Skip to main content

Papers of Frederick Dealtry Lugard, Baron Lugard of Abinger


  • How to

Correspondence and papers of Lord Lugard including material relating to his work in the Colonial Service.


  • Creation: 1858-1955 and 1969


36.0 Linear metres (241 boxes)

Language of Materials

  • English

Preferred Citation

Oxford, Bodleian Libraries [followed by shelfmark and folio or page reference, e.g. MSS. Brit. Emp. s. 30].

Please see our help page for further guidance on citing archives and manuscripts.

Full range of shelfmarks:

MSS. Brit. Emp. s. 30-99, MSS. Lugard 1-164

Collection ID (for staff)

CMD ID 3001, 3005


Papers of Frederick John Dealtry Lugard (1858-1945), soldier, administrator and author, particularly relating to Africa and Hong Kong.

Biographical / Historical

Frederick Dealtry Lugard was born in India on 22 January 1858. Lugard's father, Frederick Greuber Lugard, was chaplain to the military establishment at Fort St George in Madras. His mother, Mary Jane Howard, was a missionary who, on becoming the Reverend Lugard's third wife, took charge of his two daughters by a previous marriage and presented him with two daughters and two sons, Frederick Dealtry and Edward James. She died in 1865, two years after the family returned to England to settle in a living in Worcester. The boys were sent to Rossall School and throughout their lives were devoted to each other, Edward following his brother into the army and serving under him in military and civil capacities in several parts of the British Empire. Although rarely in England, Frederick Lugard maintained close touch with his family, felt responsible for their well-being and from time to time assisted his impecunious father and sisters financially.

Lugard probably chose an army career because of his uncle, General Sir Edward Lugard, who had been permanent under-secretary in the War Office for ten years from 1861; Lugard certainly had no vocation to follow his father into the Church. After a mere two months at Sandhurst he was given a commission, at the age of 20, in the 9th Foot (Norfolk) Regiment which took him back to India. Service in Afghanistan from 1879 to 1880 was followed by a year's sick-leave in England. On his return to India he indulged his taste for sport and big-game hunting as far as his slender means would allow and became deeply involved with a high-flying, sporting divorcée whose philanderings and demands upon him wrecked his peace of mind and eventually changed the course of his career. During this period he had transferred to the Military Transport Service to improve his financial position and saw service both in the Sudan, during the Suakin Campaign to relieve the pressure on Khartoum, and as transport officer in Burma.

Too disturbed to settle down in England, where he had again been sent on sick-leave to recover from a nervous break-down resulting from his amatory adventure, in 1888 Lugard embarked on an unauthorised attempt to assist the Italian forces threatened by the Abyssinians in the port of Massawa. The Italian commander rejected his offer to serve under him and so he continued down the east coast of Africa as far as Mocambique where, needing to recuperate his nearly exhausted funds and to see some action, he agreed to help with the small force being formed by the African Lakes Company to defend the trading station at Karonga, on the shore of Lake Nyasa, against the attacks of slave-raiders. Anger at the depredations of the slave-traders had already been aroused by what he had observed while in the Sudan and East Africa. Commanding the campaign presented a challenge, as did the prospect of a fight, and he succeeded in securing the safety of the trading station and its communications and providing protection for the missionaries in that area. This won him the friendship of both Sir John Kirk and the Reverend Horace Waller.

Returning once more to England, Lugard sought further employment of this kind. Cecil Rhodes offered him a chance to administer the British South Africa Company in Nyasaland but immediately withdrew the offer, to his profound disappointment. He therefore seized the opportunity to open up a new route inland from Mombasa offered by the founder of the Imperial British East Africa Company, Sir William Mackinnon. When he reached Machakos with his small expeditionary force Lugard was ordered to make a forced march to Uganda where chaos prevailed because of quarrels between the several religious sects, the deposition and reinstitution of the Kabaka of Buganda and the attempt by Dr Karl Peters to establish German supremacy there before agreement had been reached among the Great Powers that it lay in Britain's sphere of influence. After Lugard had spent some sixteen months suppressing revolts with the aid of his Sudanese troops, recruited from the remnant of Emin Pasha's force, and obtaining an agreement about the degree of power to be ceded to the Imperial British East Africa Company by the Kabaka and the Protestant and Catholic chiefs in Uganda, the Company decided to withdraw from the territory. This decision Lugard deemed disastrous for missionaries, traders and people alike. He therefore returned to England to lobby, lecture and write in a campaign to retain British influence in Uganda, thus supporting the missionaries' and the Anti-Slavery Society's attempts to persuade the British Government to assume responsibility for its administration. Much of the time he had to defend his own reputation against accusations by French missionaries and a report to the Cabinet on the Ugandan campaign presented by Captain J.R.L. Macdonald which charged him with mismanagement of the campaign, failure to uphold the principle of religious freedom there, inhumanity in dealing with a case of arms theft and of precipitating a renewal of the civil war in Uganda. One result was the publication in 1893 of his first, largely autobiographical book, The Rise of Our East African Empire. Uganda was subsequently declared a British protectorate in 1894.

Sir George Taubman Goldie next hired Lugard to conclude treaties with chiefs in West Africa which would protect British interests against incroachment by the French on the trading interests of the Royal Niger Company. He was to lead a race against the French and Germans to reach Nikki, the capital of Borgu, to make a treaty with its ruler in 1894 in favour of the Company. Six months were spent consolidating his work in West Africa, then Lugard returned to England where he received an honour from the Government, the Companion of the Order of the Bath, but no official position or employment. He therefore accepted the new British West Charterland Company's offer to exploit his experience as transport officer and explorer of Africa in investigating mineral concessions in Ngamiland, Bechuanaland.

From this expedition, on which he was accompanied by his brother, Joseph Chamberlain recalled Lugard in 1897 to create the British West Africa Frontier Force to defend the Royal Niger Company against continued French encroachments on it territory. This he managed to accomplish without clashing with the French. The British Government consequently retained his services as High Commissioner for Northern Nigeria when it terminated the Company's charter and proclaimed the province a protectorate in 1900. During the next six years Lugard formulated and introduced a system of indirect rule by which the indigenous rulers in Northern Nigeria continued to rule over their own people under the general direction of the British administration to which they were answerable. This was not achieved without a certain amount of military force directed against the cities of Kano and Sokoto.

In 1902 Lugard married Flora Shaw (1852-1929), the political journalist and colonial editor of The Times. On discovering that her health would not stand up to living in Nigeria she returned to England to establish a home for them at Abinger, Surrey, and Lugard devised a scheme whereby he could administer Nigeria from England during six months of each year. Although the Conservative Secretary of State for the Colonies, Alfred Lyttelton, was sympathetic to his idea, the Colonial Office was not, and when the Liberal, Lord Elgin, took office at the end of 1905 he refused to sanction the scheme. Lugard thereupon resigned his Nigerian office, but in 1907 was appointed Governor of Hong Kong, where he remained until 1912, contributing a great deal to the establishment of the university there. Once again Lady Lugard's health prevented her from living permanently in her husband's colony. For a couple of years she fulfilled the role of Governor's wife and official hostess but, after twice having to return to England from Hong Kong for treatment and convalescence, she remained at Abinger and, for the rest of his colonial career, saw her husband only during periods of leave.

Lugard was recalled from Hong Kong to service in Nigeria, this time in order to amalgamate the two protectorates of Southern and Northern Nigeria and from 1914 to administer the whole as Governor-General. He brought the Muslim northern states and the Christian and traditional religions of the south under a united administration and subsequently through the shortages caused by World War I. During these years he consolidated his system of indirect rule, revised and reissued his Political Memoranda written during his first term in Northern Nigeria as guidance to his staff on political and administrative matters. When he retired from the Colonial Service in 1919 Lugard recorded his political philosophy in The Dual Mandate in British Tropical Africa. Published in 1922 it ran to three further editions before the end of the decade. In it he attempted to justify the political relations then existing between Britain and the tropical empire and to define desirable principles for future relations, describing in passing "the difficulties encountered, the methods used, and the results obtained in administration", together with the economic interdependence of Britain and her dependencies. Virtually until his death he continued to refine his definitions in the hope of producing a new edition attuned to developments in policy and administration since his retirement.

Retirement afforded Lugard the opportunity to embark on other forms of public service. Once his financial needs had been provided for by a few directorships he was free to serve as British Representative both on the League of Nations Temporary Committee on Slavery, which drafted the Convention on Slavery to which Members of the League thereafter subscribed, and on its Permanent Mandates Commission. He also became a founder and chairman of the International Institute of African Languages and Culture and a governor of the School of Oriental and African Studies in the University of London. He served on the Universities' Bureau of the British Empire, the Colonial Office Advisory Committee on Education in Tropical Africa (later expanded and renamed the Advisory Committee on Education in the Colonies), the executive commitee of the Anti-Slavery and Aborigines Protection Society and on other bodies with imperial, political and welfare interests.In 1928 he was raised to the peerage as Baron Lugard of Abinger. In the last few years of his life increasing deafness made him feel ineffective in committee meetings and in the House of Lords, but his interests endured and he continued to draft meticulous memoranda for submission to those committees of which he was a member or to brief speakers in the House of Lords. He died at his home, Little Parkhurst, Abinger, Surrey, on 11 April 1945.


The tranche of papers received first (MSS. Brit. Emp. s. 30-99) was bound, on receipt, in the order in which Margery Perham's research assistant arranged the papers.

The second tranche (MSS Lugard) was arranged in seven major categories:

  1. Biographical material (MSS. Lugard 1-3)
  2. Correspondence (MSS. Lugard 4-14)
  3. Publications, including The Dual Mandate in British Tropical Africa (MSS. Lugard 15-49)
  4. Material concerned with particular territories (MSS. Lugard 50-97)
  5. Material accruing from the major and minor committees and issues with which Lugard was concerned, mainly after his retirement from the Colonial Service (MSS. Lugard 98-158)
  6. Miscellaneous papers, including press cuttings (MSS. Lugard 159)
  7. Photographs and maps (MSS. Lugard 160-164)

Custodial History

Lord Lugard stipulated that his papers should be handed over to the Bodleian only when they were of no further use to Margery Perham in her colonial studies. Since, apart from her university teaching and other duties, this included writing Lugard's biography and a long-planned book on the political developments in Kenya consequent upon the publication of the Hilton-Young Report, the papers reached the Library in several different accessions over the years as she finished with them.

The largest of those accessions (MSS. Lugard 1-164) did not arrive until after the death of Dame Margery Perham in 1982 when her own papers were received by the Library. It was discovered that, although some of Lord Lugard's papers had remained in a distinct series, those she had most recently used had been absorbed in her own papers and considerable time was therefore spent in distinguishing, extracting and arranging them. Some of the material had been used for so long as teaching, lecturing and general source materials (notably Command Papers, League of Nations papers and other official reports) that they had become more closely related to Margery Perham's archive than to Lugard's. The general principle adopted was that any papers actually handled by Lugard, including correspondence, should be restored to his collection, except for duplicate copies of documents that he had passed on to her in his lifetime and normally marked as such in his own hand, papers he had given her for a specific purpose about which there was evidence of the gift in a covering letter commenting on the contents, and letters written by Lugard to Margery Perham.

Major Edward Lugard transcribed extracts from his brother's correspondence in order to assist Margery Perham in writing her biography; he had also cut out and sent her fragments of such letters, much censored with a blue crayon or with adhesive labels concealing sections which his over-scrupulous conscience persuaded him were particularly sensitive and personal.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The donation of Lord Lugard's papers was made through the agency of his brother, Major Edward Lugard, and his friend and protegée, Dame Margery Perham after the publication of her two volume biography, Lugard: The Years of Adventure, 1858-1898 and Lugard: The Years of Authority, 1898-1945. The first major tranche was received in 1961 and the bulk of the papers was transferred in 1982.

During his lifetime Lugard gave a considerable number of his books, official publications, blue books and pamphlets to the Bodleian's African and Commonwealth collections (then housed in Rhodes House) to facilitate the study of colonial history and political development. After his death his brother, as his executor, sent a further selection.


  • Lugard by Margery Perham, two volumes (London, Collins, 1956-1960)
  • The diaries of Lord Lugard edited by Margery Perham and Mary Bull, four volumes (London, Faber and Faber, c.1959)
  • Lugard in Hong Kong: empires, education and a Governor at work, 1907-1912 by Bernard Mellor (Hong Kong University Press, c.1992)
Catalogue of the Papers of Frederick Dealtry Lugard, Baron Lugard of Abinger
Finding aid prepared by Patricia Pugh
1989; EAD version 2021
Language of description
Script of description
Catalogued with the generous support of the Leverhulme Trust and the Pilgrim Trust.

Repository Details

Part of the Bodleian Libraries Repository

Weston Library
Broad Street
Oxford OX1 3BG United Kingdom