Record

LevelSub-series
Finding Number (Click this to view full catalogue structure)CMS/G/C 3
TitleClerical Sub-Committee minutes
Extent9 volumes
Date1873-1909
DescriptionPrimarily minutes of the Sub-Committee's resolutions concerning applications from men missionary candidates, giving brief references to the correspondence and reports on which they based their decision as to whether or not to nominate candidates to the Committee of Correspondence. References to candidates' 'offer of service' letters give the candidate's name, age and employment. There are also minutes concerning student accommodation and expenses, administration of the Preparatory Institution, the effective preparation of missionary candidates and records of the resignations and deaths of Sub-Committee members and others directly involved in the preparation of candidates. The later minutes include annual statistics for candidate offers and enquiries (volumes 7-9), and lists of exam results for the Preparatory Institution and Islington [College] giving names of individual students and, in the Preparatory Institution lists, tutor's remarks with, from Christmas 1904, some dates of birth (volumes 8-9).

Minutes in the first two volumes are unsigned and marked 'draft'. From November 1881, the minutes are signed and, until February 1898, subscribed with the date at which the Sub-Committee's resolutions were reported to the Committee of Correspondence or General Committee. [Earlier minutes of the Clerical Sub-Committee, and signed copies of the minutes 1873-November 1881 can be found in the main series of minute books, see CMS/G/C 1].

With the exception of volumes 1, 3 and 4, the minutes have either name (volumes 2, 5-9) and/or subject indexes (volumes 5-9). Candidates whose offers were declined are marked with the letter 'D' in the name indexes. For volumes without name indexes, the Candidate Registers can be used to find the date of minutes at which an individual's case was considered (see CMS/C/ATm 5) .

The minutes are a useful source of information on candidates whose applications were declined as they can help to clarify the reasoning behind decisions that were taken. Although brief, they also provide detail additional to that found in the Candidate Registers for successful candidates whose application was subject to the approval of the Sub-Committee, recording the early steps taken prior to the candidate being accepted as a missionary. It should be noted that, as some candidates were not assessed by the Sub-Committee, the minutes do not provide a comprehensive record of all applications received by the Society.
Access StatusOpen
Administrative HistoryThe Clerical Sub-Committee was appointed by the Committee of Correspondence. With the assistance of the Secretaries, it gathered information on men candidates' suitability for missionary service before their application was considered by the Committee of Correspondence. The Sub-Committee's involvement could be quite lengthy as it continued to assess candidates who went on to attend the CMS Preparatory Institution and sat the entrance exam for Islington [Training] College. Although the Committee of Correspondence retained responsibility for rejecting or accepting applications presented to them, the Sub-Committee's deliberations were important as it could decide whether or not to nominate a candidate to the Committee of Correspondence with the option to advise that they could not 'promote [an individual's] connection with the Society'. It could also decide to terminate a candidate's stay at the Preparatory Institution. Individual members of the Clerical Sub-Committee had private interviews with women candidates but their offers of service were considered by the Ladies' Candidates Committee and did not come before the Clerical Sub-Committee.

Much of the Sub-Committee's deliberations were based on their reading of standard correspondence from, and about, candidates and hearing reports of the Preparatory Institution and Islington College; individual members of the Sub-Committee also met with prospective candidates before reporting back at Sub-Committee meetings. From c 1900, occasionally a candidate's offer of service was declined by the Secretaries working in consultation with selected individual members of the Clerical Sub-Committee before it came before the full Sub-Committee (for example, where a Medical Board report had been so unfavourable as to make clear that further assessment would not be worthwhile); such actions were subsequently reported to the Sub-Committee for approval.

The Sub-Committee also considered wider questions of selection and training that affected their role in the assessment of individual candidates and the operation of the Preparatory Institution.

Sub-Committee meetings largely involved consideration of candidates' offer of service letters, their responses to the 'Questions addressed to Candidates', correspondence from medical personnel, minutes of the Medical Board and testimonials; they also heard from Sub-Committee members with whom the candidate had had interviews and any CMS Secretaries involved in the assessment process. The Sub-Committee's decisions might include resolving that they could not promote the candidate's connection with the Society; deciding to make further enquiries; inviting a candidate to stay at one of the CMS institutions for 'further preparation and examination' or to prepare by another route such as temporary residence with 'a clerical friend of the Society'; inviting the candidate to sit the Islington College entrance exam or recommending the candidate to the Committee of Correspondence for training or for a particular role etc.