Cecil Rhodes' Wills and the Rhodes Scholarships for World Governance - Peter Myers, May 28, 2002; update May 24, 2003. My comments are shown {thus}

Write to me at contact.html.

You are at http://mailstar.net/rhodes-scholars.html.

Carroll Quigley wrote, in The Anglo-American Establishment:

"THE RHODES SCHOLARSHIPS, established by the terms of Cecil Rhodes's seventh will, are known to everyone. What is not so widely known is that Rhodes in five previous wills left his fortune to form a secret society, which was to devote itself to the preservation and expansion of the British Empire. And what does not seem to be known to anyone is that this secret society was created by Rhodes and his principal trustee, Lord Milner, and continues to exist to this day." (p. ix) quigley.html.

(1) Sarah Gertrude Millin, Rhodes (2) Felix Gross, Rhodes of Africa (3) John Flint, Cecil Rhodes

(1) Sarah Gertrude Millin, Rhodes, Chatto & Windus, London 1936

{p. 84} By 1888, de Beers Company, which, shortly after its formation, had paid a dividend of three per cent. on its capital of two hundred thousand, was paying a dividend of twenty-five per cent. on a capital of two and a third millions. And Rhodes

{p. 85} was calculating that one might sell four million pounds' worth of diamonds for engagement rings alone. But how to keep up the fashion and price of diamonds? How not to make them too common, too cheap? For what Rhodes was doing at de Beers Mine, Barnato was doing at the Kimberley - he was absorbing lesser companies, buying up all the shares he could. His only great obstacle at the Kimberley Mine was the presence of a concern called the French Company. Rhodes and Barnato competed with one another in the selling of diamonds and the buying of shares. The price of diamonds went down, yet the price of shares went up.

Both men felt that this under-selling, this out-buying, must not go on. Both wanted control.

The crux, as Rhodes would have expressed it, was the French Company. It all depended on who could buy out the French Company.

Rhodes did so. He was associated now in this business with the Hamburg Jew, Alfred Beit. Beit had made his first money in Kimberley by letting a dozen corrugated-iron offices on the edge of a mine for eighteen hundred pounds a month. For twelve or thirteen years he made this money, and then he sold the ground for two hundred and sixty thousand pounds. In the meantime, he had bought and sold diamonds, bought and sold claims. He was richer even than Rhodes.

The path from one Jew to another is an easy one. Rhodes went to England to see Lord Rothschild, and Lord Rothschild approved of him.

Within a few days, as Rhodes described it in a subsequent speech, he had three-quarters of a million pounds. He then used, he says in the same speech, the following arguments to Barnato: 'You can go and offer three hundred thousand pounds more than we do for the French; but we will offer another three hundred thousand on that; you can go on and bid for the benefit of the French shareholders ad infinitum, because we shall have it in the end.' ...

{p. 86} They did have it in the end. The French Company took one million four hundred thousand pounds for their shares. The money was raised by an issue of de Beers shares st fifteen pounds. The shares rose to twenty-two, and Rhodes made an incidental profit of one hundred thousand pounds on the deal. The French Company's holdings in the Kimberley Mine amounted to a fifth of all the shares in the mine, and that fifth was Rhodes' buttoned boot opportunely thrust into the nervously-opened door of Barnato's tight-shut house.

Rhodes now said, in effect, to Barnato: 'Do you invite me in, or do I force my way in? 'In other words, he suggested amalgamation, and, failing amalgamation, war. Barnato rejected amalgamation - he rejected Rhodes' valuation of his mine - and it was war.

Barnato did not yet know Rhodes' single-minded tenacity. 'You must never abandon a position' was one of those maxims of Rhodes' that are so useful when things go well of themselves.

He went about buying Kimberley Central shares, wherever he could get them, at whatever price. He asked Beit to find him two million pounds for the purpose of these dealings, and Beit, interested by now, as he said, in the sport of the thing, found it. Barnato, greatly troubled, bought against Rhodes.

The shares went up and up. The time came when Rhodes felt he could speak to Barnato. Later, in the presence of Barnato, he repeated their conversation to his shareholders. ('These are facts, I can assure you, although Mr. Barnato may shake his head and smile.')

'I said to him: "Well, how are you getting on now?"

'He replied: "Why, you've bought a million pounds' worth of Centrals."

'I said: "Yes, and we'll buy another million pounds' worth. And now," I said further to him, "I'll tell you what you will find out presently, and that is, you'll be left alone in the Central Company . ... Your leading shareholders

{p. 87} are patting you on the back, and backing you up, but selling out round the corner all the time."'

They were selling to Rhodes. Rhodes' shareholders were standing firm, but Barnato's were undermining their leader.

Rhodes was undermining their leader in his own way. He was 'dealing' with Barnato. Nearly every day he had Barnato and his nephew Woolf Joel to lunch or dine with him at the Kimberley Club, the sacred, the, to them, unattainable Kimberley Club. An attempt was made to put through a rule that no Kimberley resident, who was not a member, should be allowed to take more than one meal a month at the Club. But Rhodes himself arranged for the defeat of that motion, and the arguments, the blandishments, the threats, went on. He hypnotized, he wore out, Barnato.

Barnato sold his shares to Rhodes. With two-thirds of the shares Rhodes found himself in control of the Kimberley Mine. He already - his company - had control of de Beers Mine, and Barnato's Oriental Company in that mine now fell under him too. He said to his shareholders: 'There is no desire on our part to do what might be termed an American corner.' But that exactly was his desire. He wanted to control the diamonds of the world, and he did. He possessed himself of all the diamond mines of Kimberley - he bought the last independent holding (through searchlight and despatchrider) during the Kimberley siege. He drew in such outside mines as mattered. No American Trust, no trust in the world, so had power over any commodity as Rhodes had over diamonds. {end of text}

(2) Felix Gross, Rhodes of Africa, Cassell & Company, London 1956

{p. 58} ... with the London and Paris houses of Rothschild, and could finance even the most expansive projects. The firm Wernher, Beit and Co., was therefore founded on a very solid basis.

Wernher, nine years older than Beit, was the son of a Prussian general. He was tall, massive and very blond. Though so different physically from his partner, he resembled Beit in everything else: in his calm, reflective and sagacious manner, his methodical, almost pedantic ways, his reliability, honcsty, loyalty and outstanding business capabilities. Wernher preferred to direct their business from his office and Beit had to do the outside work. He was therefore less well known in public and once remarked:

'They think I am only Beit's Christian name!'

These men, Beit with Wernher in the background and Rhodes and Jameson, formed the best imaginable team for the conquest of South Africa. Rhodes had vision and could foresee potentialities, combinations and prospects. Jameson derobed these dreams of their romantic wrapping and translated them into the language of cold facts. He found the essentials, and with his sceptical, cynical and logical mind he diagnosed, disinfected and dissected them. Next Beit would step into action. Ideas to him meant - figures. His brain, the brain of a financial genius, was divided into double-entry ledger accounts. It could at an instant reduce any idea to a balance sheet. Rhodes found delight in juggling with big amounts like a conjurer. Beit - with the pride of a craftsman - preferred to be admired for the solidity and cleanness of his financial transactions. Beit soon became Rhodes' business conscience, his financial encyclopaedia and his ready reckoner. And there was Wernher, the Prussian Junker turned London City magnate. In the end the ball was passed to him to procure the money on the international money markets.

When Alfred Beit had arrived in Kimberley, he was amazed at the conditions on the diamond-helds. Business there was conducted by means of fraud, deceit and corruption. At least half of all the stones on the market werc: stolen goods and had originally been acquired from Natives by unscrupulous dealers. Later the situation had improved through the strict laws against I.D.B. (Illicit Diamond Buying) imposed by the Cape Government. Young, unknown, and unfamiliar with the ways of Kimberley, how could one let the diggers and buyers know that Alfred Beit

{p. 59} from Hamburg would give them a fair deal? He would, he reckoned, first have to give them proof that he trusted them. As an expert he was able to determine much better than anyone else the true quality and market price of diamonds. Thus, content with a reasonable profit, he was usually able to offer a higher price than those who were not quite so sure about the real value of the stone and who had to be careful to avoid risks. As Beit wanted to handle only the best quality and refused to deal in faulty diamonds, he soon acquired regular customers, and buyers in London and Amsterdam learnt quickly that they could rely on him.

Rhodes had first noticed Beit when he encountered him on his early morning rides. And late at night, he saw that this little man seemed to work regularly when others sat in bars or were already in bed. One night when he saw the door of the wooden hut open he stepped in and asked:

'Do you never take a rest, Mr Beit?'

'Not often.'

'Well, what's your game?'

Beit climbed off his uncomfortable high of hce-stool and, looking up at the six-foot Rhodes, he replied, twisting his insignihcant little moustache:

'I am going to control the whole diamond output before I am much older.'

'I have made up my mind to do the same; we had better join hands.'

Thus started their friendship. It was more than a business partnership which led these two men, so different in provenance, character, temperament, mentality and nationality to march close together for a quarter of a century. ...

{p. 116} ... When the ship stopped in Madeira, Currie received by cable from Kimberley the latest share prices, which were much higher than those offered by Rhodes. He told the agents in not too parliamentary language what he thought of Mr Rhodes' business methods. When informed of the reason for the breakdown of the negotiations Rhodes manipulated the market so as to bring these shares down to a price below his original offer. Now, he thought, old Currie would be only too glad to get rid of them at the old price. Currie, however, was informed simultaneously of Rhodes' market manceuvres. His language once again was very outspoken when he declined to have any further dealings with Rhodes.

Rhodes was beaten. He had learnt one more lesson: it was easier to pick up diamonds in Kimberley than to pick the pockets of millionaires. He consulted 'Little Beit'. He negotiated once more, secretly, with Barnato. But Barney had become even more obdurate, laughing at all offers and continually making dark allusions to a very big stock of 'beauties of diamonds' kept in reserve for the 'psychological moment'. Rhodes' nerves snapped. He shouted at Beit: 'One can never deal with obstinate people until one gets the whip-hand of them. The only thing we have to do to secure success for our industry is to get control of Kimberley Mine. ...'

Barnato had announced his decision to introduce Central shares on the London Stock Exchange. Quick action was necessary. Rhodes had already acquired one-flfth of the issued Central shares by pledging his own De Beers shares. Now his own means were exhausted. He explained to Beit that in order to buy sufficient Central shares they would have to have at their disposal £2-3 million:

{quote} A big undertaking! If one can only have the pluck to undertake it, one must succeed. Don't let us go to the shareholders. If we fail, they can only make us personally liable. ... But where's the money to come from - where's the money to come from - the money to come from? {end quote}

After a dramatic pause Beit turned to Rhodes and, swaying

{p. 117} nervously from side to side in his easy-chair, from which his crossed legs did not quite reach the ground, said:

'Oh, we'll get the money if we can only buy the shares.'

Beit had good connections with the London House of Rothschild. He discussed the matter with their representative in Kimberley, an expert mining engineer, suggesting that he would hrst buy the French company, thus encroaching on the Kimberley Mine. Rhodes, with freshly awakened optimism, had no doubt that the Rothschilds would jump at the plan, and took their help so much for granted that he set out for London without waiting for Rothschild's reply.

In August 1887, in high spirits, he opened the door to New Court in London City, where a simple plate indicated the premises of N. M. Rothschild & Sons, Merchants. He lost a good deal of his courage when he found that it was not as easy as he had expected to see His Lordship Nathaniel Mayer, first Baron Rothschild, even if one was Cecil J. Rhodes from Kimberley. He was received with icy politeness by one of His Lordship's managers in the drab atmosphere of dusty solidity which ruled in these dark offices where everyone whispered as if in the House of the Lord. Rhodes was told that the matter was under consideration by the House's experts. This cold shower did not unnerve him entirely. He would have to have their decision soon, no, immediately, and so he told the almost flattened Stock Exchange high priest in trembling descant:

'Sir, I'll call again in half an hour. If you are not ready with your answer then, I shall go elsewhere.'

Rhodes had nowhere else to go, of course. But his crude bluff was effective. Lord Rothschild was interested in having a look at a digger from South Africa who had dared to threaten with raised voice the House of Rothschild and had set it a time-limit. But he would have to wait until the matter had been thoroughly investigated by the experts of the firm. Rothschild regarded this business not as an investment but as a preliminary step towards amalgamation and monopoly. After a short time Rothschild asked Rhodes to visit him again in order to clear a few points and when Rhodes was at the door he heard Lord Rothschild say to his assistant:

'You may tell Mr Rhodes, that if he can buy the French Company, I think I can raise the million pounds sterling.'

{p. 118} Rhodes left New Court in triumph: the House of Rothschild, 'the Bankers of Kings and the Kings of Bankers', had become his ally - a 'sometimes puzzled and anxious ally', as Lord Rothschild later described the connection.

Losing no time, Rhodes made a substantial offer to the directors of the French Company to acquire all shares, which, after long bargaining, they accepted with the provision that an extraordinary meeting of shareholders should agree to it. Before the meeting was convened Barnato, as one of the principal shareholders, having learnt of Rhodes' offer, bid £300,000 more for the company. Barney Barnato would not allow himself to be pushed aside as easily as all that. 'If you are going to fight, always get in the first blow. ... ' He indicated to Rhodes that he would pay even more and intended to outbid him to the last.

For Rhodes there was more at stake than the French Company: his reputation with the Rothschilds. They were already anxiously inquiring about the delay.

Since it was Rhodes' belief that there was no one in the world with whom it was not 'as easy to deal with as to fight', there was no reason why it should not be possible with Barney Barnato. One would have to try it again, either 'on the personal' or simply by 'squaring' him.

They met once more. Barnato came well prepared. In a suitcase he had brought with him a large selection of the finest diamonds which the Central Company kept in reserve. When he saw them, Rhodes would understand what great power Barnato could wield if he were to sell them on the market cheaply. He spread them out - a collection worth well over a million pounds.

Talking like a Sunday School teacher to a sulky schoolboy, Rhodes poured forth tirades about cutting each other's throats through Barnato's obstinate interest in the French Company.

Barnato, however, could not be taken 'on the personal'. Rhodes took out his cheque-book:

'Now, Barnato, you just tell me how much it is worth for you to give up your obstruction against the French Company coming under my control. Name your figure, man!'

'No, Mr Rhodes. If I could see your scheme would be for the benefit of the shareholders in the French Company I would never have objected to it.'

'Well, if you will withdraw your opposition I will give you

{p. 119} a cheque to cover all that you think you lose by allowing my offer to pass.'

'No, that won't do. It would put me all right, but what about the shareholders in the French Company?'

Should one shout at him to stop that bloody nonsense of silly talk or burst out laughing in his face? Imagine that cunning little fellow all of a sudden discovering a conscience in his bosoml Rhodes, however, soon realized that Barnato was quite serious in his attitude. A break with Barnato had to be avoided. He squinted at the side-table where Barnato's numerous parcels of diamonds lay. Barnato could and would upset the whole market for years by their sale.

Rhodes made another suggestion. Seeing that Barnato was not willing to withdraw his protest against Rhodes' taking over the French Company, Rhodes was prepared to pass all his shares in that company to Barnato at the original price and would not even ask for cash but accept payment in Central shares.

Barnato, of course, saw the trap. Rhodes, however, was not the macher in this game but only the dummy of the Rothschilds. With the Rothschilds one would have to keep on good terms - and what was wrong with having the House of Rothschild as shareholders in one's company? Then nothing would ever go wrong - the Rothschilds are like guardian angels in time of need. The French Company in his possession would remove the last outsider from the Kimberley Mine. Now he would be able to work more economically through mechanization and produce diamonds at a cost of less than six shillings. If he wished, he might sell a carat at the price of even fifteen shillings and still make a good profit. He must mention that to Rhodes and show him his diamonds. But first let this deal be finished with. That he would not have to pay cash for the French Company suited him very well. A real godsend. He would need all his money, every single stiver very soon. Gold was being found in the Transvaal, he had heard. One must be prepared for such a case. All right, let Lord Rothschild come and buy some of his Central shares. He will be welcome.

Rhodes was surprised at Barnato's quick acceptance and naively believed that he had tricked Barnato. Barnato, on the other hand, was convinced that he had made the better bargain. In one point, however, he was mistaken: the Rothschilds were

{p. 120} not interested in his shares and were acting merely as financing agents for Rhodes and his partners.

After the deal was signed, Barnato showed Rhodes his diamonds. 'Only a part of our reserve stock,' he said proudly and with obvious malice. Rhodes opened one parcel after the other and looked silently at the stones. With expert eyes it did not take him long to realize that these diamonds represented the acme of quality that the Fields could produce.

'Have you ever seen a bucketful of diamonds, Barney?' (The 'cunning little Jew' had suddenly become 'Barney' to him.) 'It has always been a dream of rnine to see a bucketful of diamonds. ... I'm sure that's a bucketful lying here on the table ... certainly ... a bucketful here on the table. ... Shall we try, Barney? Think of it, a bucketful of diamonds. ... One is really tempted to try. ...' And before Barnato realized what was happening, Rhodes had brought a bucket and quickly poured the diamonds from their tissue wrappings into the vessel, filling it almost to the brim. With flushed face, his eyes half closed in rapture, he buried his hands in the precious stones and let them glide through his fingers.

He seemed to have been completely carried away and almost started when he heard Barnato's voice:

'A good show, isn't it? Could De Beers do as much?'

'No, De Beers could never have done it.'

This time Rhodes scored over Barnato: he knew that to sort and value these stones anew would take several weeks. Only to gain time had Rhodes staged this little comedy.

Every day now counted. A battue-hunt for Central shares had been started by Rhodes. In Kimberley, London, Paris, Berlin, Vienna and Amsterdam, Beit had instructed his brokers to buy up every single Central share coming on the market, no matter at what cost. Rhodes had scraped together every single penny. Beit contributed £250,000 to the battle-fund and the Rothschilds were willing to put £2-3 million at their disposal. Now he was starting to get the whip-hand of 'that obstinate little donkey'.

Rhodes enjoyed the drive whole-heartedly. There were 176,592 Central shares of a nominal value of £10 each which constituted the original capital of Central. The shares were quoted at £14 when Rhodes began to buy. More than half of the issued capital was in the hands of Barnato and his friends. Rhodes at the

{p. 121} beginning owned one-fifth. His stock increased from day to day though at rapidly mounting prices.

Barnato now also started to buy in order to ward off Rhodes' attack. Soon he noticed that he was buying shares secretly sold by his friends who were tempted by the dizzy offers. Rhodes observed the same thing: several of his friends thought it wiser to cash in on a quick profit before it became too late. Ever-correct Wernher, Beit's partner, who was acting as Rhodes' agent, was becoming worried about the big engagements of his firm in Central shares. When Beit one day reported the purchase of another large amount of Centrals he feared that his partner would reproach him. But Wernher reassured him: 'Oh, that's all right. I found the firm was more involved in these shares than I liked, so I have sold a lot at excellent prices.'

Barnato went on buying but when the shares reached a quotation Of £40 per share, four times their original price, he was convinced that they had exceeded their true value. He now began slowly to sell himself, at the same time driving the price up to £45. If these chochems - these wise chaps - he thought, want to have my Kimberley Mine let them pay through the nose for the pleasure .... He kept quite a large number so that he would still have a say when it came to the funeral. And, besides, he had been clever enough to retain his Founders' Preference shares without which they could do nothing.

When Rhodes had more than 1OO,OOO out of the 170,000 odd shares at his command, he thought the time had come to sound the gong, though Barnato had by no means been knocked out.

To flatter Barnato's vanity, who, he knew, suffered under his 'bubble reputation', Rhodes had invited him to the Kimberley Club. It was not easy to become a member there. Jews were generally excluded.

They retired to a private room. Everything seemed to go smoothly. Barnato had given up all resistance, and the financial side was settled to their mutual satisfaction. There was only one point, about which they could not come to an agreement. Rhodes insisted on bringing into the deed of trust of the future company, which was to amalgamate the Kimberley and De Beers companies, his 'cranky ideas' as Barnato called them. 'What has a diamond-mining company,' he asked excitedly, 'to do with ... now listen:

{p. 122} "anywhere in the world construct, maintain and operate tramways, railways, roads, tunnels, canals, gasworks, electric works, etc.?" ... and now listen: "acquire tracts of country in Africa or elsewhere . . . and expend thereon any sums deemed requisite for the maintenance and good government." ... No, no, I'm not interested in Mr Rhodes' painting the map of Africa red with our money, the only purpose of which was and is - and for which it was entrusted to me by the shareholders - to dig for diamonds. ...'

They went on to Dr Jameson's house, where they could speak more freely. Midnight had passed. Rhodes put his hand on Barnato's shoulder, looked him straight in the eye and said: 'Listen, Barney, I want to make a gentleman of you. I'll see - and I can guarantee you almost that I'll have you elected to Parliament for Kimberley as the representative of the Diamond Industry. I'll back you personally. ... And I'll have you made a member of the Kimberley Club. ...'

Barnato softened. He willingly agreed to a clause 'to guard against the adoption of any unwise policy,' that he and Rhodes as well as Beit and a representative of the Rothschilds be nominated Life Governors and Directors of the company, which was to be styled De Beers Consolidated Mines with a capital of over £2 1/2 million. It was a profitable position, as Life Governors received 15 per cent of the profits of the company, which was to bring them each a yearly income of £300,000 to £400,000 for many years, until this royalty was abolished by a payment in De Beers' shares worth several million pounds.

In the morning, after fifteen hours' discussion, Barnato declared:

'Well, Rhodes, some people have a fancy to one thing, some to another. You want the means to go North, if possible, and I suppose we must give them to you.'

When Barnato came home, exhausted, he sat up with his nephew Joel to review the events of the previous hours. As if to render account to himself, he said almost in a whisper:

'There is no other man who lives in the world who could have induced me to have gone in with him in the amalgamation; but Rhodes has an extraordinary ascendancy over men, and he gets men to do almost anything he likes. No one would believe it at first, but he roped me in as he ropes in everyone else. ...

{p. 123} You can't resist him: you must be with him!'

The Kimberley Central shares had cost De Beers more than £3 million to acquire. For the poorer mines, formerly described by Rhodes as 'those mines that are too rich to leave and too poor to pay, which were once to me what I might call spectres of the night', he had to pay more than £2 million before he had full control over the entire Kimberley diamond industry and 90 per cent of the world's cliamond production.

{p. 124} In order to control the sale of diamonds Rhodes, with some of the biggest diamond merchants, had founded the Diamond Syndicate in London. The first contract for five years amounted to £25 million. ... The price of diamonds, after amalgamation, went up to thirty shillings per carat.

{p. 162} Stead can be called the father of modern journalism.

He did not regard the task of his paper as completed by broadcasting the news and commenting upon it. He wanted the Press to exercise an ethical influence for the improvement of morals, to further the educational standard of the people and to spread faith in the future of the British Empire as the bastion of world peace and advancement of mankind.

W. T. Stead represented a mighty factor in English public life. His printed words weighed heavily in the council of England's leaders, and they studied his opinions in the Pall Mall Gazette as 'though it were the organ of Fate itself'.

Such a man, Rhodes judged, would be useful to have as a friend. He must meet Stead!

At the beginning Stead was not at all impressed by the young South African millionaire. Rhodes broke the ice by telling Stead that he had wanted to meet him four years ago to express his admiration for the courage he had shown in fighting social evils. There followed Rhodes' impressive recital of his romantic ideas of the Pax Britannica; of the Federation of the Germanic countries led by England; of the conquest of Africa to maintain the supremacy of the Anglo-Saxon race by finding new unoccupied land in which to settle English colonists and to create new markets; of the founding of a secret society organized in the style of Loyola's Society of Jesus. In his desultory way, jumping from one point to another, starting to expound one idea without having come to the kernel of the last, Rhodes continued by confiding to the stranger opposite him his most intimate thoughts on God, the world and himself. Money, he said, he regarded only as a means to work out his ideas.

Stead listened intently. What he heard was music to his ears. One Romantic was getting drunk on the sweet drug of romantic reveries administered to him by another. Rhodes rejoiced at having found at last a congenial soul who would share with him his 'dreams' for which he had never found an echo. Here was the man for whom he had been waiting, the man who would help him realize the 'dreams'. And besides, this man would certainly be of tremendous value to him in London in helping him to settle quickly all those tiresome formalities concerning his 'little hobby in Matabeleland'.

{p. 163} As was his custom, Rhodes' next step was to take out his cheque-book, and offer Stead 'as a free gift £20,000 to buy a share in, the Pall Mall Gazette as a beginning' with a promise of more to come the following year.

When Stead declined Rhodes showed genuine astonishment. The next day £a,ooo damages were awarded against Stead in a libel case. He had to ask Rhodes for that amount.

Rhodes did not restrict himsclf to Stead and his paper in preparing the English Press for a good reception. The St James Gazette had shown a strongly critical attitude towards him. He took its editor, Sir Sidney Low, an eminent journalist of great political influence, into his confidence and changed his animosity into sympathy with his projects. He also succeeded in establishing friendly relations with Moberly Bell, the manager of The Times, and the Reverend John Verschoyle, assistant editor of the ponderous Fortnightly Review, became his helpful and admiring friend.

The field was now prepared in as far as publicity was concerned. The first step on the political scene had been taken through Parnell. Making prominent members of the two main parties of Parliament acquainted with his schemes and finding contacts among present and future Ministers was to be the next task.

Lord 'Natty' Rothschild assisted Rhodes in meeting politically and financially influential men, though he himself as well as his firm showed little enthusiasm for Rhodes' exploration schemes. Rhodes realized that such conservative bankers as the Rothschilds could not be expected to be elevated from the grooves of double entry into the realms of his 'dreams'. They had no 'imagination', Rhodes said to his friend Stead ...

{p. 164} His success and his wealth had given him the necessary self-assurance to meet on equal terms the leading politicians whom Lord Rothschild invited for him.

Of the people whom he met there he felt most attracted to Lord Rothschild's son-in-law, Lord Rosebery. {end of text}

John Flint, Cecil Rhodes, Hutchinson, London, 1976

{p. 30} On the day of his induction he could "wonder that a large body of men can devote themselves to what at times appear the most ridiculous and absurd rites without an object and without an end," and immediately afterwards he scandalized his fellow Masons by describing the secret ceremony at a public dinner. Nevertheless, later in the day he sat pondering the significance of what he would be doing, and thinking of God, Race and Empire. Then the "idea gleaming and dancing before one's eyes like a will-of-the-wisp at last frames itself into a plan." Rhodes began to write his "Confession of Faith."

Rhodes' biographers have hitherto paid little serious attention to this document. It has nowhere been reproduced in full, for to do so would undermine the force of a eulogistic account of Rhodes' life - the document is of low intellectual content and even less literary merit - and a writer critical of Rhodes would fear to lose his auclience thereby. Where it has been quoted in part, the literary style and punctuation have been "improved," crude and at times offensive sections excised, and one author (Felix Gross) commits the unpardonable sin of placing a tidied-up version within quotation marks as the report of a conversation between Rhodes and his associates held in Kimberley. Curiously, no biographer of Rhodes has succeeded in dating the clocument, except generally to the year 1877, after the Russo-Turkish War broke out in April (Rhodes made reference to that event). Yet we know that Rhodes was inducted to the Masonic Order on June 2, and the second paragraph of the Confession begins: "On the present day I become a member in the Masonic Order."

Rhodes took great care in the composition of the Confession. Two manuscripts exist. The first is a draft in his own hand, with much crossing out, insertion of words, rewriting of phrases and the like. The second is simply an exact fair copy of the first, written in another hand but amended

{p. 31} slightly here and there in Rhodes' handwriting. Presumably this second copy was written up by a clerk, probably at Kimberley in the summer of 1877. Internal evidence shows that the copy must have been made before Septen1ber 19, 1877.

The text of the Confession of Faith is reprinted in full as an appendix, with no attempt to correct spelling and punctuation.

{p. 32} And the more Rhodes reconsidered his Confession, the more enamored of it he became. As already indicated, he had it copied in fair draft, and added the informal will provision, probably at Kimberley in the long vacation of 1877. On September 19, 1877, he made a more elaborate will, placed it in a sealed envelope, and deposited it with an attorney in Kimberley to be handed to Shippard in the event of his death. The will appointed Shippard and Lord Carnarvon or whoever should be Secretary of State for the Colonies, as his executors who should administer his entire estate in trust

{quote} to and for the establishment, promotion and development of 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 from the United Kingdom and colonization 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 Con-

{p. 33} tinent of Africa, the Holy Land, the valley of the Euphrates, the island 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 seaboard of Chiina and Japan, the ultimate recovery of the United States of America as an integral part of the British Empire, the consolidation of the whole Empire, the inauguration of a system of Colonial Representation 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 to hereafter render wars impossible and promote the best interests of humanity. {end quote}

Fortately Lord Carnavon was not informedl of the task set him, or he might have blenched at the prospect.

The will of 1877 was far from the end of the matter. For the rest of his life Rhodes cherished the Confession, and meditated upon what he regarded as the inspired brilliance of his concept of the secret society. When he grew to trust a man and liked him, he would reveal "the idea" to him, and expect the man's life to be changed forthwith. His subsequent wills for long merely reiterated the absurd scheme, until they were refined by wiser advisors into the Rhodes Scholarships. In 1891, when Rhodes was at the height of his power, he struck up a close friendship with the influential editor and publisher W. T. Stead. Responding to Stead's request for Rhodes' views on life and politics, Rhodes sent him the Confession of Faith, commenting, "You will see that I have not altered much as to my feelings."

{p. 58} ... Late in October he took a few days rest in Kimberley, where on the twenty-seventh he made another will, which at first sight appears to be a complete reversal of the will of 1877, written after the composition of his Confession of Faith. The new will read simply, "I, C. J. Rhodes, being of sound mind, leave my worldly wealth to N. E. Pickering."

Pickering was the first of a number of young men to whom Rhodes became emotionally attached during his lifetime, several of whom became his secretaries. None of these later friendships affected Rhodes so deeply as his relationship with Pickering. They met sometime in 1880, and almost at once Rhodes left the somewhat rowdy bachelor establishment where he lived in Kimberley with a group of Englishmen known to the townspeople as "the twelve apostles," and he and Pickering set up house together in a cottage opposite the Kimberley Club. Pickering acted as his secretary, but in Rhodes' leisure time the two were inseparable.

The new will was not so simple as it appeared. On the day after it was made Rhodes handed Pickering a letter, in which was enclosed a sealed copy of the new will. The letter read:

{quote} My dear Pickering, - Open the enclosed after my death. There is an old will of mine with Graham [Rhodes' attorney in Griqualand West], whose conditions are very curious and can only be carried out by a trustworthy person, and I consider you one. - Yours, C. J. Rhodes

You fully understand yoll are to use interest of money as you like during your life. C.J.R. {end quote}

The plan for a secret society was therefore unchanged, but the responsibility for its implementation was taken from the

{p. 59} shoulders of Her Majesty's Secretary of State for the Colonies.

{p. 92} ... Rhodes ... controlled Kimberley Central, so he now simply put it into liquidation, and sold its assets. He found a ready purchaser for them in De Beers Consolidated Mines.

The effects of the amalgamation were immediate and dramatic. Some two hundred white miners became redundant and lost their jobs. Costs of production fell to ten shillings for a carat, which sold at thirty on the world market. In 1889 De Beers took over the Bulfontein and Dutoitspan mines; then in 1891 the Jagersfontein in the Free State was acquired, and finally the new Wesselton mine near Kimberley. Rhodes now controlled all South African, and 90 percent of the world's, diamonds. In 1890 the Diamond Syndicate was formed to fix the price and control the supply of diamonds to the world. From that time forward prices were permanently stabilized.

There is a curious and intriguing postscript to the story of De Beers amalgamation. The death of Pickering in 1886 had left Rhodes without an heir to carry out his "dream." On June 27, 1888, Rhodes made a new will, in much the same quick and simple style as the earlier one in favor of Pickering; it was written on De Beers notepaper:

{quote} This is my last will - and all other wills I have made are hereby revoked. I leave equally among my brothers and sisters two thousand De Beers and the balance of my property to Lord Rothschild. C. J. Rhodes {end quote}

Clearly Lord Rothschild's means needed no strengthening by bequests from Rhodes, nor was this will simply a testament to the role Rothschild had played in securing Rhodes'

{p. 93} triumph at Kimberley. For in a covering letter to Rothschild, the world's greatest financier was instructed, somewhat brusquely and sketchily, to use the money to establish the beloved society of the Imperial elect - "take Constitution Jesuits if obtainable and insert 'English Empire' for 'Roman Catholic Religion.'" In what spirit Lord Rothschild accepted his task we do not know, but acccpt it he did. Rothschild's name appeared in Rhodes' subsequent wills, and it is probable that his influence helped later to transform the mad scheme for a secret society into that which was to set up the Rhodes Scholarships.

{p. 214} Rhodes' reappearance in Cape politics charged them with a new bitterness ... His amendment of "white" to "civilized" in the slogan "Equal rights for all civilized men" was one he made at this time in response to pressure from colored voters, but now he began to use the slogan in public speeches. ...

{p. 215} Despite all his failures, Rhodes still considered himself the man who would lay the foundations for an Anglo-Saxon world order. Death loomed over his body, but his work and idea could press forward immortally through the living blood of the money he would leave behind. Since their first meeting in 1889 Rhodes had found W. T. Stead the one man who seemed to grasp "the idea," and to reinforce his own mystical excitement in race and empire. Stead took seriously the idea

{p. 216} of the secret Jesuitical society of imperialists, and was made a trustee of the will. But what had gone into the making of an empire-minded young Englishman? How indeed had the "great idea" taken shape? It had come to Rhodes at Oxford, which had "made" him. The first indication that he had begun to consider education as a means of forming the membelship of his secret society came in the will of 1892, of which Lord Rothschild, Stead and Hawksley were the trustees. In it Rhodes left £10,000 to the "South African College" to be created as a residential institution and modeled "on or as near as may be the Oxford and Cambridge system." The rest of his fortune was to be used for the secret society.

In the will of 1893 the idea of using his money for scholarships to Oxford appeared for the first time in a provision to send there thirty-six young "colonials" from South Africa, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. During the next six years it was this concept that gradually came to dominate the will; Rhodes discussed it with a number of influential people, including Rothschild, Lord Rosebery and Milner, and also began to interest Alfred Beit, who had no children, in the idea. It was naturally welcomed by the trustees as a more manageable scheme than the secret society. It came to fruition in the will signed on July 1, 1899, which, with a few later modifications, formed the basis for the disposition of Rhodes' fortune when he died.

The will began with personal dispositions; he was to be buried in the Matopos, and no one else should be laid to rest there unless designated by a Rhodesian or South African government after union or federation had taken place. A great monument should be erected there to the Ndebele War. Groote Schuur, with a sum to maintain it, was left for a South African prime minister's residence. His recently acquired English estates were left to his family, excluding his half-sister. He left £l00,000 to Oriel College, Oxford, where he had spent his undergraduate years. Then came the pro-

{p. 217} visions for the Rhodes Scholarships, to be awarded annually to students from Canada, the Australian colonies, New Zealand and South Africa*, and to two students from each state of the U.S.A. Rhodes explained that his purposes were not primarily academic, but to create men dedicated to the "union of the English-speaking peoples throughout the world." The scholarships would promote "an attachment to the country from which they [the students] have sprung" without lessening their sympathies with their native lands. The scholars were to be chosen not merely for scholastic and literary ability, which counted for only four points out of ten, but qualities of manhood, ability at manly sports and moral force of character were to prevail. He insisted that "no student shall be qualified or disqualified ... on account of his race or religious opinions," a provision almost certainly penned by Rhodes in the South African connotation, and designed to ensure that Afrikaners (and French Canadians) would not be excluded. The trustees, however, interpreted it literally in subsequent years to include all races in the Commonwealth.

For Rhodes the will and the scholarships were still designed for the realization of the "idea." He believed that after the award of the scholarships there would remain a substantial balance of funds, and this the trustees should use, he instructed Hawksley in July 1899, for the support of a party in the House of Commons composed of men who, whether Conservative or Liberal, "would be above all things Im- {continued on p. 218}

{footnote p. 217} * The provisions for the British colonies are curious: Rhodes listed fifteen colonies and allocated sixty scholarships to them, but his knowledge of Canada appears to have been incomplete, for Nova Scotia was not mentioned. Fortunately, that blessed and beautiful province, traditionally the breeding ground through Dalhousie University of Canadians of taste and refinement, was able to receive its due appointment of Rhodes Scholarships through modifications adopted by the trustees. More fundamentally, Rhodes' will would have limited the scholarships to the white settled colonies, but in administering the scheme the trustees broadened it to grant scholarships in large numbers to nonwhites from many parts of the Commonwealth. {end of footnote}

{p. 218} perial, in fact make the Imperial idea paramount. ... You should also select the best of the students and send them to different parts of the world to maintain Imperial thought in the colonies, they would be better unmarried as the consideration of babies and other domestic agenda generally destroys higher thought."

For the first six months of 1899 the will, negotiations for railway financing, and other business kept Rhodes in England, Europe and Egypt, while in South Africa the struggle for supremacy between Milner and Kruger propelled events towards war. Rhodes consistently pooh-poohed the possibility of a war with the Transvaal, and gave his steady support to Milner, arguing that if sufficient pressure were applied to Kruger he would in the end give way. Rose-Innes believed that Rhodes hoped for a fight, and his view was supported by the evidence of Rhodes' contacts with the Imperial South African Association, which included Kipling, George Wyndham, and other imperialists who felt it their task to prepare British public opinion for a war in South Africa. ...

{p. 232} Joseph Chamberlain has often been credited with initiating economic development in British A{rica with his concepts of "developing the Imperial estate." But Rhodes, by directly supervising the application of capital and technology, by stressing planning and pilot schemes, expanded production in actual rather than theoretical terms.

In the years after the end of the First World War, Rhodes began to receive attention from the European political right wing precisely because his career showed such an elemental will to power. 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. In it Spengler attempted to analyze the patterns of history in previous civilizations, and to apply them to the history of western Europe. He saw all civilizations as ending in a kind of Indian summer of Caesarism, and prophesied the emergence in time of a Caesar-figure. 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." A little later Spengler penned a long excitable eulogy of Rhodes' career, concluding that "all this, broad and imposing, is the prelude of a future which is still in store for us, and with which the history of West European mankind will be definitely closed." With publieation of the seeond volume four years later, Spengler's enthusiasm for Rhodes had not abated. He compared him to Caesar and Napoleon, and saw him as a precursor of a new Germanic revival: "in our Germanic world the spirits of Alaric and Theodoric will come again - there is a first hint of them in Cecil Rhodes."

{p. 233} Hitler appears to have made only one reference to Rhodes that has been recorded: at dinner on April 18, 1942, he discussed Britain's failure to maintain the world position it had held in the Victorian age and commented that the only person who had understood the historical conditions for continuing British supremacy was Cecil

{p. 234} Rhodes, whom the British had ignored.*

* H. Picker et al., Hitlers Tischgesprache in Fuhrerhauptquartier 1941-42, 2d ed., Stuttgart, 1965, p. 279.

{p. 238} When the terms of Rhodes' will became known, Oxford

{p. 239} University opinion was divided in its reaction. There had been opposition to the award of an honorary degree to Rhodes in 1899 from those opposed to the Anglo-Boer War, but criticism of the scholarships scheme was more traditionally rooted. Oxford was an exclusive institution, highly restrictive in the classes of British students whom it admitted, and to many the prospect of nearly two hundred new students, all of them from overseas, and ninety-six of them from the United States, where university standards in some states were notoriously elementary, was horrifying. The Oxford Union debated the matter solemnly, and a motion condemning the scheme wholeheartedly was carried by a large majority. There were objections to the use of the word "scholars" for students who by definition would not be of the caliber to win the highly competitive Oxford University or college scholarships. Were the Rhodes trustees, in selecting the scholars, to be allowed to usurp the university's cherished power to decide who should and should not study at Oxford? Could the university or its colleges refuse admission to a scholar selected by the trustees? How could the university accept Rhodes' nonacademic criteria for the award of scholarships as valid considerations for the admission of students?

Within two years of Rhodes' death most of these problems had been overcome by pragmatism and common sense on the part of the trustees and their agents and the university authorities.* Rhodes had left considerable discretion to the trustees to establish new scholarships for British colonies when funds became available, but especially to regulate the way in which students should be selected for the award of the scholarships. The trustees from the first appear to have taken the attitude that the scholarships must be made to work, and that where practical considerations made it necessary, the precise stipulations, and even perhaps the basic objectives, of Rhodes' will, should be set aside.

* In 1902 the trustees were Jameson, Milner, Roscbery, Michell, Grey, Beit and Hawksley.

{end of text}

Cecil Rhodes' Will endows a secret society for World Government ... this is the origin of the Round Table and the Council on Foreign Relations: rhodes-will.html.

Carroll Quigley says Rhodes' secret society is very much alive, and a driving force for  World Government ... the Round Table and the Council on Foreign Relations: quigley.html.

Write to me at contact.html.

HOME