Shurlee Swain
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Margot Hillel
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The salvation of the race
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Race was central to the supposedly mission adventure story, 'The Little Savages of Nodlon'. The twofold duty of the English race, Sir Charles Lucas argued, was to replenish and subdue the earth and to rule and administer native races. The racialised discourse of child rescue created an inner city in which race, class and tribe were intertwined, embellished with such negative, even threatening descriptors as 'feeble and famished', 'ragged' and 'predatory'. The Darkest England / Darkest Africa comparison was as much a reference to race as to geography. In the colonies, the settler population was aware of the 'savage within', the Indigenous population that they had displaced. In Natal Dr.Stephenson observed, 'outcast London' could contribute to 'the salvation of this colony from the ominous consequences of undue disparity between the white and black populations'.

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Child, nation, race and empire

Child rescue discourse, England, Canada and Australia, 1850–1915


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