7. Mangan Publicists - 1 P UBLICISTS P ROPAGANDISTS A ND P...

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1 PUBLICISTS, PROPAGANDISTS AND PROSELYTIZERS Ideals of Empirefor Public Schoolboys Once the Empire was established, the public schools sustained it. In the words of G. Kendall, onetime headmaster of University College School, 'The public schools ... claim that it is they who, if they did not make the Empire (for most of them were hardly in existence when the Empire was made), at least maintained and administered it through their members.' I To this end they gener- ated imperial enthusiasm. Their evangelicalism was as purposeful as Arnold's . .It was Christian militancy in the guise of imperial philanthropy. Yet it was not entirely altruistic: 'In the eyes of the imperial guardian, the "white man's burden" signified moral status as well as moral duty." Headmasters of the public schools subscribed fully to the ethical imperative. They further asserted that the training they provided was the substance of success. Imperialism, they argued, was a moral endeavour and they were the repositories of effective moral education. Of course, it was scarcely as simple as this. There were at least four other more pressing motives for promotion of Empire: trade, security, emi- gration and prestige. Furthermore, the Empire was far from being 'one big, red lump" effortlessly controlled by virtue of visible moral su premacy. The dissimilarities between Nigeria and Austra- lia, for instance, were far greater than their similarities. In the white Dominions, muscle was frequently more valuable than morality, while in the black colonies obeisance was encouraged through the fire-power of the Hotchkiss gun. And the public schoolboy was as often ridiculed in the former as he was obeyed in the latter. Again, at the prosaic level of credentials, imperial civil :H
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THE GAMES ET~IlC' AND IMPERIALISM and military careers required somewhat different types and training and, within the schools, classical and modern sides evolved their respective curricula and conditiot,s in response. And where their efforts were not enough, the trammer had his part to play in the successful selection of the public ~choolboy for imperial service. The reality, then, was compIi~ated, yet the ideal was not. The Empire, in the enth~siastic wortls of C. A. Vlieland, was quite simply 'the best thing that der happened to mankind'.' A , widespread and uncritical belief in an imperial race with a gift for government, an imperial religiOll of compassion and concern and an imperial educational system db Ie to successfully inculcate the young with the necessary gubernatorial skills arid the appropriate ethical attitudes, guaranteed this ~imple and sanguine assessment. Public school headmasters werd not backward in coming forward to assert the accuracy of such a Uudgement. For this elementary reason - they played the role of pgents of hegemonic persuasion; they were not merely executive autocrats with an ability to impose their views: they exerted power(ul moral authority. They com- prised a pedagogic leadership whjch managed in a variety of ways - through the pulpit sermon,
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