A Short History of British Expansion

A Short History of British Expansion

A Short History of British Expansion

A Short History of British Expansion

Excerpt

organization set up by France, and its violent disruption by the revolt of the American colonies. In all these four periods the dominant motive is economic. The fifth period, in which we ourselves live, is altogether different. It is a recommencement on new lines, having no precedent in the history of modern nations. In its essence it is the record of an overflow of population much more voluminous and much less under the guidance of a national policy than ever before, and its principal interest is not economic but social and political. Also it is not, like the other periods, a finished tale. It breaks off in the midst of a chapter, and the outcome is for the future to reveal.

Such is the scope of the subject. To unfold it entails working sometimes from the centre, to obtain a proportioned view and to deal with ideas and policy, and sometimes in compartments, to trace the history of various undertakings. The method involves some repetition, but its advantages appear to counterbalance its defects.

Footnote references to authorities are inserted where the facts stated are disputable or of recent discovery, and also to acknowledge the source of quotations, and sometimes to indicate generally the authority followed. The lists of works at the end of each part are not exhaustive. They aim rather at suggesting courses of reading and indicating the particular uses of the books mentioned. They omit many older works whose authority is good, but whose substance is included in more recent writings.

PREFACE TO THE SECOND EDITION, 1930

THE re-writing and enlargement of that part of the book which deals with British expansion after 1783 has necessitated the issue of the second edition in the form of two volumes. The present volume therefore contains Parts I-IV and treats of the history of the Old Colonial Empire. Certain corrections, particularly in the account of the West Indian colonies in the seventeenth century, have been made in accordance with the results of recent research. These corrections were first introduced in the reprint of the first edition in 1927.

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