* Adam Matthew Publications. Imaginative publishers of research collections.
Elizabeth Barrett Browning
News  |  Orders  |  About Us
* A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z  

Section IV: Africa Missions

Part 16: South Africa, 1836-1843, Kenya, 1841-1888, and Nyanza, 1876-1882

The CMS Archives reveal much about the history and culture of the countries the missionaries worked in. They record the collision between western and indigenous cultures and the changes that resulted from this. They describe the introduction of western medicine, the establishment of education and the confrontations and compromises which arose. The papers are a rich source for ethnologists, social historians and all those trying to understand the countries involved before and after missionary intervention.

The material on South Africa, Kenya and Nyanza offers a combination of letter books, mission books and original papers. They contain all of the incoming papers sent to the CMS headquarters from the missionaries and mission secretary, consisting of letters, journals and reports as well as minutes and papers from local CMS committees.

South Africa Mission, 1836-1843
The Letter Book for 1836 to 1841 contains copies of outgoing correspondence from the secretaries at headquarters to missionaries (and others) in the field. Most letters are instructions to new recruits such as Rev W Hewetson, Rev Blair and Mr and Mrs R Philips.

Also included is the Mission Book for 1836-1843. The Original Papers were copied in full into the Mission Books in order for them to be used by the committee in London. Some of the originals copied into the Mission Book were presented to the South African government in 1921 and are now kept in Cape Town. The highlights of this section include Rev F Owen's letters describing his arrival at Table Bay, the forming of the mission, and his journal for March 1837 alongside two long and detailed journals for 1837 and 1838; journals of Rev W Hewetson for 1838; and Rev R Philips' fascinating journals and letters (1838) which describe his work amongst the Zulus.

The Original Papers for 1837-1843 consist of material sent by the mission secretary to headquarters in London. They contain a rich mixture of journals, letters and miscellaneous papers describing the work of the missionaries and their interaction with local people.

Included in the miscellaneous papers are the Church Missionary Society Association material concerning the establishment of CMS in South Africa. There are also copies of local newspapers such as the Graham's Town Journal (some copies for 1837-1839), South African Commercial Advertiser (some copies for 1837 and 1838); Cape of Good Hope Government Gazette (one copy for July 1838).

The papers of missionaries cover:

- Wallace Hewetson: Journal of his voyage to South Africa, 1837; letter re his son's death, 1837; journals for 1838-1840 describing the murder of Mr Retief, commander of the Dutch by Dingaan and the journey to Ambanasti.
- Rev Francis Owen: Letters for 1839-1840 and 1842 re a dispute between W Hewetson and R Philips, a description of the behaviour of Mr and Mrs Philips and a copy of the journal for February - March 1838 re Dingaan's killing of the Boers.
- Robert Philips: Letters re the treatment of Mrs Edwards and his journals (1838-1839) describing his voyage out and a trek up the Orange River in 1839.

Kenya Mission, 1841-1888
The material on Kenya begins with individual Letter Books for 1863, 1867-1868, 1870, 1881 and 1888 which contain personal letters, such as those of condolence or censure to individual missionaries from the Secretary in London, alongside two further books. Included in these two are mostly instructions to new missionaries recently arrived at the mission from the Secretary (an index to names is included).

The Mission Books, 1842-1880, consist of copies of the original papers sent by the mission secretary to headquarters in London. They contain letters and journals, copied in full for the use of the committee in London, with a note of receipt for the financial papers. An index to names is again included alongside annual letters for 1876-1879, which are pasted into the back of the volume.

Letters from missionaries such as Mr John Muhleisen, Mr T Muller, Rev J Warburton, Bishop Alexander, Rev Isenberg, Rev J W Handford, Rev J A Lamb, Rev F A H Russell, Rev H K Binns are included. They give information on the evangelical, medical and educational work and contain much on the development of Freretown as a place for the reception and training of freed slaves. Much interesting detail is given on the scenery, way of life and customs of the people in the very detailed journals of missionaries such as Rev Muhleisen, Rev Charles William Isenberg and Rev John Rebmann. Rev Knapf gives a long detailed account of his trip to the Wanika tribe at Rabbay, his excursions to Dshembo and Dshogni and includes notes on Zanzibar and slavery. Another journal recounts his excursion to Rabbay Empia and journey to Ukambani in 1849. Rev J Rebmann's letters and journals describe his journey into the northern parts of the Wanika country, with notes on the customs of the people, and a journey to Madjame in 1849. Very interestingly the papers also include a letter from Rev David Livingstone about the rediscovery of a lake called Shireva in 1859. Also included are letters to and from Dr J Kirk, British consulate in Zanzibar.

The Original Papers, 1841-1880, contain the papers sent by the mission secretary to headquarters in London. They consist mostly of letters, journals and reports of missionaries and others (such as catechists, schoolmasters, doctors and lay agents). Minutes and miscellaneous papers are also covered here. The papers are arranged alphabetically by name, making individuals easy to find.

Some of the individuals included are:

- Rev George Percy Badger, chaplain
- Rev Henry Kerr Binns whose papers include reports of visit to Godoma and Jilori and annual letters for 1878 to 1879.
- Francis Bourazan, catechist
- Rev William Bartlett, Chancellor
- George David, catechist. His papers offer an account of the customs of the Ugnaro (a Wangika tribe), 1879, a translation of a petition from Christians at Godoma, 1880, and a report of a visit to Godoma, June 1875.
- Rev John James Erhardt. Map of the Rabbai country, 1852, journal of his journey to Usambara and three month's stay with the king of the country, Kmeri, 1853, and an extract taken from a journal kept whilst staying in Fanga, 1854.
- Edward Wood Forster, medical missionary. Report on the new mission station at Freretown, July 1875, and quarterly reports of the medical mission work carried out in Mombasa, 1975-1876.
- John William Handford, schoolmaster. Letters recounting his arrival, the school, the pupils and the work, a description of a journey to Giriame in 1878 with an account of the burial and marriage customs, and annual letters for 1876 and 1878-1879.
- Sir John Kirk, consul at Zanzibar.
- Dr John Ludwig Krapf, first missionary in Kenya. Copy of a Treaty of Amity and Commerce between Sehela Selassie (King of Shoa) and Captain Harris in the name of H M Queen, 1841; remarks on the island of Zanzibar with details on the climate, products, trade, the inhabitants, slavery and a table of commodity prices; a letter on slavery; a sketch of the probable course of the Haines river, 1844; a copy of a letter to Prince Albert; a copy of a letter to Bishop Gobat of Jerusalem; and notes on the beginning of the Uganda mission. His journals include descriptions of a journey from Ankober to Massawa, 1842; a voyage from Aden to Zanzibar; a journey to the islands of Pemba, Tanga and Mombas, 1844; a journey to the country of the Wanika tribe at Rabbay and visit of the Wakamba people at Endila, 1845; a journey to Dahembo, Dshogni, Likoni, Rabbay, Empia and the vicinity, 1845; and a 45 mile journey to Takaongo, 1845. Other journals give details of a journey to Ukambani and a two month residence there, 1841; a journey to Usambara, 1852; a memoir on the East African Slave Trade addressing its affects and suppression.
- Rev William Salter Price, Secretary and Director of the East Africa mission. A memo relating to Rev Sparshott, 1875; a list of buildings completed and in progress at Freretown; the duties of Mr Harrison in connection with the Industrial Settlement of the CMS; a proclamation against slavery from the Sultan of Zanzibar, 1876; and extracts from his journals for 1874-1876.
- Rev John Rebmann. A report on ten years work in East Africa, 1855; personal expenditure for 1857; journals for 1846-1849 including an account of a journey to Jagga in 1848, a journey to Teita in 1849, a journey to Madshame in Kiriama (called Jagga by the Swahilis) in 1849 and a journey to Madjame in 1849; and an annual letter for 1869.
- John Radford Streeter, lay superintendent offers examples of writing by Godoma Christians, 1880, and annual letters for 1878 to 1879.

Nyanza Mission, 1876-1882
The Letter Book for 1876-1882 is very varied in its content, including lists of articles the missionaries are to take with them, such as a bedstead, compass and pocket filters, a memo on the plans for the future of the Victoria Nyanza mission after a conversation with Stanley and a letter to HM King Msesa, ruler of Uganda, from the CMS committee.

The two Mission Books offer letters from Lieutenant G Shergold Smith recounting his voyage to Zanzibar; from Mr J G O' Neill regarding his exploration of the River Kingani (1876); Rev Mackay on his journey up the river in The Daisy; and an account of a journey from Bagamoyo to Mpwapwa with a list of deaths, desertions and dismissals on the way (1876). Lieutenant G Shergold Smith writes of a journey from Kagei to Ukerewe Island whilst Rev Wilson tells of the murder of Shergold Smith by natives. Other highlights are a letter from Mr C Stokes written in 1878 from the village of Kiungo, six days march from Bagamoyo, a detailed description of the different tribes of the area by Mr J F Lask (1879), a letter from Rev G Litchfield describing his work at Rubaga, and a copy of a letter to King Mlesa asking for permission for missionaries to travel freely within his kingdom.

Minutes of the Victoria Nyanza Sub-Committee (who supervised the commencement and conduct of the mission) also feature. Included are signed agreements entered into by Ralph Burton, W C Tytherleigh, George Sneath and James and William Robertson.

The Original Papers, 1876-1880, consist mostly of letters, journals and reports of missionaries and others (such as catechists, schoolmasters, doctors, lay agents, industrial agents and lay evangelists). Miscellaneous papers include letters from the Foreign Office and from CMS agents in Alexandria and Zanzibar. Some of the individuals included here are listed below alongside some of their correspondence, giving a flavour of the sort of material to be found in their papers:

- Dr Edward John Baxter, medical missionary
- George James Clark was a lay agent. His papers include a journal of journey from Bagamoyo to Mpwapwa, 1876.
- Alfred John Copplestone, industrial agent. Journal of a journey from Uyui to Lake Nyanza, 1879.
- Robert William Felkin, medical missionary. Included is his journal for 1878-1879, giving details of a meeting with the King and his chiefs, a private diary of a voyage by river steamer from Berber to Khartoum, 1878 and from Khartoum to Shambe, 1878.
- Colonel Charles George Gordon offers a map of the route from Lado to Urondogani near Owen Falls showing physical features, sites of military stations and routes taken by Speke, Grant and Baker.
- Dr John Kirk (later Sir John Kirk), British Consul General.
- James Thomas Last, lay agent. An account of a visit to Giriama, 1877, drawings of arrow-heads, wooden flasks and the camp at Mlali, plans of the mission settlement and buildings at Mpwapwa, 1878, a description of the tribes in the area, and vocabulary in Swahil, Kiseguhha, Kinguru etc.
- Alexander Murdoch Mackay, lay agent and evangelist. An account of a journey up the Kinagani River, July 1876 with a description of the hospitality extended to them by the local chief on a journey to Tanga.
- Lieutenant George Shergold-Smith, leader of the mission. A report from F Holmwood of his exploration of the Kingani River, a list of expenditure in cloth and beads for food and tribute of a small caravan from Sadani to Kagei (1877), copy of a diary for 1877, notes and sketches on customs, buildings, clothes and furniture, a journal for November and December 1877, and a letter to his mother giving an account of the exploration of the Simeyu and Ruwana rivers in 1877.
- Rev Charles Thomas Wilson. An account of a march from Bagamoyo to Mpwapura, 1876, a letter written at Usukuma (about a journey of 8 days), 1898, an account of the history and superstitions of the Waganda people, an account of the murder of Shergold-Smith, a list of Kiganda words, 1878, letter to the King of Uganda, Mtesa, 1879, lists of the demands to be granted by Mtesa before the establishment of a new mission, 1879, an outfit lists for missionaries, houses, stations and general stores (1879).

CMS Logo


* * *
* * *

* *© 2022 Adam Matthew Digital Ltd. All Rights Reserved.