As the early history of Southern and Northern Rhodesia was greatly dependent on the dreams and/or vision and the efforts of Cecil John Rhodes, a bit of background information is given hereunder. But because there are a number of biographies written about him, these notes mainly pertain to his philosophy and his aims, that is, those which impacted upon the families mentioned.
It is well known that Rhodes' primary interest was not in gold or diamonds, but to win the interior and place its protection and interests under the 'Union Jack'. In fact, the driving purpose, which remained constant throughout his life, was the extension of the Cape Colony into Central Africa and the dream of building a railway across the African continent, from south to north joining Cape Town to Cairo. He hoped to be able to extend it from the Cape northwards until it met up with the railway being laid southwards, through the efforts of Kitchener, who was the guiding influence in extending that end of the link from Cairo.
Rhodes also believed that in order to bring about the extension of the influence of Britain and the promoting of the pax Britanica, it was paramount to build the railway and install the telegraph system first, then encourage settlement by pioneers, followed by the establishment of the civil service and police force.
It was towards these ends that he worked continuously, using an immense amount of the capital gained through his work and enterprise in the diamond fields of Kimberley and which was invested in the Charter Company, which Queen Victoria signed on 29th October 1889; the capital was made up of a million one pound shares and was quickly completely subscribed. He gave it a Trust Deed so that he could use the revenues in the development of the North. However, in 1887 this company was reformed into the Goldfields of South Africa; then afterwards transformed into Consolidated Goldfields of South Africa with a capital of one hundred and twenty five thousand pounds.
One of those who influenced him most was John Ruskin and a rough note paraphrasing Ruskin's thought was found in his papers. It read:
'You have many instincts. Religion, love, money-making, ambition, art and creation, which I think from a human point of view the best, but if you differ from me, think it over and work with all your soul for that instinct you deem the best.' C.J.Rhodes.
Disraeli's administration was in its heyday and a new Imperial creed had begun to touch the imagination of the people of Britain, with no one keener to press forward over this than Rhodes.
He expressed his feelings for religion when he told a gathering of chapel-goers that he didn't care to go to a particular church even on one day in a year, preferring to use for his own chapel a climb up the Mountain, where one gets thoughts, which might be termed religious thoughts, because they are concerned with the betterment of humanity. He believed that to be the best description of religion, to work for the betterment of the human beings who surround us. But he also felt that any scheme founded on philanthropic lines would be of no benefit to the community, unless it was a businesslike scheme, which would pay a dividend and that would then undoubtedly be of assistance to any country.