Lord Salisbury's World: Conservative Environments in Late-Victorian Britain

By Michael Bentley | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 8
The empire

'Moorhouse of Melbourne': the phrase spans half a world. During the years of Salisbury's maturity, say from 1860 to 1900, the fact of empire (sometimes erupting in war and the waving of flags, always present as an unspoken context of dominion, colony and dependency) developed in its urgency and relevance to political action, not infrequently at Salisbury's own bidding. Imperial ideas and doctrines saturated the higher journalism of the clerisy and acted as grounds for propositions and recommendations in both Houses of Parliament. Victoria's ascent from Queen to Empress of India in 1876 merely decorated a movement of popular enthusiasm and universal awareness. Defending India, the jewel in her crown, was no longer enough. Wider still and wider should her bounds be set. From Venezuela to Zanzibar, from Sierra Leone to Herat, from Bombay to Weihaiwei, Greater Britain made felt her imperial weight – never more so than during the decade and a half when Salisbury dominated the metropolitan polity. It affected his everyday thinking; he responded to its pressures and challenges, if only to raise an eyebrow or make a cool and empty parliamentary statement. As in most other Conservative environments, the world of empire refracted a spectrum of views and emphases, with a language of mission and destiny spoken by a Lytton or Milner at one end of the range and the anxious whispers of a Northcote at the other. Salisbury himself did not tremble at thoughts of war, though he deemed bloodshed better avoided. Neither did he join the wild-eyed visionaries in their march to glory. He rather reflected and manipulated the instincts of his generation in favour of a strong and peaceful empire with India at its core and the great white Dominion of Canada and Commonwealth of Australia framing its periphery. He developed his own style of imperial argument

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Lord Salisbury's World: Conservative Environments in Late-Victorian Britain
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page *
  • Contents v
  • Acknowledgments vi
  • Abbreviations viii
  • Introduction - Situations Vacant 1
  • Chapter 1 - Time 8
  • Chapter 2 - Space 33
  • Chapter 3 - Society 65
  • Chapter 4 - Property 94
  • Chapter 5 - Thought 125
  • Chapter 6 - The State 159
  • Chapter 7 - The Church 188
  • Chapter 8 - The Empire 220
  • Chapter 9 - The Party 251
  • Chapter 10 - The Legacy 295
  • Sources and Further Reading 322
  • Index 327
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