|Description||This small archive primarily comprises the papers and correspondence of the Loochoo Naval Mission's Secretaries, and missionaries Dr Bernard Jean Bettelheim and Reverend George Harman Moreton, together with papers of others active in the work of the mission 1843-1857. It also includes annual reports 1847-1855, circulars, newsletters, appeals and other printed material, and publications incorporating extensive extracts from the missionary journals and reproductions of key items of correspondence 1843-1857, with miscellaneous financial papers 1843-1852. The records illustrate the tremendous personal drive and commitment of those determined to extend the Christian missionary movement to all areas of the world, inspiring UK government intervention in the face of opposition from the local authorities. As well as personal accounts of the Loochooan life and political climate, the naval connection has resulted in the inclusion of such unusual items as the 1842 designs and plans for 'gangway annular scupper mouths' for use in frigates and brief references to international shipping movements in the area.|
PLEASE NOTE THAT THE MICROFILM OR DIGITAL COPIES OF THIS POPULAR COLLECTION ARE MADE AVAILABLE IN PLACE OF ORIGINAL DOCUMENTS TO ENSURE THE LONG-TERM PRESERVATION OF THE RECORDS.
|Administrative History||The Loochoo Naval Mission was founded in 1845 by Lieutenant Herbert John Clifford, County Waterford, Ireland. He had spent 15 years trying to persuade established missionary societies to send a missionary to the Loochoo [Ryuku] Islands and, after fundraising for two years, he formed the mission with Commander Henry Downes (d 1852), Notting Hill, London, and a small group of fellow royal navy officers. Their intention was to send a missionary to the islands aiming thereby to reach Japan which remained largely closed to foreigners. When their application for help from the CMS was refused, the officers set up an independent fund and sent out Dr Bernard Jean Bettleheim who arrived in Loochoo with his wife and child in May 1846. Bettleheim combined missionary work with medical practice and working on a grammar, dictionary and translations of Scripture until 1854. The second missionary, Reverend George Harman Moreton, arrived in Loochoo with his wife and child in 1853. The Mission came to an end when Moreton's health failed . |
In the UK, the business of the Mission was conducted almost entirely by Clifford and Downes until a permanent Committee of naval officers and laymen was formed in London in 1852. The Mission operated through Honorary Secretaries for England, Scotland, Ireland, Hong Kong and (from 1853) China, and a Corresponding Committee in Hong Kong chaired by the Right Reverend George Smith, the Lord Bishop of Victoria 1849-1865. With much of the Committee dispersed on active service, communication was typically by post; efforts focussed on raising funds to support the missionaries, with an active programme of appeals and publicity primarily involving the printing and circulation of extracts from the missionaries' correspondence and journals (these being shipped back through a variety of means including English, French and American naval ships and men-of-war). The Society's office was at 48, Salisbury Square, London.
In 1861 the balance of funds was given to the CMS as a basis of support for evangelistic work in Japan, when that should be possible. The CMS began work in Japan in 1869.
Source: Rosemary Keen 'The Church Missionary Society Archives: or thirty years work in the basement' in Catholic Archives, No. 12, 1992; the printed records.
|Custodial History||The records of the Loochoo Naval Mission passed in to the custody of the Church Mission Society (formerly Church Missionary Society) and were subsequently held as a deposited collection within the wider Church Missionary Society Archive. |