By Kathryn Tidrick
Kathryn Tidrick's hugely acclaimed booklet explores the origins of the perfect of British imperial rule and the impact it had at the personality of the English ruling periods. From the Lawrence brothers of the Punjab, Rajah James Brooke of Sarawak and Mountbatten to Frederick Courtenay Selous, Elspeth Huxley and Cecil Rhodes, Tidrick illuminates the various awesome lives and activities of the folk that shaped and ruled the British Empire, from India to Africa and past.
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Additional info for Empire and the English Character
Like Henry Lawrence he was credited with the ability, purely by force of example, to make the evil do good. He supposedly cast his spell 42 Empire and the English Character upon Li Hung Chang, the governor of Kiangsu province and official commander of the Ever-Victorious Army, who came by degrees 'to understand that what this man cared for supremely, or only, was truth and justice and mercy', and thereby received 'a new revelation ... ofwhat goodness is'- 'the conquest of"Governor Li" himself, as this contemporary admirer put, 'by Gordon's character'.
And, indeed, what else makes among my countrymen so many sailors and soldiers? But if I ask myself whether I am too fond of war (meaning that I would sacrifice justice to gratify my pugnacious propensity), then my conscience and my entire conduct through life make me boldly reply with a magnificent 'No', for I truly feel that I am entitled to give this answer. 105 The event which brought down the fury of the Radical party on Brooke's uncomprehending head was his sutcessful campaign of 1849 against the turbulent Saribas and Skrang Dyaks.
As Edwardes grandiloquently put it: I found five different countries oppressed by one tyrant; and removed him. I found three chiefs in exile; and restored them. Those countries and those chiefs rallied round me in my hour of need, and were my army. 56 At moments in Edwardes' narrative realism breaks through. ' 58 In these conditions, after a convincing initial demonstration of British power, it was easy to exploit native awareness of it to interfere in local politics and create a system of alliances which could be brought into play as need arose.