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Oceanic Archives, Indigenous Epistemologies, and Transpacific American Studies$
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Yuan Shu, Otto Heim, and Kendall Johnson

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9789888455775

Published to Hong Kong Scholarship Online: January 2020

DOI: 10.5790/hongkong/9789888455775.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM HONG KONG SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.hongkong.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Hong Kong University Press, 2021. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in HKSO for personal use.date: 03 March 2021

Residing in “South-Eastern Asia” of the Antebellum United States

Residing in “South-Eastern Asia” of the Antebellum United States

Reverend David Abeel and the World Geography of American Print Evangelism and Commerce

Chapter:
(p.62) 3 Residing in “South-Eastern Asia” of the Antebellum United States
Source:
Oceanic Archives, Indigenous Epistemologies, and Transpacific American Studies
Author(s):

Kendall Johnson

Publisher:
Hong Kong University Press
DOI:10.5790/hongkong/9789888455775.003.0004

In the decades before and after the First Opium War (1839-1842), the US missionary Reverend David Abeel laid out a sense of “South-Eastern Asian” for US readers of Journal of a Residence in China, and the Neighboring Countries, from 1829 to 1833 (1834). His phrase focuses multi-lingual print evangelicalism on an archipelago stretching across networks of opium traffic connecting India to China. His accounts also imply the layers of faiths and languages that shaped senses of geography before the existence of the United States and the convergence of mottled European imperialisms in the China trade. At the end of the war, Abeel moved to the coastal city of Amoy where he rationalized opium commerce as an evil outweighed by the potential benefits of opening treaty ports. The prominent administrator of Fujian and scholar Xú Jìyú (徐繼畬‎; 1795–1873) disagreed and adapted Abeel’s geographical tools to present a warning about the attempts to evangelize “South-East Asia.” His Yíng huàn zhì lüè (瀛擐志略‎; General Survey of the Maritime Circuit, a Universal Geography, 1849) portrays Catholic and Protestant commercial activity as a threat to indigenous jurisdiction the world over.

Keywords:   American missionaries, China Trade, Southeast Asia, Opium Wars, Missionary Printing, Early American Geography, Free Trade

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