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An Englishman Abroad: The International Networks of a Nineteenth-Century Congregationalist

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  17 February 2016

Ian J. Shaw
Affiliation:
School of Divinity, New College, University of Edinburgh
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Extract

Between the years of 1811 and 1861, Andrew Reed (1787–1862 served in the East End of London as minister of New Road Independent Chapel, Stepney, which was rebuilt on a nearby site in 1829 and renamed Wycliffe Chapel. There were only sixty members of the church on Reed’s arrival, but the congregation grew during his ministry to regularly number two thousand in the 1840s and 1850s. Alongside his preaching and pastoral work, Reed conducted an extensive ministry at an exacting pace, becoming involved in a range of philanthropic projects, as well as organizations for evangelism and overseas mission, a number of which he founded. He also contributed to the development of Congregationalism as an English denomination, and was engaged in moves for general union amongst Evangelicals. In addition to his wide-ranging work in Britain, Reed maintained an extensive international network of relationships through organizational activities, regular correspondence and personal visits. His work offers insights into how broader trends and patterns were played out at an individual and local level. Although his ecclesiology was rooted in English Independency, Reed was no isolationist. Indeed the extent of his international involvement takes this study well beyond the particular, to demonstrate the wider significance of both personal and institutional religious networks in the first half of the nineteenth century. His work also shows how sustainable structures could be created from dynamic personal networks, but that such a process was often fraught with difficulties. The following discussion will concentrate upon four broad areas of Reed’s international relationships.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © Ecclesiastical History Society 1994

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References

1 For recent studies, see Shaw, I. J., The Greatest is Charity: The Life of Andrew Reed (1787–1862, Preacher and Philanthropist (Darlington, 2005);Google Scholar idem, High Calvinists in Action: Calvinism and the City c. 1810–60, (Oxford, 2002); Helmstadter, R.J., ‘The Reverend Andrew Reed (1787–1862: Evangelical Pastor as Entrepreneur’, in Davies, R. W. and Helmstadter, R. J., eds, Religion and Irreligion in Victorian Society (London, 1992), 728.Google Scholar Reed, A. and Reed, C., Memoirs of the Life and Philanthropic Labours of Andrew Reed, D.D., With Selections from His Journals (London, 1863)Google Scholar, is a significant nineteenth-century source compiled by Reed’s sons

2 Shaw, , Greatest is Charity, 61, 72, 126.Google Scholar Reed’s extensive involvement in Noncon formist opposition to the education provisions of Sir James Graham’s 1843 Factory Bill particularly attracted the suspicion of Anglican supporters. Reed believed that Anglican forms discriminated against children of Nonconformist families. On the controversy, see Shaw, , Greatest is Charity, 18699;Google Scholar on Graham’s bill, see Ward, J. T. and Treble, J. H., ‘Religion and Education in 1843: Reaction to the “Factory Education BiW” , JEH 20 (1969), 79110.Google Scholar

3 Railton, N., No North Sea: The Anglo-German Evangelical Network in the Middle of the Nineteenth Century (Leiden, 2000), 1424.Google Scholar

4 Reed and Reed, Memoirs, 384. The previous nomenclature ‘mental handicap’ is less used now, and ‘severe learning disabilities’ is preferred.

5 Day, K. and Janear, J., ‘Mental Handicap and the Royal Medico-Psychological Association: A Historical Association, 1841–1991’, in Berrios, G. E. and Freeman, H., eds, 150 Years of British Psychiatry, 1841–1991 (London, 1991), 26878 Google Scholar, at 268–70 Reed and Reed, Memoirs, 386–7

6 Wright, D., Mental Disability in Victorian England:The Earlswood Asylum, 1847–1901 (Oxford, 2001), 2032.Google Scholar

7 Because of change in the meaning of words over time, the name chosen for the institution, ‘The Asylum for Idiots’, would no longer be appropriate today. In the 1840S ‘idiot’ was a medical term used to describe a person with a particular type of permanent learning disability from birth or early age. It was used by doctors alongside words such as’imbecile’,’cretin’,’fatuous’ and ‘lunatic’ (all of which have now become terms of abuse). See Browne, W. A. F., What Asylums Were, Are, and Ought to be: Being the Substance of Five Lectures Delivered Before the Managers of the Montrose Royal Lunatic Asylum (Edinburgh, 1837).Google Scholar ‘Lunacy’ or ‘insanity’ was used to refer to severe mental illness. ‘Cretin’ described a person suffering from disability created by a defective thyroid gland. The work of Guggenbühl at Abendberg focused on such cases, who were at the time ranked among those with mental handicaps, although many of his exaggerated claims of successful treatment were later discredited.

8 Reed and Reed, Memoirs, 383–424.

9 Ibid. 404–8

10 Scull, A., The Most Solitary of Afflictions: Madness and Society in Britain 1700–1900 (New Haven, CT, 1993), 290, 343–5 377.Google Scholar Although a brilliant pioneer, Conolly was also a controversial figure. John Conolly’s influential views were set out in his Inquiry Concerning Insanity (London, 1830).

11 Down’s categorization placed types of mental disabilities into groups, which he labelled according to what he believed were racial characteristics, the largest being ‘Mongolian’ or ‘Mongol’. This system, and the terminology, is no longer acceptable today. The term Down Syndrome is now often found in the professional literature: Wright, Mental Disability, 155–76.

12 Ibid. 130. Reed’s leading role is acknowledged in histories of the care of those with mental illness and disability: e.g. Berrios and Freeman, eds, One Hundred and Fifty Years of British Psychiatry.

13 Dale, R. W., History of English Congregationalism, ed. Dale, A. W. W., 2nd edn (London, 1907), 68895.Google Scholar

14 Reed, A. and Matheson, J., Narrative of the Visit to the American Churches, 2 vols (London, 1835), 2: 299.Google Scholar

15 Reed and Reed, Memoirs, 182–5

16 Reed and Matheson, Narrative, 2: 242–8

17 Ibid. 256, 268–9

18 Ibid. 163.

19 Ibid. 1: 391–401 351, 427, 467.

20 On the Genevan Réveil, see Stunt, T. C. F., From Awakening to Secession: Radical Evangelicals in Switzerland and Britain, 1815–35 (Edinburgh, 2000), 2549.Google Scholar

21 Reed, E., Swiss Tracts by Rev. César Malan (London, 1822).Google Scholar

22 Reed and Reed, Memoirs, 225–9 Railton, No North Sea, 104–5

23 Railton, , No North Sea, xvi-xvii, 32, 48.Google Scholar

24 Evangelical Alliance: Report of the Proceedings of the Conference, Held at Freemason’s Hall, London, from August 19th to September 2nd Inclusive 1846 (London, 1847), 18, 72, 130–2

25 Reed and Reed, Memoirs, 225–31

26 Reed and Matheson, Narrative, 1: 436–7 373; 2: 376–83

27 Ibid. 1: 296–7

28 Sprague, W B., Lectures on Revival (New York, 1832), 12–14 129–48 25886.Google Scholar

29 London, London Metropolitan Archive, N/C/40/10, New Road and Wycliffe Chapel Members’ Roll, 1822–67 After the manner of Jonathan Edwards, Reed published an account of the revival, The Revival of Religion: A Narrative of the State of Religion at Wycliffe Chapel during the Year 183c (London, 1840). Other revivals were reported at this time, including those in Kilsyth and Dundee in Scodand.

30 Reed and Reed, Memoirs, 262–6

31 Neill, S., A History of Christian Missions, Pelican History of the Christian Church 6 (Harmondsworth, 1986), 264;Google Scholar Stanley, B., The Bible and the Flag: Protestant Missions and British Imperialism in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries (Leicester, 1990), 938.Google Scholar

32 Reed and Reed, Memoirs, 257–8

33 Ibid. 260–1

34 Reed, A., Eminent Piety Essential to Eminent Usefulness: A Discourse Preached at the Anniversary of the London Missionary Society, May 11, 1831, at Surrey Chapel (London, 1831).Google Scholar

35 Reed and Reed, Memoirs, 259–60

36 Ibid. 269–70

37 The controversy can be reconstructed foni the pamphlets published during its unfolding, which are to be found in the British Library, including Reed, A., The Case of Tahiti: An Appeal to the Constituents of the London Missionary Society, In Reply to the ‘Statement of the Directors’ (London, 1847);Google Scholar A Brief and Final Appeal to the Constituents of the London Missionary Society (London, 1847); The Case of the London Missionary Society Containing the Appeals to the Constituency on the State of the Society, Together With Two Letters on the Case of Tahiti, Revised from the ‘Patriot’ Newspaper (London, 1847). The LMS replies included A Short Answer to the Enquiry of the Rev. Dr Reed ‘Where lies the Truth?’ By the Directors of the London Missionary Society (London, 1847); A Reply to the Animadversions of the Rev. Dr Reed in His Appeal to the Constituents of the London Missionary Society, by the Directors of the Society (London, 1847); Strictures on the Brief and Final Appeal of Rev. Dr Reed, to the Constituents of the London Missionary Society (London, 1847). Others joined the debate, including ‘Luther and Melanchthon’, The Marrow of the Controversy: The Facts and Figures Between the Rev. Dr Reed and the Directors of the London Missionary Society (London, 1847); ‘Simon Fairplay’, A Peep at the Controversy Between Rev. Dr Andrew Reed and the Directors of the London Missionary Society (London, 1847); See also Home, C. S., The Story of the London Missionary Society (London, 1908), 23–55, 2013;Google Scholar Reed and Reed, Memoirs, 372–6 The relevant pages in the LMS minutes have been removed, probably at a later date by the committee wishing to draw a line under the unseemly controversy.

38 ‘Luther and Melanchthon’, Marrow of Controversy, 9–10

39 Strictures on the Brief and Final Appeal of Dr Reed, 9, 11, 30.

40 Reed and Reed, Memoirs, 373–4

41 Ibid. 275.

42 Reed and Reed, Memoirs, 276–9

43 Reed, A., Preface to Gutzlaff, C., China Opened (London, 1838), iiiiv.Google Scholar

44 Reed and Reed, Memoirs, 273–82

45 Railton, , No North Sea, 15.Google Scholar

46 Kaye, E., For the Work of the Ministry: Northern College and Its Predecessors (Edin burgh, 1999), 11517 Google Scholar, noting the examples of A.M. Fairbairn in 1865 and Archibald Duff in the early 1870s.

47 Alexander, W. L., Memoirs of the Life and Writings of Ralph Wardlaw, D.D. (Edin burgh, 1856), 193;Google Scholar Binfield, C., ‘John Angeli James’, in Larsen, T., ed., Biographical Dictionary of Evangelicals (Leicester, 2003), 330.Google Scholar

48 Railton, No North Sea, 144–9

49 Rose, J., Elizabeth Fry: A Biography (London, 1980), 16691.Google Scholar

50 Reed, Eminent Piety, 15.

51 See Carwardine, R., Trans-Atlantic Revivalism: Popular Evangelicalism in Britain and America, 1790–1865 (Westport, CT, 1978);Google Scholar Kent, J., Holding the Fort: Studies in Victorian Revivalism (London, 1978).Google Scholar

52 Reed and Reed, Memoirs, 193.

53 Railton, No North Sea, xxii.

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