2013 年 122 巻 1 号 p. 1-35
This article explores the relationship of Christian missionaries to British imperialism, particularly in relation to "humanitarianism" (a set of ideas that entails critical attitudes towards excessive exploitation of subjected peoples, as well as advocacy for improvements in the welfare of indigenous peoples). Special attention is focused on Wesleyan Methodist missionaries in Southern Bechuanaland during the late nineteenth century. In the early 1880s, Boer expansionism in Southern Bechuanaland led the Wesleyan missionaries stationed there to call for the British annexation of the region as a means of "protecting" the Tshidi Barolong people, among whom they had been working. However, soon after Southern Bechuanaland was annexed to Britain as the crown colony of British Bechuanaland, the Wesleyan missionaries came into conflict with the local settler community, which eventually culminated in the missionaries criticizing the colonial authorities, who had chosen to side with the settlers. In 1895, when the Cape Colony showed a strong desire to annex British Bechuanaland, the Wesleyan missionaries opposed the move in solidarity with the indigenous people, but later distanced themselves from the protest campaign after having realised that further participation might seriously injure the overall interests of their mission; and British Bechuanaland was eventually incorporated into the Cape. One of the intermediary factors within this complex relationship between the Wesleyan missionaries and the British Empire was humanitarianism, which included not only the sympathy shown by the missionaries toward the hardships of the indigenous people, but also various elements regarding the practical calculation of how best they could expand their missionaryenterprises. This was why missionary humanitarianism associated itself with different discourses within different historical contexts. Simultaneously, the Wesleyan missionaries believed that spreading western civilisation and Christianity in Africa would improve the welfare of indigenous people. In this sense, their humanitarianism came into close contact with cultural imperialism. These historical characteristics of humanitarianism complicated the relationship between the missionary effort and the empire in the political context, while strengthening their ties in the cultural context. Consequently, although humanitarianism served as a rationale for criticism against specific colonial policies, it was never sought as a means to oppose the British imperial regime itself.