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Section III: Central Records

Part 9 continues the CMS Minutes, covering the period 3 January 1854- 14 July 1876 and also covers the Indexes to the Minutes 1799-1876.

The Minutes of the various committees are entered in chronological order in the volumes. For the years included in Part 9, the Committee Minutes covered are: General Minutes, 1854-1876 and Accounts, 1854-1875 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, money paid to sick and disabled missionaries and children of missionaries, allowances for each of the mission areas and amounts spent on tradesmans’ bills, outfits and suppliers, books and paper and sundries with a total of expenditure for each month. For the month of January 1854 the records show that £6,586 was spent and receipts totalled £21,467 giving a surplus of £14,000. Some months it can be seen that the expenditure was more than the receipts giving a deficit.

Also included are the Correspondence Minutes, 1854-1876, a fascinating source including the texts of letters from major figures outside of the CMS to the Society. 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, 1854-1876; Clerical, 1854-1876 giving a summary of letters received; Finance, 1854-1876 including lists of average receipts of the preceding five years and abstracts of returns of the Association Secretaries; Patronage, 1854-1876 giving a list of gentleman patrons. Two special committees included in this part are the House Committee and the Educational Sub-Committee.

The Minutes are all handwritten but are for the most part in copper-plate handwriting and therefore very legible.

The Indexes to the Committee Minutes consist of a General Index, 1799-1857 which contains an index to names and subjects not in the foreign missions index together with a register of missionaries trained at Islington. The Indexes for 1854-1876 contain an alphabetical index to names and subjects.

These minutes and indexes 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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