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Robert Morrison and the Protestant Plan for China

authored by Christopher Daily

Publication Year: 2013

Sent alone to China by the London Missionary Society in 1807, Robert Morrison (1782–1834) was one of the earliest Protestant missionaries in East Asia. During some 27 years in China, Macau and Malacca, he worked as a translator for the East India Company and founded an academy for converts and missionaries; independently, he translated the New Testament into Chinese and compiled the first Chinese-English dictionary. In the process, he was building the foundation of Chinese Protestant Christianity. This book critically explores the preparations and strategies behind this first Protestant mission to China. It argues that, whilst introducing Protestantism into China, Morrison worked to a standard template developed by his tutor David Bogue at the Gosport Academy in England. By examining this template alongside Morrison’s archival collections, the book demonstrates the many ways in which Morrison’s influential mission must be seen within the historical and ideological contexts of British evangelism. The result is this new interpretation of the beginnings of Protestant Christianity in China.

Published by: Hong Kong University Press, HKU


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p. 1-1

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. 2-9


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pp. ix-x

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pp. xi-xiv

I acknowledge with gratitude the many people who have helped me with this project. In particular, I wish to thank all of the librarians who played a key role throughout the research process, especially the archivists at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), including Lance Martin, Jo Ichimura, and Susannah Rayner. ...

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pp. 1-14

Robert Morrison (1782–1834), the first Protestant missionary to operate in China, was sent alone to his East Asian post by the London Missionary Society (LMS) in 1807. He spent more than half of his life (he died at his station in Guangzhou, China) planting a foothold in China for the benefit of the Protestant missionary movement, ...

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Chapter 1. The Birth of British Evangelicalism and the Disappointment of the Earliest LMS Missions

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pp. 15-36

This story begins in 1660 with the restoration of the House of Stuart, commenced by Parliament’s offering of the throne to an exiled Charles II and the consequent conclusion of the period of parliamentary and military rule known as the English Interregnum. At this stage in its history, England was recovering from involvement in the Thirty Years’ War (1618–48), ...

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Chapter 2. The New Approach to Missions: Gosport Academy and David Bogue’s Strategy

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pp. 37-82

Guided by the ‘Report on Missionary Training’, presented in the previous chapter, David Bogue began to develop a three-year training programme which included lessons on biblical languages, evangelical theologies, rhetoric skills, and mission histories. Since ‘the design [of the programme] being to confine their education to theology, ...

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Chapter 3. Looking towards China: Morrison’s Work in London and the Voyage to China

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pp. 83-106

Speaking at Gosport, David Bogue estimated that at the time of Morrison’s studentship the world’s population consisted of 600,000,000 pagans, 200,000,000 of which were ‘Mahometans’ and at least 3,000,000 of which were Jews.1 He further approximated that these 600,000,000 ‘heathen’ were dispersed throughout a vast range of nations, ...

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Chapter 4. Communicating the Gospel to China: Robert Morrison Uses Bogue’s Programme to Propagate to the Chinese

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pp. 107-158

On September 4, 1807 the Trident docked on the coast of Macau and on September 6, 1807,1 more than seven months after departing Great Britain, Robert Morrison arrived at Shamian Island, below the city walls of Canton.2 While in Macau he met with George Staunton and other East India Company officials, such as William Chalmers, ...

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Chapter 5. The Ultra Ganges Mission Station, a Printing Centre, and the Final Educational Step of the Template

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pp. 159-192

As already noted, William Milne began translating David Bogue’s lecture notes for the China Mission’s seminary at the beginning of 18141 and he continued to work on this translation during his tour of Southeast Asia.2 He acknowledged that translating the tutor’s notes was valiant,3 but he predicted that the directors would be pleased with the plan: ...

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pp. 193-200

After Robert Morrison’s death in 1834, his pioneering mission became the focus of a hagiographical discourse. Such writings narrated the pioneering mission as phenomenal, drawing attention to its chain of accomplishments, whilst failing to get to grips with the complex processes through which they were obtained by the missionary. ...


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pp. 201-238


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pp. 239-254


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pp. 255-261

E-ISBN-13: 9789888180974
Print-ISBN-13: 9789888208036

Page Count: 272
Publication Year: 2013