Welcome to Martinalia. An academic career generates material which for one reason or another does not get into print. There are public lectures and keynote addresses. Some are never intended for publication. Others are commissioned for projects which never get off the ground. There is material prepared for teaching, which may be useful to colleagues and students involved in similar courses. Some projects seem worth sharing with interested readers even though they remain unfinished, lacking the final polish needed for conventional academic publication. Since 2014 I have used Martinalia to publish essays and research reports. 

The term “Martinalia” was coined by my friend Jim Sturgis.  

The appointment of Sir Francis Head as lieutenant-governor of Upper Canada in 1835

This article was published in the Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History, iii (1975), 280-91. 

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How Queen Victoria named British Columbia -- and Queensland

"The Naming of British Columbia" has a special place in my affections, as I recall in an Afterword. The original article was published in 1979, in Albion, the journal associated with the Conference on British Studies in the United States (x, 257-263) It appears here in a slightly revised form that takes account of material that has become available over the past forty years.

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Alexander Campbell (1822-1892): his career to 1864

Four draft chapters on the Canadian politician Alexander Campbell (1822-1892), tracing his career to 1864.

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How to spell "bureaucracy"

This poster offers a memory trick for spelling "bureaucracy".

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The Terling thesis: an agenda for the reconsideration of the work of Wrightson and Levine (review essay)

In 1979, Keith Wrightson and David Levine published Poverty and Piety in an English Village: Terling 1525-1700, a study of social change in Essex

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Gladstone and the limits of Canadian self-government, 1849: the Rebellion Losses Bill in British politics

"The Canadian Rebellion Losses Bill of 1849 in British Politics" appeared early in 1978, published in the slightly delayed Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History, vi (1977), 3-22. The article sought to interweave several themes around the central question of the lack of definition in the limits of colonial autonomy, raised by Canada's recent transition to responsible government.

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"He is plausible even when most in error": Gladstone as parliamentarian, 1838

This sketch of Gladstone as a parliamentary performer by James Grant in 1838 provides evidence of his emerging reputation in public life, although it is also noteworthy for its small misunderstandings and omissions.

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A New Zealand lighthouse keeper on Sweden-Norway relations, 1905

For journalists around the world, the Norwegian national plebiscite of 13 August 1905 offered a striking news item.

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Rainham, Wennington, South Hornchurch and Elm Park: some glimpses of the past

These short articles on the history of southern Havering appeared in the Romford Recorder between 2012 and 2020.

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Magdalene College Cambridge Notes: James Stearn, the Head Porter who died of grief

This note, on the death of James Stearn in 1918, forms a tailpiece to "Magdalene College Cambridge and the First World War" (

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