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Empire and the English Character by Kathryn Tidrick

By Kathryn Tidrick

Kathryn Tidrick's hugely acclaimed ebook explores the origins of the perfect of British imperial rule and the impact it had at the personality of the English ruling periods. From the Lawrence brothers of the Punjab, Rajah James Brooke of Sarawak and Mountbatten to Frederick Courtenay Selous, Elspeth Huxley and Cecil Rhodes, Tidrick illuminates a number of the impressive lives and activities of the folks that shaped and ruled the British Empire, from India to Africa and past.

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In similar circumstances, Henry Lawrence would probably have done the same. Looking back at those dreadful days in the Punjab, it becomes difficult to understand why one episode in particular was singled out for censure at the time. Frederic Cooper's execution of 237 captured sepoys at Ajnala was no greater a crime than some others but it was not found possible to excuse it in the same way. Cooper himself was inspired by Nicholson's example in dealing summarily with the mutineers at Sialkot a few days before and was well pleased with what he had done: he expected to be congratulated and he was.

At bottom, he wanted recognition from those with whose opinions he affected to be unconcerned; like Henry Lawrence, he wished to do his duty without regard for the consequences, but hoped to be thought well of for it. He died a bitter man, convinced quite mistakenly that no one appreciated the great deeds he had done for his country. Brooke established himself as a gentleman adventurer in the China seas in the late 1830s, and Sarawak more or less fell into his lap in 1841, when he was offered the government of the country in return for his help in suppressing a rebellion by the heir apparent to the sultanate of Brunei, Rajah Muda Hassim.

By the end of 1857 he was known throughout the English-speaking world as the saviour of India. 'The Punjab held' were the words on everyone's lips, and John Lawrence was the man who had held it. Not only had the Punjab, though only recently subjugated and the home of not one but several martial peoples, failed to rise in revolt, it had provided the forces which accomplished the fall of Delhi and brought the Mutiny to an end. The Punjab held for two reasons: the extreme rigour and promptness with which the administration put down any sign of revolt; and the traditional antipathy of the Sikhs towards the men of Hindustan.

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