An Introduction to Philosophy through Literature by Robert C. Baldwin, James A. McPeek

By Robert C. Baldwin, James A. McPeek

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It is not surprising, then, that it was Disraeli's conduct of Indian affairs and foreign policy- his dramatic personal coup in acquiring 44 per cent of the Suez Canal Company shares, the creation of the Queen as Empress of India and, above all, his brinkmanship during the Eastern Question crisis rushing Indian troops to Malta and occupying Cyprus without consulting parliament- that led to so much controversy. Edward Dicey, the editor of The Observer, became the spokesman for an illiberal and undemocratic imperial spirit.

It is time that Britain should become the hive of nations, and cast her swarms; and here are lands to receive them. What is required of government is to encourage emigration by founding settlements, and facilitating the means of transportation. R. Southey, 'On the State of the Poor, the Principle of Mr. Malthus's Essay on Population, and the Manufacturing System' (1812), in Essays, Moral and Political (1832), Vol. 1, p. 154 In such circumstances, Wordsworth felt Great Britain had a 'special cause for joy': For, as the element of air affords An easy passage to the industrious bees Fraught with their burdens; and a way as smooth 32 The Imperial Experience For those ordained to take their sounding flight From the thronged hive, and settle where they list In fresh abodes - their labour to renew; So the wide waters, open to the power, The will, the instincts, and appointed needs Of Britain, do invite her to cast off Her swarms, and in succession send them forth; Bound to establish new communities On every shore whose aspect favours hope Or bold adventure, promising to skill And perseverance their deserved reward.

Federation became the talk of the town. The movement reached its climax in 1884 with the foundation of the Imperial Federation League but collapsed in confusion in 1893 without any grand design being agreed. The activities of the federationists, therefore, even though Joseph Chamberlain later took up some of their ideas, provide but a minor theme in the New Imperialism. Instead, the decade which witnessed the birth of 'jingoism' saw the birth of a new concept of empire which focused attention elsewhere, a concept usually associated with the name of one man, the author of Tancred, Benjamin Disraeli.

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