7 - 8 April 2004
RHODES, Cecil John (1853-1902). Autograph letter signed to [Charles Dunnell] Rudd, Oriel College, Oxford, n.d.[1876-1881], 6¼ pages, 8vo.
A letter of complaint about money, being 'completely in the dark as to what you want' and having difficulty in drawing [funds]. 'I wish you would send me credit through Cape of Good Hope; it is so very unpleasant being under an obligation to anyone and I had to be most pressing to get it done ... I had not a sixpence and do not like to bother my father. People in England are so blastedly suspicious, they who charge four per cent for drafts'. Rhodes continues on similar matters, and mentions his health in a postscript, 'I am feeling my lungs rather, it is frightfully damp here'.
Cecil Rhodes was almost unique at the time in getting himself into Oxford by his own financial resources. His time there did not run smoothly, and his term-keeping was interrupted by problems with money and poor health, requiring him to return several times to Kimberley. His gratitude to Oriel College, which accepted him inspite of his lack of the required Latin and Greek which had caused his rejection elsewhere, was shown by his bequest to the college of £100,000 in his will.
Charles Rudd, Rhodes' senior by nine years, was from 1873 his partner in ice-making and pumping ventures as well as in diamond speculation, and it was his businesslike qualities which enabled Rhodes to leave for England. The partnership which they formed was floated as the De Beers Mining Company in 1880.
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