Academic journal article Anglican and Episcopal History

The Savage Visit: New World People and Popular Imperial Culture in Britain, 1710-1795

Academic journal article Anglican and Episcopal History

The Savage Visit: New World People and Popular Imperial Culture in Britain, 1710-1795

Article excerpt

The Savage Visit: New World People and Popular Imperial Culture in Britain, 1710-1795. By Kate Fullagar (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2012, Pp. xv, 252. $36.95)

Focusing on a series of visits to Britain of natives from territory controlled (or soon to be controlled) by Britain, Kate Fullagar's, The Savage Visit provides much to the lecturer in the history of the British Empire. Images of paintings of the various visitors-e.g. Arnaq (Baffin Island), Etow Oh Koam (North America), Mai (Tahiti)-are easily found on the Internet, and Fullagar's narrative provides a useful point of departure for classroom discussion. She notes, for example, that in the eighteenth century the term "savage" did not necessarily have negative connotations. In its Latin origin, the word pointed to something outside the immediate reach of urban civilization. This state of being could be, and often was, associated with backwardness and ontological lowliness. But it could also evoke images of innocence. One English writer quoted by Fullagar imagined the Tahitian leader Mai saying to uppity Englishmen that while his people entertained "the most sublime ideas of an Almighty Being," they did not "cut the throats of each other for differing in the manner of worshipping him"-an obvious critique, placed in the mouth of a native, of European interconfessional violence. …

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