Missionary Imperialists? examines the frontiers of empire in tropical Africa and the south-west Pacific in the Mid-Victorian era. Its central theme is the role played by British Protestant missionaries in imperial development and a continuous thread is the interaction between the missions and those in government, both London and in the colonies.
An introductory chapter examines the main missionary societies involved in this study. This is followed by six detailed case studies, three from the south-west Pacific (the Pacific labor trade, Fiji, and New Guinea) and three from tropical Africa (the Gambia, Lagos and Yorubaland, and East Africa). The crucial importance of influential missionary supporters in Britain is noted as its missionary involvement in wider campaigning networks with other humanitarian groups.
The book argues that where missionaries did aid imperial development it was largely incidental, an "imperialism of result" rather than an "imperialism of intent" to use the categories of Cain and Hopkins. It will be seen that although there were a few dedicated imperialists in the missionary ranks, and others gradually became convinced that the future of their particular mission and its people would be most secure under British jurisdiction, the majority had no such enthusiasm. Yet this did not mean that they had no effect on imperial development. Campaigns against both slavery and indentured labor inevitably raised the profile and influence of Europeans on the imperial frontier thus shifting a fragile balance in their direction. Most importantly, by their very presence on the frontiers of empire and as providers of education and European moral and spiritual values, missionaries became incidental and sometimes unintentional but nevertheless effective agents of imperialism.
Endorsements & Reviews-
"We can be grateful to Dr. Darch for this admirably written and scholarly contribution to a growing literature of reassessment of the missionary contribution . . . I hope that this text will be widely studied by historians and missiologists alike." -- Timothy Yates, Honorary Fellow of St. John's College, University of Durham, and Canon Emeritus of Derby Cathedral.
"John Darch's valuable book provides fresh insight into the hotly disputed topic of the missionary contribution to the growth of the British Empire and further evidence of how ambiguous this contribution actually was." -- Brian Stanley is Professor of World Christianity and Director of the Centre for the Study of World Christianity, University of Edinburgh
"Dr. John Darch's careful, scholarly, and wide-ranging study throws important and subtle light on the relationship of Protestant Victorian missionaries and British imperialism. By tracing the labyrinthine ambiguities of that relationship--from unconscious missionary support to conscious opposition--Dr. Darch provides not only a significant historical exploration but also a richer understanding of the complexities and challenges of cross-cultural mission." --Peter Williams is a Canon Emeritus of Sheffield Cathedral and Vicar of St. Martin de Gouray, Jersey
"John Darch's six detailed case studies of missionary activities on the 'imperial frontier in the tropics' during the years 1860-1885 add further insights into the ongoing debate about Christian missionary ties to imperial enterprises, demonstrating that while missionaries frequently embraced opportunities offered by British expansion overseas, such expansion was not deemed to be a necessary or always helpful prerequisite in their work of extending the gospel.' -- Colin Eldridge is Professor of History at the University of Wales, Lampeter
John H. Darch Timothy Yates
John H. Darch read history at the University of Wales, Lampeter, where he later returned to research for his doctorate. He taught history in two London schools before ordination into the Anglican ministry. After parish ministry in Shrewsbury, Chester and Hyde he lectured in Church History at St. John's College, Nottingham. He is currently Director of Ordinands and Initial Ministerial Education for the Church of England's Blackburn Diocese.