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It is often asserted that, between 1865 and 1914, economic dependence on British capital subjected settler societies to an unofficial imperialism wielded by the City of London. This article argues that both advocates and critics of such models, particularly in the recent controversy over ‘gentlemanly capitalism’, pay insufficient attention to the City itself. Using the Edwardian City’s connections with Australia and Canada, it illustrates the range of financial intermediaries involved and explores their perceptions of political economy in these countries. It concludes that the City’s influence (or ‘structural power’) was limited by its internal divisions and hazy conceptions of political economy.