The British Empire
‘Dominion over palm and pine’
in 'At duty’s call'
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During the first half of Queen Victoria's reign, the word was associated more readily with despotic continental empires, including the Holy Roman Empire, than with the dominions of Queen Victoria. The early Victorians directed their abundant political energies chiefly towards free trade and parliamentary reform. Their ideals lay rather in the direction of universal peace than of universal dominion. The Great Exhibition of 1851 was their exuberant assertion of British commercial and industrial supremacy, not a display of imperial power. W. H. Russell's condemnation of British ferocity had less effect on public opinion than his exposure of maladministration during the Crimean War. The Mutiny evoked a fierce determination to assert the British right, the right of conquest, to rule India. British rule in India, J. R. Seeley regarded with mixed astonishment and practicality.

'At duty’s call'

A study in obsolete patriotism


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