- An Anglican British World: The Church of England and the expansion of the settler empire, c. 1790–1860 by Joseph Hardwick, and: Mighty England Do Good: Culture, Faith, Empire, and World in the Foreign Missions of the Church of England, 1850–1915 by Steven S. Maughan
These volumes represent major contributions to the history of Anglican mission in the context of British imperialism. Broad in scope, both explore the complex religious, political, and cultural networks inside and outside England that drove Christian mission. Joseph Hardwick’s An Anglican British World: The Church of England and the expansion of the settler empire, c. 1790–1860 is concerned first and foremost with settlers and the clergy who served them. It will serve as a definitive study of the relationships between the Church of England and the early period of reform politics throughout the settler empire, most especially in Upper Canada, the Cape Colony, and New South Wales. Drawing on extensive archival work, Hardwick traces the networks of people and clergy across continents, outlining the many problems they faced in finance and broader support. He relates the issues on the ground in the different colonies to the supply of money and labor for the work of the Church in both England and Ireland. Bishops and others who might have enjoyed a particular prestige at home were forced to work with mission societies and voluntary communities upon whose support they relied. Furthermore, other relationships, such as that with the Indian church in South Africa or the American Episcopal Church in Canada, made the networks more complex.
The complex methods used in clergy recruitment are exhaustively explored in chapter 1. These gradually developed over the period under discussion as the colonial authorities surrendered their control over appointments. At the beginning of the period there were often remarkably low standards among colonial clergy, although matters improved after educational institutions were provided for the training of a local clergy. Senior leaders tended to be appointed through domestic and colonial patronage networks. As the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel (SPG) came to be dominated by High Churchmen, there was greater potential for conflict between colonial governments and Bishops. In general, however, church leaders, even when they represented a church party, tended toward moderation: “the high churchmen who were influenced by Tractarianism preferred to build a popular and representative Church rather than a Tractarian one” (57).
There were obvious issues over voluntarism and establishment, which were expressed differently in the different colonies, as well as over how far the Church of England could be seen as an international body co-extensive with the spread of Empire. As Bishops came to accept the voluntary nature of the Church as a spiritual institution, the colonial laity discussed in detail in chapter 2 came to assume great importance in shaping the churches. In this under-researched field, Hardwick painstakingly shows how lay networks were established in the colonial churches. He looks at finances, institutions, and church associations in the different colonies. As a voluntary association, the colonial church posed particular problems for those entrusted with authority. This fact emerges clearly in [End Page 173] chapter 3, where the Colonial Bishoprics’ Fund is discussed in detail. Missionary bishops very quickly found that they had to work with laity, as is revealed in the Episcopate of Robert Gray of Cape Town. Financing the settler churches also posed serious problems, as chapter 4 illustrates.
Overall, Hardwick’s book is a major contribution to the history of the colonial church, which was conservative in that it tended towards loyalty and patriotism, while also paving the way for future reform as it was forced into laicisation. Nevertheless, Hardwick concludes that, even though they were voluntary associations, the churches continued to play a major role...