Academic journal article British Journal of Canadian Studies

Transatlantic Methodists: British Wesleyanism and the Formation of an Evangelical Culture in Nineteenth-Century Ontario and Quebec

Academic journal article British Journal of Canadian Studies

Transatlantic Methodists: British Wesleyanism and the Formation of an Evangelical Culture in Nineteenth-Century Ontario and Quebec

Article excerpt

Todd Webb, Transatlantic Methodists: British Wesleyanism and the Formation of an Evangelical Culture in Nineteenth-Century Ontario and Quebec (Montreal and Kingston: McGill-Queen's University Press, 2013), 260 pp. Cased. $85. ISBN 978-0-7735-4204-4.

Todd Webb makes a valuable and necessary contribution to the ongoing development of Canadian, imperial, and Atlantic histories in this work. Webb ably navigates the Byzantine complexity of nineteenth-centur y Methodism in Canada by expanding, not reducing, his scope. Recognising the significance of transatlantic connections to Canadian Methodist identity makes this book both unique and able to answer some questions that have long-plagued this section of Canadian religious histor y.

Transatlantic Methodists looks at three important sections of people: the British Wesleyan missionaries, the ministers of the Canada connection, and leaders of British Wesleyanism, to show how all three saw Canada as an extension of the British mission field. This connection to Britain is central to any understanding of the agitations that were stirred up throughout the century as Methodism went through numerous shifts. However, Webb argues against the belief that British, North American or Canadian Methodism was a somewhat passive peripheral recipient of the imperial centre's control. Webb demonstrates effectively how several 'Canadian' issues had the potential to 'infect' (p. 67) British policies at the heart of the Wesleyan Methodist Missionary Society (WMMS) in London. The connection of the periphery with the metropolis was a two-way street and some leaders in Britain utilised Canada during times of stress and dissension to advance their own agendas and limit the effect of rivals. …

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