“If It Were My Way, All This Ought to Be Red”: George Thomas and the Frontier of the British Empire 1781-1802

Date
2017-12
Authors
Miller, Devon
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Publisher
University of Hawaii at Manoa
Abstract
In 1805, a printer in England published a tale of imperialism, conquest and tragic loss from a memoir from Calcutta, India. Sponsored by key figures of the British Indian Administration, the Military Memoirs of Mr. George Thomas tells the story of a poor Irish Catholic boy who, in the midst of the war torn Maratha Empire, India in the 19th Century, carved out his own kingdom on the edge of the Punjabi. Succeeding in the chaotic maelstrom of violence, constantly shifting loyalties and political intrigue, his tale would be considered to be of ‘great interest’ to the British public by contemporaries. This project explores George Thomas’ story, analyzing who this man was, where he fits within his world, and why his story was told through the use of narratives, letters, and governmental debates. While it is clear the author of the memoir wished to portray Thomas as a quintessential British patriot and soldier, it is equally clear that this portrayal of the man was not the reality. Adopting the pretensions of Nationalistic loyalty out of sheer pragmatism, Thomas was a proud, competent and ambitious man who, over the course of his life propagated three imperiums: Mahratta, British, and his own. This project helps us to understand the political reality of the Maratha Empire during 1780-1802 and a 19th Century Catholic Irishman’s understanding of loyalty, honor, self-identity, and his place within his world, allowing us in turn to reflect upon ours.
Description
Keywords
Imperialism, India, Maratha Empire
Citation
Rights
Access Rights
Email libraryada-l@lists.hawaii.edu if you need this content in ADA-compliant format.