The organisation of missionary societies & the recruitment of missionaries in Britain, & the role of missionaries in the diffusion of British culture in Jamaica during the period 1834-65.
The aim of this study is to provide a. portrait of
"the missionary personality" & to make an analysis of the political,
economic, social, educational & religious roles performed by missionaries
working in Jamaica during the thirty years following emancipation.
The thesis examines the content of the missionaries' message,
the methods by which it was conveyed & discusses the relation of
religion to culture in Jamaica in this period. Much of the information
has been derived from the archives of the missionary societies
in Britain & Jamaica as well as from Jamaican newspapers & periodicals.
It is felt that the disadvantage of increasing the length of the thesis
by extensive quotation is counterbalanced by making available extracts
from inaccessible sources,
The background of Jamaican political, economic &
social development during the period has been indicated in order to
provide data sufficient to show the importance of the missionaries'
influence. To this end, a resume of British colonial policy & the
changing relations between mother - country & colony has also been
The relevant features of the British ecclesiastical
background & religious outlook in the period likewise set the scene
for an account of the growth, organisation & administration of the
missionary societies & the methods of recruiting & social origins of
their missionaries. Short sections on the relations between the missionary
societies & the Colonial Office & the administration of the
missions in Jamaica serve to complete this picture of 19th-century
The evidence here assembled suggests that the missionaries
transmitted to Jamaica a replica of British religious culture,
generally of a lower-middle class variety. When the social & economic
circumstances of their hearers were favourable, they were easily able
to reproduce this British model & the missionaries' ideas received a
ready response. When the island was crippled by unrelieved economic
depression, few had the necessary educational attainments & personal
incentive to maintain their allegiance. From the mid-18 1&O's large
numbers reverted to formerly-practised, yet still latent, African religions.
In many cases these were combined with Christianity as practised
by the missionaries & their more faithful followers.