Sir Marshal James Clarke
|1st Resident Commissioner in Southern Rhodesia|
5 December 1898 – 1 April 1905
|Succeeded by||Richard Chester-Master|
|Acting Administrator of Zululand|
|Governor||Sir Walter Hely-Hutchinson|
|Succeeded by||Charles Saunders|
|1st Resident Commissioner in Basutoland|
18 March 1884 – 18 September 1893
|Succeeded by||Godfrey Yeatsman Lagden|
24 October 1841|
|Died||1 April 1909
|Spouse(s)||Annie Stacy Lloyd (m. 1880)|
|Alma mater||Trinity College, Dublin, Royal Military Academy, Woolwich|
|Years of service||1863–1883|
|Battles/wars||First Boer War|
Lt-Col Sir Marshal James Clarke KCMG (24 October 1841 – 1 April 1909) was a British colonial administrator and an officer of the Royal Artillery. He was the first Resident Commissioner in Basutoland from 1884 to 1893, and, following the botched Jameson Raid, the first Resident Commissioner in Southern Rhodesia from 1898 to 1905. He was also Acting Administrator of Zululand from 1893 to 1898.
Clarke drew praise from the economist John A. Hobson in his treatise Imperialism for his devotion to the education and development of the native people of Basutoland, while Viscount Bryce noted that his approach fostered goodwill amongst native people towards Britain. In Zululand, Clarke granted considerable authority and special judicial functions to the hereditary chiefs; and was commended by Sir Walter Hely-Hutchinson, Governor of Natal, for his action in the face of potential famine.
Clarke was one of the sons of Reverend Mark Clarke, an Anglo-Irish clergyman of the Church of Ireland and Maria Hill. He was born in Tipperary, educated at a private school in Dublin and studied at Trinity College, Dublin.
He went on to study at the Royal Military Academy, Woolwich and was made a Lieutenant in the Royal Artillery in February 1863. He was made up to Captain in December 1875, brevetted Major in April 1880 in recognition of his services during operations in South Africa and promoted to Major in November 1882.
He served in India, where he lost an arm to a tiger. Moving to Africa, he was Aide-de-Camp to the Special Commissioner of South Africa in 1876, Sir Theophilus Shepstone, on his mission to the Transvaal. During the First Boer War, Clarke was twice mentioned in despatches. He was commanding a Turkish Regiment of the Egyptian Gendarmerie in 1882.
He retired in March 1883 with the honorary rank of Lieutenant-Colonel.
He was Resident Magistrate of Pietermaritzburg in 1874. He was appointed Special Commissioner to South Africa in 1876. He was Political Officer and Special Commissioner of Lydenburg in 1877. He was Commissioner of Cape Police in 1882.
He held the office of Resident Commissioner of Basutoland between 1884 and 1893. According to the economist John A. Hobson in 1902, Clarke in Basutoland, along with other administrators like Sir George Grey and Lord Ripon, "...brought sympathy and knowledge to the establishment of careful experiments in self-government." Hobson compares the approach to imperialism in Basutoland with that in Rhodesia and the Cape Colony, noting that in the former it is devoted to protecting and aiding the education and development of the native people, while in the latter two, the policy allows for the exploitation of the people and lands by white colonists. Viscount Bryce had already noted in 1897 that, while the British authorities suppressed the more "noxious" customs of the native people, Europeans were not allowed to own land and mineral prospectors were forbidden. Bryce further commented that Clarke's firmness combined with tactfulness had avoided disorder in the territory and inspired goodwill towards the British government.
Clarke was Acting Administrator of Zululand from 1893 to 1898. His tenure marked a difference in policy: instead of trying to divide and rule and undermine the power of the hereditary chiefs, he granted considerable authority to them. He gave special judicial functions to Hlubi of the Basotho, Mehlokazulu of the Ngobese and Mpiyakhe of the Mdlalose, enabling them to try certain cases referred to them by Resident Magistrates. He began the process for the return of Dinuzulu, Cetshwayo's exiled successor, and sought to harness the authority of the Zulu leader to the administration. However, when Clarke was appointed Resident Commissioner in Rhodesia in 1898, Charles Saunders replaced him and he bowed to pressure from settlers and officials to minimise Dinuzulu's influence over the Zulu people, especially during the Second Boer War.
Clarke had to deal with four natural disasters during his tenure. An outbreak of smallpox in 1894 was the result of labour migration and men returning from working in Witwatersrand. When it proved too costly for the people, he waived the charge for the vaccination. Locust swarms in 1894 and 1895 caused damage to crops and resulted in famine in 1896. The government response was to offer the chief of each tribe a reward of 3 d for every muid of locusts collected as well as cattle to slaughter when a swarm was eradicated. At the same time, Clarke bought 1,090 muids of quick-growing mealies to be given on payment to families requiring immediate relief, a measure of which Sir Walter Hely-Hutchinson, Governor of Natal, approved: "It is better to err on the side of unnecessary expenditure than to run the risk of exposing the people to starvation." Finally, in 1897, an outbreak of rinderpest killed many cattle and the government responded with a programme of inoculation.
Clarke was Resident Commissioner in Southern Rhodesia from 1898 to 1905. As a result of the debacle of the Jameson Raid in the winter of 1895–1896, the imperial government determined by order in council to appoint a permanent Resident Commissioner to supervise the affairs of the British South Africa Company in Southern Rhodesia. Joseph Chamberlain, Secretary of State for the Colonies, offered the role to Clarke, whose impressive administrative career was an indication of the importance of the role.
The Second Boer War gave Clarke cause for concern at the end of 1899 and he requested aid from Britain for the defence of Rhodesia. He was particularly concerned with the possibility of Africans avenging their recent defeat in the Second Matabele War by joining forces against the government. So, along with the native commissioners, he summoned and addressed indabas around the country to reassure the Africans that they would be protected and would not be called to fight, so could continue to pursue their peaceful occupations as normal. During this time, Africans deserted the mines, keeping their options open and "watching events".
Clarke was a critic of migrant labour schemes, which were designed to attract foreign labour to Rhodesia, and in 1900 he defended the rights of indigenous labour against infringement by foreign Africans from Mozambique, Nyasaland, Zambia and South Africa. He expressed his view, contrary to that of Lord Milner, that most Rhodesians were opposed to the introduction of Chinese labour, which was the subject of questions from Charles Trevelyan, Member of Parliament for Elland, in the House of Commons in 1904.
He was granted authority to wear the insignia of the Third Class of the Order of the Medjidieh in November 1883 conferred on him by Tewfik Pasha, Khedive of Egypt, as authorised by Abdul Hamid II, Sultan of the Ottoman Empire, in recognition of his services in the employ of the Khedive.
Clarke married Annie Stacy Lloyd, daughter of Major General Banastyre Pryce Lloyd in 1880 and had three children: Elizabeth Clarke (17 June 1885 – 26 July 1952), Admiral Sir Marshal Llewelyn Clarke (9 May 1887 – 8 April 1959) and Brian Lloyd Clarke (30 September 1888 – 19 April 1915).
- Company rule in Rhodesia
- British South Africa Company
- Administrative posts of the British South Africa Company in Southern Rhodesia
- Zulu Kingdom
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|Resident Commissioner in Southern Rhodesia
1898 – 1905