By Max Beloff
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Monroe, Britain's Moment in the Middle East (1963), p. II. It has been argued that India financed two-fifths of Britain's balance of payments deficit. E. J. Hobsbawm, Industry and Empire (1968), p. 123. 1 2 s. 31 BRITAIN'S LIBERAL EMPIRE was dependent upon the retention of political power by Britain. On the whole, British governments did not by now use their power to increase British exports to the subcontinent. 1 When they did so the result was greatly to strengthen Indian discontent, as in the tariff legislation of 1896 forced upon a reluctant viceroy by the home government.
2 For those entrusted with the responsibility of government any doubts that may have been felt were not due to the insights of poets but to an appraisal of the international scene itself. For them Britain was a power already on the defensive; the anxieties felt about Britain's position were not wholly new. The self-confidence of the mid-Victorians can be exaggerated in retrospect. The war of 1870 had seen a major change brought about in the European balance of power without Britain having a say in what was done.
Yet if some form of home rule made the relations of England and Ireland better and the relations of the Empire and the United States better also, the Irish at home would not only stand by us to a man against Germany but would be foremost in our fighting line. 2 op. , p. 20). If this had been the case the advocates of 'preparedness' would have had an easier time. 1 Sir George Clarke to Balfour, 5 August 1905. M. Add. 49702. 2 J. L. Garvin to Balfour's secretary, J. S. Sandars, 27 January 1910. M.