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Section III: Central Records

Part 8 continues the CMS Minutes, covering the period 13 March 1837- 20 December 1853. The Minutes covering the years 3 January 1854-14 July 1876 and Indexes to the Minutes 1799-1876 will be covered in Part 9.

The Minutes of the various committees are entered in chronological order in the volumes. For the years included in Part 8, the Committee Minutes covered are: General Minutes, 1837-1853 and Accounts, 1837-1853 which are an important source for historians interested in the funding and solvency of the CMS in the Nineteenth Century. They provide details of bills of exchange, missionaries’ salaries, allowances for each of the mission areas and amounts spent on Tradesmans’ Bills, Books and Paper and sundries with a total of expenditure for each month. One month the records show that £10,000 was spent and receipts only totalled £6,500 giving a deficiency of £3,500.

Also included are the Correspondence Minutes, 1837-1853, a fascinating source including the texts of letters from major figures outside of the CMS to the Society (such as the Archbishop of Canterbury, Bishop of London, the President of the Royal Geographical Society and so on). They also provide a summary of the reports, letters and other items coming before the committee and record the decisions taken. Included are brief summaries of missionary letters and journals from every mission area covered by CMS and names of correspondents are listed. The Minutes also give details of Home Expenditure. Expenses include education, allowances for disabled missionaries, publications, salaries, office machinery and stationery and mission expenses listed by mission area.

Other Minutes included are: Children’s Home Visitors, 1850-1853; Clerical, 1838-1853 giving a summary of letters received; Finance, 1842-1853; Islington College Visitors, 1837-1853 with visitors listed; and Patronage, 1837-1853 giving a list of gentleman patrons. Two special committees included in this part are the House Committee and the Audit Committee. The latter gives full details of bills of exchange, divided by mission area. It also includes Tradesmans Bills listing the amount spent on supplies and outfits, publications, books and sundries. A total of expenditure is given for each month.

All volumes have indexes at the front. For the years 1837-1853 there are indexes for names and for1837-1847 there are dates of committee meetings. The Minutes are all handwritten but are for the most part in copper-plate handwriting and therefore very legible.

These minutes will be invaluable for anyone trying to understand the working of the CMS, its scope and success both at home and in the Mission Field.

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