An Empire on Trial: Race, Murder, and Justice under British by Martin J. Wiener

By Martin J. Wiener

An Empire on Trial is the 1st booklet to discover the difficulty of interracial murder within the British Empire in the course of its peak - reading those incidents and the prosecution of such situations in every one of 7 colonies scattered through the global. It uncovers and analyzes the tensions of empire that underlay British rule and delves into how the matter of preserving a liberal empire manifested itself within the overdue 19th and early 20th centuries. The paintings demonstrates the significance of the strategies of felony justice to the background of the empire and the good thing about a trans-territorial method of knowing the complexities and nuances of its workings. An Empire on Trial is of curiosity to these all in favour of race, empire, or felony justice, and to historians of recent Britain or of colonial Australia, India, Kenya, or the Caribbean. Political and postcolonial theorists writing on liberalism and empire, or race and empire, also will locate this booklet important.

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Five – an Englishman and four Spaniards – were hanged, while two lascars, their “Asiatic temperament, prone to sudden fits of resentment, quick to feel outrage or insult, and prompt to revenge it,” cited in mitigation, were reprieved [The Times, 5 Feb. 1864, p. 11; Charles Hindley, Curiosities of Street Literature (London, 1871), p. 217 (broadside); Roger Chadwick, Bureaucratic Mercy: The Home Office and the Treatment of Capital Cases in Victorian Britain (New York, 1992), p. 344]. ” Further, she noted, “English judges also gave lighter sentences to defendants from ‘uncivilized’ countries.

We’re worse than the black slaves; they are taken care of and we are not,” said another. “On board ship,” this man continued, “they can do anything with us they think proper. If in case you are a spirited man, and speaks a word against an officer that tyrannicalises [sic] over you, he will put you in irons and stop your money – six days for one: for every day you’re in irons he stops six days’ pay, and maybe forfeits your whole wages. ” Social notions were changing: “It ain’t the same now as it used to be,” this seaman remarked.

The second mate testified that the master had forced him to sign an untrue statement in the log, to the effect that there were high seas and the ship was rolling. Anderson was at least able to produce a series of character witnesses, who seemed to impress his Judge, James Fitzjames Stephen. 33 The death of another black cook, from a French colony, led to the trial of a ship’s master, a Spaniard, at the Old Bailey in 1884. Enraged at what he saw as the cook’s incompetence, the master had had the man tied to the rigging and beaten, and after he was let down beat him some more, finishing off with a kick to the head while he was lying out.

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