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Patronage, the information revolution and colonial government
Author: Zoë Laidlaw

The fascination with imperialism, in all its aspects, shows no sign of abating, and the 'Studies in Imperialism' series continues to lead the way in encouraging the widest possible range of studies in the field. This book makes a significant contribution to the study of historical networking. While the book covers the thirty years after Waterloo, it is particularly concerned with changes to colonial governance in the 1830s. In pursuing these themes, the book engages with broad questions about British imperialism in the early nineteenth century. It provides the opportunity to bring together new imperial and British historiography, to examine the somewhat neglected area of colonial governance, where 'governance' implies a concern with processes of government and administration. The first part of the book introduces, and then dissects, some of the networks of patronage and information which were critical to colonial governance. It examines changes in Colonial Office organisation and policies between 1815 and 1836. The second part deals with the development, implementation and effects of networks of personal communications in New South Wales and the Cape Colony up to 1845. The private correspondence of governors with their immediate subordinates within the colonies demonstrates the continual assessment and re-assessment of metropolitan politics, imperial policies, and the reception of colonial lobbyists. The final part of the book focuses on Britain, considering the impact of a changing information order on colonial governance, and examines how colonial and metropolitan concerns converged and cross-fertilised.

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Zoë Laidlaw

surveys the conclusions reached by Colonial connections , considers how these new conceptualisations of empire really affected colonial governance. By connecting Colonial Office developments in the 1830s with a study of the networks of personal connection that expanded across Britain, New South Wales and the Cape Colony, Colonial connections

in Colonial connections, 1815–45
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Zoë Laidlaw

formal government when non-governmental lobbyists could play a critical part in decision-making. Considering the networks used to govern the colonies during the first half of the nineteenth century additionally alerts us to the patronage and information they conveyed, while highlighting the problems, as well as the benefits, of rule via close personal connection. Second, while Colonial connections covers

in Colonial connections, 1815–45
Zoë Laidlaw

. This chapter examines the way in which the study of imperial networks illuminates colonial history, considering first their nature and structure before turning specifically to three of the most important networks for this book. Together with the discussion of the Colonial Office in chapter three, it provides a metropolitan context for the remainder of Colonial connections

in Colonial connections, 1815–45
The Colonial Office, 1815–36
Zoë Laidlaw

This chapter examines the response of the metropolitan government to the challenges posed by the British Empire, and specifically to New South Wales and the Cape Colony, between 1815 and 1836. It emphasises the Colonial Office's concern simultaneously to control the governors of crown colonies, to limit their power, while maintaining their authority. The Colonial Office's response to the contemporary enthusiasm for good government can be seen in a number of projects mooted or implemented in the 1820s and early 1830s. Even in the 1830s, when the great reforming events encouraged public and parliamentary scrutiny of colonial affairs at unprecedented level, their treatment by the Colonial Office was often fragmented and inconsistent. The crisis in the Colonial Office during late 1835 would largely destroy the delicate, but critical, networks of communication on which crown colony governance relied, without leaving an obvious alternative.

in Colonial connections, 1815–45
Zoë Laidlaw

This chapter examines more closely governors' use of personal envoys during the 1830s, when pressure from colonial lobbyists and the Colonial Office's changing attitude to unofficial correspondence made attention to good communications particularly vital. Although many governors had such representatives, this discussion draws primarily on two: Richard Bourke, governor of New South Wales; and Benjamin D'Urban, governor of the Cape Colony. The experiences of Governors Bourke and D'Urban demonstrate the importance of personal communications and metropolitan representatives to colonial governance, especially in the era before self-government. They attempted to utilise their metropolitan connections to affect government policy; both used unofficial communications and personal agents, who not only carried despatches, but lobbied the Colonial Office and other bodies and individuals. The political climate of the later 1830s suited Bourke; while D'Urban's reliance on the Peninsular network exposed him as being on the wrong side of the political spectrum for the times.

in Colonial connections, 1815–45
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The unofficial correspondence of colonial officials
Zoë Laidlaw

This chapter examines the motivations, mechanisms and effects of private correspondence between colonial officials and the metropolitan government. Unofficial correspondence between colonial civil servants and members of the metropolitan Colonial Office was one of the most important strands in the web that constituted colonial governance. Colonial officials and their families extended and consolidated their networks of metropolitan contacts outside the Colonial Office. The Peninsular network was particularly important when it came to colonial officials' hopes of military advancement or reward for military services. Colonial officials' use of private and unofficial channels to communicate with Britain could be damaging in the colony itself. The Colonial officials no longer held their offices 'during good behaviour', but could be replaced 'as often as any sufficient motives of public policy', including a change of governor, made it expedient.

in Colonial connections, 1815–45
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Tactics and networks
Zoë Laidlaw

Edward Macarthur, like all the colonial lobbyists and officials, regarded metropolitan influence as critical for colonial concerns. This chapter considers lobbyists campaigning on the Cape Colony or New South Wales, demonstrating that lobbyists who dealt with quite different issues nevertheless shared an understanding of colonial power and how it might be manipulated. As the networks of colonial lobbyists overlapped one another, the chapter looks first at the activities of those lobbying on New South Wales, and then at those associated with the Cape Colony. It focuses on the lobbying of Exclusives and Emancipists before 1843 as seen through their competing networks. The chapter traces the Macarthurs' reflections on the nature and legitimacy of political lobbying over the next fifteen years. Aside from their different focuses and networks, John Philip and Thomas Fowell Buxton's tactics, perceptions of the use of information, and of metropolitan society analysed by their lobbying experiences.

in Colonial connections, 1815–45
Zoë Laidlaw

This chapter examines the change in the Colonial Office's approach to the task of colonial governance at the end of the 1830s. It demonstrates that the challenges of controlling an ever-expanding empire, when combined with personal politics, and metropolitan intellectual movements, forced the Colonial Office to reassess the means by which imperial influence was exerted. Demands for colonial information emerged during metropolitan debates about corruption in the immediate post-war period. The Board of Trade was the first government department to recognise that a more reliable way of collecting and collating information about Britain was needed. Given the Treasury's existing interest in a pan-imperial budget, it was perhaps surprising that the Colonial Office emerged as the model for the collection of colonial information. The Colonial Office's instructions to colonial governors regarding both appointments and information in the late 1830s and early 1840s demonstrate the metropolitan concern for uniformity and central control.

in Colonial connections, 1815–45
Liverpool’s inconvenient imperial past

Liverpool occupies a prominent position in the contemporary popular imagination. In spite of decades of economic decline, urban decay and a name associated by some with poverty and crime, the city's reputation is by no means a negative one. The book is a collection of essays that focuses on the strength of Liverpool's merchant marine, representing both informal and formal empire over centuries. It discusses the interracial relationships in 1950s and 1960s Liverpool to demonstrate that many African and Afro-Caribbean sailors (and others) married or had relationships with white women. Given existing deficiencies in the historiographies of both Liverpool and the British Empire, the book aims to reassess both Liverpool's role within the British imperial system and the impact on the port city of its colonial connections. Liverpool's success has often been attributed to, and marred by, its being the leader in the slave trade after 1750. Napoleonic Wars were a period of great turbulence and difficulty for the Liverpool commercial community. Liverpool is perceived as a diasporic city, however, its ambiguous nineteenth-century identity reflected the tensions of its complex migrant connections. An analysis of Liverpool's business connections with South America reveals its relative commercial decline and the notion of 'gentlemanly capitalism'. The African ethnology collection of National Museums Liverpool's (NML) ethnology collections are displayed in the 'World Cultures' gallery of the World Museum Liverpool, which opened in 2005. Liverpool is perhaps not exceptional, though its networks are notable and striking.