WeeklyWorker

09.02.2020
Edward Linley Sambourne ‘The Rhodes Colossus’ published in 1892 by Punch. This followed the announcement of his plan for a telegraph line from Cape Town to Cairo

Imperialist idol

Chris Gray considers the fabulous wealth, conquests and dreams of Cecil Rhodes.

Cecil John Rhodes (1853-1902) was something of an iconic figure in Britain in the last decade of the 19th century. Arguably, his breed of opportunism is very much part of our age, as witnessed by his love of money and power; his ruthless use of business acumen; his elitism, emerging in a scheme for the creation of a secret society dedicated to the advancement of empire; his overall plan for British supremacy in southern Africa, financed by a string of companies (notably De Beers and the British South Africa Company); his readiness to use force to overthrow not only native African states, but rival imperialist ones as well; his support for a war against the Boer republics (the Orange Free State and the Transvaal) in 1899-1902. We end by considering his influence on some later writers: viz JA Hobson, VI Lenin and Oswald Spengler.

Rhodes was the son of a Church of England vicar in Hertfordshire. It seems that he was dissatisfied with the grammar school education he got, and resolved to make money in order to pay his way as an Oxford undergraduate. He duly got a place at Oriel College, emerging in 1881 with a BA degree, which, as Flint notes, “opened up to him the prospect of a secure profession and a steady income”. Flint also records his being impressed by the imperialist faith of no less a person than John Ruskin. What is remarkable is what this influence led to: in the words of JH Plumb, Rhodes

conceived of a secret elite of white Anglo-Saxons dedicated, like Plato’s philosophers, to bringing authority and order to the whole world, ruling other peoples for their own good. These dedicated young men were to be drawn from Britain, North America and Germany, for Rhodes regarded these countries as being not only truly white [sic], but also destined for world rule.

John Flint enlarges on this: Rhodes envisioned, in his own words

a Secret Society, the true aim and object whereof shall be the extension of British rule throughout the world, the perfecting of a system of emigration by British subjects of all lands, wherein 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 [Crete], the whole of South America, the whole of the Malay archipelago, the seaboard of China and Japan, the ultimate recovery of the United States of America as an integral part of the British empire … and finally the foundation of so great a power as to hereafter render wars impossible [sic] and promote the best interests of humanity.”

Rhodes did not, it hardly needs saying, live to see the achievement of this utopian vision. Even so, the effect of his commercial and political activities in southern Africa was considerable.

His initial focus was diamonds: eg, the mines in Griqualand. A relevant report shows the kind of industrial policy being practised, whereby “Africans must be prohibited from holding claims of their own, and even prevented by law from being employed to wash diamond-bearing debris. Africans must be restricted to labouring jobs alone.”

Griqualand West was annexed by Britain over the years 1877-80, and joined to Cape Colony; in 1880 the famous De Beers Mining Company was founded, with Rhodes as company secretary. Opposition to his initial plans came from three sources: the native African peoples (principally the Ndebele and the Tswana), rival colonial states (mainly the Orange Free State and the Transvaal, or Boer South African Republic) and rival commercial interests.

Alliances

At this juncture Rhodes needed to manoeuvre and make alliances if possible. His most important initial deal was with Jan Hofmeyr (1894-1948), Dutch leader of the Afrikaner Bond in Cape Colony: Rhodes pledged to support protection for the Cape Boers’ agricultural products, while Hofmeyr agreed not to oppose Rhodes’s plans for the northward expansion of Cape Colony. But this involved a potential breach with London: “Rhodes felt that Sotho, and other African states within or close upon the Cape’s borders, should be controlled by the imperial government, and that [by contrast] the Cape should conserve its energies for true expansion, which the imperial government was unlikely to foster (my emphasis).”

This suggests a certain parallel with a number of 19th century US politicians - in particular Andrew Jackson (1767-1845), and indeed with the whole thrust of US expansionist policy from the Atlantic to the Pacific from 1776 to 1848.

Against such endeavours the Transvaal Boer regime under Paul Kruger (1825-1904) could possibly cut across northward movement by the British by trading on an east-west axis, bolstered by the German takeover of Angra Pequena on the coast of what is now Namibia - control of which was acquired by Otto von Bismarck’s German imperial government in 1884. If Rhodes was going to be able to oppose this threat effectively, the support of the Cape Afrikaners under Hofmeyr was useful, to say the least. But there appeared an additional complication: gold was discovered on the Witwatersrand in 1886, which led to an influx of foreign prospectors into the Transvaal. Flint summarises Rhodes’s operations as follows:

In the Cape parliament he worked to bring his alliance with the Afrikaner Bond to fruition. In Kimberley [in the Orange Free State] he completed his control of the diamond industry. In the Transvaal he moved into the gold fields to make a second fortune. But, while working at all three objectives, he kept his eye on the Ndebele-Shona country in the north. His contacts with the British officials in Cape Town had to be used to forestall Transvaal expansion there and his own claims for a private venture of colonisation established before Transvaalers or even rival British groups could do so. Thereafter he had to secure the sanction of the British government for international protection and permission to establish the private empire that would eventually become known as Rhodesia. By 1890 he had won all these objectives.

The Gold Fields of South Africa Company was formed in 1887:

The structure of this new company was a foretaste of what was to come on the diamond fields. Its trust deed gave the company wide powers to engage in activities little connected with gold mining, including the power to accept cessions of territory and establish government over them. A somewhat dubious provision entitled Rhodes himself to draw one third of the profits, regardless of his share holdings, a right he later sold back to the company for shares worth nearly £1,500,000. In future years Gold Fields … provided him with a vast income and huge assets, worth twice those he won from diamonds.

One individual who, perhaps, could have proved a really formidable opponent in the diamond industry was Barney Isaacs (1851-97, also known as Barney Barnato), who headed the Kimberley Central diamond company, having arrived at the Cape in 1873. Flint gives us a lively pen-portrait of this young Jewish entrepreneur. He was clearly a gifted salesman - he arrived at the Cape carrying 60 boxes of poor-quality cigars, which he proceeded to sell in Kimberley, where they were in short supply. He then branched out into the provision of other commodities, and began to learn about diamonds. By 1876 he had some £3,000 to invest, and bought some claims:

… He left De Beers to Rhodes and Rudd and concentrated on the Kimberley Central mine … Barnato moved fast, forming the Barnato mining company before De Beers came into existence, … and in 1880 forming the largest amalgamation yet seen in Kimberley: the Kimberley Central Diamond Mining Company. By 1885, when Rhodes could boast an income of £50,000 a year, Barnato’s was £200,000.

In 1888 Rhodes and Barnato clashed over control of Barnato’s Company, with Rhodes, understandably, able to call on greater financial backing, including from the French Rothschild organisation. Rhodes’ objective was to absorb Kimberley Central in such a way that the resulting conglomerate would have power not only to mine, but to pursue various ancillary ends he considered necessary for his overall colonial project. Rhodes solved the problem of potential opposition from Barnato by getting him admitted to the Kimberley Club, “which had closed its door to him hitherto” - a clear case of anti-Semitism.

Barnato was also appointed a life governor of De Beers. The amalgamation, De Beers Consolidated Mines, was finally registered in March 1888. Some other Kimberley Club shareholders were unhappy, and appealed to the Cape Supreme Court, but Rhodes effectively got round that by putting Kimberley Central into liquidation and using De Beers to buy up its assets.

1888 was the year of the treaty with Lobengula, King of the Ndebele, in what anglophones then referred to as Matabeleland. This treaty apparently gave the Ndebele protection against a non-British takeover or conquest, but did not bar private British or Cape colonial concession hunting. Rhodes moved to consolidate this by cultivating Westminster parliamentary support for the official establishment of a chartered company along lines pioneered earlier by the East India and the Hudson’s Bay companies. The Irish party bloc of 85 MPs played a crucial role at this point, since they held the parliamentary balance of power following the British general election of 1885, so Rhodes needed to square them. He made contact via the Irish Party’s MP, Swift MacNeill, and the upshot was an agreement whereby Parnell’s party benefited to the tune of some £10,000.

Rhodes’s negotiators then succeeded in getting Lobengula to agree to the mineral concession he wanted. In the process a rival UK imperialist consortium was absorbed. Despite some opposition from Christian missionaries, with whom Joseph Chamberlain had connections, a charter was formally issued to the emergent British South Africa Company in October 1889. Within the BSAC Rhodes operated a private grouping, the Central Search Association, which retained crucial rights over the concession. Coincidentally it appears that the notion of a linked strip of territory under the sovereignty of the UK imperial government - the notorious line “from the Cape to Cairo” proposal - surfaced also in public in 1889.

Prime minister

It is significant that Rhodes, on entering the Cape House of Assembly, chose to stand in the rural and mainly Boer constituency of Barclay West. His parliamentary career climaxed in 1890 with his appointment as prime minister of Cape Colony - a position which he held from July 1890 to January 1896. Flint points out that “it was the Afrikaner Bond which made Rhodes premier” and Rhodes, apparently, was “the only man who could form a cabinet with Bond support”.

What Hofmeyr and his followers wanted was free trade between the Cape and the Transvaal - a demand which clashed with the necessarily protectionist laager being constructed by Kruger, who in March 1889 rejected Hofmeyr’s request to cooperate: Hofmeyr then became more attracted to the idea of “developing the north as a Cape preserve” , which Rhodes was suggesting. This gave Rhodes another opportunity to use his cheque-book, so to speak, by a distribution of shares in his company to Bond members at par value. That was Rhodes’ way: he was a behind-the-scenes fixer more than a politician, using rhetoric as his main weapon.

His long-term aim was to win over Afrikaner support in the Orange Free State and the Transvaal, for, basically, an extension of Cape colony and overall British control of a South African Federation. But Kruger and the descendants of the Voortrekkers (pioneers from 1836 onwards) were a tougher proposition, for obvious historical reasons plus the contemporary possibility of German imperialist backing. For a time Rhodes tried to absorb the Boer republics’ economies via railway extension and pressure for a customs union, but in the face of stubborn resistance led by Paul Kruger at governmental level, an over-confident Cecil Rhodes decided to change course around the end of 1894 - which led to the notorious (and badly planned) Jameson raid.

Plans were made for a coup d’etat in the Transvaal, involving action by a shadowy underground Transvaal “reform committee”. These gentlemen were to be aided by Jameson, who would lead the British South Africa Company’s police from a base over the border in Bechuanaland: Jameson’s force would invade the Transvaal and link up with the internal rebels in Johannesburg. It was expected that, at this point, a stalemate would ensue, allowing the British High Commissioner to act as mediator, producing a satisfactory, pro-British settlement of the conflict.

As first envisaged, the Rhodes-Jameson invasion plan required UK imperial governmental backing, as it was to be launched from the Bechuanaland Protectorate. It would help the cause if the BSAC could, with imperial backing, take over Bechuanaland. Rhodes and Jameson therefore sailed for England in December 1894, taking company secretary Rutherfoord Harris with them, with the double objective of (1) engineering the removal of high commissioner Loch (seen as an obstacle) and (2) obtaining control of Bechuanaland. Flint tells us that the transfer, which fitted in with colonial office plans to link Bechuanaland with Cape Colony, was held up because “Khama and other Christian chiefs in the protectorate had the support of missionary and radical lobbies in British politics”.

As regards the planned raid, PM Lord Rosebery merely warned Rhodes that it should follow, not precede the necessary Johannesburg uprising. Colonial secretary the Marquess of Ripon made no promises over the transfer of Bechuanaland to the BSAC, but the London authorities obligingly agreed to remove Sir Henry Loch as high commissioner, replacing him with the man he had succeeded, Sir Hercules Robinson. “Robinson was openly associated with De Beers and the chartered company, and widely known to be financially dependent upon Rhodes’ enterprises.”

Flint summarises the obstacles facing Rhodes in his attempts to foment an uprising in the Transvaal:

The talk of the likelihood of a spontaneous rising was inaccurate and exaggerated. The white workingmen were well paid, and their prosperity was rising throughout 1895. They had no organisation whatsoever ... The middle-class National Union … was not of the stuff to man barricades. The only way an uprising could be fomented was for the mineowners to pay the white workers to defend Johannesburg against the government when the time came. But the mineowners were not in a revolutionary mood ... Few of them had any predilection for replacing the republic with the Union Jack, for the British government, in their eyes, was too prone to be influenced by ‘nigger-loving’ radicals and missionary interests, and this either upset the supply of black labour or made it more expensive.

In the circumstances Rhodes had to rely on the support of his own Gold Fields company, plus the Anglo-French Company - contact man here being one George Farrar.

Chamberlain

The situation changed in the UK in June 1895, when the Liberal government was defeated in a parliamentary vote, giving way to a Conservative administration headed by Lord Salisbury. Joseph Chamberlain, the Liberal unionist, entered the cabinet as colonial secretary and Rhodes did all he could to get Chamberlain to authorise the transfer of Bechuanaland from UK imperial rule to BSAC rule, pleading the need to extend the Cape railway northwards.

Chamberlain, in deference to the wishes of the Bechuana chiefs, urged Rhodes to negotiate with the Africans so as to acquire for the BSAC a strip of Bechuanaland bordering the Transvaal - a compromise Rhodes was willing to accept because relations between Cape Colony and the Transvaal were reaching crisis point. There was an interlocking tangle of interests, which served to intensify Kruger’s resistance to the Cape railway:

The section of the line linking the Cape system to Johannesburg was controlled by the Netherlands Railway Company, which had now completed the link to Delagoa Bay in Mozambique and wanted to strangle traffic to the Cape. The Netherlands Company therefore increased the rates on the line southward to a prohibitive level. In response, the Cape government organised a system of ox wagons from the border at the Vaal River to take goods from the Cape line to Johannesburg at a competitive rate. On August 28 Kruger closed the drifts (fords) over the Vaal River to the ox wagons ... Chamberlain reacted with a protest to Kruger, which was virtually an ultimatum. Until … Kruger reopened the drifts, war seemed a real possibility.

The competitors were now at their starting blocks. The plan was for Jameson to ride in with 1,500 extra men. Meanwhile, three Maxim machine guns and a million rounds of ammunition would be smuggled into Johannesburg for the rising. The Transvaal state magazine at Pretoria, which held some 10,000 rifles and 12 millions rounds, would be seized by the rebels.

Chamberlain, Flint tells us, decided on November 6 1895 to transfer the border strip to the chartered company. He disbanded the British Bechuanaland police and sold their equipment to the British South Africa company. Chamberlain clearly understood that the strip would be used by the company to launch Jameson’s force into the Transvaal if a “revolution” broke out.

The date of this “revolution” was fixed at December 28 1895. Jameson was provided with a covering letter, which alleged that “Thousands of unarmed men, women and children of our race will be at the mercy of well-armed Boers”. This letter was to become notorious as the “women and children letter”.

As Flint records, the plotters then began to lose control of events: “By December 26 the Johannesburg plotters had altered their plans.” Leonard’s manifesto, calling for a “true republic”, a new constitution, equal rights for Dutch and English, independent courts and free trade with the rest of South Africa, and no mention of British overall rule, was published.

Unfortunately Jameson received no direct word from Rhodes in writing telling him not to move until further notice. Telegrams were sent, but Jameson did not regard them as authoritative. He decided to invade on December 29, informing Cecil Rhodes by telegram. Jameson was now set on action. He relied on the power of the Maxim gun to give him victory over the Boers, as it had over the Ndebele.

The invasion began immediately. An attempt to cut the wires to Pretoria was botched, so that, whereas Rhodes knew only that Jameson’s force had crossed into the Transvaal, Kruger and the Transvaal government had detailed knowledge of its movements right from that point.

News of the invasion became public on December 31. Rhodes acted as if he were resigned to Jameson failing. Flint records a conversation between Rhodes and a cabinet minister, in which the commercial magnate said of Jameson: “I cannot hinder him. I cannot go in and destroy him.” But, in effect, Rhodes destroyed Jameson politically by not effectively hindering him when it became necessary. It was the end of a friendship which had lasted 20 years, in which Jameson had shown unswerving loyalty to the last - to the extent of not deciding to hold back from the raid unless he got orders directly from Rhodes himself.

Hofmeyr, on hearing the news, broke with Cecil Rhodes politically, and sent a telegram to Kruger wishing him success against the invasive raid. Rhodes, sensing the game was up, met Hofmeyr and Robinson, and offered to resign. Hofmeyr insisted: “Mere resignation is not enough. You must issue a manifesto repudiating Jameson, suspending him as administrator of Rhodesia, and declaring the law will be set in force against him.” Rhodes understandably baulked, and as a result lost his political base in Cape Colony.

Boer War

The logical outcome of all this mess was the conflict which is known in the UK as the Boer War (1899-1902). Indeed, as Flint notes, to have shot Jameson and his men as traitors unless the Reform Committee rebels in Johannesburg surrendered unconditionally, as Kruger threatened, would have led to immediate war with Great Britain. It did not come to that, but, according to our biographer, the raid cost Rhodes some £400,000, which obviously increased his problems. On January 15, Rhodes sailed for England.

Rhodes’ hidden weapon in defence of the BSAC was a dossier of 54 telegrams passed between the company’s offices in Cape Town and London. Company solicitor Bourchier Hawkesley seized on these documents, which revealed the extent to which Chamberlain had sanctioned the original plan. But Chamberlain in fact quickly reached an accommodation with Rhodes.

It remains to consider the fate of the native African populations (Shona and Ndebele) in the emergent Rhodesia. The welcome Rhodes got when he landed at Beira took the form of an African uprising led by the Ndebele. Anyone wishing to understand the effect of classic capitalist imperialism on ‘underdeveloped’ peoples will find in Flint’s discussion of the causes of the rebellion a good starting point. You could call it a “jihad in miniature” (using the term as understood by the Donald Trumps and Osama bin Ladens of this world).

The impact on traditional Ndebele institutions had been a devastating one: loss of land and herds, together with the absence of ways of enabling the native economy to survive in the imposed capitalist market. Further, cattle remaining in African hands were struck by a disease outbreak in 1896. Failure to cope by the traditional Ndebele ruling elite (effectively undermined by the BSAC) led to the emergence of Messianic prophets, who sought to fill the institutional void. The Ndebele fought a guerrilla struggle and their Shona neighbours joined them in warfare, depriving the European settlers of the quick victory they thought was theirs by right.

Rhodes seized the chance offered by the rebellion to shake himself free of his critics in London, sidestepping a request from Joseph Chamberlain that he and Alfred Beit should resign as BSAC directors with the terse telegraphic comment: “Let resignation wait - we fight Matabele tomorrow.” He fought them in the most ruthless fashion, urging that African lives be not spared, as “that would teach the rebels a lesson.” The result, however, was a stalemate, which forced our white hero to open negotiations (July 1896 onwards). Talks were made possible by an African whose name was John Grootboom, who “insisted that Rhodes, accompanied by only four or five people, should come unarmed”. This was the first time he had ever been exposed to African points of view in a discussion.

Following a series of indabas (assemblies), ending on October 13 1896, Rhodes appears to have reached an agreement with the Ndebele that they found acceptable. He grew attached to the Matopo Hills and expressed a wish to be buried there (after all, this was “Rhodesia” now).

Evidence that Cecil Rhodes had by now recovered his original brash self-confidence can be found in his support for the Cape-Cairo railway plan in the years 1897-99. By the end of 1897 there was a rail link between Cape Town and Bulawayo and a link between Bulawayo and Salisbury was created in 1899. He favoured a transcontinental Cape-Cairo route under British imperial control, but it was beyond the empire’s resources: the idea “made no sense politically or economically”:

German East Africa lay athwart the route and, although Rhodes’ visit to Berlin [in 1899] … charmed the kaiser into signing an agreement permitting the telegraph to be built through German territory, the Germans were more cautious about permitting a rail line ... The capital needed for such a vast scheme was beyond even Rhodes’ ability to raise, and the British government predictably rejected his request for a guarantee of interest on the capital.

Such scheming was interrupted by the Boer War. Rhodes plunged in, installing himself in Kimberley in the western Orange Free State. Kimberley’s mayor and other residents were unhappy about him being there, as they argued it would invite a Boer attack on the city, but Rhodes’s view was that his presence would aid imperial reinforcement - his capture would be a bad blow - and he could use De Beers financial resources to strengthen Kimberley’s defence. Urban sites falling into the same category as Kimberley when the war broke out were Mafeking, in Goshen, and Ladysmith, a rail junction some 200 miles north of Durban, where Jameson was in command. Flint gives a judicious summary of Rhodes’ doings in Kimberley:

The siege of Kimberley lasted four months. On the British side Lieutenant Colonel Robert George Kekewich was in command, and soon he and Rhodes were at cross-purposes … The city was in fact in no real danger, because the defending forces were strong enough to hold it, and the Boer attackers lacked the weapons to storm the defences. Kimberley, (with Ladysmith and Mafeking) thus performed a useful function in the early months of British strategy, for they detained large bodies of Boer troops while reinforcements steadily arrived from Britain. Rhodes, however, … increasingly interfered in the military sphere, using De Beers resources to build a fort on the outskirts of the city, which Kekewich thought a waste of effort ... At the same time much of his activity was useful and imaginative. He kept the African workers busy and in pay by employing 10,000 of them in public works around the city.

From December 1899 the war swung in Britain’s favour. Kimberley was relieved on February 15 1900, Ladysmith two weeks later. The siege of Mafeking ran from October 1899 to May 1900.

Legacy

Cecil Rhodes died on March 26 1902 and it remains to consider his legacy, both testamentary and political.

His early conception of a secret white and mainly Anglo-Saxon intellectual elite bestriding the world led eventually to what we know as Rhodes Scholarships. These undoubtedly “enshrined and expanded Rhodes’ image as the man of empire”.

Flint ends by arguing: “Ironically, Rhodes was to play a central role in the mythology [sic] of anti-imperialism.” In this context he mentions specifically JA Hobson (1858-1940), Lenin and Oswald Spengler. Flint says that for Hobson, whose book Imperialism: a study came out in 1902,

… imperialism, defined as the movement for territorial expansion in Africa and Asia, was in its root cause the work of small cliques of financiers who manipulated their wealth to influence the press, public opinion and British politicians to undertake territorial aggrandisement which benefited no-one but themselves.

Flint also adduces Vladimir Ilyich Lenin, whose Imperialism, the highest stage of capitalism (1917) became, as he notes, “the New Marxist orthodoxy”:

In effect it was Hobson’s thesis legitimised [Indeed?] and for Lenin, as for Hobson, Cecil Rhodes was the classic figure of the imperialist. The chartered company was seen as the institutional revelation of the financial taproots of imperialism, in which the financiers openly managed both the economic exploitation and the political administration of the colonial territory.

Finally there is Oswald Spengler:

In 1918 the intellectual prophet of German Nazism, Oswald Spengler, published the first volume of a two-volume study completed in 1922, The decline of the west ... Spengler regarded Rhodes with almost mystical awe, as a prototype of the future world order. “Rhodes is to be regarded as the first precursor of a western type of Caesar. He stands midway between Napoleon and the force-men of the next centuries.” … He … saw him as the precursor of a new Germanic revival: “in our Germanic world the spirits of Alaric and Theodoric will come again - there is the first hint of them in Cecil Rhodes.”

Flint goes on to assert that the Nazis of the 1920s and 1930s found a kindred spirit in Rhodes, especially in his love of power. Rhodes’ obsession with his personal “idea” was equated with Hitler’s. His companies operated as a state within a state, with their own police force and detectives, even keeping dossiers on prominent South Africans who has no connexion with the diamond trade, and Rhodes manipulated the press. Furthermore,

Like Mussolini after him, Rhodes felt himself Roman. He fancied he bore a likeness to the emperor Hadrian, commissioned dozens of busts and statues of himself, and even arranged for his own funeral to be like that of an emperor. Rhodes’ views on race, though not particularly anti-Semitic or unusual for his time, also seemed congenial to extreme rightwing thought in the years between the wars. For Rhodes the achievements of the British were the result of an inner dynamism contained in the ‘British race’; all other peoples, except the Germanic, were in varying degrees inferior.

When thinking about Cecil Rhodes, I am reminded of the wonderful series, The wizard of Id, by cartoonists Brant Parker and Johnny Hart. The king at one point addresses the peasants, insisting: “Always remember the Golden Rule”: ie, ‘Don’t do to other people what you wouldn’t want done to yourself’. One peasant asks his neighbour: “The Golden Rule - what does that mean?” and his companion says: “It means whoever has the gold makes the rules”.

Notes

. A useful starting point for assessing Rhodes’s political roles is John Flint’s Cecil Rhodes (London 1976). This book is graced with an introduction by the distinguished British historian, JH Plumb. 

. J Flint op cit p22. 

. Ibid pp27-28. 

. Ibid pxvi. 

. Ibid pp32-33. 

. Rhodes landed in South Africa when he was 17 years of age, sent out by his parents in the hope that the move would improve his health (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cecil_Rhodes, accessed 2/11/2019). 

. Quoted in J Flint op cit p45. 

. Ibid p54.

. Ibid pp55-56. 

. Ibid p78. 

. Ibid p81. 

. His Wikipedia entry says he was born Barnet Isaacs in Aldgate, London on February 21 1851. 

. CD Rudd was an early associate of Rhodes, partnering him in the De Beers Mining Co. and later in the Niger Oil Co (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cecil_Rhodes). 

. De Beers Consolidated Mines was founded on March 13 1888. 

. C Flint op cit pp46-47. 

. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barney_Barnato, accessed 15/12/2019.

. “… including the building of railways and the founding and governing of new colonies. Such powers were probably ultra vires, and if Barnato refused to agree he could become a formidable obstacle” (C Flint op cit p89). 

. C Flint op cit pp89-91. A case of a rich thief buying out a lesser thief?

. The Ndebele were of Zulu stock, and they lived to the south of the Shona. The latter were agriculturalists in a tributary relationship to the Ndebele, but inhabiting an upland region suitable for white farming.

. See the short summary of the political outcome of the 1885 vote in J Bardon A history of Ulster (Newtownards 1992), pp373-75.

. See C Flint op cit pp102, 103, 107 and 109-11. 

. Ibid p117. See also pp118-56.

. Ibid pp120-21. 

. Ibid p113. 

. See note 13. 

. Ibid p158. 

. Ibid p159.

. “His concept of debate was to expound his own thoughts, at length and with much repetition, before the House, and to stifle coherent reply by prior arrangements with potential opponents. During the years of his premiership, from 1890 to 1895, the Bond [enjoyed] a maturity and confidence born of its shared power (ibid pp160-61). 

. “The decision was a calamity for Rhodes, and it ruined his political career; for South Africa’s white population it was a catastrophe that led directly to the Boer War” (ibid p176). 

. For Flint’s summary of Rhodes’s plan see ibid pp180-81. 

. Ibid p182. 

. Ibid p183. 

. Ibid pp183-84. 

. Ibid p184. 

. Ibid p186. 

. Ibid pp186-87.

. Ibid pp189-90. 

. Ibid p196. 

. Ibid. 

. Official UK title: the Second South African War. 

. Flint recommends TO Ranger, Revolt in Southern Rhodesia: a study in African resistance 1896-1897 (Evanston 1967). 

. Here the Ndebele showed their Zulu mettle. 

. Surely there is a parallel here with Jacob Rees-Mogg’s alleged comment regarding the) salutary effect of confinement in a concentration camp. 

. C Flint op cit p212. Is there now such a transcontinental rail link? No, there are still gaps, in Egypt, south Sudan and Uganda 

. Goshen was an erstwhile Boer republic sandwiched in between British Bechuanaland and the Transvaal. 

. C Flint op cit p220. 

. Ibid pp243 and 227.

. Ibid p228.

. Ibid. Flint adds: “For the British Labour Party, steadily gaining in electoral strength, Hobson’s concept of imperialism became an orthodoxy.” 

. Ibid p229. His analysis of Lenin’s book on imperialism is questionable, in as much as it does not mention Lenin’s focus on interstate debt and on the expansionist tendencies of industrial capital. 

. Ibid p232. 

. Ibid p233.