Identity, Change and the Making of the Mission Agent
Chapter 10 The Making of the Mission Agent
Our final interpretation of history is the most sovereign decision we can take, and it is clear that every one of us […] has to take it for himself […]. — Sir Herbert Butterfield Earlier research into Samuel Johnson and his activities has shown that the major problem he presents is the inscrutability of his personality. Michel Doortmont has been able to identify the character poise of his brothers – Henry, Nathaniel, Obadiah and Adolphus – but Samuel remains an enigma.1 Ajayi is of the view that he ‘will remain enigmatic as long as we rely solely on the evidence of his of ficial Journals and the Minutes of the British missionaries in the CMS Finance Committee in Lagos’. The reason is because ‘he deliberately shielded his personal life from those resources’.2 However, his close association at Ọyọ with Samuel George Pinnock, the British Wesleyan missionary turned Southern Baptist missionary, may indicate something about his person. This is because certain aspects of Johnson’s character dimly shine out from the missionary records, and his association with Pinnock whose character is well known gives them force as revealing of his personality. 1 Michel Doortmont, ‘Recapturing the Past: Samuel Johnson and the Construction of Yoruba History’ (PhD diss., Erasmus University, Rotterdam, 1994), 37. 2 J. F. A. Ajayi, ‘Samuel Johnson and Yoruba Historiography’, in Paul Jenkins, ed., The Recovery of the West African Past: African Pastors and African History in the Nineteenth Century – C. C. Reindorf & Samuel Johnson (Basel: Basler Afrika Bibliographien, 1998), 68. 292 Chapter 10 First,...
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