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The British Zion

Congregationalism, Politics, and Empire, 1790-1850

Michael A. Rutz

Publication Year: 2011

Drawing upon extensive archival research and a wide range of secondary sources, The British Zion traces congregationalist missionaries’ involvement in domestic and colonial politics in early nineteenth-century Britain. As Michael A. Rutz ably demonstrates, evangelical nonconformists actively campaigned from both the Empire’s metropolitan centers and its periphery to extend religious liberty and civil equality in Britain, open colonial territories to evangelization, abolish slavery, and secure civil rights for indigenous peoples. Moving beyond the dichotomizing pictures of evangelical missionaries as either the advance forces of colonial domination or innocuous humanitarians and educators, Rutz carefully examines the humanitarian and theological impulses of the missionary movement while critically examining its political, social, and cultural impact within the larger development of the British Empire.

Published by: Baylor University Press


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Table of Contents

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pp. vii-vii

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pp. ix-x

Every book is a collaborative effort. My name might appear alone on the cover, but I cannot take sole credit for this work. I offer my most sincere thanks to all of the persons and institutions that contributed to its The staff at Baylor University Press have been patient, encouraging, and professional throughout this process. I am grateful to them for the...

List of Abbreviations

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pp. xi-xii

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pp. 1-8

This book examines the intersection among religion, politics, and empire in early nineteenth-century Britain. The primary subject is the advent of the political activity of evangelical Dissenters and its influence on the activities of the predominantly Congregationalist missionaries of the London Missionary Society (LMS) between the years...

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1. The Evangelical Revival and the Origins of the Missionary Movement

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pp. 9-29

On the evening of 4 November 1794, eight men gathered at the Baker’s Coffeehouse, a regular meeting place for London ministers, to discuss the creation of an organization to promote foreign missions. Two of these ministers, John Eyre and Matthew Wilks, inspired by the writings of an Anglican chaplain to Sierra Leone, Melvill Horne, had organized fortnightly meetings for prayer and discussion of the missionary cause.1 Within a short time...

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2. Itinerancy, Religious Liberty, and the Rise of Evangelical Politics

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pp. 31-51

In May 1811 Henry Addington, Viscount Sidmouth brought before the House of Lords a bill to address “the abuses which had arisen in the interpretation and the execution” of the Toleration Acts, which had protected nonconformists’ freedom of religious worship since 1689.1 The origins of Sidmouth’s bill lay in the growth of evangelical nonconformity...

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3. The Missionary Movement and the Politics of Abolition

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pp. 53-74

“And, after all, it is merely about a poor missionary!” the antislavery MP Henry Brougham declared to the House of Commons, mocking the arguments of his opponents who would “shut [their] ears against all complaints” regarding the trial and condemnation of the missionary John Smith. Smith, an agent of the London Missionary Society (LMS) in the colony of Demerara...

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4. Missionary Politics in Britain and the Cape Colony

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pp. 75-96

In 1825 James Kitchingman, the London Missionary Society (LMS) missionary at Bethelsdorp in the Cape Colony, received a communication from colonial officials regarding the collection of annual property taxes, called the opgaaf. In order to avoid “difficulties experienced at the last opgaaf,” the dispatch instructed Kitchingman to...

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5. Church, State, and Dissenting Politics in the Age of Reform

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pp. 97-113

The constitutional sea change of the reform era produced the next dramatic shift in the scope and character of evangelical dissenting politics. The repeal of the Test Acts, parliamentary reform, and the reconstruction of municipal governments made participation in the political life of the nation accessible to Dissenters in unprecedented numbers. Celebrating the passing...

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6. Church, Race, and Conflict in the Cape Missions

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pp. 115-140

In 1836 John Philip returned to Britain to testify before the parliamentary committee investigating the condition of the aboriginal peoples of the British Empire. Nearly a decade after his successful campaign to ensure the civil equality of the colonial Khoi, and as conflicts intensified on the eastern frontier, Philip had come again to press for the reform of colonial policy in southern Africa. He brought with him two African converts, Andries...

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pp. 141-146

As the members of the London Missionary Society (LMS) community at Hankey carried the body of John Philip to his grave in late August 1851, the prospects for the LMS missions’ political and economic agenda looked bleak. The humanitarian lobby had lost much of its considerable influence in London, and the wars on the eastern frontier had made the opposition of the colonial government and the white population to African advance- ...


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pp. 147-171


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pp. 173-185


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pp. 187-189

E-ISBN-13: 9781602584761
E-ISBN-10: 1602584761
Print-ISBN-13: 9781602582057
Print-ISBN-10: 160258205X

Page Count: 200
Publication Year: 2011

Edition: 1st

OCLC Number: 768314671
MUSE Marc Record: Download for The British Zion

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Subject Headings

  • Missions -- Great Britain -- History -- 19th century.
  • Great Britain -- Church history -- 19th century.
  • Evangelicalism -- Great Britain -- History -- 19th century.
  • Missions -- South Africa -- History -- 19th century.
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