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CHURCH MISSIONARY SOCIETY ARCHIVE
Section III: Central Records

Part 6 contains all the CMS Circular Books, 1799-1905 and all the CMS Circular Letters, 1892-1921. These are large scrapbook type volumes consisting of a wide variety of printed material: circulars, minutes, pamphlets, memoranda, committee papers and resolutions and letters with a detailed index of names, places and subjects.

There is a wide and fascinating range of topics covering all of the CMS missions and CMS home affairs which provide rich resources for research. The wide variety of documents found here include plans of CMS associations, minutes of proposals to the British Government, letters of Bishops to missionaries, minutes of monthly meetings, regulations of the CMS and of the CMS institution in Islington and questions to missionary candidates. Other important documents include papers on the the financial situation of CMS, reports of Sub-Committees, papers on the Fourah Bay Institution Buildings Fund and circular letters to missionaries.

There are appeals for funds, suggestions for the Jubilee Year, rules on the marriage of missionaries, circulars about the Missionaries’ Children’s Home, narratives of expeditions by missionaries, letters from captains about the African Coast blockade of slave ships and memoranda regarding the slave trade.

Further interesting material includes letters from the Chiefs of Abbeokuta in Africa to the Queen, petitions from CMS to the House of Commons, reports from the Bishoprics, lists of books published by CMS and extracts from papers related to The Great Anti-Missionary Meeting at Calcutta. There are also suggestions for the improvement of social and intellectual conditions of the Native Africans of Sierra Leone, a circular expounding a special appeal for India, papers documenting the growth of independent native churches and reports on the progress of various missions.

Researches can also study religious persecution in Turkey and look at the different types of missionary prayers. It is also possible to examine lists of subscriptions, review documents on freed slaves at Mombasa and explore documents on famine in India, caste in Tinnevelly and domestic slavery in Lagos.

Other clusters of documents include extracts from missionary letters, the reports of Native Agent, papers on the the disestablishment of the church in Ceylon and regulations on education. There is also material on the evangelisation of Arabia. Other papers cover the consecration of Bishops, instructions delivered to missionaries before entering the mission field and resolutions adopted by the General Committee.

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