- "The Most Infamous Degradation of the Honour of Civil Government": The Turton Job and the sexual politics of colonial rule in 1830s Britain and British North America
- Journal of Colonialism and Colonial History
- Johns Hopkins University Press
- Volume 21, Number 1, Spring 2020
- View Citation
- Additional Information
This article interrogates the histories of political manhood and settler self-government in Britain and British North America in the 1830s. It zeroes in on the transimperial scandal that erupted over Thomas Turton—a "man of infamous immorality"—whose association with, and appointment to, Lord Durham's 1838 administration was bound up in shifting notions of gender, sexuality and colonial rule. The debates over Turton's transgressive heterosexuality in the press, the halls of Parliament and secret Colonial Office dispatches and private correspondence capture how questions about a man's sexual comportment could trouble colonial rule. The sexual politics of the Turton Job, therefore, demonstrate that matters of intimacy were differently mobilized in metropolitan and colonial contexts as politicized tools to question the fitness of selves and governments, and the integrity of the empire itself.