Africa and the Victorians: The Climax of Imperialism in the Dark Continent

By Ronald Robinson; John Gallagher et al. | Go to book overview

PREFACE

THIS book has been written as a contribution to the general theory of imperialism. We have not tried to write a history of the regions of Africa during the nineteenth century. The morality of the conquest is not here our concern. Its effects in the long run are not our theme. For our purposes, here and now, Africa is the hook on which we hang hypotheses about nationalism and world politics, the framework for discussing the nature of British expansion. The end of the nineteenth century is commonly seen as the great age of imperialism. As the reader will find, we think that theorising of this sort needs to be totally overhauled.

Embedded in the book are fragments of two Fellowship dissertations and a number of ideas beaten into what shape they have by the disputes of the authors. It has been a long time in the writing, and it leaves us beholden to a number of scholars. We are indebted to Professor G. S. Graham, to Mr. Louis Branney and to the late Professor J. Bartlett Brebner for criticising some of our ideas. Dr. G. Kitson Clark of Trinity College and Mr. Edward Miller of Saint John's College goaded us into making a book out of a booklet. One of us owes much to the Colonial Office, especially to Sir Andrew Cohen and Sir John Macpherson, and to the Colonial Social Science Research Council for their generous aid; the other, to the Rockefeller Foundation which enabled him to study the archives in Paris and Brazzaville.

Lord Salisbury kindly allowed us to use his grandfather's papers, and to make extensive quotations from them. We thank him for these most valuable sources. We are also grateful to Dr. J. F. A. Mason of Christ Church, Oxford, to Mr. Timings of the Public Record Office and to Mr. Cheeseman, the Colonial Office Librarian.

For their work in checking references we are grateful to Mr. Clark and Mr. Barnes of the Colonial Office. For their help in cheerfully checking references and typing we thank Mrs. Henry Pommer, Mrs. Jack Davies, Mrs. Olive Burgess, Miss Irmgarde Marschke, and Mr. and Mrs. Roger Childerley.

Lastly, we acknowledge the courtesy of Her Majesty's Stationery

-xi-

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