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miles for private sheep farms which were being arranged with Mr. Chamberlain and Mr. Flemmer, two gentlemen from South Africa. These are the names which figure principally in the discussion, but the decision of the Secretary of State affected at least five or six other farms for which leases were being drawn up, and perhaps many more, the boundaries within which European settlement was forbidden being somewhat vague. Lord Lansdowne made no pretence of consulting me or inviting my opinions and arguments. He suddenly intervened in a matter which, according to custom, would be left in the hands of the local authorities, and telegraphed first to inquire what leases were being given to Messrs. Chamberlain and Flemmer, and then to say that he could not sanction the grant of the farms because he was advised by persons in London that they were in the centre of the grazing lands essential to the Masai, a most inaccurate expression, for if the farms are in those grazing grounds at all it is quite certain that they are at their extreme western edge and on the limits of the country frequented by the tribe.
When I demurred to this order he telegraphed again that it was absolutely necessary that I should inform Mr. Chamberlain and Mr. Flemmer that they could not have their land and that I must make this intimation at once. At first I thought that there was some grave objection to these particular grants of which I was unaware, but it was afterwards plainly stated that the only objection was that already given-namely, that they interfere with native rights. Now, it might be logical and just, though I do not think it would be correct or politic, to maintain that no Europeans should be allowed to settle in a certain area along the railway because it was reserved for natives, but Lord Lansdowne had just directed me to give the East Africa Syndicate a grant of 500 square miles in the same district, and really in the centre of the grazing grounds used by the Masai.
It may be possible for some one sitting in an office in London out of touch with East Africa, and dealing only with papers, to make these arbitrary rulings and leave it to others to fight the matter out, but it was not possible for an official in Africa, in touch with the parties concerned and with the plain facts before everybody's eyes, to defend or enforce those rulings with any appearance of consistency. The leases were in process of negotiation; the lessees had made arrangements for winding up their affairs elsewhere and settling in East Africa : they had probably a legal claim-certainly an overwhelmingly strong moral claim-to the execution of the contract, and the only reason for not executing it immediately was that it was unexpectedly alleged to conflict with native rights. If I used that argument I could be met with two rejoinders, both absolutely conclusive. Firstly, I had myself given the transaction my general approval, and the local officers within whose competence the matter was had stated that the leases, subject to certain conditions duly embodied in them, did not interfere with the rights of any natives. By reversing this decision we should have broken our word and have inspired distrust not only in Mr. Chamberlain and Mr. Flemmer, but in all applicants for land. The second rejoinder is that the whole argument about native rights collapses if the concession to the East Africa Syndicate is granted; for how can it be maintained that the syndicate may acquire a freehold of 500 square miles without interfering with native rights, but that if any one else holds even less than a tenth of that amount it is an injustice to natives which will lead to trouble ?
Such a contention, say Europeans in East Africa, can only be made by those who are prejudiced in favour of the syndicate and against other applicants : the invocation of native rights is a mere disguise for other motives. To this rejoinder I had no reply. Therefore, as I could not defend the position I was ordered to take up, and was given no opportunity of entering into argument or explanation with Lord Lansdowne, I tendered my resignation, and I do not see what other course was possible for any one who wished to avoid accusations of breaking faith and showing favouritism. If Lord Lansdowne's decision is maintained I think it can only give rise to a lawsuit in which the Government will get the worst, but there are signs that it probably will not be maintained.
But though my resignation was largely caused by the particular cases of Mr. Chamberlain and Mr. Flemmer there is nothing personal or particular in the real issue at stake-namely, that the East Africa Protectorate is suited to be a European colony, and that we should endeavour to make it one. I can imagine no more important question
and none on which it is more essential that there should be complete agreement between the Commissioner in Africa and his superiors in England. Theoretically Lord Lansdowne and myself appear to be at one on this subject, the only difference in our views being that he is in favour of giving a certain syndicate extensive concessions which seem to me unprofitable as they stand, because they entail no obligation to develop the country, but are rather of the nature of options which can be taken up if the Protectorate is made to progress by the efforts of other parties or be neglected if prospects are bad. Practically, however, the result of his Lordship’s action was to retard and discourage European settlement. An impression is undoubtedly prevalent in East Africa that except large syndicates no Europeans are wanted, and that it is proposed to administer it as a series of native States rather than as an English colony. On this last point it is desirable to give clear explanations, for the idea of affording natives justice and protection is one which is rightly dear to a large section of the British public, but the notion that there is not room for both Europeans and natives in East Africa is quite wrong. On the contrary, it may be safely asserted that there are few
for a young
countries in the world where European settlement will interfere with native rights so little. It has been conjectured that the area of the Protectorate is 350,000 square miles, and the population about 1,500,000, which gives about four persons to a square mile; but in a territory of which not even the boundaries are fixed all such statistics must be very uncertain, and I would rather state the facts as follows. Large districts, suitable for European colonisation, such as the plateaux of Mau, Gwas Ngisha, and Laikipia, have no native inhabitants whatever. In other large districts, such as most of the Rift Valley, the Settima Range, and the whole of the country between Nairobi and the coast (except the Teita district), one may meet natives now and again as one marches day by day, but one is pretty sure not to meet them every day, and one may go several days without seeing any. The coast is a country for planters rather than settlers, but even there the chief complaint is that the population is not sufficient to supply labour.
There remain only two districts in which the population is fairly dense-namely, the Kavirondo country, on the east of Lake Victoria, and the Kikuyu Range, running up from Nairobi to Mount Kenia. Of these the first, though fertile, is, like the coast, not a white man's country. Kikuyu certainly presents the problem of offering the best agricultural land, but also the largest native population. It is here that care and judgment are required in regulating European settlement, but there is far more land than the natives require, as the most casual inspection will show. They are willing enough to labour, and the best solution is to retain them in villages on European estates, the said villages remaining native property and being excluded from the European's holding. When this is impracticable, reserves should be created, and the natives either left where they happen to be or moved to some place they may select. It may be mentioned that all the Kikuyu people are only half settled, and constantly change the site of their villages.
The question of native property, however, as far as it affects European colonisation, has not arisen out of the problem presented by the Kikuyu, which really does offer difficulties, but out of the case of the Masai, which appears to me a perfectly simple matter, complicated only by perverse ingenuity. The Masai are a tribe of nomadic raiders, and in many ways the most interesting race in East Africa. They appear to be connected with the Dinka, Latuka, Bari, and other Nilotic peoples, and to have come from the north. They were formerly the terror of the whole country, and took tribute from all travellers. The advent of Europeans, however, destroyed their power, and a severe epidemic of small-pox greatly decreased their numbers. Recourse to active operations was not necessary, for they soon adopted a peaceful attitude. This was mainly due to the fact that on account of their habitual raiding all the other natives are their enemies, and
were they to engage in a conflict with the Government every soul in the country would be against them. The chiefs endeavour to keep the young men quiet; but raiding is not extinct, and never will be as long as their present social system is maintained, according to which the warriors reside in separate villages, not marrying, but cohabiting with the immature unmarried girls, and recognising no profession as worthy of a gentleman except war. To me, and I think to most people who have the welfare of the natives at heart, this seems a most abominable system, which we should discourage as far as we safely can. Similar institutions among the people of Taveta are gradually disappearing, thanks to the efforts of the missionaries, and I have little doubt myself that if the Masai are exposed to humanising influences they will settle down in villages like ordinary natives. The Nandi, Lumbwa, and Njamusi, who all nomads formerly, have done so, and about Nairobi the Masai themselves have shown a remarkable tendency to adopt fixed habitations and decent clothing. The idea of the Foreign Office, however, appears to be to make all the best land along the railway in the Rift Valley a native reserve into which no Europeans are to be admitted with the exception of the inevitable East Africa Syndicate. This policy seems to me from every point of view disastrous. Financially it must occasion great loss, for to build a railway at immense expense through a country which is largely jungle, and then to exclude Europeans from holding land or doing business along the most promising part of the line, is a proceeding which can hardly be said to be commercially advantageous, and could only be justified if there were some very strong reason, such as the hostility of the natives, to support it. But the Masai are not hostile to Europeans; they are ready to move if it is required, but I believe that they would be perfectly friendly if Europeans settled among them. Politically the creation of a reserve in the locality proposed is dangerous, for it creates a cause of hostility between Europeans and the Masai which does not, and need not, exist. It cannot be denied that many Europeans, especially South Africans, have strong feelings of animosity against native races, and if those who can utilise the advantages of the railway, and the enhanced value it gives to the surrounding land, are excluded from that land, and it is reserved for natives who do not appreciate those advantages, and would rather see the railway removed, it is clear that a permanent cause of racial jealousy, which is likely to find effective expression, will be established. Further, this native reserve will be surrounded by European estates belonging to the syndicate and others who will construct roads across it in order to secure access to the railway. Does anybody really suppose that a territory placed between a railway, which is continually bringing up European elements, and a series of European estates which require access to that railway will remain a native reserve ? On the contrary it will most certainly pass into the hands of Europeans ; but the transfer, which might be amicable and bloodless, will probably be accompanied by violence, and certainly by a feeling in the minds of the natives that we have failed to keep our promises.
The proper course seems to me extremely simple. It is to ascertain, as I was in the course of doing when I left the Protectorate, what land is really necessary for the tribe and their flocks, neither of which are numerically very large compared to the extent of ground over which they straggle. Europeans should be allowed to take up land which is not required. This settlement should be cautious at first, but much land about Lakes Nakuru and Elmenteita, in the Endabibi Plain and the Kedong Valley, might be colonised at once. The rest should be settled gradually, and with a due regard for possible troubles. Personally I believe that the Masai will raise no objection to the presence of Europeans, but will gladly act as herdsmen and farm servants, for a labour bureau recently opened at Naivasha received numerous applications for employment. But if difficulties occur, if the two races cannot live in harmony, then the Masai should be removed to a reserve, not on the railway or in any place where they will come into collision with Europeans, but at some distance. They have expressed their willingness to do this if it is desired by the Government, and probably the Laikipia plateau would be the best locality.
I myself, however, deprecate the idea of a reserve if it can be avoided, because I think our aim should be not to isolate natives, but to civilise them by contact. To the best of my belief no one with the interests of religion and philanthropy at heart has asked for a reserve, and the only missionary who has paid special attention to the Masai spoke to me strongly against the whole system of reserves and isolation. The idea emanates rather from gentlemen with a taste for sport and wild nature. Lord Hindlip was perfectly correct when, in an article published in this Review some months ago, he said that in certain circles in East Africa there is a strong prejudice against European immigrants. The feeling is not unnatural: the beginnings and even the ripe fruits of introduced civilisation are less picturesque than the barbarism which they replace; but if one wishes to preserve the romance of savage life one should not build a railway and announce that one wishes to make it pay its way.
For the above reasons I maintain that, as far as native rights are concerned, the colonisation of East Africa by Europeans should occasion no difficulties, and that we may promote the movement with a good conscience.
The moment seems opportune to inquire what should be done to assist and encourage this colonisation, since, after April next, the territory will be administered by the Colonial Office, and changes will probably occur.