The Journalist in the rectory: Angican clergyman and Australian intellectual life, 1788-1850 Gladwin, Michael

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Author
Gladwin, Michael
Appears In
History Australia
Subjects
Clergy -- Social aspects; Journalism -- History; Clergy -- History
Audience
Academic
Summary
In the popular historical imagination, colonial Anglican clergymen have tended to be remembered more for their flogging than for their writing. The Anglican clergy's contribution to public life has been assessed mainly in relation to their preaching to convicts and their sectarian battles over education. Yet several Anglican clergymen were columnists, editors or founders of major newspapers and literary journals before 1850, a contribution to intellectual life which has been obscured in part because many clergymen wrote anonymously or under noms de plume to avoid libel suits. Two issues to which clergyman-journalists made especially important contributions were the understanding of Australian Aborigines during a period of increasing conflict, both on the frontier and in intellectual enquiry, and public discussion of the scientific discovery and exploration of Australia. Their writings, I argue, reveal the ways in which they sought to frame intellectual debate on key concerns in terms of a distinctly Christian and Enlightenment-inflected vision of the social and moral order. At the same time, their journalism sheds light on both the intellectual underpinnings of public debate and a tension in clerical thought between humanitarian interest in Aboriginal peoples and a desire for colonial expansion and progress. The clergy's attempts to refine the colonial life of the mind also reveal them at the heart of a nascent national literary culture, rather than as merely proponents of a nostalgic 'literature of exile'. In turn, their journalism suggests a more influential role in public life than has generally been allowed. This article was supported by a CAL/AHA bursary in 2009 and has been peer-reviewed.
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https://trove.nla.gov.au/work/80115789
Work ID
80115789

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