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The effects of the Indian Uprising in the Crown colonies; the education of Indian children in Mauritius; the system for indentured Indian workers and security concerns across the Empire; George Grey and the Cape Colony during the Indian Uprising; the restructuring of imperial governance and construction of a new building for imperial administration.
The Eastern Cape Frontier; colonial Humanitarianism and the Aborigines Committee; Anna Gurney, the Protectorates of Aborigines; the Myall Creek massacre; representative government in Australia and the Cape Colony; reconciling settler colonialism with humanitarianism.
The events which had their genesis around the year 1857 saw some 40 000 amaXhosa starve to death on the borders of the Cape Colony; around 2300 British and allied soldiers and 30 000 Chinese killed in the Second Opium War, and some 3000 British and more than 100 000 Indian soldiers killed in the Indian Uprising and its aftermath. Hundreds of thousands of civilian subjects of colour, whom the colonial authorities never counted, were killed by British forces in the ‘Devil’s wind’ in India and the shelling and ransacking of Chinese towns and cities. What can only be described as British imperial hubris had played a major role in bringing about each of these simultaneous crises. These casualties were the unacknowledged cost of Britain’s newly assertive, mid-Victorian, civilising mission – a mission more usually associated with the endeavours of the anti-slavery missionary-explorer David Livingstone, to whom we will return in Part III.
It has always been easier to define liberalism by what it is not rather than what it is. Never a coherent programme of governance, it emerged in modern Europe and its offshoots as an expression of the rights of individuals against arbitrary, absolutist governance. Rights of Assembly, representative government, free trade and trial by an independent judiciary had, initially, to be won in Britain through radical agitation. By no coincidence, this occurred at the very time that its governing elites were consolidating a vastly expanded empire in the wake of the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars. During our first snapshot of that empire’s governance, in 1838, a liberal order was just emerging in Britain, the new prosperity gained from colonialism being as much a part of that process as the Reform Act of 1832 or the agitation against the Corn Laws. By the mid nineteenth century, British liberals believed in free trade as an economic principle, and as the appropriate response to colonial famines, first in India, then in Ireland and the Cape Colony. The 1867 Reform Act consolidated liberal governance in Britain by extending the franchise again, at the same time that arbitrary rule over black people in Jamaica was condoned. In the mid 1870s, a new feature was added to Britain’s liberal dispensation as Disraeli’s ‘One Nation Tory’ government intervened in housing, working conditions and the education of the workforce.
Confederation in southern Africa; Sir Henry Bartle Frere, the Anglo-Ashanti War, David Livingstone and the Ninth Cape Frontier War; the Eastern Question and the Bulgarian atrocities; the Great Game and the causes of the Second Anglo-Afghan War.
The British Empire of 1838 was transitioning in many ways all at once. The basis of its economy was shifting, from slave-produced tropical commodities towards emigrant-produced temperate products, although opium remained a constant; its geography was shifting, from twin circuits of trade in the West and East Indies towards new centres of gravity in the vast terrains of the southern hemisphere and North America; and its mode of governance was shifting from the autocratic military elite which had violently seized new colonies from Britain’s enemies towards a bureaucracy more accountable to settlers overseas and reformers at home.
Civil rights, Jamaica, Mauritius; imperial labour shortages; ending apprenticeship in the Caribbean; British settler emigration, Malthus and overpopulation; indentured Indian worker migration, White Australia policies.
The origins and course of the Anglo-Zulu War and the death of the Prince Imperial; India as a model for a confederated South Africa; the course of the Second Anglo-Afghan War; Gladstone and the Midlothian campaign; the British disavowal of imperialism.
Britain’s reliance on slavery; how emancipation affected imperial governance; how loss of labour was mitigated; apprenticeship; the Caribbean, Cape Colony, Ceylon, Mauritius, Sierra Leone, convicts in Van Diemen’s Land, slavery in India.