Other formats

    Adobe Portable Document Format file (facsimile images)   TEI XML file   ePub eBook file  


    mail icontwitter iconBlogspot iconrss icon

Emily Bathurst; or, at Home and Abroad

An Introduction to Emily Bathurst; Or, at Home and Abroad

An Introduction to Emily Bathurst; Or, at Home and Abroad

Emily Bathurst; Or, at Home and Abroad, written anonymously by “The Wife of a Clergyman” in 1847, is an example of the nineteenth-century ‘respectable’ novel and combines the genres of Christian conduct manual, evangelical propaganda and travel writing. Louis James describes the creative tension of colonial Victorian literature as deriving from its “cultural schizophrenia” (2). Literary output was caught between a concern for the ‘modern’ and factual and a fascination with the romantic and ‘savage’. In Bathurst, the orderly, instructive nature of the author’s arguments and their grounding in factual information, is intended to assuage the sensibilities of the devout middle-class who condoned fiction only when in the form of a ‘respectable’ novel which “gave instruction for ‘real-life’ situations” (James 5-6). The author’s didactic approach and promotion of female missionary involvement is signalled in her preface which explicitly outlines her purpose as to “meet some of the objections which are constantly urged against undertakings in which every female ought to be interested” (The Wife Preface). She also highlights her intention to dictate correct religious and moral behaviour by adding a secondary purpose: “to point out certain defects which are often visible in the social circle” (Preface). Although not mentioned in the preface, her final interest is in promoting and defending the work of the Church Missionary Society (CMS) whose involvement in New Zealand was subjected to some criticism at the time. Although the author’s information on New Zealand appears to be secondhand, her vivid depiction the little-known world of the ‘New Zealanders’ does provide some romantic appeal to the novel, reflecting the attraction of the unknown which tales of Empire brought to the popular imagination of the time. Yet, even the exoticism of distant New Zealand ultimately serves the author’s religious message.


In Bathurst, plot is substituted in favour of didactic arguments presented using the three different genres of Christian conduct manual, evangelical propaganda and travel writing which are interspersed across the novel. The story takes place in England and begins by introducing the eponymous young woman Emily and her uncle Mr Munro, whose authoritative male voice guides Emily’s spiritual development and relates information about missionary activities in New Zealand. Although the author’s pseudonym intentionally reveals her gender, she may have felt “that advice from a woman author would not be considered authoritative for moral instruction of her own sex” as in the novel all her arguments are presented by men, largely for the instruction of women such as Emily, her mother or Lady Mary (Harris 230). Chapters I, IX and XI of Bathurst resemble a fictionalised version of a conduct manual. The author’s preoccupation with religion above all else dictates the nature of her instruction. Mr Munro’s advice, although concerned with education, feminine modesty and filial obedience (as would be typical of the conduct genre), is interested in each virtue only to the extent that it helps to “prepare for that eternal world where our hearts should be” (The Wife 8). For this reason he criticises Emily’s secular studies and engages to expand her knowledge of missionary work with a comparison between New Zealand in 1814, as missionaries arrived, and 1833. These descriptions of New Zealand, contained within chapters II, III, VIII and X, emulate a travel document in their detailed explanation of Māori customs, reverence for the beauty of the landscape, description of significant events in the colonisation of the country and accounts of the often tragic adventures of Māori chiefs, ship captains and early settlers. Although appealing in their own right, the primary purpose of these sections is to support the author’s religious arguments. The remaining chapters of the novel, IV, V, VI and VII, operate as Evangelical propaganda. These introduce debates surrounding the CMS’ mission to convert the heathen through secondary characters so that Mr Munro and Emily’s godfather, Archdeacon Somerton, can refute the criticism and promote the work of the CMS.


Bathurst is distinct from many fictional stories of New Zealand during this period due to its preoccupation with instructive, factual information and its minimalist plot. These distinctions suggest that is was meant to serve as a ‘respectable’ novel. Although the authority on moral instruction in British society had traditionally rested with men, the rise of the didactic, ‘respectable’ novel during the 1830s and ‘40s was closely associated with the maternal wisdom of female authors (James 5). This format’s use of fictionalised circumstances to teach important moral lessons “became a potent force shaping the ways of life and ethos of the new middle classes in the Victorian period” (5). The authorship of this format was closely associated with a conservative, devout subset of the middle-class whose members are not generally thought of in connection to the increasing number of politicised women in the nineteenth century. However, periodicals produced by this group, such as the Christian Lady’s Magazine (1834-49) or the Mother’s Friend (1848-59), “were important for encouraging women’s social activism and intervention on behalf of the poor”, as befitted a good Christian woman (Easley 61). Although this encouragement might appear liberal, “these magazines also tended to reinforce the women’s conventional role as keepers of the domestic hearth” (61). Following the precedent set by the late eighteenth-century religious writers and philanthropists Hannah More and Sarah Trimmer, women also became “closely associated with evangelical popular literature movements” (66). These movements generally published family periodicals directed at middle and working-class women, which were “designed to promote rational motherhood and Christian values” (66). Although the Victorian period saw an increase in the presence of the female voice in print and literature, in traditional circles, this voice was still largely limited to issues of religion and family. Despite their close association with print formats, the attitudes and style of Bathurst connects its author to the devout subset of the middle-class associated with the ‘respectable’ novel.

Although the author’s pseudonym makes it impossible to know exactly who she was, it does reveal important information about her character and the themes she uses her novel to promote. The author’s decision to refer to herself as merely “Wife of a Clergyman” exemplifies the contemporary notion that a wife “existed only as an extension of her husband” (Harris 230). This concept was not merely cultural, but reinforced by laws which prohibited married women from earning money, owning property or voting (230). Although nineteenth-century women had a greater voice in the public sphere than their predecessors, this did not mean that they had escaped from their subordinate position to men, or even that many desired or sought to do so. Alexis Easley explains that many female authors chose to publish anonymously as it “provided women with effective cover for exploring a variety of conventionally ‘masculine’ social issues” (1). Moreover, it allowed them to avoid “essentialized notions of ‘feminine’ voice and identity” (1). However, Bathurst’s author clearly takes the opposite approach. Choosing to be known as a “wife”, and more specifically, as the wife of a “Clergyman”, suggests that tradition and religion were important to the author; so much so that she considered them the only part of her identity that her readership needed know. Both her title and motives for writing, to “induce any young person” to question whether they are “striving to fulfil the ends for which [they were] sent into the world’", also suggest that her work was intended to reinforce specifically Christian moral codes of conduct (180). The respectability of her Christian advice is implied by the fact that she was published by B. Wertheim, Aldine Chambers, Paternoster-row. Wertheim was an English Publisher advertised in the Ecclesiastical Gazette whose titles included Parting Words to a Little Flock by a Clergyman, Justification by Faith, The Hearers of the Word, and The Family Preacher amongst others (“Parting Words”, “Books” 30).

Not only her position as the wife of a clergyman, but even her choice of genre, suggests the author’s class, and that of the audience she wrote for. That Bathurstexemplifies the instructional format of the ‘respectable’ novel, suggests that the author belonged to the devout subset of the middle-class generally associated with this form. Her similarly instructive novels, A Book for Young Women and A Book for Wives and Mothers, emphasise this point (The Wife Title Page). The character and class of her target audience is suggested by the manner and lifestyle of her characters and her dedication of the novel to “a large and influential class of the community” in her preface. The wealth of her intended audience is suggested by her character’s estimation of how much money is necessary to live comfortably. When talking of a disadvantageous marriage, Mrs Bathurst’s friend describes “a captain's pay in India, with a staff appointment” as at least “not positive penury” (144). Similarly, she judges that “if [the bride’s] father allows her only two or three hundred a-year, though her position in life will be very different from what she once expected, she will accommodate herself to circumstances, and be very happy” (144). The Bank of England estimates that 200 pounds in 1847 translates to 20,381 pounds in 2018 or $39,000 NZD (Inflation Calculator, NZD per 1 GBP). It is difficult to find exact information on a British captain’s pay in India in 1847. However, a rough estimation places it at approximately 10,500 NZD a month1. That the bride’s competence combined with a captain’s pay is a lowering of the bride’s circumstances, places these characters, at minimum, in the upper-middle class. Their association with a member of the landed gentry, Lady Mary, might place them even higher. Although this novel’s readership would not have been limited to individuals this wealthy, it can be assumed that they were of a class that could aspire to conduct themselves in a similarly respectable manner.

Conduct Manual

Mr Munro’s instruction of Emily’s conduct is a key theme of the novel and suggests that the author undertook a fictional interpretation of the conduct manual genre. However, Bathurstdiverges from more traditional examples of the genre in its exclusively religious, often evangelical, focus. The story begins with an enumeration of Emily’s many scholarly accomplishments. However, her achievements are immediately undercut as Munro asks “what is the object and end of all your attainments? [...] will your acquirements make you useful to others?” (6). He criticises Emily for knowing “next to nothing” of theology and church history as “ the chief end of life” is to “prepare for that eternal world where our hearts should be” (8). The author, through Munro, posits that

all knowledge may be profitable or otherwise, according as we make it so. Knowledge pursued for its own sake is vanity. It will never satisfy the mind. If it is used to increase our acquaintance with God, with His works of creation and order, and with His providential dealings towards His creatures, it is profitable (8).

Although Emily “could write a sensible essay on the constitution of Great Britain, [...] a note of courtesy was an effort to her” (11). Although “a problem in Euclid, or algebraical fractions, gave her real pleasure, [...] she found great difficulty in balancing the account which her mother wished her to keep of the expenditure of her pocket-money” (11). The author’s attitude to female education reflects a preference for the “tradition of training young women in conduct instead of educating them [that] continued well into the nineteenth century.” (Harris 232). Emily’s education appears at best superfluous to her moral development. Instead, the author uses Munro’s homilies and examples in chapters I, IX and XI to represent to Emily and the reader the importance of devout conduct towards both God and parents. Thanks to Munro, by the end of chapter I Emily realises that “she had pursued [her studies] principally for her own pleasure, forgetting whose soldier and servant she was pledged to be” (12).
In chapter IX, the author uses the comparison of two romances to argue not only for dutiful conduct, but more radically, to suggest that becoming a missionary’s wife is the most laudable female accomplishment. In the first story, Mrs Bathurst tells her friend Mrs. Wilson of “a noble instance of true affection” (142). Georgina Prescott appears as the heroine of the piece, both for obeying her father by breaking off an engagement with a man who was no longer wealthy, and for refusing “several advantageous offers of marriage” as she felt “she never could love another" (142). Prescott is dutiful, faithful and, just as importantly, “she did not give way to depression, but continued cheerful and obliging as ever, adding to the happiness of all around her” (142). The ladies agree that “she is quite an example to all girls” and they “rejoice [that] she has her reward” when she is finally allowed to marry her first choice (145). Thus far, the author’s image of ‘good’ female conduct reflects the general consensus of Victorian society. However, the author’s evangelical devotion leads her one step further. Immediately after praising Georgina Prescott, Miss Wilson receives a letter from Mary Clayton with news of her decision to marry “a missionary to New Holland! How perfectly incongruous!" (145). Mary’s mother in a postscript writes “I do, indeed, rejoice and praise my God that he enables her to give up home and friends for her Saviour's sake; and to accompany Mr. Heywood to aid him in the glorious work of bringing the heathen into the fold of Christ” (146). However, Mrs Bathurst and Mrs Wilson immediately condemn her decision as “you know how exquisitely Mary Clayton sings and plays. The sums that have been lavished on her accomplishments! She's fit for any society” (145). In addition to this waste of secular accomplishments, the women mourn the lost opportunity to marry “a young merchant of large fortune” (145). Finally, they judge that her talents would be better spent at home with the poor than with “cannibal” heathens. At this point Mr Munro interjects, arguing that

there can be no doubt Mary is the self-devoted one. While all will admire Georgina [...] whose object is the greater? Georgina goes to form the happiness of one who for years has had her heart's best affections. Mary's first object is her Saviour, and she desires to devote her health and best energies to His service. How do angels regard the two? (149)

Munro concludes the chapter in favour of Mary: “I do love Georgina for her conduct as a daughter and a woman, but Mary, I honour, and most highly prize and esteem, for the determination she has made as a Christian” (149).

Evangelical Propaganda

Despite the novel’s interest in instructing female behaviour, it is clear that Bathurst’s primary purpose was to act as propaganda for the Church Missionary Society. Jillian Gay Spencer explains that “most of the literature about New Zealand in Britain after 1835 [was] being produced either by the New Zealand Company or by individuals affiliated with it” (19). Most guides to the country “were written or published by individuals who had an incentive (usually pecuniary) to promote emigration to New Zealand” (19). Bathurst’s author, whilst unconnected with the New Zealand Company, also wrote of New Zealand with ulterior motives. However, these motivations were not financial, but evangelical. The author recounts the history of the settlement of New Zealand through the victories and concerns of the Church Missionary Society, actively glorifying the missionary cause. While explaining “how civilization had increased in New Zealand since the year 1833” Mr Munro exclaims “what were [Charles XII] or Alexander's victories to those gained by means of this aged man [the missionary chaplain Samuel Marsden] over the kingdom of Satan, and the powers of evil?” (119, 130) He notes that in 1833 “the regular attendants on public worship numbered only a few hundreds” (120). However, this changed thanks to the leadership of men like Samuel Marsden, who received support from the CMS to bring skilled settlers to teach the Māori, as well as ‘ordinary missionaries’. These immigrants established schools, translated and disseminated the Bible, taught the Māori to read and about the advantages of the “European arts” (119). As a result, by 1838 “the attendants on public worship had increased to four thousand” (120).

The author’s information on the CMS’ activities and significant events in New Zealand history is so thorough as to suggest a close connection between herself and the Society. This is corroborated by the similarity in content and tone between Bathurstand The History of the Church Missionary Society in New Zealand, penned almost one hundred years later. In particular, both demonstrate a promotion of the work of women and style the missionaries as disinterested friends of the Māori. Written by Eugene Stock and published by the Society itself in Wellington, 1935, The History celebrates the achievements of the CMS since it first sent settlers to New Zealand in 1809. The History commends the efforts of the wives of missionaries: in particular, the wife of William Williams who set sail for New Zealand in 1825. Jane Williams is celebrated for seeking “every opportunity of influencing the Māori women” and is ranked among “those honourable women of old, who laboured with even Apostles in the Gospel” (18). A resounding success, Jane “lived to see the whole Māori people under Christian instruction, and thousands baptized” (18). The History also focuses upon missionary support of Māori interests. Stock claims that the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840 was “welcomed by the missionaries, for the sake of the Māoris themselves” as annexing the country was “the only way to preserve law and order in New Zealand” (28). Bathurst’s author goes one step further, claiming that “the chiefs consented to the Treaty of Waitangi, on the explanation of the missionaries, and solely in consequence of their confidence that they were their friends, and intended their good” (108-9). That Bathurstrelates exact dates and anecdotes corroborated by The History, suggests a close connection between the author and the Society. As Bathursthas received no literary criticism and is not referred to in The History, it could not have been an influence upon Stock. Therefore, their similarity most likely results from a common source. The most probable explanations are that Bathurst’s author had access to the Society’s records, was a member herself, or was closely acquainted with someone who was involved with the cause.

By recounting the successes of the CMS, Bathurst’s author certainly intended to promote the missionary cause and encourage female participation. However, this tactic also served a second purpose: as a defense of their work against Victorian society’s divided opinion. The accusations against the CMS’ mission that Bathurst’s author introduces, shine a light upon what were presumably matters of keen public debate surrounding missionary work and the colonisation of New Zealand. The author defends the CMS and its values against three primary accusations: that by striving to convert the heathen they are neglecting the religious needs of their countrymen, that a religious society should not get involved in politics by defending Māori land claims and that missionaries are hypocrites for buying land for themselves.

The CMS’ central interest is outlined by the Society at its formation in 1799: “that it is a duty highly incumbent upon every Christian to propagate the knowledge of the Gospel among the heathen” (Stock Foreword). However, this vocation was clearly controversial in 1847, as when Emily asks a “man of considerable learning”, Dr. James, and the “benevolent clergyman”, Mr Wilson, to explain the origin and objects of the CMS, she finds them opposed to it (68-9). They object to the CMS on the grounds that it serves the heathen ahead of their English countrymen and colonies which “require all the assistance we can give them, and more too” (71). To Emily’s bemusement, the men advise that the CMS “join the good old [Gospel Propagation] Society, and supply our own people first” (71). As the men change topic and begin to discuss two hospitals they support who care for patients of different diseases, Emily wonders why they do not apply the same logic to the two societies so that “the poor heathen” is not left “in degradation and misery, [with] thousands dying daily without the knowledge of that Saviour who alone can make a death-bed happy” (73).

It is through the Archdeacon Somerton, Emily’s godfather, that the author presents her strongest defence against such criticisms. The Archdeacon points out that “our Lord did not tell the Apostles to wait till all were converted at home before they went to surrounding and distant nations” (83). He claims that “the more we do for others the more blessing we may expect for ourselves” and, most pointedly, that “those individuals who are most liberal in donations to foreign objects, are generally the most liberal supporters of all works of benevolence and charity at home” (84). It is his belief that “the good people who make this objection are usually anxious to save their own pockets” (84). The defence the author feels the need to make against criticisms of the CMS posed by respected men of the establishment, suggests that her support for foreign missionary work was not a universally accepted attitude.

Bathurstdiverges even further from a socially sanctioned, female preoccupation with correct moral and religious behaviour when the author defends the CMS from accusations of political interference. Lady Mary, joining Emily and the Archdeacon’s conversation, enters a new point of criticism when demanding “what business had [the CMS] to interfere with the New Zealand Company”, claiming that “religious societies should keep to religion, and not meddle with what does not concern them” (93). Her concerns spring from the CMS’s purported interest in returning land to the Māori. As a mouthpiece for the colonial mindset, she argues that “[Māori] land is doing no good in its present uncultivated state, whereas it would be most productive and useful when managed by British industry, and improved by British capital” (95). However, the author defends the CMS’s actions through the Archdeacon, who compares Lady Mary’s desire to retain her estate, which could be more productively used by the industrial town nearby, to the Māori desire to retain their lands. Furthermore, he even quotes the second article of the Treaty of Waitangi in defence of the Māori, arguing that “the Queen guaranteed to the chiefs and tribes of New Zealand, the full, exclusive, and undisturbed possession of their lands, estates, forests, fisheries, and other properties which they may collectively or individually possess” (105). Given the author’s claim that “the chiefs consented to the Treaty of Waitangi on the explanation of the missionaries”, the Archdeacon then concludes that “the honour of the missionaries [is thus] concerned in preventing the smallest infraction of the treaty”, and by extension, in protecting Māori land (109).

Although at first Lady Mary is “compelled to give a verdict in [the Archdeacon’s] favour”, in Chapter VII she returns to accuse the CMS of being “mere mercenary land-holders” on the grounds that “one missionary lay claim to 40,000, and another to 50,000 acres of New Zealand land” (109, 112). However, the author refutes claims of unscrupulous land grabbing, stating that in the first case “the natives almost insisted that it should be purchased by the missionary, and, in consequence, three once hostile tribes are now living in peace upon it” (112, 114). In the second case, the missionary “purchased the tract in question in order to enable an expelled tribe to return to what had been their homes, and nearly one hundred immediately took up their abode there” (115). In the case of smaller purchases, “the sole object of missionaries in purchasing land at all, was to make provision for their large families at a time when no other means of support were open to them but those of agriculture” (116). However, Te Ara mentions no instances of missionaries returning land on such a scale, and instead, notes that “missionaries were [...] among the earliest purchasers of land [and] early mission stations became centres of permanent European occupation and farming” [italics my own] (McLintock).

Nevertheless, contemporary accounts of colonial anger towards “missionary influence”, and even specifically towards the CMS, suggest that missionaries did support Māori land claims ahead of colonial interests. An unnamed society wrote to the Nelson Examiner and New Zealand Chronicle in 1845 that “this powerful body [the CMS] appears determined not to cease from persecution till it has accomplished [the colonists’] ruin” (“The New Zealand Colonists”). Their particular concern was that “the Church Society has encouraged [land-sharking] in their [missionaries]”. Thomas Moser, in his record of New Zealand life in 1863 titled “Mahoe Leaves”, also notes that of all the countrymen he met on his travels “every one anathematizes the missionaries” (3). They are accused of “fill[ing] the heads of the natives full of mischief”, of “complicat[ing] every Land Purchase from these natives” and of “render[ing] negotiations with these savages all but impossible” (3, 1). When questioned by Moser, a missionary does admit occasional discrepancy between missionary ideals and practice, recalling that “man is but mortal,—an erring being, and it by no means follows that missionaries are exempt from the failings of mankind” (13). However, he ultimately defends their mission and support for the Māori, who the British had, “in many cases, [...] disgracefully cheated” (12).

“Plan of an estate belonging to the Church Missionary Society at Kerikeri, New Zealand, containing A.345.R.2.P.16.” by Department of Lands and Survey (Wellington, N.Z., Dept. of Lands and Survey) 1976. Alexander Turnbull Library Cartographic Collection. MapColl 832.11gbbd [ca 1852] (1976) 14805

“Plan of an estate belonging to the Church Missionary Society at Kerikeri, New Zealand, containing A.345.R.2.P.16.” by Department of Lands and Survey (Wellington, N.Z., Dept. of Lands and Survey) 1976. Alexander Turnbull Library Cartographic Collection. MapColl 832.11gbbd [ca 1852] (1976) 14805

Travel Writing

Bathurst’s primary motivation for its discussion of New Zealand is to praise the work of the CMS. However, the author’s description of the Māori temperament, customs and piety, as well as European vice, serve a secondary purpose by implicitly justifying a missionary presence in New Zealand. This purpose, and the anthropological nature of her descriptions, echo the nineteenth-century religious travel writing genre.

Anna Johnston notes that accounts by ships’ captains that mapped the Pacific during the latter half of the Eighteenth Century “stimulated European interest and ensured that Australasia loomed large in the public imaginary” (203). These accounts had a particularly passionate affect upon evangelists who “read of sexual and social freedom [...] with a sense of outrage [and] determined to introduce the Christian message to the 'benighted heathen'” (204). Evangelical interests entered the Pacific as early as 1797 and as “missionaries were prolific writers, [...] their texts about the region soon flooded the British marketplace in an effort to gain public support and funding for their ongoing evangelical enterprises” (204). These texts, operating like Bathurstas evangelical propaganda, were also strongly associated with the travel writing genre as they were “intensely descriptive of landscape and local cultures” (204). The description in Bathurstof “the mingled beauty and grandeur” of New Zealand aligns it with even the more secular examples of the travel writing genre (16-17). The author’s illustration of the “precipitous ravines, [...] interrupted in their career by magnificent cataracts, that give additional effect to the other features of sublimity and romantic beauty by which the country is distinguished”, give the novel an exotic, romanticised edge (17-18). This exoticism is amplified by the author’s record of Māori customs, such as their “superstitious fears during the hours of darkness” or their “universal” belief in witchcraft which leads them to ascribe a chief’s illness to “the evil influence of some enemy, whom the conjuror or witch usually decides to be a member of some tribe against whom his employers wish to make war” (26). The author’s lengthy and detailed description of Māori superstition, warfare, slavery and cannibalism reflects the “European reli[ance] on (often stereotyped) images of threat or allure” to depict the foreign worlds they encountered (Boehmer 22). However, in religious travel writing, and in Bathurst, these stereotyped images not only provided exotic thrill, but were also used to highlight the need for missionary interference.

In the nineteenth century “religious literature formed the largest single category of books published in Britain” (Johnston 208). This “ensured that religious travel writing was a major mode through which nineteenth-century Britons learnt about the outside world, and particularly the new antipodean colonies” (208). Evangelical desire to “recast Australasia as a moral landscape, one about which missionaries and religious Britons had authoritative and authentic knowledge” thus shaped the construction of Australasia in the British imagination around “white, Christian superiority” (202). Much of the description of the Māori found in Bathurstreflects “the need for missionaries to represent the regions targeted for evangelical work as sites of dire immorality [so as] to justify their uninvited ventures into Pacific cultures” (209). The author claims that the Māori “undertake exterminating wars on the most frivolous pretences” and that “there can be little doubt that human flesh was a repast in which they delighted” (33). This description is not included merely to thrill the reader, but, in keeping with all other aspects of the novel, to serve a larger, religious purpose.

“Scene on the River Waikato, New Zealand. A Travelling Party, with their Canoes, halting to cook their mid-day meal”. Frontispiece of Emily Bathurst; Or, at Home and Abroad.

“Scene on the River Waikato, New Zealand. A Travelling Party, with their Canoes, halting to cook their mid-day meal”. Frontispiece of Emily Bathurst; Or, at Home and Abroad.

However, Bathurst’s depiction of the Māori is not simplistic. Although they are clearly meant to appear to need Christian guidance, the author’s illustration of Māori customs does attempt to remain objectively informative. She often praises their skillful work or intelligence and records that Māori competency, such as “the acuteness and military skill displayed by some of the chiefs, seems to have surprised the English” (166). In the majority of cases the author even favours their moral character above that of European colonists and sailors. Her criticism of fellow Europeans once more echoes the findings of first-hand missionary accounts whose “identification of white depravity in the antipodes threatened to undermine the assumptions of European superiority that substantially underpinned British imperial projects” (Johnston 209). Missionary antipathy to other European involvement certainly sprang, to some extent, from a fear that “such white men threatened to subvert missionary reforms” (211). However, in many examples of religious travel documents, and certainly in Bathurst, there appears to be a genuine empathy for indigenous peoples caught in “a vicious cycle of colonial violence” brought on by “European misconduct and fear, accompanied by the sense that their actions would have no repercussions” (214). Although it was a Māori “falsehood [which occasioned] a fearful murder of numbers of innocent persons after the massacre of the Boyd”, Bathurst’s author heavily criticises the “indiscriminate slaughter” which left a tribe “nearly exterminated” by violent whalers taking revenge (29). She argues that “even had the men of the tribe been the guilty parties, the women and children could have had no share in the crime; and to punish them for the faults of their relatives could have been neither Christian nor just” (29). Although the author’s defense of the Māori at the expense of fellow Europeans does appear altruistic, even this is used to promote the need for missionary intervention.

In Bathurst, as in much religious travel literature, “geographical isolation [...] excuse[s] Pacific ignorance” and thus prompts the need for Christian guidance (Johnston p.211). Even when discussing the notorious massacre of the Boyd, the author writes that “Europeans should be careful how they excite the passions of the savage, who, being totally unacquainted with the Christian duty of forgiveness of injuries [...] cannot be expected to take care that his vengeance shall bear any just proportion to the amount of injury received” (41). The danger of the “savage” culture is certainly promoted, but it is presented as treatable, provided the British public support missionary societies - such as the CMS - to ‘civilise’ the heathen. Mr Munro’s review of New Zealand in 1833 confirms that missionaries can succeed. He reports, amongst many examples, that at a christian service held at a church built by a Māori chief “the Liturgy of our Church had been translated [into the Māori language] and the whole congregation joined with one voice in the responses, in a way which English worshippers would do well to imitate” (54). In contrast, nearby crews of European whalers “were rioting in a disgraceful state of intoxication, whilst those whom they probably despised as barbarians, were honouring the command of Him whose servants they professed to be” (55). It is highly unlikely that Bathurst’s author ever visited New Zealand, as Mr Munro presents his information as second-hand. However, her choice to present well-researched information on the Māori in the style of a travel document is understandable given how persuasive an argument it could make for the missionary, and thus the CMS’s, cause.

Valentine Cunningham notes that “as a body of fiction [...] the Victorian Novel urges upon us all the more the importance of its contingency and of the particularity of its characters” as it is “closer to social actualities” than novels of most periods (5). Given that “‘originals’ are what the novel, especially the Victorian novel, is all about”, Bathurst’s defense and promotion of the CMS gives us a remarkable insight into some of the real religious and political concerns of Victorian society, especially those concerned with the colonisation of New Zealand (5). The author’s amalgamation of Christian conduct manual, evangelical propaganda and religious travel writing is often conflicting, disjointed, abrupt and didactic. Yet, as an example of various Victorian concerns and literary styles, and of an unusually positive attitude towards women and indigenous peoples, it is an enlightening text.

Works Cited

Boehmer, Elleke. Colonial and Post Colonial Literature. Oxford University Press, 2005.

“Books: The Clergy List for 1847.” The Ecclesiastical Gazette or, Monthly Register of the Affairs of the Church of England and of Its Religious Societies and Institutions [London], 13 July 1847, pp. 1-32.

Cunningham, Valentine. Everywhere Spoken Against: Dissent in the Victorian Novel. Clarendon Press, 1975.

Easley, Alexis. First-Person Anonymous: Women Writers and Victorian Print Media, 1830-1870. Ashgate Publishing Limited, 2004.

Harris, Katherine D. “Feminizing the Textual Body: Women and Their Literary Annuals in Nineteenth-Century Britain.” Forget Me Not: The Rise of the British Literary Annual, 1823–1835. Ohio University Press, 2015.

“Inflation Calculator.” Bank of England, https://www.bankofengland.co.uk/monetary-policy/inflation/inflation-calculator. Date Accessed 26 June 2019.

James, Louis. The Victorian Novel. Vol. 13. Blackwell Publishing Ltd, 2008.

Johnston, Anna. “Writing the Southern Cross: Religious Travel Writing in Nineteenth-Century Australasia.” Travel Writing in the Nineteenth Century: Filling the Blank Spaces. Edited by Tim Youngs. Anthem Press, 2006.

New Zealand. Department of Lands Survey, issuing body. Plan of an Estate Belonging to the Church Missionary Society at Kerikeri, New Zealand, Containing A.345.R.2.P.16. Wellington: Department of Lands and Survey, 1976. NLNZ ALMA 9917941723502836

McLintock, A. H. “Early Land Purchases Before 1840.” Te Ara Encyclopedia of New Zealand, Ministry for Culture and Heritage Te Manatu Taonga, 23 Apr. 2009.

Moser, Thomas. Mahoe Leaves; Being a Selection of Sketches Of New Zealand And Its Inhabitants, And Other Matters Concerning Them. William Lyon, 1863. Wairēto NZETC.

“NZD per 1 GBP - Past 24 Hrs.” XE, https://www.xe.com/currencyconverter/convert/?Amount=20,381.65&From=GBP&To=NZD. Date Accessed 26 June 2019.

“Parting Words to a Little Flock by a Clergyman.” G. Gosen Rare Books & Old Paper, https://www.gosenrarebooks.com/book/parting-words-to-a-little-flock-by-clergyman-by-rev-wilkinson-1846/. Date Accessed 26 June 2019.

Sharma, Manimugdha S. Were Army Pay and Perks Better under the British? The Times of India, 6 July 2015, https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Were-Army-pay-and-perks-better-under-the-British/articleshow/47952190.cms. Date Accessed 20 June 2019.

Spencer, Jillian Gay. "Castles in the Air": a Study of Nineteenth Century Pre-Emigration Information and the Experiences of Women Emigrating to New Zealand. 2000. Victoria University of Wellington, MA Thesis.

Stock, Eugene, and New Zealand Church Missionary Society. The History of the Church Missionary Society in New Zealand. New Zealand Church Missionary Society, 1935. National Digital Heritage Archive.

“The New Zealand Colonists and The Church Missionary Society.” The Nelson Examiner and New Zealand Chronicle, 13 Sept. 1845. Papers Past, https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/NENZC18450913.2.3.

“The Wife of a Clergyman”. Emily Bathurst; Or, at Home and Abroad. B. Wertheim, Aldine Chambers, Paternoster-row, 1847. Wairēto NZETC

1 An article in the Times of India notes that a major’s pay (one rank above a captain) in 1860 was two thirds of a colonel’s, which was in modern terms roughly 280 pounds a day (Sharma). This makes the major’s pay approximately 187 pounds a day or 10,793 NZD a month, suggesting that a captain’s pay would have been similarly comfortable (NZD per 1 GBP).