This book introduces the reader to emerging research in the broad field of 'imperial migration' and shows how this 'new' migration scholarship had developed our understanding of the British World. This is done through an analysis of some of former colonies of British Empire such as Australia, Canada, India and Zambia. The book focuses on the ideas of Reverend Thomas Malthus of how population movements presaged forces within sectors of a pre-industrial economy. The formation of national and imperial identities along racial lines in the mid-nineteenth century is covered by an analysis of the mid-nineteenth century British censuses. The clergy played a pivotal role in the importation and diffusion of a sense of British identity (and morality) to Australian churchgoers. The resistance and accommodation of Welsh Presbyterianism in Eastern Bengal is investigated through the varieties of engagement with Indian Christians and non-Christians. The book argues that Asian migration and the perceived threat it posed to the settler colonies was an issue which could unite these seemingly incongruent elements of the British World. Child migration has become a very sensitive and politically charged issue, and the book examines one of the lesser studied child migration agencies, the Middlemore Children's Emigration Homes. The book also deals with the cultural cross-currents in the construction of an Anglo-Canadian or 'Britannic' national identity. The white settlers' decisions to stay on after independence was granted to Zambia are instructive as it fills an important gap in our understanding of Africa's colonial legacy.
Empire, migration and the NHS
The establishment and development of the NHS in the post-war period
coincided with the dismantling of the British Empire. Colonial-era language or parallels have been used at times to describe the relationship
between the NHS and the migrant labour it has relied on.1 However,
the development of the British healthcare system and the impact and
legacy of the Empire are two closely linked phenomena that historians
have rarely considered together.2 The same can be said of the history of
post-war migration to the UK and the
W. A. Carrothers, Emigration from the British
Isles (London, 1929), p. 38; S. Constantine, ‘EmpireMigration and Social Reform’, in C. G. Pooley and I. D. Whyte
(eds), Migrants, Emigrants and Immigrants. A Social History of
Migration (London, 1991), pp. 67–70 and 74.
J. Cavell, ‘The Imperial Race and the
Immigration Sieve: The Canadian Debate on Assisted British Migration
and Empire Settlement, 1900–1930’, Journal of
Imperial and Commonwealth History , 34:3 (2006), pp.
345–67; K. Fedorowich, ‘Restocking the British World:
EmpireMigration and Anglo-Canadian Relations,
1919–1930’ (unpublished paper
Thomas Robert Malthus was an equivocal advocate of emigration. Malthus was a keen observer of the course of emigration from the British Isles at the end of the eighteenth century. The Malthusian world was a pre-industrial world in which population growth seemed always most likely to outstrip and swamp any achievable economic growth. There were numerous categories of migration out of Britain, often associated with different dynamics, moving with different velocities and under widely different pressures. Malthus was adamant about the self-defeating consequences of emigration and drew on cases from the West Highlands of Scotland, most notably the island of Jura. The process of emigration was accompanied by the relative decline of agricultural employment in the region. Malthus's outline of the social psychology of the migration was applicable especially in the case of the Isle of Skye.
British interpretations of midnineteenth-century racial demographics
This chapter describes the ways in which anxieties about migration and racial proportions in the metropole were intricately connected to notions about the expansion of the race to other parts of the world. It discusses the connection between the census and early eugenic thinking. The chapter argues that many British observers took their expanding empire to mean not only military strength, but racial strength, and by the 1850s discussions of the relative strength of different races were common in the British press. William Farr was especially fond of comparing British industrial and urban growth with French stagnation. In 1854, Farr remarked that the United Kingdom is now covered by twenty-eight millions of people. The 1861 report explained that 'to determine the increase of the English race the emigrants must be taken into account'. The discussion of racial proportions happened in the context of broader debates about the nature of empire.
This chapter addresses one of the thornier problems in the history of emigration and colonisation to the British settler colonies. It provides an analysis of some of the consequences of the patterning of ethnicity, profession and religion, which would appear to be unmatched by few other professions or migrant groups who came to the Australian colonies. The chapter presents an account of the historical background to religious emigration from the British Isles and the responses of the churches to the crisis of personnel created by mass migration. It considers the role of colonial missionary societies in promoting religion and imperial loyalty. The chapter focuses on the characteristics of clerical migrants to the Australian colonies of New South Wales (NSW) and Victoria as their numbers peaked in the 1880s and 1890s. It discusses the development of colonial religious nationalism, typically ardently patriotic to Britain.
Welsh Presbyterianism in Sylhet, Eastern Bengal, 1860–1940
This chapter explores the social relations of Christian mission in the context of a specific history. In Sylhet, the Welsh missionary William Pryse, organised a series of theological meetings, though only after insisting that he would 'not enter into any discussion with a Mahommedan unless he were acquainted with Arabic History and Literature'. Sir Rabindranath Tagore had been invited to stay in a mission-owned bungalow in Sylhet, and the poet paid a visit to the Welsh Presbyterian mission compound to thank John Roberts personally for his hospitality. In February 1902, the Right Reverend James MacArthur, Anglican Bishop of Bombay, had welcomed the growing number of Christians in Assam while admitting to an anxiety. Missionaries were often regarded as cultural intermediaries between Bengali society and European settlers; they were, at the same time, eager to distance themselves from the social and moral beliefs and practices of their fellow Westerners.
This chapter explores shifting attitudes towards Asian migrants within the British World from the 1850s when European and 'free' Asian migration increased to the temperate zones, which were thought most suited to European settlement. It provides how networks of people and information spread shared concepts of 'Asians' which transcended class barriers. The chapter discusses how the desire to limit Asian migration posed a serious challenge to the unity of the British Empire. It considers throughout why a British World could conceptually materialise across strong networks of people and ideology, but why wider imperial federation and citizenship remained elusive. The notion of imperial citizenship thus lost all meaning, despite the Colonial Office continuing to advocate it and to insist hollowly that Indians and other non-whites were not second class imperial subjects.
British emigration and the construction of Anglo-Canadian privilege
This chapter discusses the concepts of Britishness, white settler society hegemony, and British superiority in pre-Second World War Canada. A large corpus of literature on the construction of whiteness has taught historians to think carefully about the power of seemingly normative categories of identity. The chapter shows how British emigrants and their supporters worked, consciously and unconsciously, to create perceptions of social distance from other immigrant groups. The Anglo-British identity that migrants laid claim to (or were assigned by imperially oriented observers) in order to secure more comfortable travelling conditions was fundamentally a gendered identity. The perception that people of British origin effectively made Canada an Anglo-British nation has also been heightened by the fact that British emigration has been routinely studied in isolation. Moreover, histories of Italian migrants are included in Canadian immigration history readers, where comparisons are made explicit.