Page:Dictionary of National Biography, Second Supplement, volume 3.djvu/200

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Rhodes
Rhodes
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his days were numbered. On 20 July 1901 he arrived at Southampton on a last visit to Europe. He resided at Rannoch Lodge, in Perthshire, till 6 Oct., when he left for Italy and Egypt. On his return to London in Jan. 1902 he spent a day at Dalham, Suffolk, an estate which he had just bought in the belief that the air there was easier to breathe than elsewhere. Business called him back to Cape Town in Feb. ; his malady grew critical, and moving from Groote Schuur to a cottage by the sea at Muizenberg, he died there after weeks of extreme suffering, courageously borne, on 26 March. He was forty-nine years and eight months old. By his direction he was buried in a hole cut in the solid granite of the Matoppos ; he had chosen the spot during his negotiations with the Matabele chiefs in 1896.

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

Rhodes's impetuosity and impatience in act and speech gave in his lifetime an impression of him which was misleading. Like all statesmen he accepted the conditions of life as he found them, having much to do and little time, as he knew from his malady, to do it in. By nature he had the shy sensitive kindness of a boy. But while his nameless benefactions were many, he affected brutality and hardness, making it his principle to subordinate friendships and all individual claims to his schemes. Yet he was not in truth a hard man. Except in finance, where he was out-distanced by Alfred Beit, his mere aptitudes were not remarkable ; in conventional accomplishments he was not well equipped. He had few ideas, but these he had worked for, testing their value by his life's experience, and wore them, so to say, next his skin. The ideas and dexterities which most cultivated men of affairs have about them, as it were ready made, were not his. His temperament was unequal, almost incalculable, combining extreme naivete and simplicity with strokes of amazing and unexpected shrewdness. His work in its entire detail seemed to be done by others. While he apparently dreamed they really and on their own initiative drafted letters, designed meetings and conjunctions, supported or opposed policies, and drew up as it were programmes, which in a little he roused himself to act upon. Yet there was no end to the qualities he held in reserve. He seemed to muse, yet was suddenly alert with the perception of clairvoyance, revealing a grasp of detail in subjects where he had been rashly supposed ignorant. He talked anyhow ; yet his felicity of phrase after columns of confused commonplace was uncanny. The subordinates who did so much of his work, apparently without consulting him, were lost without him. He was there, and the rest followed ; he was not there, and nothing