May 1, 2018, by Harry Cocks
Britain’s Mission in India
In this edition of the blog, Ph.D candidate David Robinson examines Britain’s colonial “mission” in an article that first appeared in our so-called rival and better-funded blog-fest The Conversation.
The politician and historian Thomas Babington Macaulay (right) imagined, in 1840, the fall of a great empire. He conjured a future “when some traveller from New Zealand shall, in the midst of a vast solitude, take his stand on a broken arch of London Bridge to sketch the ruins of St Paul’s”. This was a nod by Macaulay to Edward Gibbon’s hope 60 years previously – expressed in Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire – that great scholars might eventually arise from the Maori population as a result of the civilising influence of British colonial rule. Book-ending 1780 and 1840, therefore, are reflections on the rise and fall of empires and civilisations, metaphorically and literally illustrated by their successors – travellers who sit among the crumbling ruins recording the ultimate failing of even mankind’s greatest achievements…
Read the whole article here:
David Robinson, “The Gift of Civilisation” The Conversation