|Description||An incomplete sequence of correspondence, predominantly from within the British Isles. Largely relating to collections, donations and other forms of financial support, enquiries regarding the Society's work, local [CMS] Associations, missionary candidates and missionaries on leave or unable to return overseas. The early letters in particular also deal with preparation and circulation of publications including Josiah Pratt's 'Missionary Register'. Items of note include detailed letters from Samuel Lee (1783-1852) [orientalist] and others involved in translation of religious texts; a memorandum from Rev[erend] James Lee on the course of the seasons and the habits of the cotton plant at Sierra Leone November 1850 and a few letters from supporters referring to socio-economic conditions in different parts of the country as they explain why local congregations are unlikely to contribute to CMS funds. Rev[erend] Thomas Dikes writes from Hull 17 January 1913: 'We cannot give you any hopes of success at this time owing to the want of Trade and especially to the detention of a large fleet of ships belonging to this port in the Baltic our poor have had little employment & are in state of great indigence.' Although largely comprising incoming letters, there are copies of a few outgoing letters, registry extracts of wills, [CMS training] Institution reports, press cuttings, newscuttings, reports and notices relating to CMS Association meetings and CMS petitions to Parliament. There is no correspondence for January-February 1812, 3 November 1814-February 1815; June-July 1815 and November 1815-March 1816.|
The correspondence illustrates the origins of the Society's work at Home, particularly local response to the Committee's first appeals, the evolution of the network of local Associations and the tours and public meetings that were to develop into the Society's deputation work. It incorporates the earliest sequence of letters from, and concerning, missionary candidates including correspondence relating to recruitment of missionaries trained through John (Johann) Jaenicke's seminary in Berlin, detailed offer of service letters and [training] Institution reports, some of the latter giving [student] names, date of birth and date of entry. Other than Institution reports, letters from newly appointed missionaries acknowledging the official notification of their location overseas and a few other items, most of the correspondence from candidates pre-dates 1850; it seems likely that later items were filed separately and are now held with the records of the Candidates Department.
Letters are annotated with the date and name (or role title) of correspondents, the date of the committee meeting(s) at which they were read and brief notes of action taken. Clerk's numbering can also be seen on letters up to January 1814 [a new number sequence was started for each of the volumes into which the letters were originally guarded].
The sequence includes a number of indexes extracted from the original volumes. They are largely name indexes but include separate entries for reports and committee correspondence. Some name entries give additional detail, for example, noting where the item is extracted from a Will.
|Arrangement||The letters were originally guarded into volumes in chronological order. Prior to deposit in Cadbury Research Library: Special Collections, while the first three volumes (letters dated 1799-1810) were retained in their original form, the contents of the remainder were removed and filed in their original order in boxes in one continuous sequence. The box numbers, some of which are still evident on the files, seem broadly to have matched the original span of the volumes but with some minor adjustments. Changes were made to a number of the original indexes (some entries scored through and added to the previous or subsequent index) most likely to enable them to better fit the new arrangement. The file boxes have since been replaced as part of the Special Collections' conservation programme. As far as possible, the catalogue has been structured to reflect the original working arrangement of the volumes, based on data extracted from clerk's numbering of letters 1799-1814 or the date range of the original index where these exist, such that each file level entry represents a recreation of one volume of letters. Where an index had been amended, or where the only infomation available was the box numbering introduced when the letters were removed from the volumes, files have been created accordingly. Twentieth century filing notes idenitfying the letters as 'home correspondence' with a former finding number of C H/O have been retained as found.|