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Cash, Convicts and Christianity

  • Robert D. Grant

Abstract

The British government and its colonial administrators, settlers in Britain’s colonies and their governments forged complex, contingent and constantly changing relations with the indigenous peoples of the lands they occupied and, in the white settler world, the ‘native’ often inhabited a liminal zone between civilised and savage. It was, for example, frequently the incongruous or humorous aspects that featured in nineteenth-century descriptions of indigenous peoples in European costume. William Burchell reported Khoikhoi were grotesque in such clothing, ‘[t]heir dark African visage … at variance with their clothes of European fashion’. Charles Bunbury thought such dress on Xhosa chiefs ‘did not become them at all’ and, wholly ignorant of fashion, Joel Polack observed, New Zealand Maori inevitably had defective ideas about wearing European clothing:

Stockings or shirts worn round the throat; shirts turned into trousers, the arms answering for the legs; crownless hats; a jacket put on, the front buttoned behind; a stocking on the arm; trousers put on, the seat in front, and buttoned behind; shirts pendant as aprons; the arms being tied round the waist, &c., are the effects of a taste in dress, decidedly uncontemplated by the original manufacturers.

In the British metropolis itself, during the first half of the nineteenth-century, indigenous presences were generally seen as spectacular or morbid intrusions: European crewmen who deserted their vessels or were kidnapped in Africa, South America or New Zealand, returned to Britain with tales of survival, along with bizarre curios such as preserved heads, which they displayed for sale in London shop windows or at local fairs.

Keywords

Indigenous People Indigenous Population Select Committee European Colonist Indigenous Inhabitant 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes

  1. 1.
    William Burchell, Travels in the Interior of Southern Africa, 2 vols (London, 1822) vol. 1, p. 113; Charles Bunbury, Journal of a Residence at the Cape of Good Hope (London, 1848) p. 151; Polack, Manners and Customs of the New Zealanders, vol. 1, p. 180; George Craik, The New Zealanders (London, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Dublin, Liverpool, Leeds & New York, 1830) pp. 292–293, 288 & 289.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Shearer West, (ed.), The Victorians and Race (Aldershot, 1998) p. 4; Edward Gibbon Wakefield & John Ward, The British Colonization of New Zealand (London, 1837) opp. p. 85; Augustus Earle, Narrative of a Nine Months’ Residence in New Zealand (London, 1832) opp. pp. 20 & 70. For comparisons with the rustic genre, see, for example, George Moorland, Morning: Higglers Preparing for Market, 1791; David Wilkie, The Blind Fiddler, 1806.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Anon., The Results of Machinery (London, 1831) pp. 31–3 & 164; Gustave Doré & Blanchard Jerrold, London: A Pilgrimage (London, 1872); John Lang, New Zealand in 1839 (London, 1839) pp. 3, 5 & 6; Charles Darwin, Journal of … H. M. S. Beagle (London, 1839) pp. 500 & 524.Google Scholar
  4. On the figure of the Māori encounter with the remnants of Empire, see David Skilton, ‘Contemplating the Ruins of London: Macaulay’s New Zealander and Others’, The Literary London Journal, vol. 2, no. 1 (2004); Helen Lucy Blythe, ‘A Victorian colonial romance: Conjuring up New Zealand in nineteenth-century literature’, PhD., diss. (San Francisco, 1998).Google Scholar
  5. 4.
    Edward Gibbon Wakefield & Ward, p. 27; Charles Heaphy, Narrative of a Residence in … New Zealand (London, 1842) p. 66; Dieffenbach, Travels in New Zealand, vol. 1, pp. 19–20.Google Scholar
  6. The only biography of Dieffenbach of any length remains Gerda Bell, Ernest Dieffenbach (Palmerston North, 1976). Most of the details of his life in this chapter are taken from Bell’s small volume.Google Scholar
  7. 5.
    Jan Pieterse, White on Black (New Haven & London, 1992) pp. 47–49.Google Scholar
  8. 6.
    Ernst Dieffenbach, On the Study of Ethnology (London, 1843) p. 8; Samuel Stanhope Smith, pp. 39–42Google Scholar
  9. James Cowles Prichard, Six Ethnographical Maps (London, 1843); Alexander von Humboldt, Examen critique de l’histoire de la géographie du nouveau continent [Critical Examination of the History of the Geography of the New Continent] 5 vols (Paris, 1836–9); John Millar, Origin of the Distinction of Ranks (London, 1806); Johan Friedrich Blumenbach, De generis hvmani varietate nativa liber [On Human Variety] (Goettingen, 1781); Johann Forster, Observations Made During a Voyage Round the World (London, 1778) p. 361.Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    James Cowles Prichard, Researches into the Physical History of Mankind, 4th edn., 5 vols (London, 1837–1845) vol. 1, pp. 117 & 118; Anon., ‘Public Health and Mortality’, Quarterly Review, vol. 66, no. 131 (June 1840) p. 146; Matthew, pp. 22–23 & 219–220.Google Scholar
  11. 14.
    Thompson, p. 60; William Harris, Narrative of an Expedition into Southern Africa (Bombay, 1838) pp. 344–367; Charles Terry, New Zealand, its Advantages and Prospects (London, 1842) p. 207Google Scholar
  12. Edward Eyre, Expeditions … into Central Australia, 2 vols (London, 1845) vol. 1 pp. 163–165; & vol. 2, pp. 1–7; Bannister, pp. 149, 151, 160, vi–vii & 19; Appendix 5, p. ccxxxvix; Parliamentary Papers, Report of the Select Committee on Aborigines (London, 1837) pp. 177–178; Report from the Select Committee on Aborigines: Minutes of Evidence (London, 1836) pp. 14–21, 5 & 6.Google Scholar
  13. 15.
    [Aborigines Protection Society] First Annual Report, pp. 6, 9 & 26; Report from the Select Committee on Aborigines, pp. 47 & p. 80; On the Bagot Commission and the treatment of Native Canadian land claims, see James Miller, Skyscrapers Hide the Heavens, revised edn. (Toronto, 1991) particularly chapter 6, ‘Reserves, residential schools and the threat of assimilation’, pp. 99–115Google Scholar
  14. Jan Morris, Heaven’s Command (New York, 1973) p. 86.Google Scholar
  15. 17.
    Emerich de Vattel, Le Droit des Gens. [The Law of Nations] (Leide, 1758) published as The Law of Nations, trans., Joseph Chitty (London, 1834) pp. 1 & 100; Lord Eliot was quoted in the Times (8 July 1840); Gipps was quoted in Terry, p. 78; Alexander Marjoribanks, Travels in New Zealand (London, 1845) p. 136; John Ward, Information Relative to New Zealand, 2nd edn., p. 79; Campbell, pp. 11, 44–45 & 232; William Howitt, Colonization, pp. 391–392.Google Scholar

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© Robert Grant 2005

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  • Robert D. Grant

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