Muscular Christianity

You probably saw this story, but may have missed the robust demonstration of Victorian values.

…four Fijian missionaries were on a proselytising mission on the island of New Britain when they were massacred by Tolai tribesmen in 1878.

They were murdered on the orders of a local warrior chief, Taleli, and were then cooked and eaten…

Thousands of villagers attended a reconciliation ceremony near Rabaul, the capital of East New Britain province, once notorious for the ferocity of its cannibals.

Their leaders apologised for their forefather’s taste for human flesh to Fiji’s high commissioner to Papua New Guinea.

So far, so touchy-feely.

But the unfortunate Fijians were under the command of a doughty British clergyman, and he was not amused:

He reluctantly agreed to launch a punitive expedition, ordering his men to burn down villages implicated in the murders and destroy wooden canoes.

At least 10 tribe members blamed for the attack were killed in an area known as Blanche Bay. Rev Brown claimed the raids made the region safe for Europeans.

In a letter to the general secretary of the London Missionary Society he wrote: “The natives respect us more than they did, and as they all acknowledge the justice of our cause they bear us no ill will.”

That’s the stuff.


3 Responses to Muscular Christianity

  1. Jay says:

    Wow, you know you’ve really gone over the line when a Reverend is ticked off enough to burn down your village.

    “Their leaders apologised for their forefather’s taste for human flesh”

    But not their own . . .

  2. gandalf says:


    It proves the old adage “A few burned villages & 10 whacked cannibals in time makes the survivors acknowledge the justice of our cause”.

    Not very catchy though.

  3. Jocuri faine says:

    Thanks! cannot wait to read more from you

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