Bishop in the Dock

The Sedition Trial of James Liston in New Zealand

By Rory Sweetman

'I am a native of New Zealand and I love my country very well. In every land the children of Ireland this day are gathered by some common and holy impulse to rejoice that at long last they have won some measure of freedom and to hope that for complete deliverance from the house of bondage.' --- Bishop James Liston's speech to his Auckland flock on St Patrick's Day 1922, attempting to reassure them about recent events in Ireland was greeted with fervent applause from his largely Irish-Catholic audience. However, the New Zealand Herald's report of the event, which had Liston sneering at the British Empire, praising dead Irish rebels, and describing Crown forces as 'foreign murderers' caused a furore. Liston was charged with making a seditious utterance, becoming the first Catholic Bishop in the British Empire to be tried for his political opinions. Bishop in the Dock tells the story of this explosive episode and brings to light the sectarian dimension of New Zealand's past. Drawing on previously unexplored sources, the author presents a picture of a Catholic community wrestling with its troubled Irish heritage, and with issues of assimilation and identity in the hysterically pro-British atmosphere of 1920s New Zealand. --- The Irish Abroad - General Editor: Ruan O'Donnell, University of Limerick - This new series aims to publish short biographies of Irish men and women who made their mark outside their native country. Accounts of those who settled permanently overseas will be published along with the life stories of temporary residents and involuntary emigrants. Expatriates of all types will be considered whether explorers, travellers, military personnel, colonial pioneers, members of religious orders, professionals, politicians, revolutionaries, exiles or convicts. While it is envisaged that the majority of the subjects would have gone overseas during the early modern and modern period, persons from different times may also be deemed appropriate for inclusion. Most titles will concern the Irish in North America, the former territories of the British Empire (including Australasia) and Great Britain, although it is intended that biographies of those who journeyed to Spanish America, the West Indies, Africa, Continental Europe and other non-English speaking sectors will form part of the series. Men and women of Irish extraction will also merit inclusion if it is evident that their perceived ethnicity and family origins played a significant part in their careers. A number of autobiographies will be selected for republication with critical introductions by leading scholars.~

332 pages

Publication Date: 1/1/2007
Format: Paper
ISBN: 9780716533979

Available in other formats