By Max Beloff
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Additional resources for Britain’s Liberal Empire 1897–1921: Volume 1 of Imperial Sunset
The imperialist cause was weakened by the divisions over tariff reform in Britain, and the machinery of the colonial conferences was inadequate for the purpose of securing a common approach to the Empire's problems. The degree to which the different component parts of the Empire saw their problems separately was underestimated by a 'ruling class largely out of touch with their needs and problems. The coming of the liberal government of 1905 and the election of 1906 saw a large-scale change in the composition of the principal groups concerned with the making and execution of external policy.
DIAMOND JUBILEE engaged 'in the magnificent work of governing an inferior race'. 1 Devotion to the welfare of the Indian masses did not, of course, imply any belief that the regime rested on consent; indeed, after the Mutiny this would have been hard to maintain. 'The government of India,' wrote Sir James Fitzjames Stephen in 1883, 'is essentially an absolute government, founded not on consent, but on conquest ... ' And again: 'The government which now exists has not been chosen by the people. ' And for Stephen (though not for all other Englishmen) this 'essentially European' government was both legitimate and destined to be durable.
E. L. Woodward, Great Britain and the German Navy (1935)' 8 Lord Crewe, Lord Rosebery (London,John Murray, 1931), vol. I, p. 283. It is not surprising that it was the Mediterranean agreements of 188, that gave the first sign that Britain might have to fortify her own position by agreements with other powers with similar interests. It is true that they were made in a situation of temporary weakness and would probably not have been made later when the naval situation had been re-established. See Strang, op.