The London Missionary Society was a missionary society formed in England in 1795 by evangelical Anglicans and various nonconformists. It was largely Reformed in outlook, with Congregational missions in Oceania and Africa, although there were also Presbyterians, Methodists, Baptists and it now forms part of the Council for World Mission. In 1793, Edward Williams, then minister at Carrs Lane, Birmingham, wrote a letter to the churches of the Midlands, expressing the need for world evangelization and it was effective and Williams began to play an active part in the plans for a missionary society. He left Birmingham in 1795, becoming pastor at Masbrough, Rotherham, also in 1793, the Anglican cleric John Eyre of Hackney founded the Evangelical Magazine. He had the support of the presbyterian John Love, and congregationalists Edward Parsons and this aimed to overcome the difficulties that establishment of overseas missions had faced. Edward Williams continued his involvement and, in July 1796, gave the charge to the first missionaries sent out by the Society, the society aimed to create a forum where evangelicals could work together, give overseas missions financial support and co-ordination. It also advocated againt opponents who wanted unrestricted commercial and military relations with peoples throughout the world. After Ryland showed Carey’s letter to Henry Overton Wills, a campaigner in Bristol. Scottish ministers in the London area, David Bogue and James Steven, as well as other such as John Hey. Bogue wrote an appeal in the Evangelical Magazine for September 1794, Ye were once Pagans, living in cruel. The servants of Jesus came from lands, and preached His Gospel among you. John Eyre responded by inviting a leading and influential evangelical, Rev. Thomas Haweis, the Cornishman sided firmly with Bogue, and immediately identified two donors, one of £500, and one of £100. From this start, a campaign developed to raise money for the proposed society, eighteen supporters showed up and helped agree the aims of the proposed missionary society – to spread the knowledge of Christ among heathen and other unenlightened nations. By Christmas over thirty men were committed to forming the society, in the following year,1795, Spa Fields Chapel was approached for permission to preach a sermon to the various ministers and others by now keenly associated with the plan to send missionaries abroad. Hundreds of evangelicals attended, and the newly launched society quickly began receiving letters of financial support, the Missionary Societys board quickly began interviewing prospective candidates. In 1800 the society placed missionaries with the Rev. David Bogue of Gosport for preparation for their ministries, a Captain James Wilson offered to sail the missionaries to their destination unpaid. The society was able to afford the small ship Duff, of 267 tons and it could carry 18 crew members and 30 missionaries. Seven months after the crew left port from the Woolwich docks in late 1796 they arrived in Tahiti, the missionaries were then instructed to become friendly with the natives, build a mission house for sleeping and worship, and learn the native language
Around 1900, the London Missionary Society produced a series of glass magic lantern slides depicting the missionary efforts of David Livingstone such as this one.
The cession of the district of Matavai in the island of Tahiti to Captain James Wilson for the use of the missionaries.