer of books, and his feeling for certain classical authors was strong. Marcus Aurelius was his constant companion, and at his South African home, Groote Schuur, there was (until 1902, when it disappeared) a copy of the 'Meditations' marked and annotated by his hand. He commissioned for his library new translations of the chief classical writers, which were sent him in typed script. Aristotle's 'Energeia the highest activity of the soul to be concentrated on the highest object' remained his perpetual watchword.

Meanwhile his South African career had made rapid progress. On his second advent in Kimberley in 1874 he took root there, and was soon counted with the more successful diggers. His brother Herbert early left the diamond fields to hunt and explore the interior ; he was killed through the accidental firing of his hut in 1879, in what is now Nyassaland. In 1874, and for some years after, Rhodes was in partnership with Mr. Charles Dunell Rudd (b. 1844), who had been educated at Harrow and had after matriculating at Trinity College, Cambridge, in 1863 broken down through over-training. Rudd and Rhodes gradually increased their holdings after the old regulation against the possession of more than one claim on the diamond fields was repealed. Rhodes specially concentrated his holdings in one of the two great mines of Kimberley, called after De Beers, the Dutch farmer, who originally owned the land. Rhodes was quickly recognised as one of the ablest speculators in the district, with one conspicuous rival or opponent in Barnett Isaacs, later known as Barney Barnato [q. v. Suppl. I], but from 1875 until his death he was greatly helped in all financial undertakings by Alfred Beit [q. v. Suppl. II]. Mr. Gardner Williams, afterwards general manager of the amalgamated industry (the De Beers corporation), describes Rhodes in these days as 'a tall, gaunt youth, roughly dressed, coated with dust, sitting moodily on a bucket, deaf to the clatter and rattle about him, his blue eyes fixed intently on his work or on some fabric in his brain.' It was a life of vicissitude. There was camp fever, and other forms of epidemic, and during 1874 the reef fell in both in Colesberg Kopje and in De Beers, covering many claims under tons of shale. Floods prevailed, mining board taxation was heavy, there was constant litigation between claim holders and miners and the Griqualand West legislative council. Banks refused advances and bankruptcy was common. Many diggers left the fields, but Rhodes and his partners held on. Towards the end of October 1874 they successfully completed an undertaking to pump out Kimberley mine, and in 1876 they drained of water De Beers and Du Toit's Pan. A contemporary recalls how at a meeting of a mining board in 1876, when the members were 'fractious and impatient,' Rhodes, 'still quite a youth, was able to control that body of angry men.' As regards the diamond industry he, like his rival Bamato, already recognised that so long as individual diggers produced and threw upon the uncertain markets all the diamonds they could find, no real progress was possible, and that the remedy lay in an amalgamation of interests and the regulation of supply. To that end, but with different motives and ambitions, each was steadily working, Rhodes with De Beers mine, Bamato with Kimberley mine, as his base and nucleus. On 1 April 1880 the Rhodes group had established themselves as the De Beers Mining Company, with a capital of 200,000l., while in the same year the Bamato Mining Company was formed to work the richest claims in Kimberley mine.

But Rhodes's ambitions were from the first other than commercial. During 1875 he spent eight months m a solitary journey on foot or ox- wagon through Bechuanaland and the Transvaal. The experience helped to shape his aims. He found the country to be not merely of agricultural and of great mineral value, but also beautiful and healthy. The scattered Dutch farmers proved hospitable and he felt in sympathy with them. He aspired to work with the Dutch settlers and at the same time to secure the country for occupation by men of English blood and to make Great Britain the dominant influence in the governance of South Africa, and indeed of the world. In 1877 he had his first serious heart attack and made his first will, dated 19 Sept. 1877. The testator disposed of the fortune which he had not yet made to 'the establishment, promotion, and development of a Secret Society the aim and object whereof shall be the extension of British rule throughout the world, the perfecting of a system of emigration from the United Kingdom and of colonisation by British subjects of all lands where the means of livelihood are attainable by energy, labour, and enterprise, and especially the occupation by British settlers of the entire continent of Africa, the Holy Land, the valley of the Euphrates, the islands of Cyprus and Candia, the whole of South America, the islands of the Pacific not heretofore possessed by Great Britain, the whole of the Malay Archipelago, the sea-board of China and Japan, the ultimate recovery of the United States of America as an integral part of the British Empire, the inauguration of a system of colonial epresentation in the imperial Parliament, which may tend to weld together the disjointed members of the empire, and finally the foundation of so great a power as hereafter to render wars impossible and promote the best interests of humanity.' The form and substance of these aspirations are youthful, but they dominated Rhodes's life. A federation of South Africa under British rule, with Cape Dutch assent, was always before his eyes. Just before leaving to graduate at Oxford in 1881 Rhodes had entered public life in South Africa. In 1880 the Act for absorbing Griqualand West in the Cape Colony created two electoral divisions at Kimberley and Barkly West. As one of two members for Barkly West, Rhodes was elected in 1880 and took his seat in the Cape legislature next year. (He retained the seat for life.) The battle of Majuba Hill on 27 Feb. 1881, with its sequel in the recognition anew of the independence of the Transvaal Republic, had just given an immense advantage to the Dutch claim to supremacy in the colony and had almost crushed the hope of a permanent British predominance. The foundation of the Afrikander Bond in 1882 was but one fruit of a Dutch national movement, in sympathy with the Boer republic, which looked forward to independence of the British Empire [see Hofmeyr, Jan Hendrik, Suppl. II]. In such unpromising conditions Rhodes entered Cape politics. His aim from the first was to maintain the widest powers of local self-government and at the same time to organise, confirm, and extend the area and force of British settlement and British infiuence, not by invoking the imperial factor, but by rousing in the average Briton a sense of the responsibilities of race and empire. In his first session he took a friend aside and, placing his hand on a map of Africa, said 'That is my dream, all British.' But while he sought to bring home to Englishmen in South Africa the possibilities of new empire in South Africa, he desired to co-operate with the Dutch. In his second session he frankly remarked 'Members on the other side believe in a United States of South Africa, and so do I, but under the British flag.' Rhodes first spoke in the Cape Assembly on 19 April 1881. He championed the Basutos, his interest in whom led presently to a friendship with General Gordon, who invited him in 1884 to accompany him to Khartoum. On 25 June he spoke again, in opposition to the introduction of the Taal in the Cape parliament, for which he asserted that there was no real desire in the country. He impressed his hearers as 'a good type of English country gentleman' — nervous, ungainly, but of a most effective frankness. As a speaker he seemed to think, or rather dream, out loud. His vocabulary was poor, although he hit sometimes on a telling phrase ; he had moments of a discursive obscurity. Yet men who had listened to the famous orators of the world found themselves strangely impressed by his speaking. A strong persuasiveness and candour, helped by his appearance, held any audience. But 'fundamental brain-work' had been done before he rose, and when trimmed of excrescences the ordered clearness of his sequences was perfect.

His political activities were soon concentrated on that northern expansion which formed a great part of his completed work. The Cape Colony was then bounded on the north by the Orange River, beyond which lay Bechuanaland, of vast extent and the only avenue to the coveted northern territories which were the objective alike of Rhodes and of the Transvaal Boers. By the Pretoria Convention of 1881 the westward expansion of the Transvaal was limited to a line east of the trade routes from Bechuanaland. This did not prevent a series of raids from the Transvaal by which, not by haphazard but by design, the republic sought to occupy Bechuanaland, and, if might be, the regions of the north, even of the west. Rhodes's first important step was to urge the appointment of a delimitation commission in 1881. On this he served. An offer was obtained in 1882 from Mankoroane of the whole of his territory, about half Bechuanaland, for the Cape government. To this proposal Rhodes secured the agreement of the chief men of Stellaland, a Boer raider's settlement consisting of 400 farms, ’with a raad and all the elements of a new republic,' seated at Vryburg. Prolonged correspondence and a long appeal to the Cape Assembly on 16 Aug. 1883 did not avail to procure the acceptance of this offer, and it seemed certain that the Stellalanders and another group of Dutch immigrants, with two Bechuanaland chiefs, the opponents of Mankoroane, would be annexed by the Transvaal. Rhodes turned to the imperial government, and, after endless appeals, the force of his personality having impressed the high commissioner, Sir Hercules Robinson, he procured the declaration in 1884 of an imperial protectorate, the British flag being carried to the twenty-second parallel. On 27 Feb. 1884 a second convention signed in London gave definite frontiers on the eastern border of Bechuanaland, behind which the Transvaal covenanted to abide.

A few days later Bechuanaland was raided afresh by President Kruger. The imperial government promptly proclaimed the formal annexation of Bechuanaland, and sent up as resident the Rev. John Mackenzie, a veteran missionary. On 16 July Rhodes appealed once more, and this time with success, to the Cape Assembly, reminding them that Bechuanaland was 'the neck of the bottle and commanded the route to the Zambesi . . . We must secure it, unless we are prepared to see the whole of the north pass out of our hands. . . . I want the Cape Colony to be able to deal with the question of confederation as the dominant state of South Africa.' While those definitely committed to supporting the Dutch republics were not won over, a majority of the house concurred with Rhodes. Voters may have been influenced by the fact that that year, and within six months after the second convention of London was signed, a new factor entered South Africa, and by the supineness alike of the imperial and colonial governments all Damaraland and Namaqualand between twenty-six degrees south and the Portuguese border, 320,000 square miles in all, was occupied by Germany. The significance of the fact, if lost on the imperial government, impressed Rhodes and one other man, Jan Hendrik Hofmeyr [q. v. Suppl. II], leader of the Afrikander Bond, who combined his Dutch sjrmpathies with a deep antipathy to Germany. Despite the diversity between the two men's aims, Rhodes at once saw the wisdom of co-operation with a view to promoting northern expansion.

Towards the end of 1884 it was clear that Mackenzie, though loyal and upright, was scarcely the man for the time and place, proclaiming as he did all Boer farms in Bechuanaland to be the property of the British government, and otherwise making too much of the imperial authority. The resident was recalled by the high commissioner, nominally for the purpose of conference, and Rhodes replaced him, by the style of deputy-commissioner. Reaching Rooi-Grand in Goshen, the lesser of the two Boer centres, on 25 August, he found Grenerals Joubert and Delarey just arrived from the Transvaal, and armed burghers preparing that night to advance on Mafeking and on Montsoia the local chief. All Rhodes could do was to warn the Boers that, in view of the convention, they were making war, in effect, on the British government, and that done, to retire on the larger concentration in Stellaland. Arriving at Commando Drift on 1 September, he went straight to the house of the Boer commandant. Van Niekirk, who had refused to acknowledge Mackenzie as resident. He informed Rhodes that 'blood must flow.' Rhodes replied 'Give me my breakfast and let us see to that afterwards.' Having dismounted, he stayed with Van Niekirk six weeks, and became godfather to his child. By 8 September he had recognised the titles of individual Boer settlers and reported to the high commissioner that the armed burghers had dispersed and that Stellaland had accepted the flag. But the return of Joubert to Pretoria was followed by a proclamation of President Kruger on 16 September, annexing the Mafeking region and so cutting off Cape Colony from access northwards. The imperial government moved. Sir Charles Warren's expeditionary force was sent to patrol Bechuanaland and the Transvaal frontier, and by 14 Feb. 1885 President Kruger met the general and Rhodes at Fourteen Streams in peaceful conference. This was the first meeting between Rhodes and Kruger, who henceforth typified for Rhodes the force which his policy of expansion might yet encounter. Bechuanaland south of the Milopo, with the Kalahari, now became part of the Cape Colony, while the territory to the north was constituted a protectorate. The expansion was thus at once both imperial and colonial, or colonial under imperial sanction, the ideal alike of Rhodes and of Sir Hercules Robinson. The high commissioner's despatches {Bechuanaland Blue Book C. 4432) testify how much the intervention and influence of Rhodes in keeping the country quiet, and insisting that the title of Stellalanders should not be cancelled nor the susceptibilities of Kruger and his officers wounded by too much military parade, conduced to this result. The despatch of Lord Derby, the colonial secretary (No. 17 of September 1886), took the same view.

But Rhodes had no security that in the coveted hinterland itself the Transvaal and Germany might not combine against England. Germany's acquisition in the south-west had been followed by an attempt — frustrated by the governor of Natal — to occupy St. Lucia Bay in Zululand on the east. The Transvaal, while refusing customs and railway union with the Cape, on which Rhodes counted to smooth the way to federation, and seeking, though vainly, from President Brand an alliance defensive and offensive with the Orange Free State, had given German capitalists an exclusive right to construct railways within the republic, at a sensible cost to British prestige. The fear of such a conjunction was quickened by the discovery of gold on Witwatersrand in 1886, when the Transvaal leapt from beggary to wealth and importance. North of the twenty-second parallel meanwhile was the dominion of Lobengula, the able king of the warlike Matabele, and Boer and German emissaries were reported as coming and going about Gobulawayo, the king's kraal. Late in 1887 Kruger, in defiance of a convention signed at Pretoria on 11 June of that year, confirming the delimitation of Transvaal boundaries, sent up Piet Grobelaar with the title of consul to arrange terms with the Matabele king. Rhodes was apprised, and hurrying from Kimberley to Cape Town besought the high commissioner to proclaim a formal protectorate over the northern territories. The high commissioner declined this step on his own responsibility, but, acting on an alternative suggestion, sent the Rev. John Smith Moffat, assistant-commissioner of Bechuanaland, to Lobengula, and on 11 Feb. 1888 the king entered into a treaty which boimd him to alienate no part of his country ^dthout the knowledge and sanction of the high commissioner. True to his principle, Rhodes looked first to the sinews of war, and while still hoping for annexation by the imperial government, sought to make sure of substantial assets in view of a possible alternative. Messrs. Rudd, James Rochfort Maguire, and Francis R. Thompson, to whom the north was well known, were advised to approach the king at Gobulawayo, and on the Unqusa river, on 30 Oct. 1888, Lobengula signed a concession, granting them mineral rights in all his territories and promising to grant no land con cessions from that day. It was by this time clear that Lord Salisbury's government would not undertake a protectorate over the northern territories. Rhodes asked whether a chartered company, roughly modelled on the old East India Company, would be acceptable, and was told that it would, and after much manoeuvring on the part of soi-disant claimants to concessions the charter incorporating the British South Africa Company was granted on 13 July 1889. The territory under the new company's control which the company was empowered to develop lay to the north of the Transvaal and Bechuanaland, and vaguely extended to the Zambesi. It was soon named Rhodesia after the projector of the great scheme.

Meanwhile Rhodes was developing his material interests in the south. By 1885 the De Beers Mining Company, after a period of pecuniary embarrassment, had grown by the absorption of additional claims to be an enterprise of importance with a capital of 84,000l., while the Kimberley Mine, practically controlled by Barnato represented an even larger and a rival amalgamation. But the permanence of the diamond industry was still regarded as doubtful. The assistance of the Cape government, confidently expected, had been refused to the mining board. Diamonds were sinking in value. Only a final amalgamation could save the industry, the question being whether the De Beers or the Barnato Company should be supreme. Bamato's financial position was the stronger, and his ability at least equal to Rhodes's. But he had failed to secure the important interests of the Compagnie Fran9aise in the Kimberley Mine. On 6 July 1887 Rhodes sailed for Europe, obtained the necessary financial support in London, and going to Paris bought the entire assets of the French company for 1,400,000l. Barnato challenged the right of purchase ; there was bickering and imminent litigation, when Rhodes appeared to weaken. He offered the French company shares to Barnato at cost price, taking payment in Kimberley mining shares ; Barnato believed the day to be his. But the holding in the Kimberley Mine thus acquired was used by Rhodes to obtain other shares, until at last he had secured a controlling interest in the mine ; and on 13 March 1888 both companies were amalgamated by the style of De Beers Consohdated Mines, with Rhodes as its chairman and virtual ruler. The trust deed which defined the powers conferred on its holders was singular. Barnato had desired a trust deed limiting the activities of the company to diamond mining. Rhodes declared that the company should be legally capable of carrying out any business not in itself unlawful. There was a fresh encounter between the two men, who measured their wits against each other through a whole night, and Rhodes prevailed. The trust deed empowered De Beers Consolidated Mines to increase its capital as it could, to acquire what it could, and where it could. It could 'acquire tracts of country' in Africa or elsewhere together with any rights that might be granted by the valuers thereof, and spend thereon any sums deemed requisite for the maintenance and good government thereof. 'Since the time of the East India Company,' said Mr. (now Chief Justice Sir) James Rose-Innes during the litigation with shareholders which followed, 'no company has had such power as this. They-are not confined to Africa ; they are authorised to take any steps for the good government of any country. If they obtain a charter from the secretary of state, they could annex a portion of territory in Central Africa, raise and maintain a standing army, and undertake warlike operations.' Such was the corporation — the largest in the world — of which Rhodes found himself the master at thirty-six. At the same time Rhodes acquired large stakes in the gold mines of the Rand on the discovery of a reef there. His partner, Mr. Rudd, proceeded from Kimberley and obtained on their joint behalf interests in a gold-mining corporation which was soon known as the Consolidated Goldfields of South Africa.

Rhodes's energetic interest in the organisation of the Chartered Company was not diminished by his other activities. By arrangement with the Cape government the British South Africa Company undertook the construction of a railway line northwards from Kimberley to Fourteen Streams, then subsequently to the British Bechuanaland border and on to Vryburg. With a view to the occupation of the new territories a pioneer expedition was arranged in London with Mr. F. C. Selous, the famous hunter and explorer, while Dr. Leander Starr Jameson, relinquishing in 1890 a large medical practice at Kimberley which he had carried on since 1878, spent months of daring and adroit diplomacy in Lobengula's kraal, preparing the king for the establishment of Englishmen in Matabeleland and Mashonaland. On 11 Sept. 1890, after many hardships and perils, Dr. Jameson hoisted the Union Jack on the site of the present Salisbury, and he became the company's administrator.

In addition to a holding acquired on Lake Nyassa, the company's range of operations was rapidly extended beyond the Zambesi, to the southern end of Lake Tanganyika. It was Rhodes's hope to push farther and connect Africa under the British flag from the Cape to Cairo. But the Anglo-German treaty of 1890, which extended German East Africa to the Congo, made this impossible. In 1892, when the retention of Uganda by the imperial government seemed doubtful, Rhodes protested against its surrender, and wrote to Lord Salisbury, the foreign secretary, offering to carry the telegraph from Salisbury to Uganda at his own expense. The offer was declined, but Uganda was retained. In 1893 came war with, the Matabele, who were oppressing the neighbouring tribe, the Mashonas. A stubborn fight was waged, largely under the direction of Rhodes but immediately by Dr. Jameson, who as administrator of the company at Fort Victoria took the field. The company's victory, despite heavy loss, was assured by the submission of the Matabele chiefs (14 Jan. 1894). After the death of the Matabele chief Lobengula (23 Jan.) Rhodes brought three of his sons to Cape Town to be educated at his cost. The war confirmed the British possession of 440,000 square miles of territory.

On 17 July 1890 Rhodes became prime minister of the Cape in succession to Sir John Gordon Sprigg. He was maintained in power by Dutch and English votes practically for more than five years, and for that period was virtually dictator of South Africa. He was at the outset head of a 'ministry of all the talents.' John Xavier Merriman was treasurer-general, J. W. Sauer colonial secretary, and Sir James Sivewright commissioner of crown lands. The propriety of his combining the dual position as head of the British South Africa Company and of the Cape ministry was questioned (22 June 1893) ; but he at once made clear his readiness at any time to resign the premiership. While the development of the north occupied much of his attention, no colonial premier did so much to raise and broaden Cape politics. He carried through important reforms, notably in local education and in native policy, and went far to unite to their own consciousness the interests of British and Dutch in South Africa. The formidable Dutch political organisation, the Afrikander Bond, which sought openly the dominance of the Dutch in Cape politics and furtively the establishment of a Dutch republic, with the Transvaal as basis, was coaxed into his service. It is said that of 25,000 Chartered Company shares reserved for him to dispose of at will, a large proportion were given to Dutch applicants. This is the nearest approach to anything like bribery which his career discloses. He admitted that he struck a bargain with Hofmeyr, the leader of the Bond, who pledged himself with some reluctance in the name of the Bond not to throw any obstacles in the way of northern expansion in return for Rhodes's support of a tariff to protect the agricultural interest of South Africa. He was entirely frank in his desire to identify Bondmen with the Chartered Company's work, and when seeking to create a local board of control in the colony, he offered its presidency to the most distinguished of living Dutchmen, the chief justice, now Lord De Villiers, whose sympathies were with the Boer republics. He attended a Bond banquet on Easter Monday 1891, to show that there was no longer anything antagonistic between the Bond and the mother country. He deprecated on the one hand too sentimental a regard for the Boer republics, and on the other any wish to interfere with the independence of neighbouring states, with which he counselled 'customs relations, railway communication, and free trade in products.' With equal candour he addressed the Bond by letter on 17 April 1891, defining his views about the settlement in the north.

In the early days of his ministry (Feb. 1891) Rhodes and the governor. Sir Henry (afterwards Lord) Loch [q. v. Suppl. I] had visited London to discuss South African affairs. He discouraged interference of the home government in local affairs, but he hoped for the realisation of an imperial federal scheme. That hope had led him in 1888 to subscribe a sum of 10,000l. to the funds of Parnell's followers. Rhodes admired Parnell's earnestness but stipulated that the Irish members should remain at Westminster. He made it clear that home rule was in his belief a step on the road to imperial federation. But he felt convinced that 'the future of England must be liberal' and gave to the funds of the English liberal party 5000l. (February 1891) on condition that the gift should be kept secret, and that Irish representation at Westminster should be preserved in any home rule bill. Misgivings of the liberal policy in Egypt caused him subsequent concern, but he was assured that there was no intention of abandoning English rule there.

After a second visit to England early in 1893 differences within the Cape ministry compelled its reconstruction. Rhodes resigned his post of prime minister on 3 May, to resume office next day with a reconstructed ministry, which included Sir Gordon Sprigg, W. P. Schreiner, and others, but excluded almost all his former colleagues. An Act was soon passed abolishing the secretaryship for native affairs and amalgamating the duties with those of the prime minister.

Rhodes's native policy was always courageous. Technical education and temperance he encouraged. He restricted by an Act of 1892 the franchise to men who could read and write and had the equivalent of a labourer's wage, without respect of colour, thus making an end of the raw Kafir vote and its abuses ; while in his Glen Grey Act of 1894 he introduced into native territories village and district councils in which natives could discuss educational and other matters, levy rates, and thus train themselves in the principles of self-government.

Towards the end of 1893 Rhodes made a tour through Mashonaland and Matabeleland. The war had closed, and Rhodes brought back encouraging reports of the results of the victory. A budget surplus of 334,161l. (14 June 1894) attested the colony's prosperity under Rhodes's rule. In June 1895 the legislature formally pronounced the absorption of British Bechuanaland in Cape Colony.

In the early months of 1895 he was once more in England, and was well received. On 2 Feb. he was admitted to the privy council, and though he was blackballed at the Travellers' Club (Jan.), he was in March elected by the Committee to the Athenæum. At the end of 1895 Rhodes while still premier entered on a course of action which prejudiced his reputation. His disposition hardly suffered him to weigh advice, and his heart trouble, which taught him that he was doomed to an early death, made him favour impulsively 'short cuts' to his goal of a South Africa under sole British sway. He had sought in vain President Kruger's co-operation in a system of federation which should leave the independence of the republics intact while establishing a customs union, equal railway rates, and a common court of appeal, and he distrusted the capacity of those who should come after him to grapple with a problem still unsolved. During 1895 the usage by the Boer government of the Uitlander population, to which that government owed most of its wealth and power, led to great tension between Briton and Boer. The episode which brought Rhodes's premiership to a disastrous close was the consequence, not the cause, of an intolerable situation. In December 1895 the mining population of Witwatersrand, including both Americans and English, at Johannesburg, resolved, in despair of a peaceful solution, to compass a reform of their status by recourse to arms. Rhodes was asked and agreed to give this irregular movement his support. As a large mine-owner, who was the practical head of the Consolidated Goldfields of the Rand, where his brother Francis William held joint local control, he was within his rights, but as prime minister of a neighbouring government he had no business to meddle in the matter. He did far more than become a party to the movement for reform. In the words of the finding of the' Subsequent Cape commission of inquiry : 'In his capacity of controller of three great joint-stock companies, the British South Africa Company, the De Beers Company, and the ConsoUdated Goldfields, he directed and controlled a combination which rendered a raid on President Kruger's territory possible.' On 23 September certain areas had been ceded to the British South Africa Company by native Bechuana chiefs near the frontier. Here, with Rhodes's approval. Dr. Jameson, who was acting as administrator of the South Africa Company, placed an armed force of 500 men. Meanwhile Rhodes gave money and arms and lent his influence to the movement within the Transvaal ; Jameson hovering on the border was in close concert with the leaders of the reform party. The movement hung fire. The form of government which was to replace Cruger's rule was undetermined. On 27 December Jameson on his sole authority precipitated the crisis by crossing the Transvaal border with an armed force. In a conflict with the Boers near Krugersdorp (1 January) the raiders were captured. For the raid Rhodes had no responsibility, but he acknowledged his complicity in the preliminary movement and resigned his office of premier (6 Jan. 1896). Next month he arrived in London to interview Mr. Chamberlain, the colonial secretary.

The course of Rhodes's career was thenceforth changed. He returned to the Cape resolved to devote himself solely to the improvement of fruit and wine industries in Cape Colony and to the development of Rhodesia. He assumed the office of joint administrator with Lord Grey of the British South Africa Company, but resigned the directorship in May. In the interval most of his plans in the north had been defeated by the outbreak in March of a Matabele rebellion. Rhodes took command of one of the columns, and the fighting continued till August. Military operations had then driven the Matabele rebels to the Matoppo Hills, where they held an impregnable position. The prospect was one of a continued war, which might smoulder for years. Rhodes conceived the idea of ending the war by his own unarmed and tmaided intervention. He moved his tent to the base of the Matoppo Hills, and lay there quietly surrounded by the rebels for six weeks. Word was sent to the natives that Rhodes was 'there, to have his throat cut, if necessary,' but as one trusting the Matabele, and anxious above all to 'have it out with them,' he was ready undefended to hear their side of the case, A council was held by the chiefs in the heart of the granite hills. Rhodes was told that he might attend it (21 August). Accompanied by Dr. Sauer and Johan Colenbrander, the scout and interpreter, he rode to the appointed place. There was a long discussion without result. A week later (28 August) another conference followed. Rhodes was accompanied by Colenbrander and his wife, by Mr. J. G. Macdonald and Mr. Grimmer, Rhodes's private secretary. At one point the young warriors got out of hand ; Colenbrander thought that all was lost and bade the party mount and fly. But Rhodes stood his gromid and shouted to the Matabale 'Go back, I tell you !' They fell back, and Rhodes asked the assembled chiefs 'Is it peace, or is it war ?' They answered 'It is peace.' Riding home in silence, Rhodes said 'These are the things that make life worth while.' The rebellion came to an end after a final meeting with the chiefs (13 October). Next year Rhodes held an 'Indaba' of Matabele chiefs (23 June 1897) and the settlement was confirmed. Meanwhile the Jameson raid and Rhodes's relation with it had roused both in South Africa and in England an embittered party controversy. The Cape parMament adopted a majority report of a select committee condemning Rhodes' s action, while absolving him of any sordid motives (17 July 1896). On 11 Aug. 1896 a select committee of the British House of Commons was appointed to investigate the affairs of the British South Africa Company. Rhodes was examined at length (16 Feb.-5 March 1897), and the report of the committee on 15 July pronounced Rhodes guilty of grave breaches of duty both as prime minister of the Cape and as acting manager of the company.

During the few years which remained to him Rhodes's best work was given to developing Rhodesia and consolidating the loyal party at the Cape, where he kept to the end his seat in the House of Assembly. In Rhodesia he brought the railway from Vrybvirg to Bulawayo (opened 4 Nov. 1897), and made arrangements for carrying the line to Lake Tanganjdka as part of his scheme for connecting the Cape through a British line of communication with Cairo. On 21 April 1898 he was re-elected director of the company. He revisited Europe early next year, and then arranged to carry the African telegraphic land line through to Egypt, discussing the project with the German Emperor in Berlin and forming a highly favourable impression of the Kaiser. In the Cape general election of the same year and in the succeeding session he made some fine speeches which were loudly applauded, but his own action had for the time shattered the scheme of a Federal Union of South Africa, which was always his great objective. At the encaenia of 1899 the honorary degree of D.C.L. was conferred on him at Oxford. He had been offered the distinction at the encaenia of 1892, but was unable to attend at that time. The bestowal of the degree in 1899 elicited an unavailing protest in the university from resident graduates who resented his share in the raid [see Caird, Edward, Suppl. II]. The honour was one which Rhodes warmly appreciated, and he acknowledged it generously in the terms of his will, which he signed soon after he received the degree. On returning to Cape Town (19 July) he was received with great enthusiasm.

The South African war broke out on 11 Oct. 1899. Rhodes was then at Cape Town, but he at once made his way to Kimberley. Feeling that it was but right for the chief employer of workmen there to share the dangers of his employees, and impelled by a feeling, which events justified, that the Boers in their desire to catch him might be delayed on their advance down the ill-defended Cape Colony, Rhodes reached Kimberley just in time to be besieged (15 October). He took a man's part in organising the defence, and directed some needed measures of sanitation. The place was relieved on 16 Feb. 1900. From this trial he emerged apparently well, but his health was broken and his days were numbered. On 20 July 1901 he arrived at Southampton on a last visit to Europe. He resided at Rannoch Lodge, in Perthshire, till 6 Oct., when he left for Italy and Egypt. On his return to London in Jan. 1902 he spent a day at Dalham, Suffolk, an estate which he had just bought in the belief that the air there was easier to breathe than elsewhere. Business called him back to Cape Town in Feb. ; his malady grew critical, and moving from Groote Schuur to a cottage by the sea at Muizenberg, he died there after weeks of extreme suffering, courageously borne, on 26 March. He was forty-nine years and eight months old. By his direction he was buried in a hole cut in the solid granite of the Matoppos ; he had chosen the spot during his negotiations with the Matabele chiefs in 1896.

Rhodes's work did not end with his death. His last will, his sixth, was dated 1 July 1899, with codicils of Jan. and II Oct. 1901 and 18 Jan. and 12 March 1902. By its provisions his beautiful residence, Groote Schuur, an old Dutch house, rebuilt on the slopes of Table Mountain, was left for the use of the premier of a federated South Africa. Dalham, the Suffolk estate, was bequeathed to his family, with a characteristic direction against any 'loafers' inheriting it. Save for minor personal bequests his entire fortune, amounting to 6,000,000l., was given to the public service. Part of this money was left for the purpose of founding some 160 scholarships at Oxford, of the value of 300l. each, to be held by two students from every state or territory of the United States of America, and three from each of eighteen British colonies. Fifteen other scholarships of the value of 250l. were reserved for German students to be selected by the Emperor Wilham II. The total scholarship endowment was 51,750l. a year. In selecting the scholars his trustees were enjoined to consider not only the scholastic attainments of candidates but their athletic capacity and moral force. One hundred thousand pounds was left to his old college. Oriel, and his land near Bulawayo and Salisbury was left to provide a university for the people of Rhodesia. Rhodes appointed among others as trustees for the execution of his will Lord Rosebery, lately prime minister of England, Lord Milner, then high commissioner of South Africa, Dr. Jameson, prime minister of the Cape, Alfred Beit, and Earl Grey, presently governor-general of the Dominion of Canada. Rhodes's last will embodied all that was practicable of the boyish ideals of his first will made at twenty-four. Its benefactions stirred people less than the revelation of his ideals ; and those who had been foremost in detraction admitted the purity of his motives. The last word on behalf of the Dutch was spoken on 28 June 1910 by Lord De Villiers, chief justice of the supreme court of South Africa, who, unveiling a statue at Cape Town, erected by public subscription, pronounced Rhodes to be a patriotic Englishman, a friend to the Dutch, the forerunner of the Union of South Africa.

Rhodes's impetuosity and impatience in act and speech gave in his lifetime an impression of him which was misleading. Like all statesmen he accepted the conditions of life as he found them, having much to do and little time, as he knew from his malady, to do it in. By nature he had the shy sensitive kindness of a boy. But while his nameless benefactions were many, he affected brutality and hardness, making it his principle to subordinate friendships and all individual claims to his schemes. Yet he was not in truth a hard man. Except in finance, where he was out-distanced by Alfred Beit, his mere aptitudes were not remarkable ; in conventional accomplishments he was not well equipped. He had few ideas, but these he had worked for, testing their value by his life's experience, and wore them, so to say, next his skin. The ideas and dexterities which most cultivated men of affairs have about them, as it were ready made, were not his. His temperament was unequal, almost incalculable, combining extreme naivete and simplicity with strokes of amazing and unexpected shrewdness. His work in its entire detail seemed to be done by others. While he apparently dreamed they really and on their own initiative drafted letters, designed meetings and conjunctions, supported or opposed policies, and drew up as it were programmes, which in a little he roused himself to act upon. Yet there was no end to the qualities he held in reserve. He seemed to muse, yet was suddenly alert with the perception of clairvoyance, revealing a grasp of detail in subjects where he had been rashly supposed ignorant. He talked anyhow ; yet his felicity of phrase after columns of confused commonplace was uncanny. The subordinates who did so much of his work, apparently without consulting him, were lost without him. He was there, and the rest followed ; he was not there, and nothing was done. In a word he was ’daemonic,' and the impression of greatness which he made on his subordinates is reflected in the view now taken of him by his countrymen. His life, however rightly or wrongly conducted in detail, is seen to have been steadily devoted to impersonal and public service and a cause which was really the greater friendliness of mankind. Rhodes was over six feet high, enormously broad and deep chested, with a fair complexion, deep blue eyes, and light brown waving hair, which grew white in his later years. In his blood there was a Norse strain, and he had the look of a viking. His head was huge and the brow massive, and was compared erroneously to Napoleon's. The likeness was imperial but recalled rather the Roman empire than the French. Rhodes is best represented in I sculpture in the statue by John Tweed I at Bulawayo (unveiled 7 July 1904). A bust by Henry Pegram, A.R.A., is at 'Grahamstown (7 Nov. 1904), a statue by the same sculptor at Cape Town ( 1909), and a colossal equestrian statue by Wilham Hamo Thomycroft, R.A., at Kimberley (1907). On 5 July 1912 Earl Grey dedicated to the public an elaborate monument to Rhodes outside Cape Town on the Groote Schuur slopes of Table Mountain, consisting of a columned Doric portico approached by a long flight of steps lined on each side by four horns of the Egyptian type from the chisel of John McAllan Swan; at the foot of the steps is the statue of 'Physical Energy' by George Frederick Watts, who originally presented it to Lord Grey for erection at Groote Schuui. An unfurnished painting by Watts was presented to the National Portrait Gallery by the executors of the artist in 1905. Another portrait by Sir Hubert von Herkomer is in the Kimberley Club; a replica belongs to Lord Rosebery. A third by A. Tennyson Cole is in Oriel College Common room. A fourth by Sir Luke Flides was left unfinished. Of several miniatures painted of him, none is so good as a photograph taken by Messrs. Downey in 1898, before the fine contour of his face was blunted by disease.

[No 'standard' or adequate biography of Rhodes has yet appeared. Sir Thomas Fuller's Cecil Rhodes: a Monograph and a Reminiscence (1910) is the most considerable study of the man and his career, and is a balanced and informed appreciation. The Life by Sir Lewis Michell, Rhodes's banker and one of his trustees (2 vols. 1910), though painstaking, does not exhaust the authorities accessible, and is not authorised by the Rhodes trustees. Cecil Rhodes's Private Life, by his private secretary, Philip Jourdan (1911), written by one of several young colonists — a Dutchman in this case — who acted for Rhodes in that capacity, abounds in intimate personal observation. Cecil Rhodes, his Pohtical Life and Speeches, by Vindex, i.e. the Rev. F. Verschoyle (1900), is the chief account of Rhodes' s public career yet published, consisting largely of his speeches from 1881 to 1900 with an explanatory thread of narrative. Cecil Rhodes, by Imperialist (1897), is a popular account of his career up to the Jameson Raid, and has a chapter by Sir Starr (then Dr.) Jameson. Cecil Rhodes, by Howard Hensman (2 vols. 1911), is of a fugitive and popular type. See also With Rhodes in Mashonaland, by D. C. De Waal (Cape Town, Juta, 1895); article on Rhodes in The Empire and the Century, London, 1905, by Edmund Garrett, the best short impression; Lord Milner and South Africa, by E. B. Iwan Müller (Heinemann, 1902), also written from personal observation; Sir Percival Lawrence's On Circuit in Kaffirland; Rights and Wrongs of the Transvaal War, by E. T. Cook (1902); Sir Charles Dilke's Problems of Greater Britain (1890); English and South African papers of 27 March 1902 and of 16 and 17 April 1902; address at the grave in the Matoppos by the bishop of Mashonaland, and the archbishop of Cape Town's sermon. Cape Town Cathedral, 30 March 1902; Scholz and Hornbeck's Oxford and the Rhodes Scholarships, 1907. This article is further based on personal knowledge and association and on private information from Rhodes's brothers and sisters, from Sir Starr Jameson, and many other of Rhodes's associates.]

C. W. B.