Ceylon: Aftermath of the decline of the Imperial Factor

  • Ronald Hyam


With the possible exception of the West Indies under Chamberlain, from the outbreak of the Boer War in 1899 until the fall of the Unionist government in 1905, South Africa nearly monopolised government attentions. The decline, or nonassertion, of the imperial factor may be widely observed in many parts of the world. Among the Liberals, Churchill represented a school of thought which regarded colonial governments, both Crown Colonies and responsible governments, as having been allowed too much discretion, and given too little supervision, as a result of a slackening of metropolitan control. Perhaps the best illustration of the Liberal attempt, or rather the attempt of a section of Liberalism, to tighten control, is provided by Ceylon, where the imperial factor was challenged by the indigenous inhabitants for abnegating responsibility for the pearl fisheries, and frequently complained of for failing to secure strict justice for its employees.


Legislative Council Imperial Factor Colonial Regulation Indigenous Inhabitant Colonial Office 
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Copyright information

© Ronald Hyam 1968

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ronald Hyam
    • 1
  1. 1.University of CambridgeUK

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