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Section III: Central Records

Part 10: The Missionary Papers, 1816-1867, CMS Monthly Paper, 1828-1829, A Quarterly Token for Juvenile Subscribers, 1856-1878 & 1888-1917, The Home Gazette, 1905-1906, and The CMS Gazette, 1907-1934

The periodicals included in this part all belong to the Home Papers of CMS which are held at the headquarters of CMS in London. Once all the Home Papers have been catalogued they will be deposited at Birmingham University Library where the majority of the CMS Archive is already held.

The Missionary Papers, 1816-1884 consist of one volume and form one of the earliest periodicals aimed at the members of CMS in the UK. They include for the most part accounts by missionaries of their work and experiences abroad. Their descriptions of the life and customs of the indigenous people are absolutely riveting and there are wonderful line drawings of the people, their clothes, gods, temples and ceremonies etc. All the countries CMS had missions in are covered and the type of detail to be found is:

tribal customs in Africa
Fakeers in India
Suttee the burning of widows with their dead husband (abolished in 1829 by the British)
Cannibals in New Zealand
Juggernauts in India ( these carried the god to the temple)
Hindu gods
African superstitions
Hindu castes
Hook swinging in India
Trials for witchcraft in India
American Indian customs
Customs in Abyssinia
Missions in Australia
Human sacrifices in Africa
Parsees in India
Customs in Jamaica, Turkey, Japan, Persia
Uprisings and persecutions of missionaries in China

Also included are memoirs of native people who were brought to the UK by missionaries, descriptions of work in the native schools, requests for missionaries, descriptions of Sierra Leone and how the negroes were faring after emancipation, with stories about how they were captured and treated as slaves. Also included are details of CMS funds.

Please note that The Missionary Papers had a change of title in January 1882 becoming The Church Mission Quarterly Paper until 1884. It follows exactly the same format as The Missionary Papers.

CMS Monthly Paper, 1828-1829 was one of the first CMS papers on mission work. It only covers two years in one volume but has very interesting news from all the missions CMS worked in at the time, together with home news. There is a contents page for both years at the end of the volume.

Please note that the CMS Monthly Paper in 1830 became The Church Missionary Record which continued until 1875.

A Quarterly Token for Juvenile Subscribers, 1856-1878 and 1888-1917. (No issues are available for 1879-1887).

This periodical was aimed at young people. It gives vivid descriptions of the work of the missionaries and lives of the people in the countries, couched in language suitable for children and young adults. It has wonderful illustrations showing the customs, clothes and life of the people etc.

The kind of material included is:

Poems and hymns
Stories about the conversion of native children
Descriptions of events eg the attack of the Dahomians on Abbeokuta in Yoruba, Nigeria; Tartars in China; the Indian mutiny
Native customs such as Suttee the burning of widows in India, bathing in the Ganges, sacred bulls in India, funeral processions, killing of baby girls in China
Descriptions of travels by missionaries within the countries with accounts of what they encountered
An account of how missionary collecting boxes were made in London 11,000 made in one year
Information on how the negroes were settling down in Sierra Leone
Other religions explained in simple terms
Obituaries of Bishops
Financial statements of contributions received from Juvenile Associations
Stories about liberated slave children
Descriptions of mission houses
Drawings of converts
Descriptions of schools
Information on the slave trade
Persecution of converts

Also included are brief details of home information, for example a description of the Missionaries Childrens Home in Islington.

The Home Gazette, 1905-1906 which became The CMS Gazette A Magazine for Missionary Workers 1907-1934 is an important CMS periodical describing home activities at headquarters and in the associations with much information also on mission news. Each issue has a detailed contents page at the front.

The periodical contains:

Articles on Sunday Schools
Collections of money for CMS
Meetings of associations
Lists of books and periodicals published by CMS
CMS Summer Schools
Letters to leaders of prayer meetings
CMS study scheme
Letters to the Editor
CMS financial statements with diagrams in the year 1905 they had a deficit of £45,000. In 1906 this rose to a deficit of £70,000
Gleaners Union Branch meetings
CMS Young Peoples Union
Retirement of staff
Articles on non-Christian religions
Campaigns for raising more money for CMS
Reports on the position of missionary work in the countries
Womens work
Notes on contributions by the Churches in the UK
The Girls Movement
World events such as the outbreak of World War I, floods in China, cholera epidemic in India
The Medical Mission Auxiliary

A very large section of the periodical is made up of "The Mission Field" which gives news and letters from all the missions. Each issue has a detailed contents page, dividing the Mission Field articles into geographical areas. There are wonderful and sometimes disturbing descriptions of customs and accounts of natural disasters and wars.

The two extracts below will give a feel for the type of material to be found within the periodical:

This extract dated February 1915 describes how the villagers in a small town in India dealt with an outbreak of cholera. It is written by Rev C W Thorne:

" About two months ago there was a great outbreak of cholera in this village, The heathen were filled with terror and prepared a great sacrifice to Mariai, the cholera goddess. Besides quantities of fowls, eggs, cocoa nuts, much ghur ( raw sugar), butter, ghee and other gifts were brought to the goddess to appease her wrath. In addition to this a buffalo was brought and its head struck off that its blood might be a propitiation to Mariai, while a great sacrifice of thirty-two goats was offered upon her altar. But in spite of all this the scourge broke out again with greater virulence and the people died like flies."

Another extract describes the terrible floods in Canton, China in 1915 when the river rose eighty feet and many missionaries were marooned on the city wall for four days. Miss A M Jones writes: "The population of the city betook themselves to the roofs of their houses and many fires were ignited through cooking rice on the matting placed over the roofs for coolness. Incendiaries added to the horrors of the position; and 10,000 lives are said to have been lost in the city by fire and water. Pirates thronged in from the country districts and the boatmen demanded exorbitant sums for rescuing the people, whilst even some of the soldiers could not resist the temptation to plunder. A still further affliction was the necessity the people imprisoned by the floods were under of drinking the river water, impregnated with sewage and full of dead bodies of people, pigs etc."

These periodicals are invaluable to researchers of the social and cultural history of China and provide fascinating detail on how the missionaries viewed the people and the countries they worked iin.

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