The foreign missionary impetus generated by Britain's eighteenth
century Evangelical Revival included a concern for
Francophone Europe. Seeds of this concern had been sown by
the influx to Britain of Huguenot refugees after 1685,
royalist sympathizers after 1789 and prisoners captured in
conflicts with Napoleonic France. ^ British supporters of
agencies for Gospel extension, whether missionary, tract or
Bible societies, viewed Francophone Europe as blighted
successively by political absolutism, Enlightenment scepticism
and Revolutionary upheaval. Viewing its indigenous
Christianity as downtrodden and largely nominal, they
embarked on schemes to renovate Francophone Christianity.
In these initiatives, some British persons and agencies
mistakenly proceeded on the assumption that their own
efforts were the solitary reliable efforts underway in
pursuit of evangelical renewal. In fact, a considerable
segment of Francophone Protestantism, aided by Pietism and
Moravianism, had retained a vital Christianity; spiritual
awakening was in progress in advance of any British initiatives.
The failure of some British individuals and agencies
to accept this reality ensured that a substantial portion of
their endeavour would tend to sectarianism.
While the outflow of British aid to Francophone Christianity
in the period 1816-1849 was massive, British Christianity
itself received the impress of a renewed Francophone Protestantism.
Preachers, dogmaticians and historians from within
France and Switzerland became highly influential voices in
Britain's Victorian era.