Sir Robert Coryndon: A Model Governor
African Proconsuls. European Governors in Africa.
L.H. Gann & Peter Duignan, eds.
New York/London/Stanford. The Free Press/Collier Macmillan Publishers & Hoover Institution. 1978. 548 pages
Sir Robert Coryndon: A Model Governor (1870-1925)
Thorne Coryndon was one of the great representatives of British colonialism in Africa. He was born in the Cape Colony, South Africa, and served the cause of British South African imperial advance in the Rhodesias; he then joined the British colonial service and administered Swaziland and Basutoland as resident and Uganda and Kenya as governor. He was one of those empire builders who added vast territories to the British Crown in the 1890s—a friend of Rhodes, Smuts, Grey, Selous, Delamere, and others who made African history. His achievements have been somewhat neglected by historians, yet he was an outstanding administrator and a man of vision. Indeed, Coryndon was one of British Africa’s more romantic figures.
To Coryndon, the British empire was a living power bringing progress and development to Africa. He loved Africa, was interested in the welfare of its people and did much to improve the lives of those he ruled. His talents were many. He was an excellent draftsman and a sculptor. He had some literary skills; he sent occasional pieces on events in Rhodesia to the Illustrated London News, The Field and Pall Mall Gazette. He did a good article on Swaziland for the Journal of th African Society in 1915 and one entitled “Problems of Eastern Africa” in 1922 and he wrote forewords for two books. He was a skilled hunter, fisherman, and outdoorsman. He grew from a frontier specialist into a skilled administrator am developer. He died in 1925, before his vision of an East African confederation.
Coryndon and his career were in many ways remarkable. Although he fought in the Rhodesias and in World War I in East Africa, he was not a militarist like Lugard or Meinertzhagen. Nor was he a great bureaucrat like Clifford or Cameron, but he established the administrations of Barotseland and Swaziland and improved the governments of Uganda and Kenya. He built as much as a Guggisberg: he expanded the railway in Kenya and Uganda and started work on improving the Kenya harbor of Kilindini (Mombasa). Coryndon left his mark on every colony in which he served and participated in some of the most important events in colonial history. He belongs, then, in the Pantheon of colonial heroes, along with Lugard, Johnston, Clifford, Cameron, and Guggisberg. He is one of only two South Africans to have risen so high in the British colonial service.
Marshall Hole, Coryndon’s friend, characterized him as having a robust, healthy, commonsense view of life. He had a passion for orderliness and good things—books, pictures, clothes, guns, fishing gear—and a contempt for an ugly, paltry, or mean. Coryndon was a man possessed of a strong sense of which everything else was subordinated. He was a determined—even dogged—individual with outstanding energy and force. In appearance he was handsome, five foot ten inches tall, a broad forehead and oval face, straight nose and square chin, dark hair and complexion, and blue eyes. His physical strength and courage were extraordinary. Hole and others have recounted that Coryndon could tear a deck of cards in half and then tear the halves into quarters. Or how, for a wager, he would carry a pony around the stable or bend half-crown pieces in half with two fingers. A daring horseman, he would charge wounded lions, rhinos, hippos.
Coryndon was trusted by all who knew him—whites, blacks, and Indian—for he fought for their interests when he felt them to be right and just. Men had confidence in his judgment, in his singular sense of proportion and judiciousness as well as in his ability to deal with the essentials of things. He had great moral courage. He was devoted to the expansion of the British empire and to the promotion of the well-being of the people within that empire. Above all, Coryndon was a builder and a man who loved the rough and rugged life of the outdoors. One friend felt that his many abilities were not fully used in Africa, suggesting that he might have fared better in more turbulent and freer times such as faced Clive and Hastings in India
Background and Training
Coryndon’s father, Selby, was a solicitor. He came from Devon and settled in Queenstown, Cape Colony, where Robert was one of twin brothers born on April 2, 1870, to Selby’s wife, Emily Caldecott of Grahamstown, the daughter of a member of the legislative assembly of Cape Colony. Robert’s twin died in infancy. Young Robert attended St. Andrew’s College, Grahamstown, and Cheltenham College (1884-1887) in England. After his father’s sudden death, he returned to South Africa in 1889 to prepare to become a solicitor, planning to join his uncle’s firm of Caldecott and Bell in Kimberley. No employment could have been more uncongenial to Coryndon than working in a lawyer’s office for he was basically an outdoorsman who loved horses, dogs, and guns. In any case, too much was going on in Kimberley to keep him for long in the office.
Kimberley was Cecil Rhodes’s town. It was in Kimberley that Rhodes regained his health; here he first dreamed of imperial expansion and later won the fortune in diamonds that let him carry out his dreams. Diamonds had been discovered in the early 1870s, and Rhodes at nineteen had taken money from the sale of his cotton crop and moved to the Kimberley fields. He soon controlled the mines and surrounded himself with followers who shared his vision of going to the « Far North. »
In 1889 Coryndon had started to work but his salary of £12 a month was usually mortgaged to pay for horses he bought. Fortunately, his uncle provided him with the costs of lodging and meals at a boardinghouse kept by two English ladies. Among his friends at that time was Marshall Hole (later an official in the British South Africa Company and historian of the settlement of Rhodesia), Charles Coghlan (then a solicitor, later prime minister of Southern Rhodesia), Perry Rose Frames (a solicitor, afterward chairman of de Beers Consolidated Mines), and Archdeacon Gaul (later bishop of Mashonaland). Coryndon was popular for himself and as his father’s son to old Kimberley stalwarts such as Rhodes, Jameson, Rudd, and others who were to become familiar in Rhodesian and South African history
Hole and Coryndon often had Sunday dinner with Archdeacon Gaul. For culture, the two young men met with the local musical and literary society. Kimberley had few amusements in those days other than shooting and horseback ridingno golf or tennis and little cricket. Shooting was expensive, so most young men would hire horses and canter around the outskirts of the town. Coryndon earned the reputation of being a fine horseman.
Rumors soon swept Kimberley of a new scheme of Rhodes in the far north. There was talk of undiscovered golden riches in the interior and of a chartered company to explore them. In October 1889 Coryndon and some friends were invited to participate in the project. Twelve young Kimberley men left for Bechuanaland on November 9 of that year, each provided by Rhodes with a horse, a saddle, and £10. These youths were later dubbed « Rhodes’s Apostles, » and most were to gain fame in the Chartered Company’s territories in Northern and Southern Rhodesia. But this was in the future. None cared very much where they were going or what they were expected to do, Hole recalls, and they set off cheerfully, hoping for fame and fortune.
Coryndon was first attached to the Bechuanaland Border Police at Mafeking but in 1890 was transferred to the British South African Police, formed by the Chartered Company to accompany the pioneer column into Lobengula’s territory across the Limpopo river. Rhodes had decided to occupy Mashonaland for four reasons: to place a British community in the interior of South Africa; to shut off the Boers of the Transvaal; to discover the second Rand he believed lay buried beneath the northern veld; and to advance British civilization among African tribesmen. He entrusted the venture to Frank Johnson, a twenty-four-year-old frontiersman with extensive experience in the north and a background of service in colonial mounted units. For a fee of £87,500 (later increased to £90,400) and a land grant in the area to be occupied, Johnson signed a contract to organize a pioneer Corps on semimilitary lines. The corps contained a large percentage of young volunteers of good social standing, such as Coryndon. Sons of peers served next to cowpunchers. There was even a troop of brokers. A large proportion of the men hailed from the South African Cape, from Kimberley, or from Natal.
Johnson’s original plan to advance with a small body of men was vetoed by the high-commissioner of South Africa, who feared another bloody defeat of the kind inflicted on a British force by the Zulu at Isandhlwana in 1879. The Chartered Company unwillingly had to organize a mounted force. Coryndon and his Kimberley friends became part of this group, the nucleus of which came from the Bechuanaland Border Police, which he had joined. The expedition was made up of some 80 men known as the Pioneer Corps and 500 British South Africa Police. The Ndebele (a Zulu-descended warrior people dominant in the area) feared the British. The Ndebele warriors’ best chance would have been to catch the columns by surprise in broken country or at night. But Lobengula hesitated to launch his regiments against such a strong force, and it proceeded without a fight. The pioneers safely reached their destination on September 12, 1890, and established Fort Salisbury. They then dispersed to look for gold
Coryndon joined the administrative staff under A. R. Colquhoun as a clerk in the government survey department. He had beautiful handwriting, was a skilled draftsman, and had strong powers of observation. He made one of the first surveys and sketches of the Zimbabwe ruins near Fort Victoria, and he discovered and kept two of the famous soapstone birds found there. His job required that he sketch maps from information provided by others. Years later, while serving in 1914-1916 on the Southern Rhodesia native reserve commission, he would astound members of his party by describing what the land ahead would look like even though he had only drawn it from other people’s descriptions twenty-four years earlier.
The first months of occupation in late 1890 were harsh owing to heavy rains and lack of supplies. Coryndon lived in the « administrative compound, » a series of mud huts that only he had the skill to make attractive and livable. Throughout his life he demonstrated the knack of using whatever materials were at hand to make his environment attractive. Coryndon was by temperament a builder; he laid out capitals in Barotseland and Swaziland, and he planned the relocation of an administrative capital in Uganda. In Salisbury his house soon was the showplace of the new settlement.
Life as a clerk bored him; he wanted more venturesome tasks and took more and more to hunting, showing great skill in stalking and tracking big game. Like Selous, the greatest of Africa’s hunters, Coryndon worked close to game before firing from a distance of fifty to sixty yards. He preferred, as more sporting, a singleshot « 303 » to magazine loads. Coryndon shot a white rhinoceros, an exploit that earned him a commission from Lord Rothschild to secure other specimens. Shooting two more white rhinos—one went to Lord Rothschild and is now in the Natural History Museum of London, the other to the Cape Town Museum—he received other commissions and became a professional big-game hunter and naturalist.
Things were not going well, meanwhile, for the pioneers and the Chartered Company. No big mines were found, and the administration was costing a great deal of money. Then Lobengula’s raiding economy gave Jameson—now the administrator—the chance he wanted to end Ndebele rule. At first the chartered administration had not wanted war. It hoped slowly to erode the social system of the Ndebele by getting them to work for wages. But Lobengula could not redirect his raiding regiments, and they kept attacking parts of Mashonaland held by the company. A Ndebele raid on the Shona people around Fort Victoria gave Jameson and Rhodes the excuse they needed to attack Matabeleland. When the war started in 1893, Coryndon joined the Salisbury Horse under Major P. W. Forbes.
Lobengula mobilized about 12,000 men to face the 1,100 in the colonists’ force. Ndebele regiments were experienced and disciplined; they fought with spear, shields, and knobkerries. But their foot soldiers were easily defeated by the mounted colonials supported by Maxim guns and wagons. After a few bloody battles, the Ndebele « spear kingdom » collapsed with surprising ease. Forbes’s unit, however, faced tough fighting and barely escaped destruction in pursuit of the fleeing Lobengula. Coryndon saw action only briefly, for he caught pneumonia.
The settlers had conquered Matabeleland, but they lacked men and resources for its effective control. Administration remained a scratch affair, oppressive and inefficient. After the war Coryndon became a mail cart driver between Salisbury and Kimberley, a distance of over 500 miles. Rhodes was a passenger on one trip in 1896; later that year he hired Coryndon as his private secretary . After the Jameson raid into the Transvaal, the Ndebele and many of the Shona people rebelled. Coryndon accompanied Rhodes to London, where Rhodes had to explain the raid to Chamberlain and the colonial office, but he did not take part in the historic meeting between Rhodes and the rebellious Ndebele chiefs, the negotiations that ended the Ndebele rising. Coryndon, although a staunch supporter of Rhodes, in fact did not like the post of private secretary. In 1897 Rhodes sent him as resident and representative of the British South Africa Company to prepare for the British takeover of the Lozi kingdom (Barotseland), a powerful African state on the upper Zambezi.
The choice was a good one. Not only did Coryndon share Rhodes’s views about empire and white settlement, but he had become toughened by his life in the veld and was an experienced frontiersman. He was, as L. H. Gann has written, « able, keen, enthusiastic and self-confident, all qualities in great demand at a time when the company was still quite unable to spend even the barest minimum on its Northern possessions. »
Coryndon showed himself to be a resourceful and purposeful administrator. Although he had had little formal bureaucratic experience, he proved to have other skills more needed at that time-patience, tact, and a likable personality. In these first years he was primarily a diplomat and negotiator at the court of Lewanika, sent there to win more concessions for the company. He was by birth, training, and outlook a perfect exemplar of a European settler and a proponent of company rule. After 1900 he began to act more as an administrator and less as a diplomat, and his views about the benefits of settlement and Chartered Company rule changed somewhat.
Coryndon arrived at Lealui, Lewanika’s capital, in October 1897 with his private secretary, Frank Worthington, and five European policemen. All were unarmed, to Lewanika’s disappointment—he had hoped for a larger, more imposing body of soldiers to accompany the queen’s first resident to Barotseland. Lewanika was suspicious that the young Coryndon represented only the British South Africa Company and not the British queen. After all, queen and company had ignored Barotseland from the time Lewanika had signed the treaty with Frank Lochner in 1890 until Coryndon arrived in 1897.
Lewanika, however, had had strong motives for arriving at the 1890 agreement, and these considerations still operated. He looked to British protection against the Ndebele from the south and against European settlers—Boer and British—who might intrude upon the country in the future. He looked to British aid against encroachments on the part of the Portuguese in the west. He desired British assistance regarding a numbor of boundary disputes with chiefs like Segkhomi in the southwest. In addition, he hoped for support against domestic upheavals and claims from possible rivals. Lewanika did not stand alone; there was a substantial party (the modernizers) among the Lozi magnates who believed that their nation’s supremacy could continue only if the Lozi ruling class acquired the religious and technological knowledge made available by European missionaries and if the Lozi and the British worked in alliance. This pro-British party received strong support from local missionaries, including Franqois Coillard, a French Protestant of anglophile conviction who did more than any other European to place Barotseland under British protection.
Six days after reaching Lealui, Coryndon addressed a great assembly at the council house. He spoke simply and clearly, stating that he was the envoy of the queen and the British South Africa Company. His mission was to assist the king of the Barotse by his advice, to see that the Lochner treaty was observed, and to facilitate relations between the Barotse and the whites who would be coming into the country. Lewanika’s kingdom was now a British protectorate, but Coryndon promised not to interfere between the king and his subjects. He came in peace; his police were unarmed so as not to alarm the people. Lewanika asked for a letter setting forth all these things and Coryndon gave it to him; when the letter had been translated, the council saluted and dispersed
Having set up his headquarters in Barotseland, Coryndon had as first task to ready Lewanika for direct control by company officials and to secure more ibe concessions from the paramount chief than those contained in the Lochner treaty. As resident, Coryndon seems to have gotten on well with Lewanika, and in 1898 he secured wider powers along with mining and commercial privileges fo the company. A treaty was negotiated by Sir Arthur Lawley, but it was Coryndo the diplomat who got the king to agree to sign it. Major land and mineral rights were granted to the Chartered Company; in return, the company promised to assist in educating the Barotse and to pay an annual subsidy of £850 to Lewanika. The treaty effectively put Barotseland under company control, for it allowed them to make land grants anywhere in the kingdom. The missionary Frangois Coillard felt that the treaty was unfavorable to the Barotse and refused to sign. Coryndon, who was a keen advocate of European settlement, wanted the agreement, as did company officials. The British colonial office and the high commissioners, Milner and Selborne, were unsuccessful in their efforts to discourage white settlement beyond the Zambezi river. The colonial office disapproved of the Lawley concession; Coryndon then got Lewanika to sign two other concessions in 1900. Under Coryndon, permission to grant parcels of land were requested from the king; but after 1905, grants were made without his consent for he did not want to be bothered.
The British government was not willing to give the company a free hand hence, northwestern Rhodesia was to be administered under the high commissioner for South Africa. The company, however, was able to choose the administrators and other officials to run the country, and in 1900 Coryndon was named administrator of northwestern Rhodesia, a position he held until 1907. Aided by Frank Worthington and Colin Harding, who organized the Barotse native police force in 1899, Coryndon established an administration and suppressed the Mambari slave trade. Administrative stations were established at Mongu, Kalomo. Kazungula, and Monze. Coryndon also negotiated the western boundary of the Barotse kingdom with the Portuguese. The matter was arbitrated by the king of Italy, who in 1905 gave Lewanika a strip of about 200 miles running from the Congo to German Southwest Africa. Lewanika and the company did not get all Laat they claimed, but Lewanika probably obtained a lot more than he had ever controlled . In 1906 Coryndon finally succeeded in abolishing slave holding in Barotseland—an estimated 300,000 slaves were set free.
The final act of establishing a basic administration was to impose a hut tax; this Coryndon accomplished in 1904-1906. It was not just a device to raise money to pay the costs of administration; Coryndon believed that the payment of the tax svmbolized African recognition of the white man’s authority. He therefore insisted that people who refused to pay have their huts burned and ordered Colin Harding to take his police and punish defaulters. Harding protested to Johannesburg against these punitive raids, and the high commissioner forced Coryndon to stop. The company did not take kindly to Harding’s interference, and he resigned from ‘he administration
White settlers and prospectors came into the territory in greater numbers after 1900. Roger Williams and George Grey demonstrated that Northern Rhodesia had copper deposits. By 1902 mining was under way at Broken Hill and later at Bwana Mkubwa, further north. The railroad reached Victoria Falls in 1904. As administrator, Coryndon played a role in what contemporaries described as « opening up » the territory, During Coryndon’s residency, the whole style of life of the Barotse leaders was transformed. When he arrived in 1897, they were then content with very simple clothing, little furniture, and unadorned huts, while they lived entirely on the products of their cattle and their lands; now , however, very many of them wear European clothing; many own horses and saddlery, and there are a few of the more important chiefs who do not possess at least some English furniture and who do not use such things as coffee and sugar
Within ten years Coryndon set up a small African police force, pacified the territory, and organized a small civil service and district administration over a territory of almost 200,000 square miles. Northwest Rhodesia became safe for British travel, trade, and settlement. A member of the colonial service, C. H. Rodwick, who was attached to the high commissioner’s office in Johannesburg, remembered Coryndon as a remote—and at times disturbing—figure, for he was no office man in those days: « His work lay in the bush and on the Zambesi—of which we clerks and secretaries knew as little as he cared about writing despatches and preparing estimates. » 10 The high commissioner’s office wanted fuller reports and stricter compliance with colonial office methods, which to Coryndon must have seemed fussy and unnecessary. But the people in the high commissioner’s office came to regard him as one of their best administrators.
During his ten years in Barotseland, Coryndon developed into an even greater hunter and naturalist and rivaled Selous. He was not an exceptional shot but excelled in stalking and tracking game 11. He shot many fine trophies, which he used to decorate Government House wherever he was posted. He filled out in physique and became stronger, even though he had several bouts with malaria. When European immigration to northwestern Rhodesia began, he shifted his residence in 1899 to Kalomo on the plateau, where he built the first brick house in the territory in 1903. He had laid out a small government township in attractive surroundings, with big game in abundance. Unfortunately, he was more interested in hunting than in the minutiae of sanitary administration. Malaria was rife in Kalomo; many Europeans died from disease; and Coryndon’s successor in northwestern Rhodesia, Robert Codrington, shifted government headquarters from Kalomo to Livingstone.
Coryndon in 1907 accepted the post of British resident in Swaziland, a mucil troubled territory under the high commissioner’s office. Lord Selborne had recommended him to the colonial office: « He strikes me as a man of strong character and possessed of excellent administrative qualities which have not been used to their full advantage in his present somewhat anomalous position. » 12 Coryndon was eager to transfer to the imperial service 13, and Selborne felt he would be admirably suited to the Swaziland post. Coryndon had gained a reputation for just and skilled handling of African problems. By 1907 northwest Rhodesia was no longer an African kingdom; settlers and prospectors had flocked in. Coryndon had grown tired of the work and longed to go where only « native problems would engage him. » 14
In his dealings with Africans, Coryndon seems to have been successful. He was kind but firm although he never became overly familiar with them. Lewanika regarded him as a trusted friend. Coryndon was tactful with him; he explained things to him, got his permission and views on major issues-the hut tax, land concessions, freeing slaves. Ten years after Coryndon had left Barotseland, he received a letter from the new paramount chief, Yeta III, announcing « the death of your great friend my father [Lewanika]. »15 Yeta wrote, « I still remember’with great esteem the days you were administrator of this territory, and I can assure you that everyone who knew you in this country can never forget you. »
Throughout his career Coryndon took a great interest in the welfare of Africans and supported missionary efforts to teach them modern agricultural methods, and to improve their health and morals. At this time he was not an advocate of literary education for them; he preferred industrial and agricultural learning. He hesitated from 1898 to 1906 before establishing the promised Barotse National School, which was founded in 1906 by using a percentage of the funds collected from the hut tax. Coryndon could have started the school to stop the influence of the African Methodist Episcopal church, whose school had attempted to meet the needs of those Barotse elite who wanted education. He was well known throughout Barotseland, although he made no effort to impress Africans with the dignihof his office. His usual way of getting around the country was on horseback with one mounted servant and a pack horse to carry their belongings, depending on his rifle to provide meat for the journey. This contrasted sharply with the way most district officers and officials traveled in Africa, accompanied as they were by long lines of porters and askaris and even being carried in hammocks or chairs 16
Coryndon’s administration of Barotseland was a scratch one. He never got adequate financial support from the British South Africa Company. Housing and health conditions were poor. He had too few police and administrators to help him run the country. He was a more progressive economic planner than the company’s directors; but, as elsewhere during his African career, he did not have the resources to put his ideas into practice. The colonial office also was to limit his funds to develop Swaziland, Basutoland, Uganda, and Kenya.
Yet Coryndon’s record in Barotseland was good; he had matured into an able, firm administrator. He was still an imperialist and a believer in white settlement. He had assumed the natural paramountcy of settler interests, as did most officials of the Chartered Company, but his experiences in Barotseland, then in Swaziland and Basutoland, forced him to discard his earlier colonial prejudices and to look at problems more from the African point of view. He was not at this time an efficient, desk-bound administrator, but he bad energy and good ideas about organization and economic growth. For the rest of his career he tried to reconcile the needs of African development against white settlement. He succeeded where others failed in at least partially protecting Africans from white greed 17. His residency in Swaziland was to be his first major test in this regard.
The British had not wanted to take over Swaziland in the 1880s. They would not let the Transvaal incorporate it although after 1894 they did permit Pretoria to administer the area. Conditions grew chaotic. The Swazi repeatedly asked for British help in their struggle with the whites, but the Natal commissioner and native agent, Sir Theophilus Shepstone, refused, and sent his son « Offy » to live at the court of Mbandzeni as resident advisor and agent. Many of the concessions were granted during this period. King Mbandzeni (Mbandine Mbandzeno, Umbandine)—who liked greyhounds and champagne—gave away most of his country to white concessionaires, along with the rights to farm, to graze, and to mine its land 18. By 1899 the Swazi were no longer independent, and in 1902 Britain reluctantly took over the territory. The concession claims unfortunately had been validated by a court, and high commissioner Milner had to decide what to do.
European concessionaires were not content to let the Swazi use the land; they wanted clear title; they wanted to stop indiscriminate cultivation and to displace any Africans whom they did not require for their own purposes. In 1904 Milner appointed a commission to decide which of these concessions were valid and to divide the land between the Swazi and the Europeans. Earlier he had requested Godfrey Lagden, a South African native official and anthropologist, to prepare a confidential memorandum for him regarding the problem 19. Milner thought that if the Swazi were left unprotected and free to continue living on land they had given away, there would be bloody fighting over grazing, land, and water rights. His desire to protect the Swazi would lead to the formation of African reserves, for he saw safety for the African only in the separation of white rights from African rights. Lagden concurred; he suggested giving about one-third of the European concession area to the Swazi and putting this land in native reserves scattered about the country. Moreover, he thought the Swazi were in a rebellious mood because they feared losing their land and being forced to move into the reserves. He counseled against haste but felt the Swazi needed a firm hand; they had been « corrupted » for a long time by playing off white people against each other. The commission appointed by Milner finished its report in 1907, soon after Lord Selborne had replaced him as high commissioner, and its recommendations closely followed Lagden’s memorandum.
Swaziland became a British protectorate in 1906, under the control of the high commissioner. Remarkably, no major clashes had resulted from the concessions issue; the Europeans had been prevented from acting on their grants by Lord Milner and the Boer war. As Selborne took office, he asked for Coryndon to be appointed resident, with George Grey as special commissioner to mark out the native reserves 20
Grey was born at Fallodon in Northumberland in 1866. His elder brother went on to become Sir Edward Grey, a member of Parliament, and secretary of state for foreign affairs. George Grey was a brilliant man. As a younger brother he did not inherit the family estate and so he went to Rhodesia, fought in the 1896 rebellion, and spent time prospecting and exploring in the Rhodesias and the Congo. He located some of the Congo’s major copper deposits and managed mines there until 1906, when the Belgians took over. Then he went to Swaziland.
As special commissioner, Grey’s job was to decide which third of the concession lands were to be cut off and joined to contiguous Swazi areas. He was boycotted by the Swazi queen regent (Gwamile) and most of the chiefs, who argued that King Mbandzeni had not sold the land but only loaned it. They insisted that the white man « had no land in Swaziland. » Grey got some cooperation from them by pointing out that the demarcation of reserves would proceed anyway; if they wanted some voice in the choice of their reserves, they must work with him. For almost two years he covered the whole country by foot, horse, and wagon. It was as careful a survey as could have been made in those days and as fair as contemporary views allowed. As Grey said:
The question of the preservation for all time of native rights without prejudicing the progress of European industry and civilization, from which the native has and will reap benefit, is very difficult. … I have been the instrument that has locked up much of the beautiful fertile country from which Whites are to be forever excluded. Let us hope that the Swazi will progress and be worthy of the benefits we ensure for him 21
His report was submitted December 5, 1908, and went into effect four weeks later, on January 1, 1909. To the Europeans went 976,558 hectares; to the Swazi, 687,635 hectares; to the crown, 63,549 hectares. The Europeans had lost about one-third of their holdings; the Swazi did not have to move for five years, after which they could arrive at agreements with European owners.
Selborne came personally to explain the settlement to the Swazi. The queen regent and the chiefs took the report well although they were overwhelmed by their losses. They said they had trusted the high commissioner to protect their interests, Selborne made no answer but ended the meeting by saying: « I have ordered two beasts to be killed for you. I now wish you all goodbye. » In 1909 Coryndon was appointed special commissioner to carry out the partition 22
The high commissioner came to Mbabane in May 1909 to hear European appeals from Grey’s report; only one was granted, a remarkable tribute to Grey’s work 23. The whites submitted a petition to Selborne calling for closer union with South Africa and objecting to Swaziland’s being classed a native territory like Basutoland. Selborne promised them that it would not remain a native territory but would become part of the new union of South Africa to be formed in 1910 24. In this he proved to be wrong. Coryndon himself did not work for Swaziland to be incorporated into South Africa, and he repeatedly reassured the Swazi on this
Grey and Coryndon thus had adjudicated a messy and potentially dangerous situation. Whites received a large portion of their concessions; conflicting boundaries were adjusted and delimited. The Swazi lost their general rights to the whole of Swaziland but received exclusive use of large, demarcated, segregated areas of the country. In these reserves all concessionary rights were extinguished, and their areas were thought to be large enough to provide or future expansion. Coryndon and the high commissioner started the Swazi National Fund, which was to be used to buy back land and to start a school for princes. The Swazi were encouraged by Coryndon to buy crown and European held property, and gradually they acquired over half the territory.
While Grey was dealing with the land questions, Selborne had ordered Corynto impose a firm administration on Swaziland. Both men felt that its people needed « a benevolent despotism. » There is no question that Coryndon at first was harsh to the Swazi-especially to the queen regent and the chiefs, whom he regarded as having wasted their people’s heritage. He did not know where the money paid by the concessionaires had gone (the king had received £1,000 a month). He wanted to depose the queen regent and declare the young Sobhuza as paramount chief, but Selborne refused. Coryndon, however, was determined to make the Swazi « shape up, » rule well, and be prudent.
He first met with the chiefs on May 23, 1907. He spoke politely but firmly, and message was hard. He warned them against evil white advisors and assured them that he did not come to take away their powers but to increase them. He saidthat Lewanika, whom he had served, was stronger after he—Coryndon—had left than when he arrived, for he had stopped wars and slave raids and had united the nation. The high commissioner had rejected the Swazi petition to send a delegation to England, but Coryndon told them that he would try to get that changed.
With great reluctance, the colonial office assented in November 1907 to Coryndon’s plea to let the Swazi delegation come to England on the understand, n g that nothing would be changed by talking to the king. The colonial office minute called for « a decently brief stay » and then an immediate departure; the minute writer noted haughtily « We had a Swazi deputation here in 1895 and if they I been encouraged to go on talking they would probably be discussing still. » 26 The Swazi delegation met the king, saw an army review, and had tea with a few pro-black groups and with Ramsay MacDonald, who promised to get the Labour party interested in their case. Because MacDonald lived in an ill-lit, third-floor apartment near Lincoln’s Inn Field, the Swazi were not impressed with him or his promises. The group was followed, and reports were made on whom they visited. Some of them went to « a resort of fast women, » and some drank whiskey 27. The delegation accomplished nothing.
Meanwhile, Coryndon had toured the entire country he was supposed to rule. He then called a meeting of his officials to reorganize the government, stressing that they rule by virtue of their personal prestige and not by repressive legislation 28. He rearranged districts and reorganized the judicial system and the police, who began to enforce the law. He had difficulties at first in collecting the hut tax and imposing a new system of registration. His efforts to set up an efficient administration were thwarted by Lord Selborne and the colonial office on the ground that Swaziland’s revenue was limited; few changes could be made without expense to the government 29
Coryndon’s administrative staff therefore remained small. He had a government secretary, 4 assistant commissioners, 24 men in the court system, and a police force of 25 whites and 161 Africans-this to govern 85,000 people in a mountainous area of 6,704 square miles. He and his police mounted 4,720 patrols and covered 315,491 miles in his first year as resident. In 1908 he was dealing more harshly with tax defaulters-fines and imprisonment, but no hut burning. As in Barotseland, Coryndon saw the tax not only as a source of revenue for government but also as a symbol of obedience and acceptance of a new colonial authority.
To the Swazi—in light of their previous history of sheep stealing, quarreling, witch-hunting, and fighting—this police presence was a great boon to peace and order in the territory. But they feared and resented Coryndon in those years. Not only did they lose their land under his residency but he also enforced new laws and collected taxes. The native police gave him the name the Swazi remembered him by—Msindazwe, signifying « he who weighs down, sits heavy upon the land. » In the first years of his career, he appeared to them as a holy terror. To his servants he was known as Mahagane (« violent temper ») for he fired the servants left by his predecessor. But it was the name Msindazwe that caught on throughout the iand as Coryndon brought the Swazi to account. They thought him arrogant, stem. hard, unsympathetic, and inflexible. In 1909, when he sentenced a prince of royal blood (Njinjane) to death, his popularity was at its lowest 30
Coryndon and the Swazi came to understand one another better after 1909, and he earned their respect. He had established at Zombadi (Zombadze) a school for the sons of chiefs; he had protected the people from white adventurers; and he had restored to them some of their land. Even the Swazi queen mother said in 1913 that she no longer swore by the name of the former king, Mbandzine. « [Now] I swear by Coryndon. » 31 He had kept pressure on the Swazi to buy back land from white concessionaires. He was loved, extolled, and respected as few Europeans ever were by the Swazis, and they called his firstborn son Izwe Lake »His Land, » or Swaziland 32
Development was limited during Coryndon’s residency—1907 to 1914—for although he had ideas, the country was poor and mountainous with few resources to bring in revenue. He depended on the hut tax, mining concessions, rents, and import dues; in 1908, for example, his revenue was only £39,529. For three years in a row, disease and drought damaged cattle and crops. He could do little more than establish an administration, collect taxes, and run a court system. Yet Coryndon did a lot with few resources. He rebuilt the capital, Mbabane, put up new buildings, planted trees, and introduced mountain trout into local streams. He worked on a new road from Mbabane to the Transvaal. The land was too rough for wheeled vehicles but he built bridges and tracks throughout the country.
For his work in Swaziland, Coryndon was much praised and was made a commander of the Order of St. Michael and St. George in 1911. Selborne thought he showed great natural ability, common sense, and an imperturbable temperament. Coryndon had proven himself to be courageous, physically and morally. According to Selborne, he never hesitated to take a position, nor did he ever shirk his responsibility. Selborne felt that Coryndon had shown great sympathy for the black man as well as for white settlers. He knew a great deal about people and their problems. He aimed to secure justice for the black man yet throughout his life he maintained the confidence of white men 33
In 1910 Coryndon applied for promotion in the colonial service and asked to be considered for the governorship of the Bahamas, Barbados, Fiji, or the Leeward or Windward Islands; he said he would accept appointment in Gambia, Uganda, or Sierra Leone but not in a settler colony. The then high commissioner, Qadstone, recommended him, citing Lord Selborne’s high opinion of Coryndon as a capable and experienced administrator possessing energy and initiative. » 34 applied again in 1913 for the position of governor—this time, of Nyasalandbut colonial office minutes show that he was low on the list; although he had manifested « considerable ability in dealing with natives, » it was doubted « whether his financial capacity is as good. » High commissioner Gladstone once again praised Corvndon and noted « his qualifications as excellent. » One of his problems was that he had not learned the secret of writing a report to meet colonial office standards. Even when in 1908 he wrote one that drew praise for its fullness and plain, Mrect style, it still did not comply with colonial regulations. He did not properly complete a blue book until 1911.
Coryndon, moreover, had many ideas and plans for Swaziland’s development that were unrealistic considering the available resources. He had trouble balancing his budget and received a £20,000 loan from Basutoland. He continued to need advances and loans. Still, it is hard to see what else he could have done; there was drought, East Coast fever attacked the cattle, and horses died under government officials. The colonial office minutes kept repeating that he did not recognize « the need for stringent economy. » He did, but he also wanted to develop the Swazi. In 1911 he started the Swazi National Fund, to be raised by an additional two shilling tax on the £1 tax paid by Africans and a two shilling tax on each head of European owned cattle. The purpose of the fund was to provide good stud bulls and horses and to establish a small experimental farm and some schools—especially for technical education. Most of the fund had to be used to combat East Coast cattle fever, Previous to Coryndon’s first development plan, which appeared in 1911, he had been encouraging cotton as a crop and giving out good corn and black wattle tree seed 35
When Coryndon left Swaziland in 1914, the country, in colonial parlance, « had been much improved. » The territory was better policed and administered than before. The cash economy had spread further afield; more money became available through remittances sent home by migrant laborers and through the export of crops. Revenue had increased to £58,437, by the current standards a respectable sum for so backward a protectorate.
The colonial office appointed Coryndon in 1914 as chairman of a commission to report upon the native reserves of Southern Rhodesia. Its members were F. J. Newton, W. V. Atherstone, H. Marshall Hole, and E. C. T. Garraway; and its purpose, to determine whether the reserves were large enough to satisfy the present and future needs of Africans. Coryndon methodically set forth the way the commission was to travel, to act, and to question. In 1915 alone he spent seven months taking evidence, traveling about the countryside and deep into African areas where there were no roads or bridges. The members covered the colony on horse, on foot, and by wagon. Their routine of travel was hard: up at 4:30 A.M. for chocolate and a biscuit; trek from 5:00 to 11:00, when they stopped to wash and eat; work on the report; break camp at 3:00 P.M.; trek until 5:00 or 5:30 when they camped for the night; to bed by 8:30. Coryndon ordered that nothing be left around a campsite to mar the countryside; all litter and ashes were buried, and the site left as they had found it. Coryndon followed this practice all his life for he was a keen naturalist and environmentalist. Holland, the commission secretary, noted that « as it was with our camps, so it was with Coryndon-everything neat, clean and orderly, and without any fuss. » 36
The commission heard witnesses, white and black, throughout the country. Coryndon showed sympathy for the Africans and patiently listened to their views. His reputation among them was that of a great native commissioner, firm but just wherever he served. After two years of work, the commission’s report was completed. It later served as the basis for the order in council of 1920 that rearranged the native reserves 37. The report recommended reducing African holdings by a million acres; it also advised regrouping many smaller reserves to remove them from areas of white settlement. In order to use reserves to their fullest, the commission advised that wells and bores be sunk, roads built, and instruction given in improved agricultural methods. Native commissioners were to distribute seed and to counsel African farmers. Education, hitherto neglected, was to be emphasized. Finally, the commission suggested that local African self-government councils be started.
The report was attacked by the British South Africa Company, anxious to defend its stewardship, and by missionaries and the Aborigines’ Protection Society, determined to safeguard African rights. The Sabi reserve suffered the largest loss of territory when a section twelve miles wide (291,800 acres) was taken from the Africans to provide for a railroad and for ranching and farming schemes by the British South Africa Company. The issue was debated in the British Parliament and in the London Times. Arthur S. Cripps, the local missionary, led the fight, together with J. H. Harris of the Aborigines’ Protection Society. In 1920, however, the Southern Rhodesian missionary conference voted support of the commission’s finding, asking only that some land be restored to the Sabi reserve.
There is no question that the British South Africa Company and the settlers wanted to pare down African reserves and that the commission was made up of men sympathetic to company and settler interests. It depended for much of its information upon data sent in by the commercial branch of the company. The object was to get all the land that might be usable for future settlement and company prospects. Company inspectors told the commission which land was valuable for white settlement; report after report repeated the same sentiments: « This land is good for whites; reserve it for future settlement, » or « This land should be taken from the natives; whites could make better use of it. » 38 Coryndon and the others believed in the benefits of white settlement and development. Areas « locked up » by backward African farmers should be put to better use, they felt. Since the Africans had plenty of land, the commission was not reluctant to assign some for future white settlement 39
Mistakes were inevitable, and some changes were made later; but the basic division of land in Rhodesia has remained as Coryndon and his commission laid it down. Certainly the whites had the skill and enterprise, and they did develop the country. Africans as yet did not suffer from lack of land, but they possessed insufficient physical or social capital to modernize the colony. The immigrants made improvements in a way Africans could not have done at that time. But not enough effort was made to improve African farming practices. Coryndon’s hopes were not fully realized on that point although some improvements in the native reserves followed the commission’s recommendations 40
From 1916 to 1918 Coryndon was resident of Basutoland. In 1917 he had a staff of thirty-eight men to rule an area almost as large as Belgium. Basuto chiefs were prone to take up arms and cause disturbances, a practice Coryndon quickly ended by punishing the guilty chiefs. He started building straight away—a new residence for himself, a new courtroom, and a water supply for Maseru. Road building, tree planting, and fencing changed the face of the capital. Coryndon handled the Basuto national council of chiefs well; he was impressed with the common sense and dignity shown by the council-and by their short speeches 41. Not much could be accomplished in less than two years, but Coryndon’s successor noted that he had left his mark and improved conditions. An editorial in the local paper, Mochochonono Ts’Itoe, said the Basutos were not sorry to see him go. They felt he was autocratic and severe. He imposed new laws and enforced old ones. His administration of the Basutos was strict, and this they were not used to.
Governor of Uganda
Eight years after he had first requested promotion Coryndon was appointed governor and commander in chief in Uganda. At forty-seven he was one of the youngest men ever appointed to a governorship. He was to face racial and economic problems in his new assignment, as well as difficulties caused by the war against the formidable German general Lettow-Vorbeck.
World War I had hurt Uganda’s economy: the European plantations were deserted; about 200,000 cattle were lost to rinderpest; and over 60,000 African carriers had been recruited. There were few government officials to run the colony and Coryndon, as its governor and commander in chief, had taken part in the war. He was mentioned in a dispatch from Lieutenant general Deventer for gallant and distinguished services in the field, and he was made a commander of the Order of the Crown by the Belgian king.
War had also disrupted trade on Lake Victoria, and the railroad was congested with war materials. Demobilization brought further disorganization, and in 1918 the country suffered a severe drought. Postwar recovery was slow; there was a high incidence of rinderpest, influenza, and famine in some areas. Capital was not forthcoming from England, and colonial office schemes to encourage white settler emigration to develop the colony largely failed. In spite of these adversities, Coryndon’s governorship must be regarded as successful 42
Uganda did without a grant-in-aid from London after 1915-1916. Coryndon kept pushing for greater expenditures and a larger staff. He asked for an increase in salaries and allowances in 1918, and the next year he pushed for better pay and working conditions for Africans in the civil service. He convinced the colonial office that Uganda—with 59 officials in comparison with 139 in the East African protectorate—was understaffed if he were to administer it more closely and to carry out economic development. London authorized the recruitment of nine additional district officers. The colonial office was pleased with Coryndon’s reports following the war:
Mr. Coryndon’s dispatch seems to be most able and to be a good augury for the future administration of Uganda. He has got hold of the crucial points of the cotton question and sees them very clearly, and I think his proposals may be accepted practically as they stand 43
The governor planned for growth; he pursued a policy of dual development of plantation enterprise by whites and of farming by blacks. He called for increased cotton production by Africans and for greater administrative supervision of the cotton industry. In his efforts at its regulation, he fell victim to the faulty economic reasoning of most colonial officials. He tried to reduce Indian control of ginning and to reduce their profits. He failed to see their productive economic role and opted instead for state control and economic paternalism. His efforts were restrictive and restrained trade. But in the rest of his plans he showed foresight and an excellent sense of how to develop Uganda’s resources.
Coryndon increased government revenues by levying a £1 poll tax on non-Africans and by increasing the tax on Africans by fifty percent in 1918. In May 1919 he asked for a £1 million general purpose loan for a public works program in Uganda: new government buildings, telegraph and road extensions, lake transport, and water and electricity supply. His argument made little mention of European planters. He wrote that the future of Uganda rested with the Africans, who were intelligent and amiable. The colony’s rainfall was good and constant, the soil rich and productive, and there was plenty of water power. Cotton was the major crop, he noted, but others should be encouraged: rubber, cocoa, sugar, castor, sim-sim (a food crop), and coffee 44
In 1919 he started to meet with chiefs to get their views and to inform them of his plans. He spoke frankly of the problem of venereal diseases and of the need to encourage their people to go to work. He told them of his projects to combat rinderpest, East Coast fever, trypanosomiasis, and sleeping sickness. Coryndon also informed the chiefs he intended to develop a comprehensive scheme of training African artisans, drivers, clerks, and interpreters. The chiefs expressed approval of what they heard, and the Uganda Herald reported that the meeting was informal and characterized by goodwill, with tea served at its conclusion 45
Coryndon was a major force in developing African education and health services during his governorship in Uganda. His 1919 request for a £1 million loan included funds for African education. He asked for funds to finance African training in technical and medical fields and to improve health care. He argued that the protectorate had a growing need for African artisans; car and truck drivers; inspectors and inoculators for sleeping sickness, venereal diseases, and veterinary work; mechanics for repair and engine control; clerks and interpreters; dispensers (medical assistants); agricultural instructors; and carpenters. Africans, he wrote, should be trained to replace Indian artisans (a suggestion that antedated a similar one he gave while governor of Kenya during the Indian crisis). He appointed a local committee to work on African education and conditions of service in government 46
In 1920 Lord Milner was to give Coryndon his £1 million development loan in four equal installments, starting in 1921-1922. Some reductions had to be made later on as the depression hit, but this loan was nevertheless a major factor in developing Uganda’s infrastructure and its health and education systems. Coryndon had matured a great deal since his days as resident in Swaziland. He had become more than a developer; now he was a good manager as well. By the end of 1921 he hab accumulated a budget surplus equal to six months’ revenue.
Technical and industrial training for Africans was what Coryndon wanted. At first he set up technical schools under government departments: carpenters and masons were to be under the director of public works, motor drivers and engine drivers under the director of transport, agricultural instructors under the director of agriculture, and African dispensers (medical assistants), health inspectors, and inoculators under the principal medical officer. Later Coryndon argued for a range of schools within one college.
Churchill, as secretary of state for the colonies, had approved the establishment of a new technical school in Kampala in September 1920, and Coryndon selected the site on November 4 of that year. He planned to open a central technical school immediately. Experts from the technical departments would do the teachmiz. He wanted elementary, intermediate, and technical schools as well as a postgraduate institution. By March 1921 the Uganda Technical College had begun and by early 1922 fourteen boys were studying carpentry, building, and mechanics. In August 1922 the name was changed to Makerere College, and teacher training, clerical instruction, and courses in agriculture, medicine, and surveying were added to the curriculum. Coryndon, then, was the real founder of Makerere College, which he himself renamed in 1922. (Although he is listed first on the roster of founders, he did not have any college buildings named after him.) 47
The 1923 Uganda budget estimates mentioned Makerere College for the first time. It was Coryndon’s last budget in Uganda. He asked for lecturers in veterinary and agricultural science and in surveying to be drawn from government de partments, but he budgeted for full-time staff as well-two instructors of carpentry, masonry, and bricklaying, one instructor of machines (to train drivers and mechanics), and a medical tutor. One of the main objectives of the college was to train Africans to take charge of the rural dispensaries 48. This effort in Uganda of training clerical workers, teachers, African artisans, and medical assistants was in sharp contrast to the education policy in Kenya, where the settlers and the education department opposed African education and where there were few, if any, such programs and no government schools. Coryndon in effect created the Uganda public school system.
Once the war was over, Coryndon had pressured the colonial office for more iunds to combat the grave medical problems of the colony. Uganda not only suffered from constant epidemics such as sleeping sickness but also had a high incidence of venereal diseases. Returning porters may have brought in and spread new diseases. In spite of the colony’s financial exhaustion, Coryndon was able to zet something done. A critical report in 1919 by Dr. Wiggins of the Uganda medical department attacked government medical services for Africans and gave Coryndon the ammunition he needed. London was agreeable to better health care and to supporting medical education for Africans, but funds were not forthcoming until 1920-1921. Coryndon had only eight doctors in 1920. He asked for more physicians and more African vaccinators; he also wanted medical training facilities for Africans. To build and run a school for training twenty-four certified African midwives each year, he used £1,000 from his 1920 development loan plus £3,000 raised by public subscription. The Lady Coryndon Maternity Training School was opened in June 1921. Lady Coryndon, a gracious and active woman. had been instrumental in establishing African dispensaries (clinics) and maternity training schools throughout Uganda.
Coryndon had also launched a campaign against venereal diseases in 1919. Work began on a school for training Africans in medical work, and by 1921 several treatment centers were in operation. A venereal diseases hospital at Mulazc was reopened in 1921, and the training of African nurses was resumed. Subdispensaries were being built throughout the colony. Before he left for Kenya in August 1922, Coryndon budgeted £8,000 to buy drugs to treat venereal diseases 49. By 1923 he had established twenty-seven clinics throughout Uganda, which hactreated 184,061 cases. In this field of health care and training, too, Coryndon was ahead of his fellow governors not only in Kenya but throughout much of Africa. His advice and encouragement gave Uganda midwifery schools, clinics, wayside clinics, and training schools for African medical assistants.
Coryndon was not as strong a supporter of settlers as the History of East Africa and other sources claim; nor did he wish to turn African producers primarily into wage laborers as in Kenya. Similarly, his efforts to change Uganda’s land system did not stem from any plot to rob Africans of their holdings and to throw them open for sale to whites 50. Coryndon was pro-economic development; he was not pro-white planter. Uganda had appeared to some people to be a more pleasant and prosperous place in which to live than Kenya. After the war, the colonial office under Milner and Churchill had encouraged veterans to go to the colony to help develop the land, but Coryndon was opposed to these efforts. Settlers were given 500-to 1,000-acre plots at a low price to plant rubber, coffee, cocoa, and sugar. But not many came. The white population grew slowly. In 1915-1916 there were 196 European plantation owners with 25,184 acres under cultivation, and 481 officials. By 1918 there were 847 whites—mostly officials—and 200 plantations. Europeans had the same amount of land in 1920 (188 square miles) that they had in 1918-1919, and the total white population in 1922 had grown only 1,261 (it had reached a high of 1,269 in 1920).
In these pioneering days there was understandably much mismanagement and lack of technical knowledge. Workers were always in short supply and the government would not provide forced labor. Managers of local estates were appointed from local people who had no prior experience with tropical agriculture. Nor did the Africans have experience with coffee, and coffee failed as a crop. Europeans and Africans planted Arabica coffee, but the Buganda switched to robusta coffee. The planters rushed to pick their crop, dried it badly, and stored it. As a result, Uganda coffee got a bad name on the English market as musty in odor and poor in color. Then rubber planters were badly hurt by the fall in market prices of 1920-1921. Coffee, rubber, and cocoa plantations were all doing poorly, and by 1924 many planters had failed; those who stayed turned to cotton 51
In his first years Coryndon impressed the European community with his energy, drive, and planning. The Uganda Herald praised his practical and stimulating ideas, noting that it was a pleasant change after many years of comparatively little progress. He worked to improve railway administration and to develop a deepwater pier at Kilindini. Whenever Coryndon went to England boe spoke with officials in the colonial office, with industrialists, and with members of the Empire Cotton Growing Association on the need to increase the production by Africans of high-quality cotton. Since the price for cotton was high, he saw a futur for Uganda but he needed to improve the internal transportation system—more roads, railways, bridges, vans, and a light railway had to be provided. Coryndon saw only limited scope for European plantations—in coffee and rubber. On a visit to London in 1920 he further explained his plans to the colonial office and asked their help in getting additional funds to carry out economic development 52. He had already ordered fifteen new vans and a large ferry pontoon for the Nile at Jinja. He hoped also to harness Ripon Falls to provide electricity and water to Jinja, Kampala, and Entebbe if capital could be attracted 53
In 1921 Coryndon won approval of the secretary of state for the colonies to establish executive and legislative councils for Uganda. Although Africans were not presented in the councils until 1945, these still were useful bodies for helping the governor rule the colony and for granting some part in government to the nonoffial white (two) and Indian (one) representatives 54. Coryndon did not push for a legislative council as part of his and the colonial office’s plan to encourage European plantation settlement. He never thought of making Uganda a « Kenya-like » colony 55. In 1918 he had opposed efforts to expand white settlement. Very early an he had made up his mind that Uganda was not an area for white settlers-« it is not possible for climatic reasons. », 56. Not only did Coryndon oppose colonial office efforts to settle veterans there, but he offered protectorate funds to send them elsewhere. The colonial office, however, rejected this proposal 57
In a speech made in 1921, as the depression deepened in Uganda, Coryndon repeated his views that the colony was a « native » territory not like Kenya. His duty. he said, was to give full consideration to the rights and claims of Africans. It was, after all, revenue from the cotton produced by Africans that had provided the protectorate with a budget surplus for six years 58
As governor, Coryndon therefore did not neglect African interests to serve those of the Europeans. The opposite was true: he provided minimal service for the whites and concentrated his administration on developing the Africans’ econ-my and improving services to them, especially transportation, health, and education. Several chapters in the History of East Africa, therefore, distort Coryndon’s motives and record 59
He did not support European planters excessively and he did not let them dominate his administration and its technical services. Saddled with war veterans as settlers, Coryndon gave them modest help and assistance—two coffee experts and the veterinary officer. His development schemes were aimed largely at improving African output and African health. These efforts paid off; African exports provided the government with more revenue, which Coryndon then used to improve the services to all the colony’s residents. Cotton was king in Uganda. The Europeans had a few good years in coffee and rubber, but their exports were only a small share of the colony’s export trade. Cotton exports were the heart of the colonv’s wealth. The value of cotton exports jumped from £369,318 in 1914-1915 to £41134,136 in 1920 and usually represented from seventy to ninety percent of the total value of Ugandan exports. In contrast, coffee exports amounted to only £90,362 in 1920; rubber, to £23,767. Even with the depressed prices of 1922, cotton still accounted for seventy-two percent of the value of all exports, or £877,625. As a builder and economic planner, Coryndon had seen Uganda’s future in cotton grown by Africans and not Europeans; he did not risk his colony’s future growth to serve European interests, as asserted by recent historians. His policy was dramatically shown in 1921 when he refused to give planters an advance to save their coffee and rubber plantations.
Economic conditions had worsened during 1921, and planters were going bankrupt. Local banks refused to give them an advance, so they appealed to the governor. Coryndon wrote to the colonial office advising against aiding the planters, as he did not think their failure would hurt the protectorate’s finances. He recommended letting eighty percent of the Europeans’ cultivated land revert to bush and repeated his long-held view that Europeans had no future in Uganda 60. Later he relented somewhat and asked the colonial office to let him make loans to fourteen estates while allowing fifty-one others to go bankrupt. London refused 61
Although he would not intercede for the settlers he was supposed to be actively aiding, Coryndon did not hesitate to ask the colonial office for authority to buy up African-produced cotton for which there were no buyers. The colonial office authorized him to spend £100,000; half of this sum would probably have saved all the European planters 62
Cyril Ehrlich, in his otherwise excellent chapter in the History of East Africa, misinterprets the debate over land in Uganda and Coryndon’s role in that debate. Contrary to what Ehrlich says, Coryndon did not agree with Morris Carter and Sir Frederick Jackson that « the African’s main productive role would have to be as a wage labourer. » 63. He cites as proof of this Coryndon’s failure to set aside reserve land in four districts so that the Africans would just be used as wage laborers. It is true that Coryndon did not want to lock up land in « native reserves, » but this does not mean that he wanted to reduce the Africans’ role as farmers and to make more use of them as workers. There is no evidence that Coryndon planned extensive land alienation, and he did not resort to forced labor. Certainly many of the Uganda administrators opposed land alienation but not because they opposed European plantations.
The official, imperial view was that Uganda should develop like West Africa; that is, by peasant production and not by white plantations. The colonial office had rejected the Carter committee report in 1915 to push plantations. After the war, Milner and Churchill did strive for greater European settlement, but Coryndon and his provincial commissioners were not enthusiastic and growth was slow. The 1921 report of the land settlement committee, again chaired by Carter, encouraged white plantations in Uganda but not at the expense of African occupied land. In any case, as Ehrlich notes, Coryndon in 1922 got the colonial office to reverw the Carter proposals and to return to prior land policies. This was done in 1923, after Coryndon had left the country.
But the big issue in this debate was not really increased white settlement but rather the varied land policies of Uganda. The dispatches flowing between London and Kampala had little or nothing to say about increased European colonization. Kenya was reserved for that. Coryndon knew before 1922 that Uganda was not a planters’ country. He did not change his land policy because settler plantations were failing—although they were—but because the spread of the freehold system of Buganda to the other protectorate provinces was causing tension and injustices.
In Buganda, under the Uganda agreement of 1900, certain official and private estates were set aside for the Kabaka and chiefs. The land settlement committee of 1920 had recommended the extension of freehold principles to all parts of Uganda, while guaranteeing all people sufficient land for their needs. Land was to be zranted to normatives if enough were available after the needs of Africans had been met. The provincial commissioners did not like the spread of the freehold principle but Carter pushed for it as he had in the past. In 1922 the commissioners again protested the spread of the freehold principle; but they did not oppose alienation of land to non-Africans. Coryndon by now agreed with them and sent a lengthy memorandum to the colonial office. The entire debate and its supporting material deal with the spread of freehold tenure, not with the alienation of land to non-Africans 64
The issue of alienation came up only because the Buganda Lukiko (Assembly) passed a resolution forbidding the sale of land to non-Africans. Nowhere else was the question raised; the provincial commissioners were not opposing alienation of all land to whites but only of land granted to chiefs. The second provision of the new land settlement scheme would, in effect, have established native reserves for Africans and crown lands or alienated lands for nonAfricans. In fact, the provincial commissioners wanted unoccupied areas surveyed and opened for settlement to Europeans.
Coryndon did not foresee, nor did he attempt to carry out, large settlement schemes for Uganda. He argued there was no need in Uganda to set aside native reserves or to segregate whites and blacks as had been done in Southern Rhodesia and South Africa. This was because Africans had plenty of land, and there was no need to lock land up in reserves and thus to forestall any future land alienation. His provincial commissioners disagreed with the land settlement committee of 1919; it was they who pushed for native reserves and a declaration of no alienation now or in the future. Their concern was not triggered by fear of large land alienation to settlers 65. The land settlement report of 1920, however, argued against native reserves in order to preserve the land for future use by Africans with their backward technology. Africans were to be given enough land for their use; and all land alienated had to have the local provincial or district commissioner’s approval. Churchill accepted this program 66
There was also controversy over the Africans’ right to sell their land to nonAfricans. The secretary of state had hesitated to give a final decision on this question but felt he had to consider it when Coryndon asked for permission in 1920. The Uganda agreement of 1900 had declared Africans to be « absolute owners »; therefore, the administration had no right to restrict their selling land if they wished. The intention was eventually to give freehold to all Uganda Africans whereby they could dispose of land as they wished. Previously, only Buganda chiefs had this right.
The colonial office therefore had to let Africans sell to non-Africans, for they already could sell to Africans. Although London wanted to prevent undue accumulation of land in the hands of Europeans, they were furthering such accumulation in the hands of Africans. Reluctantly, then, the colonial office agreed to Coryndon’s request, and Africans became free to sell their land to anyone.
Arguments against this freedom seem paternalistic and devoid of economic sense. The denial of the right to sell land hurt development-Africans could not borrow money on their land for capital improvements if they could not alienate their holdings. Europeans were discouraged from coming to Uganda to develop plantations as they had been discouraged from going to West Africa (in the case of Lever Brothers). Whereas Coryndon was not an advocate of large-scale white setlement, he did want further development, and Europeans had more capital and skills than Africans. Some plantations would obviously increase the territory’s resources.
The governor and the provincial commissioners then called for nonprivate estates in Busoga and Bunyoro. They feared the creation of a landless peasantry if freehold tenure replaced communal tenure. They foresaw peasants’ selling or losing their land to chiefs and others as had happened in Buganda. This was the main issue; all other questions were secondary. Now that the administration was proposing to abolish Africans’ rights to alienate their land, the position changed. The administrators were not fighting the governor to prevent land alienation to Europeans; they just opposed the sale of occupied lands.
The change of attitude over freehold was occasioned, above all, by trouble
Buganda over the land distribution of 1900. Coryndon called a conference of provincial commissioners to draw up a memorandum. The meeting had little or nothing to do with European plantations or their failure. Coryndon changed his mind not because he gave up attempts to make Uganda a white plantation colony, as Ehrlich claims 67, but because he was concerned with possible injustices and tension if freehold tenure spread beyond Buganda. He and his staff therefore recommended restricting freehold tenure to Buganda and, when necessary by agreement, Ankole and the Toro districts.
The administrators had always opposed the spread of freehold. They wavered in 1920-1921 because chiefs in Bunyoro and elsewhere were expecting to get frEhold and not because Carter and Coryndon were trying to alienate more land to planters to make Uganda a settler colony. The prevailing philosophy asserted that tribal lands should be held communally and not individually; the feeling was that Africans had to be protected after the crown lands ordinance lapsed in 1922. There was no fear of land alienation to non-Africans. Large tracts would be available once the scheme for native reserves was marked out. The provincial commissioner opposition to the report of the land committee was based solely on its advocating the spread of freehold tenure. Coryndon wrote a memo to the colonial office supporting the commissioners, and a new ordinance was drawn up.
During the 1920s, Indians in Uganda—as in Kenya—began to agitate for reforms. An Indian deputation called on Coryndon on January 4, 1921, and made several demands. Though thankful that Indians were accorded one seat in the new legislative council, they called for equality with Europeans, who had two, and an end to government regulation of cotton ginning and of land ownership and to segregation.
Coryndon had had good relations with Indians, and they felt he was fair and reasonable. They accepted his plan for Indian areas in Kampala and for a new market in Jinja. The deputation concluded its meeting with Coryndon by statinthat although relations with Indians were quite good in Uganda, they wished to have these matters on record since another governor might not treat the Indians as justly as Coryndon 68. He refused, however, to give Indians two seats in the legislative council and the colonial office backed him. The council opened without the Indian representative, and Indians boycotted that body for five years.
The labor supply was a continual problem throughout colonial Africa. There never seemed enough workers for all government projects and private businesses. In Uganda it was especially difficult to find wage laborers because so use so many Africans were cotton growers and did not feel pressure to seek outside employment. indeed, the Ugandan government had many projects for which it could not find workers. Yet Coryndon hesitated to use all his powers to get Africans to “come out” to work. He wrote to the colonial office, “I feel that the situation should be met by encouragement and education, and not by coercive legislation.” 69 (This statement was made at the same time as the famous Governor Northey circular of 1919 in Kenya, which empowered district officers to force Africans to seek work.)
Coryndon had to defend himself against charges of planters that his administration was not helping them recruit labor. While governor, Coryndon refused to nrol.,ide private businesses with labor on demand. He left it to the district and the provincial commissioner to cooperate (or not) with recruiters and let labor leave the district. He pointed out to the planters and the colonial office the difficulties the colony faced; there were many demands for manpower- railway and road building, government public works, private employers, plus competition with the past African protectorate. He reaffirmed his policy of not using force or undue pressure. Coryndon had tried to help the planters, but he would not restrict labor from going to Kenya, where wages were higher 70
Many British governors were not so liberal and sought to keep labor in their colonies; Cameron in Tanganyika, for example, and Sharpe in Nyasaland refused to let Africans migrate to higher wage areas.
Various arrangements were tried during Coryndon’s governorship to get workers for all the colony’s needs. He attempted to eliminate traditional labor for the chief by letting people commute the corv6e by a money payment. He had the district commissioners assist private employers to find labor; he established labor offices to supervise labor conditions and to help recruit workers. He gave permission to make tax defaulters work on projects such as road and bridge building in their own areas. Although the colonial office did not like tax labor, it could not refuse Coryndon because it had allowed the practice in Tanganyika 71
The labor supply remained a problem during Coryndon’s rule of Uganda, but conditions improved slowly; and in contrast to other governors, Coryndon kept wages high even when labor was plentiful. He realized the relationship between high wage rates and the labor supply and sought to encourage Africans to keep working.
The labor question in East Africa was much debated in the 1920s. In 1921 J. H. Oldham, of the conference of missionary societies in Great Britain and Ireland, exchanged letters with the colonial office over the question of African labor in East Africa. Oldham objected to traditional unpaid labor in the reserves used to build roads and other public works. He also questioned the practice of government officials who put employers in touch with Africans. Oldham claimed this was a form of compulsion. That some compulsory paid labor was necessary, he accepted 72
Coryndon was in London at the time, and he helped the colonial office draft the reply to Oldham and to prepare corrective legislation. The reply to Oldham said that Churchill would change the draft proposal to remove the danger of officials’ pressuring Africans to work for private employers but held firm on the need of using unpaid, forced labor for work in the reserves.
Relations between Uganda and the East African protectorate were usually strained. Although they shared the railway and port facilities, Kenya was the dominant colony. Coryndon began to complain in 1918 about the inefficient relationship between Uganda and the East African protectorate. He saw the need to rationalize the activities and relationships of the three East African territories, and he became the leading advocate for cooperation and planning in East Africa.
Uganda suffered especially from mismanagement of the railway and from sur
charges imposed by Nairobi without consultation. Coryndon charged Nairob:
with indifference to Uganda’s interest: “We are in fact partners in East Africa and should combine to improve the whole conditions and develop the whole resources of the country between Ruwenzori and Mombasa.” 73. He opposed the policy of independent consideration of problems and policies that affected both areas, such as the railway and port facilities at Kilindini.
In 1920 Coryndon argued for and secured an interprotectorate railway council, responsible for transporting all merchandise and for controlling the port cd Kilindini, as was the custom in South Africa 74. He decried the waste and inefficiency of the present system and called for the takeover of the Lake Albert marine service. He came to support administrative amalgamation but not under North of Kenya or Byatt of Tanganyika. Coryndon wanted to consolidate the three veterinary departments: one head would coordinate efforts to control and preserve the vast herds of African owned cattle in all the countries that bordered Lake Victoria. His goal was to establish a central veterinary research laboratory. He sulported the reopening of the great German built Amani Agricultural Institute, to be paid for by the three territories. This was the beginning of Coryndon’s dream of a single authority to control Lake Victoria and the land around it. The colonial office cautioned him to be patient 75. Nevertheless, lecturing in 1921 Coryndon outspokenly advocated a coordinating machinery among the three governments
East Africa to organize, plan, and carry out policy for the region 76
Coryndon lamented both the delay in establishing the railway council and its purely advisory role. Such a council would be of no practical use unless it had fuE executive powers to run the railway system. The colonial office’s response to his farsighted views was that he was trying to establish Uganda’s equality with Kenya. But this was not the major reason for Coryndon’s objections. More than the colonial office or any other governor, he saw the benefits of economically an administratively rationalizing operations in East Africa. Coryndon was right, but it was not until the 1950s that some of his ideas were put into effect 77
At this time, Coryndon was not for amalgamating the two territories; he saw each territory working out its own individual and social destiny. He felt Uganda would suffer if united with Kenya. He argued that a more efficient system would be to place the territories under an experienced high commissioner. This may have been the first time the idea was advanced to the colonial office since the memorandum of Tomkins in 1910 on the union of Uganda and the East African protectorate. (The customs department and the railway and marine system had been under a single administration since 1917.)
Coryndon, who had called for cooperation and for rationalizing common services, opposed amalgamation because he feared Uganda’s special position under the 1900 agreement would be jeopardized by the more settler oriented control in Kenya. He felt the principles and practices of administration in Uganda differered too greatly from those in Kenya for the two colonies to be united. His opposition may have been based in part on fear for his own future; perhaps he suspected that Northey, not he, would be made high commissioner. By 1924 Coryndon had changed his mind, As governor of Kenya, he won Milner’s support for the idea of a high commissioner for East Africa 78
We have a fine description of Coryndon in Uganda from T. S. Thomas, who served under him there as acting chief secretary; this account can serve as a summary of Coryndon’s work in the colony 79. They first met in Nairobi, where Coryndon stopped on his way to take up his post as governor. Thomas was impressed with how naturally and simply Coryndon spoke—a man who had lived with men, liked to be with them, and knew how to handle them. He had common sense, courtesy, and tolerance and was always ready to hear the views of others. In short, Thomas thought Coryndon the most human governor he had known. He liked to be in a small circle of friends, free of the formality of the governorship, and to talk of his years with Rhodes, of Swaziland, and of Basutoland.
As an administrator, Coryndon was sound and courageous and dealt carefully vith the essentials—he might reread an important paper many times before making a decision. Once decided, he had no doubts, and issued clear orders so everyone knew his intention. He knew how to deal with his staff; he was kind but not blind to people’s faults. When his trust was won it was given unconditionally. According to Thomas, Coryndon got on well with Africans. He devoted himself to improving their material and physical well-being, recognizing that the prosperity of Uganda depended on African farmers and their good health. He established the colony’s system of midwifery schools and clinics. In education, he cooperated with the missionaries, established an education department, and set up the first government schools. He also arranged for labor inspection on plantations and tried to reform the system of customary labor for chiefs. In 1919 Coryndon was awarded a KCMG (Knight Commander of the Order of St. Michael and St. George).
In 1920 Coryndon secured a L1 million development loan from the colonial ofiice and levied an excise duty that provided the government with money to expand cotton cultivation. He developed a fine road system, extended the Uganda rail,vay, and planned an electric power system using the Ripon Falls. His 190-mile extension into Uganda of the Kenya railway had far-reaching effects on the cotton industry by linking the eastern province directly with the coast.
As governor, Coryndon had looked ahead and planned for a secure future; he especially pushed for regional cooperation. He served in Uganda from December 15, 1917, to August 30, 1922, when he became governor of Kenya and high commissioner of Zanzibar. Coryndon was to go to Kenya full of misgivings but determined to do his best 80
Governor of Kenya
After the war, white settler politicians in Kenya actively campaigned for more influence over local government 81. They put strong pressure on the new governor, General Sir Edward Northey, who had led the Allied forces in East Africa. Settlers wanted to have European elections for the legislative council and to keep the Indians out of Kenya. The Indian issue was to dominate Kenyan politics for the next decade; Europeans feared being swamped by Indians and even being made a colony of India, as was suggested by some Indian politicians 82
Indians in Kenya were affected by nationalism in India, and after the Montagu reforms of 1917 the government of India began to champion the rights of Indians overseas. The controversy developed over the demand that the rights of citizenship of Indians be recognized throughout the British empire, a principle that had been approved at the imperial conference of 1921 by Canada, Australia, and New Zealand and by the crown colonies but had been rejected by the Union of South Africa. The European settlers of Kenya followed the lead of South Africa and threatened to resist if the claims of Indians were accepted by the government.
Kenya was the chief crown colony affected by the Indian problem. The settler population, which had been trying to make Kenya a white settler colony, temporarily put that issue into the background to deal with the question of Indian citizenship. The Indian community demanded citizenship, an end to segregation. and more political say in local councils—a right the Europeans had won earlier on, at first by nomination to the executive and legislative councils.
In Kenya, the debate heated up when, in 1919, only Europeans were allowed the right to be elected to the legislative council. White attitudes were complex. The Europeans distrusted Indian middlemen but nevertheless did business with Indian traders. The whites also feared competition from Africans. On the other hand, the more enlightened settlers—men like Lord Delamere—were also convinced that the European community would benefit from African prosperity. European farmers were eager to employ skilled African artisans; white producers of specialized cash crops did not disdain to purchase food from African producers. The whites, however, were determined to secure for themselves political paramountcy in the colony, a claim that seemed all the more justified to them at a time when imperial supremacy was challenged in countries as far afield as Ireland. Egypt, and India. Lord Milner, then colonial secretary, largely accepted white claims but, mindful of India’s importance within the empire, proposed a special franchise for Indians. The whites secured an adult male franchise; the Indians were offered first two, then four nominated members for the legislative council. The first election was held in 1920, the second in 1922.
The colonial office was caught in the middle. The government of India demanded equal rights for Indians (although denying them this in India itself), and the settlers objected to having Indians on a common roll. Churchill, now colonial secretary, offered a solution based on equal rights for equal men—that is, voting rights for those Indians and Africans who could meet “European standards.” At first he promised to limit Indian immigration, while reserving the white highlands for exclusive white settlement, but then he had to adopt a tougher line. Northey, who had been ruling Kenya with the settlers in a “government by agreement”, was recalled and retired. Churchill and the colonial office chose Coryndon to replace him, and, essentially, to solve the Indian question.
Coryndon arrived on September 1, 1922. He had telegraphed a friend: “Have accepted Governorship of Kenya: no more peace.” In this he was correct for his administration was much taken up with the Indian question; his plans for rationalizing the economies of East Africa and increasing African productivity had to be curtailed.
The settler community was shocked at the way the colonial office had treated Northey. They believed Northey had been recalled because he had refused to carry out Churchill’s Indian proposals and that Coryndon was brought in to pass them. The Europeans waited distrustfully to see what kind of line the new man Would take: “We imagine he has sealed orders in his pocket.” 83
Coryndon had no sealed orders; he did not even have copies of the basic pubished documents that had been issued and had to have his secretary request them from London. In effect, Coryndon had no private instruction, explanation, or advice from London. Soon after he arrived, he had to avoid Delamere’s question as to what the new colonial secretary’s views were because he did not know them. Here he was called upon to fight a very difficult battle; his only weapon was a statement in a secret dispatch to the effect that the British government considered the matter very serious 84
The Kenya papers reported that Coryndon was, popular and successful in Uganda. The press looked to his South African background as a sign that he would side with the settlers. One settler politician put it more strongly:
[Coryndon] has a great reputation for being all out in the cause of the African native. We sincerely hope that this is the case. Our interests, i.e., the white settlers, and those of the said native are fairly identical and both dead against Indian domination 85
Later, in September, the Wood-Winterton report from the colonial office and the Indian office shattered settler hopes. There was to be no immigration restriction; segregation was to be ended; there was to be a common roll for Indian and European voters and elections to the legislative council with four seats reserved for Indians. The local whites planned their resistance, which included rebellion. A settler named Wheatley toured the country to organize armed resistance to the Indian question. The settlers refused to give Coryndon a pledge of secrecy if he negotiated with them. Military preparations were made; leaders were chosen; and a colonywide “convention of associations” organized settlers in each district. The people up-country wanted to seize power. Nairobi and Mombasa held back.
Devonshire wanted Coryndon and settler delegates to come to London to discuss the problem, but Coryndon was afraid of what the settlers might do in his absence. He got the white leaders to agree to an armistice: “The [colonial office] undertake not to attempt to force any measure on us whilst Coryndon is discussing the affair. We undertake not to take direct action until [Coryndon] returns, but reserve to ourselves at any time to terminate the armistice should either side break off the discussion. ” 86
By the time a delegation left for London, the settlers had already made their military plans. They intended to capture the treasury, the railway, and the postal system. Senior officials were to be arrested, and the governor kidnapped and removed to a remote farm. Since many ex-soldiers had settled in Kenya—perhaps 1,000—they had a small trained army at hand and were ready to fight a Lettow-Vorbeck type of guerrilla war 87. Some British naval forces were sent to Zanzibar when Coryndon left for London with a settler and Indian delegation early in 1923.
Devonshire had called the disputing parties to London, along with Coryndon, in March-April of 1923. Lord Delamere, leader of the settler faction, wanted to see Churchill’s plan carried out. The London Times of April 25, 1923, agreed with settler demands for protection from being swamped by Indians.
Throughout the Indian controversy, Coryndon tried to maintain a balanced view, conclude an agreement, and avoid trouble. He played the aloof, impartial arbitrator. He tried to win concessions from the colonial office and asked that the government of India stop pressuring Kenya. He believed the settler threats to use violence and thought of resigning; but he stayed on and won enough concessions to get both sides to agree at least partially. Coryndon secretly negotiated with both settlers and Indians and got some missionary support for the settlers’ position on restricted immigration. He clearly stood closer to the settlers’ position than to the colonial office’s, but he made only one statement that linked him to the settlers—at a public meeting he commented, “I am a South African.” His efforts to frighten the colonial office into concessions failed (he had sent secret dispatches to London indicating the military buildup and expressing fears of not being able to defend the colony). The colonial office, however, backed down on the question of letting Indians on the common roll for fear of an armed rebellion and because of Coryndon’s defense of the settlers’ position.
The white paper issued in 1923 satisfied no one 88. The Indians did not get a common roll; the highlands remained white; and Indian leaders feared a bill
would be passed to restrict Indian immigration. Still, Coryndon drafted a franchise bill for Indians that was more liberal than any prevailing in India. The whites had to accept five Indian seats on the legislative council and had to give up their voting monopoly and residential segregation in the towns. Furthermore, Europeans were told that they could not expect responsible government for a loilt time. This was an especially harsh blow to settler hopes: Southern Rhodesia had received responsible government in 1923 and Kenya whites expected no less. The Indians responded by a program of noncooperation. This failed, however, and Indians finally took their place on the council in 1924. A new constitution was issued but the Indian problem continued to disturb Kenya.
Ironically, the presence of Indians in Kenya thwarted white ambitions and preserved Kenya as an African colony at a time when Africans had no direct voice or say in political decisions. Although the whites appeared to have won in their struggle with the Indians, they failed in their effort to dominate the 2.5 million Africans. Coryndon had gotten the settlers to accept a missionary, Dr. J.W. Arthur, on the delegation to London to represent African interests, and other missionary pressure groups bombarded the colonial office concerning the need to protect African interests. As a result, the 1923 white paper rediscovered the African, and henceforth London would seek to administer Kenya on behalf of Africans.
In their struggle against the Indians, the Europeans had also stressed African interests and rights and the need to develop African areas and to protect them against Indian competition. Coryndon was especially vocal along these lines for this position fit with his basic philosophy. When the colonial office declared, “Primarily Kenya is an African territory … the interests of the African nation must be paramount,” the Europeans lost the struggle for paramountcy, but Coryndon obtained a freer hand to do more for Africans.
After World War I, a sense of imperial trusteeship developed among the British
and French. Colonial governance came to be seen as primarily for the benefit of the indigenous peoples. There were elements of fair play and guardianship in the term. Even local settler politicians in Kenya spoke of “native trusteeship.” Previous governors such as Sir Charles Eliot and Sir Percy Girouard had talked only vaguely of protecting and developing Africans. The notions of protection and development blended with the so-called dual mandate developed by Lord Lugard, wbose ideas were similar to Coryndon’s own views of trusteeship while he was governor of Uganda. Since he was widely read and corresponded frequently with his fellow governors, he undoubtedly knew of Lugard’s book, published in 1922, and used it to launch his own variation of the dual mandate—the “dual policy.”
Coryndon governed a settler dominated colony; hence, he could not act as Lugard had acted. He had to overcome some settler resistance to African progress.
First he won settler agreement to improve African conditions so as to make the colony less dependent on Indian artisans and traders. Then he called for the development of African reserves to make the colony wealthier. Coryndon’s dual policy thus rested on the “complementary development of native and non-native production.”
The transformation of Kenya from a settler colony thus came about during the Indian controversy. The white paper of 1923 announced the paramountcy of Africans and the need to protect and develop the “native races.” This policy was a logical outgrowth of World War I idealism, the principle of self-determination, and the mandate system.
Heretofore, settlers had actively discouraged African economic advances. By orders in executive council in 1920, for example, administrative officers were discouraged from promoting the well-being of Africans in the reserves: “They were told that the proper place for the native to practice [sic] agriculture was on the i arm as an employee of the settler.” 89
Before Coryndon’s arrival, little had been spent on health or education projects or on programs to stimulate African production. One outstanding exception to this was the work of the administrator John Ainsworth, who considerably helped to improve African agriculture in the reserves. Ainsworth transformed Nyanza province into a leading producer of corn, sim-sim, and hides. The chief native commissioner of Kenya under Coryndon felt that Africans had not been fairly treated in the colony: they had been exploited; their economic development was repressed; they were overtaxed and they did not receive a fair proportion of the colony’s expenditure on medical, educational, or other services 90
Once the Indian controversy seemed resolved, the white settlers became more willing to provide services to Africans. They felt that trained Africans would replace the Indians. Coryndon used this notion to promote African education, to develop their lands, and to improve their health. He announced his dual policy in 1924, but he had been acting on its principles from the beginning of his governorship, although without adequate funds. His economic and financial committee report (1922) called for the government to encourage the Africans to expand the production of export crops. just as he had done in Uganda, Coryndon spoke of Kenya’s Africans as the colony’s greatest asset. More care must be given to the African’s welfare, health, and productivity for he believed that a prosperous African population would benefit the whole colony. He called also for an education program suited to the needs of Africans 91
Coryndon had a wider interest in the African population than to use them against Indians or to stimulate their economy. His dual policy therefore evolved into a program to promote their economic development and their welfare at the same time that the Europeans were developing in their areas. Coryndon followed the pattern he had developed in Uganda: improve the infrastructure, then health and education facilities, while encouraging production for the market. Funds and motivation had previously been lacking, but after 1922 both motive and money became available. Railway expansion was pushed; roads were built into the reserves. Seeds were given out, a dairy school was opened for the Masai, and some Africans were trained as agricultural demonstrators in laboratories outside Nairobi. African suspicion and conservatism had to be overcome in many areas to get them to use ploughs instead of hoes, properly to treat their hides, to cull inferior animals from their herds, and to grow more food.
The key to improvement, the governor saw, was to give more power and resources to local authorities. In 1924 the legislative council passed a bill to establish a native council in every reserve. The native councils, which had limited powers of taxation and self-government, were long overdue in Kenya. For years, the rest of British Africa had followed a policy of indirect rule through indigenous institutions. In Kenya, insofar as the government ruled Africans, it ruled them directlyCoryndon’s scheme was a compromise between direct and indirect rule for &e made the district officer the chairman of the native council.
Native councils were seen as a link between the people and the government.
They were to be the training ground for leaders and the key to developing the reserves. With direction from the district officer and funds from taxes, the counal could improve sanitation and build clinics, roads, bridges, and schools. Goveni,ment departments, especially the agricultural department, gave advice and instruction. Thus was begun a program of separate but parallel development. There were some initial objections from settlers who feared losing their black laborers, but Coryndon and his successor, Grigg, nevertheless pushed ahead.
In the dual policy program, Coryndon was helped by settler leaders such as Delamere, who had a pet scheme to set up a training college for African artisans in order to replace Indians. Delamere had no trouble in getting the governor to support his idea, and in 1924 an African industrial training center was built at Kabete.
In general, Kenya’s educational system was far behind Uganda’s. Since Indians and Goans were readily available for relatively low wages to work for the government or to provide skilled labor, the government had lacked incentive for educating Africans. Coryndon could do very little to rectify this situation in the short time remaining to him, but he did encourage government departments to train Africans and he gave increased subsidies to mission schools. He supported the Phelps-Stokes report, which called for more and better education for Africans, especially in teacher training and in industrial and agricultural skills.
Few Africans had been educated in the English language; hence, few were employed by the government as clerks, interpreters, or officials. In 1923 the governor issued a native civil services report that called for changes in government employment practices “to get rid of the expensive luxury it cannot afford of an alien clerical service both European and Asiatic.” 92 Coryndon (as he had in Uganda) brought Africans into governmental service in Kenya for the first time.
Coryndon’s plans are revealed in his 1924 and 1925 budgets. These provided for special African programs, above and beyond general funds for administrative, medical, and agricultural services. Though Coryndon could not do what he did in Uganda—that is, create the educational and medical systems of the colony—he specific improvements. He called for the printing department to add African apprentices; he equally encouraged Africans to become clerk-typists by providing night classes in Nairobi. Already the government was giving funds to the missions to train African attendants and orderlies, and a sum of £1,000 had been provided to missions for medical work.
The education department was expanded. Coryndon felt that he had failed to very much before because of the opposition of the settlers and of his director of education. Coryndon wanted to speed up the industrial training of Africans. At Kabete, he was building a teacher training school for village schoolteachers, modeled on the famous Jeannes schools, to provide instruction in reading, writing, and arithmetic, along with Swahili, hygiene, and gardening. The subsidies to mission schools were greatly increased—to over £15,000. A training institute for carpentry and masonry was allotted 134,000 shillings; and women’s education, £5,000.
Agriculture was not neglected. Forty more African field instructors were to be trained; the free seed program was continued; more experimental stations were established. New equipment was to be purchased for the veterinary department, and Africans were to be trained as inoculators.
To reassure the Africans, Coryndon promised to demarcate the reserves; the Carter commission was appointed to do this. (For the third time, Coryndon was involved in momentous land settlement commissions.) To help make the reserves more productive, Coryndon also tried to increase the number of traders and shops so that Africans would be induced to grow crops for sale. He felt the existing system penalized Africans and favored Indian traders. Kenya needed more feeder roads and trading centers so Africans could bring their goods to market. Coryndon wanted to establish corn production centers in the reserves to distribute seeds and to teach Africans improved methods of farming. These centers would also teach improved methods of dressing hides and would have clinics attached to them 93. Unfortunately, few of these projects were adequately promoted after Coryndon’s death.
Robert Coryndon made small beginnings and opened new perspectives for Kenya but not much more. After his death the well-being of the Africans was not promoted because the settlers’ needs for labor transcended the government’s interest in developing African peasant agriculture.
Coryndon and the East African Federation
Coryndon was a man who wanted to get things done; he was a builder and a developer. The tragedy of his Kenya governorship was that he had too little time and support to carry out his ideas. He died in 1925, having wrestled with the Indian problem and having struggled with settler resistance to African development. He was, however, a prime mover in the drive for a closer union of the three East African colonies.
Churchill accepted the idea of closer union in 1921, and a commission reported on this proposal in May of that year. Coryndon had been lobbying for various forms of cooperation when he was governor of Uganda. At that time he had opposed political union; he and his staff feared domination by Kenya. Kenya and Tanganyika whites favored union but Governors Byatt and Cameron of Tanganyika opposed this plan. Cameron, who succeeded Byatt in 1925, also feared settler domination of the union.
Although he was a keen supporter of federation, Coryndon was convinced that an economic association should precede political union. During his governorships in Uganda and Kenya he called joint conferences on questions of customs, veterinary and shipping matters, and railway management. It was Coryndon who was the prime force urging a strengthening of the economic links among the three territories. By 1924 Kenya and Uganda had joint customs, telegraph, and railways systems. Coryndon and many Europeans felt that a complete customs union was the first step in an economic union. He wanted to unify railways, harbors, and the transport of the three territories under the existing intercolonial board, with himself as minister of transport. He felt that a unified postal, military, and police service would follow.
In September 1923, Coryndon wrote to the colonial office proposing that when Sir Horace Byatt retired from Tanganyika, a lieutenant governor should succeed him. Coryndon clearly saw himself as high commissioner of East Africa; he even studied the South African high commissioner system. In a letter to Sir Sidney Henn in 1924, he asked him to get the new Labour party’s colonial secretary, J. H. Thomas, to defer appointing a governor to Tanganyika until the East African commission reported and to let Coryndon govern through a lieutenant governor. Thomas appeared to agree to wait, but then announced Cameron’s appointment. (Thomas was a very close friend of Sir Hugh Clifford’s, who had pushed for his chief secretary, Donald Cameron, to be made governor of Tanganyika.) Cameron’s opposition helped block unification efforts. He simply did not understand the economics of cooperation and argued, on moral grounds, that Tanganyika enjoyed a special position as a League of Nations mandate.
At first, the drive for closer union came essentially from Coryndon and the colonial office; then the settlers under Lord Delamere came to support it. It made economic sense. They were aided by other groups. The imperial economic conference of 1923 studied the possibilities of cooperation in developing the resources of the empire and of strengthening economic relations among the constituent parts. Earlier, a joint East African Board had been organized to encourage trade and investment in East Africa and to promote an East African federation. The chairman, a member of parliament, was Sidney Henn. He knew little about East Africa, but he worked closely with Coryndon, and it was through Henn that Coryndon placed his ideas before a wider audience 94. Henn and the joint East African board put pressure on the colonial office and submitted recommendations to the secretary of state for the colonies. These reports embodied many of the ideas Coryndon had been pushing for and can stand as a summary of his views on closer union or federation.
The report called for fuller development of the indigenous African population, especially by improving medical services, sanitation and hygiene, and educational services. The board called for grouping of colonies under a high commissioner or governor-general in order to reduce government expenses by abolishing duplicate government departments and administrations. The railway system of East Africa should be under a central manager who would be responsible also for harbor facilities. An advisory board would assist the high commissioner and a full customs nion was requested in order to reduce internal trade barriers. A customs union and the unification of tariffs would facilitate reciprocity and mutual preference among the East Africa group, the United Kingdom, and the rest of the empire. The final suggestion was that research be coordinated 95
In 1924 the joint East African board held a conference on East African federation. and Henn got a parliamentary commission appointed to study this matter. The Southborough commission advised in 1925 (Cmd. 2387) against political union but called for more economic cooperation and planning. A meeting of governors was suggested to plan further joint action. The major obstacles to closer union were the different financial positions of the territories and their different political outlooks. The economic depression of the 1930s ended these efforts, and political federation was to fail. But Coryndon’s dream of practical cooperation in common services was to be achieved in time. The East African common services body stood for many years as a memorial to his vision and planning.
Coryndon, earlier than anyone else, saw the possibility of a common market for East Africa. He foresaw a free trade area, with a common external tariff, a common currency, linked to the British pound through an East African currency board. He had early on outlined the kinds of common services the area needed: ports, railways, statistics collection, telecommunications, customs, excise duties, and income tax. He had to win Delamere over to the side of federation, but Delamere then became a major force in pushing for closer union. Both men agreed that Nairobi should be the federal capital and that an imposing residence should be built. Delamere carried the battle for funds successfully through the legislative council and eventually two fine buildings were erected in Nairobi and Mombasa at a cost of £80,000. The governors conferences of 1926 and 1927 discussed matters of cooperation. A permanent secretariat was established in Nairobi.
Coryndon was dead by then, and his successor, Sir Edward Grigg, who be
believed he had a mandate from the colonial office to establish a political federation, pushed for that goal but to no avail. Had Grigg stressed economic cooperation rather than political federation, the East African common services might have been established in the 1930s instead of the 1950s. It was not until 1948, when control was given to an East African high commissioner, that Coryndon’s plans began to be acted on. The common services superstructure was one of the most constructive achievements of British colonial rule, and Coryndon had been its originator.
Among the new organizations established after 1948 that had been foreseen by Coryndon were: The East African Customs and Excise Department, the East Afri-an Railways and Harbours Administration, the East African Agriculture and Forestry Research Organization, and the East African Statistical Department. In 1967 a Treaty for East African Cooperation established the East African Community, and it too embodied many of Coryndon’s dreams: the East African Common Market, the East African Harbour Corporation, the East African Posts and Telecommunications Corporation, and the East African Railway Corporation.
Coryndon also had visions of a Lake Victoria authority. In November 1924 he took a journey around Lake Victoria and wrote a brilliant report to the colonial office about what should be done to develop the area 96. He surveyed the lake districts for their economic potential and suggested ways they could be improved: more roads, encouragement from local officials, advice from government experts.
The area, he believed, was potentially very rich-it could grow more corn and cotton could be introduced to the Bukoba district. The lake area needed bettetransportation facilities, roads, railways, and ports. Coryndon suggested building a new line from Namirembi bay to the falls of the Kagora river to link up with the densely populated area of RuandaBurundi. He also called for government markets every twenty-five miles, with African market masters in charge. In each market there should be a clinic to treat venereal diseases and minor illnesses. Agricultural demonstration centers should also be established to show the people how to improve their crops, dry hides, and make ghee. An agricultural school would further stimulate production around the lake.
Coryndon concluded from his trip that the trade and traffic of the lake region were as yet an untapped resource. District officers should stimulate production, and a survey should determine where to build feeder roads to ports. The area would need more tugs, lighters, and ports in the lake—at least twenty-five additional landing places were needed.
There was a major need to coordinate the activities of Lake Victoria under one agency. At present, Coryndon wrote, the lake was dealt with inadequately by three governments. No one planned research on sleeping sickness and the tsetse fly in the area or cooperated in plague control. Although navigation on the lake came under the Uganda railway administration, this body had to deal with three governments on matters relating to crafts, piers, labor for unloading crafts, etc. There was no central authority to collect and register statistics on the ecology of the lake and its environs. Such a central authority could also study the agricultural potential of the basin, distribute seeds, and investigate pests and diseases. Fishing was another neglected industry. Africans had to go farther and farther into the lake to find fish. The government clearly had to know more about lake fish in order to keep up the yield and should develop the market for fresh and dried fish.
The solution was evident to Coryndon: a federation of the three governments to coordinate and plan the best use of the natural and human resources of the Lake Victoria basin. Nothing was ever done about this grand vision. As with his ideas on economic cooperation throughout East Africa, Coryndon’s scheme for Lake Victoria would be proven right.
Coryndon as Developer
When Coryndon took over Kenya, the colony had suffered considerably from the postwar depression, and the government had been forced to make some retrenchments. Under Coryndon’s guidance, however, the colony made a rapid recovery. More settlers arrived after 1922; more farmland was opened up; capital poured in; and exports increased, Port and railway traffic doubled. Felling, a South African, had been brought in by Coryndon to run the railway and had succeeded brilliantly. The railway showed a large profit, In 1924 Kenya and Uganda got a £3.5 million interest-free loan to build the Uasin-Gishu line into Uganda. Coryndon had put great pressure on the colonial office to get the loan approved. The joint East African board, under Henn, had carried the battle to Parliament, and the approval of the House was won largely because of concern over the empire’s supply of cotton. By 1925 Coryndon had five rail lines under construction in Kenya and two in Uganda. His work on railways in Uganda and Kenya alone would rank him as one of the greatest building governors in African history.
By 1924, then, Coryndon was pushing strongly for the colony’s economic development. He planned to expand Mombasa and to make that city a great port. e talked Governor Byatt of Tanganyika into letting Kenya buy the Voi-Kahe line ther than close it. This meant that Mombasa, not Tanga, became a major port East Africa because it was favored by Europeans from northern Tanganyika. Coryndon ordered refrigeration facilities to be built on the coast and tried to expand the meat export industry. African corn and cotton production was encouraged. Revenue became short again in 1925, and Coryndon had to put off some of his plans: loans for schools for all races, housing for African government employees, town planning, a water supply system for Mombasa, and corn-buying instaliations. Still, in three years he ended the colony’s deficit and had a surplus of £149,723. Revenue exceeded expenditure during most of Coryndon’s governorship and almost doubled between 1922 and 1925. He increased exports by 181 percent; the biggest gains were in corn, raw cotton, coffee, hides, skins, and sisal. Corn and cotton increases were partly the result of Coryndon’s development work. He also helped to bring in other export oriented industries using local materials, such as the Magadi-Soda Company (1924) and tea factories (1925).
In summary, one can conclude that Kenya colony under Coryndon progressed Steadily in spite of world depression in 1921-1922. He helped make Kenya a prosperous colony and, by his railway and port building and agricultural development work, laid the groundwork for Kenya’s increased prosperity in the years to come. In both Uganda and Kenya Coryndon proved himself a great developer and fundraiser. He secured more loan funds than almost any other governor in African history up to 1925; by 1924 he had obtained loans of about k5 million, and in 1925 he began negotiations on a P-5 million loan for Kenya. He put the colony’s finances on a sound basis, while greatly expanding its trade. The position in 1925, at his death, was substantially better than it was when he took over in 1922. As the acting colonial treasurer, H. L. Bayles, noted in a review of the colony’s position in 1926, “A genuine advance had taken place.”
Coryndon’s record as a builder ranks as high as, if not higher than, that of Governor Guggisberg of the Gold Coast (1919-1927). When Guggisberg first took office, he drew up 4 ten-year plan to lay the foundation of development in every direction. His achievements were great: constructing the harbor of Takoradi, founding Achimota college, and africanizing the government. But in many respects Coryndon achieved even more during his eight years in Uganda and Kenya. Both men had a great capacity for work, both were orderly and systematic in their approach to problems, and both had great drive and determination. Coryndon had greater vision: his dreams of an East African federation and of a Lake Victoria authority transcended the boundaries and problems of one colony.
The Duke and Duchess of York paid a visit to East Africa over Christmas 1924. Coryndon had been ill and was advised by his doctor to rest; but he continued with his duties during the royal visit. In January the duke left for Uganda, and Lady Coryndon left for England. Coryndon was to join her and their four children, but on February 9, 1925, he collapsed; he died after an emergency operation. Edward Denham acted as governor until Sir Edward Grigg arrived late in 1925.
Coryndon’s funeral was a major ceremony. Letters and cables poured in from the Arab, African, and European communities and from other colonies in which he had served. The Duke of York returned to attend the funeral, and King George and Queen Mary sent their condolences: “The Queen and I are grieved to hear of the sudden and irreparable loss which has befallen you, a loss also to the colony of Kenya and to the Empire.” 97
Coryndon was called a brilliant statesman who won the real affection of Kenyans for his fairness, impartiality, and sense of duty. In the House of Commons. Lord Buxton eulogized Coryndon and said the colonial office had lost one of its best men, who had done admirable service in Kenya and elsewhere. Sir Sidney Henn wrote to Lady Coryndon, paying tribute to her husband: “He was an ideal governor, and had he lived, I feel sure he would have become the first governor general of East Africa, a post which I know he aspired to fill.” 98
The legislative council of Kenya voted Lady Coryndon and her four children a compassionate allowance. Coryndon had not served the mandatory ten years as governor to get death benefits at that rank. Delamere hinted that financial assistance was desperately needed, and the legislative council provided £500 per annum for Lady Coryndon, £200 for each of her sons, and £100 for her daughter. Kenya colony and the Rhodes trust saw to the education of Coryndon’s sons.
Coryndon had dreamed of a natural history museum and a central museum and library for Nairobi. An appeal was made after his death to build such a museum in his memory, and the Coryndon Memorial was opened in Nairobi in September 1930 by Governor Grigg.
Coryndon had been a great governor, one of the greatest in African history. Kipling was among those who appreciated his historical stature; some believe that the governor served as one of Kipling’s models for the poem “The Pro-consuls.” In many ways, Coryndon was the ideal imperialist of imperialist dreams-hunter. athlete, man of action, diplomatist, pioneer administrator, advocate of native trusteeship, and economic developer. The best tribute to his career may be found, perhaps, in the now curiously dated language of the East African Standard, whose columns had so often criticized him in the past:
He was one of a line of Empire builders—a great connecting link between this country and her African neighbours—friend and companion of Rhodes, Smuts, Selous, and others who have made African history; he was one of a great band whose names will live forever in the annals of Africa. The gift of vision was his—he visualized a great confederation of the East African States with common objects and aspirations in which Kenya would not lose its individuality but rather would extend its influence. The Empire was to him a very live power carrying him incessantly onward in its progress on the path of the development of African by British influence 99
It is a fitting epitaph.
. This essay is based largely on the papers of Sir Robert Thorne Coryndon, Mss. Afr. S.633, Rhodes House Library, oxford University (fifteen boxes), and the Colonial Office (hereinafter cited C.O.) series in the Public Record Office, London (hereinafter cited P.R.O.). For short sketches of Coryndon see the article by Frank Worthington, his brother-in-law, in the Dictionary of National Biography and the preface to the calendar of the Coryndon Papers prepared at Rhodes House Library. Box 10 of the Coryndon Papers contains reminiscences of people who knew and worked with Coryndon and forms the basis for much of what is written here. I wish to thank Christopher P. Youe of Dalhousie University for reading this chapter. Mr. Youe is writing a full-scale biography of Coryndon.
. See Coryndon Papers, box 10, file 1, ff. 37-55, for Hole’s reminiscences of Coryndon.
. For details on this period see L. H. Gann, A History of Southern Rhodesia: Early Days to 1934 (London, 1965).
. Rhodes had a series of secretaries: Henry Currey, Gordon Le Sueur, Robert Coryndon, Philip Jourdan, and Jack Grimmer (who later served as Coryndon’s private secretary). Rhodes was a difficult, demanding employer but a generous one.
5. L. H. Gann, A History of Northern Rhodesia: Early Days to 1953 (London, 1964), p. 79; see also Marshall Hole, The Making of Rhodesia (London, 1926), pp. 399-401.
. C. W. Macintosh, “The Life of Lewanika, Paramount Chief of the Barotse and Allied Tribes” (manuscript in Royal Commonwealth Society Library, Coillard Collection). Macintosh published a biography of Lewanika in 1944. See also Gervas Clay, “Lewanika and Coryndon,” in Your Friend Lewanika: The Life and Times of Lubosi Lewanika Letunga of Barotseland, 1842 to 1916 (London, 1968), Chap. 9; also Gerald Caplan, The Elites of Barotseland, 1878-1969 (Berkeley, 1970).
. Coryndon pressed the colonial office for a better boundary, but the colonial office refused.
. For details see Colin Harding, Far Bugles (London, 1933).
. Coryndon to High commissioner Selborne, 22 November 1905, P.R.O., C.O. 417/541.
10. Coryndon Papers, box 10, f. 31.
11. See ibid., f. 44.
12. Telegram, 9 January 1907, P.R.O., C.O. 417/440.
13. Perhaps seeing how Colin Harding was treated after years of Chartered Company service, Coryndon decided to seek the better conditions and greater security of the colonial service.
14. Coryndon Papers, box 10, file 1, ff. 30, 52.
15. Ibid., box 12, file 2, f. 8.
16. Ibid., ff. 52-53.
17. Ibid., ff. 54-55.
18. The Swazi spoke of his granting monopolies and concessions as “the documents that have killed us. We hold the feather and sign; we take money but we do not know what it is for.” This is quoted in Margery Perham and Lionel Curtis, The Protectorates of South Africa: The Question of Their Transfer to the Union (London, 1935), p. 6.
19. See Godfrey Lagden Papers, Mss. Afr. S. 211, 2/4/ff. 45-60, Rhodes House Library, Oxford.
20. On the Swazis see Hilda Kuper, The Swazi: A South African Kingdom (New York, 1963). Coryndon’s salary in Swaziland increased from 1800 to k 1,200 plus E380 in allowances.
21. See Some Account of George Grey and His Work in Africa (London [private printing], 1914), p. 8. While shooting lions from his horse, Grey was severely mauled; he died in 1911 in Nairobi, Kenya.
22. Coryndon was much impressed by Grey’s work in marking out the reserves, and he was to use the same methods and rationale to demarcate the native reserve system in Southern Rhodesia in 1914-1916.
23. After the meeting with the Europeans, Coryndon was host that night at a dinner party for Lord Selborne. He feared for his future career when Selborne, making his way in the dark from the guest house to the residency for dinner, missed the path and fell down a steep bank into the tennis court.
24. C.O. 417/470/330.
25. The South African Act of Union (1910) called for the transfer at some future date of the A commission territories to the Union of South Africa.
26. Dispatch 752, C.O. 417/441.
27. Confidential dispatch 16, March 1908, C.O. 417/457.
28. See Colonial Reports: Annual No. 559, Swaziland Report for 1906-07 (Cd. 3729), p. 15.
29. Dispatch 765, C.O. 417/441.
30. See account on origin of South African Native Congress, Abantu-Batho, (Maseru) 20 January in Rhodes House Library, Oxford.
31. See Coryndon Papers, box 10, file 1, ff. 27-29. The queen, by saying that she “swore by” Coryndon, meant that he had won her confidence and trust as well as that of the Swazi people.
32. Ibid. In 1909 Coryndon had married Phyllis Mary Worthington, the sister of his friend and private secretary in Barotseland, Frank Worthington. They were to have three sons and a daughter.
33. Coryndon Papers, box 10, file 1. Coryndon was made a CMG in 1911 to honor his work as resident in Swaziland, an unusual award for a nongovernor. He was to make KCMG (1919) when he was governor of Uganda and to be awarded the commander of the Order of the Crown by Albert of Belgium.
34. Dispatch 784, C.O. 417/48T
35. Dispatch 455, C.O. 417/502. The colonial office admitted that he had managed the Swazi National Fund well.
36. Coryndon Papers, box 10, file 1, ff. 57-66: reminiscences of Arthur Holland, secretary to commission.
37. See Parliamentary Papers, Cd. 8674 (1917-1918), and Cmd. 1042 (1920).
38. Rhodesia, Archives, Salisbury ZAD s/2/2.
39. Africans in Rhodesia were given 51.55 acres per head of population, a higher figure by far than in South African or in the high commission territories, where the average was around 12 actes per person.
40. For example, two schools—Domboshawa and Tjolotjo—were started to teach agricultural industrial skills.
41. C.O. 417/580,
42. For a different view of Coryndon in Uganda see History of East Africa, ed. Vincent Harlow and F. M. Chilvers; (Oxford, 1965), vol. 2, esp. chap. 8.
43. C.O. 536/90/476.
44. C.O. 536/94/5 May 1919.
45. Uganda Herald, 26 September 1919.
46. Confidential dispatch, 6 September 1919, C.O. 536195.
47. See Margaret Macpherson, They Built for the Future: A Chronicle of Makerere University College 1922-1962 (Cambridge, 1964), p. 2. Coryndon and Guggisberg (in the Gold Coast) rank founders of two of the most important colleges for blacks in Africa.
48. C.O. 536/120/22 September 1922.
49. Confidential dispatch, C.O. 536/120. See also H. B. Thomas and Robert Scott, Uganda (Oxford. 1935), for some details on what was accomplished during Coryndon’s governorship (but without explicit recognition of his contributions).
50. See History of East Africa, 2:424-429, 479, 481-482, 527-529, for these charges.
51. See Haarer Papers, Mss. Afr. S. 1144, Rhodes House Library, Oxford.
52. Coryndon was a good speaker and was always welcomed at the Royal Colonial Institute when on leave in London. The Royal Colonial Society reported he gave a most stimulating talk in March 1920.
53. See Uganda Herald, 16 July 1920, pp. 1-2.
54. Dispatch 16, C.O. 536/110., Coryndon designed all the furniture for the councils. The colonial office thought his designs were too expensive, but Churchill supported him and he even got his presidential chair and a Cuban mahogany table.
55. See this charge in History of East Africa, 2:527-529.
56. C.O. 536/911236.
58. Coryndon Papers, box 1, file 2, ff. 61-63, typescript of speech made by Coryndon in reply to a toast by Lord Cranworth early in 1921.
59. See, for example, History of East Africa, 2:424, 527.
60. Telegram 5, 30 January 1921, C.O. 536/109.
61. Telegram, 22 March 1921, C.O. 536/109.
62. Telegram, 5 March 1921, C. 0 – 536/109.
63. See History of East Africa, 2:479.
64. Dispatch 524, C.O. 536/120.
65. Dispatches 14 and 45, C. 0. 536/ 99.
66. Dispatch 520, C.O. 536/104.
67. Dispatch 524, C.O. 536/120.
68. Coryndon Papers, box 1, file 1/2, ff. 34-41.
69. Dispatch 411, C.O. 536/102.
70. Dispatch 314, 13 August 1919, C.O. 536/95.
71. Dispatch 307, C.O. 536/ 119.
72. Compulsory paid labor was allowed for emergencies and for clearly defined needs for public works but had to be approved by the secretary of state. Oldham and the missionaries were upset by the labor circulars of 1919 that Governor Northey had issued.
73. C.O. 536/91/private.
74. It was characteristic of Coryndon to draw on his South African experience in seeking personnel and solutions for the problems he faced in East Africa. He brought railway, agricultural, and veterinary experts from South Africa.
75. Dispatch 605, C.O. 536/104.
76. See Coryndon Papers, box 1, file 2, ff. 61-63.
77. Telegram, 10 April 1921, C.O. 536/110.
78. See Coryndon Papers, box 12, file 2, f. 106A. Milner, in a letter to Coryndon, said that it had always been his desire to create a high commissioner so as to treat the territories as a unit.
79. Ibid., box 10, file 1, ff. 72-75.
80. Before Coryndon left for Nairobi, he finished some important work:, the regulations for an African civil service, which improved salaries and working conditions for the Africans. He wanted the regulations published by January 1, 1923, to coincide with the publication of the “Prospectus and Syllabus” of the new technical school, Makerere College. Dispatch 484, C.O. 536/120.
81. See George Bennett, “Settlers and Politics in Kenya,” in History of East Africa, vol. 2, chap. 6. For Coryndon’s governorship of Kenya see also Elspeth Huxley, White Man’s Country: Lord Delamere and the Making of Kenya (London, 1935), vol. 2.
82. On the Indian question see Robert G. Gregory, India and East Africa: A History of Race Relations within the British Empire, 1890-1939 (Oxford, 1971), chaps. 5-7. There were 10,000 whites and 23,000 Indians in Kenya in 1922.
83. Wheatley Papers, letter of 8 September 1922, Rhodes House Library, Oxford.
84. Coryndon Papers, box 3, file 3, ff. 34-39.
85. Wheatley Papers, letter of 22 August 1922, Rhodes House Library, Oxford.
86. Ibid., letter of 28 February 1923, Rhodes House Library, Oxford.
87. Nestor Papers, Mss. Afr. S. 1086, Rhodes House Library, Oxford.
88. Indians in Kenya, Cmd. 1922.
89. Coryndon Papers, box 4, f. 13, Morel correspondence.
90. Ibid. For 1922, Africans paid £725,314 in taxes; Indians, £143,000; and Europeans, £85,000.
91. East African Standard, 15 September 1923, p. 14.
92. Kenya. Legislative Council, Proceedings, November 1923, p. 66
93. Coryndon Papers, box 5, file 2, 1924 discussions.
94. See Henn Papers, Mss. Afr. S. 175, 1/6/5-6, Rhodes House Library. Oxford.
95. Coryndon Papers, box 9, file 2, ff. 3-7.
96. See ibid., box 5, file 4, ff. 2-11.
97. Ibid., box 13, file 1, f. 4.
98. Henn Papers, box 1, file 6, f. 72.
99. East African Standard, 18 February 1925, p. 5