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By Martin J. Wiener

An Empire on Trial is the 1st booklet to discover the problem of interracial murder within the British Empire in the course of its top - reading those incidents and the prosecution of such situations in each one of 7 colonies scattered during the global. It uncovers and analyzes the tensions of empire that underlay British rule and delves into how the matter of retaining a liberal empire manifested itself within the past due 19th and early 20th centuries. The paintings demonstrates the significance of the methods of felony justice to the historical past of the empire and the good thing about a trans-territorial method of realizing the complexities and nuances of its workings. An Empire on Trial is of curiosity to these interested by race, empire, or felony justice, and to historians of contemporary Britain or of colonial Australia, India, Kenya, or the Caribbean. Political and postcolonial theorists writing on liberalism and empire, or race and empire, also will locate this e-book beneficial.

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Additional info for An Empire on Trial: Race, Murder, and Justice under British Rule, 1870-1935

Sample text

Both men had served in their youth as private secretaries to Gladstone, and had thought of themselves as Liberals, but both had moved in their careers in the opposite direction from their mentor, becoming increasingly attached to the opinions of “men of practical experience” in imperial matters. “No opinion about Indian administration,” Godley declared in his memoirs, “is worth the paper on which it is written, except in so far as it is . . ”46 Behind this bureaucratic shift was the larger shift in national politics, from an era of Liberalism to one of often-“jingoist” Conservatism.

34 An Empire on Trial and his men were, as Stephen had virtually promised, readily reprieved: for his men a sentence of merely eighteen months’ hard labor (for the officer) and one year’s (for the seaman) was substituted; for Cocks, five years’ penal servitude. It was less punishment than the usual murder convict was dealt, but it delivered a public lesson – as the prosecutor had told the jury, their verdict “would tell captains and crews how to behave in future” – that there was no longer a law of the sea distinct from the English common law, which applied in full on British ships anywhere in the world.

The Home Office made further inquiries, and concluded that the Captain indeed was well known as an inveterate bully. Arthur was reprieved, although only to life imprisonment. However, his many friends – constituting most of the ship’s crew as well as his previous Captain – continued to petition for his early release (a petition organized by a Liverpool seamen’s missionary gained more than thirteen hundred signatures, many of them seamen’s), and he was set free after eleven years. He had no trouble immediately finding employment as a ship’s rigger.

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