Finding Number (Click this to view full catalogue structure)CMS/B/OMS/C A1 E
TitleEarly correspondence
Extent10 files
DescriptionThis series comprises incoming and outgoing correspondence between the Secretaries at headquarters and the missionaries, agents, government officials and others concerned with West African affairs.

This series represents a calendar of the earliest records of the Church Missionary Society West Africa Mission, covering the period 1803-1820. All documents, except the lengthy and detailed journals, have been calendared and a wide variety of documents are to be found (letters, bills, accounts, reports etc.). It should also be noted that copies of letters from the Society's officers in London to the missionaries and others are included.
ArrangementThe documents were originally guarded into box files, but of these there remain only some of the board covers carrying indexes. From June 1815 onwards the documents are numbered by the clerk in red ink, office practice which was to be carried on into the mission books.

The series is divided into 10 units which represent original box files in which the documents were held on guards. The units are as follows:
E1 1803-1808 E5A 1816-1817 [1814, 1815]
E2 1809-1812 E6 1817-1818 [1814, 1815, 1816]
E3 1812-1814 E7 1818-1819
E4 1814-1815 E7A 1819 [1816, 1817, 1818]
E5 1815-1816 E8 1819-1820

The extra dates given in square brackets for E5A, E6 and E7A represent documents which appear in these units but are out of the general chronological order of the series. These are partly explained by Bickersteth returning with documents from Africa and these being placed in the series at a date after his return.

Wherever possible the numbers assigned to the documents (e.g. E7/102) are the same as the original numbers marked on the documents by the CMS clerk. Where there is a difference between the archivist's number and the original number, the original number is given in square brackets. The archivist's arrangement is by chronological order. The following points should also be noted:

E1: The numbers throughout this are archivist's numbers as it was impossible to distinguish the original series. The numbers in square brackets are standing original numbers but there are clearly many omissions and other problems. E1/1-3 were taken from the series G/AC3 and bear original numbers for that series. It is also of interest that the copies of letters from the Secretary bear crossed-out page numbers.

E2: The numbers are original numbers and the first 17 documents bear either one or two crossed-out numbers as well. Several numbers are missing and so marked and several documents had been previously transferred to other series and are so marked.

E3: The numbers are original numbers up to E3/29. Thereafter there were no original numbers and they have been given archivist's numbers. Many of the documents up to E3/38 bear one or two crossed-out original numbers. A few of the numbers up to E3/29 are missing and so marked.

E4: The numbers are archivist's numbers throughout, there being no original numbers.

E5-8: The numbers are all original numbers with minor amendments.

Most of the units contain original indexes, either pasted onto the boards from the box or in small booklets.
Access ConditionsFor preservation reasons, microfilm or digital copies are made available in place of the original documents.
Access StatusOpen, but subject to some access restrictions
Physical DescriptionThe calendar was prepared by a succession of people over a number of years and this has led to some inevitable inconsistencies in style and method. The nature and variety of the documents also prohibited any rigid pattern being imposed upon them. Efforts have been made to systematize presentation and standard of calendaring, but it is not claimed that the result is up to publication standard.

Names of persons and places have been standardized as far as possible, but unfortunately there are many anomalies. Sometimes the early phonetic spellings are unrecognizable as any modern place or known name and these have been followed exactly.

Some points to note are the various spellings of the title 'Mungke' (e.g. Munke, Monke, Munkge, etc.); Wonkapong being Wonkafong; Dalla Moodastown being Dala Modu's town; William Fananders being William Fernandez. It should also be noted that Fantimania was also known as Kakara; that Kapparoo (Kapuru) was renamed Gambier (itself the name of an earlier settlement on the Rio Dembia); that there were two Bathursts (one in Gambia and one in Sierra Leone); that the full name for Yongroo was Yongroo pomoh.

Care should also be taken to distinguish between William Davies, the Methodist missionary, and William Davies (sometimes Davis), the native catechist.

B. F. B. S. British and Foreign Bible Society
C. C. Committee of Correspondence
CMS Church Missionary Society
Leic. Mt. Leicester Mountain
P. C. Parent Committee (Committee of Correspondence)
S. L. Sierra Leone
Administrative HistoryThe West Africa Mission was controlled by the Committee of Correspondence in London which was itself responsible to the General Committee of the Society. References to the 'Committee' or the 'Parent Committee' should be taken to indicate the Committee of Correspondence. The Secretary to these committees, Josiah Pratt, acted as chief executive officer to the Society. Two Assistant Secretaries, Thomas Smith and Edward Bickersteth, also appear as letter writers. Smith seems to have had primarily financial responsibilities and was connected with the Society until at least 1814. Bickersteth became Assistant Secretary in 1816, after visiting West Africa as a 'confidential friend' of the Society to investigate the state of the mission. Some Committee members also seem to have had particular responsibilites (e.g. the Jowetts were connected with the provision of stores and supplies). Others figure as the recipients of letters (e.g. Rev. Thomas Scott).

List of CMS missionaries to Sierra Leone 1804-1820

Name Sent
Barneth, Rev. John Charles Jul 1809 died Feb 1810
Barrett, Henry Jan 1819 died May 1819
Brennand, David Jan 1817 died Jun 1817
Bull, George Stringer Nov 1818 returned to England May 1820
Butscher, Leopold May 1806 died Jul 1817
Cates, John Brereton Jan 1817 died Jul 1819
Decker, Rev. Charles Henry Nov 1817 withdrew Nov 1822
During, Rev. Henry Mar 1816 died Sep 1823
Hartwig, Rev. Peter Mar 1804 connection dissolved 1807
reaccepted 1814 died Mar 1815
Horton, John Mar 1816 withdrew 1818
Hughes, Robert Jan 1815 connection dissolved Mar 1818
Jesty, Thomas Jan 1819 died Jan 1820
Johnson, Rev. William Augustus Bernard Mar 1816 died May 1823
Jost, Christopher Mar 1816 died Jun 1816
Klein, Rev. John Solomon Nov 1811 connection dissolved 1821
Meissner, Conrad Henry Dec 1812 died Jun 1814
Meyer, Herman Dec 1812 died Sep 1813
Morgan, Thomas Nov 1818 returned to England Sep 1819
Nylander, Rev. Gustavus Reinhold May 1806 died May 1825
Prasse, Rev. Johann Gottfried May 1806 died Jan 1809
Quast, John Dec 1812 died Mar 1813
Renner, Rev. Melchoir Mar 1804 died Sep 1821
Schulze, Rev. John George Frederick May 1806 withdrew Jun 1806
Schulze, Rev. John Henry Jun 1815 died Oct 1815
Sperrhacken, Rev. John Christopher Jan 1815 died Oct 1815
Taylor, Christopher Nov 1818 died Jul 1825
Wenzel, Rev. Charles Frederick Christian Jul 1809 died Aug 1818
Wilhelm, Rev. John Godfrey Nov 1811 died Apr 1834

List of Chaplains of Sierra Leone Colony (who acted as 'friends' of CMS)

Collier, John 1817-1819
Flood, Samuel 1820-1823
Garnon, William 1817-1819
Garnsey, Thomas Rock 1820-1821

Africans who held positions of responsibility with CMS (e.g. catechist or schoolmaster)

Caulker, Stephen
Davies or (Davis), William
Fox, George
Noah, David
Randle, William
Tamba, William

Methodist missionaries to Sierra Leone

Brown, Samuel 1817-1819
Davies, William 1815-1818
Healey, John 1811-[1816 ?]
Hirst, Thomas 1811-[1816 ?]
Raynar, Jonathan 1811-1812
Warren, George 1811-1812

Governors of Sierra Leone 1801-1824

1801-1803 William Dawes 3rd term
1803 Capt. William Day, RN
1803-1805 Thomas Ludlam 2nd term
1805 Capt. William Day 2nd term
1806-1808 Thomas Ludlam 3rd term
1808-1810 Thomas Perronet Thompson
1810-1811 Capt. Edward Henry Columbine RN
1811-1814 Charles William Maxwell
1814-1824 Col. Sir Charles McCarthy
Related MaterialFor historical background to this material the following works are most useful. Christopher Fyfe: A History of Sierra Leone (London 1962); Charles Hole: The Early History of the Church Missionary Society [to 1814] (London 1896); Eugene Stock: The History of the Church Missionary Society (3 Vols.; London 1899) the Proceedings of the Church Missionary Society and the Missionary Register (periodicals) for the appropriate years. Details of the missionaries' lives may be obtained from the CMS Register of Missionaries (printed for private circulation).

Other series in CMS archives which are complementary to C A1/E are the General Committee minutes (G/C1) and the minutes of the Committee of Correspondence (G/CS1 until 1818, whenceforward they are also recorded in G/C1). The series of home correspondence (G/AC3) also contains material of interest.


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