Page images

for their enlightenment, consolation and delight. If the future battles of science are to be waged less strenuously than of yore, if scholarship has measurably exhausted its richest mines, let us give the broadest diffusion to the fruits of their triumphs past.

In thus diffusing the leaven of culture the public library should take a leading, not a subordinate part. Its treasure is vaster and more precious than ever before. The world's literature grows much like the world's stock of gold, every year's winning is added to the mass already heaped together at the year's first day. In the instruction, entertainment, and inspiration of every man and woman there is a threefold ministry, that of art, of science, and of letters. Because letters bring to public appreciation, to popular sympathy, both art and science, and this in addition to their own priceless argosies, may we not say that of art, science, and letters, the greatest of these is letters?


ECIL RHODES, an eminent South African financier and statesman, was

Rhodes, Vicar of Bishop Stortford, and afterward owner of Leyton Grange in Essex. He was educated at Bishop Stortford grammar school where he manifested a love for athletics and was a successful scholar, winning several prizes and a senior classical scholarship. Instead of going up to Cambridge, as he had intended, he went, in 1870, to Natal, where his brother Herbert was a cotton planter. In 1871 he went to the diamond fields and settled at Colesberg, Kopje, now known as Kimberly. In 1873 he returned to England and matriculated at Oriel College, Oxford, but, being threatened with lung disease, he went back to South Africa apparently doomed. The dry, rainless air of the veldt gradually re-established his health, and he entered with characteristic energy into the labors of diamond-digging, at first with his brother, and afterwards in partnership with an old school friend. Not only did they work their own claim but they carried out various other enterprises, such as pumping out other mines and manufacturing ice. Thus beginning with a share in a single small mine, he succeeded, by the application of remarkable sagacity, concentration, and perseverance, in building up an enormous fortune. At first he planned only the amalgamation of the diamond mines into one vast monopoly. Afterward he lent all the force of his capital and energies to building up an extension of the British Empire in South Africa.

In 1884 he became Treasurer-General of the Cape Colony, Deputy Commissioner of Bechuana Land, and Director of the British South Africa Company, the charter of which was mainly granted by his efforts. In 1890 he was Premier of Cape Colony and Commissioner of Crown Lands; in 1894 Minister of Native Affairs. He has also been member for Barklay West of the Legislative Assembly, Cape Colony. In spite of all his great business and legislative interests he kept up his studies and finally took his degree at Oxford. Mr. Rhodes never prepares his speeches, but talks naturally and fluently like a practical man of affairs.



THANK you for the address you have given me. I have also to thank Mr. Louw for greeting me here. I specially refer to Mr. Louw because our difficulties are very great in South Africa at the present time, and Mr. Louw


belongs to that portion of his race who have not bowed down to the terrorism that exists with a large section of their party.

I am sorry to say that I have extreme opponents, while there are also moderate men who in their hearts support the true policy of Imperialism; but there are others, like Mr. Louw, who, in spite of coercion and everything that may be brought to bear upon them, have stood all obloquy from a section of their party in order to support what they thought the right thing in the interests of South Africa. We have not only all the inhabitants of the English race on our side, but almost the whole of the colored community as well, although it happens at present that a large section of another race in this country are strongly opposed to our thoughts and ideas. It is for us to thank those of that race who, after considering the question very carefully, have approved of everything which they think right for the good of South Africa.

With reference to the special work as to which you have greeted me, I would point out that there has been a great change in the opinions of our people at home.

When I first commenced the idea of expansion in Africa I found myself with few supporters out here. People at home also, whatever party they belonged to, if they did not show any opposition, were absolutely without enthusiasm. Now all that has changed. I need not go into details of the change, but I would remark that, whatever might have been the rights of the question of confining our great country to the British Isles, and perhaps a few dependencies that were then possessed, the policy of the world was to shut her out.

I can tell you a good story on this point. Mr. Gladstone once talked to me upon this very question of expansion, and said to me:

"Mr. Rhodes, we have enough; our obligations are too great; but, apart from the question of increasing our obligations in every part of the world, what advantage do you see to the English race in the acquisition of territory was, that every Power in the world, including our kinsmen the Americans, as soon as they took new territory, placed hostile tariffs against British goods."

I said we must remember Great Britain is a very small island, not nearly the size of France, and she has not that wonderful wine industry, nor has she a continent like the Americans. Great Britain's position depends on her trade, and if we do not take and open up the dependencies of the world which are at present devoted to barbarism, we shall be shut out from the world's trade. For this reason.

The question of tariffs is not with our opponents a question of revenue; they simply wish to put on such tariffs as will absolutely exclude Great Britain from the trade of their dependencies.

I remember so well that Mr. Gladstone replied, with his bright intelligence, that he could not believe that; and said that other countries might go temporarily wrong, but surely in the end the principles of free trade would prevail.

I said in answer: "Mr. Gladstone, I should like to think so. In logic you are all right, but in practice you will be all wrong. You will find that as each new country is taken up, the possessing Power will put a prohibitive tariff against you. Now England depends upon her working up raw goods, turning them into the manufactured articles, and distributing them to the world, and if the markets of the world are shut against us, where shall we be?"

Mr. Gladstone said he would quite agree with me if he really believed that, for, if in every new country, taken by

ancther Power, hostile tariffs were put against us, it was a poor lookout; but he [Mr. Gladstone] believed in the success of free-trade principles.

It is needless for me to tell you that free-trade principles have not prevailed; on the contrary it has been the policy of every Power that had acquired a new dependency to introduce these hostile tariffs.

Take, for example, the case of Madagascar. When France took that island there were certain treaties in connection with it which allowed equality of trade. That was allowed on the basis of the island being a protectorate; but as soon as France annexed it the French tariff was dead against us. Her Majesty's Prime Minster continuously remonstrated without avail, and rightly so from the French point of view.

The French said, "We have been at all the trouble and expense of taking this island, and we want the advantage of possessing it. It is all very well for you English people to talk about equality of trade, but that equality means that we shall not be in it at all. We find that you English are always admirably logical on any point that is in your favor. Practically we could not compete with you. We have spent millions in taking this island, and we mean to have its trade."

As I have said before, it is an admirable thing for one cricketing eleven to say to another eleven, "We will play with you on equal terms," when that one knows that it will be absolutely victorious.

The opponents, however, require eighteen, and even demand twenty-four, and sometimes will not play at all. And so with the French. They say, "It is an admirable case, but if we place you on an equality with us in Madagascar we shall have no trade at all. We did not take that island and

« PreviousContinue »