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The Empire of Clouds in north-east India
Author: Andrew J. May

In 1841, the Welsh sent their first missionary, Thomas Jones, to evangelise the tribal peoples of the Khasi Hills of north-east India. This book follows Jones from rural Wales to Cherrapunji, the wettest place on earth and now one of the most Christianised parts of India. It is about the piety and practices, the perceptions and prejudices of people in early nineteenth century Wales. The book is also about the ways in which the religious ambitions of those same people operated upon the lives and ideas of indigenous societies of the distant Khasi Hills of north-eastern India. It foregrounds broader political, scientific, racial and military ideologies that mobilised the Khasi Hills into an interconnected network of imperial control. Its themes are universal: crises of authority, the loneliness of geographical isolation, sexual scandal, greed and exploitation, personal and institutional dogma, individual and group morality. In analysing the individual lives that flash in and out of this history, the book is a performance within the effort to break down the many dimensions of distance that the imperial scene prescribes. It pays attention to a 'networked conception of imperial interconnection'. The book discusses Jones's evangelising among the Khasis as well as his conflicts with church and state authority. It also discusses some aspects of the micro-politics of mission and state in the two decades immediately following Thomas Jones's death. While the Welsh missionary impact was significant, its 'success' or indeed its novelty, needs to be measured against the pre-existing activities of British imperialists.

Andrew J. May

In mid-January 1848, Thomas Jones opened the letter from John Roberts informing him of his dismissal as a representative of the WFMS. He could not have been surprised. Roberts had also put in motion auxiliary steps to reel in his rogue agent, and the Christmas letter to William Lewis, with its enclosures to Harry Inglis, would have arrived in Cherrapunji the

in Welsh missionaries and British imperialism
Andrew J. May

Of the early life of Thomas Jones there is sparse documentary evidence, and nothing written in his own hand until August 1839 when he applied to the LMS to be sent overseas as a missionary. The question of what knowledge and practices Jones carried with him, both in terms of religious belief and practical know-how, is important in determining both the force

in Welsh missionaries and British imperialism
Andrew J. May

February 1843. 1 Owen Charles Richards turned seven on 28 January, and on 10 February Ann Jones gave birth to a baby daughter Ann Jane. Though she did not know Thomas Jones’s wife personally, Maria felt reassured that Ann’s maternal presence on the mission station would be beneficial to her grandson: ‘I feel very partial to her, thinking she will be very kind to O.C.’. 2

in Welsh missionaries and British imperialism
Abstract only
Andrew J. May

institutional authority and obedience. The missionary Thomas Jones II, the local magistrate Harry Inglis, the civil servant’s wife Emma Shadwell, and the soldier F.T. Pollok, projected their constructions of Britishness, Welshness, gender or indigeneity onto the canvas of the Khasi Hills. The continued crises of authority in the Welsh mission in the 1860s and 1870s came at great personal

in Welsh missionaries and British imperialism
Abstract only
Two places at once
Andrew J. May

Jones’s voyage of discovery became an expedition that confirmed and validated the real India. In finding India, they also remade it. For Thomas Jones, the voyage was at once a metamorphosis (of becoming a missionary), and a process of imperial corroboration, in which all those who had preceded him – the military and mercantile men, missionaries like William Carey, Jacob Tomlin

in Welsh missionaries and British imperialism
Andrew J. May

sola scriptura – the authority of the church as vested in scripture alone. For Jones, Christianity was not only the obvious path to salvation for fallen pagans, but the means of teaching them ‘to think and to reason’. 12 Bringing the book: language learning and translation A small boy came up to Thomas Jones soon after his arrival, and seeing his

in Welsh missionaries and British imperialism
The letter and the gift
Andrew J. May

, it is much more difficult to determine their feelings and their motivations. Perhaps in shouting out very loudly the verses they had memorised, they were subverting Lewis’s attempts at authority (‘so far all my attempts to get them to change their ways and to read silently have been in vain’). 2 On his tours through the hills, Thomas Jones encountered many villages where the

in Welsh missionaries and British imperialism
Andrew J. May

and rockier path set with red sandstone blocks like giant flagstones, at times the gradient at almost a forty-five degree angle. Thomas Jones travelled up to Cherrapunji on the back of a mule, and his possessions were carried up the mountainside by a hundred ‘coolies’. Ann Jones was transported up the steep mountain path in the traditional Khasi mode, borne on a

in Welsh missionaries and British imperialism
Abstract only
J.W.M. Hichberger

‘factual’ representations of the battles. The career of Thomas Jones Barker (1815-82) is an example of an academic battle artist whose career was successfully directed through the intervention of dealers commissioning for the print market. Unlike his contemporary battle specialists, Jones and Desanges, Barker was able to sustain a practice in his chosen genre without deviating into other genres. His survival

in Images of the army