The Making of an Imperial Critic, 1875–81

Edwin Hirschmann

in Robert Knight

Published in print October 2008 | ISBN: 9780195696226
Published online October 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199080557 | DOI:
The Making of an Imperial Critic, 1875–81

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This chapter discusses Knight's views on imperial issues. Despite his liberal background, Knight had not been dogmatically anti-Tory in 1876. He even wrote that he thought the Conservatives better for India than the Liberals. However, as the Salisbury-Lytton programme unfolded, Knight perceived, on issue after issue, that theirs was not the path to India's progress, prosperity, or self-rule. The heavy-handed rule from Westminster was evident in the Baroda verdict and the repeal of the cotton tariffs; in their contempt for the rising middle class (‘Bengali Baboos’), which fuelled the Vernacular Press Act as well as the reduced civil service opportunities; in the obsessive vendetta against Salar Jung, and in the costly campaign against an imaginary Russian threat. He would vent it all in his London paper in 1879. He realized that the Raj could no more be benevolent than the men running it.

Keywords: imperial issues; Salisbury-Lytton programme; self-rule; Baroda verdict; cotton tariffs; middle class; Salar Jung; civil service; Vernacular Press Act

Chapter.  18667 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Literary Theory and Cultural Studies

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