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Lowveld cotton : a political ecology of agricultural failure in Natal and Zululand, 1844-1948 Schnurr, Matthew A. 2008-12-31

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  LOWVELD COTTON:   A POLITICAL ECOLOGY OF AGRICULTURAL FAILURE IN NATAL AND ZULULAND, 1844-1948   by   MATTHEW A. SCHNURR  B.Sc. (Hon), Queen?s University, 2001 M.A., University of London, 2002     A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF  THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF   DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY  in  The Faculty of Graduate Studies  (Geography)   THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA (VANCOUVER)      April 2008  ? Matthew A. Schnurr, 2008   ii   Abstract    This dissertation is a study of agricultural failure.  It follows the efforts of settlers, then scientists, to impose cotton as a commodity crop in the eastern region of South Africa, known today as KwaZulu-Natal.  Touted as a commodity crop capable of remaking land and life in this region in the 1850s, the 1860s, at the turn of the century, and again in the 1930s, cotton never achieved more than marginal status in the agricultural economy.  Its story is one of historical amnesia:  although faith in the region?s cotton prospects dipped following each spectacular failure, it was routinely resurrected once previous failures had been accounted for, or memories of them had faded.      Two  crucial  issues  are  at  the  centre  of  this  episodic  history.      First,  I  explore  the enthusiasms that underpinned successive efforts to introduce cotton, the logistics of planned expansion, and the reasons for the repeated collapse of cotton-growing schemes.  My primary argument is that cotton failed because colonists lacked the technology to overcome natural constraints to production, in the form of temperature, rainfall, soils and insect pests.  Settlers and scientists could not remake the land, the climate, or the cotton plant to meet their needs or  realize  their  dreams.    They  attempted  to  overcome  obstacles  to  production  through settlement schemes, new agricultural inputs, and breeding technologies, but were unable to conquer  the  ecological  incompatibilities  between  theoretical  ambition  and  practical cultivation.  This dissertation stresses the limits of colonial agriculture when confronted with unsuitable growing conditions.    Second, I aim to unravel the side effects of the repeated failures of cotton production in Natal and Zululand.  I turn the question of agricultural failure on its head to ask what was achieved  through  these  repeated  attempts  to  develop  cotton  as  a  commodity  crop.    I concentrate on the outcomes of these difficult and disappointing efforts at cotton cultivation ?  increased  settler  presence,  stronger  delineation  between  settler  and  African  space, expanded  state  control  into  rural  areas  ?  and  argue  that,  despite  repeated  failure,  cotton facilitated important structural changes to the region?s agricultural, political and economic landscape.                  iii Table of Contents  Abstract ?????????????????????????????????ii Table of Contents ????????????????????????????... iii List of Tables ??????????????????????????????... v List of Figures ??????????????????????????????. vi List of Illustrations ????????????????????????????vii List of Abbreviations ??????????????????????????... viii Note on isiZulu Orthography ????????????????????????ix Glossary ?????????????????????????????????x Acknowledgements ???????????????????????????? xi Dedication ???????????????????????????????  xii Co-Authorship Statement????????????????????????? xiii  Chapter 1  Introduction ??????????????????????????. 1 Cotton Episodes ???????????????????????????.5 A Brief History of South African Cotton Production, 1844-1948 ???????? 7 Cotton and Colonialism in Sub-Saharan Africa ??????????????..13 Science and the State ????????????????????????...17 A Political Ecology of Agricultural Failure.???????????????... 20    The Physical and Human Geography of South-eastern Africa ????????... 23 A Note on Methodology ???????????????????????. 34  Chapter 2  False Beginnings:  Imported Cotton and Emigrant Settlers in the Post-Annexation Period, 1844-1850 ???????????????????????. 38 Cotton Fever ????????????????????????????42 The Natal Cotton Company ?????????????????????? 48 Joseph Byrne?s Vision of Cotton Colonialism ???????????????52 The Byrne Settlers and their Land ???????????????????...58 Colonial Imagination and Ecological Realities ??????????????... 66  Chapter 3  Cotton as Containment:  Commodity Cropping and the Delineation of Agricultural Space for Settlers and Africans, 1852 ? 1872 ???????????... 78 Cotton as an African Crop ??????????????????????.. 81 Cotton and Containment ???????????????????????. 86 Zulu Cultivation Efforts ???????????????????????.. 91 Environmental and Economic Contexts ?????????????????..96 Renewed Focus on Settler Production ?????????????????...105  Chapter 4  Experts, the State, and the Zululand Cotton Boom, 1900-1925????... 113 The ?New? Agriculture ???????????????????????.. 116 South African Cotton Experts ????????????????????... 122 The State and Zululand ???????????????????????. 133      iv  Chapter 5  Boom and Bust in Zululand, 1924-1930 ?????????????? 145 Candover Estates ....................................................................................................... 149 Ntambanana Soldier-Settlement ????????????????????153 Accounting for the Collapse ?????????????????????..159 Environmental Explanations ?????????????????????. 169 Uneven Precipitation ????????????????????????. 182  Chapter 6  Scientific Advance and Practical Failure: The Empire Cotton Growing Corporation?s Attempts at Breeding for Insect-Resistance, 1924-1948 ??????. 191 A Vision for a Lowveld Cotton Research Station ?????????????.194 The Experimental Program at Barberton ????????????????.. 200 Safeness ?????????????????????????????. 209 Hybridization ??????????????????????????? 215 The Abandonment of Barberton ????????????????????219  Chapter 7  Conclusion:  One Hundred Years of Disappointment ????????  226 Agriculture, Experts and the State ???????????????????.233   Legacies of Colonial Failure for Agricultural Development ????????? 237  Bibliography ?????????????????????????????? 247  Appendices ??????????????????????????????... 274 Appendix A:  UBC Research Ethics Board?s of Certificate of Approval ???? 274                         v List of Tables   Table 2.1   Imports and Exports in the Colony of Natal for the First Five Years after Annexation ???????????????????????????????.. 39  Table 3.1   Rainfall Recorded at Monitoring Stations in Natal, 1854-1886,  in inches??... 97  Table 5.1   Average Price per Pound of Cotton Offered to South African Growers ???.147  Table 5.2   Debt Repayment on Ntambanana Settlement 1926 and 1927 ???????.176  Table 6.1   Jassid-Resistance Trials of Varieties at Barberton, 1925 ?????................202  Table 6.2   Progress of U.4 Variety Trials ??????????????????? 215  Table 6.3   The Distribution of ECGC Scientific Officers, 1928-1962 ????????.222                                vi List of Figures   Figure 1.1   Britain?s Cotton Consumption, 1840-1950???????????????.. 9                                          9  Figure 1.2   Raw Cotton Consumption and Prices in Britain, 1840-1950 ????????.. 9  Figure 1.3   South African Cotton Production, 1863-1870 ?????????????... 10  Figure 1.4   South African Cotton Cultivation, 1920-1939 ?????????????.. 12  Figure 3.1   International Price of American Middling, 1860-1870 ?????????... 109  Figure 4.1   Sugar Production in South Africa, 1891-1929 ????????????? 137  Figure 5.1   Cotton production in Natal and Zululand, 1920-1934 ??????????.148  Figure 5.2   World Cotton Production and Consumption, 1911-1932 ????????? 168  Figure 5.3   Mean Rainfall for Eleven Zululand Centres, 1924-1960 ????????? 187  Figure 6.1   Cotton Output for Natal and Zululand, 1929-1939 ???????????. 214                           vii List of Illustrations   Illustration 1.1   Map of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa??????????????? 3  Illustration 1.2   Topography of Natal and Zululand ???????????????.  25  Illustration 1.3   Vegetation Biomes in Natal and Zululand????????????? 29  Illustration 1.4   Temperature in Natal and Zululand ???????????????. 31  Illustration 1.5   Precipitation in Natal and Zululand ???????????????. 33  Illustration 1.6   The South African Lowveld ??????????????????. 34  Illustration 2.1   The Location of the Natal Cotton Company Lands ?????????. 50  Illustration 2.2   Location of Byrne Settlements within the Colony of Natal ??????. 59  Illustration 2.3   Byrne?s Grid on the Former NCC Lands along the uMhloti River ???.. 68  Illustration 2.4   Byrne?s Grid applied to Allotments along the Illovo River ??????. 69  Illustration 2.5   Sketch of Joseph Byrne (1852) by John Sanderson entitled ?A Weasel Asleep?????????????????????????????????? 75  Illustration 2.6   Sketch of Joseph Byrne (1852) by John Sanderson entitled ?Emigration Vulture?????????????????????????????????? 76  Illustration 3.1   Approximate Location of Fynn?s Inyangwimi Industrial Village ???? 85  Illustration 3.2   Native Locations in Natal c.1860 ????????????????. 88  Illustration 4.1   Areas Reserves for European Settlement in Zululand, 1904 ?????. 135  Illustration 5.1   Candover Estates ?????????????????????? 151  Illustration 5.2   Ntambanana Soldier-Settlement ????????????????.156  Illustration 6.1   Barberton, in the eastern Transvaal ??????????????? 198  Illustration 6.2   Field of Improved Bancroft Destroyed by Jassid, 1926???????..202  Illustration 6.3   Experimental Trials Showing the Link between Hairiness and Incidence  of Jassid ????????????????????????????????. 217    viii List of Abbreviations       ARC-IIC  Agricultural Research Council ? Institute for Industrial Crops     BBB     British Blue Books     BCGA   British Cotton Growing Association     BPP    British Parliamentary Papers     CEN     Department of Entomology     CNC     Chief Native Commissioner     CPC    Cotton Plantation Company     CSA    Cotton Supply Association         CSO    Colonial Secretary?s Office     ECGC    Empire Cotton Growing Corporation     ENSO   El Ni?o Southern Oscillation Event         GG     Government Gazette     GH    Government House     GOV     Governor?s Office     IMI     Secretary for Mines and Industries     KC    Killie Campbell Africana Library      LBD     Secretary for Agriculture     LDE-N   Department of Lands     LON     Department of Agricultural Education and Extension     LPS     Department of Irrigation     NA    National Archives of South Africa     NCC     Natal Cotton Company     NLSA    National Library of South Africa     NTS     Native Affairs Department      NVL     Ntambanana Valley Lands     PAR    Pietermaritzburg Archival Depot     PWD     Public Works Department     RHN     Department of Commerce and Industries           SGO     Surveyor?s General Office                SNA     Secretary for Native Affairs     URU     Uitvoerende Raad               ix Note on isiZulu Orthography    In  recent  years,  isiZulu  speakers  in  South  Africa  have  sought  to  reclaim  their language from the phonetic transliterations and distortions perpetrated by newcomers seeking to  render  an  oral  language  in  writing.  This  poses  an  unavoidable  challenge  to  historical scholars of the region.  In this dissertation, I have attempted to use the standard contemporary orthography wherever possible.  To maintain historical accuracy, I have used the anglicized version of names and places found in colonial contexts when quoting from these documents.  Generally  speaking,  current  practice  has  proper  names  and  places  preceded  by  ?u?,  and capitalizes the second letter:  e.g. uThukela River.  Prefixes also denote singular and plural, as well as noun classes.                                        x Glossary         ilobola       bride-selling       imizi          homestead       indlu (plural izindlu)      huts/home       induna (plural izinduna)   headmen       inkosi (plural izinkosi)   king       isiZulu       Zulu language       isiXhosa      Xhosa language       umbila       maize        umfecane      early 19th century uprising       umnumzana      male head of household                                    xi Acknowledgements  This dissertation is the end result of a project that has spanned six years and included extended  stays  on  three  continents.    There  are  many  people  to  thank.    In  Vancouver,  I benefited greatly from the insights and thorough edits offered by my advisor, Graeme Wynn.  Graeme  was  an  accommodating  and  encouraging  mentor,  and  I  have  come  to  value  his judgement immensely.  Matthew Evenden?s contributions went well beyond the expectations normally  placed  on  a  committee  member.    He  was  always  generous  with  his  time  and supportive in his message.   I was lucky enough  to join a  vibrant academic  community at UBC, including Chris Harker, Kevin  Gould,  Jessica  Dempsey, John Thistle,  Arn  Keeling, and Bob Wilson.  My friendship with Shane McCloskey was one of the best things to come out  of  these  two  years.    My  Vancouver-based  family,  Judy  Rother,  Errol  and  Gabby Lipschitz, made sure that I was always well-fed and up-to-date on the city?s hot spots.  I also want  to  acknowledge  the  funding  I  received  in  the  form  of  a  UBC  Graduate  Enrolment Scholarship and a SSHRC doctoral fellowship.      Thanks to London-based friends Ben Lampert, John Christopher, and Clare Herrick who generously provided floor space to crash on during my extended stays.    I was lucky enough to find my way into Malcolm Draper?s office on my second day in  South  Africa,  and  he  immediately  set  about  obtaining  library  access,  office  space,  and research fellow status on my behalf.  My third committee member, Shirley Brooks, added valuable  regional  insight  to  the  dissertation.    Thanks  to  my  collaborators,  Raj  Patel  and Harald  Witt,  and  to  the  many  farmers  of  kwaJobe,  uMboza  and  uNdumo  for  their conversations and  insight.  Thanks  also  to  Glenn Flanagan and  Priscille de  Chamonix for their hospitality in Pietermaritzburg, Shirley and Guy Hoffman for taking me in during my stays in Johannesburg, and to Frank Sokolic for his excellent cartographic work.  Siyabonga kahkulu to my isiZulu tutors: Nodubongwa Phakamile Ntshangase and Sipho Dube.      The past three years in Montreal have been among the best of my life.  Much love to St?phane  Dandeneau,  Catherine  Fagan,  Esther  Usborne,  Michael  King,  Andres  Friedman, Noam Silberstein, Rina Yoo, Lee Waxberg, Alex Jaglowitz, Ryan Noble, and Chris Madill for their friendship and support.      My  greatest  thanks  go  to  my  family  who  have  offered  constant  encouragement throughout this process.  My grandparents, Irving and Florence Rother, have been behind this project from its beginning, even if they didn?t always understand what it was all about.  My new family-in-law, Margo and Frank Rosen, Lisa Rosen, Irving and Elaine Singer, offered encouraging  words  and  delicious  food.    My  parents,  Brian  and  Annalee,  and  my  sister, Jessica, have given unconditional  love  and support at every stage in the process.   Natalie knows how much she has meant to me and to this project.  Of everything that has happened in the past six years, all of my favourite memories involve her.           xii             This dissertation is dedicated to my parents,  for the lessons of perspective and balance,  and to Natalie, for everything else.                                    xiii Co-Authorship Statement  Matthew  Schnurr  was  the  primary  investigator  and  author  of  this  dissertation.    Select interviews and focus groups undertaken at kwaJobe, uMboza and uNdumo in January and February 2005 were undertaken in collaboration with Dr. Raj Patel and Dr. Harald Witt of the University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban.                                           1  Chapter 1 Introduction  This dissertation is a study of agricultural failure.  It is premised on the notion that stories of failure can reveal as much about the intersections of nature, power, and politics as stories of success. Agricultural achievements ? stories about the transformation of the desert into the sown, the clearing of forests, the draining of wetlands, the development of hybrid seeds ? have been the focus of a great deal of scholarly work,1 but agricultural failures have rarely engaged enthusiasm or critical scrutiny.  This is unfortunate.   In the developing world, agricultural  failures  far  outnumbered  colonial  ventures  that  achieved  sustained  production and export.  In Africa, colonial administrators  hatched all  manner  of agricultural  schemes designed  to  encourage  the  continent?s  farmers  to  produce  commodity  crops.2    Almost  all ended  in  failure,  due  to  some  combination  of  unsound  planning,  a  misreading  of  the landscape,  poor  implementation,  and  African  resistance.    These  failures  deserve  more prominence within the historical and geographical literature, for they are emblematic of the realities of colonial rule in Africa.                                                    1 Mark Fiege, Irrigated Eden: The Making of an Agricultural Landscape in the American West (Seattle, 1999);  Ann Vilesis, Discovering the Unknown Landscape:  A History of America's Wetlands (Washington DC, 1997);  Jack Kloppenburg, First the Seed: The Political Economy of Plant Biotechnology, 1492-2000 (Madison, 1988);  Michael  Williams,  Americans  and  their  Forests:  An  Historical  Geography  (Cambridge  1989);    Michael Williams, The Making of the South Australian Landscape: A Study in the Historical Geography of Australia (London and New York, 1974);  Henry Clifford Darby, The Draining of the Fens (Cambridge 1956);  Graeme Wynn,  Timber  Colony:  An  Historical  Geography  of  Early  19th  Century  New  Brunswick  (Toronto,  1981);  Andrew  Hill  Clark,  The  Invasion  of  New  Zealand  by  People,  Plants  and  Animal:  The  South  Island  (New Brunswick,  1949);  David  J.  Wood,  Making  Ontario:  Agricultural  Colonization  and  Landscape  Recreation before the Railroad (Montreal, 2000).   2    See  for  instance  Ray  Dumett,  "Government  Assisted  Agricultural  Development  in  West  Africa:  Cotton Growing Experimentation in Ghana in the Early 20th Century," Agricultural History Review 23 (1975): 156-172;  H.A. Gemery and J.S. Hogendorn, "Comparative Disadvantage: The Case of Sugar Cultivation in West Africa," Journal of Interdisciplinary History 9 (1979): 429-449;  R.X. Maxon, "Up in Smoke: Peasants, Capital and the Colonial State in the Tobacco Industry in Western Kenya, 1930-1939," African Economic History 22 (1994): 111-139;  Harald Witt, "'Clothing the Once Bare Brown Hills of Natal': The Origin and Development of Wattle Growing in Natal, 1860-1960," South African Historical Journal 53 (2005): 99-122;  Allen Isaacman and Richard Roberts, eds., Cotton, Colonialism, and Social History in Sub-Saharan Africa (Portsmouth, 1995).   2 This study is an historical geography of the failure of one crop, cotton, in one place, the region known today as KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) [Illustration 1.1].3  Generally, one place, one crop micro-histories detail the benefits associated with the transformation of a particular landscape as newcomers implemented their designs upon a territory.4  But the story of cotton in south-eastern Africa fascinates for other reasons.  Cotton has never achieved significant status in the region:  at its zenith it accounted for just over 4% of KwaZulu-Natal?s exports.5  Yet hundreds of settlers and scientists, many of them basically unfamiliar with the African environment, made determined and successive attempts to overcome the multiple obstacles to production  that  hampered  cotton  cultivation  in  this  part  of  the  world.  This  dissertation interrogates their efforts, and seeks to explain their failure.6  It explores the enthusiasm that underpinned successive efforts to introduce cotton, the logistics of planned expansion, and the reasons for the repeated  collapse of cotton-growing  schemes.   It is,  in  historian Allen Isaacman?s terms, a study of historical amnesia, because although faith in the region?s cotton                                                  3 This micro-focus runs contrary to the recent trend in agricultural history:  the proliferation of studies that trace the spread of a single commodity across the globe.  See for instance Sidney Mintz, Sweetness and Power: The Place of Sugar in Modern History (New York, 1985);  Larry Zuckerman, The Potato:  How the Humble Spud Rescued the Western World (Boston and London, 1998);  Stuart Lee Allen, The Devil's Cup: Coffee, the Driving Force  in History (New York, 1999);  Alan MacFarlane, The Empire of Tea: The Remarkable History of the Plant that Took Over the World (Woodstock, 2004).  These studies are useful in highlighting the global linkages that  underpinned  the  expansion  of  these  commodities,  but  their  broad  coverage  precludes  longitudinal considerations.   4  James  McCann,  Maize  and  Grace:  Africa's  Encounter  with  a  New  World  Crop,  1500-2000  (Cambridge, 2005);  Stuart McCook, States of Nature: Science, Agriculture, and the Environment in the Spanish Caribbean, 1760-1940 (Austin, 2002);  Mintz, Sweetness and Power: The Place of Sugar in Modern History;  Zuckerman, The Potato: How the Humble Spud Rescued the Western World. 5 B. J. Leverton, The Natal Cotton Company: A Study in Failure (Pretoria, 1963). 6  George E. Brooks, "Peanuts and Colonialism: Consequences of the Commercialization of Peanuts in West Africa, 1830-1870," Journal of African History 16 (1975): 17-54;  Susan M. Martin, Palm Oil and Protest: An Economic  History  of  the  Ngwa  Region,  South-Eastern  Nigeria,  1800-1980  (Cambridge,  1988);    Robert  M. Maxon,  "Where  did  the  Trees  Go?  The  Wattle  Bark  Industry  in  Western  Kenya  1932-1950,"  International Journal of African Historical Studies 34 (2001): 565-584; Jonathan  Crush, "The  Culture of Failure:  Racism, Violence and White Farming in Colonial Swaziland," Journal of Historical Geography 22 (1996): 177-197.     3 prospects  dipped  following  each  spectacular  failure,  they  were  routinely  resurrected  once previous failures had been accounted for, or memories of them had faded. 7    Illustration 1.1:  Map of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.   Two crucial questions are at the centre of this discontinuous history of cotton in Natal and Zululand.  First, how can we account for this persistent cycle of failure: what factors sustained faith in cotton and what explains its repeated collapse?  My primary argument is                                                  7 Allen Isaacman, "Historical Amnesia, or, the Logic of Capital Accumulation: Cotton Production in Colonial and Postcolonial Mozambique," Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 15 (1997): 757-790.   4 that cotton failed because colonists lacked the appropriate technology to overcome natural constraints  to  production.    Settlers  and  scientists  could  not  remake  the  land  in  whatever fashion they wished.  They attempted to overcome obstacles to production through settlement schemes, new agricultural inputs, and breeding technologies, but were unable to conquer the ecological  incompatibilities  between  theoretical  ambition  and  practical  cultivation.    This dissertation stresses the limitations of colonial agriculture when confronted with unfamiliar growing  conditions.    To  emphasize  ecological  incompatibility  is  not  to  make  the deterministic claim that cotton failed for environmental reasons alone, however.  My goal is to  integrate  the  social  and  natural  elements  of  successive  failures  into  a  single,  seamless narrative that accounts for cotton?s century-long trajectory of booms and busts.  This study highlights political, racial and economic factors as well as ecological obstacles to production in considering cotton?s failure.8   Second, following James Ferguson, this dissertation aims to unravel the instrumental effects of the repeated failures of cotton production in the area of KwaZulu-Natal.9  Inspired by  Foucault?s  genealogy  of  the  prison,  Ferguson  moves  beyond  simply  chronicling  the repeated disappointments of rural development in Lesotho, to shift the focus onto what was achieved.  He highlights the ?side effects? that were major outcomes of development schemes that  purportedly  failed.      In  his  view,  ?planned  interventions  may  produce  unintended                                                  8 This argument is inspired by J. M. Powell, An Historical Geography of Modern Australia: The Restive Fringe (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1988).  Powell demonstrates how Australia?s history was mediated and framed by its physical environment.  He points to soil conditions and regional climates that were important determinants  in  shaping  settlement  patterns,  scientific  policies  and  national  identities.    Settlers  could  not recreate  these  Australian  landscapes  as  they  chose:    ecological  obstacles  ?  in  the  form  of  unfamiliar  soils, insufficient  rainfall,  previously  unknown  pests  ?  proved  significant  barriers  to  agricultural  production.  Colonists needed a significant boost from both science and politics to overcome these obstacles and entrench European agricultural crops and techniques.  He refers to Australia as a ?restive fringe? to emphasize the non-human landscape?s resistance to settler agriculture.   9  James  Ferguson,  The  Anti-Politics  Machine:  "Development",  Depoliticization,  and  Bureaucratic  Power  in Lesotho (Minneapolis, 1994).   5 outcomes that end up, all the same, incorporated into anonymous constellations of control? that turn out in the end to have a kind of politically intelligibility?.10 Instead of dwelling on the agricultural failures themselves,  Ferguson  reverses  the  question to ask  whose interests were served by these disappointments.  This study similarly turns the question of agricultural failure on its head to ask what was achieved through these cotton failures, and what these outcomes reveal about the underlying motives of agricultural change in southern Africa.  I concentrate on the outcomes of  these  cotton failures ? increased  settler  presence, stronger delineation between settler and African space, expanded state control into rural areas ? and argue that, despite its repeated failure, cotton facilitated important structural changes to the region?s agricultural, political and economic landscape.    Cotton Episodes   Efforts to make cotton a staple crop in the south-east Africa were far from continuous between 1844 and 1948.  Enthusiasm for and commitment to the plant surged and dissipated at irregular intervals. As a result, the narrative that follows is episodic rather than continuous.  Each chapter focuses on a particular phase of cotton cultivation, and attempts to unravel what underpinned the particular enthusiasm for cotton at that time, what precipitated its collapse, and what resulted from the failure.   Chapter 2  evaluates  the  crucial  role cotton played in boosting Natal?s colonial prospects in the wake of British annexation in 1844.  The chapter begins by dissecting representations of Natal as a ?cotton colony?.  A range of influences, imperial and local, helped fuel this idealized image:  concern over Britain?s cotton supply, the  prevalence  of  wild  cotton  in  the  South  African  lowveld,  and  the  success  of  early transplantation  and  experimentation  efforts.    Through  these  representations  emerged  a                                                  10 Ibid., 20.     6 particular construction of Natal as ideal cotton growing territory.  In the second part of the chapter I investigate how these idealized representations became integrated into emigration schemes.  I conclude that the failure of these emigration schemes was due, in large part, to the incompatibility of idealized representations of cotton?s potential in Natal and the reality transplanted settlers encountered on the ground.   Chapter  3  focuses  on  the  impacts  of  the  Lancashire  cotton  famine  in the  late  19th century and contrasts two initiatives that sought to capitalize on the corresponding rise in the international price of cotton.  A first push was focused on Zulu peasant cultivation.  Natal?s Secretary of Native Affairs, Theophilus Shepstone, encouraged cotton production as part of the colonial project of establishing a political order.  When this venture collapsed, blame was heaped  on  Zulu  growers,  who  were  lambasted  for  adhering  to  traditional  values  deemed incompatible  with  capitalist  economic  development.    I  argue  that  environmental  and economic factors ? more than cultural ones ? explain the failure of this scheme.  A second push  for  cotton  followed  soon  after.    White  settlers  rushed  into  the  uMkhomanzi  Valley, whose suitability for cotton had been proven by Zulu cultivation efforts.  Production surged while prices remained high but bottomed-out quickly once they dropped, leading to a mass exodus of settlers after only a handful of seasons.  This second push for cotton thus fits better within  the  broader  pattern  of  satellite  production  that  characterized  commodity  networks during the Lancashire famine.     Chapters 4 and 5 treat the Zululand cotton boom of the 1920s, the most successful period in the region?s cotton history.  In Chapter 4, I chronicle the mounting enthusiasm for cotton that characterized the 1910s and 1920s.  My primary aim is to understand how cotton came to figure as centrally as it did in national agricultural priorities.  I argue that cotton   7 emerged as a preferred crop within the new Union of South Africa because it fit well within the political and ideological priorities of the new white settler state.  Chapter 5 evaluates the abrupt  and  devastating  failure  of  the  Zululand  cotton  boom.    I  survey  the  combined devastation wrought by flood, drought  and insects, alongside  labour shortages, inadequate transport,  and  unfavourable  international  markets.   I  conclude  that  ecological  obstacles  to production were the ultimate cause behind the collapse of the Zululand cotton boom.  Chapter 6 shifts attention to the science of cotton breeding.  I examine the Empire Cotton  Growing  Corporation?s  breeding  program  at  Barberton,  which  was  designed  to overcome the ecological obstacles that had hampered previous cultivation attempts.  First, I focus on how the Corporation made use of its trans-national scientific networks to achieve success with insect-resistant breeding.  Then, I emphasize the local character of this cotton breeding program, seeking a more thorough understanding of the interaction between science and place.  This chapter is an attempt to ?place?  science, to  reveal the ways in which  the landscape  of  south-eastern  Africa  informed  this  research  agenda.    The  cotton  breeding program  at  Barberton  is  a  story  of  expert  knowledge  that  did  not  undermine  but  rather incorporated ecological specificity.    A Brief History of South African Cotton Production, 1844-1948   The  history  of  South  African  cotton  production  between  1844  and  1948  is  best divided into four distinct phases.  During the first phase (1844-1870) production was halted, scattered,  and  propelled  primarily  by  international  demand.    Cotton  was  embraced  by enterprising  white  settlers  in  the  Cape,  the  middleveld,  and  Natal  as  a  profitable  export   8 commodity highly desired by British manufacturers [Figures 1.1 and 1.2].11  Motivated by high  prices  and  the  desire  to  prove  South  Africa?s  agricultural  potential,  many  European settlers set aside a few acres of land for cotton experimentation.   Most failed.  Those who continued for more than a single growing season undertook most of the labour themselves (clearing  the  land,  preparing  seed  beds,  planting,  hoeing),  though  most  relied  heavily  on African  labour  for  picking.    Growing  regimes  (including  time  of  planting,  seed  choice, spacing, thinning, and planting) were determined exclusively by the individual farmer.  All manner  of  seed  was  tried,  but  there  was  little  consistency  among  different  producers.12  Promising  samples  were  received  from  South  Africa  during  this  period,  but  sustained production was elusive [Figure 1.3].                                                    11 Raw cotton was the most valuable international commodity throughout the 19th century.  Between 1800 and 1913  average  per  capita  consumption  of  cotton  increased  five  times  faster  than  any  other  fibre.    British manufacturers became increasingly worried about their over reliance on American supplies, which peaked at 86% of the world crop in 1897/98.  Both rising demand and concerns over interruptions in supply fuelled this search  for  new  imperial  sources  of  raw  cotton.    See  Douglas  A.  Farnie,  "The  Role  of  Merchants  as  Prime Movers in the Expansion of the Cotton Industry, 1760-1990," in The Fibre that Changed the World: The Cotton Industry in International Perspective, 1600-1990s, ed. Douglas A. Farnie and David J. Jeremy (Oxford, 2004), 15-56. 12 Many different varieties of seed were being grown in South Africa including three American Upland types, Griffin,  Uganda,  Nyasaland  Upland,  Sea  Island,  two  Egyptian  types,  Pima,  and  Watts  long  staple.    "Cotton Growing  in  South  Africa",  Bulleting  of  the  Imperial  Institute:  A  Quarterly  Record  of  Progress  in  Tropical Agriculture  and  Industries  and  the  Commercial  Utilization  of  the  Natural  Resources  of  the  Dominions, Colonies, and India XXI (1923): 629.     9  Figure 1.1:  Britain?s Cotton Consumption, 1840-1950.  Source:  R. Robson, The Cotton Industry in Britain (London, 1957), 331-333.     Figure 1.2: Raw Cotton Consumption and Prices in Britain, 1840-1950.  Source:  B.R. Mitchell, British Historical Statistics (Cambridge, 1988), 332/333 and 760.     10  Figure 1.3:   South  African  Cotton Production, 1863-1870.  Source:  F.M. du Toit, "South African Cotton Prospects", Farming in South Africa I (1926: 265).  Note that there are no production figures available before 1863.      The lack of success during this initial period of experimentation led growers to focus on  crops  that  were  better  adapted  to  local  growing  conditions.    Virtually  no  cotton  was cultivated  in  any  of  the  South  African  colonies  between  1870  and  1910.    Still,  settler agriculture made significant gains:  total area under cultivation increased more than fivefold, as settlers focused increasingly on the large-scale cultivation of sugar, maize, and wool.13  In Natal especially, these three commodities surged between 1870 and 1910:  acreage under maize expanded from 18 200 to 123 000 acres, while sugar expanded from 5 900 to 41 200 acres.14  The number of sheep in the colony rose from 300 000 to 952 000.15  Despite these                                                  13 Zbigniew A. Konczacki, Public Finance and Economic Development of Natal, 1893-1910 (Durham, N.C., 1967), 8. 14Charles Ballard and Giusseppe Lenta, "The Complex Nature of Agriculture in Colonial Natal: 1860-1909," in Enterprise and Exploitation  in a Victorian Colony: Aspects of the  Economic and Social History of  Colonial Natal, ed. Bill Guest and John M. Sellers (Pietermaritzburg, 1985), 151-180.  See also Bill Guest, "The Natal Regional  Economy,  1910-1960,"  South  African  Journal  of  Economic  History  5  (1990):  16-39.    Another important  characteristic  was  the  rapid  expansion  of  European  settler  agriculture  relative  to  that  of  Africans: European agriculture in Natal increased from 36 800 acres in 1870 to 451 000 acres in 1908, while African agriculture increased from 145 000 acres to 500 000 acres during this same period. 15 Konczacki, Public Finance and Economic Development of Natal, 1893-1910.     11 increases,  agriculture?s  overall  share  of  the  South  African  economy  declined,  as  the discovery of diamonds at Kimberley and gold at the Witwatersrand shifted capital and labour away from agricultural enterprise.16  Increasingly, South Africa came to rely on food imports.   The formation of the Union of South Africa ushered in the third and most successful phase  of  cotton  cultivation  (1910-1925).  The  Department  of  Agriculture?s  newly  created Tobacco  and  Cotton  Division  initiated  a  centralized  experimentation  network  that investigated  all  aspects  of  cotton?s  growth  and  development.    The  results  of  these  efforts were  assimilated  into  ?best  practices?,  which  were  then  widely  disseminated  to  growers throughout  the  Union.    This  coordinated  push  towards  cotton  was  part  of  the  broader capitalization of white agriculture, as the state used resources drawn from the mining sector to  underpin  the  expansion  of  the  white  agriculture.    Funds  were  set  aside  for  loans, cooperatives, widening agricultural research programs, and a proliferation of trained experts who oversaw this new national emphasis on cotton.  As a result, the volume of the Union?s agricultural  output  increased  by  more  than  70%  between  1911  and  1933,  by  which  time South  Africa  was  once  again  self-sufficient  in  food  production.17    This  government assistance, targeting highly capitalized, large-scale farming ventures, impelled cotton to its fastest growth ever experienced in South Africa [Figure 1.4].                                                     16  Francis  Wilson,  "Farming,  1866-1966,"  in  The  Oxford  History  of  South  Africa,  ed.  Monica  Wilson  and Leonard Thompson (Oxford, 1971), 104-172. 17  Stuart Jones and Andre Muller, The South African Economy, 1910-1990 (New York, 1992), 30.   12  Figure 1.4:  South African Cotton Cultivation, 1920-1939.  Sources: W.H. Scherffius, "The Tobacco and Cotton Industries", Journal of the Department of Agriculture (1922): 453; Yearbook of the Union of South Africa (1935): 471; Yearbook of the Union of South Africa (1941): 733.      The fourth and final phase of South African cotton cultivation (1925-1948) focused on addressing those obstacles to production that precipitated the collapse of the cotton boom in  1925.      This  period  was  marked  by  a regionalization  of  research:    officials  within  the Department  of  Agriculture  realized  that  local  growing  conditions  varied  significantly between the  Cape, the middleveld  and  lowveld.   They established three  separate  research centres  to  investigate  place-specific  impediments  to  production.    Generally,  though, enthusiasm for cotton declined during this period, as emphasis shifted instead to citrus, fruits, dairying and tobacco.        13 Cotton and Colonialism in Sub-Saharan Africa   Cotton?s role in advancing colonial interests has been investigated in various parts of the African continent.  The most comprehensive survey of the relations between cotton and colonialism in Africa is Allen Isaacman and Richard Roberts? superb edited volume Cotton, Colonialism and Social History in Sub-Saharan  Africa.   Contributions offer a compelling vision of how cotton fit within European aspirations across a wide range of British, French, Portuguese and German African colonies, though regrettably there is no reference to South African cotton efforts.  This volume is especially useful for understanding how agricultural policy prescriptions and African resistance played out in different continental contexts.  Each chapter is squarely focused on the social and economic dimensions of production; most are explicitly  committed  to  reasserting  the  agency  of  African  peasants in  shaping  agricultural outcomes.18      Little  attention  is  paid  to  the  environmental  dimensions  of  colonial  cotton ventures, however. The editors do situate environmental considerations prominently in the first  substantive  chapter,  but  the  brief  four  page  ?note?  on  cotton  and  climate  reduces ecological and agricultural considerations to the background in the substantive case studies that form the core of this volume.19     In  their  individual  assessments  of  cultivation  efforts,  most  contributors  echo  the editors?  conclusion  that  the  high  incidence  of  failure  ?must  be  explained  in  terms  of  the                                                  18 The editors are committed to confronting five issues of particular significance in the social history of cotton: ?1) the encounter between dynamic local processes in Africa and the world capitalist system 2) the impact of cotton  on  the  organization  of  rural  work  3)  the  ways  in  which  cotton  exacerbated  the  process  of  rural differentiation 4) the effects of cotton production on household food security 5) the efforts of growers to cope with  and  at  times  to  struggle  against  the  oppressive  demands  of  cotton  colonialism?  Allen  Isaacman  and Richard Roberts, "Cotton, Colonialism, and Social History in Sub-Saharan Africa," in Cotton, Colonialism, and Social History in Sub-Saharan Africa, ed. Allen Isaacman and Richard Roberts (Portsmouth, 1995), 1-42. 19 Philip W. Porter, "Notes on Cotton and Climate: A Colonial Conundrum," in Cotton, Colonialism, and Social History in Sub-Saharan Africa, ed. Allen Isaacman and Richard Roberts (Portsmouth, 1995), 43-49.  There is also a brief reference to ecological factors in on pp. 14/15 of the Introduction.     14 uneven  consequences  of  Africa?s  incorporation  into  the  world  capitalist  system?.20    The chosen  case  studies  emphasize  fluctuations  in  international  supply  as  the  major  catalyst behind  the  colonial  push  for  cotton.    They  stress  that  African  cultivators  mediated  this colonial  imposition  through  their  labour  and  resistance;  that  they  were  active  agents  in determining agricultural outcomes.   Other  histories  of  African  cotton  production  similarly  privilege  issues  of  peasant resistance and international markets over discussion of environmental change and growing regimes.    Research  in  Cote  d?Ivoire,21  Chad,22  Sudan,23  and  Mali24  has  stressed  peasant agency, labour resistance, and the  differentiated impact  of  forced cotton schemes,  but has remained  relatively  silent  on  how  local  growing  conditions  impacted  outcomes.25    This dissertation puts the African environment front and centre. Here the biophysical environment is treated not simply as a stage upon which colonial ventures played out, but rather as a major factor shaping cotton histories. The pages that follow demonstrate a fundamental concern to understand the role of local growing conditions in sustaining cycles of failure.   Another notable absence in many histories of cotton cultivation in the continent is a critical  treatment  of  the  cotton  plant  as  an  agent  within  human-formulated  production schemes.    Most  research  into  the  intersections  of  cotton  and  colonialism  treats  the  plant                                                  20  Isaacman and Roberts, "Cotton, Colonialism, and Social History in Sub-Saharan Africa," 2.  21 Thomas J. Bassett, The Peasant Cotton Revolution in West Africa 1880-1995 (Cambridge, 2001). 22 Ulrich Sturzinger, "The Introduction of Cotton Cultivation in Chad: The Role of the Administration, 1920-1936," African Economic History 19 (1983): 213-224. 23 Cleophas Lado, "Some Aspects of Cotton as a Cash Crop Development in an Historical Perspective in Maridi District, Southern Sudan," Journal of Eastern African Research and Development 18 (1987): 24-43. 24 R. L. Roberts, Two Worlds of Cotton:  Colonialism and the Regional Economy in the French Soudan 1800-1946 (Stanford, 1996). 25  Exceptions are Elias  Mandala, Work and Control in a  Peasant Economy: A History of  the Lower Tchiri Valley in Malawi, 1859-1960 (Madison, 1990); Jamie Monson, "Rice and Cotton, Ritual and Resistance: Cash Cropping in Southern Tanganyika  in  the 1930s,"  in Cotton, Colonialism and Social History  in Sub-Saharan Africa, ed. Allen Isaacman and Richard Roberts (Portsmouth, 1995), 268-284; Allen Isaacman, Cotton is the Mother  of  Poverty:  Peasants,  Work,  and  Rural  Struggle  in  Colonial  Mozambique,  1938-1961  (Portsmouth, 1996) which emphasize how environmental factors framed attempts at peasant cultivation.   See also John Tosh, "The Cash-Crop Revolution in Tropical Africa: An Appraisal," African Affairs 79 (1980): 79-94.   15 unproblematically,  paying  scarce  attention  to  its  particular  physiology  and  growing requirements.26    In  doing  so,  these  accounts  reduce  cotton  to  an  homogenous  and  even anonymous cash crop that could just as easily be replaced by tea, sugar, coffee, or any other commodity highly desired by the metropolitan economy.  The plant itself becomes nothing more than a ?leafy, green backdrop to a story of colonialism and coerced labour?.27  Understanding cotton?s botany is crucial to understanding the stories of agricultural failure unfolded in these pages.28  Cotton is unusual in that temperature is often a more potent limit to its growth than rainfall.  It is a heat-loving plant that only succeeds where growing-season temperatures are consistently high.  Optimum temperatures for growth are between 240C  and  320C,29  while  low  temperatures  (below  200C)  inhibit  germination  rates,  shoot elongation,  and  primary  root  development.30      Growth  and  development  cease  when temperatures  fall  below  100C.    Generally  speaking,  cotton  requires  a  minimum  of  two hundred days above 200C, though ultimately it  is the  accumulation  of  sunlight hours  that determine heat availability.  In terms of heat units ? the most common value used to estimate accumulated  temperature  effect  ?  KwaZulu-Natal?s  Department  of  Agriculture  and Environmental  Affairs  estimates  that  cotton  requires  between  2100-2700  units  during  the                                                  26 Though for an exception see Osumaka Likaka, Rural Society and Cotton in Colonial Zaire (Madison, 1997), whose account of cotton in colonial Zaire recognizes how the particularities of cotton?s growing regime were crucial to its acceptance by peasant cultivators.   27 William K. Storey, Science and Power in Colonial Mauritius (Rochester, 1997), 4. 28 There are hundreds of distinct cotton varieties with significant differences in growing requirements.  This general discussion on growing requirements is intended only to outline the plant?s basic pattern of growth and development.   29 J.L. Hatfield, J.R. Mahan, and J.J. Burke, "Crop-Specific Thermal Kinetic Windows in Relation to Wheat and Cotton Biomass Production," Agronomy Journal 80 (1988): 553-556.  See also V.R. Reddy, K.R. Reddy, and D.N. Baker, "Agroclimatology and Modeling," Agronomy Journal 83 (1991): 211-217. 30 P.J. Wiatrak, D.L. Wright, and J.J. Marois, "Influence of Meteorological Factors on Cotton," Soil and Crop Science Society of Florida Proceedings 64 (2005): 91-97.  See also J.R. Gipson and H.E. Joham, "Influence of Night  Temperature  on  Growth  and  Development  of  Cotton  (Gossypium  hirsutum  L.):  Fruiting  and  Boll Development," Agronomy Journal 60 (1968): 292-295. Extreme high temperatures (generally considered above 350C) can also impede plant development.     16 October-March  growing  season.31    Heat  accumulation  is  the  single  most  important determinant for morphological development.      Although cotton is generally considered to be a hardy and drought-resistant crop, it is quite demanding in its water requirements.  Dryland (as opposed to irrigated) cotton needs an initial burst of rain to allow planters to prepare the seedbed and for germination to begin.  A minimum of 90 to 120 mm of rainfall is required in the first two months after planting to nourish  the  seedlings.32      Steady, regular  rains  are  required  throughout  the  flowering  and development stages:  too little will stifle boll development, too much might pose problems of flooding or waterlogging, or damage the cotton already on the bolls.  Generally, lint yield, boll density, boll weight, and lint percentage are positively correlated with rainfall, up to a threshold.33  Within southern Africa, the optimal precipitation distribution lies between 700 and 1100mm.34  Poor stands will result if rains are late, irregular, or insufficient.     Cotton  tolerates  a  range  of  soil  types.    It  thrives  on  a  medium-textured  loam  or alluvium, sandy loam, or heavy clay.  Soil depth is crucial:  soils must be soft and permeable to allow cotton?s extended tap roots (as long as three metres) to penetrate.  If root expansion is  stunted  then  above-ground  plant  growth  will  not  reach  full  potential.35    Soils  that  are vulnerable to waterlogging can also retard vegetative growth significantly.                                                     31 K. Camp, "The Bioresource Groups of KwaZulu-Natal," (1999).  Monthly heat units values are obtained by subtracting the base temperature (the temperature under which the crop will not grow; in cotton?s case the base temperature  is  100C)  from  the  mean  temperature  and  multiplying  this  figure  by  the  number  of  days  in  that month.   32 Isaacman, "Historical Amnesia, or, the Logical of Capital Accumulation: Cotton Production in Colonial and Postcolonial Mozambique". See also A.B. Hearn and G.A.  Constable, "Cotton," in The Physiology of Tropical Food Crops, ed. P.R. Goldsworthy and N.M. Fisher (Chichester, 1984), 495-427. 33 D.L. Shaw, "Boll Weight, Yield and Quality Relationships, Irrigated and Dryland Cotton, Texas 1986-1994" (paper presented at the Proceedings of Beltwide Cotton Conference, San Antonio TX, Jan 4-7 1995). 34 Isaacman, "Historical Amnesia, or, the Logic of Capital Accumulation: Cotton Production in Colonial and Postcolonial Mozambique,"  760.   35 A.N. Prentice, Cotton: With Special Reference to Africa (London, 1972).   17 Science and the State   A  second  important  theme  in  this  dissertation  concerns  the  role  of  science  in  the repeated cycles of boom and bust in South African cotton cultivation. By focusing on this question, this study moves to address a long-standing criticism of political ecology: that it neglects the social relations which produce and legitimize science.36  In the following pages, I  attempt  to  reveal  the  politics  imbedded  within  the  science  of  cotton  cultivation  by deepening  understanding  of  how  scientific  knowledge  became  institutionalized,  and  how particular  constructions  of  expertise  underpinned  the  legitimacy  of  these  cyclical  cotton ventures.     Two  recent  studies  offer  promising  avenues  for  investigating  the  role  of  science within  colonial  agricultural  development.    Both ask  how  professional  specialists  achieved their  revered  status.    In  Rule  of  Experts,  Timothy  Mitchell  examines  how  scientific authorities  were  crucial  to  the  formation  of  what  he  terms  ?techno-science?,  which underpinned the British ideal of colonial improvement in areas of resource management and population control.  Mitchell argues that expertise was an outcome rather than a given: he stresses the role of multiple interactions  that give  rise  to  expertise,  understanding  it as an alloy  whose  components  ?are  both  human  and  non-human,  both  intentional  and  not?.37  Joseph Hodge investigates this process of expertise formation on a broader scale by focusing on the British scientific apparatus of the late colonial period.  Like Mitchell, he is concerned with the interactions that produce expertise, especially those linking practitioners operating in                                                  36 Piers Blaikie, "A Review of Political Ecology: Issues, Epistemology, and Analytical Narratives," Zeitschrift furWirtschaftsgeographie 43 (1999): 131-147.  See also similar calls in Tim Forsyth, Critical Political Ecology (London and New York, 2003), 10; A.P. Vayda and B.B. Walters, "Against Political Ecology," Human Ecology 27  (1999):  167-79;  Peter  A.  Walker,  "Political  Ecology:  Where  is  the  Ecology?,"  Progress  in  Human Geography 29 (2005): 73-82.   37 Timothy Mitchell, Rule of Experts: Egypt, Techno-Politics, Modernity (Berkeley, 2002), 43.   18 different sites and contexts.   But  Hodge  also focuses  on the political outcomes  that these colonial experts facilitated.  He contends that officials sought to frame problems in technical terms  ?that  provided  the  rationale  for  administrative  solutions  that  promoted  external intervention  and  control  over  local  resources  and  practices?.38  Hodge  concludes  that  the lasting legacies of colonial experts were centralized, bureaucratic interventions that extended state control over both people and resources.   Lowveld Cotton builds upon these studies to expose the messy, complex process of expertise  formation  as  well  the  political  outcomes  achieved  by  those  afforded  expert authority in the context of cotton production.  It is especially concerned with the relationship between science and the state.   In the colonial period, enthusiasm for cotton in Natal and Zululand  was  predicated  on  its  perceived  ability  to  reinforce  imperial  goals:    increasing colonial  revenues,  expanding  settler  numbers,  solidifying  the  divide  between  settler  and African  space.  Cotton  became  a  ?tool  of  empire?,  mobilized  by  the  state  to  advance  its political objectives.39  Other instances of agricultural science in the service of empire have been well-documented.40  Helen Tilley?s work on the African Research Survey shows how                                                  38  Joseph  Morgan  Hodge,  Triumph  of  the  Expert:  Agrarian  Doctrines  of  Development  and  the  Legacies  of British Colonialism (Athens, 2007), 12. 39 Daniel R. Headrick, The Tools of Empire: Technology and European Imperialism in the Nineteenth Century (New York, 1981). 40 See for instance Roger Knight, "Sugar, Technology, and Colonial Encounters: Refashioning the Industry in the Netherlands Indies, 1800-1942," Journal of Historical Sociology 12 (1999): 218-250;  Roy MacLeod, ed., Nature and Empire: Science and the Colonial Enterprise, Osiris (Chicago, 2000);  J. H. Galloway, "Botany in the Service of Empire: The Barbados Cane-Breeding Program and the Revival of the Caribbean Sugar Industry, 1880s-1930s," Annals of the Association of American Geographers 86 (1996): 682-706.  Hodge, Triumph of the Expert:  Agrarian Doctrines of Development and the Legacies of British Colonialism, 8 also speaks  to these issues:  ?the most striking feature of British colonialism in the 20th century is the growing confidence it placed in  the  use  of  science  and  expertise,  joined  with  the  new  bureaucratic  capacities  of  the  state,  to  develop  the natural  and  human  resources  of  the  empire  and  manage  the  perceived  problems  and  disorder  generated  by colonial rule?.   19 the project was underpinned by the political goal of entrenching colonial control.41  William Storey?s  account  of  agricultural  initiatives  in  colonial  Mauritius  stresses  that  the  state?s research  agenda  was  set  primarily  by  the  political  and  cultural  priorities  of  agricultural experts.42  In India, Matthew Edney?s work on the cartographic vision of empire explores how British administrators viewed their possessions through a ?scientific gaze? that ordered chaotic  and unknown colonial landscapes.43   This  dissertation similarly argues that cotton cultivation  in  the  19th  century  was  advanced  primarily  as  a  means  of  cementing  colonial control,  while  paying  special  attention  to  the  specific,  local  factors  that  complicated  the imposition of this imperial vision.        This  convergence  of  scientific  and  state  interests  strengthened  following  the formation of the Union of South Africa in 1910.  A new scientific bureaucracy emerged ? a professionalization of colonial administration ? which in turn spawned a culture of expertise that embraced cotton as  an  ideal crop for commercial  farmers in the new Union.   Cotton emerged as a favourite of agronomists and state policy makers alike by offering to extend the reach  of  white  control  into  African  agricultural  spaces.    This  dissertation  focuses  on  the individual  experts  who  underpinned  this  cotton  boom,  and  how  they  used  their  elevated status to extend state control into the most inaccessible parts of the Union.  It attempts, in Roy MacLeod?s terms, to unravel the role of the expert ? this ?protean image of authority and  rational  knowledge?  ?  in  providing  scientific  justification  for  what  was  primarily  a                                                  41 Helen Tilley, "African Environments and Environmental Sciences:  The African Research Survey, Ecological Paradigms,  and  British  Colonial  Development,"  in  Social  History  and  African  Environments,  ed.  Joanne McGregor and William Beinart (Oxford 2003), 109-130. 42 Storey, Science and Power in Colonial Mauritius.   43  Matthew.  H.  Edney,  Mapping  an  Empire:  The  Geographical  Construction  of  British  India,  1765-1843 (Chicago, 1997).   20 political project.44  Though cotton eventually failed, agricultural experts paved the way for administrative solutions that enlarged the political influence of the newly consolidated white state.    One  final  emphasis  that  permeates  this  study  is  an  effort  to  ?place?  science.    The science that underpinned cotton cultivation did not emerge in a vacuum:  it was shaped by the local environment, the approaches and  knowledge  that  transplanted experts imported  with them, and the exchange  of specimens and ideas  with colleagues at other agricultural sites around the globe.  This dissertation seeks  to  unpack the science of cotton cultivation and reveal the complex interactions that characterized it.  To achieve this I focus on what Alan Lester terms ?geographies of connection?, unravelling how the science of cotton cultivation was ?forged?across a network linking these sites together?.45  Understanding the science of cotton cultivation as a web underscores the fact that colonialism was simultaneously both a process  and  a  structure.46    I  argue  that  this  drive  towards  cotton  was  produced  ?  both materially and discursively ? within imperial networks of exchange.    A Political Ecology of Agricultural Failure   This dissertation employs a political ecology perspective to investigate this historical series  of  agricultural  failures.    Although  political  ecologists  have  debated  the  contours  of                                                  44  Roy  MacLeod,  Government  and  Expertise:  Specialists,  Administrators,  and  Professionals,  1860-1919 (Cambridge, 1988), 1.  See also Roy MacLeod, The 'Creed of Science' in Victorian England (Aldershot, 2000). 45 Alan Lester, Imperial Networks: Creating Identities in Nineteenth-Century South Africa and Britain (London and New York, 2001), 5.  See also Alan Lester, "Imperial Circuits and Networks: Geographies of the British Empire,"  History  Compass  4  (2006):  124-141;  Kapil  Raj,  Relocating  Modern  Science:  Circulations  and  the Construction of Knowledge in South Asia and Europe, 1650-1900 (New York 2007);  Ann Laura Stoler and Frederick  Cooper, "Between Metropole and Colony: Rethinking a Research Agenda," in Tensions of Empire: Colonial  Cultures  in  a  Bourgeois  World,  ed.  Frederick  Cooper  and  Ann  Laura  Stoler  (Berkeley  and  Los Angeles, 1997), 1-56. 46  As  Alan  Lester  writes:  ?these  relations  were  always  stretched  in  contingent  and  non-deterministic  ways, across space, and they did not necessarily privilege either metropolitan or colonial spaces.  They remade both metropolitan  and colonial places  in  the  act of connecting  them?.     Lester, "Imperial Circuits  and Networks: Geographies of the British Empire, " 131 [original emphasis].     21 their scholarly project at length, there is still a great deal of uncertainty about what exactly the term encompasses.47 Most scholars agree that Piers Blaikie?s Political Economy of Soil Erosion in Developing Countries laid  out  the  five central tenets of political ecology:    an understanding  of  the  natural  and  social  as  co-constitutive,  the  incorporation  of  multiple methodologies, an emphasis on multi-scalar analysis, empirical data collection at the micro level, and a focus on ?chains of causation?.48  This study certainly stresses the inextricability of natural and social elements in the repeated failures of cotton cultivation schemes.  I take from other political ecologists the push to disrupt simple nature/culture binaries, and seek to understand long-term land use patterns as the result of iterative processes that incorporate natural and social dynamics simultaneously. As Goldmann and Schurman remarked in their review of social theory as it pertains to society and nature: ?studies of nature-society relations need to consider ecological processes, political-economic structures, and meanings, values, and agency as necessary and complimentary components of analysis?.49   James Fairhead and Melissa Leach accomplish this brilliantly by integrating social and ecological explanations to uncover the misrepresentation of land use change by western scientists in Guinea.  Throwing off  what  they  refer  to  as  the  ?nature-culture  straightjacket?,  their  project  reveals  ?how ecological phenomena are socialized and social phenomena are ecologized? in an effort to                                                  47  See  for  instance  the  section  entitled  ?Building  Coherence  in  Political  Ecology?  in  Raymond  Bryant  and Michael K. Goodman, "A Pioneering Reputation: Assessing Piers Blaikie's Contributions to Political Ecology," Geoforum  (2007).  More comprehensive surveys of political ecology include Paul Robbins, Political Ecology:  A Critical Introduction (Malden MA, 2004);  Karl Zimmerer and Thomas J.  Bassett, Political Ecology:  An Integrative  Approach  to  Geography  and  Environment-Development  Studies  (New  York,  2003);    Forsyth, Critical Political Ecology. 48 Piers Blaikie, The Political Economy of Soil Erosion in Developing Countries (London and New York, 1985).  See also Dianne Rocheleau, "Political Ecology in the Key of Policy: From Chains of Explanation to Webs of Relations," Geoforum  (2007). 49 Michael Goldman and Rachel A. Schurman, "Closing the 'Great Divide': New Social Theory on Society and Nature,"  Annual  Review  of  Sociology  26  (2000):  563-584.    See  also  William  Adams,  Green  Development: Environment and Sustainability  in the Third World, 2nd ed. (London, 2001), 252.  Research  in the political economy  of  agriculture  has  also  provided  important  insight  into  the  specific  ways  that  capitalist  enterprise interacts with and seeks to overcome natural constraints to production.  See for instance:  Susan Archer Mann, Agrarian Capitalism in Theory and Practice (Chapel Hill and London, 1990).     22 understand  the  demonization  of  local  land  use  practices  within  deforestation  discourses.50  Similarly, this dissertation integrates both natural and social factors into a single  seamless narrative that unravels this cycle of booms and busts.51     Other elements of Blaikie?s ?regional political ecology? approach have been important in  framing  this  study.    Blaikie  and  Brookfield?s  Land  Degradation  and  Society  is fundamentally concerned with understanding local processes of agricultural change, in which relationships  between  farmers  and  their  physical  environments  are  analyzed  within  their ?historical,  political,  and  economic  context?.52    More  recently,  Dianne  Rocheleau  has reaffirmed political ecology?s focus on the micro-context as an ?unflinching commitment to empirical  observation  of  biophysical  and  socio-economic  phenomena  in  place?.53    Micro-scale  processes  are  then  linked  up  with  broader  patterns  of  regional,  national  and international events through ?chains of causation?, providing explanations that consider how events that transpired at multiple scales intersected and overlapped to produce changing land use patterns.54  The emphasis is thus on layered or nested scales of explanation.  A political ecology  of  agricultural  failure  begins  on  the  ground,  but  works  up  to  connect  these  local                                                  50James Fairhead and Melissa Leach, Misreading the African Landscape: Society and Ecology in the Forest-Savanna  Mosaic  (Cambridge,  1996),  8.    See  also  Christian  Kull,  Isle  of  Fire:  The  Political  Ecology  of Landscape Burning in Madagascar (Chicago, 2004).   51 Two volumes that survey the different theoretical approaches useful in disrupting this nature/culture binary are  Bruce  Braun  and  Noel  Castree,  Remaking  Reality:    Nature  at  the  Millennium  (London  and  New  York, 1998), and Noel Castree and Bruce Braun, Social Nature: Theory, Practice, and Politics (Malden MA, 2001).  See also Dianne Rocheleau, "Rooted Networks, Relational Webs and Powers of Connection: Rethinking Human and Political Ecologies," Geoforum 38 (2007): 433-437. 52Piers Blaikie and Harold Brookfield, Land Degradation and Society (London and New York, 1987).  Peet and Watts are equally committed to political ecology that begins by studying the politics of production at the local level.  Michael Watts and Richard Peet, "Liberating Political Ecology," in Liberation Ecologies: Environment, Development, Social Movements, ed. Richard Peet and Michael Watts (London and New York, 2004).   53 Rocheleau, "Political Ecology in the Key of Policy: From Chains of Explanation to Webs of Relations", 716.    54 See for instance Thomas J. Bassett, "The Political Ecology of Peasant-Herder Conflicts in the Northern Ivory Coast," Annals of the Association of American Geographers 78 (1988): 453-472, and Richard Black, "Regional Political Ecology in Theory and Practice: A Case Study from northern Portugal," Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers 15 (1990): 35-47.     23 processes  within  broader  patterns  of  land  use  change,  political  transitions,  and  economic trends, focusing on connections between events taking place at different scales.     This  emphasis  on  multi-scalar  analysis  extends  across  time  as  well  as  space.  Studying nature-society interactions over the long-term helps identify those factors that are consistently important in determining patterns of land use change.55  A wide historical lens allowed Michael Mortimore to underline the crucial impact of population pressure in creating sustainable land management practices in Kenya.56  Likewise, Christopher Conte utilized a longue-duree approach to identify the continuities in state forest management practices in Tanzania  through  the  transition  from  pre-colonial  times  through  colonial  rule  to independence.57      As  a  political  ecology  of  agricultural  failure,  this  dissertation  considers how regional, national, and international processes intersect with local ones over an extended time-frame,  to  reveal  the  periodicity  of  the  cycle  of  cotton  booms  and  busts,  and  offers analysis of the factors that sustained this repetitive cycle of failure.    The Physical and Human Geography of South-Eastern Africa   Natal is a diamond-shaped territory on the eastern flank of southern Africa, located between 290 and 310 S and 290 and 310 E.  The colony?s southern and northern boundaries have fluctuated significantly over time; generally speaking Natal is bounded to the south by Griqualand  East  and  Pondoland  (marked  first  by  the  uMzimkhulu  and  later  by  the                                                  55 See the special issue of Land Degradation and Development dedicated to ?Environmental Histories, Access to  Resources  and  Landscape  Change?  10  (1999),  especially  the  introduction:    Tony  Bebbington  and  Simon Batterbury,  "Environmental  Histories,  Access  to  Resources  and  Landscape  Change:  An  Introduction,"  Land Degradation and Development 10 (1999): 279-289. 56 Michael Mortimore, Roots in the African Dust: Sustaining the Sub-Saharan Drylands (Cambridge, 1998). 57 Christopher A.  Conte, "The Forest  Becomes Desert: Forest Use  and Environmental Change  in Tanzania's West Usambara  Mountains," Land Degradation and Development 10 (1999): 291-309.  Another instance of longitudinal  analysis  helping  to  reveal  long-term  process  of  land  use  change  is  Phillip  Porter,  Challenging Nature: Local Knowledge, Agroscience, and Food Security in Tanga Region, Tanzania (Chicago and London, 2006).   24 uMthavuma River), and to the North by Zululand (marked by the uThukela and uMzinyathi Rivers).58  Natal?s eastern and western borders have been more permanent:  the Indian Ocean bounds  it  to  the  east,  while  the  Drakensberg  Escarpment  rises  in  the  west.    Natal  is sandwiched between these two set barriers.      The Drakensberg escarpment,  which rises  steeply  to elevations of 2500-3000m, is Natal?s most dramatic topographical feature.  This physiographic barrier acts as a climatic wall  arresting  much  of  the  moisture  brought  inland  from  the  Indian  Ocean.    From  the Drakensberg peaks the land slopes down in a series of ridges before it flattens into the wide basins and rolling hills of the midlands, and then descends more gently and evenly down to the coast [Illustration 1.2]. Natal is crossed by a dozen major rivers that flow eastwards from the Drakensberg Mountains to  the Indian Ocean.   These rivers are  characterized by  steep gradients and are interrupted by heavy turbulent rapids.  They are also quite narrow due to their small catchments areas and limited rainfall, making vessel navigation impossible.                                                   58 Prior to the annexation of Alfred?s County in 1866, the uMzinkhulu River marked the southern boundary of Natal.  Post-annexation the southern border became the uMtamvuna River.     25  Illustration 1.2:  Topography of Natal and Zululand.     Natal?s  first  inhabitants  were  (Stone  Age)  hunters  and  gatherers  who  migrated seasonally between the mountains in summer and the humid coast in winter. The late Iron Age  (c.1000  CE)  brought  significant  increases  in  population  density,  along  with  the  first records  of  settled  agriculture  and  metallurgy.    Botanical  research  suggests  that  the  heavy rainfall regions along the coast and above 500m remained densely wooded.  The landscape   26 began  to  change  in  the  13th  century,  with  the  arrival  of  Bantu59  agriculturalists  extending south from Equatorial Africa.60   Expanded settlement and accompanying fire use, farming, and  livestock  grazing  gradually  thinned  the  forests,  allowing  savannahs  and  mixed woodlands to dominate in these higher elevation zones.   By the beginning of the 18th century, the land that would  be known  as  Natal was home to two groups of inhabitants:  small bands of San hunters and gatherers who lived in the foothills of the Drakensberg, and settled Bantu communities living together in clusters, who engaged in both agriculture and cattle-keeping.61  These Bantu communities subsisted primarily on cereals: sorghum, millet, and especially maize, which had become the primary crop by the 19th century.62  These crops were favoured because they required relatively little labour,  they  were  fairly  resistant  to  variations  in  temperature  and  precipitation,  and  they yielded better than other crops.  Bantu communities were organized in imizi (homesteads), which consisted of izindlu (huts) arranged in a circle, with a uMnumzana (male head) who often had multiple wives and children.  Major uNguni chiefdoms included the uHlubi, the uNgwane, the uNdwandwe, the uMthetwa and the uQwabe.   Early  in  the  19th  century  most  of  southern  Africa  was  embroiled  in  a  widespread series  of  upheavals  known  as  the  mfecane,  an  Nguni  word  describing  the  violence  and dislocation  which  accompanied  the  rise  and  consolidation  of  the  Zulu  kingdom.63    Clan-                                                 59 The term ?Bantu? was appropriated by the apartheid regime as a derogatory term for all black South Africans.  Here it is being used strictly as a designation for a linguistic and cultural grouping of settled agriculturalists.   60 Aron Mazel, "The Stone Age Peoples of Natal," in  Natal and Zululand  from  Earliest Times to 1910, ed. Andrew Duminy and Bill Guest (Pietermaritzburg, 1989), 1-27. 61 Cattle occupied a central place in Zulu culture:  it was the only currency in which lobola (bride sale) could be paid; it was used as a sacrifice for rituals, and a sign of social status.  The cattle enclosure was the centre of every Zulu homestead.  For more see John Lambert, Betrayed Trust: Africans and the State in Colonial Natal (Pietermaritzburg, 1995).   62 Jeff Guy, The Destruction of the Zulu Kingdom (Pietermaritzburg, 1979). 63 Much debate exists over the roots of the mfecane.  Some scholars emphasize Zulu aggression and expansion under  uShaka  Zulu,  while  others  stress  the  impact  of  the  slave  trade  at  Delagoa  Bay,  a  production  and   27 based tribes were replaced by a centralized Zulu monarchy, which, under the expansionist rule of uShaka Zulu,  conquered,  assimilated and  exerted control  over most of  the eastern coast and interior from the uThukela River north to Delgoa Bay (modern-day Maputo).  The inkosi  (king)  ruled  through  his  personally  appointed  izinduna  (headmen)  officials,  who exercised authority over the scattered homesteads of the region, uniting them politically and collecting surpluses from them.   When  settlers  of  European  origin  began  to  enter  this  native  space  in  significant numbers, after its annexation by the British in 1844, they quickly concluded that Natal was divided geographically into three ecological zones paralleling the Indian Ocean coast.64  The coastal strip extended approximately fifteen kilometers inland. This was a hot humid zone with dense sub-tropical vegetation constantly fed by the rain clouds brought in by the ocean breeze.  Its soils were predominantly sandy, leached and shallow.  This thin strip received much higher rainfall than did the rest of the territory, often as much as 700mm annually.  The change  of  seasons  was  less  distinct  here  than  further  inland  as  wet,  humid  conditions prevailed for most of the year.    Beyond this coastal strip rivers cut deeply into the earth, forming valleys and spurs that  dominated  the  terrain  below  an  altitude  of  approximately  1500m  [Illustration  1.3].  Moving  westward  from  the  coast  the  vegetation  thickened  into  a  ?transitional  thicket?:  a closed  shrubland  dominated  by  evergreen,  schlerophyllous,  or  succulent  trees  alongside                                                                                                                                                       population crisis, and the increasing labour demands of Cape settlers.  Still others question the usefulness of the mfecane as a historiographical construct.  The most comprehensive account of these conflicting perspectives is found  in:    Carolyn  Hamilton,  The  Mfecane  Aftermath:  Reconstructive  Debates  in  Southern  African  History (Johannesburg, 1995). 64 The most comprehensive description of Natal?s environment in the mid 19th century is found in R.J Mann, "The Physical Geography and Climate of the Colony of Natal " Journal of the Royal Geographical Society of London 37 (1867): 48-67.   28 shrubs and vines, most of which had stem spines.65  This coastal hinterland gave way after approximately  thirty  kilometres  to  savannah  and  mixed  woodlands,  dominated  by  a  wide range  of  vegetative  species  composed  mostly  of  broad,  arching  trees  with  thick  grassy undergrowth. Primary vegetation in this area included the Acacia family (e.g. Acacia karroo, Acacia tortilis) along with tall common thatchgrass (Hyparrhenia hirta), redgrass (Themeda triandra), and speargrass (Heteropogon contortus).66  Rainfall was more sporadic and uneven with distance from the coast; species with thorns ? which enhanced their drought resistance ? came  to  dominate.67    Scattered  shrubs  mingled  with  tall,  long  grasses  to  form  a  thick undergrowth.  The soils on the  tablelands  were fairly  shallow  and sandy,  but settlers soon learned that those at the bottom of the river valleys were deep and rich in alluvium.                                                     65 Roy Lubke, "Thicket Biome," in Vegetation of South Africa, Lesotho and Swaziland, ed. A.B. Low and A.G. Robelo (Pretoria, 1996). 66 Ed Granger, "Natal Central Bushveld," in Vegetation of South Africa, Lesotho and Swaziland, ed. A.B. Low and A.G. Robelo (Pretoria, 1996). 67 A.J. Christopher, South Africa (London and New York, 1982).   29   Illustration 1.3:   Vegetation Biomes in Natal and Zululand.  Source:  R.E. Schulze, South African Atlas of Agro-hydrology  and  Climatology.  (Pretoria, 1997).   Water  Research  Commission Report TT82/96.      The  transition  to  grasslands  began  between  1500  and  2000m.    The  topography became increasingly undulating; the river valleys flattened out into large basins separated by steep ridges.  Sweet grass varieties dominated in the river valleys:  these tended to be shorter due to their lower fibre content, and were limited to the drier areas of the grasslands where soils were clayey and brackish.  Sour varieties thrived in wetter areas; they were generally   30 taller (over three metres), with a higher fibre content, but were only palatable to grazers in the spring and summer when nutrients were contained in the stem.  The climate inland was far more temperate:  summers were warm and wet, winters cold and dry, with severe frosts increasingly common as the altitude increased [Illustration 1.4].  Soils were fairly deep and considerably leached.68                                                       68  Beverly  Ellis,  "The  Impact  of  the  White  Settlers  on  the  Natural  Environment  of  Natal,  1845-1870" (University of Natal 1998).   31  Illustration 1.4:  Temperature in Natal and Zululand.  Source:  R.E. Schulze, South African Atlas of Agro-hydrology and Climatology.  (Pretoria, 1997).  Water Research Commission Report TT82/96.      The  British  appropriated  the  territory  with  which  this  study  is  concerned  in  two stages.  The  land  south  of  the  uThukela  River  was  claimed  in  1844.    Zululand,  which stretched north from the uThukela to the uPhongola River, and west into the valley of the uMzinyathi River, was annexed by the British in 1887 and incorporated into the colony of Natal in 1897. The major topographic features of Zululand mirror those in Natal:  the land   32 slopes steadily out from the Escarpment in the West, crosscut by five major river systems:  the  uThukela,  the  uMhlatuze,  the  uMfolozi,  the  uMkuze  and  the  uPhongola.    These  are separated from one another by high plateaus (often as much as 1000m).69     The climate within south-eastern Africa is generally sub-tropical.  The rainy season extends  from  October  to  March,  with  occasional  showers  in  the  shoulder  months  but practically no rain at all in winter.  Spring and summer rains fall in short, sharp bursts, often accompanied by violent storms, which occur predominantly in the late afternoon and early evening.   Precipitation is heaviest near the coast and declines steadily as the elevation rises inland [Illustration 1.5].                                                     69 Guy, The Destruction of the Zulu Kingdom, 4-12.     33  Illustration 1.5:   Precipitation in  Natal and  Zululand.  R.E.  Schulze, South  African  Atlas of Agro-hydrology and Climatology.  (Pretoria, 1997).  Water Research Commission Report TT82/96.      The impact of the Drakensberg Mountains diminishes in the far north of Zululand.  The land gradually flattens and smoothes into the southern African lowveld, which extends north  through  the  eastern  portion  of  Swaziland  and  Mpumalanga  (the  former  Transvaal) [Illustration 1.6].  The lowveld lies below 3 000m and extends westwards to the uBombo Mountain Range.  It varies from 60 to 200 km in width.  The entire area is drained by the tributaries of three rivers:  the Limpopo, the Komati and the Usuthu-Phongola.  The climate   34 is similar to that further south, although winters are warmer and drier, and summers hotter and rainier than southward.    Illustration 1.6:  The South African Lowveld.  A Note on Methodology   Studying cotton cultivation in south-eastern Africa forced me to rely on a variety of research methods.  I lived in Pietermartizburg ? the capital of KwaZulu-Natal ? for eleven months  in  2004/2005  and  then  returned  for  a  two  month  follow-up  research  trip  early  in 2006.  I spent the bulk of my time reading articles, reports, newspapers, and communiqu?s housed in South African archives.  The most fruitful sources for archival material were the Pietermaritzburg  Archival  Repository,  the  National  Archives  in  Tshwane,  the  Cedara   35 Agricultural  library, the  Killie  Campbell  Africana  library  in  Durban,  and  the  Agricultural Research Council?s Institute for Industrial Crops at Rustenburg.     I  encountered  a  number  of  challenges  while  attempting  to  comprehend  agrarian change during this period:  the relative availability and reliability of agricultural data, biases and gaps in the colonial archives, and the absence of African voices within most records.70  Researchers  have  begun  to  become  more  reflexive  about  their  encounters  with  colonial archives.    There  is  now  widespread  acknowledgement  of  the  power  relations  imbedded within the archive:  colonial sources offer histories almost exclusively from the perspective of the colonialist.  They are, in Foucault?s terms, ?documents of exclusions? that  serve as ?monuments to particular configurations of power?.71   This  recognition  of  colonial  archives  as  sites  of  contested  knowledges  has  led researchers  to  adapt  their  methodologies:    according  to  Antoinette  Burton  (who  may exaggerate the  objectivist  naivet? of  earlier generations  of  historians),  archival research  is moving beyond simple fact-retrieval towards a ?complex process of selection, interpretation, and  exclusion?.72    When  examining  archival  sources  I  tried  not  to read  them  ?as  is?,  but rather, as Ann Stoler suggests, ?against the grain?.73  This involved reading the archives in the context in which they were written, trying to unearth the power dynamics that infiltrated these narratives, and searching for voices that were silent, or silenced.  I tried my best to                                                  70 Bassett, The Peasant Cotton Revolution in West Africa, 1880-1995, 21-23.   71 Michel Foucault, The Archaeology of Knowledge; And, the Discourse on Language (New York, 1972), 79-134. 72 Antoinette Burton, Archive Stories: Facts, Fictions, and the Writing of History (Durham and London, 2005). 73  Ann  Laura  Stoler,  "Colonial  Archives  and  the  Arts  of  Governance:  On  the  Content  in  the  Form,"  in Refiguring  the  Archive,  ed.  Verne  Harris  Carolyn  Hamilton,  Jane  Taylor,  Michele  Pickover,  Graeme  Reid (Dordretch, 2002), 83-100.  See also James S. Duncan, "Notes from the Archive: Complicity and Resistance in the Colonial Archive: Some Issues of Method and Theory in Historical Geography," Historical Geography 27 (1999): 119-128.   36 interrogate these sources and  critically  evaluate the degree to  which they were  exclusivist documents.   During my time in southern Africa I also gained significant insight into the region?s agricultural systems through what Simon Schama terms the ?archive of the feet?.74 I travelled extensively for research purposes and conducted interviews with government officials and scientists.  I have now spent more than two years learning isiZulu, and have progressed to a level where, while not sufficiently proficient to conduct entire interviews in the language, I am able to introduce myself and enjoy casual  conversations.  This has helped me to form relationships  and  obtain  insight  that  would  otherwise  have  been  inaccessible  for  a  white, Canadian researcher.  My  research on  the  formation of expertise  within cotton  cultivation benefited  substantially  from  interviews  with  researchers  at  the  KwaZulu-Natal  Natural Resources  Institute,  the  Agricultural  Research  Council?s  Institute  for  Industrial  Crops  at Rustenburg, and agricultural scientists at the Cotton Research Station at Jozini.     When  I  set  out  to  South  Africa  I  had  hoped  that  oral  histories  would  become  a cornerstone  of  my  thesis.    Shortly  after  my  arrival  I  began  a  collaboration  with  two professors  at  the  University  of  KwaZulu-Natal,  Dr.  Harald  Witt  and  Dr.  Raj  Patel,  to investigate  the  social  and  economic  dimensions  of  contemporary  cotton  cultivation  in  the northern  section  of  Zululand  known  as  Makhathini.    Assisted  by  three  isiZulu-speaking research  assistants,  a  substantial  portion  of  our  project  focused  on  revealing  historical patterns of cotton cultivation:  we convened focus groups of cotton farmers and asked them to recount a history of crop choice, climate, water availability, labour constraints. We also conducted  more  than  twenty  individual  farmer  interviews  trying  to  reconstruct  individual cotton histories.                                                    74 Simon Schama, Landscape and Memory (New York, 1995), 24.   37   Unfortunately  these  oral  histories  offered  little  direct  evidence  of  value  for  this dissertation.  Many farmers did not have any direct recollections of cotton farming prior to the introduction of apartheid in 1948.  Most participants were also much more interested in speaking  about  urgent  contemporary  problems  associated  with  the  introduction  of Genetically Modified Cotton in the region.   Still, these focus groups and interviews provided me with important contextualization on historical agricultural trends within northern Zululand.  This collaboration allowed me to participate  in  several  ?walk-throughs?  with  cotton  farmers,  examining  their  crops,  talking about market structures, insect pests, and climatic constraints.  These conversations proved valuable in providing me with insight into the region?s contemporary and historical patterns of cotton cultivation.                           38 Chapter 2 False Beginnings:  Imported Cotton and Emigrant Settlers in the Post-Annexation Period, 1844-1850.    The territory north of Pondoland and south of the uThukela River, bounded to the east by the Indian Ocean and to the west by the Drakensberg Mountains, became known as Natal  when Vasco de  Gama, sailing from Portugal  to India on  Christmas  Day  1497, named the coast in honour of the natal day of his Lord.   The  first non-Africans to settle  there were English settlers from the Cape of Good Hope, under the leadership of Francis Farewell and Henry  Francis  Fynn,  who  established  a  trading  post  at  Port  Natal  in  July  1824.    This vulnerable settlement wavered in imperial obscurity for more than a decade, until Piet Retief and Gerrit Maritz led a group of Afrikaner Voortrekkers across the Drakensberg Mountains,  pushed  east  by  expanding  British  control  in  the  Cape.75  There  they  wrested  much  of  the fertile plains away from the local African population led by  the Zulu  king uDingane, and established the Republic of Natalia in 1838.   The Afrikaner presence forced the British to take notice of this distant place.  They seized control of Port Natal in 1838, ostensibly to prevent the mistreatment of Africans by the  Voortrekkers.    Finding  it  of  little  strategic  value,  they  withdrew  in  December  1839.  Steady  lobbying  by  prospective  merchants  and  concerned  officials  led  the  British government  to  annex  the  area  on  May  31  1844.      This  ambivalent  annexation  left  the European population of Natal, numbering fewer than three thousand settlers, scrambling for resources  that  would  solidify  their  economic  position.    With  no  extractable  minerals  or timber, and with initial estimates of coal deposits having been proven exaggerated, officials were left with only agriculture as a potential export industry.  But despite extravagant reports                                                  75 For more on the Great Trek see Norman Etherington, The Great Treks: The Transformation of South Africa, 1815-1854 (London, 2001).   39 of the land?s potential, early settler production stuttered.  Most Europeans found more profit hunting for hides, skins and ivory to trade with Africans north of the uThukela River.  Those who  did  manage  to  cultivate  focused  on  subsistence  crops  such  as  maize,  potatoes,  and papaya.  African imizi (homesteads) accounted for most of the early agricultural production in the colony, supplying potatoes, maize and beans to newly arrived settlers.76 This stagnating settler production had severe consequences for the colony?s finances.  Natal remained in the red after annexation.  Export values rarely exceeded ?15 000 per year while imports increased from just under ?42 000 in 1846 to over ?111 000 by 1850 [Table 2.1].  With zero revenues from export agriculture, customs and taxes made up more than 74% of colonial revenues.77    Year  Exports  Imports 1846  ?15 406  ?41 958 1847  ?13 699  ?46 981 1848  ?10 683  ?46 204 1849  ?11 265  ?55 921 1850  ?15 613  ?111 015  Table 2.1:  Imports and Exports in the Colony of  Natal for the  First Five  Years after Annexation.  Source: PAR, Natal Blue Books, 1854.    The political situation was also unstable.  100 000 Africans surrounded the colony?s 3 000  European  settlers.    Most  settlers  were  afraid  of  an  African  attack  or  fearful  that  the British would turn the colony into an African Reserve.78  Writing from the Colonial Office to Cape Governor Sir Peregrine Maitland, Earl Grey made it clear he was open to suggestions                                                  76  In  areas  with  low  settler  penetration,  such  as  the  south-western  portions  of  Natal,  Africans  were  able  to expand their acreage under maize and sell much of the surplus to new European arrivals.  During the 1840s and 1850s, African-grown maize was being exported to the Cape and Mauritius, while others were transporting their surpluses north to Zululand or east to the Orange Free State to barter for cattle.  See John Lambert, Betrayed Trust: Africans and the State in Colonial Natal (Pietermaritzburg, 1995), 47.  77 Pietermaritzburg Archival Repository (PAR), Natal Blue Books, 1854. 78 Natal Mercury, 3 March 1863.     40 about  how  to  increase  European  numbers:    ?If  you  are  prepared  to  suggest  any  mode  in which an emigration to Natal of persons of a small capital could be successfully promoted without  expense  to  the  British  territory,  I  shall  be  glad  to  give  the  subject  my  best attention?.79    Officials within Natal longed for a reliable export crop that could stimulate economic growth and boost settler numbers.  For this they turned to cotton, which was mobilized as an agent of colonial development to advance the twin goals of commodity supply and European penetration.  This chapter aims to unravel cotton?s role in advancing these two separate but complementary strands of British colonialism and to evaluate the reasons for its failure.  The first part of the chapter dissects representations of Natal as a ?cotton colony?.  A range of influences,  imperial  and  local,  helped  fuel  this  idealized  image:    concern  over  Britain?s cotton supply, the prevalence of wild cotton in south-east Africa, and the success of early transplantation  and  experimentation  efforts.    This  enthusiasm  for  cotton  was  premised  on very specific impressions of Natal gleaned from speculators and promoters with little first-hand  knowledge  of  the  land  itself.    Through  these  representations  emerged  a  particular construction of Natal as ideal cotton growing territory.   Recent scholarship has emphasized that representations of colonial landscapes often reflected the ideals and visions of the colonizer more than the landscape itself.  Mary Louise Pratt,  Richard  Grove,  and  Matthew  Edney  have  all  investigated  the  power  of  these Europeanized  constructions  of  ?other?  lands.80    Such  representational  practices  were,                                                  79 PAR, British Parliamentary Papers (BPP) Vol. 908, Correspondence?on the Establishment of the Settlement of Natal 1848, Earl Grey to Maitland 1848, 108-110, n.d. In: Rebecca Ablett, "The Byrne Emigration Scheme to Natal, 1849-51" (B.A. Hon, University of Natal, 1984), 21. 80 Mary Louise Pratt, Imperial Eyes: Travel Writing and Transculturation (London, 1992);  Richard H. Grove, Green Imperialism: Colonial  Expansion, Tropical Island Edens and the Origins of Environmentalism, 1600-1860 (Cambridge, 1995);  Matthew. H. Edney, Mapping an Empire: The Geographical Construction of British India,  1765-1843  (Chicago,  1997);    Derek  Gregory,  Geographical  Imaginations  (Cambridge,  1994);    Dan   41 according to Edward Said, acts of ?geographical violence?, techniques of encapsulating and appropriating space from a distance.  Foucault investigated this mode of seeing, ordering and extending the administration of space more broadly, terming it governmentality:  ?the right disposition  of  things,  arranged  so  as  to  lead  to  a  convenient  end?.81    In  investigating  the construction of Natal as a ?cotton colony?, this chapter is fundamentally concerned with the ways  in  which  state  power  is  consolidated  through  technologies  and  rationalities  that privilege certain types of knowledge, and allow faraway spaces to be governed at a distance.   Following  a  key  element  of  Foucault?s  understanding  of  governmentality  ?  that modes of seeing induce effects of power ? the second part of this chapter investigates how cotton-emigration schemes in the post-annexation period imposed idealized constructions of Natal?s cotton growing potential onto the land with disastrous results.  Colonial officials and speculating  adventurers  sought  to  realize  a  rationalist  vision  by  allocating  land  through settlement plots that were incompatible with the messy realities of colonial land occupation.82  Ultimately, as the final part of the chapter argues,  the failure of these cotton schemes was attributable to the implosion of these representations made from a distance.                                                                                                                                                           Clayton, Islands of Truth:  The Imperial Fashioning of Vancouver Island (Vancouver, 2000);  Bruce  Braun, Intemperate Rainforest:  Nature, Culture, and Power on Canada's West Coast (Minneapolis, 2002). 81  Michel Foucault, "Governmentality," in The Foucault Effect: Studies in Governmentality, ed. Colin Gordon Graham Burchell, and Peter Miller (Chicago, 1991), 87-104.  David Stott has usefully applied this concept to colonial rule and sketched out the manner in which colonial power produces effects of rule.  He focuses on ?the problem  of  the  formation  of  historically  heterogeneous  rationalities  through  which  political  sovereignties  of colonial  rule  were  constructed  and  operated.?    See  David  Stott,  "Colonial  Governmentality,"  Social  Text  43 (1995): 191-220. 82  As  Kaviraj  argues  about  colonialism  more  generally,  this  system  of  land  settlement  was  a  product  of  an imperial rationalist discourse that views the world as clear, precise, and manageable.  Sudipta Kaviraj, "On the Construction of Colonial Power: Structure, Discourse and Hegemony " in Contesting Colonial Hegemony: State and Society in Africa and India, ed. Dagmar Engels and Shula Marks (London, 1994).   42  Cotton Fever The  early  nineteenth  century  brought  great  prosperity  to  the  cotton  mills  of Lancashire.  Demand for cotton goods rose at  an unprecedented rate.83  Exports of cotton yarn expanded from 5 million lbs at the turn of the century to just under 150 million lbs by 1849.  Cotton cloth exports jumped from 12 million lbs to over 240 million lbs during the same  period.    By  1850  cotton  manufactures  made  up  more  than  40%  of  Britain?s  total exports.84  They remained Britain?s single most valuable export between 1803 and 1938.  Rising markets for cotton manufactures led to corresponding concerns over supply.  Raw  cotton  was  Britain?s  most  important  import  between  1825  and  1873.85    With  cotton manufacturing  forming  such  an  integral  part  of  the  British  economy,  securing  a  cheap, reliable and diversified supply became a matter of national importance.  Increasingly heavy dependence on American suppliers, who accounted for less than 1% of total imports at the turn of the century, but over 75% by 1846-50, was a cause of strategic concern.86  By 1840 cotton industrialists were openly fretting about the possibility of domestic conflict, especially a slave insurrection, or a fissure in Anglo-American relations that could interrupt supply.        This dependence on American supply prompted an empire-wide search for alternative sources of raw cotton.  Cultivation was re-energized in the West Indies (most extensively in                                                  83 Consumption for British cotton manufactures (both domestic and foreign) jumped from 52 million lbs at the turn of the century to over 630 million lbs by 1849. 84 R. Robson, The Cotton Industry in Britain (London, 1957), 331-335.  As Robet Marks has shown, the rise of the British cotton manufacturing industry was buoyed in large part by higher tariffs on Indian imports which undercut their comparative advantage.  See Robert B. Marks, The Origins of the Modern World: A Global and Ecological Narrative from the Fifteenth to the Twenty-First Century, 2nd ed. (Lanham 2007), 96-98. 85 D.A. Farnie, The English Cotton Industry and the World Market, 1815-1896 (Oxford, 1979), 135. 86 Douglas and David Jeremy Farnie, The Fibre that Changed the World: The Cotton Industry in International Perspective,  1600-1990s  (Oxford,  2004),  68.    The  most  useful  discussion  on  the  international  search  for  a reliable cotton supply to the British manufacturing sector is Farnie, The English Cotton Industry and the World Market, 1815-1896, 81-134.   43 Jamaica and British Guyana), and attempted anew in Australia and India, among other sites.  Africa especially was imagined as an ideal site for cotton supply.87  Cotton fever soon spread to Natal, generating much enthusiasm about the prospects of turning it into a ?cotton colony?.     European-based  merchants  and  travelers  had  often  reported  that  indigenous  cotton grew  luxuriously  throughout  southern  Africa.    This  was  Gossypium  herbaceum  var. africanum,  an  African  cotton,  whose  range  extended  through  much  of  southern  Africa including contemporary Botswana, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, and the lower Free State and KwaZulu.88  This cotton thrived in the semi-arid conditions of the southern African lowveld.  It was a shrubby perennial plant, wide-branching, with a heavy, woody stalk and small bolls. It could reach between two and five feet in height.  Early visitors reported the widespread occurrence of this wild variety of cotton as proof that the region was ideally suited to the introduction of domesticated varieties.89 Like other ?old-world? cottons, Gossypium herbaceum var. africanum  was smaller in size, and  had less robust stems, as well as smaller leaves, flowers, and fruits than American cottons.  These ?new world? varieties were the cottons of industrial capital, which had been bred  for  their  fruit  size  and  the  quantity  of  fibre  produced  in  the  seed.    By  the  mid-19th century,  myriad  varieties  of  ?new  world?  cotton  existed  with  characteristics  designed  to maximize cotton?s exchange value:  early germination, increased size and number of fruit per                                                  87 This interest in Africa?s cotton growing potential stemmed largely from one man, Thomas Bazley, Chairman of the Manchester Chamber of Commerce, who was convinced that the soils and climate of west and southern Africa were ideal for cotton.  Bazley predicted that Africa would emerge as Britain?s primary supplier of raw cotton.  See B.M. Ratcliffe, "Cotton imperialism in West Africa: Manchester Merchants and Cotton Cultivation in West Africa in the mid-19th Century," African Economic History 11 (1982): 87-113.  88 All cottons belong to the family Malvaceae, genus Gossypium.  There are two familial divisions of cotton based  on  the  number  of  haploid  chromosomes:    old  world  cottons  have  thirteen  hapoild  chromosomes (diploids), new world (American) cottons have twenty-six (tetraploids).   89  Walter Peace, Our Colony of Natal: A Handbook for the Use of Intending Immigrants (London, 1884).   44 plant, and the annual habit at the expense of the perennial.90  African cotton demonstrated none  of  these  qualities,  and,  even  more  crucially,  it  was  a  short-stapled  variety,  which precluded  its  suitability  as  a  desirable  import  for  processing  at  English  mills.91      Despite being well-adapted to growing conditions in most parts of the colony, the cotton indigenous to southern Africa was devalued because it was poorly adapted to the mechanized production of the Lancashire cotton mills.     Early British settlers of Natal imported cottons that had been transformed by selective breeding.    The  first  was  Sea  Island  cotton  (Gossypium  barbadense),  an  arching,  wide-spreading, delicate plant, which reached heights of between six to eight feet.  It produced only small quantities of lint, but its long staple length, which averaged about 1.61 inches, made  it  the  most  highly  valued  variety.    The  second  was  American  Upland  (Gossypium hirsutum),  a  hardier  variety  than  Sea  Island,  with  thicker  stems  and  branches,  fruits  that matured lower on the stalks, and a maximum height of only two to four feet.  But with an average staple length of only 0.93 inches, it fetched a price considerably lower than did Sea Island.92     By the mid-1840s a handful of European settlers were cultivating imported American cotton seed in Natal, mostly in plots adjacent to rivers.  Usually, these growers plowed the                                                  90  Paul Fryxell, The Natural History of the Cotton Tribe (College Station, 1979). 91 The mechanization of cotton processing was responsible for this new emphasis on fibre length.  Previously, fibre length determined the convenience of spinning, as spinners mostly preferred longer staples because they were easier to handle.  But with mechanization consistent fibre-length became a key determinant of quality, as the drafting rollers (which grip  the moving fibres at an early stage in the spinning process), were fixed  at a distance  from  one  another  by  the  length  of  the  raw  cotton  and  adjusted  accurately  in  increments  of  1/16 (0.0625).    The  longer  the  lint,  the  finer  the  thread  that  could  be  spun  to  a  given  strength  and  the  finer  the eventual cloth.  Fibre  length  thus became directly proportional to quality and, by extension, value.  A long-stapled fibre such as G. Barbadense (Sea Island) had a staple of between 1.125 to 2 inches long, a medium staple fibre such as G. hirsutum (American Upland) had a staple of between 0.875 to 1.125 inches long, a short-stapled  fibre  such  as  G.  herbaceum  var.  africanum  had  a  fibre  that  was  under  0.75  of  an  inch.    See  A.N. Prentice, Cotton: With Special Reference to Africa (London, 1972). 92  Harry Bates Brown and Jacob Osborn Ware, Cotton (New York, 1958).  Egyptian cotton, also derived from a Peruvian group but with a shorter staple than Sea Island, was not imported into Natal until the early 1860s.     45 land, then planted at least two crops of maize to break-up the soil.  Cotton planting took place after the spring rains in October or November.  The first crop would normally be ready for picking within four months, and after cutting down existing shoots another would appear four months later.  Generally these experimental patches were limited to between three and five acres on farms that spanned thousands.      Results were encouraging.  Some plots yielded well over 300 lbs per acre, with costs of  production  (comprising  labour,  spades,  bagging,  etc.)  under  two  pennies  per  lb.93    At current market prices this implied a profit of ?3 to ?4 an acre.94  News of this success filtered back through travelers? accounts to London merchants. By 1845 broadsheets in both Natal and Britain were advertising cotton lands for sale.     The most significant endorsement of cotton?s potential came from the farm of Jonas Bergtheil, located  about  ten  miles north  of  Port  Natal  along an  undulating  plot  of  coastal land, well-watered and rich in thick grasses.95   In 1846, Bergtheil instructed his manager to gauge  the  relative  merits  of  Sea  Island  and  American  Upland  cotton  varieties.    These experiments revealed that Sea Island, the variety most desired in Britain, was ill-suited to the colony?s growing conditions.   Such  long-staple types  require deeper soils than  the sandy, poorly drained soils that dominated the coastal areas of Natal.  High winds off the Indian Ocean threatened to injure the bolls by twisting them around the twigs.  American Upland, with its thicker stalks, fewer branches, and bolls closer to the ground, was better suited to the                                                  93 Details on the contribution made by African labourers to these cotton ventures remain unknown.  Only a few passing  acknowledgements  of  African  labour  exist  in  the  records,  mostly  during  the  picking  season.    The preparation  of  land,  ploughing,  planting  and  tending  of  the  crops  were  primarily  undertaken  by  European settlers.  This remained true for settlers planting cotton under the Natal Cotton Company and Byrne schemes discussed below.     94 R.J. Mann, The Colony of Natal (London, 1859), 94.   95 Natal Witness, 1 December 1848.  See also PAR, Colonial Secretary?s Office (CSO) Vol. 40 no. 1, Bergtheil to Moodie, 1 January 1847.   46 high winds and shallow soils of the coast.  By 1847 Bergtheil had over one hundred acres planted with this variety.     Bergtheil was the first to import European settlers to boost cultivation efforts.  After some  delay,  he  convinced  thirty-five  poor  families  from  his  native  Germany  to  provide labour for his cotton fields.  On 27 November 1847, 189 men, women and children sailed from Bremen aboard the Beta, each promised 210 acres.96  Once they were settled, Bergtheil offered cash prizes for both the quantity and quality of cotton they produced, leading  his settlers to plant over five hundred acres with cotton in 1848.  But only a fraction of what was planted  was  ever  reaped.    Productivity  languished  because  of  inferior  seed  and  poor cultivation  techniques.    By  the  following  growing  season,  all  of  Bergtheil?s  settlers  had abandoned  cotton  in  favour  of  potatoes,  maize,  beans  and  vegetables  planted  with  seed brought from Germany and sold to the settler populations of Pietermaritzburg and Durban.  These crops proved more remunerative and less time-consuming than cotton.     Despite their unwillingness to continue with cotton, Bergtheil?s German settlers did reap  thirty  bales  in  their  first  and  only  growing  season.  Bergtheil  shipped  these  bales  to Manchester  to  be  inspected  by  the  Chairman  of  the  Manchester  Chamber  of  Commerce, Thomas Bazley.  They sparked considerable interest among buyers when  Bazley declared that  he  had  ?not  seen  more  beautiful  samples  of  cotton  suitable  for  the  manufactures  of Lancashire for some years, and if we could have a sufficient supply, I cannot imagine a more important and valuable boon to this country than Port Natal could confer?.97   All thirty bales were bought up at prices ranging from seven pence to one shilling five pence per lb.98                                                    96 Natal Witness, 7 April 1848.   97 Thomas Bazley, President of the Manchester Chamber of Commerce, n.d.  In:  J.S. Christopher, Natal, Cape of Good Hope: A Grazing, Agricultural, and Cotton-Growing Country (London, 1850), 41.   98 A.F. Hattersley, The British Settlement of Natal (Cambridge, 1950), 133.     47   Concern  over dwindling imperial  supply,  the  proliferation of wild  cotton in south-eastern  Africa,  and  the  limited  but  nonetheless  consequential  early  successes  of  cotton transplantation  and experimentation efforts  all solidified  Natal?s reputation as ideal cotton growing country.  Officials began to rave about the colony?s potential for cotton production. In  his  annual  report,  Natal?s  highest  ranking  official,  Lieutenant-Governor  Martin  West, asserted:    ?the  soil  and  climate  of  the  district  are  particularly  adapted  for  the  purpose?.99  Writing from the Colonial Office, Earl Grey left no doubt about the importance he ascribed this venture in the grander goals of imperial advancement:  ?This district appeared to afford a very desirable field for British enterprise, and especially to give some promise that it might admit of being converted into a source for the supply of cotton, which may at the present time be justly regarded as an object of national importance?.100  Local broadsheets projected yields of over 600 lbs (and profits of ?5) per acre for all who grew cotton in Natal.101   These  extravagant  claims  began  to  filter  into  first-hand  accounts  of  the  colony, written  mostly  by  entrepreneurs  and  speculators  who  painted  evocative  images of  Natal?s cotton producing prospects.102  Nearly every account emphasized how easily cotton could be cultivated among the colony?s rolling hills and lush valleys.103  One land speculator estimated that  the  soil  in  Natal  would  be  over  50%  more  productive  than  that  found  in  America.  Another envisaged a wide cotton belt stretching across Natal south from the uThukela River,                                                  99 PAR, BPP Vol. 141 Eighth General Report of the Colonial Land and Emigration Commissioners 1848, 27-29.  West  further  praised  the  fertility  of  the  soil  and  suitability  of  the  climate  for  cotton  in  the  following  year?s report:  PAR, BPP Vol. 141 Ninth General Report of the Colonial Land and Emigration Commissioners 1849, 24-25.   100 PAR, Government House (GH) 328 No. 52, Earl Grey to Sir Harry Smith, 24 December 1849.  101 Natal Witness, 11 December 1846.  This estimate of Natal?s production potential being around 600 lbs to the acre seems to have originated within the Manchester Chamber of Commerce, but was quoted often in different reports.  See A.F. Hattersley, Portrait of a Colony: The Story of Natal (Cambridge 1940), 10. 102  These  laudatory  appraisals  were  largely  self-serving.    Most  of  these  writers  were  speculators  or entrepreneurs with a vested interest in the appreciation of land values in Natal.   103 See for instance William Holden, A History of the Colony of Natal (Cape Town, 1855), 257;  Walter Peace, Our Colony of Natal (London, 1883), 73; A. Coqui, Practical Remarks on the Colony of Natal (London, 1857), 11.     48 continuing through Pondoland into eastern portions of the Cape Colony.104  The most often cited figure was that the colony would be exporting in excess of 500 000 bales within ten years.    The Natal Cotton Company   The first scheme that sought to profit from Natal?s representation as a ?cotton colony?, the Natal Cotton Company (NCC), was another brainchild of Jonas Bergtheil.  He convinced a group of land owners from the Cape to undertake large-scale settler production on a tract of land along the coast north of Durban.   These  speculators sought  to capitalize upon rising enthusiasm for cotton, hoping that it  would inflate the value of their land  holdings in the colony.       In  March  1847,  the  NCC  Directors  floated  two  thousand  shares  of  ?10  each  to London-based investors to raise the four installments of ?5000 needed to get their venture off the ground.105  The Company was  ambitious in  its  financial  projections.   It  expected that every acre of land would yield a minimum of 600 lbs of clean cotton, which, at a projected price of four pence per lb, would provide a gross income of ?10 per  acre.  Erring on the conservative side, the NCC estimated a net income of only ?4 per acre, which on a 35 acre allotment would leave each emigrant family with a total income of over ?140 per year. The NCC predicted the dividends on each ?10 share would be at least ?2 10s per year.      In 1848, after nearly a year of negotiation with the government, the NCC acquired 22 750 acres along the north bank of the uMhloti River on very generous terms (2s per acre, or                                                  104 B.J. Leverton, The Natal Cotton Company: A Study in Failure (Pretoria, 1963), 10 and footnote #36.     105 PAR, BPP Vol. 16, Correspondence?on the Establishment of the Settlement of Natal 1848, Letter from H. Jargal and P.J. Jung on behalf of the Natal Joint-Stock Company to LG West, 8 April 1847.  See also PAR, Accessions, Natal Cotton Company, A1658.     49 half the established price) [Illustration 2.1].   But this delay put the Company in a precarious financial position.  Bergtheil and his partners had spent most of the first ?5000 shareholder installment negotiating with the government over the conditions of the land sale.  The second installment  had  been  used  to  cover  debts  accumulated  during  the  delay.106    Anxious  to commence operations at once, the NCC hastily arranged to divert British emigrants aboard the Duke of Roxburgh ? destined for the Cape of Good Hope ? to their cotton lands in Natal.  Twenty disheveled emigrants with no agricultural training arrived on the NCC lands soon after.                                                    106 PAR, CSO Vol. 10 no.79, Bergtheil to D. Moodie, 14 November 1849.     50  Illustration  2.1:   The  Location  of  the  Natal  Cotton Company  Lands.   Adapted from:  John Clark, Natal Settler-Agent: The Career of John Moreland, Agent for the Byrne Emigration Scheme, 1849-51. (Cape Town, 1972): 1.    More than a shortage of money and suitable emigrants plagued the Company.  None of the Directors had set foot on the land apportioned to them.  They were dismayed to find that barely a fifth of their purchase was suitable for cultivation.  The rest, according to their land manager, the only NCC representative to have seen the land, was ?a slight shadow of   51 earth [free from] rocks and stone?.107  More recent soil sampling confirms these findings: two-thirds of all soils in the region are now classified as either sandy or shallow.108   Much of the  4500  acres  suitable  for  cultivation  was  blanketed  by  dense  bush  that  would  prove extremely difficult to remove.  The most prominent species in the vegetation was the Acacias (notably A. karroo, A. mearnsii, A. nilotica), all of which were particularly arduous to fell due to their size (they can reach up to 12 metres), low branching patterns, and prominent thorns.  They were enormous, costly barriers to development.   Another major obstacle for cotton cultivation was the topography of the selected plot.  Ralph Clarence, a grower who had attempted and abandoned cotton cultivation on his farm near  the  uMhloti  River,  dismissed  the  NCC  plan  outright,  arguing  the  land  was  too undulating for cotton to succeed.  He predicted that any cotton grown on those steep ridges and valleys would be unable to withstand the severe winds that came in off the ocean.  He also confirmed previous soil quality assessments, dismissing it as too ?poor and hungry? to allow cotton?s long, lateral roots access to sufficient nutrients.109   The NCC scheme folded in 1849 after less than a year in operation.  Investors refused to provide the third ?5000 installment needed to initiate cultivation until they received the land title deed from the government   The government in turn was unwilling to hand over the deeds until the balance of land payment  was received.110 The  NCC land was repossessed early in 1849 without any cotton having been planted.                                                  107 PAR, CSO Vol. 10 no. 88, Letter from Mr. Bailie, Land Manager, quoted in: Chairman of the NCC to Sir Harry Smith, n.d.   108 K. Camp, "The Bioresource Groups of KwaZulu-Natal," (1999).  These contemporary samplings do not offer an exact replica of conditions growers would have faced 150 years ago, but they do serve as a useful indicator of the soil?s capabilities.   109 Clarence?s assessment of the NCC land is relayed in letter by James Ecroyd to his mother in Killie Campbell Africana Library (KC), James Ecroyd papers, 12 November 1850.   110  By  winter  1849  the  Natal  government  had  become  suspicious  of  the  NCC?s  motives  and  management.  Donald Moodie, the Colonial Secretary, pressed the NCC to reveal the expenses spent for the benefit of the   52   The NCC venture was a product of the swirling enthusiasm over the expected value of cotton to Natal.  The Directors were seduced by the inflationary benefits they expected this boom to have on their existing holdings.  But poor financial planning and a lack of ecological understanding stymied their efforts.  The NCC Directors realized too late that representations of cotton?s potential in Natal did not match up with reality on the ground.    Joseph Byrne?s Vision of Cotton Colonialism   The  prospect  of  integrating  cotton  cultivation  and  emigration  reached  its  climax between 1848 and 1850 with a scheme initiated by Joseph Charles Byrne, the son of an Irish cattle-dealer.  Byrne possessed a larger-than-life presence, due both to his imposing frame and a keen sense of charm and style.111  He had traveled extensively throughout the British Empire, and was committed to finding his fortune by facilitating the emigration of English urbanites to far-off colonies. Having previously had a hand in marketing settlement schemes to Australia and America, Byrne was an experienced promoter by the time he set his sights on Natal in 1847.     Byrne  relied  heavily  on  his  oratorical  skills  to  overcome  his  lack  of  capital  and reputation, in order to convince officials, investors, and potential emigrants of the reliability of his propositions.  After creating some initial momentum for a large-scale emigration plan to Natal through feverish communications with the Colonial Office in early 1847, Byrne set about canvassing investors to secure the capital needed to implement a large-scale emigration                                                                                                                                                       emigrants as stipulated in their agreement.   The Secretary provided a detailed breakdown of the Company?s expenditures, which listed ?4480 as having been emigration-related, but this was contradicted soon after by the Chairman, Bergtheil, who listed the actual value much lower at ?2599.  At this point  Moodie dismissed the entire enterprise for their ?crooked books?.  See PAR, CSO Vol. 10 no. 79, Bergtheil to Moodie, 14 November 1849.   111 Hattersley described Byrne as ?an adventurer, an eloquent and plausible speaker, by no means lacking in personal charm, but imprudent and unscrupulous?.  His gifted oratory skills help account for both the rise and fall of his scheme.  Hattersley, Portrait of a Colony: The Story of Natal, 21.   53 project  primarily  based  on  cotton.    After  a  number  of  false  starts,  Byrne  finally  cobbled together  a  patchwork  of  investors  made  up  mostly  of  ship-owners  based  in  London  and Liverpool who recognized the profit potential of increased sea traffic embedded in Byrne?s vision.  By 1848 he had accumulated capital worth more than ?40 000 in money, shipping and goods.112  Byrne then set about selling his vision of large-scale emigration through numerous public talks and a manifesto, The Emigrants? Guide to the Port of Natal.   His arguments rested on three separate but  complementary  strands.   First,  Byrne painted  a picture  of the ideal  conditions  for  settlement  and  land  ownership  in  Natal.    He  opened  his  Emigrant?s Guide by boasting that the colony: ?has been described by all who visited it as one of the most naturally fertile and salubrious regions on the face of the earth?.113   He was quick to dispel  notions  of  deserts,  fever  and  plague  which  dominated  representations  of  Africa  in Britain,  arguing  that  the  majestic  Drakensberg  Mountain  range  acted  as  a  buffer,  making Natal  into  an  oasis  with  a  benign,  moderate,  sub-tropical  climate.    He  lauded  Natal?s advantages over other possible emigration destinations, especially its accessible Port and the large African population that could be easily converted into a large-scale labour force serving the  needs  of  British  settlers.114    He  finished  his  review  with  a  flourish,  staking  his  own                                                  112 KC, H.M.  Robertson, "The 1849 settlers in Natal Part II: The Byrne Scheme and its Smaller Rivals " South African Journal of Economics  (n.d.): 416-442. 113  J.C. Byrne, Emigrant's Guide to Port Natal (London, 1848), 18.  While Byrne wrote about Natal with a familiarity and expertise  that conveys  many visits undertaken, Hammond suggests that  Byrne never actually visited the colony prior to initiating his emigration scheme, and that his guide was a clumsy amalgamation of Blue Book reports and travelers? impressions.  In his bankruptcy defense, Byrne testified that he had visited Natal  sometime  in  1843  or  1844,  though  no  one  in  Durban  or  Pietermaritzburg  could  confirm  this.    See  E. Hammond, "The Settlement of the Byrne Immigrants in Natal, 1849-1852" (MA, University of Natal, 1926), 27. 114 This point about Natal?s sizeable Native population allowed Byrne to offer Natal up as a site that offered more opportunities for middle-class emigrants than did other competing destinations such as Australia or New Zealand (Byrne, Emigrant's Guide to Port Natal, 62).  Byrne further tied the appeal of this wealth of untapped labour  within  an  idyllic  vision  of  a  pioneer  farm,  where  any  hard-working,  industrious  farmer  would  have sufficient land and labour at his disposal to make himself successful.  For more on how deeply this discourse of   54 reputation to Natal?s salubrious climate.  Of all the colonies he had visited first-hand ? India, Australia and New Zealand among them ? he had never encountered a land ?blessed by a bounteous Providence with a more fertile soil than Natal?.    The  second  element  of  Byrne?s  strategy  was  to  convince  potential  emigrants  that Natal?s generous climate provided growing conditions that were ideal for cotton. To this end, he quoted such luminaries as Sir Harry Smith, Governor of the Cape, Lieutenant-Governor Martin  West  and  Earl  Grey,  all  convinced  of  Natal?s  cotton  producing  potential.    He presented testimonies from over a dozen local farmers who had cultivated successfully in the early 1840s.  When the public tired of listening to his exaltations, he showed them instead.  In  many  of  his  public  lectures  Byrne  displayed  samples  of  cotton  grown  in  Natal  and revealed them in order of ascending value, climaxing with a sample of the Sea Island variety valued at between sixteen and eighteen pence per lb. Thus he declared:  ?It is proved beyond doubt, that cotton will grow in Natal  ? that  it  grows well ? and  that every description of cotton will grow there?.115   The final piece of Byrne?s strategy was to tie the merits of large-scale emigration and cotton cultivation into the British colonial project.  Byrne peppered his addresses with doom-and-gloom assessments of Britain?s population crisis.116  He played upon the fears of urban dwellers  by  focusing  on  the  ills  associated  with  uncontrolled  city  growth:  overcrowding, unemployment, pestilence, famine. He positioned colonization ?as the great remedy for an                                                                                                                                                       land  ownership  seeped  into  the  psyche  of  potential  emigrants  see  Chapter  1:  Agrarian  Myths  of  English Immigrants, in Charlotte Erickson, Leaving England: Essays on British Emigration in the 19th Century (Ithaca, 1994). 115 PAR, Accessions A1598, Byrne?s Emigrant?s Journal and Natal News, June 1840, 44.   116 A long history of colonial theorists had engaged with these issues, including Jeremy Bentham, James Mill, and Edward Wakefield.  For a thorough review see Donald Winch, Classical Political Economy and Colonies (Cambridge MA, 1965).   A similar nationalistic argument for emigration was articulated by Herman Merivale, who  argued  that  emigration  was  essential  to  reduce  the  strain  of  overpopulation  at  the  metropole.    Herman Merivale, "On the Utility of the Colonies as Fields of Emigration," Journal of the Statistical Society of London  (1862).   55 increasing population?.117  He further played upon exaggerated concerns of conflict breaking out in the United States, the supplier of three-quarters of Britain?s cotton supply, and moral concerns  over  the  use  of  slave  labour  in  that  country?s  cotton  sector.    He  concluded  that freeing  Britain  from  its  dependence  on  American  supply  was  an  object  of  national importance.    Byrne?s marketing of cotton colonialism in Natal was thus portrayed as a two-way benefit  to  Britain.    He  promoted  cotton  as  a  means  of  ensuring  a  steady  supply  of  raw materials back to Britain.  He promoted emigration as a means of assuaging concerns over overpopulation and creating a consumer base for imperial products abroad. This rhetoric was modeled on the broader goals that guided emigration during the Victorian period.  As Robin Haines  has  shown  in  Australia,  this  discourse  visualized  ?the  conversion  of  the  United Kingdom?s  non-consuming  poor  into  re-invigorated  consumers  of  British  manufactured goods  who  would,  in  return,  deliver  primary  produce  to  the  UK  market,  sustaining  and propelling the interests of Empire?.118  Byrne?s version of cotton colonialism incorporated both elements of this colonial aspiration.   Byrne?s  embrace  of  cotton  as  a  means  of  furthering  colonial  goals  resonated  with prospective  emigrants.    He  delivered  more  than  fifty  lectures  on  the  subject  of  ?National Emigration? between July and December 1848, and all drew well into the hundreds, with one meeting at the London Stock Exchange topping out at over nine hundred attendees.   Between 1847  and  1849  over  a  quarter  million  people  were  emigrating  from  Britain  annually.                                                   117  PAR,  Accessions  A1598,  Byrne?s  Emigrant?s  Journal  and  Natal  News,  June  1840,  42.    This  pessimistic account appealed to many prospective emigrants who viewed their departure as a ?defensive measure, a means of  not  slipping  backwards  as  the  nation  did?.    Charlotte  Erickson,  Invisible  immigrants:  the  adaptation  of English and Scottish immigrants in nineteenth-century America (Coral Gables, 1972), 25.  118 Robin F. Haines, Emigration and the Labouring Poor: Australian Recruitment in Britain and Ireland, 1831-60 (New York, 1997), 167.     56 Previous  studies  of  Victorian  emigration  schemes  have  emphasized  that  information dissemination  was  a  key  determinant  in  shaping  emigrants?  decision  choosing  between competing  destinations.119    Recent  research  suggests  that  the  impact  of  a  promoter?s presentation was as significant as his content.  Byrne understood that his role as a promoter was  to  craft  what  one  student  of  emigration  literature  has  termed  ?carefully  orchestrated exercises in persuasion?,120 and his charming and affable nature was particularly well-suited to  this.    Almost  all  prospective  emigrants  came  away  with  a  positive  and  enthusiastic impression  of  the  man  and  the  land.121    His  ships  began  filling  up  faster  than  he  could accommodate applicants for passage.     With  his  financial  backing  secured,  and  deluged  with  requests  from  potential emigrants,  Byrne  approached  the  Colonial  Office  to  negotiate  the  specifics  of  his  cotton-emigration scheme.   Byrne, as the promoter, agreed to a deposit of at least ?1000 with the Colonial Land and Emigration Board towards the purchase of Crown Land in Natal.  Subject to  approval  by  the  emigration  commissioners,  he  was  free  to  recruit  and  select  suitable emigrants  for  passage,  provided  he  charge  them  no  more  than  ?10  for  the  voyage.      He agreed  to  secure  their  safe  passage,  and  to  survey  and  allot  twenty  acres  of  suitable                                                  119  The  major  proponent  of  this  information  hypothesis  is  D.  Baines,  Emigration  from  Europe,  1815-1930 (Basingstoke,  1991).    See  also  Paul  Hudson,  "English  Emigration  to  New  Zealand,  1839-1850:  Information Diffusion  and  Marketing  to  a  New  World,"  Economic  History  Review  54  (2001):  680-698.    Byrne  further recognized the importance of selling the prospect of emigration in southern Africa to a public that was largely deaf to the merits of settlement there.  A.J. Christopher estimates that southern Africa accounted for less than one-half of one per cent of total British emigration undertaken between 1845-1854.  A.J. Christopher, "Natal, the Nineteenth Century English Emigrant's Utopia? An Appraisal of Emigration Literature," Historia 18 (1973): 112-124. 120  Robert  D.  Grant,  Representations  of  British  Emigration,  Colonization  and  Settlement:  Imagining  Empire 1800-1860 (Hampshire, 2005), 16.  For a more general overview of how Byrne?s tactics compare with those employed by other promoters see Grant?s Chapter 4, Colonial Promoters: Tactics, Rubrics and Rhetorics, 57-78. 121 Jane Arbuthnot, who arrived on the Unicorn, described Byrne as ?plausible and kind? after meeting him for the first time.  In KC, Jane Arbuthnot Reminiscences MS ARB.  Another settler praised Byrne?s presentation style in a culinary metaphor: ?the dish was so nicely cooked and presented with such grace and pleasantry that there could be no wonder that it took with so many of us?.  Natal Independent, 14 August 1851 from John Clark, Natal Settler-Agent: The Career of John Moreland, Agent for the Byrne Emigration Scheme, 1849-51 (Cape Town, 1972), 10.     57 agricultural  land  for  each  settler  upon  their  arrival.122    Once  the  Natal  Government  had certified  that  the  emigrants  had  been  landed  safely  and  were  in  possession  of  their  land, Byrne  would  be  entitled to  reimbursement  of  his  deposit  at  the  rate  of  ?10  per  approved adult.    Byrne?s expected profit lay in the land. With the price of Crown land set at 4s per acre, Byrne would be allocated 5000 acres for each ?1000 deposited, which would then be reimbursed to him at ?10 per settler.123  One hundred emigrants would be enough to get his entire deposit back, and to satisfy his responsibilities he had only to part (at minimum) with two  thousand  acres  (at  twenty  acres  per  emigrant),  leaving  him  with  a  profit  of  three thousand  acres  of  land. Each  settler  paid  his  or her  own  steerage  fee,  so  Byrne  was  in  a position  to  recoup  thirty  acres  per  settler  (assuming  no  land  allocations  for  dependent children) for facilitating their recruitment and transport, as well as the survey and allotment of land.  Byrne recognized that twenty acres would be insufficient for farmers to survive and they would clamor for adjoining land, which he would then sell at an inflated price.  The more  emigrants  he recruited,  the  greater  the  inflationary  pressure  on  land  values,  and  the greater his potential profits.124  This potential windfall motivated Byrne to import just over 2700 settlers into the colony in just eighteen months.                                                     122 Twenty acres per settler was the basic allotment, plus an additional five for every child.  Settlers also had the option of purchasing more land from Byrne prior to departure or upon arrival.   123 The full details of the final agreement agreed to between Byrne and the Colonial Land and Emigration Board is found in PAR, Accessions 1577 Byrne Immigration Scheme, Correspondence on the Establishment of the Settlement of Natal and the Recent Rebellion of the Boers, (London, 1859), 92/93.   124 In his bankruptcy hearing, Byrne acknowledged that his sole source of revenue was the expected profit from the land: ?all expenses, all profits, and part of the actual cost of the conveyance of emigrants were to come from the land?.  Natal Witness, 23 May 1851.     58 The Byrne Settlers and their Land   The first two shiploads of  Byrne emigrants arrived in the colony in May and  July 1849; the Wanderer arrived with fifteen settlers  on 16 May, and the Washington, with 74 passengers,  on  18  July.    Emigrants  were  underwhelmed  by  the  scene  that  greeted  them.  Durban  was  a  dusty  assemblage  of  shacks  and  teetering  homes  made  of  wattle  and  mud, flanked to the east and west by putrid marshes.125  Its streets were covered by a layer of sand nearly knee-deep.  Despite promises to the contrary, there were no tents or barracks provided for the new arrivals. Most had to endure their first African nights outdoors.  The lands that were supposed to be theirs were neither surveyed nor allocated.    It was up to Byrne?s agent in Natal, John Moreland, who arrived on the Washington, to address the details Byrne had left unattended.  Many histories endorse Byrne?s selection of his colonial agent, praising him as a resourceful and hard-working foil to Byrne?s exuberance and carelessness.126  Moreland worked tirelessly to alleviate the hardships faced by his fellow travelers.  Immediately after his arrival he scrambled to find suitable agricultural land within a  few  kilometers  of  Pietermaritzburg.    He  purchased  suburban  allotments  along  the uMsunduzi (Bushman?s) River at Slang Spruit, only four kilometers outside of town, but paid dearly for them, most at over six shillings an acre [Illustration 2.2].  He divided this land into long, narrow lots, providing all with river access so that at least a portion of each section was irrigable.  The soil was clayish and shallow, but sufficient for market gardening, which most settlers undertook immediately.                                                   125  Beverly  Ellis,  "White  Settler  Impact  on  the  Environment  of  Durban,  1845-1870,"  in  South  Africa's Environmental History: Cases and Comparisons, ed. Stephen Dovers, Ruth Edgecombe, and Bill Guest (Cape Town, 2002), 34-47. 126 A.F. Hattersley, The Natalians: Further Annals of Natal (Pietermaritzburg, 1940), 55.      59  Illustration 2.2:   Location  of  Byrne  Settlements within the  Colony of  Natal.   Adapted  from:   A.J. Christopher,  "The British Settlement of  Natal 1848-1851: A  Geographical  Appraisal." Journal for Geography 3, no. 5 (1969): 485-499, p. 492.      Despite the favourable location and growing conditions, many settlers were unhappy with  their  allotments.    One,  George  Holgate,  expressed  his  displeasure  in  a  letter  to  the Colonial Office.   He argued that Byrne had promised them land that was well-wooded and well-watered, capable of growing cereals, cotton and tobacco.  But there was no timber on his plot at all, and while he had direct river access, he was unable to irrigate three-quarters of his land.  Even worse, the allotment was ?of a most disadvantageous form, being in the shape   60 of an enormously long wedge almost literally pointed at the best end, and growing ? as ill weeds grow ? larger and larger as it becomes worse and worse and still more worthless??127  He estimated that only 30 of the 150 acres allotted to him were fit for the plow.128  The rest was too dry, barren, and hilly to be fit for anything more than grazing.   Many of his fellow settlers agreed with his assessment:  just under half of the plots allocated were abandoned within two years.     Those  who  remained  along  the  uMsunduzi  River  were  relatively  happy  with  their allotments  and  managed  to  stay  on  their  lands  by  focusing  on  market  production  for Pietermaritzburg.  These were the lucky ones.  The next wave of arrivals was assigned to two tracts of land Byrne had bought directly from a Cape merchant named Francis Collison.  The first of these was Middle Bosch, on the uMgeni River about forty five kilometers north-west of  Pietermaritzburg.    Upon  inspecting  this  site  Moreland  found  it  to  be  well-watered  and amply supplied with timber, but too far from town to ensure reliable transport of the cotton crop for export.129  The second plot, known as Uys Doorn, was even less appealing.  Though located  along  the  route  connecting  Pietermaritzburg  and  Durban,  it  was  almost  entirely without  water  and  was  covered  with  scrubby,  dense  undergrowth  and  stone.    The  low, sprawling branches of the Acacia trees were everywhere, blanketing the land with clumps of prickly thorns.130  Upon inspecting the land Moreland surmised that it could at best serve as a poor cattle farm.  He recognized that settlers would never be able to clear the lands properly, let alone cultivate cotton, but as Byrne had finalized the purchases in London, Moreland had                                                  127 PAR, CSO Vol. 14 no. 6, George Holgate to A. Roberts, 18 January 1850.   128  Holgate  accumulated  150  acres  by  pooling  together  his  individual  allotment  with  that  of  his  wife,  his children, and by purchasing additional land from Byrne.     129 Clark, Natal Settler-Agent: The Career of John Moreland, Agent for the Byrne Emigration Scheme, 1849-51, 24.   130 Charles Barter, The Dorp and the Veld or Six Months in Natal (London, 1851).  Other species such as Euclea daphnoides and Scarcostemma viminale also contributed to the bush?s denseness.      61 no choice but to offer  these  lands  to  newcomers.   His diary  entry masked his  pessimism:   ?the land is ill-adapted for emigration purposes, though I hope it will eventually turn out not so bad as is expected?.131    When Moreland brought the new batch of arrivals from the Henry Tanner and the Dreadnought to these lands, they responded with bitterness, or resigned laughter.  Most sold their  plots  for  as  little  as  six  pence  per  acre.    Others  abandoned  them  without  any compensation at all.  Those who endeavoured to stay were overwhelmed by the poor quality of the land.  One settler, Mrs. Leonard Wright, described her family?s property as ?chiefly large stones, and unfit for cultivation?.  Another settler on a nearby farm referred to his plot as ?bare rock and iron crag?.132  Still another spent weeks attempting to break through the thick layer of thorn trees, most close to the ground and stunted. 133    He abandoned the land soon after.     Moreland?s problems extended beyond the poor quality of the allotments.  Byrne had made a basic error that put the entire scheme in jeopardy.  Upon approaching the Colonial Emigration and Land Board for his drawbacks based on the safe arrival of the first handful of ships, Moreland was refused, both because of the smattering of complaints about the quality of land being offered, and because Byrne had bought two of these tracts of land directly from Collison, a violation of the original agreement.134  With the reimbursements on his deposit being refused, and no market for the sale of extra lands, Byrne was left with no incoming revenue.  This triggered a backlog that was fatal to the scheme.  Without funds to acquire                                                  131 PAR, Accessions 1273, Moreland Papers I, 21 January 1850. 132 Hattersley, The British Settlement of Natal, 210-211. 133 Natal Witness, 11 April 1851.   134  PAR  Accession  1577,  Byrne  Immigration  Scheme,  Correspondence  on  the  Settlement  of  Natal  (London, 1850), Moodie to Smith, 16 April 1849, 29.     62 new lands or pay the survey fees, there were  no  allotments awaiting  the  steady  stream  of emigrants who arrived during the summer of 1849/50.   Moreland  was  further  handicapped  by  a  dearth  of  suitable  land.    All  the  good agricultural  land  within  twenty  kilometres  of  Pietermaritzburg  and  Durban  was  in  the possession  of  wealthy  landowners  waiting  for  the  price  of  their  holdings  to  inflate.    This unbalanced distribution of land had long been a sore point for Natal administrators.  Initially, British officials were able to lay blame for this disorganized and haphazard system of land distribution on the Volksraad, the government of the early Afrikaner Republic.  Records of land transactions were in disarray, making it impossible to account for the thousands of acres that  had  been  appropriated  during  this  period.    Sir  Harry  Smith,  Governor  of  the  Cape, exacerbated the situation even further by offering vast tracts of land at depressed prices, often no more than one or two pence an acre, in a misguided attempt to stem the flow of Afrikaner families out of the colony.135  Most of this land ended up in the hands of wealthy speculators based in London or the Cape.  By 1847 nearly three million acres were divided among 360 claimants.    Over  eighty-five  percent  of  this  land  was  idle,  unused,  and  unavailable  for settlement.136     Disgruntled  settlers  convened  meetings  early  in  1850  to  address  these  obstacles.  Committees  were  formed  to  synthesize  grievances,  culminating  in  a  twenty-two  page amalgam  of  dissatisfaction  that  was  presented  to  the  government.    The  settlers?  major complaint  centered  on  the  insufficient  size  of  their  allotments,  a  deficiency  with  which                                                  135 Henry Slater, "Land, Labour, and Capital in Natal: The Natal Land and Colonization Company, 1860-1948," Journal of African History 16 (1975): 257-283.  This policy was decried by many in Natal, who, while agreeing with Harry Smith?s intentions in trying to stem the flood of Boers out of the province, realized that too little land would be left over for well-suited and well-intentioned settlers.  See for instance Natal Mercury, 7 April 1859. 136   Edgar H. Brookes and Colin de B. Webb, A History of Natal (Pietermaritzburg, 1965), 61.  See  also A.J. Christopher, "The British Settlement of Natal 1848-1851: A Geographical Appraisal," Journal for Geography 3 (1969): 485-499.   63 Natal?s  newly-appointed  second  Lieutenant-Governor,  Benjamin  Pine,  sympathized.    Pine acquiesced to the settlers? request for extra land  and extended the size of each emigrant?s allotment by twenty-five acres (at no extra cost to Byrne).  He further allowed Moreland to circumvent existing regulations for the sale of Crown Land and initiated a direct transfer of the 22 000 acres belonging to the now-defunct NCC along the uMhloti River.  It was upon this  land  that  Moreland  settled  the  next  wave  of  emigrants  who  arrived  almost simultaneously on the King William, the Sovereign and the Edward in early 1850.  Most of these  two  hundred  or  so  settlers  were  recruited  through  a  Wesleyan  Methodist  settlement scheme that had been folded in with Byrne?s.  As these new arrivals requested to be settled together, the former NCC land seemed an ideal location.     After  a  delay  of  about  four  months  during  which  most  of  the  emigrants  occupied hastily erected tents on Durban?s beaches, the settlers took possession of their forty-five acre plots along the uMhloti.  The Wesleyans settled on the south side of the river and established the city of Verulam.  It seemed an advantageous location: near the highroad that traders took north into Zulu country, it had enough timber for the construction of homes and church, and the river wound its way through most of the allotments.  Though the soil was shallow and sandy, rainfall averaged just over one thousand millimetres a year, providing ample water for most produce and grain.  But the land was heavily covered in trees, bush and roots, including the notoriously difficult-to-remove Acacias.  European settlers had been  assured that their land would be well-wooded but were completely unprepared for the dense, low-lying tangle that  blanketed  their  plots.    One  settler,  John  Akerman,  summed  up  this  gulf  between  the representation Byrne had crafted prior to departure and the reality his settlers encountered on the  ground:    ?what  Mr.  Byrne  in  England  called  ?good  land?  is  a  dense  forest  of  such  a   64 character as to be quite beyond the means of the ordinary English emigrant to clear?.137  It took most settlers over a year to get even a few acres of their land ready for the plow.  This delay put farmers in such a precarious financial position they were unable to contemplate any crops other than those of immediate necessity.  Most ended up relying primarily on maize and potatoes.  The Wesleyans also encountered the same constraints to production that had thwarted NCC plans only a few years earlier:  steep inclines, heavy winds, and shallow soils.     The settlers at Verulam, as elsewhere, were further lured away from cotton by the comparative  economic  advantage  offered  by  other  crops.    An  inadvertent  consequence  of Byrne?s success at importing large numbers of emigrants into the colony was inflation in the market for local foodstuffs.  By early 1850 the price of maize had shot up to between eight and ten shillings a bushel from only two shillings two years before.138  Potatoes were fetching up to two pence per lb with ships waiting to export surplus crops to Mauritius.  French beans were  priced  at  over  six  shillings  a  bushel,  sorghum  was  up  to  seven  shillings  a  bushel.  Success stories about Byrne settlers who opted for foodstuffs over cotton began to circulate among the new arrivals.  One settler on the uMgeni River sowed five acres with oats and realized a profit of over ?22  per acre before expenses.139   Another,  who  had come to  the colony  as  a  cotton  buyer  for  a  British  manufacturing  firm,  confessed  that  the  prices  for foodstuffs were too attractive to ignore and settled along the Isipingo River planting potatoes and oats.140  These high prices for  foodstuffs gave  settlers yet another reason  to abandon Byrne?s original vision of cotton cultivation.                                                      137 Clark, Natal Settler-Agent: The Career of John Moreland, Agent for the Byrne Emigration Scheme, 1849-51, 90. 138 Holden, A History of the Colony of Natal, 267.   139 KC, James Ecroyd Letters, Ecroyd to his Mother, 10 November 1850, 74.  Ecroyd?s letters provide the most valuable  contemporary  data  on  the  comparative  prices  offered  for  foodstuffs  within  the  colony  and  the disincentive these high prices offered to cotton growers.   140 Ibid, Ecroyd to his brother Benjamin, 6 February 1851.     65   Despite these setbacks Byrne continued to enjoy success in recruiting settlers to his scheme.  Boatloads kept turning up through the winter of 1850; over one thousand emigrants landed  between  May  and  July.    Once  again,  Moreland  scrambled  to  find  suitable  land, eventually  securing  31  000  acres  along  the  Illovo  River,  obtained  on  loan  from  the government.  While many of these settlers were successful with mixed farming and sustained agricultural production (many stayed on this land for generations afterwards), no cotton was ever grown there.  The plots allocated along the Illovo River were at an elevation of over 1100 metres, in the area now known as  the  Mist  Belt,  which is characterized by  extreme weather  ranging  from  desiccating  hot  winds  from  the  Drakensberg  Mountains,  to  cold, enveloping mists in the spring and summer, and frequent frost in the winter, caused by rapid cooling as air descends into the area?s deep valleys.141  The region receives rainfall between 800  and  1  280  mm  per  year,  with  the  main  source  of  precipitation  being  heavy,  intense thunderstorms  during  the  late  afternoons  of  the  rainy  season.    Historical  analyses  of  the region?s precipitation patterns reveal a cyclical pattern of variance, with alternating periods of extended drought and unusually heavy rains.142   The Byrne settlers soon recognized  that local  conditions were poorly  suited to  the cultivation of cotton.  Ellen McCleod, who arrived on the Minerva, laughed at her brother-in-law?s suggestion that cotton cultivation would be profitable, scoffing that ?[he] forgets that we are half way up to the mountains of perpetual snow, Drakensberg?.143  Her letters home during the growing seasons of 1850-1853 chronicled the regular incidence of thunderstorms                                                  141 Margaret Mary Sandwith, "The Diminution of the Mist Belt Grasslands of KwaZulu-Natal: An Historical Investigation of Land-Use Change" (M.A., University of Natal, 2002), 66. 142  Charmian Coulson, Beaulieu-on-Illovo, Richmond, Natal: Its People and its History (Richmond, 1986), 14. 143 Ruth E. Gordon, Dear Louisa: History of a Pioneer Family in Natal, 1850-1888 (Cape Town, 1970), 42.  Another settler who arrived on the Minerva, George Mason, was also struck by the regularity and severity of the region?s thunderstorms.  See George Mason, Life with the Zulu of Natal, South Africa (London, 1868).   66 and hailstorms, even an occasional hurricane.  Both she and her husband were convinced that these climatic conditions were too volatile for cotton to succeed.  Colonial Imagination and Ecological Realities   Byrne?s  cotton  scheme  failed  because  of  the  gulf  between  his  exuberantly  crafted  representations of Natal?s  cotton potential and  the  realities his settlers  encountered on  the ground.  There were three dimensions to this:  First, Byrne?s selective use of the grid as a means  of  dividing  up  land  into  symmetrical  plots  abstracted  Natal?s  ecological  realities, leaving many settlers with plots completely unsuitable for cotton.  Most of the Byrne settlers whose land had been allocated through the grid refused their allotments outright.  Second, Byrne deliberately underestimated the size of plots needed for cultivation, hoping that settlers would then rush to purchase extra land from him at inflated prices.  Even those settlers who ended  up  with  well-positioned  sections  of  land  found  that  twenty  acres  per  person  was insufficient for successful cotton cultivation.144  Third, and most crucially, Byrne assembled lands that were too far inland and too cold to allow a heat-loving plant  such  as cotton  to succeed.     Having never visited the colony himself (despite his claims to the contrary), Byrne required a means of generalizing and abstracting Natal?s geographical particularities, making the specific and the local accessible  within  his  London office.   To accomplish this  Byrne employed  a  grid,  which,  as  Hildegard  Binder  Johnston  has  argued  in  the  context  of  the United States, was favoured because it facilitated the ?orderly transfer of an immense, poorly                                                  144 Of course, twenty acres was the standard allotment per individual, so many families accumulated holdings far exceeding this size.  A J Christopher estimates that just over 40% of total holdings were twenty acres in size.  The average holding of all the Byrne settlers was 53 acres.  See Christopher, "The British Settlement of Natal 1848-1851: A Geographical Appraisal".     67 known territory to private ownership through sales?.145  In Bruno Latour?s terms, the grid was a code of translation, through which the foreign, distant land of Natal become mobile, stable and combinable.146  Byrne?s grid allowed him to divide up the land into symmetrical allotments without any consideration for the agricultural possibilities confronted by growers on the ground.147     Illustration  2.3  shows  Byrne?s  grid  imposed  on  the  former  NCC  lands  along  the uMhloti River.  The townships of Verulam and Mount Moreland are visible, surrounded by plots on all sides.  Upon viewing the lands for themselves European settlers quickly realized that Byrne?s grid was flawed.  The topography of this coastal land was undulating, with sharp crests and valleys, leaving much of the land incorporated within the grid too steep for any type of cultivation.  As Johnson  has argued with respect to the United States,  such right-angled  planning  is  suitable  for  level,  uninterrupted  land,  but  is  foiled  by  hilly  areas.148  Byrne?s grid was unable to make allowances for these marginal growing conditions: many allotments in the former NCC lands were too steep for cultivation.                                                     145 H. B. Johnson, "Towards a National Landscape," in The Making of the American Landscape, ed. M. Conzen (Boston, 1990), 127-145.   146  Bruno  Latour,  Science  in  Action:  How  to  Follow  Scientists  and  Engineers  through  Society  (Cambridge, 1987).    Other  accounts  have  stressed  the  utility  of  the  grid  as  a  means  of  control  which  rendered  the  land increasingly available for colonization.  See for instance Nicholas Dirks, "Introduction," in Colonialism and its Forms  of  Knowledge,  ed.  Bernard  Cohn  (Princeton,  1996),  and  Hildegard  Binder  Johnson,  Order  Upon  the Land: the U.S. Rectangular Survey and the Upper Mississippi Country (New York and Toronto, 1976). 147  This  theme  of  colonial  imaginations  clashing  with  ecological  realities  looms  large  in  much  of  imperial environmental history.  See Michael Williams, The Making of the South Australian Landscape:  A Study in the Historical Geography of Australia (London and New York, 1974);  John C. Weaver, The Great Land Rush and the Making of the Modern World, 1650-1900 (Montreal and Kingston, 2003). 148Johnson, Order Upon the Land: the U.S. Rectangular Survey and the Upper Mississippi Country, 220.     68   Illustration 2.3:  Byrne?s Grid on the Former NCC Lands along the uMhloti.  Source:  PAR Image Collection, M1/98.      Illustration 2.4 shows Byrne?s grid applied to the lands along the Illovo River.  Fewer than half of these plots were allocated direct river access, a necessity for irrigation.  Settler reports confirm that water availability was sporadic all along the Illovo, as both the river and its tributaries were vulnerable to periodic drought and excessive flooding.149  The grasslands in  this area were dotted intermittently with timber, consisting primarily of yellow-woods, sneeze woods and wild peach-trees.  Some plots were covered in clumps of dense bush that made  plowing  impossible,  while  others  lacked  timber  for  the  construction  of  fences  or homes.  One settler, whose plot was located on the outer edge of the grid, complained that his                                                  149 Gordon, Dear Louisa: History of a Pioneer Family in Natal, 1850-1888, 2.     69 land was over four miles away from the nearest water source, and covered with interminable bush.150  In the interior of Natal, water and wood were distributed too unevenly to ensure their availability on each grid plot.151     Illustration  2.4:    Byrne?s  Grid  applied  to  Allotments  along  the  Illovo  River.    Source:    PAR, Accessions 1598 Ref 3, Byrne Immigration Scheme, Moreland Miscellaneous Notes.      Byrne?s impractical imposition of the grid caused many of his settlers to reject their land outright.  42% of all plots were unoccupied or abandoned within the first year.152  As                                                  150 Clark, Natal Settler-Agent: The Career of John Moreland, Agent for the Byrne Emigration Scheme, 1849-51, 89.   151 Only a few years earlier the British had recognized this gulf between the agricultural potential of coastal and inland  plots  and  made  adjustments  to  accommodate  differences  in  growing  conditions.    Farms  allotted  to Voortrekkers between 1843 and 1849 were double the size in inland areas as compensation for the high aridity and  inferior  growing  conditions.    See  A.J.  Christopher,  "Colonial  Land  Policy  in  Natal,"  Annals  of  the Association of American Geographers 61 (1971): 560-575.     70 has now become well understood, following the arguments of Foucault and the many who have  borrowed  his  insight,  representations  from  afar  privilege  political  imperatives  and exclude potentially damaging or detrimental externalities.  The grid made the lands of Natal visible, in one way, to Byrne in England and allowed him to divide and allocate them among his settlers from afar:  the process of representation facilitated intervention.153  But Byrne?s grid simultaneously determined the outcome of this settlement scheme.  The grid extracted these lands from their immediate socio-spatial contexts.   It  enframed a particular view of Natal?s cotton growing potential that left many settlers with plots wholly unsuitable for the goal of cotton cultivation.154      But the failure of Byrne?s cotton scheme was not due to the grid alone.  Even those settlers who were lucky enough to receive plots on prime agricultural land were unable to grow cotton due to the small size of their allotments.  Natal?s second Lieutenant-Governor, Benjamin Pine, who assumed his post as Byrne?s venture collapsed, was the first to recognize that settler plots were undersized:   The  first  and  fundamental  error  in  the  scheme  is  that  it  is  based upon  a  mistaken notion  of  the  physical  nature  of  the  district.  It is founded on the  opinion that the country  is capable  of  being  divided for  agricultural purposes into allotments of  20 acres in extent.  No opinion can be more erroneous, and I cannot help expressing my                                                                                                                                                       152  Approximate 32 500 of the total 78 000 acres administered under the Byrne scheme were rejected outright.  PAR, Records of Registrar of Deeds, n.d.  In: Hattersley, The British Settlement of Natal, 494.   153 For other examples of how spatial representations influence political outcomes see Jonathan Murdoch and Neil  Ward,  "Governmentality  and  Territoriality:  The  Statistical  Manufacture  of  Britain's  'National  Farm'," Political Geography 16 (1997): 307-324; Roger J. P. Kain, "The Role of Cadastral Surveys and Maps in Land Settlement from England," Landscape Research 27 (2002): 11-24; David Demeritt, "The Statistical Enframing of Nature's Limits: Forest Conservation in the Progressive Era United States," Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 19 (2001): 431-459.   154  As  Edward  Said  notes,  colonialism  could  not  have  succeeded  without  ?important  philosophical  and imaginative  processes  at  work  in  the  production  as  well  as  the  acquisition,  subordination,  and  settlement  of space?.  Edward Said, "Representing the Colonized: Anthropology's Interlocutors," Critical Inquiry 15 (1989): 205-225.  Derek Gregory investigates how conceptions of space were a vital part of the colonizing process more broadly in his book Geographical Imaginations.   71 surprise  that it should ever  have  been entertained by anyone  who had visited, and even superficially examined, the district.155  He was emphatic that plots needed to be expanded at least ten-fold for farmers to have even a chance of success with cotton: It is impossible to divide the country advantageously into 20 acre farms.  The banks of  the  rivers  and  streams may admit such divisions, but then the  land above  them would be rendered valueless, even for grazing purposes, by being cut off from the water.  I am therefore of opinion, and it is that of all practical men with whom I have conversed  on  the  subject,  that  as  a  whole  the  country  is  incapable  of  being advantageously divided into farms of less extent than from 200 to 500 acres.156    Settlers also realized that twenty acres was insufficient and petitioned to have their acreage  expanded.157    In  response,  Lieutenant-Governor  Pine  more  than  doubled  the minimum allotment to forty-five acres.  But still these were woefully undersized.  Plots of forty-five acres were too small to ensure that each plot received sufficient water and wood, especially  in  the  drier  interior.    A  similar  point  was  made  by  John  Wesley  Powell  with respect to the application of the ?forty? ? the 40 acre modular base unit for surveying ? west of  America?s  100th  Meridian.    Powell  maintained  that  while  the  eastern  United  States contained  sufficient  water  and  wood  to  allow  for  such  modular  divisions  upon  the  land, scarcity west of the 100th Meridian was so acute that settlement plots needed to be expanded to take these more arid conditions into account.  He suggested: ?an adjustment of the survey to geographic conditions?.158  The same held true in Natal:  Byrne applied his grid evenly within the humid coastal region and the drier inland river valleys (along the Illovo).  Plots that did not reflect local geographic conditions were destined for failure.                                                     155  PAR,  Accessions  1577  Byrne  Immigration  Scheme,  Further  Correspondence  on  the  Settlement  of  Natal, (London: 1851).  See also PAR, GH 270 no. 78, LG Pine to Governor of Cape Colony, 30 August 1850 in Leverton, The Natal Cotton Company: A Study in Failure, 8. 156  Ibid.    Sir  Harry  Smith,  Governor  of  the  Cape,  endorsed  Pine?s  assessment  of  the  failure.    He  called  the twenty-acre allotments the ?radical defect? of the scheme and agreed with Pine?s conclusion that allotments of no less than two hundred acres should never have been contemplated.  Smith?s comments are found in this same document.   157 See for instance KC, Jane Arbuthnot Reminiscences.   158 Johnson, Order Upon the Land: the U.S. Rectangular Survey and the Upper Mississippi Country, 220.     72    Byrne?s undersized plots also prevented settlers from replicating the only production strategy  that  had  ever  succeeded  in  exporting  cotton  from  Natal.    The  early  agricultural successes that had helped fuel the colony?s cotton fever grew the crop on plots of three to five acres, on farms that numbered in the hundreds, often thousands of acres.  Cotton made up one element of a diversified farming strategy that included the production of foodstuffs for local markets, cattle rearing, and often dairying.159   Most  crucially,  Byrne?s  cotton  scheme  focused  on  inland  areas  at    elevations  in excess of 1000m, where  frosts, and violent storms were frequent.160  Modern-day estimates reveal average temperatures of between 18.3 and 20.70C during the October-March growing season at Byrne?s sites along the Illovo River.161  This meant that some 1500 to 1950 heat units were available for crops on this land, well below cotton?s minimum threshold of 2100.  Byrne  settlers  allocated  plots  closer  to  Pietermaritzburg  faced  similar  constraints,  with average temperatures of 19.60C translating into a heat unit value of 1742.  Byrne chose plots that were too high, too far inland and too cold for cotton to succeed.  These unsuitable lands offered insufficient heat for cotton?s morphological development. Other, non-land related failings also contributed to the downfall of Byrne?s scheme.    Byrne  readily  accepted  any  emigrant  with  funds,  regardless  of  his  or  her  suitability  as  a colonial agriculturalist.  Almost 1000 of the 2700 new arrivals were towns-people without any  agricultural  experience.162    Both  Lieutenant-Governor  Pine  and  Moreland  put  the percentage of European settlers with useful farming skills much lower, the former estimating                                                  159 Byrne was locked into twenty acre allotments as part of his agreement with the government.  Any increase in plot size would have had to come out of his profit margin.   160 The Natal Cotton Company lands along the coast being the only exception.   161 Camp, "The Bioresource Groups of KwaZulu-Natal".   162 Hattersley, The British Settlement of Natal, 109.     73 that only 2% of Byrne emigrants had been employed in agriculture prior to emigration, the latter putting this figure at only 1%.163  Focusing his recruitment efforts on urban emigrants had lowered the chances of successful cotton cultivation even further.     Another major handicap was the chronic delay in surveying allotments.  Most new arrivals stayed in Durban for weeks, often months before their land was surveyed.   During this time they typically exhausted whatever capital they had brought with them to the colony.  Waiting  times  worsened  as  Moreland  was  unable  to  access  reimbursements  of  Byrne?s deposits.  By mid-1850 three months was the norm and this soon extended to six and even to nine months.164  The situation was worse for settlers who arrived later in the year.  At least one arrival on the British Tar in late September 1850 had to wait more than fourteen months for his land to be surveyed.165     There  were  still  other  instances  of  baffling  mismanagement  on  Byrne?s  part.    He chartered vessels that drew too much water to enter the Port.  The sand bar at the entrance of Durban harbour prevented ships of greater than ten feet draught from entering, yet no fewer than  three  of  Byrne?s  ships  exceeded  this  capacity,  forcing  settlers  to  incur  an  unloading charge of 29 shillings per ton.  Byrne also neglected to budget for the cost of moving settlers from the Port to their allotted land.  Moreland ended up paying transportation costs in excess of ?3 10s. per ton per fifty miles.  In another instance, Byrne accepted deposits of large sums                                                  163 Lieutenant-Governor Pine?s estimate is from Hammond, "The Settlement of the Byrne Immigrants in Natal, 1849-1852",  100.    Moreland?s  estimate  is  found  in  Hattersley,  The  Natalians:  Further  Annals  of  Natal,  59.  Moreland described with great style how Byrne fiddled with his records to get non-suitable emigrants past the emigration commissioners:  ?By the mere flourish of a pen a hairdresser and perfumer?was speedily turned into an experienced agriculturalist; if he had not strictly speaking been accustomed to handle the scythe, the spade or the plow and cultivate the land, he had nevertheless cut many a crop, either with the scissors or the razor?a professor of  music or a dancing master, was  transformed as if by  a magician?s wand, into a burly farmer?a  carver or  a guilder?turned  into a  carpenter or  joiner?.  From Hattersley, The  Natalians: Further Annals of Natal, 68.   164 KC, James Ecroyd Papers, Diary Entry, 12 November 1850.   165 PAR, Accessions 1273, Moreland Letter Book I, Moreland to Byrne, 5 July 1850    74 of money from settlers prior to departure, but failed to establish any means by which newly arrived  settlers  could  approach  Moreland  and  access  their  funds  upon  arrival.166    These managerial shortcomings  exacerbated the already tenuous situation into which  settlers had been placed by Byrne?s land allocation strategies.     By  the  end  of  1850,  Byrne?s  scheme  had  broken  down  completely.    The  negative cycle  of  Moreland?s  rebuffed  attempts  to  obtain  reimbursements,  coupled  with  mounting settler  complaints  over  the  poor  conditions  of  their  allotments,  stalled  any  further  land purchase  or  survey.    European  settlers  began  vacating  their  lands  en  masse  without  any compensation.    The  towns  of  New  Glasgow  and  Mount  Moreland  were  completely abandoned;  the  populations  of  Verulam  and  Richmond  fell  by  half.    Settlers  flooded  to Pietermaritzburg and Durban in search of work.  Reports vilifying Byrne and Moreland filled Natal?s  broadsheets,  as  settler  after  settler  recounted  his  or  her  harrowing  experience.167  Caricatures  appearing  in  these  same  pages  depicted  Byrne  as  a  weasel  and  scoundrel [Illustrations 2.5 and 2.6].  By the time emigrants arrived on the last of Byrne?s ships, the Devonian, which reached port on 31 October 1850 and the Emily which arrived 2 December 1850 Moreland was penniless and unable to assist the new arrivals.  Three weeks later Byrne was ordered to appear in a London bankruptcy court.168                                                    166 Clark, Natal Settler-Agent: The Career of John Moreland, Agent for the Byrne Emigration Scheme, 1849-51, 88.  167 See for instance Natal Witness, 14 June 1850. 168 Byrne?s deficiency in his bankruptcy proceeding was ?2 090.  As always, his oratory skills served him well, as he eloquently blamed Sir Harry Smith and the land grab Smith had spawned for the scheme?s failure: ?The lavish land grants of the Land Commission destroyed the basis of my land calculation, reduced to a few pence an acre the price of land in private hands, absorbed all the good lands in the Colony with a reasonable distance of the port?.  From the Natal Witness, 30 May 1851.   The judge was impressed and conceded that Byrne?s intentions were noble.  He awarded him a first-class bankruptcy.     75  Illustration  2.5:    Sketch  of  Joseph  Byrne  (1852)  by  John  Sanderson  entitled  ?A  Weasel  Asleep?.  Source Natal Witness, 1852, Local History Museum, Durban.       76  Illustration 2.6:  Sketch of Joseph Byrne (1852) by John Sanderson entitled ?Emigration Vulture?.  Source Natal Witness, 1852, Local History Museum, Durban.     Conclusion   The cotton settlements schemes initiated by  Byrne and the NCC  were more  about settlement  than  they  were  about  cotton.    Both  were  initiated  by  speculators  keen  to  take advantage  of  Natal?s  embryonic  land  market.    Both  seized  upon  cotton?s  desirability  and upon  lofty and unreliable accounts of its suitability for cultivation in Natal to amass cheap land.    Both  sought  to  advance  to  the  political  goals  of  the  state,  namely  commodity production and European settlement.  And both schemes were devised from afar with little direct understanding of growing conditions on the ground. The  NCC  and  Byrne  schemes  failed  because  they  were  unable  to  bridge  this  gulf between representation and reality. As the political and social theorist Timothy Mitchell has   77 noted, relationships between representations and their objects ?are never simple?objects of analysis do not occur as natural phenomena, but are partly constructed by the discourse that describes them?.169  Idealized visions of Natal?s growing conditions were buoyed by rising imperial demand, speculative accounts of the land?s cotton potential, and the early success of scattered cultivation efforts.   The positioning of Natal as a cotton colony reflected the desires of those who promulgated this vision rather than the land?s agricultural potential.   In common with settlement schemes initiated in Australia, the United States and Canada, these cotton  ventures  were  motivated  by  imperial  ambition  and  predicated  on  idealized representations of the land. Like those other ventures elsewhere, they failed in large part due to lack of environmental understanding.170                                                                        169 Timothy Mitchell, "The Object of Development," in Power of Development, ed. Jonathan Crush (New York, 1995), 129-157. 170  See D.W. Meinig, On the Margins of the Good Earth (Chicago, 1962);  R.L. Heathcote, Back of Bourke: A Study of Land Appraisal and Settlement in Semi-Arid Australia (London and New York, 1965);  Nelson Riis, "The Walhachin Myth: A Study in Settlement Abandonment," B.C. Studies 17 (1973): 3-25;  Cole Harris and Elizabeth Phillips, Letters from Windermere, 1912-1914 (Vancouver, 1984);William Wyckoff, The Developer's Frontier: The Making of the Western New York Landscape (New Haven, 1988).   78 Chapter 3 Cotton as Containment:  Commodity Cropping and the Delineation of Agricultural Space for Settlers and Africans, 1852 ? 1872.  The  1850s  and  60s  brought  considerable  anxiety  for  the  British  cotton  industry.  Concerns about Britain?s excessive dependence upon American suppliers sparked interest in alternative sources of raw cotton.  American imports, which accounted for 75% of British supply  from  1851  to  1860,  totaled  over  2.5  million  bales  annually  by  the  end  of  the decade.171  These imports dropped off dramatically in 1861, due primarily to the outbreak of the  American  Civil  War.    This  crash  in  cotton  supply,  known  as  the  Lancashire  famine, persisted until American production recovered in 1865.   Anxiety  about  an  interruption  in  American  supply  preceded  the  so-called  cotton famine by more than a decade.  A Select Committee on the Growth of Cotton in India had been convened in 1848, as industry leaders fretted about Britain?s increasing dependence on American  cotton  and  sought  to  establish  a  reliable  colonial  source  immune  from  foreign interruption.  These concerns culminated in the formation of the Cotton Supply Association (CSA) in 1857.  The CSA distributed over  one thousand  tons  of seed in  north and central India in less than a decade, offered prizes for quantity and quality of cotton grown, and sent out  gins  and  presses  to  suitable  applicants.    It  also  initiated  operations  to  expand infrastructure development (especially the construction of ports and roads)  into the Indian interior.172  As a result of these efforts, cotton exports increased by more than 300% in less                                                  171  D.A.  Farnie,  "Cotton  Famine  in  Great  Britain,"  in  Great  Britain  and  her  World,  1750-1914:  Essays  in Honour of W.O. Henderson, ed. B. Ratcliffe (Manchester, 1975), 153-179. 172 P. Harnetty, "India and British Commercial Enterprise: The Case of the Manchester Cotton Company, 1860-64," Indian Economic and Social History Review 3 (1966): 396-416.   79 than five years.173  Indian cotton?s short staple, however, made it poorly suited for British mills.     Less  coordinated  efforts  at  stimulating  cultivation  were  undertaken  by  business associations and aspiring entrepreneurs in the British West Indies, Egypt, Brazil, Paraguay, Angola and Mozambique.174  The trajectory of efforts to stimulate cotton production in these satellites is well-rehearsed:  concern over an interruption in supply fuelled increased prices, a surge  in  production  followed;  this  declined  once  elevated  prices  fell.    Micro-studies  have recently been incorporated within a  global  analysis that has  stressed  the linkages between these  peripheral  supply  sites  and  the  cotton  famine,  describing  these  networks  as  a ?worldwide web of cotton production?.175  This perspective reduces each cotton production site  to  a  cog  in  the  global  machine,  a  supply  satellite  whose  production  was  sustained exclusively by demand emanating from the core.   In  Natal,  however,  local,  internal  factors  were  at  least  as  important  as  imperial concerns over Britain?s raw cotton supply in driving efforts to expand cotton production after 1852.  A first push was focused on African peasant cultivation.176  The colony?s Secretary for Native  Affairs,  Theophilus  Shepstone,  moved  to  encourage  cotton  production  by  Natal?s                                                  173 Exports of cotton from India increased from 563 000 bales in 1860 to 1 390 000 in 1863 andt then to 1 866 620 in 1866.  See W. O. Henderson, The Lancashire Cotton Famine, 1861-65 (New York, 1969), 41 and J.F. Richards and M.B. McAlpin, "Cotton Cultivation and Land Clearing in the Bombay Deccan and Karnata," in Global Deforestation and the Nineteenth-Century World Economy ed. R.P. Tucker and J.F. Richards (Durham, 1983). 174 For more on the search for reliable supply during the famine see P. Harnetty, Imperialism and Free Trade: Lancashire and India in the Mid-Nineteenth Century (Vancouver, 1972), 36-58 and Henderson, The Lancashire Cotton Famine, 1861-65, 35-51.   175 Sven Beckert, "Emancipation and Empire: Reconstructing the Worldwide Web of Cotton Production in the Age of the American Civil War," American Historical Review 109 (2004): 1405-1438. 176 African identities were still relatively unstable in the 1850s and 60s as the region continued to suffer from dislocation and unrest stemming from the violence which accompanied the rise and consolidation of the Zulu kingdom of the early 19th century, known as the mfecane.  While I refer to ?Zulu? cultivators in this chapter, I recognize that such identities remained quite fluid during this time period.      80 Zulu population as part of the colonial project of establishing political order.177  When this venture collapsed, blame was heaped on Zulu growers who were criticized for adhering to traditional  values  deemed  incompatible  with  capitalist  economic  development    African producers  were  dismissed  as  inferior,  lacking  the  constitution  necessary  to  cultivate  a sophisticated commodity crop like cotton.   But environmental and economic factors were perhaps more important than cultural reasons for the failure of Shepstone?s scheme.  Poor planning, inferior soil conditions, and persistent drought combined to constrain Zulu cotton cultivation. As Colin Bundy?s seminal work on the South African peasantry points out, dismissing African agriculture as inferior or rudimentary  ignores  a  large  proportion  of  growers  who  reacted  enthusiastically  to  the expanding market economy with its new pressures and opportunities.178     This rise in cotton production hinged on a broader political issue that engulfed Natal in the 1850s and 60s:  the ?Native Question?.  How fully, contemporaries wondered, should Africans be brought within the jurisdiction of British law and influence?  Shepstone?s cotton scheme was designed to entrench his vision of spatial segregation against those who favoured a more assimilationist policy.179  This chapter argues that this cotton scheme was motivated by goals that were more political than agricultural, that it was first and foremost a means of anchoring  Zulu  producers  within  bounded  Locations  rather  than  a  commercial  scheme  to                                                  177  This  emphasis  on  the  political  rather  than  the  economic  motivations  behind  cotton?s  imposition  on  an African population has also been made, in reference to another setting, by Victoria Bernal, "Cotton and Colonial Order in Sudan: A Social History with emphasis on the Gezira Scheme," in  Cotton, Colonialism and Social History in Sub-Saharan Africa ed. Allen Isaacman and Richard Roberts (Portsmouth, 1995), 96-118.  See also Osumaka Likaka, Rural Society and Cotton in Colonial Zaire (Madison, 1997), 45-71. 178 Colin Bundy, The Rise and Fall of the South African Peasantry (London, 1979). 179 As will be  explained below,  Shepstone favoured  a policy of bounded African Locations, where Africans would be exposed to European ?civilizing? influences which he believed would help accelerate the long-term process of assimilation.  Others opposed his vision, favouring instead a more immediate integration of Africans as labourers in European enterprise.     81 increase  commodity  production.    Cotton  was  a  means  to  an  end,  a  tool,  to  assist  in delineating settler and African space.      When  Shepstone?s  scheme  foundered,  a  second  push  for  cotton  emerged,  almost exactly coincident with the jump in international demand for the commodity.  White settlers sought to take advantage of this price rise.  They rushed into the uMkhomanzi Valley, whose suitability for cotton had been proven by Zulu cultivation efforts.  Production surged while prices remained high, but bottomed-out quickly once they dropped, leading to a mass exodus of settlers.  This second push for cotton thus fits better within the broader pattern of satellite production that characterized commodity networks during the Lancashire famine.    Cotton as an African Crop   The notion that Africans were better suited than Europeans to catalyze Natal cotton production  originated  with  Alfred  Southam,  a  Mancunian  with  ties  to  the  cotton manufacturing  sector.    Motivated  by  the  exaggerated  prospects  of  Natal?s  potential  as  a cotton  colony  in  circulation  in  Britain  (as  elaborated  in  the  previous  chapter),  Southam arrived in Natal early in the 1840s to plant Sea Island cotton along the coast north of Durban.  However, he left the colony after failing to produce a single viable crop in three seasons .  In an  address  to  the  Cotton  Supply  Association  in  1850,  he  blamed  his  failure  on  cotton?s demanding growing regime, arguing that European farmers lacked the constitution for this intensive labour.  The only way cotton would succeed in Natal, he argued, was as an African enterprise:  ?Blacks grow it in America; blacks grow it in India, and blacks must grow it   82 wherever it is grown, as no white man could work at it under a broiling hot sun; nor could he compete with the black man in point of cheapness of labour?.180     Southam?s  proposal  languished  during  the  early  1850s  while  production  efforts remained integrated within the broader goal of colonial emigration. It was revived by Henry Francis Fynn, one of the first Europeans to arrive at Port Natal in 1824.  Fynn had served in a variety  of  government  positions  before  becoming  Assistant  Resident  Magistrate  for  the Lower  uMkhomanzi  Division  in  the  southern-most  part  of  the  colony  in  1853,  a  post  he retained until his death in 1861.181     In 1855 Fynn proposed  the  establishment  of an ?industrial village? where  Africans would  learn  to  cultivate  export  crops.    His  vision  was  to  engage  Zulus  in  commodity agriculture in order to expose them to European crops, technologies and cultivation methods.  His  was  a  civilizing  project.    Fynn?s  aim  was  to  ?assimilate  [African]  customs  to  the Europeans whose government has saved them from destruction?.182   He expected that the adoption of European crops would serve to eradicate the barbaric practices of cannibalism and the drowning of their own children, which he contended sensationally (and inaccurately) were rampant among the Zulu population.     Fynn?s push for cotton reflects a broader movement by British administrators to use agriculture as a civilizing force among colonized populations.  In North America, agriculture was perceived as the great panacea for the ills of the continent?s indigenous peoples, as it was                                                  180 Southam?s address was reprinted in the Natal Witness, 29 January 1858.  181 Fynn is best known for his infamous diary which recounts his largely exaggerated relationship with uShaka Zulu.  See Dan Savage, Savage Delight: White Myths of Shaka (Pietermaritzburg, 2000). 182 PAR, Secreatry for Native Affairs, (SNA) 1/3/6 Ref. 194, H.F. Fynn to Acting Colonial Secretary, 31 August 1857.   83 believed to impart an appreciation of private property and encourage a sedentary existence.183  Colonial administrators viewed agriculture as a means of uplifting and molding Aboriginals into the European ideal, and of bringing them one step closer to assimilation into European culture.      In  Australia,  Kay  Anderson  argues  that  this  linking  of  cultivation  and  human potential  cemented  a  politics  of  exclusion  by  creating  a  ?cultivated  space  of  white-nation building?.184  In the southern African  context, the  anthropologists  Jean and  John  Comaroff have expounded  upon  the  civilizing,  and  especially  the  religious,  dynamic  that  lay  behind  the encouragement  of  agriculture  among  the  baTswana,  noting  that  cultivation  and  salvation were inextricably linked. Agriculture, it was believed, would make Africans both civil and servile:  ?blighted no more, the dark continent would become a ?fruitful field?, a rich rural periphery  of  the  metropolitan  centers  of  civilization  abroad?.185    In  southern  Rhodesia, Wolmer and Scoones have revealed that scientific agricultural practices were founded upon a vision  of  linear,  evolutionary  agricultural  change,  in  which  each  technocratic  intervention was a ?step along the ladder of advance?.186  Fynn?s industrial village was founded upon a similar  belief  in  agriculture?s  civilizing  potential:    his  introduction  of  modern,  scientific practices provided an opportunity for Africans to escape their barbaric existence.    Convinced  that  persuasion  alone  would  not  overcome  initial  reluctance,  Fynn proposed cultivating large, communal plots that would allow Zulu growers to experience the                                                  183 Sarah Carter, Lost Harvests: Prairie Indian Reserve Farmers and Government Policy (Montreal, 1990), 5.  Carter?s book examines similar themes on the ?civilizing? element of agricultural policy in the early 20th century Canadian context.   184  Kay  Anderson,  "White  Natures:    Sydney?s  Royal  Agricultural  Show  in  Post-Humanist  Perspective  " Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers 28 (2003): 422-441.   185 Jean Comaroff and John L. Comaroff, Of Revelation and Revolution Volume 2: The Dialectics of Modernity on a South African Frontier (Chicago and London, 1997), 124.  186 Michael Wolmer and Ian Scoones, "The Science of ?Civilized? Agriculture: The Mixed Farming Discourse in Zimbabwe," African Affairs 99 (2000): 575-600.   84 superiority of European crops first-hand.  Fifty acres were to be planted to Sea Island cotton in  1857/58  and  another  fifty  acres  the  following  year,  alongside  smaller  plots  of  coffee, sesame, and arrowroot.  Fynn aspired to have all 1133 African residents living between the uMzinto and uMkhomanzi Rivers cultivating cotton.187   Fynn established a village at Inyangwimi, a range of hills a few kilometers from the coast, south of the uMtwalume River [Illustration 3.1].  Elevations were as high as 500m and most of the land undulated steeply.  The vegetation was primarily moist coastal forest that benefited from the heavy rains brought in off the ocean.  Among the wide range of soil types, were shallow clays and  deeper and  better  drained loams.   Fynn  believed these  ecological conditions were ideal for cotton, and estimated that there were between 12 000 and 15 000 acres of similar land located along Natal?s South Coast.188                                                   187 PAR, SNA 1/3/7 no. 168, H.F. Fynn to SNA, 20 November 1858. 188 PAR, SNA 1/3/7 no. 121, H.F. Fynn to SNA, 30 August 1858.     85  Illustration  3.1:    Approximate  Location  of  Fynn?s  Inyangwimi  Industrial  Village.    Adapted  from:  Robert Mann, The Colony of Natal (London, 1859): 7.      In  1857,  Fynn  was  allocated  a  Superintendent,  Robert  Struthers,  to  oversee  the village?s day-to-day operations, as well as a builder, a ploughman, a driver, and dozens of African labourers to aid in the erection of buildings and the preparation of land.  Work began on 31 May 1857; delays began soon after.  Heavy spring rains retarded construction; the site initially chosen for much of the planting had to be abandoned as it was saturated with water.  A single team of oxen had to be rotated between the erection of buildings and the cultivation   86 of plots.  Total expenses for the year were just under ?300.189  Input costs ballooned to over ?2 per acre, putting the project?s financial viability in jeopardy.    Despite  delays,  Fynn?s  growers  planted  some  cotton  before  the  end  of  1857. Cultivation efforts continued throughout the spring rains of 1858, and by April 1859 they had over thirty acres of cotton under cultivation.  Some growers achieved yields of almost 300 lbs per acre.  By the end of the 1858/59  season,  3700 lbs  of  seed cotton had  been picked.190  Fynn predicted that more than 50 000 cotton plants would be in full bloom by the following growing season.    Cotton and Containment   Southam?s arguments in favour of African cotton cultivation and the early successes of Fynn?s industrial village inspired Theophilus Shepstone, the architect of Natal?s Native administration policy, to implement a colony-wide cotton program.  The son of a Methodist missionary,  Shepstone  spent  his  youth  among  Africans  in  the  Cape  and  became  fluent  in many of the southern uNguni languages, including isiXhosa and isiZulu.  He spent his early professional years working as an interpreter for his father?s missionary colleagues, and then applied  his  linguistic  skills  in  the  service  of  the  British  administration.    He  rose  quickly through the ranks and, after being stationed in Grahamstown for seven years as Diplomatic Agent to Neighbouring Tribes, was promoted to the newly-created post of Diplomatic Agent to the Native Tribes in Natal in 1845.191                                                    189  PAR,  SNA  1/3/6  Ref.  193,  Report  of  Preliminary  Operations  for  the  Formulation  of  a  Native  Industrial Village at Inyangwini, 31 August 1857. 190 PAR, SNA 1/3/8, H.F. Fynn to SNA, 17 October 1859, 48.   191 Ruth E. Gordon, Shepstone: The Role of the Family in the History of South Africa, 1820-1900 (Cape Town 1968), 117.     87   At much the same time, over 100 000 African refugees flooded into Natal to escape aggression in the north.  In 1847 a Native Commission was formed to manage this influx, with Shepstone as its most influential member.192  Shepstone?s missionary ideals framed his approach.      He  remained  deeply  committed  to  ideals  of  improvement,  as  he  sought  to undertake the ?Christianizing and civilizing [of these] 100 000 degraded human beings?.193  He  mapped  out  a  system  of  centralized  control  in  which  Africans  would  be  spatially segregated  from  settlers  within  vast  tracts  of  land  known  as  Locations  [Illustration  3.2].  Shepstone reaffirmed tribal hierarchies ? refugees without specific allegiances had new ones created for them ? and used this authority to maintain law and order, while positioning his personally-appointed magistrates as Supreme Chiefs with consolidated executive, legislative and  judicial  power.    Thus,  the  administration  of  Natal?s  Africans  flowed  entirely  through Shepstone, the top tier of the pyramid, who entrenched his hierarchical system of control by allowing  Africans  to  govern  ?according  to  the  principles  of  their  own  laws,  customs  and usages?.194    He  expected  that  the  influence  of  centralized  European  control  and  private property,  alongside  heavy  investment  in  Native  Police,  European  schools  and  agricultural instruction  would  convert  these  enclaves  into  ?active  agencies  of  civilization?,  in  which outdated  and  barbaric  African  notions  of  polygamy,  witchcraft  and  ilobola  (bride-selling) would be easily eradicated.195                                                     192 The Commission originally consisted of Shepstone and two others, Natal?s Surveyor-General Dr. W. Stanger and an American Missionary, Reverend Newton Adams.  A Lieutenant and a second Missionary were added later.  Shepstone?s intimate knowledge of African languages and customs made his the most influential voice at the table.   193  PAR,  SNA  1/8/3,  Shepstone  to  Secretary  of  Government,  April  1846  in  David  Welsh,  The  Roots  of Segregation: Native Policy in Colonial Natal, 1845-1910 (Cape Town and New York, 1971), 19. 194 Memorandum by T. Shepstone, 12 August 1848 In Benjamin Kline, Genesis of Apartheid : British African Policy in the Colony of Natal, 1845-1893 (Lanham, 1988), 13.  195 Edgar Brookes and Colin de Webb, A History of Natal (Pietermaritzburg, 1965), 59.   Herman Merivale was another proponent of the ideal of ?Native improvement?.  See his Lectures XVIII and XIX delivered at Oxford   88   Illustration 3.2:  Native  Locations in Natal c.1860.  Adapted from: John Lambert, Betrayed Trust: Africans  and  the  State  in  Colonial  Natal.  (Pietermaritzburg,  1995):  insert,  and  Robert  Mann,  The Colony of Natal (London, 1859): 7.    Shepstone  realized  that  humanitarian  justifications  alone  would  be  insufficient  to convince his superiors in London of the merits of his Location System.  To realize his vision of spatial segregation Shepstone also needed to  sell his plan as financially viable.  As the                                                                                                                                                       University:    Herman  Merivale,  Lectures  on  Colonization  and  Colonies  :  Delivered  Before  the  University  of Oxford in 1839, 1840 & 1841 (London, 1861).   89 most influential member of the Location Commission of 1847, Shepstone outlined his vision for  creating  enclosed  African  spaces  which  would  serve  both  economic  and  humanitarian ends.    He  argued  that  the  key  to  wealth  generation  in  the  colony  was  in  solidifying  the exploitation of Natal?s rural economy based on African production:   The native Locations will become centres of industry and improvement, the whole of the  native  population  in  the  district  and  gradually  those  beyond  it,  will  become consumers of imported articles and producers of articles for export, and after a time with  a  judicious  system  of  taxation  will  defray  the  expenses  of  their  own establishments and furnish an excess to the treasury of the district196    Inspired  by  Fynn?s  success  at  Inyangwimi,  Shepstone  made  cotton  the  central component  of  his  plan  to  augment  African  tax  revenue  through  the  cultivation  of  export crops.  In 1856 he wrote that his goal was to ?induce [Africans] to raise from the soil some exportable and permanently marketable  product?.197    He  saw cotton  as the  most  suitable choice because it could be grown successfully through the whole district, its cultivation was very simple and similar to that of maize, it could be planted once and then yield returns for many years, and its market value did not fluctuate so it would always fetch a good price.198  To  undergird  his  grand  design,  Shepstone  sought  revisions  to  the  colonial  tax structure  to  provide  incentives  for  cotton  cultivation.    He  recommended  that  cotton  be accepted  in  payment  of  the  Native  hut  tax  initiated  in  1849  as  a  means  of  bolstering stagnating colonial revenues.199  As further incentive, those who refused to cultivate cotton would be charged ten shillings instead of the usual hut  tax  of seven  shillings.  Shepstone                                                  196 PAR, CSO 179/5, Report of the Location Commission, 1847.  In:  Henry Slater, "The Changing Pattern of Economic Relationships in Rural Natal, 1838-1914," in Economy and Society in Pre-Industrial South Africa, ed. S. Marks and A. Atmore (London, 1980), 148-170, p.157.   197 PAR, SNA 1/1/6 no. 116, T. Shepstone, Memorandum on the Feasibility of Inducing the Native Population of Natal to Grow Cotton and the Manner in which it is Proposed this hould be Accomplished, 11 May 1856.   198  PAR,  Selected  Documents  Presented  to  the  Legislative  Council  (LC)  4/1/1/-4/1/1/3  C52  no.  1,  Native Reserve Fund, 1858.    199  PAR,  Natal  Blue  Book,  1854.    The  annual  7s.  tax  had  raised  more  than  ?8  000  in  its  first  year  and contributed over one-third of Natal?s revenues throughout the 1850s.     90 estimated that every acre of Location land would produce just under 100lbs of seed cotton.  Assuming even the low price of one penny per pound, a single acre planted to cotton would yield enough to cover the hut tax and more.    The strongest opposition to Shepstone?s plan for cotton cultivation came from Natal?s second  Lieutenant-Governor,  Benjamin  Pine,  who  arrived  in  the  colony  in  1850.200    Pine resented  the  autonomy  with  which  Shepstone  ruled  over  the  colony?s  Native  Affairs.  Reflecting the interests of coastal farmers and large landowners,  Pine criticized Shepstone?s Location  System  for  creating  ?enormous  and  unwieldy  reserves?  which  he  considered dangerously large.201    Pine appointed a Commission of Inquiry into Native Administration in 1852 dominated by land-owning colonists, a direct rebuke to the previous Commission of 1847  that  had  articulated  Shepstone?s  vision  of  spatial  segregation.    Pine?s  Commission predictably  concluded  that  the  Locations  were  far  too  large,  having  ?dried  up  the  source whereby  an  abundant  and  continuous  supply  of Kaffir  labour  for  wages  might  have  been procured?.202    Pine?s  vision,  articulated  by  his  new  Commission,  envisaged  a  process  of gradual assimilation.  He urged that the Locations be broken up into smaller, more integrated                                                  200  Natal?s  first  Lieutenant-Governor,  Martin  West,  died  abruptly  in  1849  following  a  bout  with  dysentery.  Described as ?an unimaginative, stodgy sort of civil servant?, West lacked the decisiveness and the desire to contest Shepstone?s plans.  He allowed Shepstone free reign to implement his vision for African-settler relations in the colony.  See Gordon, Shepstone: The Role of the Family in the History of South Africa, 1820-1900, 156. More on the personal antipathy between Shepstone and Pine can be found  in  ibid., 156-171, and Justin L. Hall, "Government Policy and Public Attitudes during the Administration of Natal by Lieutenant-Governor Benjamin C.C. Pine, 1850-1855" (M.A., University of Natal 1969), 31-48.   201 The plantation sugar industry was a high-capital, high-input enterprise, requiring a steady supply of labour on  a  much  larger  scale  than  inland  farmers  (mostly  mixed  farmers  with  a  combination  of  sheep,  cattle  and maize) whose labour requirements were much lower, and who were unwilling to support measures that provided incentive for Africans to abandon their lands to seek work on coastal plantations.  Coastal farmers also had in their corner the colony?s large absentee-landlords.  The two largest, Jonas Bergtheil and Adolph Coqui, with holdings of 106 100 acres and 62 165 acres, respectively, campaigned heavily in favour of developing a new Native Policy that would force Africans to seek employment with white farmers.  The competing  interests of coastal  and  inland  farmers  was  a  major  axis  for  conflict  within  the  white  community  of  Natal.    See  Henry Slater, "Land, Labour and Capital in Natal: The Natal Land and Colonisation Company, 1860-1948," Journal of African History 16 (1975): 257-283 and footnote #46.   202 PAR, Report on Land Settlement 1852, 4, from Brookes and de Webb, A History of Natal, 69.    91 plots where Africans could be more readily assimilated into settler culture, an idea that was anathema to Shepstone. Cotton emerged as the hinge upon which these competing visions for African-settler relations within the colony turned.  For Shepstone, cotton was a means of anchoring Africans within  his  Location  system,  and  it  would  thus  help  to  entrench  his  vision  of  spatial segregation: I  think  it  unnecessary  for  me  to  [detail]  at  any  great  length  upon  the  special advantages which would follow the attainment of the object I propose in this paper ? industry,  and  among  savages  that  kind  of  industry  especially  which  induces  the cultivation  of  soil  is  essentially  a  civilizing  element  ?  it  affords  the  most  perfect guarantees for the peace of the country because it fixes in their minds a practical and ready  manner  the  individual  property  in  land,  and  most  effectively  checks  the disposition to move from place to place.203  Pine opposed cotton because it threatened his vision of an African proletariat.  He sought to break up the Locations to undermine their viability and force Africans out of imizi (homestead)  production  into  cheap  and  ready  labour  on  coastal  sugar  plantations.204    The struggle over cotton was fundamentally a struggle over how economic surplus should best be extracted from the colonized population.205    Zulu Cultivation Efforts   Shepstone?s plans were much more favourably regarded by Natal?s third Lieutenant-Governor, John Scott, who arrived in the colony to replace Pine in 1855. He immediately supported both Shepstone?s vision for  Native  Locations and  the  use of cotton to entrench                                                  203 PAR, SNA 1/1/6 no. 116, T. Shepstone, Memorandum on the Feasibility of Inducing the Native Population of Natal to Grow Cotton and the Manner in which it is Proposed this should be Accomplished, 11 May 1856.   204 Pine also had a considerable personal stake in heading the campaign to free up labour for the colony?s sugar farmers and large landowners.  He was a landowner himself and accepted a post as one of the directors of the Umzinto Sugar Company upon his retirement.  See Natal Mercury, 14 May 1857 in  B. J. Leverton, The Natal Cotton Company: A Study in Failure (Pretoria, 1963), 43.   205 Slater, "Land, Labour and Capital in Natal: The Natal Land and Colonisation Company, 1860-1948".    92 their  permanency.  He  recognized  that  ?there  are  many  difficulties  to  overcome  in  this experiment?  but considered that  ?any scheme  pointing  at  such great  advantages  as would result  from  this  colony  becoming,  through  the  instrumentality  of  its  numerous  natives,  a cotton-growing company... merits every exertion?.206   In November 1858, Lieutenant-Governor Scott allocated funds to Shepstone?s scheme from the ?5000 set aside for the benefit of Natives under the 1856 Charter by which Natal was separated from the Cape colony and administered independently.207  Shepstone focused his efforts along the uMkhomanzi River, where Fynn was having success with his industrial village.  He appointed two Superintendents in charge of cotton cultivation, Fynn?s former manager Robert Struthers in the Lower uMkhomanzi and his younger brother, John Wesley Shepstone,  in  the  Upper  uMkhomanzi.208  In  all  other  districts  Resident  Magistrates  were charged  with  implementing  Shepstone?s  vision:    he  informed  them  that  seed  would  be forthcoming, and instructed them to convince the  Africans residing  in  their district of the merits of cotton cultivation.     Seed  was  dispatched  a  few  months  later.    Although  records  are  fragmentary,  it appears  that  Shepstone  favoured  the  Sea  Island  variety.    His  instructions  on  how  best  to introduce  Africans  to  the  crop  were  vague:    ?your  own  good  sense  will  suggest  to  you arguments most prudent to be used in enforcing the importance to the natives themselves as                                                  206 PAR, BPP Vol. 127,  X Report on The Past and Present State of Her Majesty?s Colonial Possessions 1857, 195. 207  This  move  infuriated  members  of  the  newly  elected  Legislative  Council  who  objected  to  the  continued administration  of  this  fund  by  the  Crown.    The  Department  of  Native  Affairs  thus  constituted  a  sort  of ?imperium in imperio which, without responsibility to the legislature, was able to thwart settler attempts to gain a  regular  labour  force  from  Natal?s  African  population?.    From  Patrick  Harries,  "Plantations,  Passes  and Proletarians: Labour and the Colonial State in Nineteenth Century Natal," Journal of Southern African Studies 13  (1987):  372-399,  p.374.   For  more  on  this  tension  between  the  Legislative  and  Executive  branches  over control of Native Affairs see Kline, Genesis of Apartheid : British African Policy in the Colony of Natal, 1845-1893 40-44, and John Lambert, Betrayed  Trust: Africans  and the State in  Colonial  Natal (Pietermaritzburg, 1995), 63-64.   208  Each  superintendent  was  given  a  salary  of  ?150,  plus  ?50  for  traveling  expenses.    PAR,  SNA  1/8/6, Memorandum from the Office of the SNA, 23 November 1858, 456.     93 well as to the colony?.209   He recommended a growing regime for cotton identical to that of maize,  noting  only  that  cotton  should  be  more  thinly  spaced.    He  further  encouraged  his magistrates to visit growers from  time  to time, as  it was their responsibility to explain to Africans  the  ?benefit  that  will  accrue  to  themselves  should  they  persevere  to  success  in producing the article?.210     The first growing season of 1858/59 was a marginal success.  All seven magisterial districts reported some cotton planted.   By  June  1859 Africans were  cultivating  over 120 acres with 50 acres in the Lower uMkhomanzi and 39 acres in the Upper uMkhomanzi.  Over 6500 lbs of cotton were picked within Natal?s Locations.211     The  success  in  the  Upper  uMkhomanzi  division  was  due  largely  to  John  Wesley Shepstone?s six month tour undertaken in late 1858/early 1859, during which he distributed seed to growers while exalting cotton?s potential, and often stayed with each induna long enough  to  help  set  up  a  cotton  garden  in  each  imizi.    But  he  was  unable  to  replicate  his success the next growing season.  Instead he reported widespread failure which he attributed to inferior growing conditions.212  He noticed a discernible pattern to this collapse.   All the cotton planted on the exposed ridges and hills around the Ifafa and uMzimkhulu Rivers had failed.    Only  cotton  planted  in  five  gardens,  situated  on  the  immediate  banks  of  the                                                  209 PAR, SNA 1/8/7, Shepstone to Mr. G. Potter, 10 April 1861, 346. 210 PAR, LC 4/1/1/1-4/1/1/3 C67 no. 8, Circular from T. Shepstone, Native Affairs, 1859.   211 PAR, LC 4/1/1/1-4/1/1/3 C90 no. 18 1860, Circular from T. Shepstone, Native Reserve Fund, 12 July 1860.  The  impact  of  coerced  production  schemes  on  African  families  differed  according  to  a  multitude  of  social factors including gender, kinship, and class.  While there is little archival evidence attesting to the specifics of these  differentiated  impacts  within  Shepstone?s  scheme,  other  studies  elsewhere  on  the  continent  have underlined the unequal impacts of forced cotton cultivation.  See for instance:  Allen Isaacman, "Chiefs, Rural Differentiation and Peasant Protest: The Mozambican Forced Cotton Regime 1938-1961 " African Economic History  14  (1985):  15-56,  and  some  of  the  chapters  in  Allen  Isaacman  and  Richard  Roberts,  eds.,  Cotton, Colonialism, and Social History in Sub-Saharan Africa (Portsmouth, 1995).   212 PAR, SNA 1/1/10 no. 22, J.W. Shepstone to T. Shepstone, 22 March 1860.     94 uMkhomanzi River and amounting to about ten acres in total, had flourished.213  Planted on the deep alluvial soils of the valley floor, this cotton was also sheltered from the wind and hail that pelted the crops planted on higher land.  There was so much fibre on the bolls by mid-July that Shepstone  requested an extra four dozen sacks for collection.   This  led  John  Wesley  Shepstone  to  focus  cotton  cultivation  in  protected  valleys during the 1860/61 growing season.  Over 1300 lbs were cultivated, exclusively in the low-lying areas of the uMkhomanzi Valley.214  Although only six bales reached buyers in Britain, the Cotton Supply Association lauded the cotton?s potential, declaring it ideally suited for British mills.  215  Reports were so encouraging that the younger Shepstone requested extra seed for the following growing season in hope of expanding production even further. But then output fell. Magistrates and Superintendents across  the  colony  reported a sharp  drop-off  in  African  cultivation,  beginning in  the  summer  of  1861.    Africans  nearly unanimously shifted their efforts away from cotton towards traditional foodstuffs.  Within twelve months cotton had been completely abandoned by Zulu growers.  This failure stunned officials.  All blame was focused on the African growers.   Fynn argued that Zulus were too sluggish and too slow for cotton?s demanding growing regime.  During the planting stage, he alleged, they were unwilling to dig deep into the soil, preventing cotton?s deep roots from extending  more  than  a  few  inches,  and  thus  limiting  germination.216    During  the  picking stage, Fynn claimed that they accumulated cotton that was too soiled and dirty to have any                                                  213 PAR, SNA 1/1/10 no. 9, J.W. Shepstone to T. Shepstone, 20 September 1860. 214 PAR, SNA 1/1/11 Ref 26, J.W. Shepstone to T. Shepstone, 18 March 1861.  All the residual cotton planted on high ground by Illovo and uMkhomanzi Rivers failed again this year.  See PAR, SNA 1/1/11 Ref 38, J.W. Shepstone to T. Shepstone, 1 April 1861.   215 PAR, SNA 1/1/11 Ref: 51 G.R. Haywood, Cotton Supply Association to T. Shepstone, 3 May 1861.   216 PAR, SNA 1/3/7 no. 121, H.F. Fynn, Magistrate of the Umkhomanzi to SNA, 30 August 1858.     95 real value.  He estimated that over 60% of the total cotton planted at Inyangwimi was lost due to neglect.217        Resident Magistrates argued likewise.  The Magistrate of the northernmost uThukela Division complained that Zulus were disinclined towards any type of meaningful labour.  He was  convinced  that  stronger  methods  of  coercion  were  needed  for  them  to  adopt  a  new labour-intensive  crop  like  cotton.218    The  Magistrate  in  Victoria  County  was  pessimistic about Zulu willingness to adopt any crop that did not satisfy the grower?s immediate needs:  ?hunger alone will rouse the native to labour ? that though he loves tobacco and sweet potato he  is,  generally,  too  lazy  to  cultivate  them  ?  it is  no  longer  a  matter  of  surprise  that  the prospect  of  merely  gain  should  fail  to  induce  him  to  cultivate  the  cotton  plant?.219  Theophilus Shepstone also reserved his greatest criticism for the Zulu grower, whose work ethic and inexperience with picking he listed as the major impediments to success:    With reference to the cultivation of cotton by the natives, I have come to the conclusion that  as  long  as  they  remain  in  their  present  savage  state  they  will  never,  generally, steadily continue the  cultivation of  any article  which they do not themselves use, or which will not bring them a decidedly higher money value than they are able to obtain by their own customary article of cultivation.  They are easily discouraged by failure, and  are  deficient  in  the  perseverance  which  is  necessary  to  prosecute  an  enterprise which does not accord with their natural habit and customs220  This refrain, demeaning Africans as lazy and incompetent, reduced the explanation of  cotton?s failure to cultural distinctions.221  As Anne McClintock explains in other colonial contexts,  officials  emphasized  this  discourse  of  idleness  ?  this  ?stigmata  of                                                  217 PAR, Natal Almanac 1863, Report on the Growth of Cotton in Natal, 45.  See also PAR, Fynn Papers 1/1/7/7 A1382 no. 273, Struthers to Fynn, 11 December 1859.   218 PAR, SNA 1/3/12 Ref 81, Resident Magistrate of the Tugela Division to SNA, 25 April 1863.    219 PAR, SNA 1/3/8, Magistrate of Inanda Division, County Victoria, to SNA, 11 October 1858, 53.   220 PAR, Natal Almanac 1963, 45. 221  Carter,  Lost  Harvests:  Prairie  Indian  Reserve  Farmers  and  Government  Policy,  and  Comaroff  and Comaroff, Of Revelation and Revolution, Volume 2: The Dialectics of Modernity on a South African Frontier.     96 degeneration?[this] stigma of racial unworthy? ? to mark themselves from the colonized.222  This denigration of African labour was a  discourse on work, used  to distinguish between desirable and undesirable labour.  Demeaning Zulu growers was part of the broader imperial agenda to replace subsistence livelihoods with revenue-generating export crop production.  It exaggerated  the  degree  to  which  Africans  were  culturally  or  temperamentally  resistant  to growing cotton as it neglected the contextual factors ? environmental and economic ? that help explain the failure of Shepstone?s push for cotton cultivation.  Environmental and Economic Contexts The sharp decline in African cotton production in the summer of 1861 coincided with a prolonged drought that began in November.   The absence of rain stunted the crop; both planting  and  germination  require  immediate  moisture  to  be  successful.    John  Wesley Shepstone reported that the entire crop of the Upper uMkhomanzi, suffered heavily from the extreme dry weather.223   All cotton planted without direct water access had shriveled up and died.  Even Shepstone?s own prized ten acres planted directly alongside the river, which had produced the bulk of the region?s cotton over the previous two years, was reduced to almost nothing.      The  drought  had  similar  consequences  for  African  growers  in  the  Lower uMkhomanzi.  Robert Struthers, Cotton Superintendent for  the  region,  listed dozens upon dozens  of  growers  whose  crops  were  destroyed  by  the  absence  of  rain.224    One  farmer, uDumisa,  had  planted  with  some  success  in  1859/60,  but  his  next  two  plantings  were                                                  222 Anne McClintock, Imperial Leather: Race, Gender and Sexuality in the Colonial Context (New York, 1995), 252/253.   223 PAR, SNA 1/1/12 Ref 37, J.W. Shepstone to T. Shepstone, 8 April 1862 224 PAR, SNA 1/1/12 Ref 5, R. Struthers to T. Shepstone, 14 January 1862.   97 scorched by the sun.  Another nearby farmer, uMasimula, had planted in each of the  two preceding seasons, but in the first the seed did not germinate due to the lack of rain, and in the second the plants shriveled up due to droughts.  So severe was the shortage of water that many farmers took their cattle  south  of the uMzinkhulu River to find water; many cotton fields were abandoned and burnt by grassfires.    Historical  ecological  research  has  revealed  the  cyclical  occurrence  of  drought  in southern Natal during the last half of the 19th century.  A deficiency in rainfall occurred on average every six or seven years.  Data from the Pietermaritzburg rainfall monitoring station ? the only  station  operating  at this time ? reveal that  dry conditions prevailed during  the length of Shepstone?s scheme:  1859-1861 were the three driest consecutive years in Natal between 1850 and 1890. 225   Year  Pietermaritzburg  Gardens Cliffe  Durban   Ottawa 1854  50.56  -  -  - 1855  42.77  -  -  - 1856  50.98  -  -  - 1857  -  -  -  - 1858  27.42  -  -  - 1859  28.40  -  -  - 1860  30.60  -  -  - 1861  22.41  -  -  - 1862  29.97  -  -  - 1863  34.66  -  -  - 1864  37.31  -  -  - 1865  31.08  -  -  - 1866  30.27  -  48.54  - 1867  31.49  25.95  33.08  - 1868  -  44.36  -  - 1869  -  30.83  -  - 1870  -  30.63  -  34.87 1871  -  32.26  -  36.22                                                  225 W. B. Tripp, "Rainfall of South Africa 1842-86," Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society 14 (1888):  108-123.    See  also  Charles  Ballard  and  Giusseppe  Lenta,  "The  Complex  Nature  of  Agriculture  in Colonial Natal: 1860-1909," in Enterprise and Exploitation in a Victorian Colony: Aspects of the Economic and Social History of Colonial Natal, ed. Bill Guest and John M. Sellers (Pietermaritzburg, 1985), 151-180, p.125.   98 Year  Pietermaritzburg  Gardens Cliffe  Durban   Ottawa 1872  -  44.98  -  56.71 1873  -  36.50  42.22  41.33 1874  -  45.60  53.80  49.78 1875  -  37.08  54.78  30.31 1876  -  38.52  35.22  26.56 1877  -  33.91  35.65  35.37 1878  -  26.72  28.24  26.57 1879  -  42.29  44.46  41.13 1880  -  46.18  47.63  - 1881  -  37.62  37.08  38.77 1882  -   39.25  36.21  28.72 1883  -  37.49  44.52  37.43 1884  -  38.33  44.56  40.15 1885  -  -  34.48  - 1886  -  -  31.79  -  Table 3.1:  Rainfall Recorded at Rainfall Monitoring Stations in Natal, 1854-1886, in inches.  Source:  W.B. Tripp " Rainfall of South Africa 1842-86, "  Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society 14 (1888):  108-123, p. 116/117.     As Table 3.1 shows, the most severe drought conditions occurred in 1861/62:  this coincided with the third planting of Shepstone?s cotton scheme, and the most dramatic drop-off  in  planting  rates  recorded  by  Magistrates  and  Superintendents.226      El  Nino  Southern Oscillation (ENSO) events appear to have contributed to these drought episodes in 1857 and 1862; twentieth-century climatologists have estimated that these low phase (warm weather) events  triggered  below  average  rainfalls  further  exacerbating  drought  conditions.227  Climatologists estimate that just over 20% of rainfall variance during this period was due to ENSO events. Harsh  rainfall  conditions  were  made  worse  by  red  locusts  (Nomadacris septemfasciata). Locusts had caused only minor damage in previous growing seasons, but the                                                  226  Dendroclimatological records confirm that the 1861/62 growing season was one of the driest on record.  See Martin  Hall,  "Dendroclimatology,  Rainfall  and  Human  Adaptation  in  the  Later  Iron  Age  of  Natal  and Zululand," Annals of the Natal Museum 22 (1976): 693-703. 227  J.A.  Lindesay  and  C.H.  Vogel,  "Historical  Evidence  for  Southern  Oscillation-Southern  African  Rainfall Relationships," International Journal of Climatology 10 (1990): 679-689.   99 dry conditions were particularly suited to the hatching of eggs, which produced an irruption of these creatures and  intensified the devastation they wrought on all types of vegetation.228  Although locusts generally prefer monocotyledons such as grass, maize or sugar cane, the widespread drought had greatly reduced growth of these species, with the result that locusts turned to almost any living plant for food, and devoured hundreds of young cotton plants. Heavy losses were reported throughout the colony.  In a last-ditch attempt to rekindle the enthusiasm of African residents for cotton John Wesley Shepstone convinced farmers in his district  to  put  sixty  acres  of  good  land  on  the  protected  uMkhomanzi  Valley  floor  under cotton  in  1861/62.    By  January  the  crop  was  wilted,  and  locusts  were  attacking  what remained.  Not a single boll of cotton was plucked from the entire sixty acres.229   African foodstuff production also suffered heavily from these poor conditions.  Food shortages were widespread throughout Natal. The younger Shepstone reported that growers were increasingly reluctant to devote their efforts to cotton, ?there being such a scarcity of food?.230  Most growers gave the prevailing famine as their primary reason for abandoning cotton.  One unnamed African grower who had previously enjoyed significant success with the crop pleaded with Struthers:    Look at our lean bodies, where is our strength to cultivate cotton, we are eating wild roots like pigs, and it requires all our strength to dig them up, we are starving, we have no mealies to plant, and you white people bring them out here in your waggons [sic] and  demand  an  ox  for  a  sackfull,  which  we  used  to  sell  you  for  three  or  four shillings?we are dead.231                                                      228  Charles  Ballard,  ""A  Year  of  Scarcity":  The  1896  Locust  Plague  in  Natal  and  Zululand,"  South  African Historical Journal 15 (1983): 34-52. 229 PAR, SNA 1/1/11 Ref. 38, J.W. Shepstone to T. Shepstone, 1 April 1861. 230 PAR, SNA 1/1/11 Ref 173, J.W. Shepstone to T. Shepstone, 9 December 1861, and SNA 1/1/11 Ref 178, J.W. Shepstone to T. Shepstone, 23 December 1861.   231 PAR, SNA 1/1/12 Ref 5, R. Struthers to T. Shepstone, 14 January 1862.    100 Struck by these objections, Struthers refused to press cotton cultivation: ?against such reasoning  any  arguments  I  could  induce  in  [its]  favour  were  of  little  avail?.232    Fynn confirmed a similarly desperate state of affairs at Inyangwimi.  Zulu growers who had opted to  cultivate  cotton  when  growing  conditions  were  more  favourable  were  now  refusing  en masse: So  great  is  the  scarcity  of  food  in  [this]  division,  that  the  natives  are  mostly depending on wild roots, the consequences are that very few have seed to plant, or strength  to  cultivate  in  preparation  for  the  seed  which  their  first  crops  may produce?it therefore becomes a heavy task to require their cultivation of cotton one day in seven in their present famished state.233     Maize cultivation in Fynn?s district had dropped to the point that even European settlers were unable to procure any, despite their willingness to pay inflated prices.234   He was forced to request 30 lbs of grain as rations to nourish his own staff. 235     Severe food shortages led Zulu growers to deemphasize cotton and shift their efforts to subsistence production. Cotton growing entailed a burdensome addition to the agricultural routine of peasant households, to the effect that cotton could only be grown at the expense of foodstuffs.    During  times  of  famine,  crops  whose  value  was  only  in  exchange  were  de-emphasized as African growers chose to privilege subsistence over commodity production.     Even before the drought, officials reported widespread Zulu resistance towards cotton cultivation.    This  was  rooted  in  the  growers?  unwillingness  to  abandon  maize  as  their favoured crop.  Struthers noted that many growers in the Lower uMkhomanzi refused cotton for financial reasons, suggesting that maize provided a more remunerative return.236  Fynn?s experience at Inyangwimi confirmed these accounts: when he approached growers and told                                                  232 Ibid.   233 PAR, SNA 1/3/7 no. 168, H.F. Fynn to T. Shepstone, 20 November 1858.   234 PAR, SNA 1/3/7 no. 135, H.F. Fynn, Magistrate of the Umkhomanzi Division to SNA, 2 October 1858. 235 PAR, SNA 1/3/7 no. 147, H.F. Fynn, Magistrate of the Umkhomanzi Division to SNA, 23 October 1858.   236 PAR, SNA 1/1/12 Ref: 5, R. Struthers to T. Shepstone, 14 January 1862.     101 them cotton would be a means of assisting in the payment of the hut tax, they answered that ?they had enough money for that, without cultivating cotton?.237  In his 1861 assessment of the  failure  of  Shepstone?s  scheme,  Lieutenant-Governor  James  Scott  emphasized  ?the difficulty to induce the native to grow it, on account of its being less remunerative than the crops of Indian corn (maize) which they are accustomed to grow?.238  In the following year?s report  Scott  was  even  more  precise,  arguing  that  the  plan  to  introduce  cotton  cultivation among Africans failed because the current price of cotton on the international market was so much lower than the local price of maize it gave no incentive to turn to cotton.239  Theophilus Shepstone  also  recognized  that  cotton  would  never  succeed  while  maize  offered  such significant returns: ?so long?as mealies command so high a price, it is not likely that the Natives will enter very largely into the cultivation of cotton?.240     As  historian  John  Tosh  notes,  the  success  of  African  cash  cropping  was  crucially dependent on the relationship between the particular cash crop and the established complex of  food  crops.241    The  Zulu  farmers?  resistance  to  cotton  was  rooted  primarily  in  their preference for umbila (maize), which functioned as both a subsistence crop and a commodity sold  to  settler  markets.    Maize  was  by  far  the  dominant  crop  in  19th  century  Natal:  invariably, it accounted for more than half of all the acreage cultivated by Zulu farmers.  This was especially true in the northern sections of the Upper and Lower uMkhomanzi districts which were within easy reach of the major settler markets in Pietermartizburg and Durban,                                                  237 PAR, SNA 1/3/8 Fynn to T. Shepstone, 27 January 1859, 326.  Elsewhere, Fynn maligned the prosperity that most Africans found themselves in, complaining that until their ?wealthy, independent? state was changed there would be no motivation for them to adopt cotton.  See PAR, SNA 1/3/8 Fynn to SNA, 27 January 1859, 326.   238 PAR, BPP Vol. 128, XII Report on the Past and Present State of Her Majesty?s Colonial Possessions 1861, 33.    239 PAR, BPP Vol. 128, XIII Report on the Past and Present State of Her Majesty?s Colonial Possessions 1862,  34.  240 T. Shepstone quoted in Welsh, Roots of Segregation, 186.   241 John Tosh, "The Cash-Crop Revolution in Tropical Africa: An Appraisal," African Affairs 79 (1980): 79-94.   102 respectively.    Historian  John  Lambert  argues  the  relative  absence  of  settler  agriculture  in these districts offered a boon to Zulu farmers who took advantage of rising maize prices to expand their acreages the 1860s and 70s.242  Maize sales remained the most significant form of income for almost all imizi.      Cotton?s growing cycle clashed with that of maize.  Both needed to be sown after the first  rains  in  October/November,  and  both  had  to  be  harvested  in  early  autumn.    Labour requirements for cotton were  also  notoriously  demanding:   carefully-timed  planting, seeds sown  at  precise  intervals,  regular  thinning,  and  quick  and  careful  harvesting  to  avoid spoilage.  Other studies on cotton cash cropping in Africa have concluded that cotton offered a lower return for labour than did most food crops:  ?given the choice between traditional production of food and other  crops  for  local markets plus leisure  and heavy labour on an uncertain  and  unremunerative  new  export  crop,  peasant  farmers  quite  naturally  chose  the former?.243   Other constraints hampered the realization of Shepstone?s cotton scheme.  Growing practices initiated by his Superintendents were inadequate.  At Inyangwimi, where growers received the most instruction, seeds were sown in lines, with four or five seeds planted in holes, three feet apart, and a space of six feet between the rows.  The intent was to weed out the  extra  plants  leaving  only  the  healthiest  stock.    The  agreement  entered  into  with local izinkosi, however, limited the availability and flexibility of labour.  One agreement between                                                  242 Lambert, Betrayed Trust: Africans and the State in Colonial Natal, 47.   Maize prices rose due to expanding European settler numbers.   Settler agriculture was hindered by a lack of capital and equipment and an irregular supply of labour, leaving Africans as the major maize producers in the colony through most of the 19th century.   243  Ray  Dumett,  "Government  Assisted  Agricultural  Development  in  West  Africa:  Cotton  Growing Experimentation  in  Ghana  in  the  Early  20th  Century,"  Agricultural  History  Review  23  (1975):  156-172.  Ugandan farmers rejected cotton in favour of food crops for similar reasons around the turn of the century.  See Margaret J. Hay, "Economic Change in Kowe, Luoland, 1890-1945" (Ph.D., University of Wisconsin, 1972), 138-139,  and  John  Tosh,  "Lango  Agriculture  during  the  Colonial  Period:  Land  and  Labour  in  a  Cash  Crop Economy " Journal of African History 19 (1978): 415-439.   103 Fynn and one local inkosi uMakuta, for instance, limited the availability of ten workers on the  fifty  acres  under  cotton  at  Inyangwimi  to  every  Monday  for  eight  weeks  during  the planting season.  Generally speaking one acre of cotton under hoe cultivation requires about a  minimum  of  200  hours  of  work  per  year.    Without  sufficient  thinning,  young  plants compete  for  water  and  sunlight  and  hamper  each  other?s  development.    Weeds  became rampant.244   Seed arrived late and prevented growers from planting immediately after the spring rains.  In the 1858/59 planting  was  set  back into  February  and March when  seed  did not arrive until early in the new year.245  Not surprisingly, yields were paltry. Cotton  planted in dry soil had little chance of germination.  Young plants that did germinate were overtaken by frost before the cotton was ready to pick.  A lack of proper tools also constrained cultivation efforts.  Fynn recognized that soil conditions at Inyangwimi were marginal and that growers needed implements ? oxen, horses, plows  ?  to  help  them  break  up  the  soil  sufficiently  to  allow  cotton?s  deep  roots  to penetrate.246  But Shepstone refused requests for such tools, strictly adhering to Lieutenant-Governor  Scott?s  message  to  minimize  expenses.247    Zulu  growers  were  left  with  only indigenous hoes made primarily from sneezewood which were prone to breakage and rot.248                                                  244 PAR, SNA 1/3/8 Fynn to SNA, 27 January 1859, 326.   245 PAR, SNA 1/3/7 no. 121, H.F. Fynn to T. Shepstone, 30 August 1858.   246 PAR, SNA 1/3/7 no. 138, H.F. Fynn to T. Shepstone, 4 October 1858, and PAR, SNA 1/3/8, H.F. Fynn to T. Shepstone, 12 March 1859, 268.   247 PAR, SNA 1/8/7 Ref 43, T. Shepstone to H.F. Fynn, 28 March 1859.  See also SNA, 1/8/7 T. Shepstone to H.F.  Fynn,  28  March  1859,  43.    Fynn  and  Shepstone  did  eventually  come  up  with  a  plan  in  which  fifteen ploughs would be loaned out to African growers which were to be paid back in cotton revenue after three years.  The cotton scheme ended in failure before this was initiated, though this program did end up lasting all the way until 1872, with sales increasing every year until the program?s termination.  See PAR, SNA 1/3/8, H.F. Fynn to T. Shepstone 20 October 1850, 45.   248 PAR, SNA 1/3/6 Ref 193, Report of Preliminary Operations for the Formation of a Native Industrial Village at Inyangwimi, 31 August 1857.   104 Fynn  recounted  one  instance  in  which  150  growers  arrived  on  site  without  a  single agricultural implement between them.     Transport  was  also  inadequate.    Shepstone  was  inundated  with  requests  from Magistrates who had collected some cotton but lacked the means to get it to market.   Fynn had  a  wagon  full  of  cotton  transported  up  the  coast  to  Durban  destroyed  by rain,  yet  his follow-up  request  for  a  covered  wagon  was  still  refused.    Subsequent  requests  for  better storage facilities to prevent collected cotton from being damaged by rain and rats were also ignored.249  Further north, in uMvoti County, the Magistrate suggested that the poor returns in his district (only three sacks were ever collected), were primarily a function of the great distance ? between 15 and 20 miles ? that growers had to transport cotton to market.250   Shepstone?s cotton plan failed not because Zulu growers were inherently resistant to commodity production, but due to a specific interplay of ecological and economic factors that made the prospects of cotton cultivation less attractive.  As other continental case studies of peasant commodity production reveal, Africans responded to export crops when they were remunerative and easily integrated into local growing systems.251  Zulu growers were willing experimenters with cotton while growing conditions remained favourable.  When faced with scarcity,  African  growers  chose  to  re-dedicate  their  agricultural  efforts  to  foodstuff production.                                                      249 PAR, SNA 1/3/8, H.F. Fynn to T. Shepstone, 17 September 1859, 86 and PAR, SNA 1/3/8, R. Struthers to T. Shepstone, 3 September 1859, 94.   250 PAR, SNA 1/3/10, H Windham, Resident Magistrate of Umvoti County to SNA, 28 March 1861, 67. 251 See Thomas J. Bassett, The Peasant Cotton Revolution in West Africa 1880-1995 (Cambridge, 2001), and R. L. Roberts, Two Worlds of Cotton:  Colonialism and the Regional Economy in the French Soudan 1800-1946 (Stanford, 1996).   105 Renewed Focus on Settler Production   The collapse of Shepstone?s cotton  venture  coincided almost  exactly with the first shockwaves  emitted  by  the  Lancashire  cotton  famine.    American  supply  dropped  off drastically  in  1861:    raw  cotton  imports  to  England  were  halved  within  twelve  months, dropping from 1 121 400 lbs in 1861 to just 533 100 lbs in 1862.252   In response, the price of American middling in Britain almost tripled in the space of a few months, from 6d. per lb to 1s. 5d. per lb.253   Local prices within the uMkhomanzi Valley rose similarly, from 6d. per lb in  1860  to  over  1s.  6d.  per  lb  by  1863.  254    Broadsheets  urged  local  growers  to  fill  this profitable vacuum:  ?there is no doubt that the manufacturers will for some years need all the supplies that can be secured from every quarter of the earth?s surface?.255  Domestic  anxieties  also  encouraged  settlers  to  refocus  their  efforts  on  cotton production.    Natal?s  reliance  on  sugar  as  virtually  its  only  export  crop  was  a  source  of considerable anxiety.  The sugar industry was undergoing the fastest period of growth in its history.  Acreage under cane expanded from just 338 acres in 1854 to 12 781 in 1866.256  Many fretted about what they perceived as the colony?s  over-reliance on sugar:  ?Natal is still only removed from being a land of samples by her sugar export?.257   Again,  cotton  found  advocates  as  a  potential  solution  to  the  colony?s  financial troubles:  ?in  the  cultivation  of  one  article,  of  cotton,  we  have  the  means  of  immensely                                                  252 See Henderson, The Lancashire Cotton Famine, 1861-65, 35.    253 M. Pitcher, "Sowing the Seeds of Failure:  Early Portuguese Cotton Cultivation in Angola and Mozambique 1820-1926," Journal of Southern African Studies 17 (1991): 43-70. 254 PAR, Natal Blue Books 1863 and 1864. 255 PAR Natal Almanac 1866, 52. 256  Peter  Richardson,  "The  Natal  Sugar  Industry,  1849-1905:  An  Interpretative  Essay  "  in  Enterprise  and Exploitation in a Victorian Colony: Aspects of the Economic and Social History of Natal ed. J. Sellers and B. Guest  (Pietermaritzburg,  1985),  181-199,  p.183.    Richardson  suggests  this  rapid  development  was  due  to  a combination of high prices, low wages to labourers, and a protective tariff structure.   257 Natal Mercury, 18 November 1869.   106 bettering  our  own  condition,  and  consequently,  the  colony  at  large?.258    Cotton  was positioned as the ideal complement to sugar.  What sugar had done for the coastal regions of the colony, it seemed that cotton could do for the interior, as more than two million acres within Natal?s midlands were thought to be suitable for its cultivation.259  Cotton and cane also  had  complementary  labour  regimes,  demanding  workers  in  opposite  seasons,  so  that promoters  believed  that  they  could  share  a  single  labour  force  between  them.260  Cotton emerged  as  the  salvation  crop  in  these  accounts,  the  plant  that  would  finally  give  Natal stability and its identity:    Cotton culture would be well fitted for those farmers whose introduction we regard as being  essential  to  the  adequate  settlement  of  the  country?what  tobacco  is  to  the peasants  of  Syria,  the  vine  to  the  peasants  of  Italy,  silk  to  the  mountaineers  of Switzerland or Piedmont, beetroot to the peasants of France, and corn to the peasants of Germany, might cotton be to the farmers of Natal.261    These international and local calls for cotton resonated with settlers seeking to profit from  escalating  prices.    Individual  cultivators  began  to  flock  to  the  uMkhomanzi  Valley, where Zulu growers had achieved their most successful yields, focusing their efforts on the low-lying valleys where cotton would  be  shielded from high winds and cooler air.  They sought out deep alluvial soils, close to water, using horse-ploughs to prepare the land and hand-hoes to weed regularly.  Young Zulu men were hired to pick cotton between April and August.  Estimates swirled around the valley that cotton would yield 350 lbs per acre for at least three years without the sample deteriorating.262   Cotton production in Natal increased from 16 322 lbs in 1863 to just under 300 000 lbs in 1865.263                                                  258 Natal Witness, 20 April 1857. 259 Natal Times, 18 May 1870. 260 Natal Mercury, 2 April 1863.   261 Natal Mercury, 18 November 1869. 262 Natal Almanac, 1870.   263 PAR, Natal Blue Books, 1863-1865.   107   The largest and most ambitious project initiated to capitalize upon rising cotton prices emerged in the north of the colony.  The Cotton Plantation Company (CPC), established in 1863 on borrowed capital, bought ?20 000 of land along the uThukela and uMhlanga Rivers, and  invested  heavily  in  state-of-the-art  machinery,  including  steam  ploughs,  rollers  and gins.264  Finding labour inadequate, the Company imported between 150 and 200 indentured Indian labourers in a bid to replicate strategies that had been so successful for the coastal sugar  plantations.265    But the  Company  soon  found  itself  undercapitalized.    Within  a  few years it was saddled with ?12 000 of debt and unable to maintain the ?5 000 in annual fees for the indentured labour.  The CPC also achieved yields lower than expected, due mostly to damage from an insect pest known initially only as the ?green fly?.  At first, most thought the fly  was  introduced  along  with  the  Egyptian  cotton  the  Company  had  imported  into  the colony,  but  after  spreading  to  nearby  farmers  the  fly  was  diagnosed  as  a  species  of indigenous  cotton  bollworm.    The  CPC  declared  insolvency  in  1867,  after  three  years  of operation.     Losses from bollworm began to spread southward and became a major problem for growers within the uMkhomanzi Valley.  Cotton bollworm (Heliothis armigera) fed on other South  African  staples  such  as  maize,  sorghum,  tobacco,  tomato  and  beans,  but  proved especially devastating for cotton stands.  The female lays eggs (often between 700 and 1500) on the upper surface of the leaves;  the  resultant larvae burrow  into flower buds  or  young bolls for food.266  Larvae will often feed on  multiple  bolls without finishing any  of them which increases the damage even further.  Though endemic to most of sub-Saharan African, the  bollworm  proved  particularly  damaging  in  South  Africa.    Farmers  noted  that  attacks                                                  264 B.J. Leverton, "Cotton in Natal:  A Study in Failure" (M.A., University of Natal, 1963), 33.   265 PAR, CSO 168 no. 352, Colonial Secretary to Gillepsie and Co., 4 February1863. 266 E. O. Pearson, The Insect Pests of Cotton in Tropical Africa (London, 1958).   108 spiked with the appearance of early buds and young bolls.  As the South African growing season  is  often  short  due  to  delayed  rains,  or  interrupted  by  drought,  the  attacks  are frequently very damaging.  One frantic farmer conveyed the extent of the devastation:   If  they only devoured the  leaves and then disappeared there  would be  some  hopes [sic] as it is they remain and eat or kill all the young leaves as they attempt to come out; if you destroy the trees they only fly to another portion of the estate where there are  some  green  leaves to light upon?hundreds of  acres are  completely stripped of leaves.267    Valley  farmers  began  intercropping  with  maize  and  beans  to  try  to  minimize  the damage, but the cotton crop still suffered heavily. Bollworms were literally eating farmers out  of  their  profits.    Average  costs  (comprising  land  preparation,  labour,  packing  and transport) shot up from an estimated ?3 per acre to over ?5 6s per acre as farmers attempted to mitigate the devastation through intercopping.268  The end of the Civil War in the United States compounded matters even further: World cotton prices began to dip as regular supply channels reopened [Figure 3.1].  The final death knell came with the discovery of diamonds at Kimberley in 1867.  Many abandoned cotton to pursue an easier route to riches.                                                      267 Natal Mercury, 17 January 1865. 268  KC,  Report  on  Cotton  Cultivation  in  Natal,  1870.    Read  at  the  Natal?s  Farmer?s  Club,  13  May  1870.  (Pietermaritzburg, 1870).   109  Figure 3.1:  International Price of American Middling, 1860-1870.  Source:  B.R. Mitchell, British Historical Statistics (Cambridge, 1988), 332/333 and 760.    The most famous cotton farmer in Natal during this period was Cecil Rhodes, and his experiences paralleled this trajectory.  Rhodes arrived in Natal as a 17 year old.  He joined his elder brother Herbert, who  was  cultivating  cotton along a flat  alluvial plain  along  the uMkhomanzi River.  Herbert had planted twenty acres with cotton in 1869/70, but spaced them too close together, which left the crop tangled and twisted.  The crop was also damaged heavily by bollworms, though Herbert still managed to gross just over ?32.269  With Cecil?s help he managed to clear an additional forty acres the following season, planting American seed  that  Cecil  had  brought  from  England.    They  spaced  the  rows  seven  feet  apart,  and planted maize as a trap crop to divert bollworm.  That year the crop was severely damaged by a  violent  hail  storm  that  blew  the  roof  off  their  storage  shack.    The  Rhodes  brothers continued for another two growing seasons with little success, opting instead to pursue their                                                  269 Robert Rotberg, "Cecil Rhodes in the Cotton Fields," Ethnic and Racial Studies 9 (1986): 288-305, p.291.     110 fortunes in diamond mining.  Cecil delivered this parting verdict:  ?It really seems an ill-fated valley?I believe if one only kept on, it has a capacity to absorb any amount of capital?.270   The  cotton  growers  who  flocked  to  the  uMkhomanzi  Valley  were  not  trained agriculturalists with extensive knowledge of the land.  Most were get-rich-quick schemers whose interest in cotton was impelled primarily by the inflated prices that accompanied the Lancashire cotton famine.   The majority abandoned cotton once prices recovered, closing the book on Natal cotton cultivation in the 19th century.     Conclusion   The control and management of colonial subjects was the most pressing issue facing British colonial administrators in the nineteenth century.271  The ?Native Question? ? how far should  Africans  be  brought  within  the  jurisdiction  of  British  law  and  influence?  ?  was considered  the  greatest  moral  dilemma  of  colonization.    Herman  Merivale?s  Lectures  on Colonies and Colonization capture much of the British soul-searching over this question.272  Merivale preached the ideals of protection and civilization which British rulers owed to their colonial subjects.273  He remained unequivocal that the assimilation of indigenous peoples was  the  only  viable  option  for  ensuring  long-term  political  stability  within  the  British colonies.     Such uncompromising visions for Native-settler relations often became muddled by colonial realities.  Alan Lester has shown how spatial strategies for addressing the ?Native                                                  270 B. Williams, Cecil Rhodes (London, 1921). 271  See  Ronald  Robinson  and  John  Gallagher,  Africa  and  the  Victorians:  The  Official  Mind  of  Imperialism (London  and  Basingstoke,  1961);    John  Galbraith,  Reluctant  Empire:  British  Policy  on  the  South  African Frontier,  1834-1854  (Berkeley  and  Los  Angeles,  1963).    For  the  Canadian  context  see  Leslie  Upton,  "The Origins of Canadian Indian Policy," Journal of Canadian Studies 8 (1975): 51-61. 272 David McNab, "Herman Merivale and the Native Question, 1837-1861," Albion 9 (1977): 359-384. 273 Merivale, Lectures on Colonization and Colonies : Delivered Before the University of Oxford in 1839, 1840 & 1841 511.    111 Question?  in  the  Cape  were  determined  largely  by  local  political  and  cultural  forces.274  Lester  chronicles  the  contradictory  strategies  implemented  by  the  British  to  manage  the Xhosa  majority,  arguing  that  policies  shifted  according  to  local  perceptions  of  security:  when the British population felt threatened they favoured strict policies of containment, when they  felt  secure  about  their  military  capabilities  (usually  following  a  Xhosa  defeat),  they became more lenient and inclusive towards their colonial subjects.  This ?grounded? example shows how important local, contextual factors were within this process of delineating African and settler space.   Attempts  to  integrate  cotton  as  a  commodity  crop  in  Natal  in  the  1850s  and  60s hinged  largely  on  this  contentious  political  question.    Theophilus  Shepstone  seized  upon cotton  as  a  means  of  anchoring  Zulus  within  his  carefully  carved  out  Locations.   Such  a profitable and highly desirable  commodity crop was key  to  making production  within the Locations financially viable.  It would also serve to quell the increasingly vocal objections from Lieutenant-Governor Ben Pine and white agriculturalists who favoured breaking up the Locations to make more Africans available for work on white farms.  Shepstone embraced cotton as a means of entrenching his vision of spatial segregation, which viewed as the most effective strategy for the European assimilation of Africans.     When cotton failed, Shepstone and his cotton superintendents blamed Zulu laziness and incompetence.  But such explanations minimized the role of Zulu growers in rejecting cotton based on sound economic and environmental rationale.  This chapter has argued that this cotton failure was the result of a specific interplay of economic and ecological factors that convinced Zulu growers to abandon the crop.                                                   274 Alan Lester, "Cultural Constructions and Spatial Strategy on the Eastern Cape Frontier, 1806-1838," South African Geographical Journal 78 (1996): 98-107.   112 After  this  initial  collapse,  a  second  push  for  cotton  cultivation  focused  on  settler production.    Unlike  Shepstone?s  scheme,  the  motives  behind  these  cotton  ventures  were primarily economic:  get-rich-quick farmers were seduced by the success Zulu producers had achieved  in  the  uMkhomanzi  Valley  and  were  keen  to  take  advantage  of  rising  prices impelled  the  Lancashire  Cotton  Famine.    This  second  wave  of  cotton  interest  was underpinned by global more than local factors.   Similarly, its failure ? while impacted by both  insect  pests  and  violent  storms  ?  was  due  primarily  to  the  resurgence  in  American cotton supply and the corresponding dip in international prices.                                   113 Chapter 4 Experts, the State, and the Zululand Cotton Boom, 1900-1925    Agricultural  crisis  marked  the  turn  of  the  twentieth  century  in  southern  Africa.  Between  1890  and  1908  drought,  locusts,  and  cattle  disease  struck  in  quick  succession, crippling agricultural production.  Drought hit Natal in the early 1890s.  Locusts followed, with swarms devastating stands of maize and sugar cane and reducing yields by as much as 80% between 1894 and 1896.275  The ensuing food shortages were further exacerbated by the spread of rinderpest, an infectious viral disease known as cattle plague.  In the worst year, 1897, settler cattle losses were estimated at 40%, with African losses as high as 90%.276  The cumulative  effects  of  these  events  handicapped  the  population?s  ability  to  feed  itself.    In 1901, 2.5 million lbs of agricultural produce had to be imported into Natal to sustain the local population.277     The political situation was also unstable.  Natal suffered heavily following the end of the South African War in 1902.  The mass departure of British troops triggered a decline in the market for local produce. Overall colonial revenues declined from ?4 334 175 in 1902/03 to ?3 510 350 in 1907/08, and the colony ran a deficit in five of these six years.278  Property values dropped, triggering land sales.  The 1906 Bambatha Rebellion ? in which a band of Zulus revolted against the imposition of a poll tax, leading to the death of thirty settlers and                                                  275  Charles  Ballard,  ""A  Year  of  Scarcity":  The  1896  Locust  Plague  in  Natal  and  Zululand,"  South  African Historical Journal 15 (1983): 34-52, p.137.  276 Charles Ballard, "The Repercussions of Rinderpest: Cattle Plague and Peasant Decline in Colonial Natal," The International Journal of African Historical Studies 19 (1986): 421-450, p.457.  See also Narissa Ramdhani, "The Effects of Climate and Disease on African Farming in Natal, 1895-1905," The South African Journal of Economic History  (1989): 79-91. 277 PAR, Governor Gazette (GG) Vol. LIV no. 3264, 5 August 1902.   278 Leonard M. Thompson, The Unification of South Africa, 1902-1910 (Oxford, 1960), 50.   114 over three thousand Africans ? heightened settler anxiety.279  The white population dipped from 97 109 individuals in 1904 to 91 443 in 1908.  With Africans outnumbering Europeans ten to one, Natal?s settlers  estimated they needed an additional 10 000 arrivals to solidify their position within the colony.    Natal?s settlers thus had many reasons to embrace the unification of the four South African colonies in 1910.  The Union was first and foremost about unifying the two groups of  white  settlers,  British  and  Boer,  in  order  to  better  control  and  exploit  the  African population.280  Jan Smuts, who was responsible for drafting much of the Union?s constitution and who would eventually become its second Prime Minister, was explicit about this aim: ?unless the white race closes its ranks, its position will soon become untenable in the face of the overwhelming majority of prolific barbarism?.281   With agricultural production reeling after two decades of decline and high insecurity over another African rebellion, the white population of Natal welcomed the stability offered by the formation of the Union.  This  chapter  examines  the  link  between  the  formation  of  the  Union  of  the  South Africa and the biggest cotton boom ever experienced in Zululand, which occurred between 1910 and 1925.282   It is fundamentally concerned with explaining how cotton came to figure so  centrally  within  national  agricultural  priorities.    It  argues  that  cotton  emerged  as  a preferred  crop  within  the  Union  because  it  fit  well  within  the  political  and  ideological priorities of the new white settler state.                                                    279  Shula  Marks,  Reluctant  Rebellion:  The  1906-08  Disturbances  in  Natal  (Oxford,  1970);    Jeff  Guy,  The Maphumulo Uprising: War, Law and Ritual in the Zulu Rebellion (Scotsville, 2005).   280 Bernard M. Magubane, The Making of a Racist State: British Imperialism and the Union of South Africa, 1875-1910 (Trenton, 1996), 279. 281 Jan Smuts in Ibid, 279.   282 Zululand refers to the conquered territory north of the uThukela River which was appropriated by the British in 1887 and incorporated into the colony of Natal in 1897.     115 A  new  culture  of  expertise  fuelled  enthusiasm  for  cotton  during  these  years.   The Zululand  cotton  boom  was  impelled  by  a  particularly  nationalistic,  modernist  vision  for agricultural production that stressed a discourse of progress, improvement, and technocratic optimism.   Timothy Mitchell has narrated a similar phenomenon in colonial Egypt, terming it techno-science, in which technocratic alternatives are trumpeted and modernity is regarded as the answer to all problems.   In particular, Mitchell has emphasized the spatial dimensions of  this  discourse,  in  which  large  technocratic  ventures  reorganized  the  distribution  of expertise by obscuring local knowledge  and  concentrating  technical control  at  one  site.283  Similarly, the  Union?s  new  agricultural  experts  seized  upon  the  Zululand  cotton  boom  to spatially reorganize agricultural knowledge.  Cotton was favoured as a means of centralizing expertise and entrenching the authority of the national Department of Agriculture.   The 1910s and 20s were crucial decades for state intervention in white agriculture, especially in the provision of capital and credit, the dissemination of improved methods and techniques, and the subsidization of inputs.   This substantial state intervention catalyzed an explosion  in  agricultural  production:    total  value  of  agricultural  output  on  South  African farms jumped from ?29 million in 1911 to nearly ?200 million in 1948.284  Cotton was well-suited  for  this  state  drive  to  prop  up  white  agriculture,  because  it  reinforced  the  Union?s broader  political  and  ideological  goals.    Cotton  was  used  as  a  means  of  extending  state control  into  Zululand  and  as  a  means  of  entrenching  segregationist  ideals.    This  chapter argues that the motivations for cotton were more political than economic:  it was the state, more than the market that underpinned the Zululand cotton boom.                                                  283 Timothy Mitchell, Rule of Experts: Egypt, Techno-Politics, Modernity (Berkeley, 2002), 19-53. 284  Alan  Jeeves  and  Jonathan  Crush,  "Introduction,"  in  White  Farms,  Black  Labor:  The  State  and  Agrarian Change in Southern Africa, 1910-50, ed. Alan Jeeves and Jonathan Crush (Pietermaritzburg, 1997), 1-28.  See also Timothy Keegan, "Crisis and Catharsis in the Development of Capitalism in South African Agriculture," African Affairs 84 (1985): 371-398.     116 The ?New? Agriculture   The first steps toward the development of a centralized, integrated network of cotton cultivation were taken just after the turn of the century by E. R. Sawer, Director of Natal?s Division  of  Agriculture  and  Forestry.    Sawer  was  a  new  breed  of  South  African  expert:  trained in Britain, he gained exposure to the southern African climate as Assistant Secretary for Agriculture in  southern Rhodesia  before being promoted  to  Director of Agriculture in Natal  in  1902.    Sawer  dismissed  as  insular  and  short-sighted  prevailing  attitudes  to agriculture that focused on subsistence farming.   He was committed instead to expanding Natal?s production of crops that would prove both profitable to the colony and useful to the empire.285  Sawer wanted Natal?s  agriculture  to  serve  imperial  needs first:  to  this end he cultivated  a  close  relationship  with  the  Imperial  Institute,  with  its  commitment  to  serving Britain?s  interests  through  the  dissemination  of  agricultural  knowledge  and  techniques.286  Described by one supporter as the ?brain? of the global drive for progressive agronomy, the Institute began studying the quality and defects of empire cotton in 1902.  In the next six years  its  scientists  studied  more  than  one  thousand  samples  of  raw  cotton,  offering suggestions  and  disseminating  promising  samples  to  agricultural  officials  throughout  the empire.  Coinciding with Sawer?s tenure in Natal, these efforts convinced him to see cotton                                                  285 According to Sawer this insular approach to agriculture was rooted in ?the relative isolation of the farming community, which has been necessarily engaged in the production of the prime necessities of life ? grain, meat, milk and wool.  A closer intercourse with the world of commerce is, however, forcing upon South Africa new conditions  and  responsibilities.    In  natural  sequence  has  followed  the  organization  of  the  export  trade  in foodstuffs, bringing with it a further incentive to sustained activity and improvements in agricultural practice.  The new outlook necessarily embraces the possible cultivation of crops furnishing such raw materials as oil and fibres as a necessary preliminary to the establishment of local  industries for their further preparation.?  E.R. Sawer,  Cedara  Memoirs  of  South  African  Agriculture:    The  Cultivation  of  Fibre  Crops  (Pietermaritzburg, 1912), 165. 286 William Golant, Image of Empire: The Early History of the Imperial Institute, 1887-1925 (Exeter, 1984).  For  more  general  history  of  the  Imperial  Institute  see  John  M.  Mackenzie,  Propaganda  and  Empire:  The Manipulation  of  British  Public  Opinion  (Manchester,  1984),  and  Michael  Worboys,  "The  Imperial  Institute: The State and the Development of the Natural Resources of the Colonial Empire, 1887-1923," in Imperialism and the Natural World, ed. John M. Mackenzie (Manchester and New York, 1990), 164-186.   117 as offering the best prospects for establishing Natal as an important contributor to imperial agriculture.287     Sawer?s expert status emerged out of a turn-of-the-century emphasis on science as a means  of  advancing  imperial  interests.    Calls  for  a  more  interventionist  attitude  towards colonial  development  originated  with  Joseph  Chamberlain,  Secretary  of  State  for  the Colonies  (1895-1903),  who  campaigned  for  an  expansion  of  state  scientific  capacities  to better capitalize on the natural resources of the colonies.   Applied science in the service of the  empire,  he  reasoned,  was  the  key  to  accelerating  economic  extraction  from  the colonies.288  Sir William Dunstam, the Head of the Imperial Institute?s cotton operations and one of Sawer?s mentors,289 was another proponent of this model of scientific imperialism:  in his view, there was ?a pressing need that the Imperial Government should recognize much more  fully  than  it  has  hitherto  done?the  claims  of  scientific  investigation  as  the  pioneer instrument of this work as the essential first step in the material and commercial development of our possessions?.290  The early 20th century marked the beginning of the expert era:  a professionalized bureaucratic authority dedicated to harnessing the economic potential of the colonies.  Sawer exemplified this new breed of rational expert as he remained committed to the simultaneous advance of science and empire.                                                     287 In addition to cotton, Sawer initiated experiments exploring the possibilities of growing sugar, tea and hemp in Natal.   288  Joseph  Morgan  Hodge,  Triumph  of  the  Expert:  Agrarian  Doctrines  of  Development  and  the  Legacies  of British  Colonialism  (Athens,  2007),  21-24  and  39-47.    See  also  Richard  Drayton,  Nature?s  Government: Science, Imperial Britain, and the ?Improvement? of the World (New Haven, 2000), 221-229.   289 Dunstam (1861-1949) was a renowned chemist who became Director of the Institute in 1903.  He lamented that the accumulated knowledge about cotton?s habit was in a ?state of chaos? and recommended a preliminary period  of  experimentation  before  extensive  planting  should  be  attempted:  examination  and  classification  of indigenous cottons, chemical analysis of the soil, finding suitable manures, determining suitable rotation crops, testing  different  varieties  of  cotton  to  achieve  the  quality  desired  by  manufacturers.    See  Golant,  Image  of Empire: The Early History of the Imperial Institute, 1887-1925, 16.   290  William  Dunstam,  ?Some  Imperial  Aspects  of  Applied  Chemistry?,  Presidential  Address  to  the  British Association, 1906 in Golant, Image of Empire: The Early History of the Imperial Institute, 1887-1925 14.    118   Sawer took the previous century?s failures as his starting point,  arguing that those cotton disasters were the result of scattered, isolated cultivators attempting to grow cotton without  access  to  standardized  experimental  results.    Since  then,  he  insisted,  ?we  have progressed  and  learnt  [sic]  how  to  fight  the  obstacles  which  they  were  unable  to overcome?.291    Inspired  by  Dunstam?s  recommendations,  Sawer  initiated  a  coordinated system of acclimatization and experimentation sites administered through a centralized hub that would disseminate these results to farmers.  He reasoned:  ?In South Africa, the problem is undoubtedly to find the best type of exotic cotton to introduce and, if necessary, to improve it?.292   Sawer termed his approach the ?New Agriculture?: an agricultural revival premised on a centralized network of experimental sites.   Sawer?s agricultural vision was particularly new and distinctive because it integrated a  network  of  experts,  ideas,  and  specimens  that  transcended  multiple  sites  of  colonial administration.    Colonial  and  metropolitan  sites  were  linked  materially  as  well  as discursively; specimens and experts  connected distant  sites together as  much as ideas and techniques.293    Sawer?s  expanded  domestic  networks  brought  local  cotton  farmers  into contact with imperial inputs via a web of visits, specimens, and correspondence.  His ?new? agriculture was an attempt to link both local and global knowledges.     Sawer established  over fifty  experimental  plots in  Natal and  Zululand.  The nexus was the Cedara Experimental Station, built on 3200 acres between Hilton and Howick, just                                                  291 E. R. Sawer, Cotton in Natal (Pietermaritzburg, 1910). 292 Ibid., 13 293 Alan Lester, Imperial Networks: Creating Identities in Nineteenth-Century South Africa and Britain (London and New York, 2001), 6.  See also:  Richard Grove, Ecology, Climate and Empire: Colonialism and Global Environmental  History,  1400-1940  (Cambridge,  1997);  Richard  Grove,  Green  Imperialism  :  Colonial Expansion, Tropical Island Edens, and the Origins of Environmentalism, 1600-1860 (Cambridge, 1995); Roy MacLeod, Nature and Empire:  Science and the Colonial Enterprise (Chicago, 2000).     119 under twenty kilometres north of Pietermaritzburg, in 1904.294  Satellite stations were later established along the coast at Stanger and Winkle Spruit, at Empangeni in southern Zululand and Weenen in the west of the colony.  A comprehensive soil survey was initiated to identify which regions? soils were best-suited for cotton:  investigations were conducted into organic matter  content,  soil  temperature,  moisture,  water  retention,  capillary  action,  deficiency  of humus  and  phosphoric  acid,  and  the  influence  of  iron  salts.    Sawer  also  imported  cotton varieties from Brazil, Egypt, America and Australia ? obtained through the Imperial Institute ? and then disseminated these to his experimental stations to determine which varieties were best suited to specific locales.   Results from Natal?s southern and coastal regions were disappointing.  All twenty-four samples grown at the Winkle Spruit experiment station on the coast were classified by the  Imperial  Institute  as  of  ?inferior  quality?.    The  most  striking  defect  reported  was  the presence  of  ?stained,  immature,  and  withered  cotton?,  due  primarily  to  uneven  rains  and strong  ocean  winds.295    Sea  Island  and  Egyptian  varieties  were  particularly  vulnerable  to gusts  and  heavy  rains.    American  Upland  fared  a  bit  better,  but  was  criticized  for  faults attributed to careless harvesting and its cultivation was deemed unprofitable at current prices.  These data convinced Sawer that the limiting factor to cotton cultivation in Natal was not soil conditions,  as  had  been  previously  thought,  but  rather  irregular  rains  and  low  inland temperatures.  He concluded that northern Natal and Zululand, with their warmer climates,                                                  294 "The Central Experimental Farm," Agricultural Journal and Mining Record V (1902): 135.  Sawer?s vision for Cedara was that it would become a hotbed of training and experimentation, which would then disseminate its  experts,  techniques  and  specimens  out  across  Natal.    Cedara?s  initial  agricultural  training  prospectus advertised training in Forestry, Horticulture Dairying, Veterinary Science, Chemistry, Elementary Mathematics, Bookkeeping, Farm Surveying, Zoology and Fish Husbandry. 295 Sawer, Cedara Memoirs of South African Agriculture: The Cultivation of Fibre Crops, 167.     120 lower  incidence  of  frost  and  fewer  destructive  storms,  held  the  most  promise  for  cotton cultivation.     Sawer?s search for a long-stapled cotton that could succeed in the warmer, northern regions of the colony drew him to an imported Australian variety known as Caravonica Tree cotton.  Caravonica cotton was first imported by a Zululand farmer, Daniel Fields, who had established links  with an Australian breeder  in  hope  that the climatic  similarities between Natal  and  Zululand  would  lead  to  success  for  the  transplanted  tree.296    Caravonica  was  a hybrid of Sea Island and Peruvian cotton, and demonstrated a number of advantages over Sea Island and American Upland strains.  Like these, Caravonica  was  perennial  and produced excellent quality cotton for as many as six or seven years after planting.  It boasted both a large  production  per  acre  and  a  heavy  yield  of  lint.  It  was  also  noticeably  immune  to bollworm  ?  a  pest  whose  larva  had  eaten  into  19th  century  cotton  cultivation  efforts  by feeding on leaf tissue and bolls ? due mostly to its early fruiting, especially in the second and third year of growth.297  Most crucially, both demand and price for Caravonica?s long-stapled fibre (averaging between 1.2 and 1.7 inches in length) were expected to remain high.     Caravonica  was  originally  tried  in  northwest  Zululand  near  Vryheid  in  1907,  with encouraging  results.  Planters there enthused  that the tree  cotton  was the highest yielding variety  ever  planted  that  far  north;  the  lint  quality  was  lauded  as  consistent  and  fine.298   Three samples sent by Sawer to the Imperial Institute for evaluation confirmed these reports:  each was praised for its good colour and long staple.  All three samples were valued at over 7                                                  296  PAR,  Surveyor?s  General  Office  (SGO)  Vol.  III/1/210  Ref:  SG3014/1906,  Daniel  Fields  to  Minister  of Agriculture, 9 February 1906.   297 Sawer, Cotton in Natal, 25.  298 PAR, SGO Vol. III/1/277 Ref: SG998/1910, Chas Hill to Surveyor-General, 13 April 1910.     121 pence per lb, which Sawer bragged disingenuously was an especially notable achievement given that cotton prices were exceptionally low at the time.299   Other  Zululand  farmers  were  quick  to  capitalize  on  this  enthusiasm.    In  1908 Caravonica was planted in a number of Zululand?s inland regions, including uGingindlovu, uNongoma and uBombo.  Again Sawer sent representative samples to the Imperial Institute and again the reviews were enthusiastic:  Caravonica cotton was praised for its cleanliness and its lint length, though the samples were criticized for uneven colour and weak character.  All  samples  were  deemed  saleable,  at  about  70%  of  the  price  currently  being  offered  for Egyptian cotton (8 1/2 d.  per lb compared with 12 ? d. per lb for  the latter).  Individual farmers who sent samples to the Institute received similar praise.  One farmer at uBombo received a valuation of over 11d. per lb for his Caravonica sample.  Another, further west at uNongoma, received praise for his cotton?s good colour and long staple, (between 1.3 and 1.5 inches), with associated values pegged at between 12d. and 14d. per lb.300  These positive reviews were soon matched by buyer demand.   Export companies in Durban were making colony-wide offers to buy ?any quantity of Caravonica cotton unginned at the highest market rates?.301    Soon farmers in various parts of Zululand were clamoring for Caravonica seed. 302    But success was short-lived.  Yields declined sharply after three growing seasons, as the  tree  cotton  proved  susceptible  to  heavy  storms  and  jassid  attacks.    Jassid  (Empoasca facialis) is a small-winged leaf-hopper that breeds on the underside of plant leaves and sucks                                                  299 Sawer, Cedara Memoirs of South African Agriculture: The Cultivation of Fibre Crops, 167.  Cotton prices fluctuated very little between 1906 and 1910: the price of American Middling in Britain remained between 7.8 to 8.6 d. per lb.   300 Ibid, 170.   301  PAR, SGO Vol. III/1/277 Ref: SG998/1910, S. A. Nathanson Commandite to Hill, 12 April 1910.  See also:  PAR,  SNA  Vol.  I/1/463  Ref:  1559/1910,  S.A.  Nathanson,  Commandite  to  Office  of  the  Chief  Native Commissioner, 28 August 1911.   302 See for instance requests from Mr. G. H. Lennard and Mr. Harvey Wright, both of Johannesburg, applying for cotton growing land in Zululand.  In: PAR, SGO Vol. III/1/300 Ref: SG1329/1911, and PAR, SGO Vol. III/1/298 Ref: SG572/1911.     122 sap from their veins, causing them to dry out and shrivel up.  Jassid was endemic to south-eastern Africa, where it fed primarily on sweet potato, groundnut, beans, and cowpea. But it took a particular liking to cotton sap.303  Plants are most vulnerable to jassid attacks later in the growing season (February/March) when most of the earliest bolls are mature but still not ready to be picked.  Caravonica?s  early fruiting  capabilities,  which had  been favoured by farmers  for their  bollworm  resistance,  made  it  especially  vulnerable  to  these  attacks.    By 1910 almost all Caravonica stands had been destroyed by jassids.     Sawer?s experimental networks provided only a small boost to cotton cultivation.  His reports contain no data on overall acreage or output, only anecdotal evidence of individual farmers  who  achieved  success  with  cotton.    It  appears  that  after  the  enthusiasm  for Caravonica died out, most farmers abandoned cotton, leaving fewer than one hundred acres under  cotton  in  1910.    Still,  Sawer  believed  in  the  potential  value  of  Natal?s  cotton production within the empire, and he encouraged the state to explore and examine resources to expand cotton production.  His emphasis on experimentation and acclimatization paved the way for a centrally administered, national-scale network dedicated to the promotion of cotton cultivation.    South African Cotton Experts   Following  the  formation  of  the  Union  of  South  Africa  in  1910,  provincial departments were abolished  and Sawer?s experimental networks  were absorbed within  the Union?s new Department of Agriculture.  Cotton occupied a central position on the national agenda, signaled by the establishment of a Tobacco and Cotton Division in the Department of Agriculture.  The head of this division, William Scherffius, would soon become the most                                                  303 E. O. Pearson, The Insect Pests of Cotton in Tropical Africa (London, 1958), 215-226.     123 famous cotton man in the Union.  Scherffius had been pried away from his position as the head of the Kentucky Experiment Station and charged with expanding South African cotton cultivation, which was stagnating at a lowly thirty bales when he arrived in 1909.     Like Sawer, Scherffius began his South African work on cotton with a ?what-went-wrong? analysis of previous cultivation attempts.  He argued that the major impediment to success was that growers had nothing more than ?a limited knowledge of the best methods of procedure in the production of quality and  quantity?.304   To overcome  this, he initiated  a comprehensive  set  of  experiments  to  gauge  cotton?s  compatibility  with  South  Africa?s climatic  conditions.  He  began  by  investigating  all  elements  of  cotton  cultivation:  seed selection,  land  preparation  methods,  insect  control,  replanting  options.      His  aim  was  to maximize yields and his evaluation criteria reflected this:  he tested for plant size, number of bolls, pounds of lint per acre, total estimated value.  The results of these tests were then made quickly and widely available, in a range of agricultural publications, to planters throughout the Union.305    These experiments confirmed on a national level what Sawer had concluded in Natal:  it was climate, not soils, that would determine the success, or otherwise, of cotton cultivation within the Union.306  Scherffius? experiments revealed that successful cotton cultivation was primarily correlated with heat exposure and inversely related to damage from wind and frost.  To  maximize  returns,  Scherffius  recommended  early  planting  in  late  October  or  early November, and focusing cultivation in the northern parts of the country where temperatures                                                  304 W. H. Scherffius and J. P. du Oosthuizen, Cotton in South Africa (Pretoria, 1924), 27.   305 Publications included Official Yearbook of the Union (first published in 1917), Journal of the Department of Agriculture (1920), South African Cotton Growers? Journal (1925), and Farming in South Africa (1926). 306 Scherffius dismissed the rich alluvial bottom soils which planters in the 1870s had devotedly sought out, contending that such soils ?have a tendency to develop large stalks with heavy foliage and a small proportion of lint?.  See W.H. Scherffius, "Cotton", Agricultural Journal of South Africa 3 (1912): 603-624.      124 were milder.  He was especially enthused about the possibilities in Zululand. He estimated that over 80% of the region ? approximately  350 000  acres  ? was  suitable for cotton.  307   Zululand was free of the frost and flash storms that plagued planting further south in Natal.  Rainfall  was  limited  but  evenly  distributed,  estimated  to  be  between  18  and  20  inches annually.308   Scherffius predicted that a Zululand farmer would net a profit of over ?8 for every acre put under cotton.  He stated confidently that ecological factors would not be the limiting factor to cotton cultivation.   Scherffius? enthusiasm about the possibilities for cotton production in Zululand was contagious.  Broadsheets began to carry editorials praising the area?s climate as ?singularly suitable  to  cotton  growing?.309      Speculators  bragged  about  the  lack  of  insect  damage (especially  in  comparison  with  the  devastation  being  wrought  by  the  boll  weevil  in  the United  States),  and  the  enthusiasm  with  which  shipments  of  Zululand  cotton  were  being received in Liverpool.310  America?s production was denigrated as ?antiquated?, ?wasteful?, and  ?uneconomic?  while  Zululand?s  was  exalted  as  a  bright  prospect  for  the  future.311  Acreage under cotton surged from only 100 acres in 1917 to 250 acres in 1918 to 4000 acres in 1919.312   Scherffius?  cotton  agenda  reflected  the  modernist  agricultural  discourse  that dominated  the  post-Union  period.    His  agents  were  the  nation?s  new  experts:    providing information  that  was  centralized,  standardized,  and  disseminated  widely  to  growers, connecting them with the centre.  These agents spoke a language of progress, improvement,                                                  307  W.H. Scherffius, "Tobacco and Cotton", Journal of the Department of Agriculture IV (1922): 394.  308 PAR, Chief Native Commissioner (CNC) Vol. 293 Ref 19/17/2514, Cotton Growing in Zululand,  Mr. B. Wilson, Itinerant Instructor in Tobacco and Cotton, to the Chief Native Commissioner, 1 April 1918.   309 Zululand Times, 11 October 1923. 310 Zululand Times, 27 March 1924 and 6 February 1920. 311 Zululand Times, 13 March 1924. 312 Official Yearbook of the Union of South Africa 4 (1920).   125 and  an  increasing  reliance  on  the  state  as  the  primary  determinant  of  agrarian  change.313 South  African  science  became  inextricably  tied  with  the  emergence  of  a  white  national consciousness and was crucial in giving shape to this vision:  as the historian Karen Brown has argued, ?the creation of a professional scientific elite was an important component in the construction  of  a  white  Anglo-Afrikaner  identity?.314    The  science  of  cotton  cultivation became interwoven with the political ideals of the new South African state.   Other  agricultural  branches  were  similarly  transformed  by  the  new  culture  of expertise.  The work and objectives of the nation?s new entomologists, for instance, were determined  largely  by  the  state?s  growing  centralizing  and  supervisory  priorities.    These experts successfully campaigned for more legislation and regulatory controls to convert all farmers  to  their  improved  methods,  so  that  ?science?underpinned  and  legitimized  an expansion in state powers?.315   Weed eradication was similarly transformed:  experts fought both  the  weeds  themselves  and  those  outmoded  and  inefficient  farming  practices  that exacerbated their spread.  They relied primarily on moral metaphors and legislation to force agriculturalists  in  outlying  districts  to  conform  to  the  practices  favoured  by  the  state.316 Within  the  realm  of  conservation  more  generally,  historian  William  Beinart  argues  that                                                  313 Timothy Keegan,  Rural Transformations in Industrializing South Africa: The Southern Highveld to 1914 (London, 1987), 166, and Jeeves and Crush, "Introduction". 314 Karen Brown, "Tropical Medicine and Animal Diseases: Onderstepoort and the Development of Veterinary Science in South Africa 1908?1950 " Journal of Southern African Studies 31 (2005): 513-529, p.522;  Saul Debow,  A  Commonwealth  of  Knowledge:  Science,  Sensibility  and  White  South  Africa  1820-2000  (Oxford 2006), 158-202;  Karen Brown, "Progressivism, Agriculture and Conservation in the Cape Colony circa 1902-1908" (D. Phil, Oxford University, 2002). 315  Karen  Brown,  "Political  Entomology:  the  Insectile  Challenge  to  Agricultural  Development  in  the  Cape Colony, 1895-1910," Journal of Southern African Studies 29 (2003): 529-549, p.548.   316  Lance  Van  Sittert,  "'The  Seed  Blows  About  in  Every  Breeze':  Noxious  Weed  Eradication  in  the  Cape Colony, 1860-1909," Journal of Southern African Studies 26 (2000): 655-674.    126 science became inextricably linked with the nation?s social and economic agenda:  science became a means of advancing the twin priorities of white domination and segregation.317   Cotton  was  embraced  as  a  preferred  crop  in  this  state-led  agricultural  expansion because  it  furthered  the  Union?s  political  imperatives.  Both  Sawer?s  and  Scherffius? experiments  identified  cotton?s  ideal  growing  zones  as  the  warmer,  northern  parts  of  the country, which were at once the most remote and least governable.  More than four million acres of land within South Africa was earmarked for white settlement by virtue of its status as  ideal  agricultural  country.318    Cotton  thus  legitimated  an  extension  of  administrative control into the furthest peripheries of the Union.319     Cotton experts used their elevated  positions  to  expand the state?s influence.   They coerced  individual  farmers  to  conform  to  the  state?s  singular  vision  of  progressive agriculture.  One example of this process is provided by the way in which the state?s experts demonized the common practice of ratooning.  Ratoon cotton is grown by cutting back old stalks, allowing new sprouts to shoot up without having to plant anew.  Cotton growers in both the middleveld and the lowveld had long relied upon ratooning as a low-risk strategy that  offered  favourable  returns  when  rains  were  late  or  irregular.    It  saved  costs  on  the purchase of new seed, as well as labour associated with seedbed preparation and replanting.     Scherffius and his fellow experts viewed ratoon cotton as an obstacle to establishing a standardized and centralized network of cotton production.  Because the growing cycle for ratoon cotton was between two and three months (rather than five or six months for newly                                                  317 William Beinart, The Rise of Conservation in South Africa: Settlers, Livestock, and the Environment, 1770-1950 (Oxford and New York, 2003), 17-29.  318 Official Yearbook of the Union of South Africa 10 (1927): 455. 319 Fiona Mackenzie recounts a similar process occurring in Kenya.  See A. Fiona D. Mackenzie, "Contested Ground: Colonial Narratives and the Kenyan Environment, 1920-1945," Journal of Southern African Studies 26 (2000): 697-718.   127 planted cotton), it allowed farmers to fit their crop?s growing cycle to local conditions.  This individualistic strategy undermined attempts by the Department of Agriculture to standardize the  cotton  growing  cycle  throughout  the  Union  by  publishing  accepted  dates  for  hoeing, planting, and picking.  Ratooning was, in James Scott?s terminology, an ?illegible? farming strategy that was impossible for the state to regulate and control.320     Cotton experts were equally concerned about the threat that ratoon cotton posed to the reputation  of  the  South  African  crop  as  a  whole.    Experts  were  convinced  that  ratooning produced  lower  yields  and,  more  crucially,  inferior  cotton  that  was  stained  and  rough.  Officials  from  the Tobacco  and  Cotton  Division  denounced  ratooning  as  a  ?lazy,  selfish? practice that undermined the collective enterprise of South African cotton cultivation:  ?for the  sake  of  the  community  it  must  be  abandoned?.321    Another  editorial  written  by agricultural officials argued that: The story of ratooning is the gradual spoiling of all neighbouring lands owing to the scope  given  to  root-pests  to  multiply  without  hindrance,  until  the  day  inevitably arrives  when  skeleton  crops  of  weak  cotton  have  to be  accepted  as  waste  and  the reputation of the country for the production of marketable cotton is gone.322    Scherffius set out to prove the pernicious consequences of this practice.  He initiated a  set  of  experiments  at  the  Rustenburg  Experiment  Station  between  1917  and  1921 comparing  ratoon  and  non-ratoon  crops  for  yield,  lint  quality,  and  insect  damage.    The Department boasted that the results were indisputable:  ratoon was inferior according to all criteria tested.323  The raw data, though, support more ambiguous conclusions:  yields for the                                                  320 James C. Scott, Seeing Like a State: How Certain Schemes to Improve the Human Condition Have Failed (New Haven and London, 1998). 321 "Ratooning" South African Cotton Growers? Journal (August 1925): 5.   322  "Ratooning  Cotton"  African  Sugar  and  Cotton  Planter  1  (June  1925):  17.    See  also  NA,  Secretary  for Agriculture (LBC) Vol. 4044 Ref: QC15, Chief Entomologist C. Haines, Cotton Insect Investigations, 1925. 323 The full results of these experiments are detailed in J du P Oosthuizen "Cotton: Ratooning Experiments", Journal  of  the  Department  of  Agriculture  IV  (1922):  125-131.    See  also  the  results  from  experiments   128 first growing season were actually lower than those for any of the ratoon years (Scherffius discounted these as the result of  an ?unfavourable season?), while lint quality was judged by the officials themselves without relying on testing tools for determining strength and length, which  was  considered  standard  practice.324    Led  by  conviction  as  much  as  by  conclusive evidence, cotton experts were unequivocal in their condemnation of ratooning.     The  state?s  aggressive  campaign  against  ratooning  reveals  its  commitment  to standardizing  cotton  farming  practices.    Ratoon  cultivation  was  an  individualized,  local, diffuse  practice  that  was  impossible  for  the  state  to  regulate.    It  was  anathema  to  cotton experts who preached uniformity and consistency in both product and practice.  Ratooning undermined  the  national  venture  of  cotton  growing  which  was  dependent  on  farmers conforming to the regulations disseminated by cotton experts.  It was vilified as an enemy of Scherffius? vision for progressive agriculture.     Cotton  experts  also  seized  upon  the  state?s  ideological  priorities  to  advance  their agricultural enterprise.  The most pressing social issue facing the new Union was that of the ?poor whites?, the swelling class of Afrikaner farmers who had been abandoning rural areas since the 1880s.  Their numbers spiked after the turn of the century, as thousands more left their farms and migrated to the cities in search of work.  These impoverished, uneducated, poor white people were left to compete for work with the non-white urban population. Many                                                                                                                                                       undertaken  by  the  Division  of  Entomology  in  C.  Haines  "Cotton  Insects",  Journal  of  the  Department  of Agriculture II (Jan-June 1921): 205.   324 Scherffius complained of ?heavy rains? in the 1917/18 season which stunted yields.  But rainfall during this first  growing  season  was  not  dramatically  more  than  the  three  following  growing  seasons:    31.90  inches compared with 31.92 inches (1918/1919), 18.67 inches (1919/1920), and 29.25 inches (1920/21).  Oosthuizen, "Cotton: Ratooning Experiments", 126.  The inconclusive findings of these experiments were confirmed years later in a comprehensive review undertaken by L.J. Henning, "Has Cotton a Place in our Agriculture?? Farming in South Africa XXIII (1948): 570-575.     129 barely eked out livings.325  Their plight became a major concern for the South African state: many worried about impoverished whites mixing with non-whites in these crowded cities and blurring  the  boundaries  of  racial  distinction.326    The  state  was  committed  to  safeguarding their position relative to non-whites.   Scherffius  seized  upon  the  poor  white  problem  to  advance  his  own  agenda  by championing  cotton  as  the  ideal  crop  to  empower  the  low-capital,  low-input  grower.  Scherffius was confident that any white farmer could make a good living on 25 to 100 acres of South African cotton land with minimal start-up capital.327  He drew, frequently, on the example of the United States, in which cotton was the primary earner for hundreds of poor white  families  with  small  holdings.    The  state?s  resources  were  needed  to  capitalize  on cotton?s  potential  and  solve  the  crisis:    ?If  a  plan  could  be  devised,  embracing?the settlement of suitable crown lands of the country, with cotton growers, the cotton industry would make tremendous strides, bringing wealth into the country and helping to settle the                                                  325 For more see The Carnegie Commission of Investigation on the Poor White Question in South Africa, The Poor  White  Problem  in  South  Africa,  Vol.  1-5  (Stellenbosch,  1932);  Robert  Morrell,  ed.,  White  but  Poor: Essays  on  the  History  of  Poor  Whites  in  Southern  Africa,  1880-1940  (Pretoria,  1992);  Stanley  Trapido, "Landlord and Tenant in a Colonial Economy: the Transvaal 1880-1910," Journal of Southern African Studies 5 (1978): 26-58.   The conditions that precipitated this massive displacement are a source of some contention.  Most  authors  agree  that  these  farmers  had  difficulty  adapting  to  the  increasingly  capitalist  dimension  of agricultural  production  and  changing  market  demand  (see  for  instance  Monica  Wilson  and  Leonard  M. Thompson, The Oxford History of South Africa, vol. II (Oxford, 1971), 104-71).  Other significant factors which exacerbated the livelihoods? of these poor whites included population pressure, the process of land subdivision, and the devastation of the rinderpest and locust attacks in the 1890s.   Other scholars, though, have generalized about  the  character  of  the  Afrikaner  farmer.    Two  accounts  Bethuel  Setai,  The  Political  Economy  of  South Africa: The Making of Poverty (New York, 1979), and Ralph Horowitz, The Political Economy of South Africa (New York, 1967) make reference to laziness, indifference and an unwillingness to change on the part of the Afrikaner farmer.  Horowitz terms this a ?preferred idleness?, while Setai suggests Afrikaner farmers lacked ?an enterprising spirit?.   326 See for instance Carnegie Commission, The Poor White Problem in South Africa, xix.   327  W.H.  Scherffius,  "Union  Cotton",  African  Sugar  and  Cotton  Planter  1  (Feb/March  1925):  9-12.    Other programs  targeting  the  elevation  of  these  poor  whites  included  direct  aid,  social  welfare  programs  such  as pension  and  invalidity  grants,  price  supports,  and  other  protection  measures  such  as  subsidies  and  price supports.  See Wilson and Thompson, Oxford History of South Africa, 173.     130 problem  that  has  given  the  Government  so  much  worry?.    Cotton  was  the  nation?s  most promising means of converting this ?state liability into an asset?.328      Scherffius also tapped into the state?s preoccupation with racial segregation to further his campaign for the preservation of pure-bred cotton seed.  Scherffius was convinced that the major threat to cotton?s viability as an export crop was inferior seed quality.  European manufacturers had expressed concern that South African cotton was a mixture of different varieties with varying staple lengths.  Officials responded with a stern edict to growers:   No  success  can  be  achieved  with  poor  and  mixed  seed:  indeed,  we  are  already hearing the first rumbling of a storm of complaint gathering around an industry of which such high hopes are entertained in the Union. Without a determined effort on the part of the grower to secure by careful and judicious selection an adequate supply of good seed, and thereby raise the standard of his product to the requirements of the trade, the industry is likely to lag and fall behind.329    Broadsheet editorials denounced the ?mongrelizing of cotton? as the single biggest retardant  to  South  Africa?s  emergence  as  a  major  cotton  producer.330    The  Tobacco  and Cotton Division established cotton-seed stations throughout the country that were completely insulated so as to prevent contamination by inferior strains.     Buried within these calls for a spatial segregation of cotton varieties was a racialized discourse anchored within the creation of a new South African white identity.  Fears over racial mixing and the deterioration of pure strains via interbreeding were heightened in the new Union, as poor whites and black labour flooded to the urban areas in bigger waves than ever before, crashing together as urban dwellers in close quarters.  Only one year after the formation  of  the  Union,  over  50%  of  the  white  population,  46%  of  Indians  and  12%  of                                                  328 Scherffius and Oosthuizen, Cotton in South Africa, 37 329  "The  Improvement  of  Cotton  by  Seed  Selection",  Journal  of  the  Department  of  Agriculture  II  (Jan-June 1921): 482.   330 Zululand Times, 17 March 1924.  See also Zululand Times, 4 October 1923, 30 July 1920, and 4 June 1920.     131 Blacks were living side-by-side in dense urban areas.331  Anti-miscegenation ideologies arose in  response,  as  white  South  Africans  began  to  articulate  the  fear  of  being  engulfed  and diluted by non-whites.332  Calls  for  the  conservation  of  homogeneous,  pure  cotton  strains  echoed  calls  for carving  out  demarcated,  homogeneous  spaces  where  whites  would  be  immune  from  the inevitable  deterioration  associated  with  racial  mixing.    Calls  for  preserving  white  South Africans from the pollution of interbreeding seeped into debate over cotton breeding, with the aim of preserving the purity of the crop?s integrity from dilution from inferior strains.333  As  Timothy  Keegan  argues,  agriculture  reflected  a  broader  ?ideological  crisis  of  racial survival and racial purity?.334     Scherffius  seized  upon  this  metaphor  of  white-on-white  procreation  to  trumpet  his goal of pure bred South African seed.   He expressed concern about the situation of poor whites ?in towns, the great rendezvous of this class of people, [where] many of them become physical and moral degenerates?.335  He then connected these anxieties over racial dilution with parallel concerns in cotton breeding:  ?we propose to start a vigorous campaign with the object of improving the grade of our cotton by selecting the best strains in  the field.  No doubt some of the cotton grown in the country is good, but it is rather badly mixed?.336  Other                                                  331 Census Report, 1911 in Wilson and Thompson, The Oxford History of South Africa, 173.   332  Barbara  Bush,  Imperialism,  Race  and  Religion:  Africa  and  Britain,  1919-1945  (London  and  New  York, 1999),  141.    Legislation  passed  during  this  period  sought  to  retrench  the  possibility  of  interracial  mixing.  Examples include the Immorality Act of 1926, which prohibited the mixing of white and non-white stock, and the Urban Areas Act of 1923, which applied the doctrine of segregation within urban areas.   333  Aaron  Bobrow-Strain  has  explored  these  connections  between  racial  and  agricultural  discourses  in  the context of early 20th century American bread making.  He argues that the American propensity for white bread was underpinned by discourses of racial purity:  ?urgent questions of diet were never far from racial anxieties?.  Aaron  Bobrow-Strain,  "White  Bread  Bio-Politics:  Purity,  Health,  and  the  Triumph  of  Industrial  Baking," Cultural Geographies 15 (2008): 19-40, p.25.   334 Keegan, Rural Transformations in Industrializing South Africa: The Southern Highveld to 1914, 180. 335 Scherffius and Oosthuizen, Cotton in South Africa, 37.   336  W.H.  Scherffius,  "Cotton  Culture:  Practical  Advice  for  the  South  African  Grower",  Journal  of  the Department of Agriculture II (Jan 1921): 161.     132 publications  advocating  cotton  production  expounded  on  these  miscegenation  undertones even further, demonizing the interbreeding of pure strains as a loss to the nation:  ?no success can be achieved with poor and mixed seed?.337  These concerns over miscegenation provided a strong impetus for the drive towards pure, consistent breeding techniques.     Scherffius  was  equally  convinced  about  the  racial  roles  required  for  successful cultivation:  cotton  needed  the  white  man  to  supervise  and  the  black  man  to  labour.    The subjugation of African labour would give South Africa a comparative advantage over other producers.   Scherffius boasted:  ?think of what it would mean to this country if the latent energy of the black race was turned into account in South African cotton fields?.338   While American growers had to pay as much as 6 or 8 shillings per 100lbs of harvested cotton, South African growers needed only pay 3 shillings for their black labour.339  It was left to white South African growers to pocket the difference.     Under Scherffius? leadership the national Department of Agriculture heralded a new era in South African cotton cultivation.  This push for cotton was tied to the emergence of a new coordinated, centralized agricultural infrastructure.  Cotton was an enticing commodity because its cultivation regime mirrored the racial roles that whites were attempting to carve out  within  the  Union.   Cotton  was  a  means  of  uplifting  the  white  agricultural  sector  and simultaneously containing the black; it thus fit perfectly with the ideological priorities of the new white South African state. 340                                                     337 "Improvement of Cotton by Seed Selection", Journal of the Department of Agriculture II (Jan 1921): 482.   338 W.H. Scherffius, "Cotton", Agricultural Journal of South Africa, 3 (1912): 603-624, p. 604.   339 "Cotton", Natal Sugar and Cotton Planter (Jan 1925): 11.  340 The Union?s commitment to labour-repressive policies aimed at increasing white agricultural production is evident in its legislation; for instance the Native Land Act (1913), the Native Service Contract Act (1932), and the  Native  Trust  and  Land  Act  (1936).    Taken  together,  these  Acts  forbade  Africans  from  owning  land anywhere  in  South  Africa.    They  were  forced  onto  Reserves  where  overcrowding  and  limited  opportunities made wage labour in white enterprise the only viable option for survival.  See Stanley Greenberg, Race and   133 The State and Zululand   Interest  in  Zululand?s  agricultural  potential  had  risen  through  the  1880s  and  90s.  Natal?s expanding settler population and the dearth of suitable land within the colony (due to holdings by absentee landlords, a burgeoning Indian peasantry and the presence of African Reserves)  turned  many  eyes  north  toward  the  agriculturally  promising  land  beyond  the uThukela River.  Successive invasions and British military victories had weakened the Zulu Kingdom and, following their 1880 victory at the Battle of Ulundi which effectively ended the Anglo-Zulu war, the British annexed the scattered remnants of the Zulu people and their land. After a ten year period of direct British rule, Zululand was officially incorporated into the colony of Natal on 29 December 1897.341  White settlement proceeded slowly through the 1880s and 1890s, as administrators resisted calls to open large tracts of Zululand to white settlers.342     By  the  turn  of  the  century,  demands  that  Zululand  be  opened  for  settlement  had reached a crescendo.   The process of land division was delayed by the South African War (1889-1902).  Once the fighting ended in 1902, the Zululand Delimitation Commission was established to set aside Reserve land for Africans and to appropriate the remainder as Crown Land which could be opened up to white agriculture [Illustration 4.1].  On the face of it, their allocation of 2.4 million acres to Reserves and 2.7 million acres for settlement seemed to divide the territory more or less equitably. But the division was hardly balanced. Almost all                                                                                                                                                       State in Capitalist Development: Comparative Perspectives (New Haven and London, 1980), 87-91, and Jeeves and Crush, "Introduction," 11.   341  For  details  on  the  political  wrangling  that  precipitated  the  decision  towards  annexation  see:    Phillip Warhurst, "The  Colonial Office  and Natal's Annexation of Zululand," Journal of  Natal and Zulu History 19 (2001): 95-107.   342 Shirley Brooks, "Changing Nature: A Critical Historical Geography of the Umfolozi and Hluhluwe Game Reserves, 1887-1947" (PhD, Queen's University, 2001).  Brooks argues that at the root of this divide was an ideological  schism  that  pitted  Zululand?s  administrators  -  trained  in  Natal  and  adherents  to  the  Shepstonian vision of Zululand as an African  Reserve - against Natal sugar and stock farmers keen to take advantage of Zululand?s ?uninhabited? lands.      134 superior  agricultural  land  ended  up  in  white  hands.343    Twenty-one  Reserves  were established, mostly in the north and west, where malaria and marginal agricultural potential made land less enticing to white settlers.344  The land most heavily desired by whites was in the more accessible southern sections of the territory near Eshowe, St. Lucia, and Richards Bay; here large tracts were thrown open for settlement.    The Natal Land Board oversaw the allotment of these lands to eligible settlers:  over 300 000 acres were distributed between 1904 and 1914, almost all of them in Zululand?s coastal and southern regions.345                                                    343 Aran Stuart MacKinnon, "The Impact of European Land Delimitation and Expropriation on Zululand, 1880-1920" (M.A, University of Natal, 1990), 154. 344  Few of the Reserves were contiguous with one another which limited African mobility even further.  Most were bounded on all sides by white settlements.   345 A.J. Christopher, The Crown Lands of British South Africa, 1853-1914 (Kingston, 1984), 91.     135  Illustration 4.1:  Areas Reserves for European Settlement in Zululand, 1904.  Adapted from:  Shirley Brooks.  "Changing  Nature:  A  Critical  Historical Geography of  the  Umfolozi and  Hluhluwe  Game Reserves, 1887-1947." (Queen's University, 2001):  291.  Land  settlement  in  Zululand  was  further  accelerated  by  the  Union-wide  Land Settlement Act (No. 12) of 1913.  Couched in terms of progress and development, the Land Act was a simple land grab, ostensibly intended to free up under-utilized agricultural land for settlement, but actually a means of expropriating land designated for African use to elevate   136 the lower class of white agriculturalists.346   The Act forbade the payment of rents in cash or crops by black tenants,   and allowed payment only as labour service.347   It also prohibited African  ownership  of  land  beyond  designated  Reserves,  leaving  only  about  7%  of  South Africa?s land (approximately 22 million acres) available to the nation?s African population.  This legislation allowed Zululand settlers to evict thousands of Africans from their lands, to seize their cattle, and to consolidate their monopoly control over both land and labour.348    Almost  all  white  farmers  who  settled  in  Zululand  made  sugar  their  primary  crop.  Growing conditions on newly-opened lands within fifteen kilometres of the coast, marked by warm  temperatures  and  high  humidity,  were  ideal  for  cane  sugar.    The  area  under  cane expanded five-fold in less than a decade, from 800 hectares in 1908 to over 4 500 in 1917.349  Wealthy Natalians also invested significant amounts of capital in mills to process the cane during  the  second  decade  of  the  century.350    South  African  sugar  production  more  than                                                  346 According to Keegan: ?The framers of the Land Act, then, were providing a legislative definition of a future ideal, but which was as yet unattainable: a capitalist agriculture in which all the productive resources were the property  of  and  put  into  motion  under  the  organizing  authority  and  supervision  of  the  white  employer  of labour.? Keegan, "Crisis and Catharsis in the Development of Capitalism in South African Agriculture," 393 [original emphasis].  See also Harvey M. Feinberg, "The 1913 Natives Land Act in South Africa: Politics, Race, and Segregation in the Early 20th Century," The International Journal of African Historical Studies 26 (1993): 65-109.   347 Historians continue to debate the motivations that underpinned the passing of the Land Act.  Some maintain that it followed from the political motivation of segregation (see for instance Saul Dubow, Racial Segregation and the Origins of Apartheid in South Africa (Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire 1989), while others insist it was motivated more by various sectors of capital, especially the mining sector, who sought to flush Africans out of  subsistence  economies  and  into  their  roles  as  wage  labourers  (see  for  instance  Keegan,  Rural Transformations in Industrializing South Africa: The Southern Highveld to 1914).  348 The Zululand Delimitation Commission (1902-04) had similarly  excluded Africans from inhabiting lands outside the Reserves, however  in the intervening years this practice was not  rigorously  enforced  and many Africans continued to squat on white-owned land.  The passing of the Land Act in 1913 ended this practice.  Thousands  of  Africans  were  evicted  from  white  farms.    See  MacKinnon,  "The  Impact  of  European  Land Delimitation and Expropriation on Zululand, 1880-1920" ; Aran Stuart MacKinnon, "Land, Labour and Cattle: The Political Economy of Zululand c.1930-1950" (University of London, 1995). 349 Prices were set at 2s. per acre for first-class lands, 1s. per acre for second-class lands, and 6d. per acre for third-class lands.  All farms were leased to growers for 99 years.    Alan Jeeves, "Sugar and Gold in the Making of the South African Labour System: The Crisis of Supply of the Zululand Sugar Estates," The South African Journal  of  Economic  History  7  (1992):  7-33.      See  also  A  de  V  Minaar,  "Labour  Supply  Problems  of  the Zululand Sugar Planters, 1905-1939," Journal of Natal and Zulu History 12 (1989): 53-72. 350 The largest, Hulett and Sons, invested more than ?500 000 in Zululand during the decade.  Reynold Bros. embarked  a  massive  expansion  program  into  Zululand.    The  Umhlatuzi  Valley  Sugar  Company  began   137 doubled in less than a decade, from 82 000 tons in 1910 to just under 200 000 tons in 1919, and much of this growth was due to the industry?s expansion into Zululand [Figure 4.1].    Figure 4.1:  Sugar Production in South Africa, 1891 to 1929.  Note there are no data available for 1899 due to the South African War.   Source:    South  African  Sugar  Yearbook  and  General Directory (1891-1929).      In the 1920s, however, the South African sugar industry experienced a hiccup due to global  overproduction  (especially  in  Cuba,  but  also  in  Java  and  Mauritius)  and  declining prices.351  Zululand producers  were  also  affected  by  the expansion of sugar  production  in southern Mozambique, which held a comparative advantage in supplying Transvaal markets.                                                                                                                                                        construction  of  a  new  sugar  mill  at  Empangeni.      See  David  Lincoln,  "An  Ascendant  Sugarocracy:  Natal's Millers-Cum-Planters, 1905-1939," Journal of Natal and Zulu History 11 (1988): 1-39.   351 "Crisis of Sugar Production", African Sugar and Cotton Planter 1 (July 1925): 2.     138 South African sugar production dipped abruptly from 190 000 tons in 1919 to 142 000 in 1920, the first significant decline in more than a decade.352   Efforts to arrest this decline  created a deep  schism within  the Union?s agricultural sector.    Sugar  millers  and  growers  persuaded  the  government  to  increase  the  duty  on imported sugar from ?3 10s to ?4 10s per ton to provide domestic producers with greater protection from the competition of foreign growers.353  Increased in subsequent decades, this protective tariff succeeded in insulating South African markets:  sugar imports declined from 32 000 tons in 1910/1911 to under 2 000 tons in 1938/39.354     The geographical isolation of the sugar industry and the cozy relationship between its leaders and members of the government made it an easy target for critics.  Many were angry at  such  significant  government  intervention  directed  at  an  industry  that  benefited  so  few.  Zululand  broadsheets  were  constantly  on  the  defensive,  shielding  sugar  from  those  who decried the government?s price protection:  they pointed to similar duties on tobacco, maize, and potatoes, which escaped criticism because these crops were grown by a larger number of South African farmers. They denounced the ?significant antagonism? leveled at the industry by  other  agricultural  sectors.355      The  sense  of  isolation  that  grew  from  these  struggles intensified the efforts of Zululand officials to find an agricultural staple that would give them common cause with farmers in other parts of the nation.  Embracing cotton, a crop that was being adopted widely, both in the Transvaal and in parts of the Cape Province, offered an opportunity to deflect some of the criticism directed at the sugar industry.                                                   352 As a corollary, prices offered to South African growers dipped from ?46 per ton in 1920 to ?29 per ton in 1921.  South African Sugar Association, "1930/31", Sugar Year Book and General Directory (1930/31): 173.   353  For a thorough account of the government?s intervention in the sugar industry see Lincoln, ?An Ascendant Sugarocracy: Natal?s Millers-cum-Planters, 1905-1939, " 7-9.    354 Jeeves and Crush, "Introduction," 6.  Protection increased through the 1920s with the Fahey sugar agreement of 1926 which raised the import duty on sugar from ?8 per ton in 1926.  See  F. J. Van Biljon, State Interference in South Africa (Westminster, 1939), 141-168, and Wilson and Thompson, The Oxford History of South Africa    355 Zululand Times, 11 May, 1922.   139   The  sugar  industry  was  increasingly  controlled  by  big  capital.    By  the  turn  of  the century,  it  was  dominated  by  a  handful  of  wealthy  sugar  barons.    The  increased  capital demanded by the expansion into Zululand allowed these individuals to extend their influence even further, as they consolidated their operations along the coast, from northern Pondoland to southern Mozambique.  Through the 1920s and 30s, more and more independent white growers were bought out by large milling operations:  between 1926 and 1934, consolidated estates increased their output by 110%, while independent planters increased their output by only  47%.356    The  monopolistic  structure  of  ownership  and  increasing  concentration  of corporate capital and control has led one historian to dub the privileged entrepreneurs who dominated the industry a ?sugarocracy?.357 In  contrast,  cotton  farming  fostered  communalism.    In  South  Africa  cotton  was farmed by many poor, diffuse growers who had few resources to offset the risks posed by poor  seasons  or  fluctuating  prices.    Many  decided  to  pool  their  resources  in  an  effort  to minimize these risks and consolidate their market position.358  Cotton cooperatives gained increasing popularity in the early 1920s. By and large they sought to ensure that farmers got fair  prices  for  their  crops,  to  increase  their  opportunities  to  obtain  credit,  and  to  provide accurate information regarding the grade and quality of each member?s crop.359  Ultimately local cooperatives were amalgamated into the Zululand Cooperative Cotton Association in                                                  356 Van Biljon, State Interference in South Africa, 146.   357 Lincoln, "An Ascendant Sugarocracy: Natal?s Millers-Cum-Planters, 1905-1939".  358 Zululand Times, 21 January 1921 and 26 January 1922.  The Union government subsidized the creation of cooperative societies as part of its broader strategy to aid the fortunes of small white farmers.   The national Land  Bank,  established  in  1912,  heavily  financed  agricultural  cooperatives.    The  Cooperatives  Act  of  1922 cemented this commitment leading to the rapid establishment of cooperative mills, dairies, grain elevators and wineries through the 1920s.    359 Zululand Times, 9 May 1923.  This shift towards cooperatives to preserve the independence of the small producer  occurred  in  other  industries  and  locations  throughout  the  interwar  period.    See  for  instance  David Demeritt, "Visions of Agriculture in British Columbia," BC Studies 108 (1996): 29-60.    140 1924, with its headquarters in Empangeni.360  Scattered and disparate cotton growers were united within one organization committed to advancing the position of the small producer.   Led  by  Scherffius,  proponents  of  cotton  cultivation  championed  the  crop  as  the people?s  choice, a commodity in  the  service of the nation?s poor, white underclass.  One expert exalted cotton farming as a payable proposition for the man of limited means: ?cotton gives a quicker return than sugar and requires less capital?.  Any grower with 200 acres could ? according to this account ? bank on an annual profit of between ?800 and ?1000.361  This allegiance with the plight of working whites was anathema to the dynastic sugar barons and further buoyed cotton?s standing relative to sugar.  By 1922 the Zululand Times was calling for the replacement of sugar with cotton.362      Crucial to this development trajectory was the identification of a long-stapled cotton variety that could thrive in Zululand.  The sudden decline of Caravonica tree cotton had been attributed to difficulties stemming from its transplantation from Australia into Natal.  This dulled enthusiasm for the acclimatization of imported varieties and convinced officials that the key to success in cotton production lay in the development of improved, pure seed from local, assimilated varieties.  Again, Scherffius resorted to modernist solutions and mounted a broad testing campaign at experimental stations throughout the Union:  over twenty cotton varieties  were tested for yields,  staple  strength  and lint  quality.363   But these experiments failed to reveal a variety well-adapted to Zululand?s growing conditions with a staple longer                                                  360 Soon after the Cooperative purchased a plot of eighteen acres of Crown Land adjacent to the railway line, with the intent of erecting a ginnery to process its members? cotton crop.  See NA, Uitvoerende Raad (URU) Vol.  1041  Ref  611,  Issue  of  Crown  Grant  to  the  Zululand  Coop  Cotton  Association  in  Respect  of  Holding Known as Lot 18, Empangeni Rail, 1923.  See also Zululand Times, 31 January 1924. 361 Zululand Times, 5 February 1924. 362 Zululand Times, 11 May 1922.  See similar calls in Zululand Times, 4 January 1923. 363 W.H. Scherffius, "Cotton", Agricultural Journal of the Union of South Africa 3 (1912):  603-624.     141 than 1.25 inches.  364  ?Unless we can secure the service of a qualified man to assist in this matter,? Scherffius concluded, ?we cannot hold out hope of rapid improvement in the quality of seed to be supplied.  This is a line of work that requires the sole attention of a properly equipped man?.365    The  man  who  stepped  in  to  fill  this  void  would  become  Zululand?s  most  famous cotton  breeder.    Edward  Loffler  started  growing  cotton  on  his  farm  in  the  hot,  northern reaches of Zululand at Buluwana, about fifteen miles from uNongoma, near the uPhongola River.  His farm was rich in deep soils, free of frost, and sheltered from strong winds.     Though  Loffler  had  received  no  formal  agricultural  training,  Scherffius?  calls  for individual breeding programs  tailored to local growing  conditions  resonated with his own experiences using transplanted seed.  Through years of experimentation Loffler had become convinced that existing long-stapled varieties such as Sea Island and Egyptian did not survive well in Zululand?s harsh heat and occasional violent rain storms.  He decided that his only chance of competing with American cotton was to develop a high-priced long-stapled variety well adapted to local conditions.  He set about crossing the long-stapled Sea Island with the more resilient American Upland, and  then selected the most  viable progeny to re-cross  in following years.  By 1920 he had achieved his famed Zululand Hybrid, a long-staple variety (1.5 inches) with large bolls that was ideally suited to the British market.366  It was also very                                                  364  J.  de  P.  Oosthuizen,  "The  Improvement  of  Cotton  by  Seed  Selection,  Journal  of  the  Department  of Agriculture II (1921): 505-516. 365 W.H. Scherffius, "The Tobacco and Cotton Industries", Journal of the Department of Agriculture II (1921): 454.  See also "The Improvement of Cotton by Seed Selection", Journal of the Department of Agriculture II, (1921): 482 and A.R. Pullen, "Improved Cotton Seed", Farming in South Africa II (May 1927): 93.   366  Loffler?s  trials  with  Zululand  Hybrid  were  initially  hampered  by  heavy  rains  and  a  lack  of  pickers.  Eventually  he  secured  the  provision  of  fifty  young  African  boys  from  the  Eshowe  Reformatory  to  serve  as labourers, which greatly accelerated the progress of his experimentation efforts.  See PAR,  CNC Vol. 369A Ref: 1919/2342, Senior Inspector, Zululand to Department of Native Affairs, 7 February 1919 and NA, Native Affairs Department (NTS) Vol. 7412 Ref 370/327, Cotton Growing in Natal and Zululand 1917-1940, Senior Inspector of Native Reserves, Zululand, to CNC, 8 September 1920.     142 resistant to jassid which was rapidly  emerging as  the  number one  pest  faced by  Zululand cotton growers.367   Zululand Hybrid was extremely well-received in Lancashire, where it fetched a higher price than most American cottons.368  Within two growing seasons, Loffler?s hybrid emerged as the premier variety for Zululand farmers.                Loffler?s  discovery  of  Zululand  Hybrid  catalyzed  the  sharpest  jump  in  cotton production ever experienced in Natal and Zululand.   Yields jumped from just over 800 000 lbs in 1922 to 4 million lbs in 1923, to 6 million lbs in 1924, and 8.5 million lbs in 1924.369  Growers in Natal and Zululand put more than 30 000 acres under cotton during the 1924/25 growing season, accounting for just under half of total Union production of 67 500 acres.370    Conclusion   Cotton experts were crucial in underpinning the Zululand cotton boom.  Scientists ? led by Sawer and Scherffius ? initiated experiments and accumulated what they considered to be  comprehensive  knowledge  of  cotton?s  growing  requirements.    They  established centralized information networks that consolidated their knowledge and expertise, and used this authority to ensure that diffuse growers throughout the Union followed these accepted, standardized practices.  They transformed cotton cultivation into a national undertaking.     But  these  South  African  cotton  experts  did  not  represent  a  monolithic  or undifferentiated form of state control.  They interacted with local knowledges and practices in  subtle  ways.    When  local  practices  threatened  their  vision  for  standardized,  uniform                                                  367 NA, NTS Vol. 7412 Ref: 370/327, Cotton Growing in Natal and Zululand 1917-1940, E. Loffler to Minister of Agriculture, 18 November 1920.  Loffler?s breeding success made him the recipient of numerous awards, including the British Cotton Growing Association?s prestigious One Hundred Pounds Cup awarded for superior yields. 368 Zululand Times Annual, December 1924. 369 Official Yearbook of the Union of South Africa (1925).   370 Zululand Times, 2 April 1925.  See also Zululand Times, 15 January 1925.   143 production ? as was the case with ratoon cotton ? they attacked it as an enemy of rational, scientific  cultivation.    When  local  practice  reinforced  the  state?s  broader  goals  of  cotton cultivation ? as was the case with Loffler?s breeding of Zululand Hybrid ? they embraced it.     Experts  used  their  new  elevated  status  to  advance  the  political  aims  of  the  newly consolidated settler state.  Experiments supervised by Scherffius identified much of Zululand as ideal for cotton production due to its high temperatures.  These northern regions were at once  the  most  remote  and  least  governable.    Cotton  thus  legitimated  a  deepening  of administrative  control  into  the  furthest  peripheries  of  the  Union.    Cotton  was  favoured because it fit well within the  state?s ideological priorities:  it allowed for an expansion of state power into Zululand and empowered white settler agriculture.  The science of cotton cultivation became inextricably interwoven within the exercise of state power.371     As  historian  William  Beinart  has  noted  with  respect  to  early  South  African conservation  programs:  ?technical  interventions  were  not  themselves  socially  neutral?.372  The rational act of agricultural expansion masked the political act of dispossession as Zulu farmers were denied access to hundreds of thousands of acres of land.373  This enthusiasm for cotton depoliticized the issue  of  land  and its  distribution. It thus occluded the reality  that                                                  371 This intertwining of science and the state underpinned many agricultural programs initiated during the late colonial period.  See Hodge, Triumph of the Expert: Agrarian Doctrines of Development and the Legacies of British  Colonialism      For  specific  case  studies  of  how  this  inter-relationship  manifested  itself  in  British Columbia see Tina Loo, "Making a Modern Wilderness: Conserving Wildlife in Twentieth-Century Canada," Canadian  Historical  Review  82  (2001):  92-121;    Matthew  Evenden,  Fish  versus  Power:  An  Environmental History of the Fraser River (Cambridge and New York, 2004); James Murton, Creating a Modern Countryside: Liberalism and Land Resettlement in British Columbia (Vancouver, 2007).   372  William  Beinart,  "Soil  Erosion,  Conservationism  and  Ideas  about  Development:  a  Southern  African Exploration, 1900-1960," Journal of Southern African Studies 11 (1984): 52-83, and  Peter Delius and Stefan Schirmer, "Soil Conservation in a Racially Ordered Society, 1930-1970," Journal of Southern African Studies 26 (2000): 719-742 also emphasize that conservation programs initiated by the new South African state were more about control than conservation. 373 James Ferguson, The Anti-Politics Machine: "Development", Depoliticization, and Bureaucratic Power in Lesotho  (Minneapolis,  1994).    See  also  Mackenzie,  Contested  Ground:  Colonial  Narratives  and  the  Kenyan Environment, 1920-1945".   144 cotton?s  expansion  into  Zululand  was  fundamentally  about  consolidating  white  settler production and control.                                              145 Chapter 5 Boom and Bust in Zululand, 1924-1930   The South African cotton boom reached its peak in 1924/25.  The Union had become a reputable international cotton supplier;  purchase  orders  were being received from as far away as Italy and India.374  Expectations escalated  along with production levels.  William Scherffius predicted that output for 1925/26 would increase by more than 200%.375  Another estimate predicted cotton would soon yield revenues of ?10 million a year.376  Still another forecast that cotton farms would soon overtake gold mines as the nation?s leading revenue generator.377     Zululand  garnered  disproportionate  benefits  from  this  cotton  boom.      The  acreage under cotton more than doubled every growing season between 1919 and 1924.  Cultivators across the province prepared record acreages in 1925:  the area under cultivation in Vryheid was 50% greater than in the previous year; Eshowe was up by 117%, Alexandra by 75%, the Midlands by 146%, Ixopo by 100% and Richmond by 50%.  Growers in Natal and Zululand put over 30 500 acres under cotton during the 1924/25 growing season, accounting for just under half of the 67 500 acres devoted to cotton cultivation in the Union.378   International factors helped stimulate this expansion. English demand had fuelled the early  twentieth  century  boom  in  Zululand.    Lancashire  mills  suffered  a  severe  supply shortage  at  the  turn  of  the  century.    This  was  blamed  mostly  on  declining  American production due to the pernicious boll weevil, whose larvae feeds on the cotton boll, and the                                                  374  NA,  Secretary  for  Mines  and  Industries  (IMI)  Vol.  116  Ref:  1868/2/4/25,  Trade  Commissioner,  Cotton Cultivation in South Africa, Letter from M. Volpi, Italian Cotton Association, to H.S. Roux, Commissioner of the South African Government Office, 6 May 1925. 375 W.H. Scherffius, "On Union Cotton", African Sugar and Cotton Planter 1, no.5 (Feb/March 1925):  9-12.  Zululand Times, 28 June 1923, expected output to treble.   376 "The Lure of Cotton", Natal Sugar and Cotton Planter (October 1924): 11. 377 "Cotton", Natal Sugar and Cotton Planter (November 1924): 7.     378 Zululand Times, 2 April 1925.  See also Zululand Times, 15 January 1925.   146 shortage of cheap, black labour in southern plantations.  The 1890s saw the slowest growth in Lancashire?s supply since the cotton famine ended in 1865.  Imports rose from 1 490 million lbs to 1 750 million lbs, an increase of only 4.2% across the decade.  Growth was barely a quarter  of  that  during  the  previous  ten  years.379    Lancashire  manufacturers,  spinners,  and operatives estimated that their revenues fell by approximately ?2 million annually as a result of this supply shortage.380     The British Cotton Growing Association (BCGA) was formed in 1902 to encourage alternative sources of supply.381  Created by a conglomerate of employers? associations, large firms connected with the cotton  trade, and  private individuals,  the BCGA held more  than ?500  000  in  capital.    The  BCGA  initially  decided  to  focus  its  efforts  in  Sudan,  Uganda, Nigeria, Nyasaland, and Tanganyika, where it achieved considerable success in expanding supply.382   The association invested heavily in training local officials to convince Africans of the merits of cotton cultivation.  They distributed seed and machinery, provided cheap and easy  transport,  and  purchased  all  cotton  grown.383    Upset  that  South  Africa  was  being excluded from this cotton rush, Scherffius initiated correspondence with the BCGA in 1913, lauding  the  Union?s  cotton  potential.    While  the  BCGA  never  considered  South  Africa?s                                                  379 Between 1881 and 1890 supplies increased from 1 274.6 million lbs to 1 490.3 million lbs, an increase of over 17%. Geoffrey Timmins, Made in Lancashire: A History of Regional Industrialization (Manchester and New York, 1998), 179. 380  Ray  Dumett,  "Government  Assisted  Agricultural  Development  in  West  Africa:  Cotton  Growing Experimentation in Ghana in the Early 20th Century," Agricultural History Review 23 (1975): 156-172.   381  Empire Cotton Growing Corporation (London, 1952). See also NA, Governor?s Office (GOV) Vol. 699 Ref: PS22/04, British Cotton Growing Association: Charter of Incorporation, 1904.    382 BCGA initiatives succeeded in more than quadrupling African production from 1910-1921.   Steve Onyeiwu, "Deceived  by  African  Cotton:  The  British  Cotton  Growing  Association  and  the  Demise  of  the  Lancashire Textile Industry," African Economic History 28 (2000): 89-121.  See also: E. Egboh, "The Adventures of the British Cotton Growing Association in southern Nigeria, 1902-1913," Quarterly Review of Historical Studies 18 (1978):  71-93,  and  K.  Dike  Nkworah,  "The  West  African  Operations  of  the  British  Cotton  Growing Association, 1904-1914," African Historical Studies 4 (1971): 315-330. 383  John  Robert  Hose,  "Britain  and  the  Development  of  West  African  Cotton,  1845-1960."  (Columbia University, 1970), 207.   147 production potential to be as  promising as that  of  central and  west  Africa, they did offer optimistic assessments regarding Zululand?s cotton possibilities.384     The  First  World  War  further  constrained  international  trade.    Britain?s  three  main cotton suppliers ? the United States, Egypt and India ? all curtailed production to grow more foodstuffs.  World cotton output dropped from  just under  24 million  bales in 1914 to  15 million bales in 1921. American exports dipped under 10 million bales in 1923, down from more than 15 million bales before the war.385   This decline in American supplies produced a surge  in  prices  offered  to  South  African  growers  [see  Table  5.1].    These  high  prices reinforced  the  efforts  of  cotton  experts  to  transform  Zululand  into  a  centre  of  cotton production.    Year  Average  price  per  lb of cotton (pence) 1913  5.0 1914  7.3 1915  6.6 1916  7.5 1917  15.0 1918  18.0 1919  29.0 1920  26.0 1921  19.9 1922  12.4 1923  15.9 1924  18.7 1925  14.8  Table 5.1:  Average Price per Pound of Cotton offered to South African Growers.  From: F. du Toit, "South Africa Cotton Prospects," Farming in South Africa I (1926): 256                                                   384 As reported in NA, British Blue Books (BBB) Vol. 96 Ref: CD3997, Wyndham Dunstan, Director of the Imperial Institute, British Cotton Cultivation, Reports on the Quality of Cotton Growing in British Possessions, May 1908.   385 "A Brief Review of the Cotton Situation", African Sugar and Cotton Planter 1, no. 5 (Feb/March 1925): 7-8.   148   Everything changed in 1925.  Production levels dipped sharply throughout Zululand.  Outputs  were  temporarily  sustained  by  expanding  acreage  in  1926  and  1927,  but  yields plummeted;  they  fell  by  more  than  half  in  almost  every  part  of  the  province.386    Many farmers replanted in 1926  and 1927,  but  losses  continued  to  escalate.   By 1933  Zululand cotton production was reduced to a trickle [Figure 5.1].    Figure 5.1:  Cotton production in Natal and Zululand, 1920-1934.  Source:  Yearbook of the Union of South Africa 17 (1935): page unknown.      The  most  common  explanations  for  cotton?s  collapse  included  labour  shortages, inadequate transport, and unfavourable international markets.  Certainly each contributed to the debacle; each was an evident, proximate cause of decline. But emphasizing the potency of  these  factors  allowed  officials  and  farmers  to  avoid  the  fundamental  cause  of  their difficulties:  erratic precipitation (that produced floods and droughts), and the corresponding spikes in insect damage.  Denying the incompatibility of their hopes for cotton production and the ecological realities of the territory allowed officials and farmers to portray the crash                                                  386 Zululand Times, 10 September 1925.   149 as  a  temporary  decline  that  did  not  threaten  Zululand?s  long-term  prospects  as  a  cotton producer.  This chapter contends that ecological  obstacles to production were the ultimate cause behind the collapse of the Zululand cotton boom.    Candover Estates   Two of Zululand?s most successful  cotton ventures exemplify  the  pattern of boom and bust that characterized production during these years.  The first was Zululand?s largest private cotton enterprise, Candover Estates, located just west of the uPhongola River near Magut.  The idea of establishing cotton production in the far north of Zululand was the vision of Richard Rouillard, a veteran speculator and entrepreneur.  Rouillard?s varied background had taken him from a successful venture as part-owner of a Mauritian sugar estate, through a decade in the gold mines of the Witwatersrand, to a brief stint overseeing mines east of the uPhongola  River,  and  then  another  decade  managing  nearby  coalfields.    Rouillard  prided himself  on  his  reputation  as  a  visionary  and  trailblazer,  capable  of  finding  success  at whatever venture caught his eye.  He has been described as an: ?entrepreneurial visionary? politician?[and] campaigning general?.387   In 1918 Rouillard began purchasing a number of unoccupied farms in the far north of Zululand [Illustration 5.1].  He assembled over 36 000 acres located in the lowveld west of the uBombo Mountains, between the uPhongola and uMkuze Rivers, and amalgamated them into Candover Cotton Estates.388   Like Sawer and Scherffius, Rouillard was convinced that the  new  national  scientific  apparatus  could  triumph  over  the  obstacles  that  had  hampered                                                  387 David Lincoln, "Settlement and Servitude  in Zululand, 1918-1948," The International  Journal of  African Historical Studies 28 (1995): 49-67, p. 62.   388 Rouillard assembled start-up capital from friends in Mauritius and ?100 000 raised in London.  He ended with initial capital in excess of ?400 000.     150 previous attempts at cotton cultivation, especially a ?lack of knowledge as regards suitable climate? [and] the right  variety of  seed?.389   He  praised the high  fertility of the soils in Zululand, the dry conditions during the reaping season, the large yields per acre, the ample labour supply and the absence of bollworm.  His decades spent in Zululand had convinced him that the area?s low rainfall (approximately 18 inches per season) would be insufficient for any crop other than cotton.                                                     389 KC, R. A. Rouillard, The Growth of the Cotton Industry, In: A Century of Progress in Natal, 1824-1924.  Issued by the Natal Witness.   151  Illustration 5.1:  Candover Estates.  Source:  NA, LDE-N Vol. 586 Ref: 7104/9, Candover: Cotton Ginnery, South African Railways, Proposed Railway: Mtubatuba to Pongola River.       Two major obstacles to production at Candover were transport and labour.  Vryheid, the nearest market, was seventy miles, but two days, distant through steep and mountainous country.   Most of the Africans who lived on neighbouring Reserves were either content to remain where they were,390 or already engaged in seasonal migration to the Witwatersrand                                                  390  The  Reserves  of  coastal  Zululand  offered  their  inhabitants  relatively  prosperous  means  of  subsistence, making  them  reluctant  employees.    See  David  Lincoln,  "Plantation  Agriculture,  Mozambican  Workers  and   152 gold mines.  Rouillard realized that success in such a remote part of Zululand would require grand  plans,  and  he  sought  to  bring  over  40  000  acres  under  cotton  in  order  to  reap economies of scale in both transportation and labour costs.     By 1923 Rouillard had achieved profitably high production levels. Production costs of  Candover  lint  for  the  1923/24  growing  season  amounted  to  8d  per  lb.  These  included growing,  reaping,  ginning,  transport,  freight,  and  sale  in  Liverpool,  and  together  they amounted  to  approximately  half  the  price  Rouillard  received  from  English  buyers.    With yields averaging 300 lbs per acre, this translated into a gross revenues of ?15, and net profits of ?7 10s. per acre. This, claimed Rouillard, was almost three times greater than the returns secured by the average American producer.391   Within a few seasons Candover produced the largest cotton crop ever harvested south of the Zambezi River.392  In the 1922/23 growing season more than 3 500 bales of cotton, valued at over ?40 000, were harvested there.393  Good rains fell in spring 1923 (7 inches in October and 9 inches in November), which convinced Rouillard to put another 3 000 acres under cotton.394  Output almost doubled.  The following year, the planted area was doubled again, to 16 000 acres, and revenues exceeded ?100 000.395 A visiting journalist surveying Candover?s fields remarked that there was ?cotton as far as the eye could see?.396  Rouillard                                                                                                                                                       Employers' Rivalry in Zululand, 1918-1948," in White Farms, Black Labour: The State and Agrarian Change in southern Africa, 1910-1950, ed. Alan Jeeves and Jonathan Crush (Pietermaritzburg, 1997), 137-147. 391 See R. A. Rouillard, "The Development of Northern Natal and Zululand in Relation to Irrigation Farming, Cotton  Growing,  Coal  Mining  and  the  Development  of  Sodwana  Harbour,"  South  African  Geographical Journal  (1925): 21-38. 392  Sun  and  Agricultural  Journal  of  South  Africa  (May  1923).    In:  W.  A.  Lee,  "A  Study  in  Tenacity:  The Memoirs of R.A. Rouillard" (B.A. (Hon), University of Natal, 1989), 28. 393 Zululand Times, 21 June 1923. 394 Zululand Times, 10 January 1924.   395 "Candover Estates", African Sugar and Cotton Planter 1, no. 5 (Feb/March 1925): 29/30. 396 "A Visit to the Candover Estates", The South African Cotton Growers? Journal (November 1925): 11.   153 predicted over 33 000 acres would be under cotton in 1925 yielding revenues in excess of ?300 000.   But Candover?s fortunes crashed abruptly in 1925.  Increases in acreage were offset by a drastic decline in yields, from a high of 300 lbs per acre in 1922/23 to less than 80 lbs per acre in 1924/25.   In 1926/27, 10 400 acres were seeded with cotton, but yields declined to 48 lbs per acre.397 Candover?s diminishing yields spelled declining profitability.  Costs ballooned to ?16 per lb in 1925/26 and ?22 per lb in 1926/27.  In 1927 the meager cotton crop was not even picked, as it was ?too poor to warrant the expense?.398  The once majestic cotton fields were completely  overrun  with  weeds.    The  operation?s  debt  reached  a  staggering  ?275  000.399  Only three years after attaining record heights, cotton production at Candover had collapsed.  Assets were liquidated:  in 1930 all 76 000 acres of land were taken over by the Department of Agriculture.    Ntambanana Soldier-Settlement Ntambanana was one in a series of settlements carved out of Crown Land set aside for white settlement under the Land Act 1912.400  Unlike Candover, the epitome of private entrepreneurship,  Ntambanana?s  rise  was  rooted  in  state-sponsored  communalism.      The urgency that had driven framers of the Land Act to engross tribal lands intensified with the                                                  397 NA, Department of Commerce and Industries (RHN) Vol. 1127 Ref 111/5/2, Board of Trade and Industries, Report on Costs of Production of Cotton in the Union of South Africa, 20 April 1928. 398 Zululand Times, 3 November 1927. 399  NLSA  (National  Library  of  South  Africa),  Select  Committee  on  Irrigation  Matters,  Testimony  of  James Sommerville, Secretary for Lands, 4 May 1932.   400 For a published account of some aspects of the history of the ill-fated Ntambanana settlers, see Shirley Brooks, "'Ropes of Sand': Soldier-Settlers and Nagana in Zululand," in White Farms, Black Labor: The State and Agrarian Change in Southern Africa, 1910-1950 ed. Alan Jeeves and Jonathan Crush (Portsmouth, 1997), 243-264.     154 return  of  soldiers  following  World  War  I.    New  settlements  were  established  to  reward military  men  for  their  service  overseas.  401      Leaseholds  were  given  for  five  years,  and additional  funds  were  often  provided  by  the  Land  Bank  for  the  purchase  of  inputs  and implements.402  Ultimate responsibility for the soldier-settlers lay with the Ministry of Lands, but  it  was  left  to  Regional  Land  Boards  to  recommend  both  prospective  settlements  and suitable applicants.  Ntambanana, established in 1913, was the first of soldier settlement in Zululand.    Soon  after  came  Hluhluwe,  Mkuze,  Nkwaleni,  and  Magudu,  all  of  which  got caught up in the cotton boom.403    Surveys of the Ntambanana Valley Lands by the Natal Land Board began in August 1913.404    Over  20  000  acres  were  assessed  initially,  about  six  to  ten  miles  northwest  of Empangeni, between the uMhlatuze River to the south and the uMfolozi Game Reserve to the north [Illustration 5.2].405  The land was located at an altitude of about one thousand feet, with rainfall averaging between 26 and 30 inches a year.406  Most of the land was covered by grass and  thorny Acacia trees growing  in  shallow soils (estimated at 4 to 6  inches  deep),                                                  401 Soldier-settlements were established in most Commonwealth countries following the First World War.  For a comparative  study  see  J.M.  Powell,  "Debt  of  Honour:  Soldier  Settlement  in  the  Dominions,  1915-1940," Journal of Australian Studies  (1981): 64-87, and Graeme Wynn, "Foreword: Soldiers' Fields," in Creating a Modern Countryside: Liberalism and Land Resettlement in British Columbia, ed. James Murton (Vancouver, 2007).  For details on soldier-settlements in Australia see Marilyn Lake, The Limits of Hope: Soldier-Settlement in Victoria, 1915-1938 (Melbourne, 1987);  for New Zealand Michael Roche, "Empire, Duty, and Land: Soldier Settlement in New Zealand 1915-1924," in (Dis)placing Empire: Renegotiating British Colonial Geographies, ed.  Lindsay  J.  Proudfoot  and  Michael  Roche  (Aldershot,  England  and  Burlington  VT,  2005),  135-155;    for Kenya C. J. Duder, "The Soldier Settlement Scheme of 1919 in Kenya" (Ph.D., University of Aberdeen, 1978);  for  Canada  James  Murton,  Creating  a  Modern  Countryside:  Liberalism  and  Land  Resettlement  in  British Columbia (Vancouver, 2007).   402 Lincoln, "Settlement and Servitude in Zululand, 1918-1948," 52.   403 By the end of 1918, approximately 531 soldiers had been settled on 860 000 acres across South Africa.  Kent Fedorowich,  Unfit  for  Heroes:  reconstruction  and  Soldier  Settlement  in  the  Empire  Between  the  Wars (Manchester, 1995), 126.   404 Lands were surveyed initially for general settlement and later turned into soldier-settlement schemes.   405 Most of the coastal lands suitable for sugar were already occupied by white settlers in 1912.  Crown lands designated as soldier-settlements were clustered more inland.  They were deemed some of the finest lands for stock raising and other agricultural pursuits.   406  NA,  Department  of  Lands  (LDE-N)  Vol.  5  Ref  3/2/1,  Land  Board  Report,  September  1913.    See  also "Cotton Growing in Zululand", Journal of the Department of Agriculture V (1922): 370.   155 underlain by blue shale.  The initial Land Board Report expressed concern about the lack of water, particularly in the western and northern sections where conditions were warmer and the soils were especially shallow; it was expected that wells would have to be dug.407  In fact, the surveyors noted that the water situation improved as they moved eastwards out of the proposed settlement area into the neighbouring Reserve:  ?the land was much better and the water supply far more plentiful within the Reserves than is the case with the lands thrown open for settlement by Europeans,? they wrote.   Still, the survey party was confident that settlement would succeed: ?although portions of the land inspected are not too good, as a whole the land is well adapted for settlement by Europeans?.408                                                    407  NA,  LDE-N  Ntambanana  Valley  Lands  (NVL)  Vol.  3  Ref  3/2,  Inspector  of  Lands  to  Secretary  of  Land Board, 31 May 1918. 408  NA,  LDE-N  NVL  Vol.1  Ref  3/2,  Report  upon  the  Inspection  of  Lands  Lying  in  and  the  North  of  the Ntambanana Valley, Division of Lower Umfolozi, Zululand, 30 September 1913.     156  Illustration 5.2:  Ntambanana Soldier-Settlement.  Adapted from: Shirley Brooks, "Changing Nature: A  Critical  Historical  Geography  of  the  Umfolozi  and  Hluhluwe  Game  Reserves,  1887-1947." (Queen's University, 2001):  348.      The  allocation  of  allotments  took  longer  than  expected.    It  was  delayed  for  some years  by  concerns  in  the  Department  of  Native  Affairs  about  the  implications  of  white settlement for the two nearby African Reserves.409  By 1917, however, the Land Board had prevailed  and  over  80  000  acres  were  designated  for  white  settlement.    Officials  were                                                  409  See  for  instance  NA,  LDE-N  NVL  Vol.  1  Ref  3/2,  Ntambanana  Valley  Secretary  for  Native  Affairs  to Secretary for Lands, 24 September 1914.   157 overwhelmed  by  over  three  hundred  interested  applicants.    Sixty-two  properties  were surveyed and allocated in June 1919, all but one to returning soldiers.410   Plots  averaged between 1 000 and 1 500 acres.  These settlers occupied their plots in time for the 1919/1920 growing season, and most focused on mixed farming and grazing with small plots devoted to sugar cane.   The promise offered by cattle rearing and sugar were dulled after only a couple of growing seasons.   The risks of nagana, the dreaded cattle sickness spread by tsetse fly, had not  been  adequately  communicated  to  the  new  settlers.411    The  disease  appeared  early  in 1920, devastating cattle stocks.  One estimate placed stock losses at just over eight hundred in  this  first  growing  season.    Over  75%  of  all  cattle  died  between  1920  and  1922.412  Compounding this loss was the failure of all sugar planted, due to a lack of rain.  This initial devastation  was  a  tremendous  blow  to  the  settlers?  optimism.      Public  sentiment  was overwhelmingly  in  favour  of  compensating  the  soldiers  for  their  hardship.413    The Commissioner for Returned Soldiers argued vehemently that the returned soldiers should be                                                  410 NA, LDE-N NVL Vol. 2 Ref 3/2/1, Ntambanana Valley Lands, Secretary for Lands to Secretary, League of Returned Soldiers and Sailors, 9 June 1919.  Prices were determined on a sliding scale based on what surveyors determined to be the most significant limitation to cultivation, a lack of water.  Farms in the water-rich south and south-east were sold at 17s 6d an acre.  Prices decreased for farms further north and west, most sold at 15s 6d an acre, while those furthest north-west were sold at 12s 6d an acre.  See NA, LDE-N NVL Vol. 2 Ref 3/2/1, Secretary of Lands to Secretary, Ntambanana Valley Farmer?s Association, 14 July 1925.   411  This  shocking omission seems  to have been selectively  withheld from  the national  Ministries.  There  is significant evidence that local magistrates had communicated to the Land Boards the risks that nagana posed to any settlement, but that these warnings had been swept aside in the rush to open the land for settlement.  See for instance, NA, LDE-N NVL Vol. 2 Ref: 3/2/1, Ntambanana Valley Lands, Magistrate, Lower Umfolozi to Chief Surveyor, 13 July 1919.  See also Shirley Brooks, "Changing Nature: A Critical Historical Geography of the Umfolozi and Hluhluwe Game Reserves, 1887-1947" (PhD, Queen's University, 2001).   412 NA, LDE-N NVL Vol. 3 Ref 3/2, Ntambanana Farmers? Association to Land Board, n.d. 413 See for instance editorials in the Zululand Times sympathizing with the plight of these settlers: 11 June 1920, 9 July 1920 and 4 September 1920.     158 provided  with  mechanical  ploughs  and  motor  transport  to  facilitate  growing  in  coming seasons, and that the soldiers should be excused all rent owed.414   Despite their setbacks the Ntambanana settlers persevered.  The dry conditions that prevailed during these first few growing seasons convinced most of them that only drought-resistant cotton could  succeed.415   Almost all farmers put  between fifty to  fifty-five acres under cotton the following growing season.  By 1923 over one thousand acres were planted with cotton.416  At picking time, the Zululand Times proclaimed that cotton and Ntambanana were now ?synonymous?, with yields exceeding those reported from all over the country.417  The acreage under cotton doubled in the following season, elevating Ntambanana?s status to the premier cotton growing centre in Zululand.418  Estimates suggested that Ntambanana?s 1924/25  crop  would  exceed  the  total  production  of  Natal  during  the  previous  growing season.419    But then, in 1925,  prospects for cotton at Ntambanana crashed as precipitately as did those  at  Candover.    The  losses  sustained  at  Ntambanana  over  the  next  few  years  were staggering.  Average yields dropped from 410 lbs per acre in 1923/24 to under 257 lbs per acre in 1927/28.420  Stock and crop losses amounted to over ?38 000 annually.421  More than                                                  414  NA,  LDE-N  NVLVol.  2  Ref:  3/2/1,  Ntambanana  Valley  Lands,  Commissioner  for  Returned  Soldiers  to Secretary for Lands, 17 September 1920.  See also Ibid., Ntambanana Report, author unknown, 6 October 1920.   415 NA, LDE-N NVL Vol. 2 Ref: 3/2/1, Ntambanana Report, 6 December 1920. 416 G.F. Keatinge, "Cotton Growing in South Africa", Report to the Empire Cotton Growing Corporation on a Tour Undertaken in South Africa, November 1922 to March 1923 (1923).     417 Zululand Times, 5 April 1923. 418 Zululand Times, 31 April 1924.   419  "Prosperity  on  the  Ntambanana  Cotton  Fields",  African  Sugar  and  Cotton  Planter  1  no.  5,  (Feb/March 1925): 15. 420 Ntambanana Agricultural Cooperative Society, Annual Meeting, Zululand Times, 11 October 1928.  These declining  yields  at  Ntambanana  exemplified  the  trend  experienced  at  the  other  cotton  soldier-settlements scattered throughout Zululand.  At Nkwaleni, for instance, yields dropped from 150 lbs per acre in 1925/26 to 121 lbs per acre the following season, while the cost per lb of lint more than tripled.  See NA, RHN Vol. 1127 Ref: 111/5/2, Board of Trade and Industries:  Report on Costs of Production of Cotton in the Union of SA, 20 April 1928. 421 NA, LDE-N NVL Vol. 4 Ref 3/2, Ntambanana Lands, Extract from The Farmer, n.d.   159 half of all the Ntambanana plots were abandoned by 1930.422  Nearly every settler declared bankruptcy,  confirming  the  assertion  in    the  Natal  Mercury  that:    ?cotton  farmers  at Ntambanana are faced with ruin?.423  Those who remained reverted to planting cane during the 1930/31 growing season, despite warnings from government officials.  Frost destroyed between 20 and 60% of the total crop, estimated to be between 2 000 and 4 000 tons.  This proved  to  be  the  settlement?s  final  gasp.    In  1933  the  Union  flag  that  had  flown  above Ntambanana since its inception in reflection of its origins as a soldier settlement was pulled down and the place was abandoned.424   Accounting for the Collapse   The failures at Candover and Ntambanana were both devastating and emblematic of those experienced more widely throughout Zululand.  Almost all cotton-growers experienced losses during the 1924/25 growing season.  Initial estimates placed these at only 30%, but they eventually spiraled to more than 80% across Natal and Zululand.  The following two growing seasons proved little better.  Most farmers replanted, but with little success: debts mounted  as yields declined.  By 1933 nearly every farmer had abandoned cultivation.  The suffering  experienced  by  the  region?s  cotton  farmers  was  depicted  in  biblical  terms:  according  to  an  editorial  published  in  the  Zululand  Times,  ?the  ten  historical  plagues  of                                                  422 Other soldier-settlements across the Commonwealth folded due to a similar combination of poor planning, lack of capital, and adverse environmental conditions.  See for instance:  J.M. Powell, "The Debt of Honour: Soldier Settlement in the Dominions, 1915-1940";   Monica Keneley, "Land of Hope: Soldier Settlement in the Western District of Victoria 1918-1930," Electronic Journal of Australian and New Zealand History November (2000): 1-10. 423 Natal Mercury, 4 September 1931. 424  NA,  LDE-N  NVL  Vol.  5  Ref  3/2/1,  Dismal  Story  to  Minister,  Natal  Mercury,  31  August  1933.    The President of the Ntambanana?s Cotton Growers? Association painfully acknowledged:  ?we are beaten?.   160 Egypt pale in significance before the chapter of afflictions this district has been called upon to suffer?.425   Explanations for this devastating collapse were plentiful.  Cotton farmers commonly blamed the downturn on the inadequacies of African labour.  The Zululand cotton industry was crucially predicated on the sustained availability of a low-wage seasonal labour force.  However, Africans  living  in nearby Reserves were routinely enticed  by higher  wages  and better  working  conditions  offered  by  the  gold  mines  at  the  Witswatersrand.426    Although Rouillard soon accepted the need to attract transitory migrant workers through networks that extended into the Transkei, Swaziland, and Mozambique, Zululand  cotton  growers  fretted constantly about the intermittent stream of labour to their fields.  They became increasingly vocal in their opposition to recruitment firms enticing labourers from the Zululand Reserves into the gold mines, suggesting that such labour should rightfully be theirs.427   Desertion  was  another  problem.   Growers  claimed  that  labour  accounted  for  more than  85%  of  their  costs  during  the  height  of  the  cotton  boom,  due  primarily  to  the  high proportion of worker abandonment.428  Many of these cotton growers were relying heavily on recruitment  from  outside  Zululand  ?  primarily  Mozambique  ?  at  significant  cost.    Both cotton and sugar growers complained that they  lost  over  50%  of their recruited  labour  to                                                  425 Zululand Times, 15 March 1928.   426 Africans testifying before the Native Farm Labour Commission in October 1937 were nearly unanimous in stating  that  they  opted  for  work  in  the  gold  mines  because  of  higher  wages  and  superior  work  regiments.  Lincoln, "Settlement and Servitude in Zululand, 1918-1948".  Jeeves estimates that during the 1920s wages at the gold mines were more than double those available in Zululand agriculture.  Alan Jeeves, "Sugar and Gold in the  Making of the  South African  Labour System: The  Crisis of Supply of the Zululand Sugar Estates," The South African Journal of Economic History 7 (1992): 7-33.   427 "Labour for Picking", South African Cotton Growers? Journal, (February 1925): 5; "Native Growing and Labour",  South  African  Cotton  Growers?  Journal,  (June  1925):  3;  "Labour  for  the  Cotton  Industry",  South African  Cotton  Growers?  Journal,  (November  1925):  25;  "Meeting  of  the  Pongola  Growers?  Association", South African Cotton Growers? Journal, (January 1926): 11.   428 Zululand Times, 11 November 1926.     161 desertion.429   As the President of the Hluhluwe Farmer?s Association observed wryly:  ?the cheap labour is expensive when three-quarters run away?.430  Growers lobbied for heavier fines to curtail this practice.431     Many expressed dissatisfaction with the national government?s inability, or seeming unwillingness, to secure a reliable Native labour force for the cotton fields.432  Some growers demanded  that  the  recently  enacted  Pass  Laws  be  strengthened,433  to  further  constrain African movement and force a greater proportion of the local population into the local labour force.434  Others favoured the establishment of a central recruiting agency modeled on the Native  Recruiting  Corporation  of  the  Witwatersrand  which  had  been  so  successful  in securing labour for the gold mines.435  Still others suggested importing Africans en masse from neighbouring Mozambique, or the wholesale recruitment of child-labourers.     Labour concerns were paramount at Candover.  Historian David Lincoln has shown that,  despite  being  situated  at  the  confluence  of the  major  migrant  labour  routes  bringing Tsonga workers (in the main) south from Mozambique, and although it was surrounded by Native  Reserves,  Candover  suffered  labour  shortages  from  its  inception.436    Richard Rouillard shifted his focus towards importing labour from further afield, however he failed in                                                  429 A de V Minaar, "Labour Supply Problems of the Zululand Sugar Planters, 1905-1939," Journal of Natal and Zulu History 12 (1989): 53-72. 430 Zululand Times, 6 June 1926.   431 Zululand Times, 19 Feburary 1925.   432 See for instance editorials in the Zululand Times, 19 February 1925, 23 July 1925, 6 August 1925, and 18 February 1926.  433 The 1923 Native Urban Areas Act sought to control African movement outside of the Reserves by forcing every African to carry a pass.  Anyone caught without a pas was arrested and transported back to the Reserves.   434 Heaton Nicholls, the  MP for  Zululand, favoured this solution.   See Zululand Times, 2 July 1925 and 28 February 1929.  435 "Meeting of the Pongola Growers? Association", South African Cotton Growers? Journal (January 1926): 11. 436 Migrant workers moved freely between the Mozambique and Zululand borders in the 1920s.  The Transvaal-Mozambique Agreement of 1909 had sought to restrict the employment of Mozambicans within the gold mines, making all Mozambicans within South Africa prohibited immigrants.  This allowed Zululand employers to pay these workers lower wages than those offered to South African labourers.  See Lincoln, "Plantation Agriculture, Mozambican Workers and Employers' Rivalry in Zululand, 1918-1948,"  and Jeeves, "Sugar and Gold in the Making of the South African Labour System: The Crisis of Supply of the Zululand Sugar Estates".      162 his bid to negotiate a deal with the Native Affairs Commissioner to bring families from the Transkei to work on the cotton fields.  This forced Candover to compete directly with better-coordinated  and  better-funded  recruiters  from  the  gold  mines  and  the  sugar  estates.437  Healthy males enticed by the superior wages of the mines were recruited there, while the best of the workers too young or too unhealthy for the mines were recruited to the sugar estates.  This meant that only  ?leftovers? ? mainly young children ? were readily available for cotton farms. Candover won special permission to recruit them in 1925.438      For all that, there is evidence that Rouillard had sufficient labour available during the period of Candover?s decline.  When it was at its worst ? 1924-1927 ? Rouillard laid off both white and black labour.  The number of white men employed as managers was cut from 64 in the 1925 picking  season to 50 in  1926 to  37  in 1927.   African labour  underwent  a more precipitous decline:  from 1950 in 1925, to 1133 in 1926, and 837 in 1927.439  These figures suggest that Rouillard exaggerated the impact of labour shortages on Candover?s operations.   Explanations for the collapse at Ntambanana focused less on issues of labour; records suggest  that  farmers?  needs  were  easily  met  by  labourers  from  the  surrounding  Reserves.  Instead, Ntambanana farmers attributed their collapse to the national government, accusing them of providing inadequate land, misguided planning, and insufficient transportation for successful cotton cultivation.                                                      437  Lincoln,  "Settlement  and  Servitude  in  Zululand,  1918-1948,"  60/61.    Lincoln  suggests  this  intermittent supply of labour forced Candover to rely on a ?cosmopolitan? work force that included workers from Natal, Zululand, Mozambique, Basutoland, Transkei, Transvaal and Swaziland.  438 Lincoln, "Plantation Agriculture, Mozambican Workers and Employers? Rivalry in Zululand, 1918-1948, " 141.  In "Settlement and Servitude in Zululand, 1918-1948," 64, Lincoln offers a vivid portrayal of the wretched conditions these cotton workers faced:  limited diet rations that led to widespread scurvy, high death rates due to malaria, and hospitalization facilities that consisted only of a wood and iron building with a cement floor and no beds.   439 William Himbury, The Union of South Africa as a Source for Increasing our Cotton Supplies (Manchester, 1929), 37.     163   The  farmers?  complaints  were  championed  by  the  Member  of  Parliament  for Zululand, George Heaton Nicholls.  Nicholls, himself a wealthy sugar farmer, had become convinced of cotton?s potential as a driving force for Zululand settlement during a visit with then Prime Minister Jan Smuts in 1922.  Nicholls was committed to helping hard-working Zululand farmers and lobbied tirelessly for compensation and rehabilitation that would allow these men to remain on the land.440  Nicholls blamed the disaster that befell Ntambanana and other  soldier-settlements  on  poor  planning  by  James  Hertzog?s  new  National  Party government;  he  reserved  his  harshest  criticism  for  the  Minister  of  Lands,  P.G.W.  (Piet) Grobler.441  He was particularly exercised about the lack of coordination between the four departments responsible for land settlement:  Agriculture, Irrigation, Labour and Land.  He accused officials of deliberately  propagating  misinformation, and indicted the government publication  Farming  Opportunities  in  South  Africa  (1922)  for  suggesting  returns  from Zululand cotton approximated ?2 000 per acre, and could exceed ?350 per acre even in bad years.  These were, indeed, absurdly inflated estimates.  Nicholls provided a heart-wrenching account  of  veterans  who  sacrificed  their  savings  for  Ntambanana  land,  only  to  be  wiped out.442  In the end, settlement schemes only exacerbated the poor white problem they were supposed  to  alleviate,  as  more  than  12  000  settlers  were  left  heavily  indebted  to  the government.    The  settlers  were  adaman