The other day two suave, frock-coated gentlemen, seated at a
green-covered table in the Foreign Office in Berlin, by putting their
names to the bottom of a piece of parchment, caused a territory
almost as large as the State of Texas to become French, and another
territory, larger than the State of Oregon, to become German. About as
many people were affected, though not consulted, by that international
dicker—which has passed into history as the Morocco-Equatoria
Convention—as there are in the county of London. The lot of about
four-fifths of these people will doubtless be materially improved, and
in a few years, if they have any gratitude in their Moorish souls,
they will be thanking Allah for having given them French instead of
Sherifian justice. As for those Congolese blacks who compose the other
fifth, they will soon find, unless I am very much mistaken, that the
red-white-and-black flag stands for something very different from the
red-white-and-blue one, and that the stiff-backed, guttural-tongued
German officers in their tight-fitting uniforms will prove sterner
masters than the easy-going French _administrateurs_ in their topées
and white linen.

Now the significance of that convention does not lie in its
ethics—which are very questionable; nor in the territory and
population and resources concerned—which are very great; but in the
fact that it brings within reasonable measure of fulfilment the
imperial dream which William II began dreaming some seven and twenty
years ago, and which he recently translated to the world in the
declaration “Germany’s future lies oversea.” In those four words is
found the foreign policy of the Fatherland. The episode which began
with the sending of a war-ship to an obscure port of Morocco and ended
with Germany’s acquirement of a material addition to her African
domain was not, as the world supposes, an example of the haphazard
land-grabbing so popular with European nations, but a single phase of
a vast and carefully laid scheme whose aim is the creation of a new
and greater Germany oversea—a _Deutschland über Meer_.

To solve the problems with which she has been confronted by
her amazing increase in population and production, Germany has
deliberately embarked on a systematic campaign of world expansion
and exploitation. Finding that she needs a colonial empire in her
business, she is setting out to build one just as she would build a
fleet of dreadnoughts or a ship canal. The fact that she has nothing
or next to nothing to start with, does not worry her at all. What she
cannot obtain by purchase or treaty site will obtain by threats, and
what she cannot obtain by threats she stands perfectly ready to obtain
by going to war. Having once made up her mind that the realisation of
her political, commercial, and economic ambitions requires her to have
a colonial dominion, she is not going to permit anything to stand in
the way of her getting it. In other words, wherever an excuse can be
provided for raising a flagstaff, whether on an ice-floe in the Arctic
or an atoll in the South Pacific, there the German flag shall flutter;
wherever trade is to be found, there Hamburg cargo boats shall drop
their anchors, there Stettin engines shall thunder over Essen rails,
there Solingen cutlery and Silesian cottons shall be sold by merchants
speaking the language of the Fatherland. It is a scheme astounding
by its very vastness, as methodically planned as a breakfast-food
manufacturer’s advertising campaign and as systematically conducted;
and already, thanks to Teutonic audacity, aggressiveness, and
perseverance, backed up by German banks, fleets, and armies, much
nearer realisation than most people suppose.

In Morocco, East Africa, and the Congo; in Turkey, Persia, and
Malaysia; in Hayti, Brazil, and the Argentine; on the shores of all
the continents and the islands of all the seas, German merchants and
German money are working twenty-four hours a day building up that
oversea empire of which the Kaiser dreams. The activities of these
pioneers of commerce and finance are as varied as commerce and finance
themselves. Their guttural voices are heard in every market place;
their footsteps resound in every avenue of human endeavour. Their
holdings in Brazil are the size of European kingdoms, and so absolute
has their power become in at least two states—Santa Catharina and Rio
Grande do Sul—that the Brazilian Government has become seriously
alarmed. Their mines in Persia and China and the Rand rival the cave
of Aladdin. They are completing a trunk line across western Asia which
threatens to endanger England’s commercial supremacy in India; in
Africa they are pushing forward another railway from the shores of the
Indian Ocean to the Great Lakes which will rival the Cape-to-Cairo
system in tapping the trade of the Dark Continent. They own the
light, power, and transportation monopolies of half the capitals of
Latin America. In China the coal mines and railways of the great
province of Shantung are in their hands. They work tea plantations in
Ceylon, tobacco plantations in Cuba and Sumatra, coffee plantations
in Guatemala, rubber plantations in the Congo, hemp plantations in
East Africa, and cotton plantations in the Delta of the Nile. Their
argosies, flying the house flags of the Hamburg American, the North
German Lloyd, the German East Africa, the Deutsche Levante, and a
score of other lines, carry German goods to German warehouses in the
world’s remotest corners, while German war-ships are constantly aprowl
all up and down the Seven Seas, ready to protect the interests thus
created by the menace of their guns.

Back of the German miners and traders and railway builders are the
great German banks, which, when all is said and done, are the real
exploiters of Germany’s interests oversea. So completely are the
foreign interests of the nation in their hands that there is no reason
to doubt the story that the Emperor, when warned by the great bankers
whom he had summoned to a conference over the ominous Moroccan
situation that war with France would endanger, if not destroy,
Germany’s oversea ambitions, turned to his ministers with the remark,
“Then, gentlemen, we must find a peaceable solution.” We of the West
have not yet awakened to a realisation of the magnitude of Germany’s
foreign interests or to the almost sovereign powers which the banks
behind them exercise in certain quarters of the world—particularly in
that Latin America which we have complacently regarded as securely
within our own commercial sphere. In Asia Minor the Deutsche Bank not
only controls the great Anatolian Railway system but it is building
the Bagdad Railway—probably the most important of Germany’s foreign
undertakings—these two German-owned systems providing a route by which
German goods can be carried over German rails to India more cheaply
than England can transport her own goods to her possessions in her own
bottoms. In one hand the Disconto Bank Gesellschaft holds the railway
and mining concessions of the Chinese province of Shantung, while with
the other it reaches out across the world to grasp the railway system
of Venezuela, it being to enforce certain claims of this bank that
the German gun-boat _Panther_—the same that occupied Agadir—bombarded
La Guayra in 1902 and as a consequence brought the relations of the
United States and Germany uncomfortably close to the breaking-point.
Seven German banks—the German-Asiatic Bank, the German-Brazilian
Bank, the German-Orient Bank, the German-Palestine Bank, the Bank
of Chile and Germany, the Bank of Central America, and the German
Overseas Bank—devote themselves exclusively to the exploitation of
foreign concessions, either owning or dominating enterprises of
every conceivable character in the regions denoted by their titles
or lending financial assistance to German subjects engaged in such

A few years ago, when Germany was starting in the race for naval
supremacy, the Imperial Admiralty issued a review of Germany’s oversea
interests for the purpose of impressing the Reichstag with the
necessity for dreadnoughts and then more dreadnoughts. Here are some
of the figures, taken from the list at random, and the more impressive
because they are from official sources and because, since they were
published, they have materially increased:

North Africa $25,000,000
Egypt 22,500,000
Liberia 1,250,000
Zanzibar 1,500,000
Mozambique 2,750,000
Madagascar 1,500,000
British South Africa 337,500,000
Turkey and the Balkans 112,500,000
British India and Ceylon 27,500,000
Straits Settlements 8,750,000
China 87,500,000
Mexico 87,500,000
Venezuela and Colombia 312,500,000
Peru and Chile 127,500,000
Argentine 187,500,000
Brazil 400,000,000

And this endless caravan of figures represents but a fraction of
Germany’s transmarine interests, remember, for it does not include
her colonies on both coasts of Africa, in North China, and in the
South Seas. Now, if you will again glance over the above list of
Germany’s foreign interests, you can hardly fail to be struck by the
fact that by far the greater part of them are in countries notorious
for the weakness and instability of their governments, as, for
example, China, Morocco, Turkey, Liberia, Mexico, and Venezuela; or
in countries which, though possessing stable governments, would not
be strong enough successfully to resist German aggression or German
demands. In regions where German settlers abound and where German
banks are in financial control it is seldom difficult for Germany
to find an excuse for meddling. It may be that a German settler is
attacked, or a German consul insulted, or a German bank has difficulty
in collecting its debts. So the slim cables carry a dash-dotted
message to the Foreign Office in Berlin; instantly the cry goes up
that in Morocco or China or Venezuela or Hayti German “interests”
are imperilled; and before the government of the country in question
realises that anything out of the ordinary has happened a cruiser with
a German flag drooping from her taffrail is lying off one of its coast
towns. Before the silent menace of that war-ship is removed, Germany
generally manages to obtain a concession to build a railway, or a
ninety-nine-year lease of a coaling-station, or the cession of a strip
of more or less valuable territory, and so goes merrily and steadily
on the work of building up a German empire oversea.

But these interests, world-wide though they are, fail to satisfy
the German expansionist party whose prophet is the Kaiser. They
demand something more material than figures; they would see the
German flag floating over government houses instead of warehouses,
over fortifications instead of plantations. They would see more of
the map of the world painted in German colours. But Germany was late
in getting into the colonising game, so that wherever she has gone
she has found other nations already in possession. In North Africa
her prospectors and concession-hunters found the French too firmly
established to be ousted; the only territory left in South Africa over
which she could raise her flag was so arid and worthless that neither
England nor Portugal had troubled to include it in their dominions;
though she bullied China into leasing her the port of Kiauchau, the
further territorial expansion in the Celestial Empire of which she had
dreamed was halted by Russian jealousy and Japanese ambition; around
Latin America—the most enticing field of all—stretched the protecting
arm of the Monroe Doctrine.

Now, these “Keep Off the Grass” signs with which she was everywhere
confronted did not improve Germany’s disposition. They made her feel
abused and peevish, and whenever she saw a foreign flag flying over
some God-forsaken islet in the Pacific or a stretch of snake-infested
African jungle, she resented it deeply and said that she was being
denied “a place in the sun.” So when France despatched an expedition
to Fez in the summer of 1911 to teach the Moorish tribesmen proper
respect for French property and French lives, Germany seized on that
action as an excuse for occupying a Moroccan harbour and a strip of
the adjacent coast, on the pretext that her interests there were being
jeopardised, and flatly refused to evacuate it unless France gave
her something in return. I might mention, in passing, that Germany’s
interests in Morocco are considerably more important than is generally
supposed, the powerful Westphalian firm of Mannesmann Brothers having
obtained from Sultan Abdul Aziz extensive mining, ranching, and
plantation concessions in that portion of his empire which the German
newspapers proceeded to prematurely dub “_West Marokko Deutsch_.”
The rich iron deposits in this region, when taken in conjunction
with the alarming decrease of the ore supply in the German mines and
the consequent shortage which threatens the German iron and steel
industry, undoubtedly provided one of the reasons underlying the
Kaiser’s interference with the French programme in Morocco.

France, knowing full well the enormous political and commercial value
of Morocco, and determined to complete her African empire by its
acquirement, after months of haggling, during which battle-ships and
army corps were moved about like chessmen, consented to compensate
Germany by ceding her a slice of the colony of French Equatorial
Africa, better known, perhaps, as the French Congo.[4] It was a good
bargain that France made, too, for she took an empire and gave a
jungle in exchange. But Germany made the better bargain, it seems
to me, for by agreeing to a French protectorate over Morocco she
obtained one hundred thousand square miles of African soil without
its costing her a foot of land or a dollar in exchange. From the
view-point of the world at large, Germany emerged from the Moroccan
imbroglio with a good-sized strip of equatorial territory, presumably
rich in undeveloped resources, certainly rich in savages, snakes,
and fevers, and, everything considered, of very doubtful value. But
to Germany this stretch of jungle land meant far more than that. It
was a territory which she had wanted, watched, and waited for ever
since she entered the game of colonial expansion. It is one of the
links—in many respects the most essential one—which she requires to
connect her scattered possessions in the Dark Continent and to bar the
advance of her great rival, England, to the northward by stretching an
unbroken chain of German colonies across Africa from coast to coast.
The acquisition of that piece of west-coast jungle marked the greatest
stride which Germany has yet taken in her march toward an empire

[4] Germany has given her new colony the official designation “New

Heretofore Germany has been in much the same predicament as a boy who
tries to put a picture puzzle together when some of the pieces are
missing. In Germany’s case the missing pieces were held by England,
France, Belgium, and Portugal, and they refused to give them up. If
you will open the family atlas to the map of Africa, you will see that
Germany’s four colonies on that continent are so widely separated that
their consolidation is apparently out of the question. Northernmost
of all, and set squarely in the middle of that pestilential coast-line
variously named and noted for its slaves, its ivory, and its gold,
and aptly called “the rottenest coast in the world,” is the colony
of Togo. Approximately the size of Cuba and rich in native products,
it is so remote from the other German possessions that its only
value is in providing Germany with a _quid pro quo_ which she can
use in negotiating for some territory more desirable. In the right
angle formed by the Gulf of Guinea is the colony of Kamerun, a rich,
fertile, and exceedingly unhealthful possession about the size of
Spain. Though its hinterland reaches inland to Lake Tchad, it has
hitherto been destitute of good harbours or navigable rivers, being
barred from the Niger by British Nigeria and from the Congo, until
the recent territorial readjustment, by French Equatorial Africa.
Follow the same coast-line twelve hundred miles to the southward and
you will come to German Southwest Africa, a barren, inhospitable,
sparsely populated land, stretching from a harbourless coast as far
inland as the Desert of Kalahari. On the other side of the continent,
just south of the Equator, lies German East Africa, almost twice the
size of the mother country and the largest and richest of the Kaiser’s
transmarine possessions. The combined area of these four colonies is
equal to that of all the States east of the Mississippi put together;
certainly a substantial foundation on which to begin the erection of
an empire, especially when it is remembered that French Africa, which
now comprises forty-five per cent of the continent, is for the most
part the work of but a single generation.

When Monsieur Cambon and Herr von Kiderlein-Waechter put their pens to
the piece of parchment of which I have already spoken, the boundary of
the Kamerun was automatically extended southward almost to the Equator
and eastward some hundreds of miles to the Logone River, the apex of
the angle formed by the meeting of these new frontiers touching the
Congo River and thereby bringing the Kamerun into contact with the
Belgian Congo. In other words, Germany’s great colonies on either
coast are no longer separated by French and Belgian territory, but
by Belgian alone—and Belgium, remember, is both weak and neutral.
Now, it is by no means beyond the bounds of possibility that Belgium
might consent to sell Germany either the whole or a portion of the
Congo, for the financial difficulties of that colony have been very
great, and it has never been able to pay its way, its wants having
been supplied at first by large gifts of money from King Leopold,
and more recently by loans raised and guaranteed by Belgium. This
unsatisfactory financial condition not having helped to popularise
the Congo with the thrifty Belgians, there is considerable reason to
believe that the Brussels Government would lend an attentive ear to
any proposals which Germany might make toward its purchase. England
might be expected, of course, to oppose the sale of the Congo to
Germany tooth and nail, it being the fear of just such an eventuality
which caused her to seize on the rubber atrocities as an excuse for
her vigorous and persistent advocacy of the internationalisation
of the Congo. Though France holds the reversionary rights to the
Congo, there are no grounds for believing that she would place any
serious obstacles in the way of its acquisition by Germany, for she
has given it to be understood that she intends devoting her energies
henceforward to the exploitation of her enormous possessions in North
Africa. Assuming, then—and these assumptions, believe me, are not
nearly so chimerical as they may sound—that the Belgian Government
should sell Germany all or a part of the Congo, Germany’s possessions
would then stretch across the continent from coast to coast,
comprising all that is most worth having in Equatorial Africa.

While we are about it, let us carry our assumptions one step farther
and take it for granted that Portugal could be induced to dispose
of her great west-coast colony of Angola, to which Germany already
possesses the reversionary rights. It is not only possible, but
probable, that a good round offer of money, or perhaps another Agadir
performance, based on some easily found pretext and backed up by
German war-ships in the Tagus, would induce the Lisbon Government
to hand over Angola, along with its fevers and its slavery, to the
Germans. Portugal is bitterly poor, its government is weak and
vacillating, and a long list of failures has left the people with
little stomach for colonisation. The Portuguese Republic has few
friends among the monarchical nations of Europe and could count on
scant aid from them in resisting Teutonic coercion. It is asserted
in diplomatic circles, indeed, that the ink on the Morocco-Equatoria
Convention was scarcely dry before the German minister in Lisbon had
opened secret _pourparlers_ with the Portuguese Foreign Office with
a view to the purchase of both Angola and the east-coast colony of
Mozambique.[5] The acquisition of Angola would supply Germany with the
final link needed to unite her colonies in East, West, and Southwest
Africa, thus giving her an African empire second in size only to that
of France. Far-fetched and far-distant as all this may sound, I have
but roughly sketched for you that imperial dream for whose fulfilment
the Kaiser and his people are indefatigably working and confidently

[5] Though commonly applied to the colony of Portuguese East
Africa, the name Mozambique belongs, strictly speaking, only to the
northernmost province of that possession.

Very few people are aware that, as long ago as 1898, England and
Germany concluded a secret agreement which definitely provides for
the eventual disposition of Portugal’s African possessions. Of its
true history and scope, however, little has ever leaked out. It grew
out of Joseph Chamberlain’s restless and ambitious schemes for the
consolidation of British dominion in Africa. Appreciating, early in
the Boer War, that England’s success in that struggle would largely
depend upon Germany remaining strictly neutral, that master statesman
proposed to the Berlin Government a plan the effect of which was to
divide the reversion of Angola and Mozambique between Great Britain
and Germany, inferentially leaving the former a free hand south of
the Zambezi. This was the famous Secret Treaty, the final text of
which was afterward signed by Lord Salisbury, and it was largely
in virtue of this agreement that England was free from German
interference during the Boer War. It is an interesting comment on the
ethics of international politics that this remarkable agreement was
concluded without any consultation of Portugal, the country the most
vitally concerned. Delagoa Bay is no longer as imperative a necessity
to England as it was in 1898, at which time it was the quickest way
to reach the Transvaal, and, on the other hand, the West Coast is
daily becoming more important for strategical and commercial reasons,
for the “Afro” railway, of which I have made mention in the chapter
on Morocco, will become in the near future the great highway between
Europe and South America, while the railway now being built between
Benguela (Lobito Bay) and the Katanga region will provide the easiest
and quickest means of communicating with Rhodesia and the Transvaal.
The terms of the Anglo-German Secret Treaty are of interest, however,
as indicating how that portion of the African continent lying south
of the Congo will be eventually parcelled out, and as showing the
framework on which is being slowly but surely constructed Germany’s
African empire.

The erection of such a German state across the middle of Africa would
have far-reaching results in more directions than one. In the first
place, it would end forever England’s long-cherished ambition of
eventually linking up her Sudanese and South African possessions
and thus completing an “All Red” route from Cairo to the Cape. In
the second place, Germany is now in a position to build her own
transcontinental railway—from east to west instead of from north
to south—on German or neutral soil all the way, thus removing the
completion of the Cape-to-Cairo system, even under international
auspices, to a very distant day, and making Dar-es-Salam and Duala,
instead of Cape Town and Alexandria, the starting-points for those
highways of steel which are destined to open up inner Africa.

It is surprising how little even the well-informed know of these
far places which Germany has taken for her own. Fertile spots as
any upon earth, covered with hard-wood forests and watered by many
rivers, when seen from the shade of an awning over a ship’s deck
they are as alluring as the stage of a theatre set for a sylvan
opera. Go a thousand yards back from that smiling coast, however,
and the illusion disappears, for you find a country whose hostile
natives, savage beasts, and deadly fevers combine to make it deserving
of its title—“the white man’s graveyard.” The statesmen of the
Wilhelmstrasse must have taken a long look into the future when they
raised the German flag over such lands as these. The returns they
have yielded thus far would have discouraged a man less sanguine
than William Hohenzollern. Though subsidised German steam-ships ply
along their coasts, though their forests resound to the clank and
clang of German railway-builders’ tools, though the plantations of
government-assisted settlers dot the back country, though she has
spent on them thousands of lives and millions of marks, Germany’s
only returns thus far have been a few annual tons of ivory, copra,
and rubber, some excellent but unprofitable harbours, and many lonely
stations where her sons contract fevers and pessimism. But I would
stake my life that this out-of-the-way, back-of-beyond, sun-blistered,
fever-stricken German Africa will be a great colony some day.

From the care with which they are laid out, from the perfection of
their sanitary arrangements, from the substantiality of their public
buildings and official residences and their suitability to the
climatic conditions, the travellers who confine their investigations
to the coast are readily deceived into thinking that Tanga and
Bagamoyo and Dar-es-Salam and Swakopmund and Duala are the gateways
to rich and prosperous colonies. From the very outset, however,
the imperial government based its claim for popular support in its
colonial ventures upon the erroneous assumption that German colonies
would attract Germans, and that in this way the language of the
Fatherland would be spread abroad and eventually supplant that of
Shakespeare. The Germans, however, have stubbornly refused to go to
their own colonies, preferring those where English is the speech and
where there are fewer officials and more freedom. To-day, therefore,
you find the model German towns, so perfectly built that you feel as
though you were walking through a municipal exhibition, almost wholly
peopled by brass-bound, hide-bound officials, while the German traders
are carrying on thriving businesses under the English flag at Mombasa
and Zanzibar and Sierra Leone.

Now, Germany has no one but herself to blame for this condition of
affairs, having brought it about by the short-sightedness of her
colonial policy and the harshness and incapacity of her officials.
Intending to found industrial colonies, she created military
settlements instead, administering and exploiting them, not as if they
were German lands, but as if they were an enemy’s country. Nothing
emphasises more sharply the purely military character of Germany’s
African colonies than the fact that there are seven soldiers or
officials to every German civilian. Dwelling in idleness, in one of
the most trying climates in the world, the officials seem to take a
malicious satisfaction in interfering with the civil population, thus
driving the traders—who form the backbone of every colony—to take up
their residence in English ports and so paralysing German trade. The
soldiers, for want of something better to do, are forever seeking
advancement by making unnecessary expeditions into the hinterland for
the purpose of “punishing” the natives, thus causing them to migrate
by wholesale into British, Belgian, and even Portuguese territory, so
that the German colonies are left without labour and the plantations
are consequently being ruined.

The needless severity of Germany’s colonial rule is graphically
illustrated by the fact that during 1911 there were 14,849 criminal
convictions in German East Africa alone, or one conviction to every
637 natives; while in the adjoining protectorate of Uganda, among the
same type of natives but under a British administration, the ratio
of convictions was only one in 2,047. There is not a town in German
East Africa where you cannot see boys of from eight to fourteen
years, shackled together by chains running from iron collar to iron
collar and guarded by soldiers with loaded rifles, doing the work of
men under a deadly sun. Natives with bleeding backs are constantly
making their way into British and Belgian territory with tales of
maltreatment by German planters, while stories of German tyranny,
brutality, and corruption—of some instances of which I was myself a
witness—form staple topics of conversation on every club veranda and
steamer’s deck along these coasts. In German Southwest Africa the
dearth of labour, owing to the practical extermination of the Herero
nation in Germany’s last “little war” in that colony, has become a
serious and pressing problem. In a single campaign—which cost Germany
five hundred million marks and the lives of two thousand soldiers,
and which could have been avoided altogether by a little tact and
kindness—half the total population of the colony was killed in
battle or driven into the desert to perish. That is why the builders
of the Swakopmund-Otavi Railway in German Southwest Africa—the
longest two-foot-gauge line in the world—have to send to Europe for
their labour. Until Germany makes a radical change in her methods
of colonial administration, and until she learns that traders and
labourers are more essential to a colony’s prosperity than pompous
and domineering officials, her colonial accounts will continue to
stand heaviest on the debit side of the ledger.

Successful colonial administration in Africa, as in all tropical
countries, is largely a matter of temperament, and the stolid sons of
the Fatherland seem, strangely enough, to be more quickly affected by
the demoralising climate and to be irritated more easily than either
the English or the French. The Englishman’s sense of justice and the
Frenchman’s sense of humour are their chief assets as successful
colonisers and rulers of alien peoples, but the German colonial
official, who is generally serious by nature and almost always
domineering as the result of his training, possesses neither of these
invaluable attributes and is heavily handicapped in consequence. It
is no easy task with which he is confronted, remember. The loneliness
and the privations of the white man’s life, and the debility that
comes from the heat and the rains and the fevers, when combined with
the strain of governing and educating an inconceivably lazy, stubborn,
stupid, and intractable people, make the job of an African official
one of the most trying in the world. The loneliness and the climate
seem to grip a German as they never do an Englishman, and he becomes
irritable and ugly and unreasonably annoyed by trifles, so that when
a native fails to get out of his way quickly enough, or to salute him
with the punctiliousness which he considers his due, he flies into a
rage and orders the man to be flogged. The native goes back to his
village with a bleeding back and hatred in his heart, and, as likely
as not, a bloody, costly, and troublesome native uprising ensues.
The African native is, after all, nothing but an overgrown and very
aggravating child, and his upbringing is a job for school-teachers
instead of drill sergeants, and the sooner the imperial government
appreciates that fact the better.

I went to German East Africa, which is the Kaiser’s star colony,
expecting to be deeply impressed; I came away deeply disappointed. It
is only about fifty miles from Zanzibar across to Dar-es-Salam, the
capital of the colony, but the local steamer, which is the size of a
Hudson River tugboat and rolls horribly on the slightest provocation,
manages to use up the better part of a day in making the trip. Seen
from the steamer’s deck, Dar-es-Salam presents one of the most
enchanting pictures that I know, and every one who goes ashore there
does so with high expectations. Imagine, if you can, a city of two
hundred thousand people, with the imposing, red-roofed schools and
churches and hospitals and barracks and municipal buildings of, say,
Düsseldorf, and the white-walled, broad-verandaed, bungalow dwellings
of southern California; with concrete wharves and cement sidewalks and
beautifully macadamised roads and many public parks: imagine all this,
I say, dropped down in the midst of a palm grove on one of the hottest
and unhealthiest coasts in the world—that is Dar-es-Salam. The hotel
is, barring the one at Kandy in Ceylon and another at Ancon in the
Canal Zone, the best and most beautiful tropical hostelry I have ever
seen, but, as it is owned and run by the government, for the benefit
of its officials, its manager, a blond, florid-faced, pompadoured
Prussian, was as independent as a hotel clerk in a city where a
presidential convention is going on. Just as in the other German
colonies, I found East Africa to be suffering from a severe attack
of militarism. I saw more sentries and patrols and guards during my
four days’ stay in Dar-es-Salam than I did in Constantinople during
the Turkish Revolution. I was lulled to sleep by regimental bugles
and I was awakened by them again at daybreak, and I never set foot
out of doors without meeting a column of native soldiery, their black
faces peering out stolidly from beneath the sun-aprons, their spindle
shanks encased in spiral puttees, their feet rising and falling in the
senseless “parade step” in time to the monotonous “_rechts! links!
rechts! links!_” of the German sergeant. But what struck me most
forcibly about Dar-es-Salam was that it appeared to have no business.
Apparently the soldiers had frightened it away. The harbours of
Mombasa and Zanzibar and Beira and Lourenço Marques are alive with
steamers taking on or discharging cargo (and quite two out of three of
them fly the German flag), and their streets are lined with offices
and warehouses and “factories” (over the doors of many of which are
signs bearing German names), and their wharves are piled high with
bales of merchandise going to or coming from the four corners of the
earth; but in the harbour of Dar-es-Salam, as in all the other German
harbours I visited, the only vessels are white German gun-boats or
rusty German tramps; its streets are lined with government offices
instead of business offices; on its wharves are a few puncheons of
palm-oil, or other products of the bush, and nothing more.

[Illustration: Warundi warriors. German East Africa.

Illustration: Native infantry. German East Africa. A few years ago
these men were just such savages as those shown above.


However much the administration of the German colonies may be open
to criticism, and however slow they may have been in commercial
development, I have nothing but praise and admiration for the
accomplishments of their railway-builders. From Dar-es-Salam I
travelled inland by railway motor-car nearly to Kilamatinde, a
distance of three hundred and seventy miles, through one of the most
savage regions in Africa, over one of the best graded and ballasted
roadbeds I have ever seen. The line is now being pushed forward from
Kilamatinde toward Ujiji, on Lake Tanganyika, which it will reach,
so the chief engineer assured me, by the summer of 1914. From Ujiji,
which, by the way, is the place where Stanley discovered Livingstone,
a steamer service will be inaugurated to Albertville, on the Belgian
shore of the lake, whence a line is under construction to the
navigable waters of the Lualaba, which is one of the chief tributaries
of the Congo; while another line of steamers will ply between Ujiji
and Kituta, in northeastern Rhodesia, which point the British
Cape-to-Cairo system is approaching. By the close of 1914, in all
probability therefore, the traveller who lands at Dar-es-Salam will
be able to travel by train, with the passage across Lake Tanganyika
as the only interruption, to the Cape of Good Hope, or by train and
river steamer to the mouth of the Congo, and in perfect comfort and
safety all the way. As Walfish Bay, the only harbour in Southwest
Africa worthy of the name, belongs to England, the Germans, finding
themselves unable to buy it and appreciating that a harbourless colony
is all but worthless, promptly set to work and built themselves
artificial harbours at Swakopmund and at Lüderitz Bay, though at
appalling cost. That Germany is exceedingly anxious to acquire
Walfish Bay, and that she stands ready to make almost any reasonable
concession to obtain it, there is little doubt. The mere fact that
Walfish Bay is owned by England is a source of constant aggravation
to the Germans, for it lies squarely in the middle of their Southwest
African coast-line, its roomy roadstead and deep anchorage being in
sharp contrast to the German port of Lüderitz Bay, which is being
rapidly sanded up, and that of Swakopmund, a harbour on which the
Berlin Government has already thrown away several millions of marks.
Lüderitz Bay is already connected with the inland town of Keetmanshoop
by three hundred and fifty miles of narrow-gauge line, and plans are
now under consideration for pushing this southeastward so as to link
up with the South African system near Kimberley, while from Swakopmund
another iron highway, four hundred miles long, gives access to the
Otavi copper-mining country and will doubtless be extended, in the not
far-distant future, to the Rhodesian border, tapping the main line of
the Cape-to-Cairo system in the neighbourhood of the Victoria Falls.

[Illustration: Mr. and Mrs. Powell travelling by railway motor-car in
German Africa.

Illustration: A way-station on the line of the German East African


I have laid considerable stress upon the subject of railways,
because it seems to me that in them lies the chief hope of the German
colonies, for wherever the railway goes there goes civilisation.
Throughout the vast and potentially rich regions thus being opened
up by the locomotive the imperial government is pouring out money
unstintingly in the construction of roads, bridges, and reservoirs,
the sinking of artesian wells, the establishment of telegraph
lines and postal routes, the erection of schools and hospitals, in
furnishing trees to the planters and machinery and live-stock to the
farmers, and in assisting immigration. So, if keeping everlastingly at
it brings success, I cannot but feel that the day will come when these
officers and officials, these soldiers and settlers, these traders and
tribesmen, will find their places and play their parts in the Kaiser’s
imperial scheme of a new and greater Germany over the sea.

In Bulawayo, which is in Matabeleland, stands one of the most
significant and impressive statues in the world. From the middle of
that dusty, sun-baked thoroughfare known as Main Street rises the
bronze image of a bulky, thick-set, shabbily clad man, his hands
clasped behind him, his feet planted firmly apart, as he stares in
profound meditation northward over Africa. Cecil John Rhodes was
the dreamer’s name, and in his vision he saw twin lines of steel
stretching from the Cape of Good Hope straight away to the shores of
the Mediterranean; a railway, to use his own words, “cutting Africa
through the centre and picking up trade all the way.”

If ever a man was a strange blending of dreamer and materialist, of
utopian and buccaneer, of Clive and Hastings with Hawkins and Drake,
it was Cecil Rhodes. In other words, he dreamed great dreams and let
no scruples stand in the way of their fulfilment. Having trekked over
nearly the whole of that vast territory that stretches northward
from the Orange and the Vaal to the shores of Lake Tanganyika, his
imagination saw in this fertile, sparsely settled country virgin soil
for the building up of a new and greater Britain. The predominance
of the British in Egypt and in South Africa, and the fact that the
territory under British control stretched with but a single break
from the mouths of the Nile to Table Bay, gave rise in the great
empire-builder’s mind to the project of a trunk-line railway “from
the Cape to Cairo,” and under the British flag all the way. Though
Rhodes’s dream of an “All Red” railway was rudely shattered by the
Convention of 1889, which allowed Germany to stretch a barrier across
the continent from the Indian Ocean to the Congo State, he never
abandoned the hope that a British zone would eventually be acquired
through German East Africa, either by treaty or purchase, even going
so far as to open negotiations with the Kaiser to this end on his own

It was a picturesque vision, said the men to whom he confided his
dream, but impractical and impossible, for in those days the line
from Alexandria to Assuan and another from Cape Town to Kimberley
practically comprised the railway system of the continent, and five
thousand miles of unmapped forest, desert, and jungle, filled with
hostile natives, savage beasts, and deadly fevers, lay between. But
the man who had added to the British Empire a territory greater
than France, Germany, Austria-Hungary, and Italy combined; who had
organised the corporation controlling the South African diamond
fields; who had put down a formidable native uprising by going unarmed
and unaccompanied into the rebel camp; and who was responsible, more
than any other person, for the Boer War, was not of the stamp which is
daunted by either pessimistic predictions or obvious obstacles.

It was a slow and disheartening business at first, this building of
a railway with a soul-inspiring name. The discovery of the diamond
fields had already brought the line up to Kimberley; the finding
of gold carried it northward again to the Rand; the opening up of
Rhodesia led the iron highway on to Bulawayo, and there it stopped,
apparently for good. But Rhodes was undiscouraged. He felt that to
push the railway northward from Bulawayo to the southern shores of
Lake Tanganyika was an obvious and necessary enterprise—the actual
proof, as it were, of the British occupation. But the Boer War was
scarcely over, the national purse was drained almost dry, and even
the most optimistic financiers shrank from the enormous expense and
problematical success of building a railway into the heart of a savage
and unknown country.

Finally Rhodes turned to the imperial government for assistance
in this imperial enterprise, for the man who had added Zululand,
Bechuanaland, Matabeleland, Mashonaland, Barotseland, and Nyasaland
to the empire felt that the empire owed him something in return. He
first laid his scheme before Lord Salisbury, then prime minister, who
said that nothing could be done until he had a closer estimate of
the expense. Returning to Central Africa, Rhodes had a flying survey
of the route made in double-quick time, and with the figures in his
pocket hastened back to London. This time the premier sent him to see
Sir Michael Hicks-Beach, the chancellor of the exchequer. Hicks-Beach,
who was notorious for his parsimony in the expenditure of national
funds, was frigid and discouraging, but finally relaxed enough to say:
“Get a proper survey made of your proposed railway, with estimates
drawn up by responsible engineers, and if the figure is not too
unreasonable we will see what can be done.” Fortified with this shred
of hope, Rhodes again betook himself to the country north of the
Zambezi, and, after months of work, hardship, and privation, facing
death from native spears, poisonous snakes, and the sleeping-sickness,
his men weakened by malaria and his animals killed by the dreaded
tsetse-fly, he returned to England and presented his revised surveys
and estimates to the chancellor of the exchequer. That immaculately
clad statesman negligently twirled his eye-glass on its string as he
regarded with obvious disfavour the fever-sunken cheeks and unkempt
appearance of the pioneer. “Really, Mr. Rhodes,” he remarked coldly,
“I fear it is quite out of the question for her Majesty’s government
to lend your scheme its countenance or assistance.” It is a pleasingly
human touch that as the indignant empire-builder went out of the
minister’s room he slammed the door so that the pictures rattled on
the wall.

After dinner that night Rhodes strolled over to see a friend of
Kimberley days, a Hebrew financier named Alfred Beit, in whom he found
a sympathetic listener. As Rhodes took his hat to go, Beit casually
remarked, “Look here, Rhodes, you’ll want a start. Four and a half
million pounds is a big sum to raise. We’ll do half a million of it,
Wernher [his partner] and I.” That meant success. Though ministers of
the Crown turned a cold shoulder to the great imperialist who came to
them with a great imperial enterprise, help came from two German Jews
who had become naturalised Englishmen. The next day the City brought
the total up to a million and a half, and within little more than a
fortnight the entire four and a half millions were subscribed, the
three names, Rhodes, Beit, and Wernher, being accepted by the man in
the street as sufficient guarantee of success. It was in this fashion
that Cecil Rhodes raised the money for another great stride in his
railway march northward.

By 1904 the road had progressed as far as the Victoria Falls of
the Zambezi, where it crosses the river on a wonderful steel-arch
bridge—the highest in the world—its span, looking for all the world
like a frosted cobweb, rising four hundred and twenty feet above the
angry waters. “I want the bridge to cross the river so close to the
falls,” directed Rhodes, “that the travellers will have the spray in
their faces.” “That is impossible,” objected the engineers. “What you
ask cannot be done.” “Then I will find some one who can do it,” said
Rhodes—and he did. The bridge was built where he wanted it, and as
the Zambezi Express rolls out above the torrent the passengers have
to close the windows to keep from being drenched with spray. By 1906
the rail-head had been pushed forward to Broken Hill, a mining centre
in northern Rhodesia; three years later found it at Bwana M’kubwa, on
the Congo border. Here the task of construction was taken up by the
Katanga Railway Company, and in February, 1911, freight and passenger
trains were in operation straight through to Elisabethville, in the
heart of the Belgian Congo, two thousand three hundred and sixteen
miles north of Cape Town and only two hundred and eighty miles from
the southern end of Lake Tanganyika.

As you sit on the observation platform of your electric-lighted
sleeping-car, anywhere along that section of the “Cape-to-Cairo”
between Cape Town and the Zambezi, you rub your eyes incredulously
as you watch the rolling, verdure-clad plains stretching away to the
foot-hills of distant ranges, and note the entire absence of those
dense forests and steaming jungles which have always been associated,
in the minds of most of us, with Central Africa. The more you see of
this open, homely, rather monotonous country the harder it becomes
for you to convince yourself that you are really in the heart of that
mysterious, storied Dark Continent and not back in America again.

And the illusion is completed by the people, for the only natives you
see are careless, happy, decently clad darkies who might have come
straight from the levees of Vicksburg or New Orleans, while on every
station platform are groups of fine, bronze-faced, up-standing fellows
in corded riding-breeches and brown boots, their flannel shirts open
at the neck, their broad-brimmed hats cocked rakishly—just such types,
indeed, as were common beyond the Mississippi twenty years ago, before
store clothes and the motor-car had spoiled the picturesqueness of our
own frontier.

North of the Zambezi it is a different story, however, for there it is
frontier still, with many of a frontier’s drawbacks, for the prices
of necessities are exorbitant and of luxuries fantastic; skilled
workmen can command almost any wages they may ask, and common labour
is both scarce and poor. The miner, the scientifically trained farmer,
and the skilled workman have rich opportunities in this quarter of
Africa, however, for the mineral wealth is amazing, much of the soil
is excellent, and civilisation is advancing over a great area with
three-league boots.

For excitement, variety, and picturesqueness I doubt if the journey
through Barotseland and the Katanga district of the Congo can be
equalled on any railway in the world. It is true that the Uganda
Railway—which, by the way, does not touch Uganda at all—has been
better advertised, but in quantity of game and facilities for hunting
it the territory through which it runs is no whit superior to that
traversed by the “Cape-to-Cairo.” Stroll a mile up or down the Zambezi
from the railway bridge and you can see hippos as easily as you can
at the Zoo in Central Park; in Northwest Rhodesia herds of bush-buck,
zebras, and ostriches scamper away at sight of the train; and as you
lie in your sleeping-berth at night, while the train halts on lonely
sidings, you can hear the roar of lions and see the gleam of the
camp-fires by means of which the railway employees keep them away.
On one occasion, when our train was lying on a siding south of the
Zambezi, the conductor of the dining-car suddenly exclaimed, “Look
there, gentlemen—look over there!” His excitement was justified, for
from over a screen of bushes, scarcely a biscuit’s throw away, a herd
of five giraffes craned their preposterous necks and peered at us
curiously. Once, when I was travelling through Northwest Rhodesia,
our engine struck a bull elephant which had decided to contest the
right of way. As the train was running at full speed, both engine and
elephant went off the track. Returning that way some days later, we
noted that the local station-master had scraped the gargantuan skull
to the bone, filled it with earth, and set it on the station platform
as a jardinière to grow geraniums in. He was an ingenious fellow.

From the Cairo end, meanwhile, the northern section of the great
transcontinental system was being pushed steadily, if slowly,
southward. The difficulties of river transportation experienced by
the two Sudanese expeditions had proved conclusively that if the
Sudan was ever to be opened up to European exploitation it must be by
rail rather than by river. It was the Khalifa who was unconsciously
responsible for the rapid completion of much of the Sudanese section
of the “Cape-to-Cairo,” for, in order to come to hand-grips with him,
Kitchener and his soldiers pushed the railway down the desert to
Khartoum at record speed, laying close on two miles of track between
each sunrise and sunset. There it halted for a number of years;
but after the British had done their work, and Khartoum had been
transformed from a town of blood, lust, and fanaticism into a city
with broad, shaded streets, along which stalks law and order in the
khaki tunic of a Sudanese policeman, the railway-building fever, which
affects some men as irresistibly as the _Wanderlust_ does others,
took hold of Those Who Have the Say, and the line was again pushed
southward, along the banks of the Blue Nile, to Sennar, one hundred
and fifty-eight miles south of Khartoum. With the completion, in 1910,
of several iron bridges, it was advanced to Kosti, a post on the White
Nile, with the northern end of Lake Tanganyika some twelve hundred
miles away.

That a few more years will see the northern section extending
southward, via Gondokoro, to Lake Victoria Nyanza, and the southern
section northward to Lake Tanganyika, there is little doubt. Indeed,
the plans are drawn, the routes mapped, the levels run, and on the
Katanga-Tanganyika section the railway-builders are even now at work.
But when the Victoria Nyanza has been reached by the one section,
and Tanganyika by the other, there will come a halt, for between the
two rail-heads there will still be six hundred miles of intervening
territory—and that territory is German.

Unless, therefore, England can obtain, by treaty or purchase, a
railway zone across German East Africa, such as we have obtained
for the Canal across the Isthmus of Panama, it looks very much
as though there would never be an all-British railway from the
Mediterranean to the Cape, and as though the life dream of Cecil
John Rhodes would vanish into thin air. There are several reasons
why Germany is not inclined to give England the much-desired right
of way. First, because between the two nations a bitter rivalry,
political and commercial, exists, and the Germans feel that already
far too much of the continent is under the shadow of the Union Jack;
secondly, because the Germans are, as I have already mentioned in the
preceding chapter, themselves building a railway from Dar-es-Salam,
the capital of their east-coast colony, to Lake Tanganyika, and by
means of this line they expect to divert to their own ports the trade
of all that portion of inner Africa lying between Rhodesia and the
Sudan; thirdly, because it is unlikely in the extreme that England
would give Germany such a _quid pro quo_ as she would demand—as,
for example, the cession of Walfish Bay, the British port in German
Southwest Africa, or of the British protectorate of Zanzibar, or of
both; fourthly, because the Germans now have the British in just such
a predicament regarding the completion of the “Cape-to-Cairo” railway
as the British have the Germans regarding the completion of the Bagdad
railway. In other words, the only condition on which either country
will permit its rival’s railway to be built through its territory is

That there will ever be an all-British railway from the Mediterranean
to the Cape seems to me exceedingly doubtful, for the political,
territorial, and financial obstacles are many, and not easily
to be disposed of; but that the not-far-distant future will see
the completion, under international auspices, of this great
transcontinental trunk line seems to me to be as certain as that the
locomotive sparks fly upward or that the hoar-frost on the rails
disappears before the sun. Rhodes always said that the success of such
a system must largely depend on the junctions to the east and west
coasts, which would affect such a line very much as tributary streams
affect a river. A number of such feeders are already in operation and
others are rapidly building. Beginning at the north, the main line
of the “Cape-to-Cairo” is tapped at Cairo by the railways from Port
Said and Suez; and at Atbara Junction, in the Sudan, a constantly
increasing stream of traffic flows in over the line from Port Sudan,
a harbour recently built to order on the Red Sea. The misnamed Uganda
Railway is in regular operation between Mombasa on the Indian Ocean
and Port Florence on the Victoria Nyanza, whence there is a steamer
service to Entebbe in Uganda. From Dar-es-Salam, the capital of German
East Africa, the Germans are rushing a railway through to Ujiji, on
the shores of Lake Tanganyika, the engineer-in-chief assuring me that
it would be completed and in operation by the summer of 1914. From
Beira, in Portuguese East Africa, the Beira, Mashonaland, and Rhodesia
Railway carries an enormous stream of traffic inland to its junction
with the main line at Bulawayo. Still farther south a line from the
Portuguese possession of Delagoa Bay connects with the main system
at Mafeking, on the borders of Bechuanaland, while Kimberley is the
junction for a line from Durban, in Natal, and De Aar for feeders from
East London and Port Elizabeth, in Cape of Good Hope.

From Swakopmund, on the other side of the continent, a railway has
already been pushed nearly five hundred miles into the interior
of German Southwest Africa which will eventually link up with the
“Cape-to-Cairo” in the vicinity of the Victoria Falls, running through
German territory practically all the way. Still another line is being
built inland from Lobito Bay in Angola (Portuguese West Africa) to
join the transcontinental system near the Congo border, nearly half
of its total length of twelve hundred miles being completed. It is
estimated that by means of this line the journey between England and
the cities of the Rand will be shortened by at least six days. It
will be seen, therefore, that the “Cape-to-Cairo” system will have
eleven great feeders, eight of which are already completed and in
operation, while all of the remaining four will be carrying freight
and passengers before the close of 1914.

When the last rail of the “Cape-to-Cairo” is laid, and the last spike
driven, its builders may say, without fear of contradiction, “In
all the world no road like this.” And in the nature of things it is
impossible that there can ever be its like again, for there will be
no more continents to open up, no more frontiers to conquer. It will
start on the sandy shores of the Mediterranean and end under the
shadow of Table Mountain. In between, it will pass through jungle,
swamp, and desert; it will zigzag across plains where elephants play
by day and lions roar by night; it will corkscrew up the slopes of
snow-capped mountains, meander through the cultivated patches of
strange inland tribes, stride long-legged athwart treacherous,
pestilential swamps, plough through the darkness of primeval forests,
and stretch its length across the rolling, wind-swept veldt, until it
finally ends in the great antipodean metropolis on the edge of the
Southern Ocean. On its way it traverses nearly seventy degrees of
latitude, samples every climate, touches every degree of temperature,
experiences every extreme. At Gondokoro, in the swamp-lands of
the Sudd, the red-fezzed engine-driver will lean gasping from his
blistered cab; at Kimberley, in the highlands of the Rand, he
will stamp with numbed feet and blow with chattering teeth on his
half-frozen fingers.

The traveller who climbs into the Cape-to-Cairo Limited at the Quay
Station in Alexandria, in response to the conductor’s cry of “All
aboard! All aboard for Cape Town!” can lean from the window of his
compartment as the train approaches Cairo and see the misty outlines
of the Pyramids, those mysterious monuments of antiquity which were
hoary with age when London was a cluster of mud huts and Paris was
yet to be founded in the swamps beside the Seine; at Luxor he will
pass beneath the shadow of ruined Thebes, a city beside which Athens
and Rome are ludicrously modern; at Assuan he will catch a glimpse
of the greatest dam ever built by man—a mile and a quarter long and
built of masonry weighing a million tons—holding in check the waters
of the longest river in the world; at Khartoum, peering through
the blue-glass windows which protect the passengers’ eyes from the
blinding sun glare, he can see the statue of Gordon, seated on his
bronze camel, peering northward across the desert in search of the
white helmets that came too late; at Entebbe his eyes will be dazzled
by the shimmering waters of the Victoria Nyanza, barring Lake Superior
the greatest of all fresh-water seas; at Ujiji he will see natives
in German uniforms drilling on the spot where Stanley discovered
Livingstone. He will hold his breath in awe as the train rolls out
over the Victoria Falls of the Zambezi, for there will lie below him
the mightiest cataract in the world—an unbroken sheet of falling,
roaring, smoking water, two and a half times the height and ten times
the width of the American Fall at Niagara; at Kimberley he will see
the great pits in the earth which supply the women of the world with
diamonds; in the outskirts of Johannesburg he will see the mountains
of ore from which comes one-third of the gold supply of the world. And
finally, when his train has at last come to a halt under the glass
roof of the Victoria Terminal in Cape Town, with close on six thousand
miles of track behind it, the traveller, if he has any imagination and
any appreciation in his soul, will make a little pilgrimage to that
spot on the slopes of Table Mountain known as “World’s View,” where
another statue of that same bulky, thick-set, shabbily clad man, this
time guarded by many British lions, stares northward over Africa. He
will take his stand in front of that mighty memorial and, lifting
his hat, will say: “You, sir, were a great man, the greatest this
benighted continent has ever known, and if one day it is transformed
into a land of civilisation, of peace, and of prosperity, it will be
due, more than anything else, to the great iron highway, from the
Nile’s mouth to the continent’s end, which is the fulfilment of your