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Empire of Hell


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Table of Contents

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.

Promotional Information

Challenges preconceptions of convict transportation from Britain and Ireland, penal colonies and religion.

About the Author

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.


'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
'This is a welcome addition to a rich and growing body of scholarship dissecting and grappling with the historical relationship between religion and empire, especially for the British imperial context ... Carey's book provides profound and sobering food for thought.' Hugh Morrison, The Journal of Ecclesiastical History
'... a fresh, detailed perspective on British and colonial debates over convict transportation ... makes a major contribution to the religious history of empire and convict transportation.' Ann Curthoys, Victorian Studies
'... Carey's book makes for indispensable reading. It is an outstanding examination of the subject of convict transportation and comes highly recommended.' C. Brad Faught, Anglican and Episcopal History

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