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Empire of Hell

Religion and the Campaign to End Convict Transportation in the British Empire, 1788-1875

Hilary M. Carey (University of Bristol)



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Cambridge University Press
01 June 2021
This revisionist history of convict transportation from Britain and Ireland will challenge much that you thought you knew about religion and penal colonies. Based on original archival sources, it examines arguments by elites in favour and against the practice of transportation and considers why they thought it could be reformed, and, later, why it should be abolished. In this, the first religious history of the anti-transportation campaign, Hilary M. Carey addresses all the colonies and denominations engaged in the debate. Without minimising the individual horror of transportation, she demonstrates the wide variety of reformist experiments conducted in the Australian penal colonies, as well as the hulks, Bermuda and Gibraltar. She showcases the idealists who fought for more humane conditions for prisoners, as well as the 'political parsons', who lobbied to bring transportation to an end. The complex arguments about convict transportation, which were engaged in by bishops, judges, priests, politicians and intellectuals, crossed continents and divided an empire.
By:   Hilary M. Carey (University of Bristol)
Imprint:   Cambridge University Press
Country of Publication:   United Kingdom
Dimensions:   Height: 229mm,  Width: 152mm,  Spine: 20mm
Weight:   498g
ISBN:   9781108716802
ISBN 10:   1108716806
Pages:   371
Publication Date:   01 June 2021
Audience:   Professional and scholarly ,  College/higher education ,  Undergraduate ,  Further / Higher Education
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Forthcoming
List of tables; Preface; Acknowledgements; List of abbreviations; 1. Introduction: 'Empire of Hell'; 2. Saints, Whigs and penal colonies, 1788-1822; 3. 'Hell upon earth': Sir George Arthur in Van Diemen's land, 1823-1837; 4. Quakers and convict concerns; 5. Christian utilitarianism and Archbishop Richard Whately; 6. Catholics, Protestants and the 'horrors of transportation'; 7. 'Ocean hell': Captain Maconochie and Norfolk Island, 1837-1844; 8. Probation in Van Diemen's land, 1840-1849; 9. 'Political parsons' and the anti-transportation movement, 1847-1854; 10. 'Floating hells': Bermuda, Gibraltar and the Hulks, 1850-1875; 11. 'Reformatory colony': Western Australia, 1850-1868; 12. Conclusion: 'this great scheme of human redemption'; Bibliography; Index.

Hilary M. Carey is Professor of Imperial and Religious History at the University of Bristol. She is the author of God's Empire (Cambridge, 2011), nominated for the Ernest Scott Prize, and co-editor of Religion and Greater Ireland (2015). She is conjoint professor at the University of Newcastle, New South Wales and Fellow of the Australian Academy of Humanities.

Reviews for Empire of Hell: Religion and the Campaign to End Convict Transportation in the British Empire, 1788-1875

'This brilliantly original and insightful book offers an entirely new interpretation of penal transportation in Britain's imperial world that will fundamentally alter the perspective of historians of punishment and the British Empire. Empire of Hell is an outstanding contribution to the field of religious, criminal justice and colonial history, and will be a key point of reference for many years to come.' Clare Anderson, University of Leicester 'Empire of Hell is a laboriously researched, comprehensive, authoritative study. It ranges geographically from Van Diemen's Land to Gibraltar and denominationally from Evangelical Anglicans to Secular Utilitarians, from Catholics to Quakers, and much more. Hilary M. Carey is unquestionably one of the greatest scholars of religion under British rule working today.' Timothy Larsen, Wheaton College, Illinois 'By insisting on the centrality of religion to convict colonialism, Hilary M. Carey has broken down a long-standing and restrictive divide in imperial historiography. The result is an outstanding and highly-readable book that provides a radical new interpretation of both the anti-transportation moment and of imperial reform itself.' Kirsten McKenzie, University of Sydney 'This book restores a pulse to British nineteenth-century penal policy. As Hilary M. Carey demonstrates, religious arguments empowered the development of overseas convict colonies while simultaneously fuelling the forces that tore them down. Empire of Hell transforms our understanding of the decline of transportation and the rise of the prison.' Hamish Maxwell-Stewart, University of Tasmania '... Empire of Hell mounts the most comprehensive examination to date of religious responses to convict transportation. It is a rich, detailed, and nuanced work covering transportation from Britain and Ireland to the Australian penal colonies, Bermuda and Gibraltar between 1788 and 1875.' Zoe Laidlaw, Journal of British Studies

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