Some thoughtful students of history have fixed upon the Boer War as the first breaking point or collision of those forces of the modern world which resulted in the grand smash of the World War. For highly practical purposes he entered South African politics, consolidating financial power in great combinations such as the De Beers diamond syndicate. At thirty-seven he was premier of Cape Colony; while his Chartered Company held almost unlimited powers of political territorial expansion on behalf of England, after the fashion of the old East India Company. Man evades personal classification as man of action or of imagination. Money and machines were frankly brought into action by an industrial empire to conquer a rural people who held by the land; and the primitive black warrior nations of Africa were pawns in the game. Cecil Rhodes has a certain historical importance, as he was a conscious and direct agent in the whole process.