Leander Starr Jameson was educated for the medical profession at University College Hospital.
After acting as house physician, house surgeon and demonstrator of anatomy, and showing promise of a successful professional career in London, he went out to South Africa and settled down in practice at Kimberley. There he rapidly acquired a great reputation as a medical man, and, besides numbering President Kruger and the Matabele chief Lobengula among his patients, came much into contact with Cecil Rhodes. In 1888 his influence with Lobengula was successfully exerted to induce that chieftain to grant the concessions to the agents of Rhodes which led to the formation of the British South Africa Company and when the company proceeded to open up Mashonaland, Jameson abandoned his medical practice and joined the pioneer expedition of 1890. From this time his fortunes were bound up with Rhodes's schemes in the north. Immediately after the pioneer column had occupied Mashonaland, Jameson, with F. C. Selous and A. R. Colquhoun, went east to Manicaland and was instrumental in securing the greater part of that country, to which Portugal was laying claim, for the Chartered Company. In 1891 Jameson succeeded Colquhoun as administrator of Rhodesia. The events connected with hisvigorous administration and the wars with the Matabele are narrated under Rhodesia. At the end of 1894 "Dr Jim" (as he was familiarly called) came to England. He returned to Africa in the spring of 1895 with enhanced prestige. On the last day of that year the world was startled to learn that Jameson, with a force of 600 men, had made a raid into the Transvaal from Mafeking in support of a projected rising in Johannesburg, which had been connived at by Rhodes at the Cape. Jameson's force was compelled to surrender at Doornkop, receiving a guarantee that the lives of all would be spared. He and his officers were sent to Pretoria, and, after a short delay, during which time sections of the Boer populace clamoured for the execution of Jameson, President Kruger on the surrender of Johannesburg (January 7) handed them over to the British government for punishment. They were tried in London under the Foreign Enlistment Act in May 1896, and Dr Jameson was sentenced to fifteen months' inprisonment at Holloway. He served a year in prison, and was then released on account of ill health. He still retained the affections of the white population of Rhodesia, and subsequently returned there in an unofficial capacity. He was the constant companion of Rhodes on his journeys up to the end of his life, and when Rhodes died in May 1902 Jameson was left one of the executors of his will. In 1903 Jameson came forward as the leader of the Progressive (British) party in Cape Colony; and that party being victorious at the general election in January-February 1904. Jameson formed an administration in which he took the post of prime minister. He had to face a serious economic crisis and strenuously promoted the development of the agricultural and pastoral resources of the colony. He also passed a much needed Redistribution Act, and in the session of 1906 passed an Amnesty Act restoring the rebel voters to the franchise. Jameson, as prime minister of Cape Colony, attended the Colonial conference held in London in 1907. In September of that year the Cape parliament was dissolved, and as the elections for the legislative council went in favour of the Bond, Jameson resigned office, 31st of January 1908. In 1908 he was chosen one of the delegates from Cape Colony to the intercolonial convention for the closer union of the South African states, and he took a prominent part in settling the terms on which union was effected in 1909. It was at Jameson's suggestion that the Orange River Colony was renamed Orange Free State Province.
Quotes from others about the person
“"Whatever one felt about him or his projects when he was not there, one could not help falling for the man in his presence. .. . People attached themselves to Jameson with extraordinary fervour, the more extraordinary because he made no effort to feed it. He affected an attitude of tough cynicism towards life, literature and any articulate form of idealism, particularly towards the hero-worship which he himself excited . .. When he died The Times estimated that his astonishing personal hold over his followers had been equalled only by that of Parnell, the Irish patriot. " - Elizabeth Longford
". .. He wrapped himself in cynicism as with a cloak, not only to protect himself against his own quick human sympathy, but to conceal the austere standard of duty and honour that he always set to himself. He was ever trying to hide from his friends his real attitude towards life, and the high estimate he placed upon accepted ethical values. .. He was essentially a patriot who sought for himself neither wealth, nor power, nor fame, nor leisure, nor even an easy anchorage for reflection. The wide sphere of his work and achievements, and the accepted dominion of his personality and his influence were both based upon his adherence to the principle of always subordinating personal considerations to the work in hand, upon the loyalty of his service to big ideals. His whole life seems to illustrate the truth of the saying that in self-regard and self-centredness there is no profit, and that only in sacrificing himself for impersonal aims can a man save his soul and benefit his fellow men. " - Seymour Fort”