The Marcus Garvey and Universal Negro Improvement Association Papers

Sir Hugh Clifford,[1] Governor of Nigeria, to Viscount Milner

My Lord,

I have the honour to acknowledge the receipt of Your Lordship's Secret Despatch of the 15th April, forwarding a copy of a letter addressed to Mr. Grindle by Mr. D. Boyle, the Assistant Director of the British Mission in New York.
2. My knowledge of Mr. Boyle does not cause me to attach much importance to any communication of this character that emanates from him. Self-advertisement has, too often in my experience of him, furnished to this gentleman a principal incentive to action; and the suspicion that this may have been a contributory factor to the genesis of the present communication is rendered probable from the following passage in his letter to Mr. Grindle:—"As I and many other juniors pointed out at the time, the tribal instincts" (viz. of the natives of Togoland) "being English, they will always feel a certain amount of Alsace-Lorraine-ism under French rule."
3. The underscoring is my own. The fact that the natives of Togoland desired to be under British rule, and that, failing that, they vastly preferred the rule of Germany to that of France, was so notorious that even the assistance of the penetrating insight of Mr. Boyle "and other juniors" was not needed to enable it to be perceived by official and unofficial Europeans alike, who were acquainted with the country. Whatever other "juniors" may have attempted in this direction—and I am unable to recall the efforts alluded to by Mr. Boyle which, in any event, would have been in the nature of the flogging of a dead horse—Mr. Boyle had no opportunity to afford assistance to the local Government in this particular matter as, to my certain knowledge, he knew nothing of Togoland and never served in any District situated within a hundred miles of the Gold Coast-Togoland border.
4. I have recorded these facts because they do not cause me to regard Mr. Boyle and his communication very seriously; but as the letter in question has been forwarded to me by Your Lordship, and as it is at any rate possible that information of value may be forthcoming, I have addressed a letter of enquiry to Colonel Thwaites, a copy of which I enclose for Your Lordship's information.
5. If any information of moment is hereafter supplied to this Government as a result of the correspondence thus initiated, I shall not fail to submit it to Your Lordship with the utmost despatch.[2] I have the honour to be, My Lord, Your Lordship's most obedient, humble Servant,
Hugh Clifford Governor
NAN, CSO 1/36/5. TLS, carbon copy. Marked "Secret."
[1] Sir Hugh Clifford (1866–1941) was governor of Nigeria from 1919 to 1925. His administration had admirers and detractors. After the heavy-handed rule of his predecessor, Sir Frederick Lugard, Clifford appeared "enlightened, liberal and entirely free of racial prejudice" (Patrick Cole, Modern and Traditional Elites in the Politics of Lagos [Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1975], pp. 203–204). He reorganized the colonial secretariat, gave real authority to lieutenant governors, abolished Lugard's Nigerian Council, and added four elected members to the Legislative Council. However, Clifford was nonetheless a disciple of Lugard's system of indirect rule who deeply distrusted Western-educated Africans. Although Clifford as governor of the Gold Coast from 1912 to 1919 was responsible for initiating many of the progressive schemes that his successor, Sir Frederick Gordon Guggisberg, subsequently carried through, he had rejected an increase in the number of secondary schools so as to limit African education. In December 1920 he denounced the NCBWA as a "self-selected, self-appointed congregation of African gentlemen" (address to Nigerian Council) and preferred to upgrade traditional rulers and put them on the Legislative Council, as he had done in the Gold Coast, where he increased African representation from nine to twenty-one members. In order to head off popular agitation, Clifford pushed for enfranchising educated Africans and creating a small number of elected representatives, without acknowledging the NCBWA (S. J. S. Cookey, "Sir Hugh Clifford as Governor of Nigeria: An Evaluation," African Affairs 79, no. 317 [1980]: 531–547; G. E. Metcalfe, Great Britain and Ghana: Documents of Ghana History, 1807 – 1957 [London: Thomas Nelson, 1964], pp. 529–574; J. Ayodele Langley, Pan-Africanism and Nationalism in West Africa, 1900 – 1945 [Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1973], p. 269; AP, pp. 265–289; BDBCG).
[2] Clifford was the only governor who replied to the circular letter (minute in PRO, CO 583).