and German authorities on behalf of their own nationals contributed greatly to the Boxer Uprising in 1899-1901. The large number of missionaries killed in that upheaval - some fifty Catholics and 135 Protestants with fifty-three of their children - indicated the wisdom of official caution.
Even in territories where European imperial control was more secure, missionaries and officials distanced themselves from each other. The White Fathers in Tanganyika were only able to protect themselves against the German authorities by extending their recruitment to German Catholics. Competitive Christianity often fell foul of attempts on all sides to impose denominational spheres of influence or 'comity' agreements. Originally desired by officials anxious to preserve decorum and amity within small white communities and 'prestige' in the eyes of indigenous outsiders, they frequently proved unworkable even when Protestants alone were involved.22 In many colonial territories, governments had long provided funds to assist missionary schools, clinics and even hospitals. These too, especially schools, were fruitful sources of dispute between missions and governments. Missionaries of all denominations intent on securing a place for Christianity in the curriculum clashed with officials concerned to preserve their religious neutrality and 'standards' in secular education, not least when the consequences involved British government support for Catholic schools at Protestant expense.
Talk of problems to be faced, the complexity of missionary adaptation and the variability of mission statistics could none the less not disguise the fact that expansion was almost everywhere the order of the day and missionary societies were multiplying. By 1914, more than 10 per cent of India's 5,465 Protestant missionaries were drawn from continental Europe, chiefly from the Basel, Gossner and Leipzig missions but also including Swedes, Danes and Norwegians. The variety of national background among India's some 4,000 Catholic missionaries was even greater. Southern Africa's Protestant missionary numbers grew with the efforts of the Hermannsburg Mission and the Missions des Eglises Libre de la Suisse Romande. In China, the Scheutveld Fathers drew on Dutch and Belgium recruits, and whether counted as adherents, baptised church members or communicants, Christian numbers increased. Baptised Catholics, for example, rose from 383,000 (1870) to 1.43 million (1912); Chinese Catholic priests grew from 371 in 1890 to 721 in 1912.23 These international connections were further tightened by the notable tendency of European migrants to North America to add their own missionary efforts to those
22 Cooke, 'The Roman Catholic mission in Calabar', pp. 89-98.
23 Latourette, History of the expansion of Christianity, vol. v, pp. 364-70, vol. vi, pp. 157, 179-86, 269-75, 293, 356.
Was this article helpful?