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Sisters and Brothers Abroad: Gender, Race, Empire and Anglican Missionary Reformism in Hawai‘i and the Pacific, 1858–75

  • Steven S. Maughan (a1)

Abstract

British Anglo-Catholic and high church Anglicans promoted a new set of foreign missionary initiatives in the Pacific and South and East Africa in the 1860s. Theorizing new indigenizing models for mission inspired by Tractarian medievalism, the initiatives envisioned a different and better engagement with ‘native’ cultures. Despite setbacks, the continued use of Anglican sisters in Hawai‘i and brothers in Melanesia, Africa and India created a potent new imaginative space for missionary endeavour, but one problematized by the uneven reach of empire: from contested, as in the Pacific, to normal and pervasive, as in India. Of particular relevance was the Sandwich Islands mission, invited by the Hawaiian crown, where Bishop T. N. Staley arrived in 1862, followed by Anglican missionary sisters in 1864. Immensely controversial in Britain and America, where among evangelicals in particular suspicion of ‘popish’ religious practice ran high, Anglo-Catholic methods and religious communities mobilized discussion, denunciation and reaction. Particularly in the contested imperial space of an independent indigenous monarchy, Anglo-Catholics criticized what they styled the cruel austerities of evangelical American ‘puritanism’ and the ambitions of American imperialists; in the process they catalyzed a reconceptualized imperial reformism with important implications for the shape of the late Victorian British empire.

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Corresponding author

*Department of History, The College of Idaho, Caldwell, ID 83605–4432, USA. E-mail: smaughan@collegeofidaho.edu.

References

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1 ‘The New Missionary Bishops’, Church Times, 7 February 1863.

2 Strong, Rowan, ‘Origins of Anglo-Catholic Missions: Fr Richard Benson and the Initial Missions of the Society of St John the Evangelist, 1869–1882’, JEH 66 (2015), 90115.

3 For discussion of this historiography, as well as more detail on the broad outlines of development in Anglo-Catholic foreign missions, see Maughan, Steven S., Mighty England Do Good: Culture, Faith, Empire, and World in the Foreign Missions of the Church of England, 1850–1915 (Grand Rapids, MI, 2014), 1115, 113–38, 194–205.

4 ‘Seed Time and Harvest: Sermon by the late Rev. John Keble’, Mission Life; or, Home and Foreign Mission Work 1 (1866), 315.

5 Jay Williams, Thomas, Priscilla Lydia Sellon, the Restorer after Three Centuries of the Religious Life in the English Church, rev. edn (London, 1965), 229–30.

6 [Staley, Thomas N.], Five Years’ Church Work in the Kingdom of Hawaii (London, 1868), 1315.

7 Grimshaw, Patricia, Paths of Duty: American Missionary Wives in Nineteenth-Century Hawaii (Honolulu, HI, 1989), xi, 154–6, 193–6.

8 On alternative, indigenizing visions in Anglo-Catholic missions, see Rowell, Geoffrey, The Vision Glorious: Themes and Personalities of the Catholic Revival in Anglicanism (Oxford, 1983), 177.

9 Meacham, Standish, Lord Bishop: The Life of Samuel Wilberforce, 1805–1873 (Cambridge, MA, 1970), 175–6; Brad Faught, C., The Oxford Movement: A Thematic History of the Tractarians and their Times (University Park, PA, 2003), 30–1.

10 Staley also extended invitations to the Clewer and East Grinstead sisters: Williams, Sellon, 216–19, 229.

11 Gill, Sean, ‘“The Power of Christian Ladyhood”: Priscilla Lydia Sellon and the Creation of Anglican Sisterhoods’, in Mews, Stuart, ed., Modern Religious Rebels: Presented to John Kent (London, 1993), 144–65, at 147–8; Brown, Stewart J., Providence and Empire: Religion, Politics and Society in the United Kingdom, 1815–1914 (Harlow, 2008), 171–3.

12 Mumm, Susan, ‘“A Peril to the Bench of Bishops”: Sisterhoods and Episcopal Authority in the Church of England, 1845–1908’, JEH 59 (2008), 6278.

13 Oxford, Pusey House, Ascot Priory papers, Ellen Mary Mason to Lydia Sellon, 10 November 1863.

14 Ascot, Ascot Priory, ‘The Hawaiian Mission of the Society of the Most Holy Trinity of Devonport (1864–1901)’, typescript scrapbook; Kanahele, George S., Emma: Hawai‘i's Remarkable Queen: A Biography (Honolulu, HI, 1999), 194–8, 219–20.

15 ‘The Hawaiian Mission’, Mission Life; or, Home and Foreign Mission Work 6 (1869), 436–8, at 436; Shirley Thompson, Katharine, Queen Emma and the Bishop (Honolulu, HI, 1987), 34. Nineteenth-century discourse on the fitness of races was extensive and focused particularly on the Pacific, given the propensity of Pacific islanders to succumb to introduced communicable disease – in Hawai‘i, particularly venereal disease – which made the focus of missionary discourses on saving island cultures through transformation of social and moral patterns particularly resonant: Brantlinger, Patrick, Dark Vanishings: Discourse on the Extinction of Primitive Races, 1800–1930 (Ithaca, NY, 2003), 142, 150–9.

16 ‘Hawaiian Mission’, The Net Cast on Many Waters 2 (1867), 65–73, at 70; Hopkins, Manley, Hawaii: The Past, Present, and Future of its Island-Kingdom (London, 1862), 322–4.

17 Kuykendall, Ralph S., ‘Introduction of the Episcopal Church into the Hawaiian Islands’, Pacific Historical Review 15 (1946), 133–46, at 135–6.

18 Louis Semes, Robert, ‘Hawai‘i's Holy War: English Bishop Staley, American Congregationalists, and the Hawaiian Monarchies, 1860–1870’, Hawaiian Journal of History 34 (2000), 113–38.

19 [Staley], Hawaii, 57–61; Kanahele, Emma, 155–6, 230–7.

20 For the development of this model in 1870s Madagascar and Uganda, see Prevost, Elizabeth E., The Communion of Women: Missions and Gender in Colonial Africa and the British Metropole (Oxford, 2010), ch. 1.

21 Eleanor Joy Frith, ‘Pseudonuns: Anglican Sisterhoods and the Politics of Victorian Identity’ (PhD thesis, Queen's University, Kingston, ON, 2004), 64–7, 77–80.

22 Ludlow, J. M., Woman's Work in the Church: Historical Notes on Deaconesses and Sisterhoods (London, 1866), vii–ix.

23 Becher Webb, Allan, Sisterhood Life and Woman's Work, in the Mission-Field of the Church (London, 1883), 3, 54.

24 Ham, Surrey, St Michael's Convent, CSC7, Emily Ayckbourn, Diary and House Book, 7 June 1884.

25 T. N. Staley to John Jackson (bishop of London), 23 August 1871, in Codman Potter, Henry, Sisterhoods and Deaconesses: At Home and Abroad (New York, 1873), 60–7.

26 Staley, T. N., A Pastoral Address (Honolulu, 1865), 1314, 40–1.

27 Boyd Restarick, Henry, Hawaii, 1778–1920, from the Viewpoint of a Bishop (Honolulu, 1924), 68, 91–2.

28 Occasional Paper of the Hawaiian Church Mission (Sandwich Islands) (London, 1865), 29–32.

29 London, LPL, Tait Papers 170, fols 178–9, John Jackson to Tait (archbishop of Canterbury), 4 April 1870; ibid., fols 198–9, Manley Hopkins to Tait, 2 August 1870; Kanahele, Emma, 240–1.

30 Forest Muir, Andrew, ‘Mother Lydia and the Support of the Hawaiian Mission’, Holy Cross Magazine 62 (1951), 176–8.

31 Porter, Andrew, ‘The Universities’ Mission to Central Africa: Anglo-Catholicism and the Twentieth-Century Colonial Encounter’, in Stanley, Brian, ed., Missions, Nationalism, and the End of Empire (Grand Rapids, MI, 2003), 79107; Prasch, Thomas, ‘Which God for Africa: The Islamic-Christian Missionary Debate in Late-Victorian England’, Victorian Studies 33 (1989), 5173.

32 J. C. Patteson to C. M. Yonge, 27 April 1864, in Yonge, Charlotte M., Life of John Coleridge Patteson, Missionary Bishop of the Melanesian Islands, 2 vols, 5th edn (London, 1884), 2: 93; Sohmer, Sara H., ‘Christianity Without Civilization: Anglican Sources for an Alternative Nineteenth-Century Mission Methodology’, JRH 18 (1994), 174–97.

33 William Ewart Gladstone, ‘Art. VI’, review of Yonge, Charlotte M., Life of John Coleridge Patteson, Missionary Bishop of the Melanesian Islands, Quarterly Review 137 (1874), 458–92.

34 Staley, Pastoral Address, 14.

35 Hilton, Boyd, The Age of Atonement: The Influence of Evangelicalism on Social and Economic Thought, 1795–1865 (Oxford, 1988), 292–6.

36 Cox, Jeffrey, ‘Independent English Women in Delhi and Lahore, 1860–1947’, in Davis, R. W. and Helmstadter, R. J., eds, Religion and Irreligion in Victorian Society (London, 1992), 166–84, at 166–8.

37 Hall, Catherine, Civilising Subjects: Metropole and Colony in the English Imagination, 1830–1867 (Chicago, IL, 2002), 438–40.

38 Mandler, Peter, ‘“Race” and “Nation” in Mid-Victorian Thought’, in Collini, Stefan, Whatmore, Richard and Young, Brian, eds, History, Religion, and Culture: British Intellectual History, 1750–1950 (Cambridge, 2000), 224–44, at 231–3; Hedges, Paul, ‘Post-Colonialism, Orientalism, and Understanding: Religious Studies and the Christian Missionary Imperative’, JRH 32 (2008), 5575.

39 Twells, Alison, The Civilising Mission and the English Middle Class, 1792–1850: The ‘Heathen’ at Home and Overseas (Basingstoke, 2009), 1315, 174–5, 214–15.

40 Mumm, Susan, Stolen Daughters, Virgin Mothers: Anglican Sisterhoods in Victorian Britain (London, 1999), 129–30.

Keywords

Sisters and Brothers Abroad: Gender, Race, Empire and Anglican Missionary Reformism in Hawai‘i and the Pacific, 1858–75

  • Steven S. Maughan (a1)

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