I is for Imperialism

April 10, 2016

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This year for the Blogging from A to Z Challenge, I’m writing about the 1800s in celebration of Nellie Bly and Elizabeth Bisland’s race around the world in 1889, the subject of my new novel based on this adventure: Liz and Nellie.

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Both Nellie Bly and Elizabeth Bisland commented on the pervasiveness of the British Empire in the late 1800s. They owed their ability to travel quickly around the world to the fact they were traveling to ports operated under the British flag.

Nellie Bly comments on how patriotic the British were to their Queen:

The loyalty of the English to their Queen on all occasions, and at all times, had won my admiration. Though born and bred a staunch American, with the belief that a man is what he makes of himself, not what he was born, still I could not help admiring the undying respect the English have for their royal family.

During the lantern slide exhibition, the Queen’s picture was thrown on the white sheet, and evoked warmer applause than anything else that evening. We never had an evening’s amusement that did not end by everybody rising to their feet and singing “God Save the Queen.” I could not help but think how devoted that woman, for she is only a woman after all, should be to the interests of such faithful subjects. –Nellie Bly

And Elizabeth Bisland sums up her trip thus:

Starting two months ago from a vast continent which the English race have made their own, where the English tongue, English laws, customs, and manners reign from sea to sea, in my whole course around the globe I have heard that same tongue, seen the same laws and manners, found the same race.

Have had proof with my own eyes of the splendor of their empire, of their power, their wealth, of their dominance and orgulousness, of their superb armies, their undreamable commerce, their magnificent possessions, their own unrivalled physical beauty and force – and lo! now at last I find from a tiny island ringed with gray seas has sprung this race of kings.

It fills my soul with a passion of pride that I, too, am an Anglo-Saxon. In my veins, too, runs that virile tide that pulses through the heart of this Lord of the Earth – the blood of this clean, fair, noble English race! . . .

It is worth a journey round the world to see. –Elizabeth Bisland