chapter  6
21 Pages

The Relations between the Church Missionary Society and the Royal Niger Company, 1886-1900

The identity of interest, though not necessarily of purpose, of the various European agencies-commercial, missionary, and political-which operated in pre-colonial Africa has received the attention of many historians of the continent in the last decade. There is a sense in which in African Studies this attention is justified though not in the way this is often presented, that is in the sense of the usefulness of this identity of interests to the metropolitan countries of the European emissaries.1 Thus we are told of the glowing tributes paid by Sir H.H.Johnston and Commandant Mattei, British and French imperial agents respectively, of the era of the Scramble, to missionaries whom they saw as coworkers in their task of empire-building; of the way in which Robert Moffat, a pioneer missionary of the London Missionary Society, prepared the way for Rhodes’ coup in the land of the Ndebele; of how the Church Missionary Society and their agents collaborated with Colonel Lugard in the British occupation of Uganda; of how Thomas Birch Freeman, a Wesleyan missionary, was hand in glove with the British administration on the Gold Coast in order to endear the Fanti to British suzerainty; of how the French priests of the Society of African Church Missions in Dahomey worked for the ultimate occupation of that West African country by France.