The Development of Dependencies: The Contribution of the Government

  • Ronald Hyam


It is often assumed or implied that the Liberal government neglected the empire outside South Africa, and that once the partition had taken place, African possessions were forgotten.I But the years after 1905 saw, as Milner recognised, 2 a remarkable growth in understanding the value and possibilities of tropical territories, a strengthening of the sense of duty towards them, and a ‘great change’ toward a progressive policy which regarded them as integral to imperial development.


Private Enterprise Gold Coast Colonial Government Liberal Government Cotton Industry 
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  1. 1.
    For example, W. M. Macmillan, The Road to Self-rule (1959), p. 187,Google Scholar
  2. R. Oliver and J. D. Fage, A short history of Africa (1962), pp. 196–7.Google Scholar
  3. 2.
    Milner, The Nation and ’he Empire (1913), p. 462, speech 7 Jun 10.Google Scholar
  4. 5.
    H. Samuel, Memoirs (1945), p. 37, Grey to Samuel 10 Aug 02.Google Scholar
  5. 4.
    For example, Antrobus wrote to him on his departure from office, acknowledging Elgin’s interests in the Crown colonies (EP, to E 14 Apr 08; see also the opinion of Sir Cecil Clementi Smith, below, p. 519). An avenue in Entebbe, Uganda, was named after Elgin as an expression of gratitude for ‘the great interest he evinced in the welfare’ of Uganda (CO. 536/19/17729) govr to S/S 16 Apr 08). See also Cosmo Parkinson, The colonial office from within, 1909–1945 (1947), 47–8: ‘The most lasting impression left upon me from my early years in the Colonial Office is admiration for the constructive work which was in progress all the time ... there was a steady advance in every sphere of administration’, most notably in tropical medicine, and sanitation, despite financial restriction.Google Scholar
  6. 5.
    Research, experimental farming and an agricultural college for post-graduates were instituted at Pusa. Curzon followed Elgin’s initial moves by setting up in 1905 a department of commerce and industry in the central government to guide the activi ties of provincial governments in promoting new industries and technical education. These developments, stressing science and efficiency, gave rise to misgivings and it was not until 1918 that the policy was fully accepted in India. But these developments could have had some influence on African projects in a general way (V. Anstey, The Economic development of India (4th ed., 1952), pp. 7 and 165; Cambridge Economic History of Europe, vi (2), 912).Google Scholar
  7. 4.
    A. Cohen, British policy in changing Africa (1959), p. 28.Google Scholar
  8. 1.
    The government of Southern Nigeria, as a colony, could raise loans in the open market, as the North could not, being a protectorate. The South already made a grant-in-aid to the North of £75,000 p.a., out of which it was proposed to meet the interest on the sum of £2,000,000 loaned by the treasury under the Public Works Loans Act, normally providing funds for loans to municipalities in the U.K. (PD. 182/364–8, 27 Aug 07). ‘Pioneer’ meant the railway would follow a proper survey, and be constructed with gradients and generally so as to suit a fully constructed line in the future, though it would not at first have signals or stations, which seemed hardly necessary for a line that would at most run two trains a day; ‘pioneer’ thus means a permanent line, not a light railway or a tramway, but a line without frills or refinements. When the bridge replaced the ferry at ]ebba in 1916, and Lagos harbour was improved by dredging a sand-bar to allow oceangoing vessels to get into it without the transhipment of goods previously necessary, the Baro-Kano line became redundant (R.J. Harrison-Church, ‘Transport pattern in British West Africa’, in Geographical Essays on British tropical lands, ed. R. W. Steel and C. A. Fisher (1956), p. 70). In July 1908, when it was too late, Egertonretumed to the scheme of February 1907, suggesting a realignment directly linking Lagos and Kano, via Zungeru (CO. 520/63/29951), which would have been more sensible. As Elgin foresaw, the all-rail route was preferred. CO. 520/52/27112, E to Egerton 6 Sep 07, and 34138, minutes by E 30 Sep 06, I Oct 06; SIS to govr 25 Oct 07Google Scholar
  9. 1.
    Bryce: PD. 144/563, 5 Apr 05; Churchill, For Free Trade: speeches during the fiscal controversy preceding the late general election (1906), pp. 54–6, at Manchester 19 Feb 04.Google Scholar
  10. 2.
    K. Robinson, Dilemmas of trusteeship (1965), p. 85.Google Scholar
  11. 3.
    For the Gezira scheme see A. Gaitskell, Gezira: a story of development in the Sudan (1959) andGoogle Scholar
  12. P. M. Holt, A modern history of the Sudan (1961) .Google Scholar
  13. 1.
    S. B. Saul, ‘Economic significance of “Constructive Imperialism”’, Journal of Economic History, xvii (1957), 178–9, 190.Google Scholar
  14. 1.
    R. H. Tawney, Business and politic sunder James I(1958), p. 208.Google Scholar
  15. 4.
    The phrase is Goldie’s. See J. E. Flint, Sir George Goldie and the making of Nigeria (1960), p. 275.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Ronald Hyam 1968

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ronald Hyam
    • 1
  1. 1.University of CambridgeUK

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