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   Chapter 20 THE ETHICS OF JOURNALISM

The Adventure of Living : a Subjective Autobiography By John St. Loe Strachey Characters: 32840

Updated: 2017-12-01 00:03


When I became not only sole Proprietor of The Spectator but also Editor-in-Chief, Chief Leader-writer, and Chief Reviewer, it was natural that I should confront myself with the problem of the position and use of the journalist-in a word, that I should ask myself what I was doing. Should I accept and be content with the ordinary outlook of the journalist on his profession, or should I in any particular strike out a new line, or an extension of an old one for myself?

At that time, i.e. in 1898, the air was full of talk as to the functions and duties of the journalist, for journalism was emerging from its period of veiled power and was beginning to fill a much larger space in the public mind. But in my case this was not the whole of the opportunity. By a singular set of circumstances I found myself in the unique position just described. Townsend and Hutton, it is true, were joint Editors and joint Proprietors; but the sense of responsibility of each to the other was a strong check. I, however, as sole Proprietor and sole Editor, could do exactly what I liked. I could decide, without reference to anyone else, the policy to be adopted. Further, as Chief Leader-writer, I was the man who had to carry out the policy adopted. I had, that is, the function of making the decisions immediately operative. This is more important in fact than it is in theory. In theory an Editor's word-subject to the Proprietor's veto-is final. He gives his instructions to the leader-writer, and the leader-writer, presuming that he is not a fool or a headstrong egoist or a man determined to flout his Editor's wishes, obeys them. That is the theory. But there are several mitigating circumstances. In the first place, it is often difficult for an Editor to make his policy quite clear to his staff. Next, the leader-writer, no matter how strong his intention to obey his instructions and to enter into the spirit of his chief, may fail to do so, from want of that complete clarity of mind that comes only with personal conviction. If not his own view, his own understanding of the facts is apt to get in the way and prevent him carrying out his duties exactly as his chief meant him to perform them, and exactly as he himself wishes to perform them.

Again, by a sort of law of reversed effort, the leader-writer may be too anxious to carry out his chief's wishes and so may distort the Editor's view. There is yet another way in which a loss of power may occur. If the Editor had himself been writing, he would have seen as he wrote that this or that particular line of policy that he had adopted was not tenable, and therefore he would have altered that line. The conscientious leader-writer may, however, resist this conversion by circumstantial argument. He may feel:

This seems to me to be all wrong, but I have got to make the best of it. Otherwise I shall be taking the responsibility, which I do not want to take, of altering my Chief's instructions. He said, "Defend the Government's action," so defend it I must.

But the Editor himself may be in a similar position. If he has an active Proprietor who gives regular and specific instructions, he is not really the Editor but only the Proprietor's mouthpiece. In that case, he, too, can, as it were, avoid a great deal of the feeling of personal responsibility. He may say,

I do not like this view. But, after all, it is the matter for the Proprietor, and he may have good reasons for his decision. Anyway, I cannot in a matter of this kind attempt to dictate to him, because if a mistake is made, he will have to stand the racket. After all, I may be wrong as to the policy we should pursue, and if I am, then I shall be doing what I do not want to do, that is, gravely injuring somebody else's property and position. A man may make great sacrifices and run great risks with his own property, but I don't want to be told later that I was the man who insisted on taking his own line against the opinion of his chief with the result that a fatal blow was given to the position of the paper, I don't feel justified in risking another man's property.

The Editor, in fact, is very much in the position of the leader-writer.

These things being so, I realised that the responsibility for whatever was done in The Spectator was going to be my responsibility in a very special degree. I could not plead consideration for anyone else's need if I had to defend The Spectator's position. Therefore, I must be not only specially careful as to what I did from day to day, but I must think out for myself an answer to the journalistic interrogatory "Quo vadis?" What is the journalist's function in the State, and how am I to carry it out? The formula for the discharge of the journalist's functions, which I ultimately came to consider to be true in the abstract and capable of being translated into action, was, curiously enough, the formula of a man whose judgment I profoundly distrusted, whose work as a journalist I disliked, and who as a man was to me exceedingly unsympathetic. It was that of Mr. Stead, the erratic Editor first of the Pall Mall and then of the Review of Reviews. The journalist, he declared, was "the watch-dog of society." Stead, though a man of honest intent and very great ability, was also a man of many failings, many ineptitudes, many prejudices, and many injustices-witness the attitude he adopted in his last years towards Lord Cromer. Further, there was an element of commonness in his mental attitude as in his style. But with all this, he had a very considerable flair, not only in the matter of words, but in ideas. Though the phrase was not used in his time, he was a pastmaster in the art of making "slogans." This, of the watch-dogs in the case of the Press, was one of his best. It exactly fitted the views which I was gradually developing in regard to the journalist's functions. In the course of my twelve years' apprenticeship at The Spectator, The Economist, The Standard, and the other journals for which I wrote, I made it my business to study the work of my colleagues. I soon saw that the men who did the best and most useful work were the watch-dogs; the men who gave warnings. But I also very soon found out that in practice the part is one which cannot be played if the performer wants to have a pleasant time in the world, or to make himself generally liked by his fellow-men. A watch-dog is never popular. How could he be? People do not like to be disturbed, and to be warned generally means a loud noise and often a shock to delicate nerves. Besides, it generally ends in asking people not to do something they are strongly tempted to do. The bark of the watch-dog is, in a rough-and-ready way, much too much like the voice of conscience to be agreeable to the natural man. Though sometime after he may be very grateful to the watch-dog for his bark, when he first hears it he is inclined to say:

Oh! drat that dog. I wish he'd shut up. There he is barking away, and it is probably only the moon, or some harmless tramp, or a footstep a mile away down the road, for the brute's power of hearing is phenomenal. Yet if he goes on like that I must pay some attention, or else there'll be an awful row with the Boss to-morrow morning if anything was stolen or any damage done. The creature's spoilt my night, anyway; I must get up and see what's going on.

The result is that the tired householder paddles about the house in carpet slippers, grumbling about this folly of thinking that anyone could be so unjust or unfair as to attack a well-meaning man like him. It would be an infamy to think of any such scheme. "I want my neighbours to trust me, and they will never do that unless I trust them. So I will have another glass of port and get to bed, and, if that infernal dog will allow me, go to sleep."

"All's Well" is always a more popular motto for life than "Beware!" It is not only the householder who dislikes the watch-dog. There are people who have more sinister motives than a love of peace for disliking the watch-dog. Those who like to have a night out occasionally without comment from the Master; and those who think it only fair that certain perquisites should be smuggled out of the house by the charwoman and others without any fuss, "cannot abide" the dog and its horrid way of barking at a shawl thrown over a large plaited basket.

Nobody [they argue] wants to see the master robbed, but there is a great difference between robbery and having things a little easy now and then, and no tiresome questions asked. If we are all to be deprived of our night's rest by that dog, there will be no end of trouble, and if it goes on much further we shall have to see about getting rid of him, or else changing him for a dog that is more reasonable.

But that is not the whole of the trouble. Not only is the watch-dog generally disliked, but he is in danger of being turned from what he ought to be, into a gruff old grumbler. You cannot go on perpetually barking out warnings without getting a hoarse note into your voice, and that makes you compare very ill with the parlour dog and his charming manners, or with the sporting dogs who go out and attend their masters at their pleasures. The working dogs, too, such as those of the shepherd, are far more popular and far more picturesque.

Finally, the watch-dog is often misunderstood because he has got a very narrow gamut of notes. His bark is taken as an angry warning, when all he means to say is: "This is a new man and a new policy, and you had better look into it and see whether it is all right. I should not be doing my duty if I did not warn you to look out." Then if the new-comer turns out to be a harmless or useful person, the watch-dog is blamed because he did not recognise merit on the instant.

But if acting as watch-dog is a disagreeable job, as it most undoubtedly is, it has its compensations. Journalism of which the mainspring is the gaining of pleasure may easily degenerate into something akin to the comic actor's function. Stevenson in a famous passage compared the writers of belles-lettres to "filles de joie." That was not, I think, appropriate to the artists in words, but at any rate it is a condition into which the journalist who knows nothing of the watch- dog's duties can easily descend. Our danger is to fall into a kind of intellectual prostitution, and from this the duty of barking keeps us free.

"But," it may be argued in reply, "why need you bark in such a loud and raucous way? Why need you be so bitter?" Here comes a close and interesting issue. How is it possible to give a warning in earnest without exposing one's self to the accusation of being bitter? I have again and again tried, as a journalist, to consider this question, for it has often been my lot to be accused of "intense personal bitterness." Yet in reality I have felt no such feeling. What people have called bitterness has to me seemed only barking sufficiently loud to force attention. I have often, indeed, had a great deal of admiration and sympathy for the men for whom I have been supposed to entertain angry feelings. I have longed to say nice things about them, but that, of course, is impossible when you are on a warning campaign. The journalist that does that is lost. At once the friends of the person against whom the warning is issued complain of your lack of character, of your want of stability, of your habit of turning round and facing the other way. You cannot be a watch-dog only at stated hours, and on off days purr like the family cat.

I will take a specific illustration of what I mean by the watch-dog function in journalism. Throughout my life I have been a strong democratic Imperialist. To me the alliance of free self-governing Dominions, which constitute the British Empire, has a sacred character. It has rendered great help to the cause of peace, civilisation, and security, and it will render still more. I feel, further, that throughout Africa, as throughout India, we have done an incomparable service to humanity by our maintenance of just and stable government. Our record on the hideous crime of slavery, even if it stood alone, would be a justification for the British Empire. But it does not stand alone; there are hundreds of other grounds for saying that, if the British Empire had not existed, it would have had to be invented in the interests of mankind. But though I was always so ardent a supporter of the British Empire and of the Imperial spirit, I was not one of those people who thought that the mere word "Imperialism" would cover a multitude of misdeeds.

To come to close quarters with my illustration, I thought that the watch-dog had to do a good deal of barking in the case of Mr. Rhodes's practical methods of expanding the British Empire. They seemed to me so dangerous and so little consistent with a high sense of national honour and good faith that I felt it was part of my job to protest against them with all my strength. We were told, for example, by his friends, that Mr. Rhodes believed in the policy of the open cheque-book. If you wanted a thing, you must pay for it, and he did. He went further than that: his favourite maxim was said to be, "I never yet saw an opposition that I could not buy or break." It appeared to me that here was an extremely dangerous man, and one against whom the public ought to be warned, and as loudly as possible.

What first set me on his track was Rhodes's gift of £10,000 to Mr. Parnell for the funds of the Irish Nationalists. The gift was made about the time when Mr. Rhodes wished to get his Charter through the House of Commons. Of course, I know that Mr. Rhodes was accustomed to say that the gift and the Charter had nothing to do with each other, and even that the dates would not fit. It was, he declared, an unworthy suspicion to suggest that it had ever crossed his mind that Parnellite criticism, then very loud in the House, could be lulled by a good subscription. Besides, he was and always had been a whole-hearted Home Ruler. Mr. Rhodes, who bought policies as other men buy pictures, made it a condition, of course, that the Nationalists should assure him that they had no intention of leaving the Empire!

My view of the facts was different, and I believe it was the true view.

Mr. Rhodes wanted the Charter badly, and he did not much mind how he got it. He did not, of course, want the Charter in order to make himself rich. He wanted to extend the Empire in South Africa on particular lines, and these included a Chartered Province under his personal guidance. To accomplish this he was perfectly willing to take the help of bitter enemies of the Empire and of England, like Mr. Parnell; men who wanted to give our Empire the blow at the heart. Worse than that, he was willing to give them the pecuniary help they needed in their effort to destroy England, and to risk the consequences. That was surely a case for the watch-dog. "Look at what the man in the fur-lined Imperial cloak has got under it."

To my mind what was even worse than the Parnellite subscription was the way in which the Chartered Company was run and the way in which its shares at par were showered on "useful" politicians at home and in South Africa. The Liberal party at Westminster professed to be anti- Imperialist and pro-Boer. Yet I noted to my disgust that Mr. Rhodes not only called himself a Liberal, but that quite a number of "earnest Liberals" were commercially interested in the Charter.

In this context I may recall a phrase used by a witness before a Parliamentary Committee at Capetown, which made inquiries as to the distribution of "shares at par" when the selling price of Chartered stock was very high. The witness was asked on what system certain authorised but unallotted shares were distributed at par. They were, he stated, given to journalists and other persons "who had to be satisfied on this Charter." I am not by nature a suspicious person, but, rightly or wrongly, that appeared to me to be a short cut to ruining the Empire. Though personally I knew nothing about Rhodes, and was inclined to like an adventurous, pushful spirit, it was clear to me that, holding the views I did as to the functions of the journalist, I had no choice but to bark my loudest. My Imperialist friends were for the most part horribly shocked at what they called my gross and unjust personal p

rejudices against a great man. Some of them, indeed, asked me how I could reconcile my alleged Unionist and anti-separatist views with opposition to the great Empire-builder. When I told them that it was just because I was an Imperialist, and did not want to see the Empire destroyed, that I opposed Rhodes, pointed out to them that he was an arch corrupter, and insisted that corruption destroyed, not made, Empires, I was told that I did not know what I was talking about. I was a foolish idealist who did not understand practical politics. Such self- righteous subtleties must be ignored in the conduct of great affairs.

This talk, instead of putting me off, made me feel it was absolutely necessary, however disagreeable, to pursue my policy. In this view I soon had the good fortune to obtain the support and encouragement of Lord Cromer. Here, by the admission of all men, was the greatest of living Imperialists. Yet I found that he was in full sympathy with my determination to let the British public know what was going on.

As I have said, I felt very deeply about the gift to the Nationalists. Later, I heard that Mr. Rhodes had not only bought off, or tried to buy off, Irish opposition, but that he had actually offered and given a considerable sum of money to the funds of the Liberal Party in order to get them to change their policy in regard to Egypt. The great part of the Liberal leaders and the party generally considered that we were pledged to leave Egypt. This did not suit Mr. Rhodes, with his curious shilling-Atlas and round-ruler point of view about a Cape to Cairo Railway. What would happen if, when the railway was completed to the Egyptian frontier, the platelayers found either a hostile Egypt or a foreign power in possession, and determined to prevent a junction of the rails? Mr. Rhodes regarded such a possibility as intolerable, and, after his manner, determined to buy out the opposition to his great hobby. Accordingly, he approached Mr. Schnadhorst, the Boss of the Liberal Party, and told him that he, Rhodes, was a good sound Liberal, and wanted to give £10,000 to the Liberal funds, which were then much depleted-owing to the secession several years previously of Lord Hartington and Mr. Chamberlain. But the gift was conditional. Mr. Rhodes did not see his way to present the money unless he could have an assurance from Mr. Gladstone himself that the Liberal party would not, if they came into power, evacuate Egypt. In a word, he proposed to buy a non-evacuation policy, and offered a good price for it. Mr. Schnadhorst wanted £10,000 for his party, and wanted it badly. Accordingly he wrote a letter to Mr. Rhodes, assuring him that the party would not evacuate Egypt. The letter would not do for Mr. Rhodes. He wanted a categorical pledge from Mr. Gladstone. This he only obtained indirectly, and ultimately I believe that only about £5,000 was paid.

But though for several years I heard rumours of a large subscription by Mr. Rhodes to the Liberal funds, they were vague. Chance, however, enabled me to prove what I felt was probably the truth. It happened that Mr. Boyd, one of Mr. Rhodes's private secretaries, sent a letter to The Spectator about Rhodesia, in which he made a clear allusion to the subscription to the Liberal funds. I at once noted this admission and insisted that the matter should now be cleared up. The Liberal leaders ought, I declared, to say frankly whether any subscription had ever been accepted from Mr. Rhodes.

Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman, as leader of the Liberal Party, wrote an indignant letter to The Spectator, declaring that the statement was a lie. He added that he was authorised by Sir William Harcourt to say that he joined in the denial and so in the accusation of falsehood against Mr. Rhodes's secretary. I then called on Mr. Rhodes in justice to himself to make good, if he could, the allegations of his private secretary.

Then the whole strange story came out. Mr. Rhodes wrote to say that the correspondence with Mr. Schnadhorst was at the Cape, but that he had cabled for it, and that when it came he would send it to The Spectator and let the British people judge whether the story was or was not a lie. When the letters arrived they showed that Mr. Rhodes had actually proposed to buy the policy he wanted, as he might have bought a shirt or a suit-case, and that the famous Liberal Manager was quite willing to do business-especially as it was pretty obvious that the evacuation of Egypt was no longer popular with a considerable section of Liberals.

I was, naturally, well satisfied with the result of the warnings which I had given in regard to Mr. Rhodes. I had brought about an exposure of his methods, and had also exposed the carelessness and recklessness which allowed the agents of the Liberal Party to make a secret deal with a man like Mr. Rhodes, and a deal in which the consideration was a large sum of money. And all the time a number of the conventional Liberals were denouncing Mr. Rhodes for his shoddy Imperialism! The attitude of the public at large in regard to my action was curious. The politicians on my own side evidently thought that I had pushed things too far, and had been indiscreet. Some of them naively asked, in effect, where should I be if something unpleasant were to come out about the past of my own leaders. When I suggested that I should have to do exactly what I had done in the case of the Liberals, they were very much shocked at my "disloyalty to my party."

The Liberals, on the other hand, though the vast majority of them, leaders and led, had known nothing whatever of the transaction, and were in truth greatly ashamed of it, instead of being angry with their chief Party Manager, were violently angry with me. They declared that I was showing a most vindictive spirit towards a great and good man like Mr. Gladstone. I had "entered into a conspiracy with Mr. Rhodes in regard to the publication of a private correspondence." When I pointed out that, as a matter of fact, I disliked Mr. Rhodes's methods quite as much as they did, and held that it was as bad to buy a policy as to sell one, they inconsequently murmured that I had dealt a deadly blow against the sanctity of public life by helping Rhodes to break faith, and that my conduct was unforgivable.

I may end my story by a description of an interview which I had in regard to this matter with Mr. Rhodes at his hotel in Mayfair. It was the only occasion on which I saw or spoke to him. His private secretary, Mr. Boyd, came to me and said that Mr. Rhodes was very anxious to hand over to me in person the letters between himself and the Liberal Manager. Would I therefore mind going to see Mr. Rhodes, and letting him tell me the whole story in his own words? I did not feel in a particularly kindly frame of mind towards Mr. Rhodes, and I knew and thoroughly disliked his ways with the Press. Further, I did not want to run any risk of Mr. Rhodes hinting later that I had tried to blackmail him, or that he had made a suggestion as to interesting me later in the Chartered Company which had been apparently welcomed by me, and so on and so on. I therefore expressed my opinion that there was no need whatever for a personal interview. Mr. Boyd thereupon made a strong plea ad misericordiam. Mr. Rhodes was, he said, exceedingly ill and was worrying himself greatly about the matter. He had not long to live, and I should be playing a very inhuman part if I did not grant the interview to a very sick man. Melted by Boyd's evident sincerity and anxiety I agreed, but only on the condition that if Mr. Rhodes had anyone present at the interview, I also must have a friend present. That I felt was rather an insulting condition, and I rather expected that Mr. Rhodes would have replied: "If Mr. Strachey cannot treat me like a gentleman, I don't want to see him." Instead, a most polite message came back from Mr. Rhodes, saying that he gladly agreed to my suggestion and that he would see me quite alone. Why Mr. Rhodes was so insistent as to an interview I cannot tell, unless it was that he had been rather worried about The Spectator's hostility to him, and he thought he might be able to mollify me in the course of a private talk. I remember Mr. Boyd told me how he had heard Rhodes often express great trouble and surprise at my attitude towards him. Why should a journalist whom he had never seen be so hostile? What could have induced him to take the line he took in The Spectator? "I have never been able to make him out," was how he summed up the position. That struck me as very characteristic. It had evidently never occurred to Rhodes that a journalist could act on the watch-dog principle. The way his mind appeared to work was something like this.

Strachey and The Spectator are avowedly Imperialists and strong anti-Little Englanders. Therefore they ought to be on my side. If they are not with me, it can only be that they are standing out for some reason or other. What is it? It isn't money. If they had wanted to be "satisfied on this Charter" they would have made it clear to me. It can't be pride or prejudice. You can't wound or injure a man you have never seen. As far as I know, Strachey has not been got at by any of my personal enemies. He hates Kruger and his party even more than he does me. It's a most disagreeable and distracting puzzle.

That, I am told, was the way the great man argued till his entourage called the spectacle of the puzzled pro-consul deeply pathetic. Rhodes was, I believe, genuinely "haunted" by the problem which he could not solve. I and The Spectator got on his nerves. But perhaps if he saw me he could get the solution he desired. He had squared Boers and Governors and high British Officials, and Generals and Zulu Chiefs, and missionaries, and miners, and Jewish diamond-dealers by talk and nothing more. Why not this journalist? He would try. He would worry his secretaries to within an inch of their lives till they got the Editor to see him.

Touched, as I have said, by the appeal about the anguish of the dying lion, I yielded, went to his hotel, and was ushered in by Boyd. I did not feel the charm which was supposed to flow from Rhodes. To begin with, I thought him an ugly-looking fellow. The "late Roman Emperor" profile was a very flattering suggestion. Instead, his appearance explained a quaint and Early Victorian saying which had greatly tickled me when it fell from Lord Cromer's lips. "I saw him once in Cairo. I didn't like him. He seemed to me a great snob." Rhodes ought to have had the manners and mental habits of a gentleman, but apparently these had suffered a good deal of dilution in the diamond-fields. His address was distinctly oily, and I remember thinking what a mistake he had made in his conception of the stage directions for the short dialogue scene which he had insisted on his entourage producing.-"Empire- Builder, generous, human, alert, expansive, and full-blooded. Publicist, dry, thin-lipped, pedantic, opinionative, hard." That was what he, no doubt, expected of the cast. In a word, his attempt to fascinate lacked polish. It was clumsy, almost to the point of innocence, and opportunist to the point of weakness. He did not know how to take me, and was obviously "fishing."

I was determined to seize the opportunity of telling Mr. Rhodes fairly and squarely what I thought of him and his policy. I therefore received his elephantine flatteries and civilities with a grim silence, and then told him I should like him to know what had made me oppose him, and would continue to make me do so. I was an Imperialist, I pointed out, and I regarded him as an enemy to the cause of my country. He had given payments of money to the Irish enemies of Britain and the Empire, and that I could never forgive. "The Parnellites were engaged in a plot to ruin the British Empire. You knew it, and yet you helped them. You gave them the means to arm and fortify their conspirators and assassins." Mr. Rhodes appeared put out by this frontal attack-no doubt an unpleasant one, and so intended. He began by making elaborate explanations, and by declaring "the dates won't fit," but his arguments were muddled and incoherent. "I assure you you are doing me wrong about the Irish policy. I know it is not an intentional injustice, but indeed you are wrong. I am sure I could convince you of this if there was only time."

Though I was not mollified I felt there was no more to be said. Mr. Rhodes was not going to convince me nor I to convert him. Accordingly, I got up and moved to the door. On this Mr. Rhodes said, very flatteringly, by way of goodbye, that he was greatly pleased that "these letters," as they were obliged to be published, should appear in The Spectator. His device was pathetically obvious. He knew, or believed he knew, that the journalist's passion was "copy," and he wanted to remind me that he had supplied me with one of the very best political "stories" ever put before an Editor.

I was comparatively a young man then, only a little over forty, and I was disgusted at what I felt was an impertinent attempt to "land" me. I instantly pulled the papers out of my pocket and flung them on to the table, saying,

You are entirely mistaken if you think I want your letters for The Spectator. As far as I am concerned, they may just as well appear in The Times or any other paper. All I want is publicity. I have been accused by Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman of publishing lies, and that I do not mean to endure. I make no claim, however, on behalf of The Spectator. Choose your own paper.

Here Mr. Rhodes showed an excellent command of himself. He urged me strongly, nay, he implored me to take the papers. No other course would be fair to his secretary, who had been called a liar. "As poor Boyd was unjustly accused of lying, in The Spectator, I am sure you will agree that it is only fair that his good faith should be vindicated in the same place." To this plea I could, of course, offer no opposition. I therefore replaced the papers in my pocket, said "good morning," and walked away.

I suppose many people, certainly Mr. Rhodes's admirers, will say that I was brutal and unjust. If they do, I think I have a good defence, but I am not going to set it forth here. More interesting is the general opinion I formed of Rhodes after seeing him in the flesh, and experiencing what was supposed to be his special gift-that of talking a man round.

Rhodes, I had to acknowledge, was not the kind of magnificent man that I had sometimes envisaged him. I think he was a lucky man rather than a man of genius. The chief trouble with him was that he really believed that all men were buyable. He was a kind of throw-back to the eighteenth century, just as the eighteenth-century politicians were to the age of Juvenal and Tacitus. He took their records seriously and acted on their views of humanity. If he chose to use his money for buying policies as other people used theirs to buy places, why not? What else, granted that he was the kind of man described, could Rhodes do with his money?

But these excuses, though I admitted them, made me not less but more eager to oppose Mr. Rhodes and the influences he employed. My duty was to expose Mr. Rhodes, i.e. to get people to understand his methods. These almost entirely depended upon secrecy, and that made publicity my best weapon. When once the Rhodesian moral strategy was made public, the game was up.

I believe I did some good by my double warning. In the first place, I warned the British public that Rhodes, if not watched, would secretly buy policies behind their backs and that the party machine, when in want of money, would with equal secrecy sell them. And I proved my point, incredible as it may seem.

"But why rake up an old scandal?" asks Urbanus with an ironic smile. Because the warning ought to be a standing warning. I am by no means sure that when all the secrets are known, we, or rather our grandchildren, will not find that Mr. Rhodes has had imitators, in recent times.

I could, of course, mention other examples of the way in which this particular watch-dog gave trouble, and got himself heartily disliked, but the one I have given will serve. Besides, the other examples touch living people, and with living people I want to have as little to do as possible in these memoirs.

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