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Will to Power by David Mulhall


This study of British Columbia’s most famous missionary, father A.G. Morice, O.M.I. casts new light on his motives and actions. A standard, laudatory biography, now revealed to have been written by Morice himself, portrays a meek, selfless priest dedicated to the Carrier people among whom he worked. The truth is quite the opposite. Extraordinarily vain and egotistical, Morice was obsessed with gaining power and recognition as missionary, explorer and Indian expert. With his native intelligence and boundless energy and determination, he was successful in building a veritable kingdom for himself in B.C. northern interior between 1885 and 1903. However, his rebellious and erratic behaviour inevitably led to a final conflict with his superiors. Using oral testimony about Morice, gathered in fieldwork in Fort St. James and other villages around Stuart Lake, as well as available documents written by whites, David Mulhall uncovers new insights relevant to the history of the fur trade frontier and Indian interest in Christianity. Above all, he has written a fascinating account of the relation between the personality of a very typical Oblate missionary and the circumstances on the frontier which fostered his rise to power. Readers interested in the modern history of B.C.‘s native people will be informed by this account of the province’s past, as will those more generally concerned with the missionary enterprise as an agent of the European expansion and cultural change throughout the world.

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The Missionary Career of Father Morice



missionaries, France, British Columbia



University of B.C. Press