The Climate and the Work
[William H Russell]
Imperialism, Telegraphy, Botany, Natural Imperialism, War
Warns that in times of 'public agitation or alarm, rail and telegraph are not to be always depended upon'. Indeed, 'Governing by telegram is by no means safe or advisable. The wire is too thin to bear the whole weight of India. It is an invaluable auxiliary, but an untrustworthy chief'. (242) In considering how, for any Governor-General of India, 'there comes troubles and rumours of war [...] instead of the peaceful reign he was promised', the author sketches a typical scenario in which a 'native potentate takes umbrage at the botanical excursions of a scientific British official in the next province, and forbids any more invasions of his territory on any pretence whatever. The angry botanist seeks at once to extirpate the barbarians, and collects his forces, "awaiting his Excellency's pleasure"' (249).
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