By C. C. Eldridge (eds.)
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By no means was all this activity encouraged and directed from Whitehall: it is easy to agree, therefore, that some overseas entanglements were unwelcome to the British government, that colonial wars and impulsive acts by 'the man on the spot' caused groans in the Colonial Office and indignation in the Commons, and that the decision to stabilise a 'crumbling frontier' by annexation was usually reluctant. It is also possible to concede Professor Platt's claim that many of the less developed societies included within Gallagher and Robinson's analysis were not of central importance to the British economy.
30 BRITISH IMPERIALISM IN THE NINETEENTH CENTURY IV An even larger scholarly debate has concerned Robinson and Gallagher's claim that British imperial policy in the latenineteenth century was basically a continuation of earlier trends. It should be pointed out, however, that this argument that there was no sharp break in policy around 1870 and that the late Victorians were 'reluctant imperialists' concerned only to preserve the heritage of their predecessors, was most boldly put in the article on 'The Imperialism of Free Trade'.
This constitutional structure, which came to be known as Crown colony government, proved to be a valuable, versatile device for overseas territories inhabited by 44 BRITISH IMPERIALISM IN THE NINETEENTH CENTURY natives or foreigners, as well as for small strategic bases and convict settlements, where representative institutions seemed wildly inappropriate. In British North America the experiment in conciliar government was terminated by the influx of the loyalists into Quebec in the 1780s demanding the elective institutions which they had previously enjoyed.
British Imperialism in the Nineteenth Century by C. C. Eldridge (eds.)