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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.

Abstract only
Andrew J. May

anthropological discourses 10 to depict an insular, even degenerate society, where primitive skill levels and ‘centuries of stagnation’ left it ripe and right for the picking by external influences, including Welsh missionaries. 11 The views of social anthropologist B.B. Kumar represent a growing critique of the dominant isolationist narrative of the north-east that belies its

in Welsh missionaries and British imperialism
Andrew J. May

was conveyed from Chhatak on an elephant. 13 ‘God is in her belly, and who can pull him out?’ In the decade or so prior to the arrival of the Welsh missionaries, elements of Khasi religion had been superficially described by European visitors to the hills, though they barely advanced on late eighteenthcentury characterisations of the tribes of

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

accommodate acceptance of the benefits of education and modernisation brought by the missionaries. 19 While the Welsh missionary impact was significant, its ‘success’ or indeed its novelty, as this book has suggested, needs to be measured against the pre-existing activities of British imperialists, from Robert Lindsay to Carey’s Serampore envoys and David Scott. Successive missions by Catholics and American

in Welsh missionaries and British imperialism
Welsh Presbyterianism in Sylhet, Eastern Bengal, 1860–1940
Aled Jones

the English Methodist movements, 14 but also from other Welsh missionary enterprises, most notably the Baptist missions in the Caribbean. The notion of being a theologically and linguistically embattled religious community, assiduously promoted within Welsh Calvinism almost from its origins, played itself out in complex, even contradictory, ways when mission obliged it to engage with

in Empire, migration and identity in the British world
Andrew J. May

Hughes, Pontrobert. Davies and Hughes had for a time conducted an itinerant school established by Thomas Charles, and prior to his missionary career Davies had been teaching at Llanwyddelan. 34 Thomas Jones’s family roots were therefore not only embedded in the heartland of Calvinistic Methodism, but were intimately linked with the first Welsh missionary activities under the

in Welsh missionaries and British imperialism
Andrew J. May

wives, the stereotype of Christian propriety can be tested against the lived experiences of the Welsh missionaries. If the missionary couple and family was a central axis of missionisation, then the Welsh mission was a textbook study of disequilibrium. While the work of the mission in Christianising and educating the Khasi people proceeded steadily through the 1840s, it is

in Welsh missionaries and British imperialism
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Mapping the contours of the British World
Kent Fedorowich and Andrew S. Thompson

the twentieth century. Meanwhile, Jones illustrates that Welsh missionary activity in north-east India was not simply about taking Christianity to the Indian peasantry. As time moved on, Welsh missionaries had to redevelop their attitudes and methods when negotiating with their Indian charges, so that, by the twentieth century, work in the field was being used to transform missionary work within Wales

in Empire, migration and identity in the British world
Abstract only
Andrew J. May

. Finally, for Colonel Fitzwilliam Thomas Pollok and his hunting party, the petty lives of low Welsh missionaries or lesser civil servants were just part of the scenery. Rebels and schismatics: Thomas Jones II ostracised Thomas Jones II had spent eleven continuous years in India before leaving in 1868 for two years furlough in Wales. When he returned

in Welsh missionaries and British imperialism
Andrew J. May

was pregnant with their fifth child Octavius, and the William Lewin who greeted the Joneses at the top of their climb up the mountain was a diseased soldier whose life was ‘a perpetual agony’. At one level worlds apart, as professed Christians the paternalistic sympathies of an English soldier and a Welsh missionary, both rooted in a discourse of missionary philanthropy and

in Welsh missionaries and British imperialism