Separatism had been disavowed. Even if it did not intend to dismember the empire, the Gladstone government had been forced to repudiate this idea and to declare publicly the basis of its policy. The opposition of a small number of vocal groups — the genuine misgivings of many observers, the apprehension voiced in certain sections of the press and the Conservative attack in the Lords — had been strong enough to cause concern in official Liberal circles. Indeed, ‘public opinion’ (in reality the views of a few enthusiasts antagonised by the apparent confirmation of separatist tendencies) for once proved sufficiently vehement to influence the thinking of the government. It was a significant victory for a small pressure group. But what was the significance of this revival of the imperialist spirit ? How was this opposition organised and who were behind the protests? Was the agitation politically inspired and the attack, at first sight heartily backed by the Conservative press, no more than a clever political manoeuvre?
KeywordsDaily News Daily Telegraph Colonial Policy Mother Country Colonial Society
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