British Depression (Irish Times, 1904)

1.666. The Irish Times, (Dublin), Friday, 17 June, 1904, 4.

Extract from an editorial in The Irish Times.

There were a number of reasons for a measurable decline in national self-confidence in Britain during the early months of 1904, the continuing after-effects of the Boer War and the political malaise arising from this being chief among them. This editorial claimed to perceive the turning of a corner:

A few months ago a wave of depression was passing over the British mind. The old country was thought to be losing her supremacy in commerce and industry; her merchants and manufacturers were said to be behind the times; her artisans were accused of ignorance and idleness; even her railway companies which had so long been the pioneers of quick and comfortable travel were declared to be content to be passed in the race by their French and Transatlantic rivals. It may be that things were not quite so black as they were painted, or it may be that these pin-pricks of criticism roused the dormant Briton, and put him on his mettle to show that there was life in the old dog yet. At any rate there are two or three items of news now before us which indicate that Great Britain is not yet done with. Take, for example, the question of railway speed. . . . Evidently the advice which the PRINCE OF WALES gave on his return from his Colonial tour, “Wake up!” has been taken to heart in some quarters.