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Your narrator has boarded a steam-liner at Liverpool, and is travelling across the Atlantic to Canadia.

In which passengers of various nationalities are examined. )
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When I was up in Edinburgh, I purchased the most marvellous book from a second-hand book shop. "Round the Empire" by George R Parkin

Portrait of Sir George Parkin and family.As a book, it is absolutely fascinating, and probably reveals a great deal about the mentality of the British towards their Empire at the end of the 19th Century. (The book was published in 1893.) It is a book for British children, describing to them the Empire to which the author expects many of them to emigrate.

As the Right Hon. the Earl of Rosebery KG puts it in his preface, "it is on the character of each child that grows into manhood within British limits that the future of our Empire rests. If we and they are narrow and selfish, averse to labour, impatient of necessary burdens, factious and self-indulgent: if we see in publiuc affairs not our Empire but our country, not our country but our parish, and in our parish our house, the Empire is doomed. For its maintenance requires work and sacrifice and intelligence."

Since the copyright expired in 1992, no doubt casting Sir George's descendents into destitution as the royalties dried up, I have no compunction about posting some of the more interesting excerpts here, unexpurgated. But behind cut tags, for the benefit of those bored or offended by late-Victorian imperialism and the attitudes and language used to express it.

In which the marvels of modern technologies, and their abilities to shrink the world, are described. )


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April 2009

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