Victorian England: Aspects of English and Imperial History, 1837-1901

By L. C. B. Seaman | Go to book overview

16


Imperial Pre-Eminence

1837-80

The sentiment of empire may be called innate in every Briton.

GLADSTONE, 1878

To say that our Empire is ‘bone of our bone, flesh of our flesh’, is not to express an opinion but to assert a fact. So long as Englishmen retain at once their migratory instinct, their passion for independence, and their impatience of foreign rule, they are bound by a manifest destiny to found empires abroad, or, in other words, to make themselves the dominant race in the foreign countries to which they wander.

EDWARD DICEY, 1877


I awoke once more and on my way I went,
And my heart was overflowing with a deep content:
In the dear homeland, far across the sea,
They had missed me and they loved me,
And they prayed for me.

The Emigrants Dream (popular ballad)

Just as there have been strenuous attempts to show that there was no Great Depression in the late-Victorian period, so has there also developed a body of opinion that the ‘New Imperialism’ so often regarded as distinctive of the last quarter of the nineteenth century was not really ‘new’ and that, so far from being the outcome of any new philosophy of Empire, it was a rather harassed, if not desperate, reaction to the force of un-

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Victorian England: Aspects of English and Imperial History, 1837-1901
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Acknowledgements vii
  • Introduction 1
  • 1 - People of the Book 4
  • 2 - Age of Steam 25
  • 3 - Disease and Drudgery 41
  • 4 - Lord John and Sir Robert 62
  • 5 - Patriotism Prevails 82
  • 6 - Lord Pumicestone 103
  • 7 - The People's Darling 124
  • 8 - Leap in the Dark 153
  • 9 - Towards a Modern State 168
  • 10 - Towards a Modern State 189
  • 11 - Beaconsfieldism and Midlothianism 206
  • 12 - Cloud in the West 232
  • 13 - The Great Depression: Fact and Fiction 262
  • 14 - Death of Liberal England 280
  • 15 - Birth of the Twentieth Century 299
  • 16 - Imperial Pre-Eminence 331
  • 17 - African Scramble 354
  • 18 - A Clash of Empires 375
  • 19 - Recessional 397
  • 20 - New Ways for Old 416
  • 21 - Queen and Mother 435
  • Index 463
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