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Biography of Cecil Rhodes

Colonist. The Rhodes family can be traced back to sturdy English yeoman stock. In the eighteenth century they had held land in North London. Cecil’s father was vicar of Bishop’s Stortford, a quiet country town in Hertfordshire on the Essex border; he was a man of mark, wealthy, liberal, and unconventional, with the rare gift of preaching ten-minute sermons which were well worth hearing. Of his eldest sons, Herbert went to Winchester, Frank to Eton; Cecil, the fifth son, born on July 5, 1853, was kept at home. He had part of his education at the local Grammar School, but perhaps the better part at the Vicarage from his father himself. The shrewd Vicar soon saw that his fifth son was not fitted for the ordinary routine of professional life at home, and at the age of seventeen he was sent out to visit his brother Herbert, who had immigrated to Natal. Cecil said good-bye to his native land for the first time in 1870, and thus early elected to be a citizen of the Greater Britain beyond the seas. The brothers had certain points of resemblance, being both original and adventurous; but they had marked differences. The elder was a wanderer pure and simple, a lover of sport and of novelty. He could follow a new track with all the ardor of a pioneer; he could not sit down and develop the wealth that he had opened up. The management of the Natal cotton farm soon fell into the hands of Cecil, now eighteen years old, who noted every detail, and studied his crops, his workmen, and his...

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