Fifty Years in Madagascar by James Sibree

James Sibree [1836-1929], Fifty Years in MadagascarJames Sibree [1836-1929] began his missionary work with the London Missionary Society in Madagascar in 1863 as an architect. He later overtook theological training before returning to the country. Apart from a short time in south India, he served there until 1915. He wrote 16 books in English, including this one (his autobiography) on a wide range of subjects, many of which are still be reprinted even today. I plan to make available as many of these as possible.

My thanks to the Cambridge Centre of Christianity Worldwide for providing a copy of this book for digitisation. This title is in the public domain.

James Sibree [1836-1929], Fifty Years in Madagascar. London: George Allen & Unwin, Ltd., 1924. Hbk. pp.359. [Click to download complete book in PDF]


  • Preface
  1. Mostly Autobiographical
  2. Church Building Amid Difficulties
  3. Malagasy Idolatry and Religious Belief
  4. Church and Social Life in the Re-established Madagascar Mission
  5. Life as a Country Missionary
  6. Thirty Years’ Work as College Principal and Tutor
  7. A Missionary Exploratory Journey to the Sihanaka or Lake People
  8. Church Institutions and Observations Among the Malagasy
  9. Church System and Government; and Sects and Parties in the Malagasy Church
  10. Christian Life Among the Malagasyl Its Reality and Proofs
  11. The Bible and its Influence on Christianity in Madagascar
  12. Native Preachers, Preaching, and Sermons
  13. A Sunday in Antananarivo; and Some Strange Sundays in Madagascar
  14. Women in Madagascar; Her position ad Influence, Especially in Christiam Effort
  15. The French Conquest of Madagascar, and Its Effects Upon Missions and Christianity in the Island – Part I
  16. The French Conquest of Madagascar, etc. – Part II
  17. Protestant Missions in Madagascar Other Than That of the London Missionary Societyl L.M.S. Mission Staff; Industrial and Medical Mission Work
  18. My Experiences as a Missionary Deputation
  19. My Work in Madagascar in Books and Building; Centenary Celebrations; Hopes for the Future
  • Index


This is not my first book about Madagascar, but none of the dozen or so, large and small, which I have already written, take up exactly the points which form the chief subjects of the following pages, nor do any of the books written by some of my brother missionaries.

I believe, therefore, that the facts here given will be considered interesting, and as throwing light, not only on Christian and Church life among the Malagasy people, but also as a slight contribution to a wider history of missionary effort as a whole during the past fifty or sixty years.

The year 1920 was the hundredth anniversary of the commencement of Christian work in the great African island; and its history during the past century is another proof that the Gospel is still “the power of God unto salvation” wherever it is faithfully proclaimed. [Continue reading]

John Smith Martyr-Teacher to the Slaves of Demerara

David Chamberlin [1870-1944], Smith of Demerara (Martyr-Teacher of the Slaves)John Smith [1790-1824] served with the London Missionary Society in Guyana (then British Guyana).

In August 1823 a slave revolt broke out, and Smith, whose sympathies with the slaves were well known, was accused of aiding and assisting the rebellion. He was tried, convicted, and sentenced to death. His sentence was remitted, but he died in prison before word reached the colony. Smith was the only missionary who could be said to have been martyred by the West Indian Plantocracy. [Biographical Dictionary of Christian Missions, p.627.]

My thanks to Redcliffe College for providing a copy of this book for digitisation. This title is in the public domain.

David Chamberlin [1870-1944], Smith of Demerara (Martyr-Teacher of the Slaves). London: Colonial Missionary Society, 1923. Pbk. pp.112. [Click to download the complete book in PDF]


  • Preface
  • Introduction
  1. John Smith
  2. Life on the Plantations
  3. The Perseverance of “The Saints”
  4. The Rising
  5. The Rising Suppressed
  6. The Court Martial
  7. From the Court to the Grave
  8. In the House of Commons
  • Appendix – British Guyana
  • Chronology


The Slaver, the Gold-seeker and the Pirate have stamped the brand of infamy upon the story of the Spanish Main. But, in the very days when the Atlantic was being reddened by the worst atrocities of the traffic in human beings, a brief drama. of another kind was wrought out in Demerara. A plain and humble man, with dogged integrity, was making a great fight for the right to give instruction to the plantation slaves. His battle ended in seeming failure, but he won the war, – and Time, the great teacher of perspective, has placed the name of John Smith on the world’s Roll of Honour. [Continue reading]

London Missionary Society – Gleanings From Many Lands

George Cousins [1842-?], Gleanings From Many Fields, 3rd edn.This book represents a summary of the achievements of the London Missionary Society over 100 years since its foundation. It is drawn from accounts of its workers across the all the countries that the L.M.S. had worked in. There are fifty illustrations in this volume. My thanks to Redcliffe College for providing me with a copy of the book to scan. This title is in the public domain.

George Cousins [1842-?], Gleanings From Many Fields, 3rd edn. London: London Missionary Society, 1896. Hbk. pp.216. [Click to download complete book in PDF]


  • Preface
  1. Natives and Native Ways
  2. Cruel Customs That Christ is Conquering
  3. Child Life and Amusements
  4. Stories of Wild Beasts
  5. Perils by Land and Water
  6. In the Land of Idols
  7. Progress in “The Middle Kingdom”
  8. Light in the Great Dark Continent
  9. Madagascar and the Malagasy
  10. Isles of the Southern Ocean
  11. Rescuing the Negroes of the West Indies
  12. Faithful Unto Death
  13. Native Workers For Christ
  14. Schools and Scholars
  15. Among the Sick and Suffering
  16. Women to the Rescue

Chapter 1: Natives and Native Ways

The South Sea Islanders, like many of their more civilized fellow-creatures, are very fond of feasting. They believe m p1es and puddings quite as much as. you do, and not only at Christmas time, but at all seasons of the year. Theirs, however, are much larger than yours. Fancy a pie ten or twelve feet round! And a roly-poly three hundred feet long, and about as thick as a man’s body! You could not eat many of those Christmas pies, or many slices of those puddings, I am sure! It would not be a very easy matter to make and cook such large pies and puddings in England, but the natives find no difficulty in making or eating them. To make the puddings, they simply dig a trench, fill it with wood, upon which they place stones. [Continue reading]

Story of the London Missionary Society in the South Seas

George Cousins [1842-?], The Story of the South SeasThe work of the London Missionary Society in the Pacific Ocean through its “Missionary Ships” is truly inspiring. In this heavily illustrated book George Cousins (editorial Assistant and Assistant Foreign Secretary of the London Missionary Society) draws on a number of sources to retell the story. My thanks to Redcliffe College for providing a copy of the book for scanning. This title is in the public domain.

George Cousins [1842-?], The Story of the South Seas. London: London Missionary Society, 1894. Hbk. pp.246. [Click to download complete book in PDF]


  1. The Good Ship “Duff” and Her Strange Cargo
  2. “The Night of Toil”
  3. The Overthrow of Idolatry
  4. Spreading Out
  5. Carrying the Light to Other Groups
  6. The “Messenger of Peace” and Her Useful Work
  7. The Martyred Missionary Polynesia
  8. Further Extension
  9. Teaching and Training Heathen Converts
  10. Joining Hands to Save New Guinea
  11. Summing Up, or Work and Workers in the Older Stations
  12. Other Labourers in the Southern Ocean


This book is the outcome of the revived interest in the South Seas which the effort to build the steamer John William’s has created. In reading old books descriptive of the early days of the mission I came across so many striking facts unknown to the present generation that a desire to put these facts together in a short connected story grew strong within me.

The first few pages repeat what appears in the opening chapter of “From Island to Island,” but in an altered form. The remainder is newly written. The books to which I am specially indebted are: Ellis’s “Polynesian Researches,” Williams’s “Missionary Enterprises,” Buzacott’s “Mission Life in the Pacific,” Turner’s” Nineteen Years in Polynesia,” Murray’s” Western Polynesia,” and” Forty Years’ Mission Work,” Gill’s “Gems from the Coral Islands,” Dr. Steele’s “New Hebrides and Christian Missions,” “The Night of Toil,” by the author of the “Peep of Day,” and an article entitled “Christian Work in Polynesia,” which appeared in” The Missionary Review of the World. [Continue reading]

Thomas Hughes’s Biography of David Livingstone

Thomas Hughes [1822-1896], David LivingstoneDavid Livingstone (19 March 1813 – 1 May 1873) is regarded by some as the greatest British Missionary to Africa. This is Thomas Hughes biography of Livingstone written in 1889. My thanks to Redcliffe College for making a copy of the book available for scanning. This title is in the public domain.

Thomas Hughes [1822-1896], David Livingstone. London & New York: MacMillan & Co., 1889. Hbk. pp.208. [Click to download complete book in PDF]


  1. David Livingstone
  2. Start in Africa – Kuruman
  3. Kolobeng – Lake Ngai – The Zambesi
  4. Linyanti and the Makololo
  5. Across Africa – Loanda to Quilemane
  6. Home
  7. The Zambesi Expedition – To Linynti amd Back
  8. The Universities Mission
  9. Recall – Voyage to India
  10. Second Visit Home
  11. Lakes Moero, Bangweolo, and Tanganyika
  12. Stanley
  13. To Unyanyembe with Stanley
  14. Wating at Unyanyembe
  15. The Last Advance – Death
  16. Conclusion

Chapter 1

“My own inclination would lead me to say as little as possible about myself.” With these words the greatest explorer of modern times begins that account of his missionary journeys and researches in South Africa which electrified England. The eager desire of his countrymen to know all they could about himself, induced him to modify his own inclination so far as to devote six pages of his famous book to the history of his family, and of the early years of his own life up to the time of his sailing for the Cape at the age of twenty-three. This reticence is as characteristic of the man as are the few facts he does disclose. Foremost of these stands: “My great-grandfather fell at the battle of Culloaen, fighting for the old line of kings, and my grandfather was a small farmer in Ulva, where my father was born.” [Continue reading]


Sons of Han – Stories of Chinese Life and Mission Work

Bernard William Upward [1873-1944], The Sons of Han. Stories of Chinese Life and Mission Work“Sons of Han” is a collection of stories about London Missionary Society mission work in China written for a youthful audience – and hence profusely illustrated. My thanks to Redcliffe College for providing a copy of this book to scan. This title is in the public domain.

Bernard William Upward [1873-1944], The Sons of Han. Stories of Chinese Life and Mission Work. London: Church Missionary Society, 1908. Hbk. pp.192. [Click to download complete book in PDF]


  1. Making Believe
  2. How the Gospel Came to Hankow
  3. Learning New Lessons
  4. “In Journeys Oft”
  5. From Village to Village
  6. Boys and Girls
  7. Playtime
  8. Festivals and Holidays
  9. A Day of Rejoicing
  10. Doctors and Their Patients
  11. Another Hospital, and a Visit to the Lepers
  12. The Revival of Learning


A book for young people, with plenty of pictures and stories, was asked for; and these pages of missionary commonplaces are the result.

The idea throughout has been to give an account of some of the phases of Chinese life and of mission work among this great people. With a field so wide in which to range the difficulty is altogether one of selection. Child-life is so fascinating a subject that these pages might easily have been filled with stories of children and their ways. Folk-· lore is an inviting study, and material for it abounds, yielding many a weird story. To describe fully the different branches of our mission work in Central China would, perhaps, not have been the best way to introduce the young folk, for which this little book is intended, to the study of a great people of whom the missionary can truly say that the more he knows them, the more he finds in them to love. [Continue reading]

Voyage on the Missionary Ship “John Williams”

R. Wardlaw Thompson [1842-1916], My Trip on the "John Williams"There were seven missionary ships operated in the Pacific Ocean by the London Missionary Society called John Williams, named after the British missionary (1796 – 20 November 1839). The first John Williams sank in 1864, so the voyage described in this book is, presumably, on one of the later ships. My thanks to Redcliffe College for providing a copy of this book to scan. This title is in the Public Domain.

Wikipedia has a short article on the ships that needs expanding – if you wish to add this book to its bibliography, please link to this page rather than directly to the PDF below.

R. Wardlaw Thompson [1842-1916], My Trip on the “John Williams”. London: Missionary Society, 1900. Hbk. pp.208. [Click to download complete book in PDF]


  1. Our Start – Brisbane to Kwato
  2. At Kwato
  3. Milne Bay to Isulailai
  4. In the Kerepunu District
  5. At Kalo and Hula
  6. Vatorata
  7. Delena and Jokea
  8. The Fly River and the Islands
  9. Port Moresby, and Farewell
  10. In the Loyalty Islands and Erromanga
  11. Fiji and Niué
  12. In the Cook Islands
  13. In the Cook Islands (Continued)
  14. In the Samoan Group


It has been a great pleasure to write for those who collected the money for building the John Williams, and who meet the cost of working it, the following brief record of a delightful tour. Our Mission steamer cost a great deal to build, and she costs twice as much as the old barque to maintain. But my voyage made three things very clear:- (1) Such a vessel is necessary if the work of the Mission is to be properly done; (2) the work is worth all the expenditure; (3) the vessel is admirably suited for the purpose for which she has been built. [Continue reading]

Story of the London Missionary Society by C.S. Horne

C. Silvester Horne, The Story of the L.M.S. with an Appendix Bringing the Story up to the Year 1904, new ednI cannot think of the London Missionary Society without their work in the Pacific Ocean coming to mind. The transformation of the people of the Pacific Islands by the power of the Gospel was truly dramatic and accounts found their way into popular culture through such books as The Coral Island. Much of the information in R.M. Ballantyne’s book was drawn from accounts of missionary’s working there, as Ballantyne had never travelled in the Pacific.

The L.M.S.’s innovative use of missionary ships is noteworthy and their legacy can be found today in such ministries as Mercy Ships and Operation Mobilisation. The work of the L.M.S. however was truly global, reaching Africa, Asia and South America. This book provides a comprehensive account of its work up to 1904. It contains a great many pictures which I wanted to include in greyscale to preserve their quality, so the file size of this book is much higher than usual (22MB).

C. Silvester Horne, The Story of the L.M.S. with an Appendix Bringing the Story up to the Year 1904, new edn. London: London Missionary Society, 1908. Hbk. pp.460. [Click to download in PDF]


  1. Laying the Foundation
  2. The South Seas
  3. South Africa
  4. India
  5. China
  6. British Guiana
  7. Madagascar
  8. Expansion in Polynesia
  9. Southern and Centra; Africa
  10. Progress in India
  11. Further Work in China
  12. Developments in Madagascar
  13. North China and Mongolia
  14. New Guinea
  15. Summary


The London Missionary Society Steamship "John Williams"