Assuming judicial control
George Brown’s narrative defence of the ‘New Britain raid’
in Law, history, colonialism
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One missionary stepped well beyond the boundaries of his spiritual jurisdiction to assume judicial control over the heathen Islanders to whom he was ministering. While establishing a Methodist mission on the islands of the Bismarck Archipelago off mainland Papua New Guinea, George Brown orchestrated an attack on a number of villages whose inhabitants had participated in the killing and consumption of mission teachers. During 1878 Brown locked himself in his study at Port Hunter on the Duke of York Islands and wrote letters to many of his colleagues detailing his response to the deaths of the teachers. The version that Brown wrote to his superior, Benjamin Chapman, for publication was a compelling narrative defending his actions. Brown consistently claimed that he conducted the raid in order to avert the threat of uncontrollable passions erupting between the Christian teachers from Samoa and Fiji and the heathen villagers of New Britain.

Law, history, colonialism

The reach of empire

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