FRANK had always been a champion of Africans. He wished them to enjoy their own land, to retain their tribal organisation, and to develop along their own lines. He knew that such development must be slow, and he did not wish that Africans should be Europeanised or hurried.
As he came to know them better, he believed more and more in the potentialities of the race, and also in the racial differences between Bantus and Englishmen. He was under no illusions. He knew that the Bantus were as children compared to us, and perhaps he loved them the more in consequence. He believed that in time they would grow up, but he had no belief in a forcing process. He knew that, while they were children, they had to be taken care of; and it was very necessary to watch lest an elder race should take advantage of their weakness and ignorance, and exploit them for its own profit. Children, and child races, should be the hope of the world.
The child races of Africa, he saw, were faced by two great perils--Islam, which is the foe to all progress, and Commercialism, which first corrupts and then destroys a primitive people. Frank feared Islam not a little, but he feared Commercialism more. Islam was the declared enemy of Christianity, but Commercialism was its more deadly foe. He feared lest Englishmen, in greedy haste to realise the resources of their empire, might end in depopulating a rich country where Englishmen could never make their homes. The future of Africa depended on Africans being a healthy and progressive race. How was this to be secured? By Englishmen becoming the guardians of the people, and regarding the interests of Africans as a trust.
While Frank acknowledged the present inferiority of Bantus, he refused to acknowledge that that inferiority was inherent; and he believed that as the race progressed it would have a very special contribution to make to the world's welfare. At present, Africans needed protection from the outside world and from one another. They wanted justice and they wanted freedom in order that they might have scope for development. They did not want the patronage of sloppy sentimentalists, or to be civilised in accordance with the ideals of lower middle-class cranks.
From the time when he published his first Open Letter soon after arriving in Zanzibar, he was consistent in his outlook; but he became, as he learnt more of native ways and mentality, more precise about what should or should not be done.
Before he became Bishop I remember his sending home an angry and trenchant criticism of some resolutions about natives which had been passed in the Mashonaland synod. He wanted his article to be published in The Pilot, but the editor, being a man who only very occasionally committed indiscretions, asked that he might retain the MS. for his own information and guidance, and regretted that he could not print so inflammatory a document.
During the early years of his episcopate, Frank was chiefly working in a German colony; and, being there only on sufferance, was debarred from any political action. He hated the German methods, as we have seen; but he was able to mitigate the severity of their rule to some extent through his personal influence with the higher class officials.
After the War he looked forward to very different conditions. He had great faith in British commissioners and in the justice of British rule. He was very optimistic about the League of Nations, and hoped that all the talk about our disinterested trusteeship on behalf of backward races would be translated at once into administrative action. In this he was bitterly disappointed--the more disappointed because his hopes had been so high. It seemed to him that The Black Slaves of Prussia had only changed masters, and were in danger of becoming The Serfs of Great Britain. The danger arose from the haphazard way in which our empire grows.
England has never had a policy of imperial expansion, but Englishmen have been great empire builders since the days of the Elizabethan buccaneers and slave dealers. The empire has grown quite naturally through the unfettered enterprise of individuals, and its success is largely due to the fact that Englishmen have remained English wherever they settled. The young Englishman may go forth in search of sport or adventure, or he may be driven out to seek his fortune by dire economic necessity, but, whether he settles on the Equator or near the Pole, he carries England with him in his heart. He wants to live as much as possible as he did at home, he wants to play his national games, he wants to marry a woman of his own race, he wants to bring up a family true to the island tradition. On the other hand, he has the defects of his qualities. He is generally uninterested in the people among whom he dwells; and is immune from their influence, because he has never taken the trouble to understand them.
The young Englishman is not cruel to natives or intentionally oppressive. He makes himself respected and respects himself. He is honourable in his dealings, and if called upon to administer justice is careful and impartial, though the native cannot always understand the mysterious principles on which-he acts. He is hurt if anyone says that he is exploiting the native for his own profit, for it seems so clear to him that he is a pioneer, bringing to the black men the blessings of British civilisation. Does he not maintain peace and order, does he not open up the country and develop its resources? Is not the native raised nearer to the English standard, when clothed and otherwise furnished with goods from Birmingham and Manchester? Is it not a good thing to make 'the lazy nigger' work, and how could he learn better than under an English master?
Englishmen are very public-spirited and self-sacrificing in the development of a colony. It is by no means true to say that they only care for gain. They are there for the work's sake, to replenish the earth and subdue it, and to gain dominion over the forces of Nature. They see clearly enough where a road should be made, a bridge should be built, where land should be cleared and planted; but they do not see so clearly that, in places where Englishmen cannot labour or form permanent settlements, the future of the Black race should be their first and most important consideration. They are in such a hurry to get desirable things done and to secure the material profits from doing them, that they tend to neglect the human factor, and come to regard men as though they were merely instruments of production. They forget that, where the population is sparse, fresh projects can only be undertaken as the birth-rate rises; and, where the bulk of the population belongs to a backward race, progress and order can only be secured by conserving and developing social life. The ultimate prosperity of a land depends on the character and efficiency of the permanent population. So in 1924 Frank wrote in The Em-pire Review:
It is no good service to the Empire to sacrifice the health and social life of the Africans to a few thousand Englishmen who find landowning cheaper in Africa than in England, and less exhausting than in Canada or Australia. Settlers are needed in Africa, but in small numbers and of picked character. To open Africa to all comers irrespective of the needs of the rest of the Empire is to shorten the Empire's existence.
This is quite true--a truth which may be commended to the Colonial Office at home--but a Colonial government and local administrators quite rightly restrict themselves to their own job, and that is to make their particular country a success. Kenya Colony has not to consider the superior claims of Canada or Australia, but go wrong, however, by being too ambitious and in too great a hurry. It may attract capital when it cannot attract labour, and so involve itself in difficulties, and frustrate its own object.
After the War there were ambitious schemes for colonising East Africa. New settlers were brought out, especially ex-soldiers who had distinguished themselves in the War. They were offered free land if they had sufficient capital to start work. The land was boomed, and its possibilities magnified. The land was good enough and would richly repay cultivation; but the settlers found that from many places there were no means of transporting their crops when grown, and that in more places there was not sufficient labour to make cultivation possible. In consequence the Government was faced by a crowd of young men, who had ventured their all and must be ruined unless roads and railways were speedily built, and unless labour was somehow or other procured. In such circumstances it is not surprising that the Government forgot all their fine talk of holding Africa in trusteeship for the native races, and tried to save Colonials from ruin by a policy of forced labour.
In Zanzibar also there had been a shortage of labour, and, by a decree of 1917, any native under fifty could be compelled to do any work which the Labour Board might order, at wages fixed by the Labour Board. By another decree in 1919 only those natives were exempt from forced labour, who could prove that they had worked for sixty days for the Government during the year in which they were called up. A native who missed a single day's work between January I and March 2 was thereby at the mercy of the Government, and there was no decreed limit to his labour, because no one knew how long the clove harvest would take. Bad as all this was in principle and practice, there was at least the excuse that the labour was for the public service, and the system did not lead to labour cantonments or the break up of African homes.
The Government is wholly sympathetic with the native and alive to the duty, as well as the advantage, of developing native industry and conducting the government in the interests of the governed. Of course, it is not an easy task. There are conflicting interests. Ever since the War, companies, syndicates, agencies of all kinds have arrived in the country, anticipating, I suppose, a large inrush of Europeans as soon as the War was ended. Many of them, individually and corporately, are very articulate and are constantly pressing the Government to go ahead and develop the Colony for--the African? It would take a very strong pair of spectacles to read that into their representations. The Government, very wisely, are going slowly . . . but they have already embarked upon one very important development, and that is a comprehensive scheme of education.
The same authority refused to say much of Kenya of which he had no first hand knowledge; but it was common knowledge.
Both the Government and the settlers, many of whom have probably been brought too hurriedly into the country, are in a very difficult position.
By a Circular issued in October 1919, the Governor of Kenya expressed a hope that 'by the insistent advocacy of the Government's wishes' an increasing supply of labour might be obtained. District officers were to 'exercise every possible lawful influence,' and their future depended on their persuasiveness. Native chiefs were directed to 'advise and encourage' their people to work on plantations, and those not successful in doing this, were to be reported to the Governor.
Such a circular worked very unequally and led to terrible scandals. In consequence the Bishops of Mombasa and Uganda with Dr. Arthur of Kikuyu issued a Memorandum in which they pointed out that to the native mind the wish of the Governor was not distinguished from an order. They went on to say that 'they would favour some form of compulsion, at any rate for work of national importance.' A law would fall on all, and men would know where they were and what they had to do. 'Encouraged' labour was most unjust to some, and it was nobody's business to define how much it entailed or for how long.
A few months later the Bishops were taken at their word by the Native Authority Amendment Ordinance in which compulsory labour for sixty days was decreed for the maintenance and construction of roads and railways ' wherever situated in the Protectorate, and for other work of a public nature whether of a like kind to the foregoing or not.' But no attention was paid to the Bishops' protest, and ' encouraged ' labour for private plantations continued.
The Ordinance gave rise to a debate in the House of Lords, and Lord Milner issued a despatch in which he repudiated compulsion for the benefit of private employers, because 'it was absolutely opposed to the traditional policy of His Majesty's Government.' He permitted, however, compulsion for public services; and overruled the Commissioner for the mandated territory of Tanganyika who had forbidden recruiting from Kenya to take place there. This was to bring the evils of 'encouraged' labour into-Frank's diocese and affected his own flock. Frank in consequence wrote The Serfs of Great Britain and pointed out the evils involved in the scheme. The following is extracted from that pamphlet:
i. Forced labour is immoral.
(a) Ethically, forced labour except in war-time is indefensible.
A community may rightly be expected to preserve its local roads, etc., and to supply its officials with carriers for local journeys. In all other respects hunger is the only natural task-master. The call of service to the human race is always valid; but it does not summon a man to work for the enrichment of a small band of commercial foreigners.
(b) Again, the doctrine that Europeans are justified on commercial grounds in making serfs of the Africans is in itself immoral.
(c) Even were it true that Africans are idle, the remedy must not be one that is in itself immoral. In fact the African is not idle. Some tribes use women for work far more than men, especially war-like tribes. But in many tribes the men work with the women. And the average African has a hard task to get food for himself and his family.
2. It results in social ills.
(a) Africans who are removed from their villages for long periods of time, and acquire the habit of absence from home, rarely keep their households together.
The wives must be left at home to look after the fields, and are often unfaithful. The men are responsible for concubinage and prostitution wherever they are made to reside for long periods, with the result that homes are broken, venereal diseases are spread broadcast, the birth-rate is lowered, and a new type of African is created.
(b) There can be nothing worse for the country than the multiplication of cases of natives who have cast off all natural ties, and live vicious lives in commercial centres, or on European farms. Such men become a source of danger to the community. The separation of Africans from their village life is fraught with the greatest danger to themselves and to the race. And young men who know that they must go away to work every year will give up marriage.
(c) The supply of labour will be largely decreased through the fall in the birth-rate. This is not a matter of speculation; it is a fact of experience.
In East Africa a wise Government would conserve the already very small number of potential labourers. It would not sacrifice the future to the pre'sent.
3. It involves cruelty.
(a) The pressing of men always involves cruelty.
(b) The herding of men together, their medical inspections, their feeding, etc., etc., are very rarely carried out in a way that is justifiable. The Government has not a staff adequate to the task; few Europeans really care for the natives; and the overseers are almost always callous and selfish. And always the lash is used freely in such circumstances.
(c) Medical Officers are too few to carry out the vague promises made in Lord Milner's Despatch.
(d) In the War, when we had a large staff and unlimited funds, the treatment of the Government porters was scandalous. How can we trust the Government now, when officials are few, and funds cut down to the lowest possible sum?
Personally, speaking from practical experience, I maintain that the Government cannot carry out these proposals without cruelty to the individuals. The number of subordinate officials who will take proper care of Africans, knowing their language and sympathising with their needs, is far too few.
4. It depends upon Headmen.
(a) Headmen, seeking to stand well with the Governor will certainly exercise 'pressure.' Even the Bishops who support the Government say of this: 'He must and will, to the limits of his power, compel his people to go out to work; technically there is no compulsion; practically, compulsion could hardly take a stronger form.'
(b) An African does not distinguish between the 'desire' and the 'order' of the Government. If he does not want to go he will try to hide himself and be taken by force, in order to listen to the Headman's 'encouragement.'
(c) Bribes by Europeans will be frequent, in spite of the mild penalty enacted in the case of anyone who, by some miracle, shall be convicted of giving presents to a Headman.
Frank came to England in 1920 to conduct a campaign against Forced Labour. He had an interview with Lord Milner and it was not a success. The great imperialist statesman met the great missionary bishop, but they did not understand one another. Both were irritated. Lord Milner was naturally sympathetic with the crying needs of the colonists, but no one could accuse him of being indifferent to the fate of native races, or to England's honour. Frank was the natural champion of Africans, but he sympathised with the new settlers and reserved his blame for the Colonial authorities who had plunged into a hasty scheme for opening up the country without considering the supply of labour. Lord Milner was irritated by Frank's vehemence, and Frank was irritated by Lord Milner's insistence on the fact that the Bishops of Mombasa and Uganda were in favour of compulsion. Next day, in writing to Arthur Cripps, he said:
I saw Milner yesterday. It is no good. And how the Bishops of Mombasa and Uganda have played traitors! It is too horrible for words, and few people get red-hot against it, I am heart-sick with the Christian institutions--though you find Christ riding on such asses! My inner mind is to cut myself off from the British, and throw in my lot entirely with the Bantu --one can at least bear one's own witness--to British and Bantu. But I do not see my way quite clearly yet. Of course, it would mean resigning my See. Hitherto I have thought it possible to help my flock, just because I had a See, but if one cannot save them from serfdom by one's position, one may as well suffer with them as an individual.
There is more to the same effect, and a hope that the Labour Party might help. Frank was seeing red when he wrote that letter and he was just as hot when a few days later he told a friend:
For many years I have been fighting against those who seem to me to deny our Lord doctrinally, but, if it comes to bishops of the Church of England denying Him in matters of conduct, I am going to quit.
Frank's was a righteous anger, but the angry are rarely quite just. That the Bishops had given the adversaries a handle by which to introduce compulsion was deplorable, but it should not be forgotten that their Memorandum was a courageous exposure of abuses, and that they only regarded compulsion as a lesser evil than 'encouraged' labour. However wrong they may have been in expressing themselves, they had at least brought the whole subject before the public, and Frank really recognised this. In The Serfs of Great Britain he had argued that Lord Milner had no right to claim the Bishops' support, so long as he ignored what they had said about abuses. Lord Milner had, in fact, not ignored their criticisms; but both Frank and the Bishops regarded his safeguards as illusory.
I am glad when I think of Frank's generous indignation, and I am not even ashamed of the unjust things which he said and wrote in the bitterness of his soul. I imagine that Bishop Willis freely forgives his fury, because it was occasioned by interests which they both had at heart. Hot-headed and fiery-hearted men must speak out if wrongs are to be understood: more temperate men are also needed if wrongs are to be righted. Without the necessary heat nothing will be done at all, and without the cool brain nothing will be done successfully. At this time it was lucky for Frank and for his cause that he became associated with Mr. Oldham.
Mr. Oldham was quite as much opposed to the Circulars, Ordinance, and Lord Milner's Despatch as Frank, but he saw that it was impossible to make a frontal attack upon compulsion, because of words which could be quoted from the Memorandum of the Bishops. He disapproved, as Frank did, of that Memorandum, but he fully recognised the spirit in which it had been written. He knew that the past could not be undone, and that the future would not be better, if those who were alike zealous for justice to Africans quarrelled among themselves. In consequence, he persuaded Frank to meet his brother Bishops at Edinburgh House to discuss what should be done, and how they might co-operate. Other representative missionaries were added: a committee was formed and a new Memorandum was drawn up for presentation to the Government, criticising what had been done, and asking for a Royal Commission to investigate the conditions and supply of labour in East Africa.
Frank was hot-headed but he was not pig-headed. He would have preferred a frontal attack, but he was susceptible to reason. He was not a man to run his head against a wall if he could get over it; and if ready to die in the last ditch, he preferred a victory.
The new Memorandum was a very weighty document, written in dignified language. It is less provocative than The Serfs of Great Britain, from which quotations have been given, but it develops most of the points made by Frank, and adds some further arguments which he had overlooked in his tract. For instance, in criticising ' encouraged ' labour, it says:
The use of the machinery of Government for recruiting labour for private employers places Government officials in a difficult and unfair position. It involves them in a conflict of duties. They are made responsible at the same time for giving effect to the declared wish of the Administration that labour should be provided--of which they are continually reminded by settlers who are in desperate straits to obtain labour--and for guarding against abuses of that pressure, by which alone the desired labour can be obtained. Their identification with efforts to recruit labour must weaken, if not destroy, their position in the eyes of the natives as impartial referees, and disturb the relationship, so vital to successful government, in which the natives look up to the Commissioners as their counsellors and friends. The policy creates an even greater difficulty for the native chiefs and headmen, for whom it is scarcely possible to reconcile the instructions to guard against abuses with the insistent demand that labour must be forthcoming.
Again, in discussing Lord Cromer's dictum that compulsory labour is justified 'for indispensable and recognised purposes of public utility,' the Memorandum argues that the purposes 'should be recognised by those who perform the labour as being for the good of the community.'
African natives, whose sense of the community is limited to their tribe, cannot be expected to regard labour which has to be performed outside the tribal area as having any social utility or to understand how it contributes to the general good. The motive which makes forced labour tolerable is lacking, and compulsion for Government is apt to evoke the same feelings of resentment and bitterness as are created by compulsion for private purposes. Because compulsion, where the social benefit is not recognised or understood, may thus, through the exasperation of native feeling, undermine the foundations of Government, which are set in the welfare and contentment of the masses. . . .
Compulsion to labour for Government purposes at a distance and pressure to work on European estates, even with the best safeguards, are not easily reconciled with the healthy growth of village life, the fostering of native agriculture and industries, and a continuous policy of native education. Without a clear, resolute, and continuous policy on the part of Governments directed to the fostering of native life and institutions there is grave danger that the pressing needs of European farms and plantations, together with the requirements of Government, may make such demands on native labour as to lead to the destruction of village life. No greater calamity could overtake the native population. To allow it to take place would be the negation of everything that is implied in the conception of trusteeship. On the other hand, nothing would do more to create a prosperous and contented people, who even from the economic standpoint are the chief wealth of the country, than by a wise policy of education and fostering of native industries to make the natives feel that they have a real economic advantage from the taxation to which they are liable, and from the presence of white men in the country.
It having been decided to ask for a Royal Commission, and the Memorandum, setting forth the reasons for it, having been drafted, the next business was to get it signed. Frank was once more very active, interviewing members of the House of Lords and Commons and travelling about the country. I am told that he secured many of the most influential signatures. Mr. Oldham writes:
I have many times looked back with pleasure to the weeks in which I was associated with him. His untiring energy, his passionate desire that justice should be done to his beloved natives, and his complete indifference to what happened to himself, when an issue of right or wrong was at stake, left an impression on me which will not fade. I came to love and admire and to know what a big noble nature his was. I do not think that he was ever altogether at ease about the line that was taken. He was afraid all the time that there might be too much caution and moderation and compromise. None the less he accepted the fact that no other course was possible and gave the plan his loyal support.
The Memorandum was signed by the Archbishops of Canterbury, York, Armagh, and the Primus of Scotland, by the Presbyterian Moderators in Scotland, and by the Chairmen or Presidents of the various Free Churches. Thirty-one Missionary Societies gave it an official approval. Nine Peers of Cabinet rank signed it, including Lord Bryce, Lord Cave, and Lord Haldane. Eleven Members of the House of Commons (five Conservatives, four Labour, and two Liberals) signed it, including J. H. Thomas, E. F. L. Wood (Lord Irwin), and the present Speaker. There were also thirty-two other signatures of notables, from whom we may select such different people as Sir Joseph Maclay, the shipping magnate, W. L. Hichens, a captain of industry, George Parkin, of the Rhodes Trust, and Dr. Ernest Barker, of the University of London.
Frank had gone back to Africa before the Archbishop of Canterbury, on December 14, 1920, introduced the private deputation to Lord Milner, who was most sympathetic, so that it was hoped the Royal Commission would be appointed. However, he went out of office. Mr. Winston Churchill was of another mind. He called home the Governors of Kenya and Uganda and after consultation with them issued a new despatch on September 5, 1921. In it he decreed:
1. Able-bodied men may be required to work in the making or maintaining of any water-course or other work constructed or to be constructed or maintained for the benefit of the community to which such able-bodied men belong, provided that no person shall be ordered or required to work in this way for more than six days in any quarter.
2. Government Officials will in future take no part in recruiting labour for private employment.
3. The Native Authority Amendment Ordinance, 1920, is to remain on the Statute Book, but except for the paid porters for Government Officials it is not to be put into force without the sanction of the Secretary of State.
4. Works of a public nature for which compulsion might be asked should be defined in an amending Ordinance.
This despatch was satisfactory. Frank was pleased, but he knew that difficulties with regard to labour were bound to recur, and that for many a long day those who cared for African welfare would have to exercise vigilance. It is not so much man's wickedness that we have to be afraid of, as man's unconsidered action. Again, it is so easy to persuade men that something is expedient and so hard to persuade them that something, which is not expedient, is just. When difficulties occur, compulsion is such a simple remedy, and so tempting; but experience teaches the unwisdom of doing evil that good may come.
APPENDIX TO CHAPTER XIII
I HAVE in my possession an unpublished Article by Frank dealing with the needs of Africans, and I think this is the place to make some extracts.
Tribal System.--The chief duty of Great Britain is to provide for the healthy development of the African tribes. . . . European officials must see to it that the tribal rulers recognise how deeply the modern spirit has entered the souls of young Africans and make allowance for it. There must be development on African lines.
Again, Africans must be encouraged to spend their lives with or near their own tribes for several generations yet. A policy that leads Africans into distant provinces in search of work is most harmful, and so plantations ought not to be opened irrespective of local labour. It is unsound commercially. A moving population in tropical Africa means a decreasing birth-rate and a Europeanising of the African.
Tribal Rites.--Missionaries must not be assisted by Government in breaking down tribal rites. A great deal of harm has come upon us through the haste and inexperience of missionaries, not to say through their prudery and sloppy sentiment. Missionaries ought to be content to endure difficulties until they can induce the tribal elders to substitute good customs. Rites are one thing, customs quite another. To break down rites is to inflict deadly wounds on a people. Of course, Government may see fit to forbid this custom or that within a tribe, but the general policy of sweeping away tribal rites is bad. It leaves the Elders with no chance of bringing their young people into the tribal life properly, and makes for Europeanisation. Missionaries must lean upon God Whom they preach, and must trust God to do for Africa what He has done elsewhere. In fact, all Europeans out here are in too great a hurry to mend the world, with the result that they only increase the ruin.
Education is in danger of killing Africans, soul and body. I view with great alarm the movement for 'educating Africans as quickly as possible.' It is a false movement, it is untrue to history, and it is poisonous in its effects. Education is the right of Africa. My own Mission is doing its part; but education as preached at present will be Africa's curse.
What is the object of education? It is the application of reason to our relationships with God, man, and the universe. Every man is born in certain relationships: he is related to God, his family, his tribe, his country, the human race, and the world of things. His education must keep him within those relationships, raising him and them to higher levels of reason. Obviously, then, before we can educate a man at all we must know something about him, and understand what it is that is to be enlightened by reason. Otherwise we shall take him out of his true relations to God, to men, and to the universe: we shall make him an outcast from his own people, without any hope of rinding him a home elsewhere.
How, then, does education work in Africa? First, we decide that European civilisation, with its morality, is the highest known scheme of relationships: it is God's gift to the human race. Next, we choose some teachers of this civilisation who know little of the African, his language, and his mind, and give them full authority over African boys and girls to teach them what in England is regarded as useful. In spite of all our failures with English children, we feel sure that we shall do Africa good. And the result? In the result we have young Africans with no religion, no moral standard of their own, no readiness for hard work, and no respect for their tribal elders--with a small smattering of knowledge and perhaps some skill at a trade. The fact that they are ashamed of their own tribes, and very sensitive to European contempt, is also to be recorded.
It is to me amazing that a Government like ours can believe in its system of education in tropical Africa. Its members must know that with all its schools and industrial institutions it is doing nothing to illuminate the Africans' own relations to God, to man, and the universe. It is, on the contrary, training them to stand outside those relations. Nor can it establish them in any new relations. No doubt it may increase the number of chairs and tables made in Africa; it may enlarge the area under the cultivation of cotton; but it is not helping the African to develop healthily on his own natural lines.
Hurry.--Everywhere we are bidden 'to get a move on.' That is to say, we are told to make men move before they see any good reason for moving; and to force them to a goal which they have not in any way realised as possible or desirable. Psychologically this is a crime; politically it is a blunder; and practically it will lead to disaster.
In as far as it has any effect, it pushes young men of an undesirable Europeanised type into prominence, and relegates the elders, with their wisdom and common sense, into the background of life. In short, it spoils Africa, without presenting any compensating advantages beyond larger returns to commercial men.
Justice.--The Indian penal code and the methods of British law courts are beyond the Africans' present development. They need something far simpler and more paternal in most of their cases.
The African method of hearing a case is admirable. It allows each to state his case without interruption. The cross-examination permits of further statements, as opposed to short and sharp questions and answers. The African elders make a good jury, where a jury is required; and African penalties are, with occasional modification, not opposed to equity.
Is it impossible to direct our local judges to work out an African system and code? And would it be impossible for cases to be heard in an open court, without doors or walls; and to allow all men free access to the magistrate, without ' fees' to clerks and boys? And might we have judges and magistrates who really know a vernacular? Africans are not quite ready for the post of interpreters on any large scale; and interpreters require careful watching.
At present we are not educating the African in equity and justice: we are merely astonishing him by what he regards as our folly.
Health.--Hook-worm, yaws, and leprosy all clamour for speedy treatment; and the Governments are not doing their duty. Certainly in Tanganyika Territory the people are sadly neglected.
The proportion of persons afflicted with hook-worm to the general population is very large indeed; and it seems a pity to spend so much money on departmental staffs, railways, and education while the main body of the population is in the grip of disease. It would not be difficult to stamp out hook-worm if the Government and the planters would co-operate with the Missions. But in all discussions about hook-worm we must always bear in mind that labour camps are the chief fields of mischief. Planters in Tanganyika carry a very grave responsibility in this matter, and while some do their very best, the effort is not general enough to be effective.
Unless the Governments concerned act quickly the African peoples will be physically ruined. Even on the ground of commercial prosperity it would pay both State and planter to act quickly and vigorously.
Drink.--I dislike prohibition as much as I dislike all oppression, and I do not venture to outline a policy. All I would urge is that, if possible, no one should be allowed to sell drink of any kind to Africans. Those that require it should make it at home or be given it by their friends. Much harm comes through drink-shops licensed by the State.
The Tanganyika Government has done wonders by forbidding the use of tembo, the coconut tree's produce. It has still to enforce its law thoroughly. But more can yet be done. Home-made beer should be limited in quantities as far as possible. This is necessary, not only for the sake of sobriety, but because of a possible shortage of food: so much grain is used for beer.
It has often occurred to me that the prohibition of all such beers would be good if the State would brew, or appoint some company to brew, a good light beer of the Lager-beer type and sell it to all inhabitants of the countries. The very fact that Europeans and Africans both used it would be much in its favour in many African minds.
The plan is quite feasible in town areas and within a reasonable distance of each administrative centre, and it would finally become possible in the new district areas.
Agriculture.--The Government must encourage Africans to remain on the land--that is, it must work out a policy of small farms, with the reservation that the soil remains common property.
This is the crux. It is here that the foreign settler has done so much harm to Africa. While bent on making the African till his farm for him, he holds up to the African in his personal habits the false ideal of a man whose only work is making others work on his behalf. He rightly aims at leading Africans to be industrious: yet, in the nature of the case, he shows him that the higher a man ' rises' the less manual work he does. Thus the African who thinks aims at being an overseer, or better still, a clerk or a teacher: manual labour is for those who are uneducated. Small holdings, as an ideal, do not enter into the African's mind.
Moreover, the African cannot yet understand the fluctuating market. If he grows cotton, to please his district officer, he expects a fair return, and if the second year's price be lower than the first he loses heart at once, and throws the blame on the Government, just like an English farmer.
We have need of authorised buying-agents, of trustworthy character, working in harmony with the Government, who will command the people's confidence. Indians have done much harm in this direction by profiteering, as also some white men.
Officials.--It is most necessary that local officials, who have begun to win confidence, be allowed to return to their own districts after furlough and be given an opportunity to fulfil their schemes. . . . Of course, sometimes we are glad when they are moved, for there are officials whose sense of personal dignity and ill temper unfit them to win the confidence and command the respect of the Africans. But the large majority of the District Officers is of a sort that meets the need. All that is required is continuity of personal influence--the one thing that counts in Africa.
All these notes appear to me to be interesting, and some of them call for criticism. The note on education should especially be pondered to-day, but I wish Frank had been more positive and outlined the sort of subjects which should be taught and the sort of people who should teach them. It is evident that he had not really thought out the problem of drink; for, although he disliked prohibition, all his suggestions to some extent involved it. I imagine that in a country like Africa it would be almost impossible to prevent the private brewing of beer, and there are very good reasons against creating a monopoly. Lastly, while Frank was probably right in desiring Africans to remain on the land, we may doubt the expediency of insisting on communal ownership. It could only work if the Africans were tied to the soil like the villeins under our own manorial system. This involves a serfdom against which Frank would have been the first to protest.