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Apostle of the North
Memoirs of the Right Reverend William Carpenter Bompas
H. A. Cody
Introduction William Morrison, Kenneth S. Coates
Bishop William Carpenter Bompas was a difficult man, cantankerous, stubborn, and more than a little eccentric. He carried on his shoulders the deep spirituality of his own faith, the assumptions of his background, and the cultural aggressiveness of the Victorian age. He was a church leader who often disagreed with his church and ignored its advice. Bompas’s life in the North offers insights into the compelling forces of religion and faith. In a new Introduction, historians William Morrison and Ken Coates examine Bompas’s career, exploring themes central to the history of the church in Canada and to aboriginal-newcomer relations.
Format:  Trade Paperback
ISBN:  978-0-88864-400-8
Price:  CND$ 29.95, USD$ 29.95, £ 24.99
Discount:  Short
Subject:  Canadian History
Publication Date:  November 2002
“An Apostle of the North: Memoirs of the Right Reverend William Carpenter Bompas is an exact reprint, including terrific photographs, of a 1908 memoir of Bishop William Carpenter Bompas, the first Anglican bishop of several successive territories in the Canadian Northwest. This new edition includes a valuable, lengthy introduction and a new index by historians William R. Morrison and Kenneth S. Coates….Morrison and Coates make a convincing case that Bompas is a significant but insufficiently known figure in the history of the Canadian North, whose life contained many ambiguities. To reprint a period missionary memoir, even of such an important figure, is not, however, unproblematic. The limitations inherent in the classic Christian missionary biography, not the least the occlusion of non-white voices, hardly need to be repeated here. Morrison and Coates contend, however, that this particular memoir deserves reprinting because it remains the best existing account of Bompas’s life, given that Bompas left few personal papers….They further argue convincingly that Cody’s work is in itself an illuminating period piece, shedding valuable light on Victorian attitudes, including Victorian racism.”
Marsha L. Richmond, University of Toronto Quarterly, Volume 75, No. 1, Winter 2006.
“It is heartening that in their 60-page introduction William Morrison and Kenneth Coates contextualise mission history and ‘humanise’ its participants….Their analysis is balanced and sensible….it contains a remarkable store of material relevant even in the twenty-first century. I am glad that it has been reissued, because, though a ‘period piece’, it presents us with a unique account of a figure, ‘a difficult man, cantankerous, stubborn, and more than a little eccentric’ (xxxi), who was extraordinarily influential in the Yukon's pioneer phase.”
David N. Collins, British Journal of Canadian Studies, Vol. 17, No. 1, 2004
"Those interested in the history of Native-newcomer relations, northern Canada, and religious or mission history will find the reissue of this biography useful and the introduction compelling.”
Myra Rutherdale (U of Sask.), The Canadian Historical Review, Vol. 85, No. 1
"Historians will welcome this reissue of H.A. Cody's 1908 An Apostle of the North. Kenneth S. Coates and William S. Morrison had intended to write a biography of Bompas (1834-1906) but the dearth of personal papers led them to edit a contemporary's memoirs.”
Jacqueline Gresko, Journal of Ecclesiastical History, Vol. 55, No. 3
"H.A. Cody wrote An Apostle of the North in 1908, when a missionary could still be a hero, and Cody had no doubt that Bishop Bompas was heroic. The editors of this edition, two history professors of scrupulous academic detachment, come close to wondering if he might have been right....[The editors] recognized the existing biography as an important historical document in its own right, and decided to reprint it, accompanied by a comprehensive introduction from their modern perspectives. Their choice to conceptualise, and not to rewrite, results in a multi-level work which re-introduces not only Bompas, but his Boswell as well.”
Phyllis Reeve, BC Historical News Journal, Vol. 37, No. 3
"…Morrison and Coates decided to write an extensive introduction and republish H.A. Cody’s 1908 biography of Bompas. The introduction is excellent; they provide context for understanding the significance of Bompas’s life and offer their own appreciation for Cody’s work….Through a work that has largely been forgotten, Morrison and Coates have helped recover an important figure and have raised significant questions about how we have come to understand the role of Western religion in the Pacific Northwest.”
Dale E. Soden, Whitworth College, Pacific Northwest Quarterly Winter 2003/2004 Volume 95 number 1
"The editors have done an outstanding job in explaining the importance of William Bompas in their introduction… Once again the University of Alberta Press has produced an attractive and fascinating volume in its Western Canada Reprint Series. The introduction, as with the Champlain Society reprints, which set the standard, provides as much for the reader as does the reprint itself.”
The Edmonton Journal

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