156

3 issues 'Central African Planter' 1896

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Robert Spence HYNDE (editor). The Central African Planter. Songani, Zomba, British Central Africa:  [Blantyre Mission Press for] Hynde & Stark, May – July 1896. 3 issues only (vol.1, nos. 9-11) + various 'supplements', 4to. May. 1896: pp.  [1-2], [103]-108, [1-]4, 109-114, [1-2];  June 1896: pp. [1-2], [115-]120, [1-2], [1-2], 121-126, [1-2]; July 1896:  [1-2], [127-]132, [1-]-3[-4], 133-140. Numerous advertisements. Disbound and lacking all wrappers, except for the upper wrappers for Vol.I, No.10 for June 1896. (Browning, some heavy, some leaves detached, small tears and chips.)

A selection from "wonderful chronicle of its day" (Schwarz) - the very rare and short-lived "The Central African Planter" - including material not present in the facsimile edition.  A facsimile edition of numbers 1-12 of "The Central African Planter" was issued, in a limited edition, in 1984 (see https://catalog.hathitrust.org/Record/012508422) using the copies held by the Society of Malawi (and apparently lacking 10pp. of  text from number 10, which is present in the selection offered here). "The Central African Planter" continued for another year, before closing but Hynde later founded "The Central African Times"

A.Schwarz, writing in the 'Society of Malawi Journal' (vol.36, number 2, 1983, pp.10-11), noted that the "contents of the paper cover a far wider variety of subjects than would appear from the title. There of course many articles on crops, at a time when there was much thought and experimentation, and no real idea of what was suitable and would emerge as a major source of revenue for the country. Coffee cultivation was thought to qualify for that, and there were number of articles on the crop .... But there is something for everybody ... such as articles or letters to the Editor on wages and labour problems, tax complaints, arguments about the Chamber of Commerce and Agriculture, notes on the climate and rainfall data, health and hospitals, transport problems, banking and the issue of notes, and so on. Then there are the advertisements, quite fascinating ones, for instance the sale of a grand piano, for £40 - at a time when it must have come up by headload from the Lower River. It is in fact a wonderful chronicle of its day."

Robert Spence Hynde - an important European figure in the early colonial history of Central Africa,  originally came to Central Africa in 1888 (aged 19) as a Church of Scotland lay missionary and teacher, but soon switched to being a planter. In 1893, with his brother-in-law. R.R. Stark, he started with  tobacco and coffee on his estate at Somgani, near Zomba. In 1901 he became manager of Blantyre and East Africa Ltd., a company registered in Scotland, and created through the amalgamation of the estates of the Buchanan Brothers and J.W. Moir with Hynde's own land.  Blantyre and East Africa Ltd was one of four large estate-owning companies in colonial Nyasaland, and concentrated on tea and tobacco. In addition to his newspaper interests, Hynde was also a member of Blantyre Town Council for more than 20 years, and the first operator of a weekly cinema in Blantyre.


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