Political and Literary essays, 1908-1913

by Evelyn Baring
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Publisher: Lighthouse Books for Translation Publishing

Publication Date: June 02, 2019

ISBN: 9780599543737

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I have to thank the editors of The Edinburgh and Quarterly Reviews, The Nineteenth Century and After, and The Spectator for allowing the republication of these essays, all of which appeared originally in their respective columns.

No important alterations or additions have been made, but I should like to observe, as regards the first essay of the series—on "The Government of Subject Races"—that, although only six years have elapsed since it was written, events in India have moved rapidly during that short period. I adhere to the opinions expressed in that essay so far as they go, but it will be obvious to any one who has paid attention to Indian affairs that, if the subject had to be treated now, many very important issues, to which I have not alluded, would have to be imported into the discussion.

The "courtly Claudian," as Mr. Hodgkin, in his admirable and instructive work, calls the poet of the Roman decadence, concluded some lines which have often been quoted as applicable to the British Empire, with the dogmatic assertion that no limit could be assigned to the duration of Roman sway. Nec terminus unquam Romanae ditionis erit. At the time this hazardous prophecy was made, the huge overgrown Roman Empire was tottering to its fall. Does a similar fate await the British Empire? Are we so far self-deceived, and are we so incapable of peering into the future as to be unable to see that many of the steps which now appear calculated to enhance and to stereotype Anglo-Saxon domination, are but the precursors of a period of national decay and senility?

A thorough examination of this vital question would necessarily involve the treatment of a great variety of subjects. The heart of the British Empire is to be found in Great Britain. It is not proposed in this place to deal either with the working of British political institutions, or with the various important social and economic problems which the actual ...