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A missionary caught ‘in-between’? - The ambiguous nature of British Protestant missions in the South Pacific Free essay! Download now

Home > A Level > History > A missionary caught ‘in-between’? - The ambiguous nature of British Protestant missions in the South Pacific

A missionary caught ‘in-between’? - The ambiguous nature of British Protestant missions in the South Pacific

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Downloads to date: N/A | Words: 5951 | Submitted: 29-Mar-2011
Spelling accuracy: 96.6% | Number of pages: 15 | Filetype: Word .doc


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A missionary caught ‘in-between’? -  The ambiguous nature of British Protestant missions in the South Pacific essay previewA missionary caught ‘in-between’? -  The ambiguous nature of British Protestant missions in the South Pacific essay previewA missionary caught ‘in-between’? -  The ambiguous nature of British Protestant missions in the South Pacific essay preview

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The following paper is going to describe the missions’ nature (especially British Protestant ones) in converting the South Pacific peoples which had an enormous impact on political, social and economic aspects not only on the indigenous inhabitants but also on the missionaries themselves and the relationship established between them.

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A missionary caught ‘in-between’? -
The ambiguous nature of British Protestant missions in the South Pacific


The following paper is going to describe the missions’ nature (especially British Protestant ones) in converting the South Pacific peoples which had an enormous impact on political, social and economic aspects not only on the indigenous inhabitants but also on the missionaries themselves and the relationship established between them. I am also going to touch upon the ambiguous nature of the early missionaries’ literary and autobiographical accounts to prove the contradictory and somewhat questionable undertones of the missions’ assumptions of the conversion and the right to interfere with the natives’ lives. This, in consequence, will question the missionary’s position which stresses his constant being caught in-between two worlds, the spiritual and the material one, and which, in the end, cannot deny its results. Robert Louis Stevenson’s “The Ebb Tide” and Sylvia Townsend Warner’s “Mr. Fortune’s Maggot” will provide specific missionary literary examples which clearly show their confused and dubious mental state while being away form their native country, left to establish a copy of the civilization received in Europe and to introduce it into the indigenous environment and their everyday habits.
Historically, The London Missionary Society (LMS), which was set up in 1795, mostly contributed to the missionary activities in the South Pacific. However, there were also other missions that sought to establish their influence over the islands: The London Missionary Society, Wesleyan missionary, The American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions, Roman Catholic missionary activity and The Mormon church (Gunson, Niel, Messengers of Grace, 1978, pp. 11-28 in Smith, p.56). This inevitably brought politics into play as the rival will to gain as much “subjects” under the influence of particular mission turned to resemble a kind of imperial expansion. As a result, it affected not only the missions and the organizations of the local tribes within Pacific, but also caused colonial rivalry (which could expand on a global scale). This particular struggle between the missionaries’ activities in question had a clear influence on the quality of the conversion throughout the islands.
The role of missionaries around the world during the period of colonization appeared to have been multiple rather than aimed at one direction. Andrew Porter, in Religion versus empire, British Protestant missionaries and overseas expansion, 1700-1914, quotes The New Cambridge Modern History which takes up the argument that “overseas missions were one more among the myriad forms of ‘humanitarian, educational, philanthropic and social’ reforming causes increasingly taken up by believers in the late nineteenth century,” which can present the other side and effects of the missionary activities that were tangible and visible throughout the islands. Undoubtedly, a missionary being sent to the ...

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