'A Free though Conquering People'
Eighteenth-Century Britain and its Empire
The present collection brings together a series of studies by Peter Marshall on British imperial expansion in the later 18th century. Some essays focus on the thirteen North American colonies, the West Indies, and British contact with China; those dealing specifically with India have appeared in the author's 'Trade and Conquest: Studies on the rise of British domination in India'. The majority, culminating in the four addresses on 'Britain and the World in the Eighteenth Century' delivered as President of the Royal Historical Society, deal with the processes and dynamics of empire-building and aim to bring together the history of Asia and the Atlantic. The themes investigated include the pressures that induced Britain to pursue new imperial strategies from the mid-18th century, Britain's contrasting fortunes in India and North America, and the way in which the British adjusted their conceptions of empire from one based on freedom and the domination of the seas, to one which involved the exercise of autocratic rule over millions of people and great expanses of territory.
Table of Contents
Contents: Preface; 'A free though conquering people': Britain and Asia in the 18th century; Empire and authority in the later 18th century; The 18th-century Empire; Parliament and property rights in the late 18th-century British Empire; A nation defined by Empire, 1755-76; Empire and opportunity in Britain, 1763-75; Who cared about the thirteen colonies? Some evidence from philanthropy; The case for coercing America before the Revolution; The moral swing to the east: British humanitarianism, India and the West Indies; The Caribbean and India in the later 18th century: two British Empires or one?; Britain and China in the late 18th century; Lord Macartney, India and China: the two faces of the Enlightenment; Britain and the world in the 18th century: I, Reshaping the Empire; II, Britons and Americans; III, Britain and India; IV, The turning outwards of Britain; Index.
'It is difficult to overstate Mashall's influence on generations of scholars or his contribution to British Imperial history, and these collected essays reveal why.' Itinerario