Emalus Library Online Documents Collection - Vanuatu

Source: Journal of Church and State, Spring 1999

Scottish Missionaries and the Governance of the New Hebrides. Proctor, J.H.




Perhaps in no part of the world have missionaries been more heavily involved in matters of civil governance than in the South Pacific. Particularly enterprising in this respect were the seven Scotsmen whose efforts to convert the inhabitants of certain islands in that group known as the New Hebrides were supported by the Scottish Presbyterian churches during the period from 1852 to 1933. They influenced significantly the evolution and operation of both the indigenous political system and the regime that Europeans instituted there. Seeking to promote the welfare of the islanders as well as to further their own interests, they developed relationships with Melanesian chiefs and with British officials that were multi-faceted and that ranged from collaboration to confrontation. They played a role in the process of government that often enabled them to secure the results they sought, but sometimes they were frustrated and occasionally they suffered from the risks entailed in performing functions that were not of a religious nature.

The Scottish missionaries began work in the New Hebrides at a time when the islands were a no-man's land, before any European power had sought to establish its role there or had even made a territorial claim. Britain and France were to assert their authority subsequently, but the missionaries continued to exercise political functions until near the end of the period under examination. The British were long reluctant to assume responsibility for the government of such tiny and remote territories, believing that their strategic and economic value was not worth the expense. As French activity in the islands increased, the status of the group became an international issue. Each of the two powers wished to prevent annexation by the other, and accordingly they agreed to a series of steps designed to establish that the New Hebrides were and would remain a sphere of joint interest. In 1878 they formally bound themselves to respect the independence of the group; in 1888 they created a Joint Naval Commission to coordinate their efforts to protect the lives and property of their nationals; and in 1906, alarmed by a growing German interest in the area, they finally set up a colonial system of dual administration. The inauguration of this condominium was not followed, however, by a sufficient commitment of funds, personnel, and transport--or by sufficient Anglo-French cooperation--to permit effective penetration and control by government officials acting alone.(n1)

The Scots were preceded by other Christian missionaries, but none of those had made an appreciable impact. Rev. John Williams of the London Missionary Society (LMS) introduced the gospel to the archipelago, placing three Samoan catechists on Tanna in November 1839 and sailing on to nearby Erromanga where he was promptly killed by the local inhabitants. During the next few years, more LMS teachers from Samoa and Rarotonga were stationed on Tanna, Erromanga, Futuna, Aneityum, Aniwa, and Efate. However, most of them soon succumbed, either to disease or to violence, or withdrew; only those on Aneityum remained for an extended period. The Society landed two British missionaries on Tanna in July 1842, but they were forced out in less than seven months. Discouraged by this experience, it was happy to turn the field over to the Presbyterians, and assisted the first of these, Rev. John Geddie from Nova Scotia, to settle on Aneityum in July 1848. The Anglican Melanesian Mission had also attempted to establish a foothold. Its leader, Bishop George A. Selwyn, began visiting the New Hebrides in 1849 to recruit young men who might be trained as evangelists in Auckland and returned home, but had installed none of these successfully before the Scots began to appear, and soon decided to concentrate his efforts on islands well to the north of those that had attracted the LMS. Finally, eight Roman Catholic priests and brothers belonging to the French Society of Mary (Marists) had set up a small station on Aneityum in May 1848. They did little beyond conducting Sunday Mass, and were removed in the summer of 1850 after most of them had contracted malaria.(n2)

There is no indication in the writings of the Scottish missionaries that they expected before departing from their homeland to play a political role in the New Hebrides; these sources convey the impression that their plans were focussed narrowly--and confidently--on spreading the gospel and saving the heathen from perdition. However, the view had been expressed by Reformed Presbyterian luminaries in Scotland from the early 1840s onward that the ancient dream of "a covenanting nation with ministry and magistracy united in yielding obedience to God" might soon be realized in remote pagan lands where "missionaries would create godly communities constituted and administered according to scripture"(n3); and it is reasonable to assume that their own thinking was influenced by such assertions.

When Rev. John Inglis, the first of the missionaries to be sent to the New Hebrides by the Reformed Presbyterian Church of Scotland (hereinafter RPCS), arrived at Aneityum on 1 July 1852, he found a decentralized polity with a separate chief for each district. There was no paramount ruler and no island-wide council. Moreover, each chief appeared to possess but little power within his own domain, and that was seen to be based largely on superstition which diminished as Christianization proceeded.

Inglis and Geddie, the Nova Scotian laboring on the opposite side of the island, soon decided that a more effective form of government was needed to provide order and safety for the Aneityumese and for themselves. They initially considered framing a constitution and a code of laws for the protection of lives and property, and presented this idea to a large group of chiefs and leading commoners who gathered at Inglis's station on 12 March 1854 to celebrate the opening of his church. The Aneityumese reacted favorably, but the missionaries concluded after further reflection that it would be better, as Inglis put it, "to allow the framework of society, and what may be called the common law of the land, to remain as it was,"(n4) to legislate sparingly since they deemed the Ten Commandments sufficient statutory law for most purposes, and to rely primarily on judicial precedents based on biblical principles to develop a more comprehensive legal order.

Four months later, Inglis and Geddie convened a meeting of the chiefs who had come to the latter's station to join in celebrating the opening of his church, and asked them to pass an act that the two missionaries had drafted. It prohibited the sale of local women to foreigners and provided that property received as payment in any such transaction should be seized by the traditional ruler and publicly burnt. The assembled chiefs, all Christian and constituting a majority of the island's leaders, unanimously endorsed this proposal, thereby producing what Inglis called "the first portion of statute law enacted by the `Convention of Estates,' or Legislative Assembly of the Christian Cantons of Aneiteum." He regarded this action as a significant achievement for two reasons: "Not only has a great evil been prohibited, but the power of the chiefs has been organised and consolidated .... By the passing of this act the just power of the chiefs has been recognised; and by introducing the principle of united counsel and action, they will be far stronger individually than in the days of heathenism. By this proceeding we have also succeeded, as we hope, in developing the germ of a scriptural magistracy."(n5)

The penalty for violation of the new law was first applied after a group of Aneityumese informed Inglis that they had secured the clothes given by a Tahitian in exchange for a local woman before its enactment, and asked what should be done next. He promptly arranged for two chiefs to make a bonfire in front of the church, having concluded that an effort to explain British views on ex post facto legislation would only confuse matters.

The missionaries took additional steps to enhance the chiefs' executive authority, believing, according to Inglis, that "no government is so bad as a weak government."(n6) He and Geddie instructed them on their responsibilities, stressing particularly the need to be firm in enforcing the law, and exhorted the people to respect and obey their rulers.

Moreover, new symbols and ceremonies were introduced. Inglis appealed to the Presbyterian women of Glasgow to send him scarlet serge shirts for the chiefs, and he presented these at a public meeting in August 1856 as an expression of appreciation for their having passed a law to protect females. He maintained that these "robes of office" produced several benefits; they "fixed beyond dispute who are the chiefs," and did "perhaps more than any one thing else to raise the status of our chiefs." They also reinforced the law, for they were seen by the people as a pledge by those who wore them to enforce it, and were "a sign to the chiefs themselves, to remind them of their duty."(n7) In addition, the missionaries organized inaugural rites for new chiefs, complete with processions, singing, the blowing of conchs, and the donning of the bright garments which continued to arrive from Scotland.

Inglis urged the chiefs to act jointly when faced with conflict among their subjects. At his suggestion, the practice developed for several neighboring rulers to sit together in what he called "assize meetings" to conduct trials and impose punishment. Proceedings of this sort, he thought, "increased both their official authority and their personal influence."(n8)

In exercising their judicial function, the chiefs frequently turned to Inglis for advice. He believed that the existing tribal law did not adequately safeguard individual fights to life and property, especially for females, and did not sufficiently discriminate among various types of offenses with regard to punishment; and he sought to remedy these defects. His response to requests for guidance was as follows: "In all cases where property only was concerned, I always advised the chiefs to adopt a gentle policy, to talk to the offenders, and to get them to make restitution .... But, in all cases where life was imperilled, I counselled prompt and vigorous measures, such as would strike terror into the hearts of evil-doers."(n9) He also emphasized the distinction between murder and culpable homicide, and counselled against the death penalty for one convicted of the latter.

Inglis maintained that he and his colleagues "never assumed any civil power," but "recognised and accepted whatever civil government existed" and "guided the authorities as opportunities occurred."(n10) His point here was simply that they were prepared to support whoever occupied a position of formal leadership. He was sometimes asked to intervene in quarrels between rivals for a vacant chieftainship, but claimed to have answered invariably that "it is not the work of missionaries to settle who should be chief."(n11)

Although the traditional rulers were not always as wise or energetic as he would have liked, they struck him as "anxious to discharge their duties" and they generally followed his advice. By 1857 he could report that "the Political condition of the island is rapidly improving,"(n12) by which he meant that there had been a distinct increase in public order.

The Scottish missionaries who followed Inglis to the New Hebrides were less creative than he with regard to local government, but not without influence. Rev. James H. Lawrie, who was supported by the RPCS as his successor on Aneityum from 1878 to 1895, continued his practice of advising the chiefs. Rev. John G. Paton and Rev. Thomas Neilson, Jr., who served the same church on Tanna from 1858 to 1862 and from 1868 to 1883 respectively, encountered a population so torn by violent conflict that their political activity consisted of little more than attempting to mediate between warring tribes. They did succeed in bringing about a peaceful settlement on several occasions, although the agreements proved to be of limited duration; and Paton managed to persuade ten chiefs to join in forbidding wife-beating and the strangulation of widows. Rev. Joseph Copeland, also sent out by the RPCS, told of how he encouraged the Aneityumese to fill vacant chieftainships and assisted in the inauguration of those selected in 1862 when he was based on their island, but wrote nothing about promoting political development after moving to Futuna where he served from 1866 to 1876. His successor there was Rev. Dr. William T. Gunn, who worked among the Futunese under the auspices of the Free Church of Scotland (with which the RPCS had united in 1876) from 1883 to 1913. He reported that he participated in the work of what he termed "ordinary courts"; "when necessary," he wrote, "or when questions regarding the mission work were involved, I sat with them to advise them."(n13) He made no claim, however, that he or Copeland had contributed to the organization of these bodies.

The missionaries found in the archipelago not only "natives" who were seen to be in need of political as well as religious instruction, but also foreigners, mostly British, Australian, or French, of various sorts: beachcombers, whalers, labor recruiters, traders, and planters. Relations with certain members of these groups were sometimes antagonistic and even hostile for their values and objectives were so dissimilar to those of the missionaries. "Our operations," Inglis declared, "are supposed to interfere with their interests;" missionary efforts to enhance the power of the chiefs were "producing results not always to the liking of those who think that the natives should, at all times, do just as they wish them." Indeed, he continued, "every inconvenience they experience in their intercourse with the natives is charitably ascribed to our interference or our teaching."(n14) Much of the foreigners' activity was thought by the Scots to affect adversely the welfare of the islanders as well as their own proselytizing efforts. Some were accused of leading dissolute lives and of corrupting the "natives" who observed their debauchery or cohabited with them. Many were charged with treating New Hebrideans cruelly and dishonestly.

The labor recruiters carried inhabitants of the islands away to toil on cotton and sugar plantations in Queensland, Fiji, Tahiti, and New Caledonia. Sometimes, although less frequently than the missionaries claimed, the recruits were brought aboard their vessels involuntarily or were lured by false promises. Sometimes the terms of the contract were not understood, and sometimes the period of engagement proved to be of indefinite duration. Some never returned home.

This labor trade was harmful to mission work, for it removed recent converts who were considered to be in need of further instruction as well as many who had not yet been reached. In 1868, Neilson warned from Tanna that if it continued at the current rate, "in the course of two years there will not be a native left in the New Hebrides . . . to evangelize."(n15) Moreover, kidnapping provoked hostility against Europeans generally, and thereby made the islanders who remained less accessible and even dangerous to the missionaries. Rev. John Kay, secretary of the RPCS's Foreign Missions Committee (hereinafter FMC), explained this effect to the synod at its 1868 meeting in Glasgow as follows: "The passion of revenge is kindled in the savage breast, and in blind indiscriminateness the guilty and the innocent fall under the blow of the injured, who are led to recognise in the white men, not their benefactors and friends, but their enemies and their oppressors."(n16) Those who returned were often either lapsed Christians or "far more inveterate heathens," and were, according to Inglis, "the worst opponents the missionary has to contend with."(n17)

The Scots were also concerned about the activity of traders who operated from itinerant vessels or small commercial stations on the islands. They exchanged cloth, metal tools, trinkets, tobacco, alcohol, firearms, and ammunition for coconuts, cotton, sulphur, wood, pigs, fruit, and vegetables. Inglis acknowledged that this traffic benefited the "natives" in some respects, but he was displeased by the extent to which it "diverts their attention from education, and operates unfavourably for their improving in the knowledge and practice of the things of God."(n18) Especially distressing was the introduction of alcohol, which was seen to have a more demoralizing and disruptive effect than the locally produced intoxicant known as kava, and firearms which, especially when combined with alcohol, led to deadly disorder.

Thirdly, there were the European planters who grew cotton and coconuts on large estates. They sometimes undertook to enlarge their property by seizing land unlawfully, and they sometimes abused those who worked for them. The Scots were particularly upset by the treatment of females. They were sometimes employed as indentured resident laborers without the consent of their parents or husbands contrary to local custom, used as decoys to lure male workers to the plantations, and pressed into concubinage with a planter.

The chiefs, even when strengthened and counselled, proved incapable of preventing or significantly reducing these various evils, so the missionaries attempted to deal with them by direct action of their own. They warned the islanders of the dangers attending the arrival of recruiting vessels; urged them not to accept tobacco, firearms, or alcohol from traders; and encouraged them to stand up against mistreatment by planters. They pled with recruiters to refrain from kidnapping and to release those who had been captured, with traders to cease supplying harmful items, and with planters to respect land rights and local customs and to deal decently with their workers.

Although these efforts were sometimes successful, they were frequently brushed aside, and fell far short of putting a stop to the practices which the missionaries found so objectionable. Moreover, such activity on occasion produced negative reactions that threatened the welfare of the Scots themselves. Recruiters, traders, and planters were sometimes so annoyed by their interference that they not only attacked them verbally but also sought to turn the local inhabitants against them. Paton accused certain traders of telling the Tannese that he was the cause of their illnesses and promising to deliver all the tobacco, guns, and liquor they wanted if they would get rid of him.(n19)

In such circumstances, the Scots began to urge Her Majesty's government to assert its power in the area so as to provide effective protection for the islanders--and for themselves. They acted on this matter in association with other missionaries sent to the New Hebrides by Presbyterian churches in Australia, Canada, and New Zealand after Inglis had established his station. All of them gathered for a synod meeting once a year and kept in touch with each other between sessions through voyages on a jointly owned vessel, first a schooner christened the John Knox and then a brig known as the Dayspring.

Lacking territorial jurisdiction over the islands, Britain's legal authority rested on acts of Parliament passed in 1817, 1824, and 1829 providing for offenses committed there to be treated as if committed on the high seas and for those committed by British subjects to be dealt with by Australian courts. Its official presence in the archipelago took the form of nothing more than infrequent and irregular cruises by vessels of the Royal Navy whose commanders undertook both to punish New Hebrideans who had committed outrages against British subjects, justified in legal terms as retaliatory acts of war, and to require British subjects who had wronged New Hebrideans to make reparation or depart from the island, possibly for trial in Australia. The Scots reported the arrival of such a ship every year or two for most of the period from 1853 until 1886, but occasionally as much as four years elapsed between visits. They welcomed these patrols and wished that they could occur more often for, as Inglis put it, "a man-of-war strikes terror into the hearts of evil-doers, both natives and foreigners."(n20)

At their 1867 annual meeting, the various Presbyterian missionaries drew up a petition asking the government to investigate the labor traffic and bring its abuses to an end. The FMC conveyed this request to the Foreign Secretary the following year, and he soon replied that an inquiry had been ordered. The missionaries assembled witnesses able to describe kidnappings to naval officers who called in search of evidence, and submitted detailed information to the FMC which forwarded it to the Foreign Office along with requests for action. That committee also prevailed upon two of its friends in the House of Commons to ask questions there about what was being done, and distributed a set of papers prepared by its missionaries entitled The Slave Trade in the New Hebrides to Presbyterian clergymen throughout Britain, all members of Parliament, editors of leading journals, and other influential laymen. Inglis claimed that he "could have translated half of the Old Testament" in the time he had spent writing reports and letters to expose the evils of the system.(n21)

Owing partly to these efforts, Parliament passed in 1872 the Pacific Islanders Protection Act which was designed to eliminate the coercive and deceptive features of the traffic. Moreover, additional men-of-war were dispatched to the area to enforce the new law, and in 1877 provision was made for a High Commissioner and Court of Justice for the Western Pacific to be located in Fiji with authority to punish British subjects who violated it.(n22)

These measures were not deemed sufficient by the Scots, however, and they pressed repeatedly thereafter for total abolition of the trade and a stronger British presence. In July 1882, the FMC of the Free Church of Scotland addressed a letter to the Colonial Secretary in which it asserted that "the present operations and the future permanence of our Mission are continually imperilled by the absence of settled government" since the recruiters could not be prevented from acting so as to provoke "bloody reprisals" by the "natives" against all Europeans, and appealed for "permanently establishing British protection and British justice in the New Hebrides."(n23)

The creation of the Joint Anglo-French Naval Commission in 1888 and the provision in 1902 for a deputy to the High Commissioner who would reside in the New Hebrides did not satisfy the missionaries. A British Naval Commissioner could only refer reports of kidnapping by French vessels to his French counterpart who was typically disinclined to pursue the matter. The latter was seen to be under little or no pressure to act in such instances from the Roman Catholic missionaries who had resumed activity in the New Hebrides in 1887; indeed, the Marists were regarded by the Presbyterians as essentially collaborators with French officials, planters, and traders in an effort to banish British and Protestant elements from the islands. Moreover, the new Resident Deputy Commissioner lacked the power to check violations by French nationals of the regulations regarding the employment of females on local plantations and the distribution of alcohol and firearms that had been promulgated by the British authorities largely in response to pressure generated by the missionaries.(n24)

Accordingly, the Scots now stepped up their agitation for British rule over the islands in a campaign that had actually begun more than twenty-five years previously. As early as 1855 Inglis began to encourage the chiefs on Aneityum to ask Her Majesty's government to take the islands under its protection, and in July 1857 a petition from them to that effect was submitted to the Colonial Office. The following year the missionaries sent a petition of their own urging the government to accede to the chiefs' wishes, and in 1860 Inglis personally carried to London a renewed application from them, praying for either annexation or a protectorate. More such appeals were submitted by the missionaries or the FMC in 1868, 1872, 1877, and 1882. The last of these claimed that "experience... has shown that under missionary influence, the natives may become good citizens and loyal subjects."(n25)

The campaign was given additional urgency at this point by growing fears that France aimed to seize the New Hebrides. The Scots were alarmed at that prospect because they believed that the French would settle convicts on the islands, oppress the local inhabitants, and stifle their own activity.

On 7 February 1883, a deputation including Inglis and Rev. George Smith, Secretary of the FMC, called on the Colonial Secretary and the Foreign Secretary to emphasize "the danger to which the islands in the New Hebrides are exposed from the want of a settled internal government,"(n26) and was told that annexation by either power was precluded by the Anglo-French agreement of 1878. The FMC, responding to persistent pressure from its missionaries, reiterated its concern to the Colonial Office in 1885, and persuaded the General Assembly the following year to send a memorial to the prime minister urging him to oppose French advances. This plea elicited a reply indicating that he had "received official intelligence that the French Government do not intend to annex the Islands."(n27)

The missionaries sought support for annexation by Britain from members of Parliament and the British electorate, as well as from the political leaders and people of Australia. In an effort to arouse public opinion, they wrote letters to newspaper editors, sent pamphlets to Presbyterian ministers, and spoke out on public platforms in the two countries.

When Smith learned in 1906 that talks were underway in London between France and Britain regarding the New Hebrides, he offered to supply the Foreign Office with information from the missionaries on French activity there, and that offer was accepted. Thanks to pressure from a variety of sources, the negotiations resulted in the establishment of the Condominium through which the two powers would rule the islands jointly. They agreed to certain regulations designed to protect the New Hebrideans and created a Joint Court, but each power retained authority over its own nationals and kept its own Resident Commissioner, district officers, and police force.(n28)

This arrangement was welcomed at first by the missionaries, but they soon came to regard it as a fiasco. They were upset particularly by the failure of the French to enforce the regulations and the inability of the British to do anything about that failure. Accordingly, they joined all other Protestant missionaries in the New Hebrides in expressing at a special meeting on 24 June 1913 their conviction that "the Condominium as an instrument of government has utterly failed to express the sense of our responsibility as a British people to native races," and demanding that the islands be brought under exclusive British rule if France continued to disregard its obligations;(n29) and they pressed their own FMC to urge the government to adopt such a policy. Rev. Frank Ashcroft, secretary of that committee, asked them to supply him with "detailed cases" of French "lawlessness" that he could submit to the Foreign Office to promote a British take-over of the islands.(n30) For the next decade the missionaries and the committee regularly entreated the government to take that step, but to no avail.

Although the Scots failed to bring about the annexation that they desired, they did contribute significantly not only to a stiffening of resistance to France's putative ambitions but also to the strengthening of Britain's authority in the New Hebrides. Their relations with the British naval officers and government officials for whose presence they had campaigned were largely, although not always, cordial and mutually beneficial.

Inglis wrote in 1872 that he and his colleagues had been greatly encouraged by the fact that so many of those who commanded the men-of-war were "hearty in their approval and support of missionary efforts."(n31) Particularly helpful were the measures taken to enhance their security, as best illustrated by events at Tanna. In 1859, Captain Vernon of H.M.S. Cordelia gave the chiefs of that island, in Paton's words, "many very judicious advices, all calculated to advance the interests of our work, and make my position more safe," and extracted "many fair promises" from them.(n32) Two years later, the commander of another warship repeated the warning and fired a shell to demonstrate his capacity to punish those who might harm the missionary. The Tannese were much impressed by such a display of British might, but not altogether intimidated for they were aware that punishment had not been inflicted on those who had killed a Canadian missionary and his wife on Erromanga a short time before. They remained convinced that their recent illnesses were due to the new religion, and they became increasingly hostile to Paton after a few months. On 4 February 1862, a large number of them attacked his station, destroyed his house and church, and forced him to flee from the island.

When Commodore Sir William Wiseman arrived on H.M.S. Curacoa at Aneityum in August 1865, the missionaries, who had gathered there for their annual meeting, described to him the outrage that had been committed, and asked him to "inflict such punishment as he thought proper... so as to... make the natives respect the lives and property of British subjects."(n33) He proceeded to Tanna and on 12 August, after the chiefs had refused to answer his summons, shelled two villages and landed 180 men who destroyed huts, canoes, and fruit trees. Six Tannese were killed and several injured. The chiefs thereupon promised to rebuild the mission structures and to prevent any further violence against Europeans. The New Hebrides Mission expressed its appreciation for "the readiness and promptitude" with which the Commodore had "proceeded to... redress [their] grievances;"(n34) and Inglis reported the following year that the operation had "produced the most satisfactory results," for the "natives" were now "quiet and civil."(n35)

The missionaries were also grateful for whatever the naval officers and resident civilian officials did to suppress illegal recruiting, reduce the supply of alcohol and firearms, and prevent the mistreatment of workers on local plantations. They repeatedly assured the Deputy Commissioners of their willingness to assist in measures that would advance the welfare of the New Hebrideans.(n36)

The commanders uniformly testified, according to Alfred Deakin, the prime minister of Australia, that "the performance of their duties has been greatly facilitated on all occasions, and in every possible way" by the Presbyterian missionaries.(n37) As a more settled form of civil administration began to take shape, a British commission voiced the view that "missionaries, . . . with their knowledge of the languages and customs of the people, must prove valuable aids to the Deputy Commissioners."(n38)

One way in which the missionaries helped was to encourage the development of attitudes and patterns of behavior that made it easier to maintain law and order. They urged the islanders to respect the British authorities since they were not only powerful but also fair-minded, to obey their directives, and to rely on the new regime to right the wrongs they suffered at the hands of Europeans rather than to retaliate violently.

Officials were thankful for this contribution. The first Resident Commissioner, Capt. Ernest Rason, wrote, "Were it not for the effects of missionary influence the islands could only be rendered habitable for whites by a war involving the death of a large number of natives and some troops."(n39) After a tour through the New Hebrides in 1906, the High Commissioner for the Western Pacific, Sir Everard Im Thurn, praised the missionaries for having turned many of the "'heathen' . . . into useful and civilized folk," and was happy to report that they were "strongly inclined to place their influence over the natives at the disposal of... Government authorities."(n40) The senior British member of the Joint Naval Commission, Capt. W. H. D'Oyley, later told a London audience that the missionary in the New Hebrides "was doing . . . a great and glorious work for his country; he was instilling into the natives higher views and aims and better habits, and gradually paving the road to civilization."(n41)

There were risks involved in the performance of this function, however, for the New Hebrideans sometimes reacted sharply against the missionaries if they deemed the official response to their grievance unsatisfactory. As a contemporary commentator put it, "When... wrongs continue, the natives naturally conclude that they have been deceived, and visit their displeasure on those who dissuaded them from their natural revenge."(n42)

The missionaries also acted as interpreters and facilitators when naval commanders and Resident Commissioners or their subordinates undertook to explain British purposes to the islanders or to apprehend and punish those who had harmed Europeans. Cmdr. A. H. Markham reported, following a voyage in 1872, that when he reached Futuna, Copeland assembled at his request "the chiefs and as many natives as could be got together" and told them "that it was our earnest desire to prevent their being kidnapped, and that we were equally bound to exert ourselves for their protection, as for the protection of white men." At Tanna he was received by Neilson who took him for a walk through several villages, where he was "civilly treated by the natives," and translated for him their complaints about "the dishonourable and cruel practices of white men."(n43)

Rev. Frederick G. Bowie, who was sent to Santo by the Free Church of Scotland in 1896, related how he performed the same sort of service when the Resident Commissioner visited his island years later: "On October 14, 1925, Mr. Smith-Rewse came here... to meet a large gathering of natives which he had asked me to arrange for him .... He told the people plainly that he could not look lightly upon a crime such as the murder of Mr. Clapcott...; neither would he tolerate wrongs done to natives, and I would pass on to him their complaints."(n44) He arranged a similar meeting the following year, and claimed, indeed, that Smith-Rewse as well as his predecessor, Merton King, relied upon him as the channel for all communication with the "natives" in his vicinity. Although New Hebrideans and Britons were thus proclaimed to be under the same legal obligation, in practice offenders among the former were punished more expeditiously and severely.

When officers arrived to investigate the killing of Europeans, the missionaries were instrumental in gathering information from the local inhabitants and in tracking down the culprits. Bowie provided assistance of this sort repeatedly. Once, in 1923, he persuaded the police commandant to refrain from the use of force, and personally guided the British agent to the interior of Santo where successful negotiations for the delivery of the killers took place.(n45)

The most highly publicized instance of this kind of cooperation occurred when Inglis and Paton took part in the punitive expedition by H.M.S. Curacoa described above. They directed that vessel to the section of Tanna where those who had attacked Paton's station lived, went ashore to deliver the commodore's summons to the chiefs, and beseeched them to comply so as to avoid being shelled. When they refused, the two Scots urged them to evacuate the area to minimize casualties. After the attack, Paton went ashore again to gauge its effects. The chiefs now begged him to relay to the commodore the assurances that he had demanded, and when this was done the ship departed.(n46)

The missionaries were subjected to considerable criticism in Australia and Britain for having colluded in a military operation that killed or injured Tannese, some of whom were innocent as well as defenseless. Particularly censorious were writers in the Sydney press who accused them of acting vindictively and of using gunpowder to force acceptance of the gospel. In an effort to exonerate its agents, the FMC publicized the commodore's statement that "the missionaries were present only as interpreters, and had no responsibility whatever for his conduct," and argued that they were "a means of preventing much bloodshed."(n47)

Another negative consequence of their conduct was that it caused many islanders to view missionaries with disfavor, for they now associated them with brutal and indiscriminate punitive measures. The chiefs of Tanna were unwilling to accept an immediate reactivation of Paton's station for fear that it might be subject to hostile acts beyond their control that would bring on another devastating bombardment. Paton never returned, and Neilson's requests to settle there were refused until 1868.(n48)

The Scots also aided the British authorities by reporting to them violations of regulations designed to protect the local inhabitants from outsiders. In the early years, the naval commanders ordinarily contacted the missionary upon arriving at an island to secure information regarding wrongdoing by Europeans as well as by New Hebrideans. Later the Resident Commissioners encouraged the missionaries to pass on to them complaints by islanders of injuries suffered at the hands of Europeans, for they lacked the staff needed to detect offenses throughout the area. They indicated that they would welcome informal sketchy reports of grievances as well as more detailed and substantiated charges, and would treat both as private and privileged communications. The Resident Commissioners also often asked missionaries for additional information on incidents or situations that had come to official notice from other sources.(n49)

The missionaries were glad to comply with these requests since this might lead not only to the righting of wrongs and to the deterrence of potential wrongdoers, but also to an improvement in their own standing among those they hoped to convert. Recruiters, traders, and planters vilified them as meddlers or police informers, but the Scots saw nothing reprehensible about such cooperation. Reporting breaches of the law was, they maintained, their civic duty, especially since the official enforcement apparatus was so skeletal, and certainly brought them no financial reward.

The Mission Synod agreed in July 1873 that its members should "supply . . . such information as they may possess" and "render every assistance in their power" to commanders of Her Majesty's vessels whenever they arrived to investigate kidnapping.(n50) Two years later the missionaries formally committed themselves to continue their "watchfulness" regarding the labor traffic and to "report any irregularities... to the proper authorities."(n51)

In the 1900s they were quick to relay complaints of mistreatment by planters even from inhabitants of islands visited periodically by the newly installed District Agents, for they had doubts about the will as well as the ability of these officials to discover irregularities. Workers told Bowie that they were afraid to approach the District Agent when he came to Malo because he always stayed at the house of Matthew G. Wells, the largest planter on the island. Their testimony led Bowie to claim that "without the help which we have given the Administration its work in this respect would have been poorer than it is."(n52)

Such reporting was hazardous, however. The missionary was sometimes fed false information or unjustified charges by islanders who had incorrectly perceived a situation or who had ulterior motives, and passing on material of this sort could damage his credibility and prove gravely embarrassing. Bowie declared that he occasionally felt compelled to forward charges without having been able to collect evidence that would prove them: "When nothing is being done to help the aggrieved native in his trouble, and in desperation he comes to us, very often circumstances make it impossible for us to investigate, and we may have to take risks in good faith."(n53) He claimed to exercise "ordinary reasonable care," and continued: "We may make a mistake at an odd time, but if we ran no risks, it is perfectly clear that the natives would go to the wall."(n54)

Moreover, relaying a complaint sometimes provoked the accused and his friends to strike back at the missionary. Neilson found "great indignation" among Europeans that he should "presume to interfere" by reporting in 1874 that certain workers were being held on Tanna beyond their period of engagement, and was told by merchant ship masters that they would no longer carry his mail to Australia.(n55) He and others suspected that settlers sometimes retaliated against a missionary who had exposed their offenses by encouraging their minions to do him harm.

Bowie certainly suffered severe revenge for action that he took on behalf of various islanders against Wells. In August 1925, the missionary informed the Resident Commissioner that the planter had hired two Araki girls in their early teens to work and live on his plantation without their parents' consent, whereupon the official ordered them sent home.(n56)

In March 1928, a Maloese asked Bowie to help him recover his wife who had been induced by one of Wells's workers to join him on the plantation. The missionary first approached Wells, but was rudely rebuffed. In a highly vituperative letter, the planter recalled the Araki girls case, accused Bowie of encouraging and soliciting complaints, and of acting like "a screaming, excitable, hysterical old woman, ready to swallow every cesspool story going round by niggers," affirmed that he was under no obligation to missionaries "or anyone else," and exclaimed: "I've stood enough from you. From now on I will hit back at you and yours."(n57)

Bowie thereupon reported the matter to the Resident Commissioner, George A. Joy, adding that several of Wells's female workers had been illegally recruited and that he had fathered a child, Ben, by a native woman, Wovari, who had deserted her husband, Langi, to become his concubine. Joy ordered an inspection by one of his District Agents in November 1928 and, as the missionary continued to press the issue, by another in March 1929. The second agent arranged for the return home of three women who had been employed without their husbands' consent and a few others who were laboring under the mistaken impression that they were obliged to remain for two years; but Bowie insisted that there were more wrongs to be righted on Wells's plantation.(n58)

Moreover, in December 1928 the missionary forwarded to Joy complaints from four Maloese who had been ordered by Wells to move off land that they were occupying. The planter claimed to be acting on behalf of Wovari and Ben, the widow and son of its recently deceased owner, Langi. The complainants contended that Wovari had no fight to the land and that Ben was actually Wells's son, and Bowie repeated this allegation in his communication to the Commissioner. The latter ordered a District Agent to inquire into the dispute and effect a settlement. He ruled in favor of Wells, but Bowie agitated for a re-examination of the case.(n59)

Wells was so enraged by these efforts that he retaliated in two ways. First, he orchestrated a campaign against the Mission's agent on Malo, a teacher-pastor named Winzi, arranging for complaints that this man was interfering in the lives of that island's inhabitants to reach the Resident Commissioner. The district officer investigated and found the charges proved, whereupon the Commissioner in June 1929 asked the missionaries to transfer Winzi to another island. When they refused, the police removed him from Malo. Bowie was convinced that his associate had not received a full and fair hearing, and demanded a new inquiry. That was granted, but the original finding was not overturned. It could not be denied that Winzi had behaved intrusively on occasion, but Bowie contended that the specific acts at issue either had not occurred as alleged or had been fully warranted. The reviewing officials concluded, however, that he had been deceived by Winzi.(n60)

Wells's second retaliatory move was to sue Bowie in 1930 for criminal libel on account of the statements regarding Ben's paternity that the missionary had included in two letters to the Commissioner, although Bowie had retracted these statements in June 1929 immediately after learning from Paton that the boy was, in fact, not of mixed race. His defense was that he had simply passed on an assertion by complainants who had come to him for help, that he had not questioned their allegations because he had always heard Ben referred to by local people as Wells's son, and that it was the Commissioner, not himself, who had made the allegation public. He argued that he had only acted as officials had previously encouraged him to do in forwarding privately a complaint just as he had received it, so long as he was "reasonably certain" that it was "well-founded."(n61) It was not his responsibility, he contended, nor did he have the authority, to investigate a complaint and collect proof of its validity.

Following a trial at Vila on the island of Efate in March 1931, the Judicial Commissioner for the Western Pacific, Percy C. Hubbard, rendered a verdict of guilty, ordered Bowie to pay a fine of five pounds sterling plus court costs and Wells's legal expenses, and advised him and other missionaries "to be far more careful and circumspect in making allegations."(n62) In reply to a request from Bowie for clarification of the judgment, he wrote: "The profession or vocation of a missionary who sets himself not only to preach the Gospel to natives, but also actively to protect them from all kinds of wrong which may be done to them by white men, is one which has dangers similar to that of a journalist, and must be carried on with the same circumspection. Both of them... carry on a useful work but they must both do so within the limits of the law, and with a true regard to the rights of other people. Neither, as far as his legal liability for libel [is concerned], belongs to a privileged class."(n63)

The contest between Bowie and Wells provided the most dramatic demonstration of the antagonism that sometimes arose not only between missionaries and planters but also between missionaries and officials. The Scots' expectation that they would be able to protect the New Hebrideans and themselves more effectively by relying on support from representatives of the British government was not fully realized, for the latter did not always act as they wished.

Evidence of tension appeared as early as 1889 when Hugh H. Romilly, Deputy Commissioner for the Western Pacific, saw in the missionaries "a curious mixture of the sanctimonious Scotch Presbyterian with... colonial cunning and 'cuteness.'"(n64) Sir Everard Im Thurn qualified his praise for them after his 1906 tour with the comment that their attitude was "slightly disadvantageous," and attributed this to their resentment that officials were displacing them as the dominant governing authority and were sometimes unwilling to follow their advice. He wrote: "These Presbyterian missionaries... have been so long established in those parts, and have so long been unchecked by the concurrent existence of anything representing lay government, that they to some extent feel themselves the real ruling power in the islands, and they are inclined more or less to resent not merely the authority, but even the existence of a lay government."(n65) When the Australian prime minister took exception to this characterization, the High Commissioner insisted on its accuracy, citing "scattered records" and his personal experience as proof that the missionaries had displayed "distinctly hostile" and "opposed" attitudes when naval commanders or resident government agents failed to act in conformity with their wishes.(n66)

Sir Everard also objected at this time to the "native courts" that had been promoted and advised by the Presbyterians on certain islands (by the Scots on Aneityum and Futuna in particular) and that enabled them to play a continuing role in the local judicial process, since he saw these structures as a threat to the authority of the new regime. His Deputy Commissioner in the New Hebrides favored their retention, however, for he believed that the Condominium lacked the capacity to administer justice satisfactorily within each island, and it was not until December 1912 that steps were taken to replace them with courts consisting of four "native assessors" presided over by a Condominium agent.(n67)

The Scots regarded some of the officials as negligent and dilatory, and urged them to be more vigilant in enforcing the regulations and more responsive to their own reports about wrongdoing by traders and planters. They charged that Capt. Rason, the Resident Commissioner from 1902 through 1907, gave so little attention to communications from them regarding trading and recruitment violations that "it is coming to be looked upon as so much wasted time and energy to make a report."(n68) Indeed, they eventually concluded that he was biased against the Mission, for, as Bowie said, he "seemed to be unwilling to listen to any complaints, except groundless ones against missionaries."(n69)

The situation improved under his first two successors, King and Smith-Rewse, but deteriorated during Joy's term which began in 1928. Bowie wrote later: "Experience has taught us that the Government does not find out, perhaps does not wish to find out, irregularities or anything else, and even when they are pointed out to it makes light of them."(n70)

On several occasions Bowie challenged decisions by officials regarding islanders' complaints and appealed to their superiors for redress. An acrimonious confrontation developed when he refused to accept the findings of District Agents regarding the three issues in which Wells was involved--the recruitment of female workers, the seizure of land, and the behavior of Winzi--charging that they had accepted unverified statements, had failed to uncover relevant facts, and had not acted fairly. Unable to obtain satisfaction through appeals to the Resident Commissioner, he laid his objections personally before senior officials at the Colonial Office in October 1929 and February 1930, while home on furlough, despite doubts about the advisability of such action expressed to him by the secretary of the FMC; and managed to secure at that level an order for a fresh examination of the three cases locally.(n71)

The re-investigation was carried out in July 1930 by a commission composed of the Assistant Resident Commissioner and the two District Agents who had conducted the previous inquiries, and it confirmed all of the original findings. The report of its decision seemed intended to humiliate and intimidate the man who had embarrassed its members by his conversations at the Colonial Office. It asserted that Bowie had been "used as a tool by dishonest natives" and had naively accepted "exaggerated and one-sided complaints." He was accused of being "ignorant of Malo customs and not qualified to speak with authority thereon," and his behavior was said to "exemplify how mischievous... can be ill-guided attempts to meddle in native concerns unless by one accustomed and qualified to sift native evidence." Moreover, it went on to declare that his comments regarding Ben's paternity "amount, in law, to criminal libel," thereby encouraging Wells to proceed with legal action against him.(n72) Bowie certainly had a more sophisticated understanding of local conditions than was asserted, but he had responded emotionally to what he perceived as wrongful acts against his proteges, had pursued the alleged wrongdoer obsessively and recklessly, and had been naive in expecting officials on the spot to acknowledge publicly that there had been administrative mistakes.

The Mission Synod and the FMCs of the Presbyterian Churches of Australia and New Zealand urged the Church of Scotland to appeal the decision; but the secretary of its FMC, after receiving legal advice, rejected these entreaties and expressed to Bowie the hope that he would be able to put this matter behind him and get on with his regular educational and religious work.(n73)

Bowie was embittered and diminished by this defeat. He condemned the report as "most unjust," deploring particularly that he "had to be belittled, held up to ridicule as devoid of judgment, with no knowledge of natives or their ways."(n74) It was now evident that his zealous defense of the Maloese had led to a substantial reduction in his ability to protect them from unlawful action. He had so alienated the resident officials by his attacks on their competence and integrity, all the way to London, that they were now most unlikely to respond sympathetically to future messages from him. Moreover, his allegation that Wells was the father of Ben was to result in a judicial ruling which indicated that reporting wrongs against New Hebrideans had become highly risky; and he announced to the High Commissioner after that verdict was issued that he would submit no more reports "unless matters are righted."(n75) In the time that remained before his death on 7 December 1933 brought Scottish missionary activity in the New Hebrides to an end, he persistently sought to vindicate himself through letters to the High Commissioner, but these elicited only silence or advice to let the matter rest.

This episode confirmed the wisdom of a warning given on 13 March 1872 by the one who had initiated that activity. Speaking in Melbourne at the ordination of a young man about to embark on a career like his own, Inglis asserted that a missionary had a duty to do whatever he could to protect the "natives" from "our fellow countrymen," but added that "such interference on the part of the missionary requires to be conducted with great prudence, otherwise he may do more ill than good."(n76)

On the whole, however, it can be argued that the seven clergymen who were sent to the New Hebrides by Scottish churches to convert the heathen did more good than ill by venturing outside the evangelistic sphere, and that can be said even of Bowie when his earlier activities are taken into account. There are negative entries in the records of his predecessors as well--most notably, some would say, the involvement of Inglis and Paton in the bombardment of Tanna--but alongside the faults of them all are the substantial contributions they made to the development and functioning of governmental arrangements that brought a greater degree of order and justice to the islands. The missionaries may be criticized from a nationalist perspective for promoting the establishment of imperial rule and assisting in its operation; but they were far from being "lackeys of imperialism" as they sought to use British naval officers and colonial officials (in addition to local chiefs) to protect the islanders, as well as themselves, from harm.

(n1.) John M. Ward, British Policy in the South Pacific, 1786-1893 (Sydney: Australasian Publishing Co., 1950; reprint, Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1976), 48-49, 156, 298-302; William P. Morrell, Britain in the Pacific Islands (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1960), 203-04, 349-50, 356-57; and Linden A. Mander, "The New Hebrides Condominium," Pacific Historical Review 13 (June 1944): 151-67.

(n2.) Kenneth S. Latourette, A History of the Expansion of Christianity, vol. 5, The Great Century in the Americas, Australasia, and Africa, A.D. 1800 - A.D. 1914 (New York: Harper, 1943), 227-32; and John Garrett, To Live among the Stars: Christian Origins in Oceania (Geneva: World Council of Churches, 1982), 167-69, 172-73, 182.

(n3.) Ron Adams, In the Land of Strangers: A Century of European Contact with Tanna, 1774-1874 (Canberra: Australian National University Press, 1984), 84, 86.

(n4.) Inglis to Stewart Bates, 11 July 1854, Reformed Presbyterian Magazine (hereinafter RPM), February 1855, 69.

(n5.) Ibid., 70-71.

(n6.) Inglis to John Kay, 12 November 1859, RPM, July 1860, 240.

(n7.) Inglis to John Graham, 9 September 1856, RPM, April 1857, 133; and Inglis, "Fifth Annual Report of the Reformed Presbyterian Synod's Mission to the New Hebrides, 23 July, 1857," RPM, March 1858, 86.

(n8.) Inglis to William Symington, 22 January 1859, RPM, September 1859, 297.

(n9.) John Inglis, Bible Illustrations from the New Hebrides with Notices of the Progress of the Mission (London: Nelson, 1890), 196.

(n10.) Ibid., 193.

(n11.) Inglis to Graham, 9 September 1856, 133.

(n12.) Inglis, "Fifth Annual Report," 86.

(n13.) William Gunn, The Gospel in Futuna (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1914), 211.

(n14.) Inglis to Kay, 12 November 1859, 240.

(n15.) Neilson to John Kay, 25 December 1868, RPM, August 1869, 297.

(n16.) John Kay, "Report of the Committee on Foreign Missions to Synod, Glasgow, 6 May 1868," RPM, June 1868, 223.

(n17.) Inglis to Ministers and Members of Churches Supporting the New Hebrides Mission, 15 June 1871, in The Slave Trade in the New Hebrides, ed. John Kay (Edinburgh: Edmonston and Douglas, 1872), 18.

(n18.) Inglis, "Fifth Annual Report," 88.

(n19.) Paton to John Kay, 1 November 1860, RPM, May 1861, 165-66.

(n20.) Inglis to John Graham, 17 December 1857, RPM, July 1858, 224.

(n21.) Quoted in John Kay, "Report of the Committee on Foreign Missions to Synod, Glasgow, 6 May 1874," RPM, June 1874, 219.

(n22.) Ward, British Policy in the South Pacific, 234-36, 264-66; and Deryek Scarr, Fragments of Empire: A History of the Western Pacific High Commission, 1877-1914 (Canberra: Australian National University Press, 1968), 22-35.

(n23.) Free Church of Scotland Foreign Missions Committee (hereinafter FCS FMC), Minutes 7 (18 July 1882): 160, National Library of Scotland, Edinburgh, DEP 298 (112).

(n24.) Morrell, Britain in the Pacific Islands, 203-04, 349-50; and Scarr, Fragments of Empire, 207-16.

(n25.) FCS FMC, Minutes 7 (18 July 1882): 160.

(n26.) "Free Church Deputation and Lord Derby," Free Church Monthly and Missionary Record, March 1883, 66.

(n27.) FCS FMC, Minutes 7 (22 June 1886): 410.

(n28.) Smith to Sir Edward Grey, 2 February 1906, United Free Church of Scotland Foreign Missions Committee (hereinafter UFCS FMC), Letter-books of the Secretaries, National Library of Scotland, MS 7779, f. 733; UFCS FMC, Minutes, 127 (27 February 1906): 253, National Library of Scotland, DEP 298 (127); and Mander, "The New Hebrides Condominium," 151-54.

(n29.) "Appendix: The Churches' Indictment against the Condominium in the New Hebrides," in Gunn, Gospel in Futuna, 304.

(n30.) Ashcroft to William Gunn and to Fred Bowie, 27 February 1914, UFC FMC, Foreign Letter Books of the Secretaries and Other Officials, July 1913 - July 1914, National Library of Scotland, MS 7680, ff. 591, 597.

(n31.) Inglis to John Kay, 24 October 1872, RPM, March 1873, 98.

(n32.) Paton to John Kay, 14 October 1859, RPM, February 1860, 70.

(n33.) John G. Paton, "Sir William Wiseman's Visit to the New Hebrides," RPM, February 1866, 67.

(n34.) Minute quoted in Inglis to Sir William Wiseman, 18 August 1865, RPM, February 1866, 70.

(n35.) Inglis to J. Oswald Dykes, 2 June 1866, RPM, November 1866, 418.

(n36.) J.W. Mackenzie to Capt. Ernest Rason, 25 June 1903, 4, UFCS FMC, New Hebrides File, 1900-10, National Library of Scotland, ACC 7548, D31a; and Minutes of the New Hebrides Presbyterian Mission Synod (hereinafter NHPMS), Nguna, 24 June 1904, 13, and Minutes of NHPMS, Erromanga, 14 June 1905, 9, New Hebrides File.

(n37.) "Despatch from Alfred Deakin to the Governor-General of Australia, 4 December 1906," Australasia. Further Correspondence relating to... the New Hebrides, June 1907, Cd. 3525 (1907), 4.

(n38.) Report of a Commission Appointed to Inquire into the Working of the Western Pacific Orders in Council, February 1884, C. 3905 (1884), 27.

(n39.) Rason to Mackenzie, 1 July 1903, 4, New Hebrides File.

(n40.) "Appendix: Report by the High Commissioner for the Western Pacific on a Visit to the New Hebrides, June-August 1906," Australasia. Correspondence relating to . . . the New Hebrides, January 1907, Cd. 3288 (1907), 74.

(n41.) "The Greatest Asset to Civilization," Missionary Record of the United Free Church of Scotland (hereinafter Missionary Record), September 1908, 407.

(n42.) "The Wider Field," Missionary Record, May 1908, 226.

(n43.) Albert H. Markham, The Cruise of the "Rosario" amongst the New Hebrides and Santa Cruz Islands (London: Low, Marston, and Searle, 1873), 226, 228.

(n44.) Bowie to R. D. Blandy, 7 February 1931, 3, United Free Church and Church of Scotland Foreign Missions Committees, New Hebrides Correspondence and Papers, 1923-31, National Library of Scotland, ACC 7548, D32.

(n45.) F. G. Bowie, "A Strange Tragedy in the New Hebrides," Record of the Home and Foreign Mission Work of the United Free Church of Scotland, February 1924, 76-77.

(n46.) Paton, "Sir William Wiseman's Visit," 68-69; and John Inglis, "The Cruise of H.M.S. 'Curacoa' among the Islands of the New Hebrides, 1865," RPM, May 1866, 176-79.

(n47.) John Kay to the Editor, 12 November 1866, RPM, December 1866, 452-53; and "Report of the Committee on Foreign Missions to Synod, May 1867," RPM, July 1867, 250.

(n48.) Neilson to John Kay, 30 November 1867, RPM, April 1868, 128; and Neilson to Kay, 26 August 1868, RPM, February 1869, 67.

(n49.) John Inglis to John Graham, 17 December 1857, RPM, July 1858, 224; Markham, Cruise of the "Rosario," 51; Bowie to George Smith, 22 December 1902, 8, New Hebrides File; and Bowie to Blandy, 7 February 1931, 3-4, 6-7; Bowie to George A. Joy, 16 August 1929, 10; Bowie to A. K. Langridge, 13 January 1931; Memorandum by Bowie, "Charge of Criminal Libel," 2 March 1931, 1-2; and Bowie to Robert Forgan, 8 September 1930, 5, 8, New Hebrides Correspondence and Papers.

(n50.) "Minutes of the New Hebrides Mission Synod, Aneityum, 15 July 1873," RPM, January 1874, 21.

(n51.) "Minutes of the New Hebrides Mission Synod, Aneityum, 25 May 1875," RPM, February 1876, 49.

(n52.) Bowie to Langridge, 23 March 1931, 3, New Hebrides Correspondence and Papers.

(n53.) Bowie to M. Fletcher, 26 June 1931, 8, New Hebrides Correspondence and Papers.

(n54.) Bowie to Langridge, 23 March 1931, 3, New Hebrides Correspondence and Papers.

(n55.) Neilson to John Kay, 1 July 1874, RPM, December 1874, 413-14.

(n56.) Bowie to G. B. Smith-Rewse, 22 August 1925 and 20 October 1925, New Hebrides Correspondence and Papers.

(n57.) Wells to Bowie, 20 March 1928, 2, 5, New Hebrides Correspondence and Papers.

(n58.) Bowie to Joy, 17 March 1928, Joy to Bowie, 20 Aug. 1929, 1-2, and Bowie to Undersecretary of State, Colonial Office, 6 January 1930, 3-4, and 24 January 1930, 1-2, New Hebrides Correspondence and Papers.

(n59.) Memorandum by Bowie, "The Langi Land Case," n. d., Bowie to Joy, 16 August 1929, 2, 8; G. Jones, Colonial Office, to Bowie, 24 December 1929, and Bowie to Undersecretary of State, Colonial Office, 24 January 1930, 2, New Hebrides Correspondence and Papers.

(n60.) Joy to Clerk of the NHPMS, 8 June 1929; Bowie to Joy, 24 June 1929, 2, and 16 August 1929, 1-7, 9; Bowie to Undersecretary of State, Colonial Office, 6 January 1930, 4; and "Malo Enquiry. Brief Memorandum," enclosed with joy to Clerk of the NHPMS, No. 448, n. d. [4 August 1930], New Hebrides Correspondence and Papers.

(n61.) Bowie, "Charge of Criminal Libel," 2, New Hebrides Correspondence and Papers.

(n62.) His Britannic Majesty's High Commissioner's Court for the Western Pacific, "Judgment in Libel Case, 4 March 1931," 11, New Hebrides Correspondence and Papers.

(n63.) Hubbard to Bowie, 7 March 1931, 1-2, New Hebrides Correspondence and Papers.

(n64.) Hugh H. Romilly, Letters from the Western Pacific and Mashonaland 1878-1891 (London: Nutt, 1893), 364.

(n65.) "Report by the High Commissioner," 74.

(n66.) "Despatch from the High Commissioner to the Secretary of State, 22 February 1907," cd. 3525 (1907), 9.

(n67.) Scarr, Fragments of Empire, 237, 246.

(n68.) Thomson Macmillan et al. to Alfred Deakin, 13 June 1906, 6, New Hebrides File.

(n69.) Bowie to Smith, 27 September 1906, 1, New Hebrides File.

(n70.) Bowie to Forgan, 8 September 1930, 4, New Hebrides Correspondence and Papers.

(n71.) Bowie to Forgan, 29 October 1929 and 13 February 1930, 1-2, New Hebrides Correspondence and Papers; Forgan to Bowie, 16 September 1929, 1, UFCS and Church of Scotland FMC, Foreign Letter Books of the Secretaries and other Officials, June 1929 - July 1931, National Library of Scotland, MS 7690, f. 208.

(n72.) "Malo Enquiry," 1-3, New Hebrides Correspondence and Papers.

(n73.) T. Macmillan to Forgan, 30 August 1930, Alex Fleming to Forgan, 9 October 1930, and W. Mawson to Forgan, 19 December 1930, 1-2, New Hebrides Correspondence and Papers; and Forgan to Bowie, 19 March 1931, 1-2, and 15 June 1931, Church of Scotland, Correspondence of Dr. Forgan, 1930-35, National Library of Scotland, ACC 7548, C212.

(n74.) Bowie to Blandy, 7 February 1931, 1-2, New Hebrides Correspondence and Papers.

(n75.) Bowie to Fletcher, 26 June 1931, 13, New Hebrides Correspondence and Papers.

(n76.) John Inglis, "The Duties of a Christian Missionary to the New Hebrides," RPM, July 1872, 256.


By J.H. Proctor

J.H. Proctor (A.B. Duke University; M.A., Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy; Ph-D., Harvard University) is Charles A. Dana Professor Emeritus of Political Science at Davidson College, Davidson, North Carolina. His articles have appeared in Parliaments, Estates and Representation, South Asia, Middle Eastern Studies, Journal of Church and State, and The Muslim World. Special interests include comparative and international politics. This article is based on research conducted in Edinburgh. Thanks to Professor Daniel Kempton, Northern Illinois University, for reading early versions of this essay and Ila Lees, Toccoa Falls College, for proofreading the final version.


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