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Cecil John Rhodes, South African financier and statesman: b: Bishop's Stortford, Hertfordshire, England, 5 July 1853; d: Cape Town 26 March 1902. He was educated at the grammar school of his native town, but before he could pass on to the university, a serious affection of the lungs necessitated his departure for Natal, where an elder brother of his was engaged in cotton-raising. Rhodes landed in South Africa in 1870 and after a brief experience in farming made his way to the diamond fields of Kimberley, where he met with speedy and astonishing success. At 19 he was a millionaire and, with his health well recovered in the salubrious air of the veldt, he planned to return to England to resume his interrupted education. Before leaving South Africa he traveled for eight months, by ox-cart and on foot through the region north of the Orange and the Vaal, and his imagination, which even at that early age worked in vast spaces, saw in the fertile, 'hinly populated country, virgin soil for the building up of an imperial Britain in the Dark Continent. He matriculated at Baliol College, Oxford, in 1873, but his ailment returned and he was compelled to leave England in the same year. Three years in South Africa made him robust again and from 1876 on he kept his terms at the university, spending the long vacation in South Africa, and taking his B.A. and M.A. in 1881. In the same year Rhodes entered the Cape Parliament as member for Barkly West. By this time his plans for the future had assumed a definite character. Convinced, at all times, of the supreme fitness of the English race for the task of governing the world, Rhodes made it his object in life to further the .realization of that end in his own especial sphere of South Africa. To aid him in his schemes he looked to money, in whose power he had a tremendous faith, and it is because of the close connection in him of the selfish money-getting instinct and the broad ambition of the statesman that Rhodes remained for many years an enigma to the world. In the Cape Parliament Rhodes devoted himself to the task of establishing harmonious relations between the English inhabitants and the Dutch, for with true insight he recognized that if British influence was to dominate South Africa it must be conditioned by the good-will of the people of Dutch blood. The . first step in his scheme of imperial expansion " was the acquisition of Bechuanaland as a British protectorate in 1884. For this he labored against the indifference of the home government, which he finally stirred to action by his insistence upon the necessity of securing Bechuaualand as an outlet for the British trade to the north, already threatened by the encroachments of the Transvaal from the east and Germany from the west.

The annexation of Bechuanaland was a victory for Rhodes over Kruger, the astute president of the Transvaal, but the struggle between the two did not end there. When Boer commanders began to cross the Limpopo River, the northern boundary of the Transvaal, about 1887, Rhodes, to cut off their advance in that direction, obtained from Lobengula, king of the Matabele who were masters of the country between the Limpopo and the Zambesi, the exclusive right to search for minerals within his territories, and in 1889 the British South Africa Company was incorporated with almost absolute political and territorial powers over a vast, indefinite tract north of the Limpopo. In 1890 settlers were brought into the country and founded Fort Salisbury in Mashonaland, and at the same time the construction of a railway was begun which, running entirely through British territory, was to connect the new settlements with the Cape. Reading his title to Rhodesia, as the country was soon called, in liberal terms Rhodes (after 1893) extended the operations of the company north of the Zambesi as far as to the southern end of Lake Tanganyika, and though his dream of an "all red" map of Africa had been dissipated by the convention of 1889 with Germany, which allowed that country to stretch a barrier across the continent to the Kongo State, he did not abandon his scheme of a transcontinental telegraph line from north to south and a railway "from Cape to Cairo." Upon his political projects Rhodes spent vast amounts of money, partly his own, partly the funds of the De Beers Consolidated Mines, a corporation formed by him in 1888 and controlling the entire diamond output of the famous Kimberley mines. Of this company he was managing director.

In 1800 Rhodes became premier of Cape Colony. During his six years of office he gave special attention to his old policy of amalgamation between Dutch and British; he succeeded in winning the confidence of the former by his strong advocacy of full local government for Cape Colony, which he considered quite consistent with, and indeed, essential for, the scheme of imperial federation. It is this belief in a federal union of locally autonomous commonwealths that explains his gift of to the funds of the Irish Home Rule party in 1888. In his treatment of the native races of Cape Colony Rhodes maintained the impossibility of granting them equal rights with the white population, but at the same time held it necessary to protect them by law against the temptations of civilization and exploitation by the whites. In Rhodesia a formidable outbreak of the Matabele in 1893 ended, after a bitter conflict, in their utter defeat and the absorption of their territory by the Chartered Company. Successful . everywhere, however, Rhodes was destined to fall before his old opponent, Kruger, of the Transvaal. The Jameson raid in 1895 destroyed Rhodes' personal power, although subsequent events fully vindicated his policy. Though the full truth of the Jameson affair may not perhaps be known, it is established that Rhodes, who was a large holder of mines in the Rand, plotted with other leaders of the Uitlanders in Johannesburg for the subversion of the Transvaal government; that a revolution was prepared in Johannesburg, and that Rhodes stationed Captain Jameson with several hundred men of the Rhodesian mounted police on the western border of the Transvaal to cooperate when necessary with the leaders in the mining town; and though it is also established that Jameson invaded the Transvaal without Rhodes' orders, the evil results of that unhappy affair may not unjustly be reckoned up against the premier of Cape Colony who abused the powers of his office to plot the downfall of a nation (see Jameson, Leander Starr). A committee of the House of Commons acquitted Rhodes of responsibility for the raid, but censured his conduct as minister and director of the Chartered Company. Rhodes resigned the premiership on the last day of 1895 and thenceforth devoted himself to the interests of Rhodesia. A second war with the Matabele in 1896 was terminated by Rhodes' intrepid courage; the building of the trans-continental railway was rapidly pushed forward, and in connection with this undertaking Rhodes visited Europe in 1898-1900, carrying on negotiations with Mr. Chamberlain, the colonial secretary, and with the German emperor. During the Boer war, in its outcome the triumph and realization of his policy, Rhodes was besieged in Kimberley and took part in its defense. His health, however, gave way, and in spite of a trip to Egypt, his old disease finally conquered. In his lifetime Rhodes was the subject of infinite execration, as well as unlimited applause. Looked upon by different men as a statesman or a land grabber, a builder of empires or an unscrupulous speculator, he was all of these and more; and the anomaly of his character may, perhaps, be best explained if he be regarded as a man of great aims who let nothing stand in the way of their achievement Rhodes left the bulk of his great fortune for the establishment of a large number of scholarships at Oxford University to be apportioned as follows: Rhodesia, 9; Cape Colony, 12; Natal, 3; Australia, 18; New Zealand, 3; Canada, 6; Newfoundland, 3; Bermuda, 3; United States, 2 for each State and territory; Germany, 15. All but the German scholarships have an annual value of 300, and all but the last were intended to bring about that complete unity of the English speaking race whose destiny it is, Rhodes believed, ultimately to rule the world. Consult "Vindex," 'Political Life and Speeches of Cecil Rhodes' (1900) ; "Imperialist," "Cecil Rhodes: a Biography and Appreciation5 (1897) ; Hensman, 'Life of Cecil Rhodes' (1902).

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