A Maiden of Mauritius
By John Gorrie Edited by Judy Allen, Jean Ayler, Marina Carter and Shawkat M. Toorawa
John Gorrie was a respected colonial judge, albeit defiantly and decidedly not on the side of the ruling classes in the territories where he was posted. He believed that everyone - irrespective of race - was equal before the law, and in all his postings worked to make justice accessible to all and to protect the underdog. His beliefs and efforts were not universally welcomed – especially by elements of those ruling classes.
His unpublished novel was discovered almost a century after his death. It makes a significant contribution to unravelling the complex legacy of empire as well as offering new insights into the life and work of this early champion of equal human rights.
John Gorrie was born in Scotland, son of a United Presbyterian Minister. Educated at the University of Edinburgh, and called to the Scottish Bar. In 1862 he became a leader-writer on The Morning Starbefore beginning colonial life with a posting to Jamaica and then to Mauritius in 1869 initially as Substitute Procureur-General, and then puisne (junior) Judge. Later postings included Fiji as Chief Justice, Chief Judicial Commissioner of the Western Pacific High Commission. After being knighted in 1881, he was Chief Justice successively of the Leeward Islands, Trinidad, and of the united Trinidad and Tobago until 1892.
Series Editors’ Preface
Preface by Judy Allen
Introduction by Marina Carter and Shawkat M. Toorawa
A Note on the Edition
A Maiden of Mauritius
Biography of John Gorrie by Judy Allen
Judy Allen, John Gorrie's great-great granddaughter, is an award-winning writer of books for children and the editor of a radio reading of The Diary of Minnie Gorrie by John Gorrie's eldest daughter.
Jean Ayler, descended from John Gorrie's brother Daniel, has undertaken extensive research into Gorrie family history over many years. Through this she met Judy Allen and also Gorrie scholar, Bridget Brereton. She provided information for Professor Brereton's biography of Gorrie, Law, Justice and Empire (1997).
Marina Carter is a historian and currently a researcher on the Arts & Humanities Research Council-funded 'Becoming Coolies' project at the University of Edinburgh. She has published widely in the field of Mauritian studies with a particular emphasis on the study of the Indian labour diaspora.
Shawkat M. Toorawa teaches Arabic, comparative, Near Eastern and world literatures at Cornell University. He recently edited and translated Flame Tree Lane/Lenpas Flanbwayan (2012), a novella by Mauritian author, Dev Virahsawmy.