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Secret societies - "rings within rings"

Updated: Oct 26, 2023

This blog is a part of The Matrix Series. See the overview here:

Banksters paradise part 3/7

For part 1 click here

Why is the English language so common in the world, and why does it seem that no matter what political candidates have been voted for the world has been going in more or less the same direction for decades? Two very different questions but apparently, they have a lot in common.

John Ruskin

The new imperialism after 1870 was quite different in tone from that which the Little Englanders had opposed earlier. The chief changes were that it was justified on grounds of moral duty and of social reform and not, as earlier, on grounds of missionary activity and material advantage. The man most responsible for this change was John Ruskin.

Until 1870 there was no professorship of fine arts at Oxford, but in that year, thanks to the Slade bequest, John Ruskin was named to such a chair. He hit Oxford like an earthquake, not so much because he talked about fine arts, but because he talked also about the empire and England's downtrodden masses, and above all because he talked about all three of these things as moral issues. Until the end of the nineteenth century the poverty-stricken masses in the cities of England lived in want, ignorance, and crime very much as they have been described by Charles Dickens. Ruskin spoke to the Oxford undergraduates as members of the privileged, ruling class. He told them that they were the possessors of a magnificent tradition of education, beauty, rule of law, freedom, decency, and self-discipline but that this tradition could not be saved, and did not deserve to be saved, unless it could be extended to the lower classes in England itself and to the non-English masses throughout the world. If this precious tradition were not extended to these two great majorities, the minority of upper-class Englishmen would ultimately be submerged by these majorities and the tradition lost. To prevent this, the tradition must be extended to the masses and to the empire.

Cecil Rhodes Sets Up a Monopoly Over the Gold and Diamond Mines in South Africa

Ruskin's message had a sensational impact. His inaugural lecture was copied out in longhand by one undergraduate, Cecil Rhodes, who kept it with him for thirty years. Rhodes (1853-1902) feverishly exploited the diamond and goldfields of South Africa, rose to be prime minister of the Cape Colony (1890-1896), contributed money to political parties, controlled parliamentary seats both in England and in South Africa, and sought to win a strip of British territory across Africa from the Cape of Good Hope to Egypt and to join these two extremes together with a telegraph line and ultimately with a Cape-to-Cairo Railway. Rhodes inspired devoted support for his goals from others in South Africa and in England. With financial support from Lord Rothschild and Alfred Beit, he was able to monopolize the diamond mines of South Africa as De Beers Consolidated Mines and to build up a great gold mining enterprise as Consolidated Gold Fields. In the middle 1890's Rhodes had a personal income of at least a million pounds sterling a year (then about five million dollars) which was spent so freely for his mysterious purposes that he

was usually overdrawn on his account. These purposes centered on his desire to federate the English-speaking peoples and to bring all the habitable portions of the world under their control. For this purpose Rhodes left part of his great fortune to found the Rhodes Scholarships at Oxford in order to spread the English ruling class tradition throughout the English-speaking world as Ruskin had wanted.

Cecil Rhodes Organized a Secret Society in 1891

Among Ruskin's most devoted disciples at Oxford were a group of intimate friends including Arnold Toynbee, Alfred (later Lord) Milner, Arthur Glazebrook, George (later Sir George) Parkin, Philip Lyttelton Gell, and Henry (later Sir Henry) Birchenough. These were so moved by Ruskin that they devoted the rest of their lives to carrying out his ideas. A similar group of Cambridge men including Reginald Baliol Brett (Lord Esher), Sir John B. Seeley, Albert (Lord) Grey, and Edmund Garrett were also aroused by Ruskin's message and devoted their lives to extension of the British Empire and uplift of England's urban masses as two parts of one project which they called "extension of the English-speaking idea." They were remarkably successful in these aims because England's most sensational journalist William T. Stead (1849-1912), an ardent social

reformer and imperialist, brought them into association with Rhodes. This association was formally established on February 5, 1891, when Rhodes and Stead organized a secret society of which Rhodes had been dreaming for sixteen years. In this secret society Rhodes was to be leader; Stead, Brett (Lord Esher), and Milner were to form an executive committee; Arthur (Lord) Balfour, (Sir) Harry Johnston, Lord Rothschild, Albert (Lord) Grey, and others were listed as potential members of a "Circle of Initiates"; while there was to be an outer circle known as the "Association of Helpers" (later organized by Milner as the Round Table organization). Brett was invited to join this organization the same day and Milner a couple of weeks later, on his return from Egypt. Both accepted with enthusiasm. Thus the central part of the secret society was established by March 1891. It continued to function as a formal group, although the outer circle was, apparently, not organized until 1909-1913.

Financial Backing of the Secret Society

This group was able to get access to Rhodes's money after his death in 1902 and also

to the funds of loyal Rhodes supporters like Alfred Beit (1853-1906) and Sir Abe Bailey

(1864-1940). With this backing they sought to extend and execute the ideals that Rhodes

had obtained from Ruskin and Stead. Milner was the chief Rhodes Trustee and Parkin

was Organizing Secretary of the Rhodes Trust after 1902, while Gell and Birchenough, as

well as others with similar ideas, became officials of the British South Africa Company.

They were joined in their efforts by other Ruskinite friends of Stead's like Lord Grey,

Lord Esher, and Flora Shaw (later Lady Lugard). In 1890, by a stratagem too elaborate to

describe here, Miss Shaw became Head of the Colonial Department of The Times while

still remaining on the payroll of Stead's Pall Mall Gazette, In this post she played a major

role in the next ten years in carrying into execution the imperial schemes of Cecil

Rhodes, to whom Stead had introduced her in 1889.

The Toynbee Hall Is Set Up

In the meantime, in 1884, acting under Ruskin's inspiration, a group which included

Arnold Toynbee, Milner, Gell, Grey, Seeley, and Michael Glazebrook founded the first

"settlement house," an organization by which educated, upper-class people could live in

the slums in order to assist, instruct, and guide the poor, with particular emphasis on

social welfare and adult education. The new enterprise, set up in East London with P. L.

Gell as chairman, was named Toynbee Hall after Arnold Toynbee who died, aged 31, in

1883. This was the original model for the thousands of settlement houses, such as Hull

House in Chicago, now found throughout the world, and was one of the seeds from which

the modern movement for adult education and university extension grew.

Roundtable Group Established

As governor-general and high commissioner of South Africa in the period 1897-1905,

Milner recruited a group of young men, chiefly from Oxford and from Toynbee Hall, to

assist him in organizing his administration. Through his influence these men were able to

win influential posts in government and international finance and became the dominant

influence in British imperial and foreign affairs up to 1939. Under Milner in South Africa

they were known as Milner's Kindergarten until 1910. In 1909-1913 they organized semisecret

groups, known as Round Table Groups, in the chief British dependencies and the

United States. These still function in eight countries. They kept in touch with each other

by personal correspondence and frequent visits, and through an influential quarterly

magazine, The Round Table, founded in 1910 and largely supported by Sir Abe Bailey's


The Royal Institute and Council on Foreign Relations Are Set Up

In 1919 they founded the Royal Institute of International Affairs (Chatham House) for

which the chief financial supporters were Sir Abe Bailey and the Astor family (owners of

The Times). Similar Institutes of International Affairs were established in the chief

British dominions and in the United States (where it is known as the Council on Foreign

Relations) in the period 1919-1927. After 1925 a somewhat similar structure of

organizations, known as the Institute of Pacific Relations, was set up in twelve countries

holding territory in the Pacific area, the units in each British dominion existing on an

interlocking basis with the Round Table Group and the Royal Institute of International

Affairs in the same country. In Canada the nucleus of this group consisted of Milner's

undergraduate friends at Oxford (such as Arthur Glazebrook and George Parkin), while

in South Africa and India the nucleus was made up of former members of Milner's

Kindergarten. These included (Sir) Patrick Duncan, B. K. Long, Richard Feetham, and

(Sir) Dougal Malcolm in South Africa and (Sir) William Marris, James (Lord) Meston,

and their friend Malcolm (Lord) Hailey in India. The groups in Australia and New

Zealand had been recruited by Stead (through his magazine The Review of Reviews) as

early as 1890-1893; by Parkin, at Milner instigation, in the period 1889-1910, and by

Lionel Curtis, also at Milner's request, in 1910-1919. The power and influence of this

Rhodes-Milner group in British imperial affairs and in foreign policy since 1889,

although not widely recognized, can hardly be exaggerated. We might mention as an

example that this group dominated The Times from 1890 to 191, and has controlled it

completely since 1912 (except for the years 1919-1922). Because The Times has been

owned by the Astor family since 1922, this Rhodes-Milner group was sometimes spoken

of as the "Cliveden Set," named after the Astor country house where they sometimes

assembled. Numerous other papers and journals have been under the control or influence

of this group since 1889. They have also established and influenced numerous university

and other chairs of imperial affairs and international relations. Some of these are the Beit

chairs at Oxford, the Montague Burton chair at Oxford, the Rhodes chair at London, the

Stevenson chair at Chatham House, the Wilson chair at Aberystwyth, and others, as well

as such important sources of influence as Rhodes House at Oxford.

Roundtable Groups Seek to Extend the British Empire

From 1884 to about 1915 the members of this group worked valiantly to extend the

British Empire and to organize it in a federal system. They were constantly harping on

the lessons to be learned from the failure of the American Revolution and the success of

the Canadian federation of 1867, and hoped to federate the various parts of the empire as

seemed feasible, then confederate the whole of it, with the United Kingdom, into a single

organization. They also hoped to bring the United States into this organization to

whatever degree was possible. Stead was able to get Rhodes to accept, in principle, a

solution which might have made Washington the capital of the whole organization or

allow parts of the empire to become states of the American Union. The varied character

of the British imperial possessions, the backwardness of many of the native peoples

involved, the independence of many of the white colonists overseas, and the growing

international tension which culminated in the First World War made it impossible to

carry out the plan for Imperial Federation, although the five colonies in Australia were

joined into the Commonwealth of Australia in 1901 and the four colonies in South Africa

were joined into the Union of South Africa in 1910.”

- Carroll Quigley “Tragedy and Hope: A history of the world in our time” 1966, chapter 9.

Comments and thoughts

Nothing is black and white – pun intended 😉

Reading this and the following segment about the state of affairs in South Africa gave me mixed feelings about the actions of the Rhodes-Milner group. I do not believe in controlling the fate of others “for their own good” – especially in a secret manipulatory fashion - but the topic of right from wrong, good and bad feels extra blurry for me in this case. What would you have done with such wealth and power meeting so much more primitive – at least in your own 19th century English eyes - way of life?

“In spite of the terms of the Rhodes wills, Rhodes himself was not a racist. Nor was he

a political democrat. He worked as easily and as closely with Jews, black natives, or

Boers as he did with English. But he had a passionate belief in the value of a liberal

education, and was attached to a restricted suffrage and even to a non-secret ballot. In

South Africa he was a staunch friend of the Dutch and of the blacks, found his chief

political support among the Boers, until at least 1895, and wanted restrictions on natives

put on an educational rather than on a color basis. These ideas have generally been held

by his group since and have played an important role in British imperial history. His

greatest weakness rested on the fact that his passionate attachment to his goals made him

overly tolerant in regard to methods. He did not hesitate to use either bribery or force to

attain his ends if he judged they would be effective. This weakness led to his greatest

errors, the Jameson Raid of 1895 and the Boer War of 1899-1902, errors which were

disastrous for the future of the empire he loved.”

If you did not choke on the red pill yet stay tuned. Part 4 is called “The Creature from Jekyll Island” and will be concerned with the Federal Reserve in the US and the establishment of the Federal Reserve Act in 1913. Control the money supply and you control everything.

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