English identity, then…

From West Coast Reactionaries, ‘Arcane Archivist’ describes how he came across a book called King Edward’s Realm, from 1902.

“[…]King Edward’s Realm provides its readers with an unapologetically strong and forthright understanding of English history, heritage, and identity in order to explain the origins of the Empire and its continuing relationship with its founding people. In other words, it explains how the Empire is a unique product and living embodiment of (White) English, identity, skills, and values. Now as the entire book is a testament to the (then) healthy state of English nationalistic sentiment…”

The linked piece is a great find for those like me (and, I hope, some of you reading this) who care about the subject of English history, heritage, and identity, especially in the context of our current troubles, and our loss of historical memory and self-confidence. I found it bracing to read the excerpts from the book.

I don’t like to quote too much at length from another’s blog post, so I do encourage you to read the piece at West Coast Reactionaries. However I will offer you a couple of passages from the piece. As ‘Arcane Archivist’ puts it, the book provides “encapsulations of the glorious “heart of oak” spirit of the English peoples one-hundred and fourteen years ago.” From the preface:

As Englishmen we have been born into a great inheritance, which we hold in common with our kinsmen in all parts of the Empire. It is quite time that all who share in its possession should have some knowledge of the way in which it has been founded and built up, and should learn something of the great men under whose guidance and inspiration the work has been done.”

[…]But we need something warmer than sea-water to unite us all, and make us in heart and mind one people, in whatever quarter of the globe we live, and this is the spirit and sentiment that spring from the fact that we are of kindred race, that we all speak the same language, read the same books, enjoy the same freedom, make our own laws, and passionately love justice and fair-play…

Much of what is here said about us resolves itself into one great characteristic, which stamps us all as one people, in whatever part of the empire we may chance to live, and that is the passionate love of justice or fair-play. What men of our race ask for is a fair field and no favour.”

Do click on the link to read the rest.

I have noticed an uptick in the appearance of pieces like this one, having to do with English heritage, and the connection that exists still between our mother country and those of colonial stock. Unfortunately there has been more of a rift between Britain and the rest of us in the Anglosphere in recent years, in part because of political differences but also because our cultures have drifted apart increasingly, despite the British being exposed to a surfeit of American ”entertainment” and cultural influences generally — or maybe because of it. Nevertheless I think there is still a connection that exists and I think that in a world increasingly focused on identity politics, with everyone else encouraged to ”celebrate” their particular heritage, that it’s only reasonable that Americans of English/Anglo-Saxon descent should have the right to assert our identity, and more importantly, to renew our bonds with our cousins on the other side of the Atlantic — and elsewhere in the world.


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