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Samuel Johnson of Yorubaland, 1846-1901

Identity, Change and the Making of the Mission Agent


Wolfgang-Ulrich Fischer

This study aims to understand how the nineteenth-century African agent of mission appropriated change without losing cultural integrity. Drawing essentially from the contexts that produced the man, from Sierra Leone to the Yoruba country, the study shows Samuel Johnson as embodying the opportunities and ambivalence that progressively accompanied Yoruba contact with Britain in the people’s war-weary century of change. Largely influenced by German missionaries in the British mission environment of Yorubaland, Johnson had confidence in the bright prospect the missionary message held for his people. This propelled him into a struggle to relieve the distressed country from its woes and to preserve the fading memory of its people. In an age of renewed cultural ferment called globalization, could Johnson offer a lesson in how to appropriate change? This is the concern of this volume.


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Primary Sources A. Archives 1. The CMS Archives, University of Birmingham The main materials have been sourced from the CMS papers now lodged at the Cadbury Research Centre, University of Birmingham, Edgbaston campus. The records of the Sierra Leone Mission, CA1, and the Yoruba Mission, CA2 and G3/A2, yielded most of the materials. The Original Incoming Papers, the O Series, were particularly useful; but where docu- ments are missing, the Mission Books, the M Series, were helpful in retriev- ing their contents. The Outgoing Letters copied in the Letter Books, L Series, were also helpful. The following materials were particularly consulted: Sierra Leone Mission (i) The Original Incoming Papers filed in the name of the agents: CA1/O79: Samuel Crowther CA1/O195: James Schön CA1/O94: Christian Frey CA1/O200: Samuel Spain CA1/O105: Ulrich Graf CA1/O215: Henry Townsend CA1/O112: Thomas Harding CA1/O219: John Weeks CA1/O122: Henry Johnson (ii) Letter Books (L Series) and Mission Books (M Series): CA1/L1(1854–1859) CA1/M11(1843–1845) CA1/L4(1846–1852) CA1/M12(1845–1846) CA1/L5(1854–1859 CA1/M13(1846–1848) CA1/M5(1828–1831) CA1/M14(1848–1852) CA1/M6(1831–1834) CA1/M15(1852–1857) CA1/M10(1842–1843) 326 Bibliography Yoruba Mission (i) The Original Incoming Papers filed as miscellaneous correspondence or in the name of the agents: CA2/O11: Miscellaneous Mission CA2/O56: James Johnson Correspondence and CA2/O57: Nathaniel Johnson Papers, 1844–80 CA2/O58: Samuel Johnson CA2/O24: Friedrich Bühler CA2/O66: Adolphus Mann CA2/O49: David Hinderer CA2/O74: James Okuseinde CA2/O52: Edward Irving CA2/O75: Daniel Olubi CA2/O53: George Jef feries CA2/O85: Henry Townsend...

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