Life of Statesman and Industrialist Sir James Sivewright of South Africa, 1848-1916: Builder of Railways, Telegraphs and Waterworks

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This work examines the imperial and republican consequences of the Industrial Revolution and global capitalism on South Africa through the eyes of Sir James Sivewright, advanced telegraphist, adept politician, and successful entrepreneur. This book contains thirteen black and white photographs and ten color photographs.


"James Sivewright is badly in need of historical rehabilitation. This thorough biography, by the one person who has seen all of the Sivewright papers and the relevant archives, ought to achieve that posthumous rehabilitation – if anyone can accomplish such a difficult task.” – Prof. Robert I. Rotberg, Harvard University

“[This] unique, singular biography of James Sivewright adds dimensions to understanding late nineteenth-century South African history that will have to be taken into account in future histories in the region.” – Prof. Jack Parson, College of Charleston

“. . . brings new insights to an important part of South African historiography.” – Prof. Aran S. MacKinnon, University of West Georgia

Table of Contents

List of Maps
List of Illustrations
Foreword: Robert Rotberg
Part One: Early Life, Telegraphy, and the Anglo-Zulu War 1848-1885
Chapter 1: Early Life and South African Telegraphs, 1848-1878
South Africa
The Merrimans and Sivewright
Chapter 2: Telegraphy and the Origins of the Anglo-ZuluWar, 1878-1879
Traveling Through the Disputed Territory
Sivewright and the Ultimatum
Chapter 3: Sivewright and the Anglo-Zulu War, 1878-1879
Sivewright, Bishop John Colenso and the Zulus: The Durnford Controversy and the Unburied Dead
Life in Pietermaritzburg and Durban, January – July 1879
Field Telegraphy and Ekowe
Transvaal Telegraphs
Sivewright and South African Telegraphy
Sivewright and the End of the Anglo-Zulu War
Chapter 4: Trans-Africanand Ocean Telegraphy, 1877-1885
Sivewright and Submarine Cable Routes
The Cable has Landed
The Politics of South African Telegraphy
The Silvertown Consortium and the Submarine Cable
Part Two: The Imperialist Afrikander, 1885-1894
Chapter 5: Early CapePolitics and Entrepreneurship on the Witwatersrand, 1885-1894
The Afrikaner Bond
Sivewright and Entrepreneurship
Chapter 6: Ministry of All the Talents: Political Union of the Cape Colony, 1890-1892
The Formation of the First Rhodes Ministry
African Rights
Chapter 7: The Sivewright Agreement: Railway Imperialism Confronts Railway Republicanism, 1891-1892
The Sivewright Agreement
The Sivewright Agreement and Natal
Flotation of the Sivewright Agreement
The Kimberley Exhibition
Chapter 8: Abroad: The Logan Contract, Delagoa Bay and the South AfricanStudents Union, 1892-1893
Sivewright, the McMurdo Concession and the Delagoa Bay Railway, 1893
Sivewright and the South African Students Union
Chapter 9: In Country: The Logan Contract and the Ministry of All the Talents, 1893-1895
The Logan Contract in Parliament
The Select Committee on the Logan Contract
Historiography of the Logan Contract
Chapter 10: Profits, Promises and Glen Grey, 1893-1895
Delagoa Bay
Sivewright in Johannesburg, 1893-1896
The Sivewright Agreement and CGR
The Election Campaign of 1893-1894
The Sivewright Agreement and The Solemn Promise
Sivewright and Glen Grey
Photographs and Vanity Fair Caricatures Following Page
Part Three: Laird of Lourensford, 1895-1898
Chapter 11: The Drifts Crisis and the Jameson Raid, 1895-1896
Calm before the Storm
The Charter and the Jameson Raid
Sivewright and the Premiership
Sivewright, the Solemn Promise and CGR, 1896-1898
Sivewright’s South African Business Interests, 1896-1898
The Peace Motion and the Precarious Sprigg Ministry
Sivewright, Poor Whites and Africans, 1896-1898
Chapter 12: The Imperialist Afrikander, the Cape, and the Transvaal, 1898
The Progressives
The Submarine Cable
Africans and the Sprigg Ministry
Redistribution and the Fall of the Sprigg Ministry
The Campaign of 1898
Part Four: Resident Proprietor of Tulliallan, 1899-1916
Chapter 13: South Africa from Great Britain, 1899-1916
Sivewright’s Eirenicom
The Sivewright Ambulance
Cold Storage and the Second Anglo-Boer War
Chapter 14: Sivewright’s Redemptive Work in Ecuador, 1901-1916
Archer Harman and the G&Q Railway Company
The Sivewright Loan
Chapter 15: The Eirenicom Arrives at the Terminus, 1905-1916
Prisoner of War
The Contested Will
Appendix A: The Sivewright Agreement (Abridged
The Loan (Abridged)
Working and Through Traffic Conditions (Abridged)
The Supplementary Agreement (Abridged)
Appendix B: The Logan Contract
Appendix C: British and US Currencies, 1878-1916
Appendix D: Vanity Fair Commentaries
James Sivewright, 1 June 1893
Bishop John Colenso, 28 November 1874
Cetchswayo, 26 August 1882
Lord Chelmsford, 3 September 1881
Paul Kruger, 8 March 1900
Cecil Rhodes, 28 March 1891
Barney Barnato, 14 February 1895
John Gordon Sprigg, 18 September 1897
Select Bibliography

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