The Silence of Empire: Imperialism and India



When Charles, Marquess Cornwallis, died in 1806, British politicians were not certain what his life should be commemorated for. He died within months of William Pitt and Admiral Nelson, and, like them, had once been celebrated in the idiom of martial heroism, when his troops defeated Tipu Sultan at Seringapatam in 1792.1 But in 1806, in his second term as Governor-General, dying on the way to negotiate peace with Maratha states, Cornwallis was seen more as an administrator and diplomat than a soldier. He was no longer a great military leader, nor was he a state-builder, an orator or a defender of the people.2 He had become, to use the word with which Britons criticised the practitioners of empire a century later, a bureaucrat.


British Rule British Library East India Company British Politician British Officer 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 4.
    Robert Travers, Ideology and Empire in Eighteenth-Century India: The British in Bengal 1757–93 (Cambridge, 2007), pp. 47–52.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 5.
    Jon E. Wilson, The Domination of Strangers: Modern Governance in Eastern India, 1780–1835 (Basingstoke, 2008).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 6.
    John R. Breihan, ‘William Pitt and the Commission on Fees, 1785–1801’, Historical Journal 27 (1984), 59–81.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 10.
    Eric Stokes, The English Utilitarians and India (Oxford, 1959).Google Scholar
  5. 18.
    Jack Harrington, Sir John Malcolm and the Creation of British India (New York, 2010).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 21.
    John Malcolm, The Life of Robert, Lord Clive, 3 vols (London, 1836), II, p.339.Google Scholar
  7. 23.
    Nicholas Dirks, The Hollow Crown: Ethnohistory of an Indian Kingdom (Ann Arbor, 1993)Google Scholar
  8. Barbara Ramusack, The Indian Princes and their States (Cambridge, 2004).Google Scholar
  9. 30.
    Miles Taylor, ‘Queen Victoria and India, 1837–61’, Victorian Studies 46 (2004), 264–74.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. W.L. Arnstein, ‘The Warrior Queen: Reflections on Victoria and her World’, Albion 30 (1998), 1–28.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 31.
    David Cannadine, Ornamentalism: How the British saw their Empire (London, 2001), p. 122.Google Scholar
  12. 37.
    Jonathan Parry, The Politics of Patriotism: English Liberalism, National Identity and Europe, 1830–1886 (Cambridge, 2006).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 38.
    Andrew Sartori, Bengal in Global Concept History: Culturalism in the Age of Capital (Chicago, 2008)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Partha Chatterjee, The Black Hole of Empire: History of a Global Practice of Power (Princeton, 2012), pp. 104–33.Google Scholar
  15. 46.
    Karuna Mantena, Alibis of Empire: Henry Maine and the Ends of Liberal Imperialism (Princeton, 2010).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 47.
    James Fitzjames Stephen, Liberty, Equality, Fraternity (London, 1873).Google Scholar
  17. 49.
    K.J.M. Smith, James Fitzjames Stephen: Portrait of a Victorian Rationalist (Cambridge, 1988), p. 140.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 50.
    J. R. Seeley, The Expansion of England (London, 1883), pp. 199.Google Scholar
  19. 53.
    Gregory Claeys, Imperial Sceptics: British Critics of Empire, 1850–1920 (Cambridge, 2010), pp. 68–75.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 55.
    Stephen E. Koss, Morley at the India Office, 1905–1910 (New Haven, 1969), p. 137.Google Scholar
  21. 56.
    Beryl J. Williams, ‘The Strategic Background to the Anglo-Russian Entente of August 1907’, Historical Journal 9 (1966), p. 369.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 61.
    Henry W. Nevinson, The New Spirit in India (London, 1908), p. 330.Google Scholar
  23. 62.
    J. Ramsay Macdonald, The Government of India (London, 1917), p. 3.Google Scholar
  24. 65.
    Frederick Cooper and Ann Stoler, eds., Tensions of Empire: Colonial Cultures in a Bourgeois World (Berkeley, 1997), p. 4.Google Scholar
  25. 66.
    Gauri Viswanathan, Masks of Conquest: Literary Study and British Rule in India (New York, 1989).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Jon Wilson 2013

Authors and Affiliations

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations