In March 1886, John Bryce sued G. W. Rusden for libel, legal proceedings that took place in London. The former individual was Native Minister in the Hall, Whitaker, & Atkinson ministries in New Zealand, and the latter was an author and retired civil servant based in Melbourne. Bryce’s suit challenged the accuracy of several passages in Rusden’s three volume History of New Zealand (1883). The trial attracted considerable attention at the time although since then only a very few historians have examined it in any detail. This seminar will situate the trial within the broader context of events in New Zealand and in London. In both places, the 1880s were a critical decade for discussions of Empire, a context that suggests the trial’s significance. It was one in a series of events in which the participants attempted to influence contemporary opinion on the colonization of New Zealand.
Jeremy Mouat is a professor of history at the University of Alberta in Canada, and currently is a visiting academic with the Stout Centre.
Date: Tuesday 21 March 2017
Time: 4.10pm to 5.30pm (tea and coffee at 3.45pm)
Venue:Stout Research Centre, 12 Waiteata Road, Kelburn, Wellington