2. The SPG in the West Indies
3. The C series records (1714-1853)
3.1 General archives (1823-1908)
3.2 Antigua & the Leeward Islands (1714-1908)
3.3 The Bahamas (1726-1858)
3.4 British Guiana (1828-1858)
3.5 Central America & the Mosquito Shore (1769-1847)
3.6 Jamaica (1820-1855)
3.7 Trinidad (1834-1854)
3.8 Barbados (1823-1849)
3.8.i The diocesan history of Barbados
3.8.ii The history of the Codrington estates
3.8.iii The history of the care of souls at Codrington: catechists and chaplains
3.8.iv The history of Codrington College
3.8.v The Codrington Collection (1704-1898)
3.8.vi The X series papers of the Barbados Committee (1710-1842)
4. The E series records (1901-1950)
6. To cite this resource
The archives of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts have existed virtually since the foundation of the Society in 1701 and are now housed at Rhodes House Library, Oxford. These archives mostly consist of letters exchanged between the Secretary of the SPG and the missionaries and school teachers sent out by the Society, together with some official correspondence with government ministers, giving some indication not only of the activities of the SPG but also of the scope and nature of the work. Some of the letters relating to the Americas have been calendared and edited by B.E. Thompson, as have related papers in both the Lambeth and Fulham Palace libraries by William W. Manross (see Bibliography, p.12). The papers of the SPG remain an invaluable source for the study of developing countries from the eighteenth century onwards; and the work, the creation of strong indigenous local churches, is still the greatest monument to the Society.
2. THE S.P.G. IN THE WEST INDIES
Founded in 1701 to act as the spearhead of the Anglican Church overseas, the SPG was initially active only in North America and the Caribbean. Later it extended its activities to many other parts of the world, preaching and teaching, usually with the support of the established Church of England and of the British government. Although the work of the SPG in North America is well known and credit is given to the Society for its missions to the red Indians and negro slaves in the mainland colonies, in the West Indian islands the Society has more usually been regarded as a reactionary force, owning slaves openly and in league with the planters. In fact, the work of the SPG in the islands has received little attention and there is need for a further appraisal. One reason for the prejudice against the Society is that until 1824 all matters had to be referred to Britain where there was some conflict between the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Bishop of London over the direction of the Society. Only with the appointment of two bishops for the West Indies, for Barbados and Jamaica, in 1824 was there real diocesan organisation in the West Indies, working for emancipation and founding Christian institutions, although still raising controversy. The other issue which has over-shadowed much of the history of the SPG in the West Indies is the famous bequest of Christopher Codrington, a Barbadian planter, to the Society. On his death in 1710 he left the Society lands and slaves to found a college in Barbados to train negro slaves, a grant which received great support from the Archbishop of Canterbury in 1710 and again in 1792 but which was not used until the nineteenth century when Codrington College was founded in part as a theological college, though a grammar school for the education of whites had existed much longer, nominally part of the original grant. In fact the work of the SPG in the Caribbean, giving money and books, sending missionaries and teachers, especially after 1824 and emancipation in 1833, is one of very hard and quiet endeavour, ministering as far as possible to slaves and then to the newly emancipated. When, in the mid-nineteenth century, the had finished the first pioneer stages of work, it left behind strong and independent churches, a stable force in the history of the islands.
The USPG records to be found in the 'C' Series are mostly later in date than those in the separately published A series and B series, and they are unbound. Though the colonial churches on the mainland and in the islands were administered together and their histories ran parallel, the C series, unlike the earlier collections, are arranged in groups relating entirely to the West Indies. They are voluminous and contain important items of history. They are divided into eight sections: the general archives and those appertaining to the Bahamas, Jamaica, Barbados (including the Codrington Estate), Antigua and the Leeward Islands, Trinidad, British Guiana and Honduras (Central America and the Mosquito coast).
3.1 GENERAL ARCHIVES (1823-1908)
There are two boxes of archives relating generally to the West Indies in the C series.
Box I, C/WI/GEN, West Indies General, 1823-1844, contains 23 sections, mostly official items dealing with education. It is interesting that in 1823 the British government was particularly anxious for details of the present condition of the church in the West Indies since it was proposed that two bishops be appointed for the West Indies, one for Barbados and one for Jamaica. Public support and help from the SPG was encouraged for subscriptions for negro education and chapels in the West Indies (1835); and the British government continued to be particularly interested in furthering the SPG work for negro education, 1835-6 being the key years for this. The correspondence prudence between Bishop Coleridge and the Church Missionary Society (n.d.); the appointment of C.J. Latrobe as inspector of schools in 1837 following upon the Parliamentary grants of 1835 and 1836 for negro education; and items dealing with the founding of schools are included. In 1842 there was an incomplete paper on education in the West Indies generally. In spite of the work of the Lady Mico Trust (an old foundation remade for emancipation) and of Baptist missionaries, all was not well and the paper noted that though Blue Books urged that schools be set up, teachers (and many were Baptists) were not qualified and church schools of all denominations failed all too often, though clearly education itself was not a failure. It was felt essential (contrary to the views of Bishop Lipscomb in Jamaica) that wealthy Creoles should form local schools to train 'gentry' for posts rather than sending them away to Britain to be educated.
Box II, C/WI/GEN, West Indies General, 1894-1908, contains a miscellany of administrative material, mostly relating to diocesan matters, handed by the Archbishop of the West Indies, Rt. Rev. Enos Nuttall. Details of an appointment to the bishopric of Antigua are discussed in full.
3.2 ANTIGUA & THE LEEWARD ISLANDS (1714-1908)
Antigua and the Leeward Islands were wholly under the shadow of Barbados and the Codringtons in the early period before emancipation; and even after the separate see of Antigua and the Leeward Islands was created in 1842, the islands retained a close link with the mother colony of Barbados. Indeed, the Codrington influence continued strongly, as Barbuda remained in Codrington hands, under a continuing lease, until the mid-nineteenth century. Their first great bishop, Daniel Gateward Davis, held the post from 1842 to 1857 and helped to create a sense of autonomy among these scattered small islands which became increasingly poor with the end of the boom years of sugar and the struggle to establish a free economy.
Box C/WI/ANT can be divided into two sections. The eighteenth century material, especially papers for 1714-1717, reveal the problems of dealing with Roman Catholics on the islands. This issue was to be a serious one in the eastern Caribbean later on. The bulk of the letters run from 1840-1853 during the bishopric of D.G. Davis and reveal the extent to which Anglicanism had taken hold in the diocese. Davis' pastoral duties included appointing a teacher from Bishop Coleridge's home, Ottery St Mary; ordaining a coloured priest; and allowing an American ordinand to preach in St Croix, though not in Antigua (there were apparently still reservations about the power to ordain American priests). Davis travelled his diocese extensively but was hampered in his work of building by two serious hurricanes, in 1843 and 1847. Davis' appointment marks an important stage in the history of the Anglican church in the West Indies particularly in the smaller islands after emancipation.
3.3 THE BAHAMAS (1726-1858)
The Bahama islands are a group of low lying coral islets and cays, mostly furnishing salt. After 1670 and the grant of the Bahamas by Charles II to the Lords Proprietors of the Carolinas the islands definitively came under the control of the British government. By the 1730s we have the first records of the SPG becoming involved in the region and for the rest of the eighteenth and into the nineteenth century, the SPG remained one of the most active forces in the Bahamas, promoting Christian teaching and worship.
The USPG archives relating to the Bahamas consist of three boxes in the C Series, though a few related matters are to be found in the separately published B series, a bound collection.
C/WI/BAH/Box I covers the years of the first colonial empire, 1726-1822, the Bahamas being offshore islands of the mainland American colonies and administered as such. Letters from the missionaries and school teachers complain of the poverty and hardships of the post, of carrying out parochial duties in a huge archipelago of coral islands, mostly very tiny. There are no records of the first SPG missionary to the Bahamas, William Guy, but several testimonials relating to his fellow worker, William Smith, bear witness to his good character. The majority of letters fall within the 1760s and 1770s, the decades of the American Revolution and its early beginnings. From these we see the strong support customarily given to the SPG by the governors, in this instance Governor William Shirley. All too often the men sent by the SPG were of poor calibre, illiterate (Edward Kennedy) or even bigamous (Rev. Richard Moss), though their references might be good, for example, John Thornton, later connected with the Clapham Sect, was a sponsor; and several candidates, Robert Carter, John Hunt or Belcher Noyes, were excellent workers. All expressed loyalty to Britain at the time of the Revolution, experienced harassment from American privateers together with privation and illness and, standing firm against the American patriots, welcomed the loyalists to their shores.
C/WI/BAH/Box II is particularly interesting. Dealing with the post-revolutionary decades, 1790-1810, it reveals that the SPG seems to have renewed its energies in the islands, extending their activities from New Providence to the other islands. The stirrings of the evangelical revival in Britain and growing anti-slavery sentiments and the dislocation occasioned by the American Revolution, help to explain some of the new energy shown, especially by men such as Rev. John Richards and Rev. William Gordon. The latter, a second Granville Sharp, is remarkable for the physical protection he gave slaves, protecting a girl after she had been raped by four male slaves, at the cost of his career. References to the Methodists and the native sects and the need to counteract these revivals, and unceasing vain attempts to augment their meagre salaries, fill the letters of this period.
C/WI/BAH/Box III deals with the emancipation eras, 1834-1858, but there is a gap of some decades in the correspondence. Many of the reports, increasingly detailed, reveal the new authority of the Bishop of Jamaica who had diocesan control over the Bahamas. With emancipation, the need for teachers and schools, as well as churches, was openly acknowledged and new grants were made for this end. Both the statistical reports now included and letters attest to growing and devout black congregations, to continue support for the SPG from the governors of the islands, civilising what was once 'a nest of pirates' and making it into a haven for those rescued from illegal slave ships, a quiet multi-racial community.
3.4 BRITISH GUIANA (1828-1858)
British Guiana was also to be primarily a mission station and the work of the SPG centred very actively among the many Indian tribes in this huge region. Until 1842 it was under the see of Barbados; thereafter it was guided until 1893 by its first great bishop, William Piercy Austin, who came after gaining his experience in Barbados. There were angry exchanges between the administration and the Roman Catholics; and a leading governor, Sir Robert Schomburg, furthered the tradition of giving his wholehearted support to the work of the SPG. Shortage of funds was proverbial but the work among the Amerindians and the Chinese immigrants continued, characterised by school and church building, and a strong tradition of Christian activity was established among the inhabitants.
The records for British Guiana for the period 1828-1858 are contained in Box C/WI/BG. The early letters indicate the formative nature of SPG work in the area; Rev. R. Fawell was sent as a missionary from London in 1828; the diocese of Barbados dealt with problems of church and school buildings until 1842 (Items 3 and 4). From 1837 onwards letters indicate that the Rev. W.P. Austin, then in Barbados, had begun to take a special interest in affairs in British Guiana, becoming its first bishop in 1842. Several missionary letters in the 1830s and one from the Governor, Sir J. Smyth, show the increasing activity of the SPG, who were not content to work in the coast settlement but had ventured into the interior, up the river to tribes living far inland.
Trouble with the Roman Catholics began in the 1840s. There are two original letters from William Clancy, Roman Catholic Bishop of Oriense, in 1840, who resented the work being done by the SPCK. The official reply was strongly worded. Sir Robert Schomburgh (c.1842, incomplete letter) wrote urging the SPG to interest themselves in converting the Indians of British Guiana. His letter to Rev. Ralph Berners indicates the continuing tradition of missionary work in the area; and the continuing tradition of service among families ? Berners was the son of another clergyman, Archdeacon H.D. Berners. This was a tradition shared by another family, the Austins, whose family history and experiences are briefly outlined. The family had served in the army in the West Indies in the days of slavery; Wiltshire Hanlon Austin had not only received a commission into the army, he had taken up lands in Barbados, freed his slaves and had had to flee the colony in fear of his life. He (and his son, Francis Webster Austin, at a later date) was to become rector of All Saints, New Amsterdam, British Guiana. The older man was equally opposed to slavery in Guiana and urged planters to treat their slaves kindly, to abolish Sunday work and to allow slaves to come to church on Sunday. He ended his days as rector of Tenby in South Wales, having testified to a Parliamentary committee about the evils of slavery.
Throughout the 1840s and 1850s letters from missionaries in British Guiana testify to their continuing work in the region and the dangers to which they were exposed. One missionary, the Rev. Lambert McKenzie, became the first negro clergyman in the country. After the stormy start set by the death in captivity of the missionary for the London Missionary Society, John Smith, in 1824, the history of the spread of Christianity in British Guiana was blessedly free of other serious incidents of like kind.
3.5 CENTRAL AMERICA & THE MOSQUITO SHORE (1769-1847)
The SPG had early established a beachhead in the Mosquito Coast and Honduras region of Central America. The work was difficult and Scots missionaries helped in the task. Belize, the major port, was the haven for log-cutters who took the prized logwood, famous for its dye, back to Jamaica most usually. The region was thus administered officially by the administration in Jamaica and was under the Governor of Jamaica. It did not have its own bishop until 1891 but St John's Cathedral, Belize, founded in 1812, was the first church in Central America which was English in speech and Protestant in sentiment. Although short of funds, the SPG took a continuing interest in the Mosquito Indians, the major tribe in the region.
The Central American and Mosquito Shore materials in C/WI/BG cover the period 1769-1847. The early letters, dating from the eighteenth century, record the interest in the Mosquito Coast Indians and the need for their conversion. The later letters show the interest not only of English missionaries in the region but of British merchants as well. The British government had to remind the SPG in 1840 of their inability to provide funds for the conversion of the Mosquito Indians.
3.6 JAMAICA (1820-1855)
During the eighteenth century the SPG was mostly content to send books and money to Jamaica. Its real work in the island began with the appointment of Bishop Christopher Lipscomb to the newly created see in 1824. Thereafter the work of preaching and teaching continued actively through to the twentieth century. Three boxes of letters and papers of the 'C' series cover the period 1820-1855, during which the bishops were the Rt. Rev. Dr. Christopher Lipscomb and the Rt. Rev. Dr. Aubrey G. Spencer. All letters and papers are addressed to the SPG headquarters, unless stated otherwise.
C/WI/JAM/Box I is split between miscellaneous items, c.1820-1836, and the correspondence of Bishop Lipscomb, 1826-1835, includes reports of the Diocese for 1834 and a series of letters from Bishop Lipscomb dealing with SPG missionaries including Rev. Griffith Griffiths, a Welsh missionary, who was to be very active in the island. There is an early indication of the virtue of having a bishop resident in the island and a copy of the bishop's letter of 1835 in which he expressed reluctance to ordain native clergy, preferring staff trained in England, if possible new men, whom he considered less likely to stir up tensions and more anxious to get on with the work, especially of founding schools.
C/WI/JAM/Box II, covering 1836-1843, which is again divided between miscellaneous items and Bishop Lipscomb's later correspondence, has as its most important items the reports of George D. Hill which are a revealing account of Jamaica under the apprenticeship system. The greater degrees of freedom, more schools, active and orderly church going and school attendance, combined with scanty provisions, high prices, the reluctance of planters to accept changes and competition from the Baptists are all discussed.
C/WI/JAM/Box III ranges from the last days of Bishop Lipscomb in 1843 through to 1855 and the episcopate of Bishop Aubrey Spencer. The contents include reports and data on schools and churches, reporting again on labour conditions and opposition from planters and Baptists; the increasing number of schools run by the SPG and C.J. Latrobe's report on education in Jamaica in 1838. In all, there is much evidence of an active church life. Indeed the nineteenth century was a noted century for Anglicanism in Jamaica: George Wilson Bridges, Rector of St Ann, and R. Dallas, Rector of Manchester, contained local tradition by being excellent, if negrophobe, historians. Tensions were high and a picture of 'two Jamaicas' emerges: one clinging to the older traditions of slave society and the other seeking a newer order, to a degree exclusive of the old.
3.7 TRINIDAD (1834-1854)
Trinidad has always been a missionary post for all denominations. The island was taken by the British from Spain in 1797 and was formally ceded by the Treaty of Amiens in 1802. The problems facing the SPG and the Anglican church were formidable. The majority of the population were Spanish speaking Creoles and Catholics with an admixture of French speaking Creoles, refugees from the 1791 revolution in St Domingue; but the other Protestant sects, notably the Scots Presbyterians, were rather better established. In the middle years of the nineteenth century there were angry debates between the Roman Catholics and the British administration, who favoured the Anglican establishment. Once again, the work of the SPG seems to have been concerned mainly with schools and ministering to poorer European immigrants or newly-freed slaves. By 1845 eight churches had been built with SPG subsidy.
Between 1824 and 1872 Trinidad was under the diocese of Barbados, only becoming a separate diocese when it was clearly established that the problems of this missionary outpost were very different from the wholly Anglican-dominated Barbados and there were enough clergy with West Indian experience able to deal with problems which were more related to the Central American parishes or were unique.
C/WI/TRIN covers the years 1835-1854. The many letters from the Rev. George Cummins, Rural Dean of Trinidad, expound the difficulties encountered with Roman Catholics (1835-1843). He was very short of funds but through his efforts services for new German immigrants were established. Cummins was stationed in Port of Spain while his helper, Rev. J.F. Goldstein was at Chaguanas. Their letters to Bishop Coleridge in Barbados bewail their lack of money (1842-1843); they seem to have received no reply. Another missionary, G.W. Chamberlain in Port of Spain, also complained of the high cost of living, the fear of the Catholics and the need for services for the newly enfranchised (1841). Indeed, this last point is to recur in most of the letters from: George Dalrymple (1844); Rev. W.W. Jackson (1845); John Watson (1846); Charles Wood (1847); Rev. Charles Gillette (1854). The fact that there was no shortage of poor and heathen to be converted; it wanted only funds. The work of the SPG, therefore, was largely among the African and East Indian immigrants, sadly hampered by lack of money.
3.8 BARBADOS (1823-1849)
The generous bequest of the leading planter in Barbados, Christopher Codrington, forms the cornerstone of the SPG's work in the Caribbean and is extremely important in the development of the Society from its earliest years. When governor of St Kitts, Christopher Codrington (1668-1710) met and was much influenced by Francis Lejau, a missionary from South Carolina. By this date, 1700, Lejau, a Huguenot, had not only gained great experience among the negro slaves of South Carolina but had also worked with Thomas Bray and his Associates, through whose efforts the SPG had been founded as the spearhead of the Anglican church overseas. Thanks to Lejau's influence, Codrington made a bequest of two estates in Barbados to set up a college to train candidates for the ministry. He left additionally his library to All Souls College, Oxford, where he had studied as a youth. That the bequest to the SPG was to become the boon and bane of the Society was only too clear when Codrington died in 1710 and the SPG took up the charge entrusted to them. The subsequent history of the SPG in Barbados revolves around the vexed issue of how far they could continue to preach Christianity to the slaves while using slave labour on the plantations to further the ends of the Society and to carry out the instructions of the donor. As in the other islands, it is not until the appointment of a bishop, W.H. Coleridge, in 1824 that the work of the Society really began to be effective. Controversial though the work of the SPG had been in Barbados until then, it seems to a degree to have mitigated the severity of the slave system before emancipation in 1833. The archives bear out that the bequest was taken conscientiously from the start. From 1714 to 1724 the SPG was concerned with the plan to build a school, which did not open until 1745 as Codrington College. It then had a chequered history, its fortunes being tied to the profits to be made from the two plantations. Almost from the start the SPG plantations were managed by local attorneys but these continued to send their children to England to be educated and the struggle to establish Codrington as a grammar school for the sons of plantocracy proved unavailing. Nor was it the intention of the benefaction. By the 1790s, thanks to a revival of interest in missionary work overseas ? not least by Bishop Beilby Porteus in Britain ? the SPG undertook to manage the Barbados estates themselves. They then had more direct control over the lives of the slaves and by the 1820s had introduced a milder system, giving the slaves in their cottages on the plantations more liberty. Even so emancipation was eagerly welcomed and the later diocesan history of Barbados is concerned not only with church and school building, as in the other islands, but with the establishment of Codrington College as a theological school to train candidates locally for the ministry ? as had been the original wish of Christopher Codrington.
3.8.i The diocesan history of Barbados
The first bishop, William Hart Coleridge, was appointed in 1824 to be Bishop of Barbados and the Lesser Antilles. It was a wise decision to place someone in authority on the spot and Coleridge proved himself to be a great church leader, laying the foundation for renewed missionary activity in the islands at the challenging time of emancipation. He was clearly anxious to see that church worship was for all and to strengthen Christian life in the islands in every way. He was so successful that when he retired in 1842 two new bishoprics were created: Thomas Parry succeeded him to the See of Barbados ? and continued his successful policies there - while Daniel Gateward Davis became Bishop of Antigua and the Leeward Islands and William Percy Austin became the first Bishop of British Guiana, both these latter men being close associates of Coleridge. Trinidad became a separate bishopric in 1872. The growth of the Anglican church in the eastern Caribbean owed much to W.H. Coleridge who helped to transform the older narrower order and at last succeeded in putting the Codrington bequest to good use.
The contents of C/WI/BAR/Box 1 (1822-1847) and C/WI/BAR/Box 2 (1828-1846) have been frequently rearranged. They indicate the desire shown by church authorities from 1823 onwards for the melioration of slavery, for religious instruction to be given to all and for school building in the post-emancipation years.
There is a copy of the resolution of the House of Commons, 15 May 1823, for meliorating the condition of the slaves in the colonies and printed copies of the correspondence of Earl Bathurst (May to July 1823) in relation to the conditions of the slaves in the West Indies and their need for religious instruction.
With these papers are others relative to diocesan affairs in the 1830s and 1840s concerning church building and schools. Reports and annual returns, lists of clergy and the various churches are included. One of the sections contains a letter of 13 August 1802 from William Pitt to the SPG recommending a friend, Mr. Groombridge, who is anxious to go to the West Indies. Colonel Fullarton (who was to serve as the Chief Commissioner in Trinidad) was prepared to take a clergyman with him. Two letters of 1 November and 29 November 1824 from Charles Ellis, a West Indian absentee, to the SPG reveal the growing feeling about the abolition of black slavery. Ellis was in favour of a recent sermon by the Bishop of Exeter urging slaves to obey masters. Even so, church protest was mounting, as a letter of 9 September 1831 from Rev. C. Lloyd of Oswestry reveals. He was particularly anxious that the SPG should free its slaves. Meanwhile the SPG in Barbados had been working for melioration, as seen in the 1826 Report of the Barbados Society for the Education of the Poor in the Principles of the Established Church.
The diocesan letters for the 1830s and 1840s deal with the rebuilding of churches and schools with money from the Negro Education Grant. Letters from the SPG to the Colonial Office for the attention of Lord Stanley deal with the hardships caused by the decline of this grant which by the 1840s had diminished to nothing. Other letters, especially after 1835, deal with the problems of establishing schools in the other islands ? Montserrat, Dominica, Grenada, Demerara, St Lucia, St Vincent, St Kitts, Nevis, Anguilla and Berbice.
C/WI/BAR/Box 3, 1826-1847, deals with the correspondence of the first Bishop of Barbados, William Hart Coleridge. Coleridge was a great churchman and church builder and the correspondence is voluminous but curiously unrevealing. He had to secure his rights as primate over the diocese, which included all the Lesser Antilles; he had to concentrate much energy on the opening of a new Codrington College for training theological students in 1830; and he had to deal with the problems of emancipation. He appears to have been strict but fair. A letter of 2 July 1830 to the SPG showed that he was anxious for women slaves to marry in the church and to remain in their own homes. Emancipation, he felt, would soon come and melioration of the slave system was essential, though he feared freedom would encourage slaves to leave the plantations and become debauched in the town. In a sermon of 13 June 1830 (reprinted for the SPG) he preached on the text 'Servants obey your Masters'. He was anxious that the SPG should set a good example and that emancipation should come gradually. He considered it would be highly beneficial for slaves to become Christians and that the SPG should lead, showing that negroes were capable of learning though he feared that unskilled field hands might refuse to work when emancipation came. The letters for 1830-1 were particularly concerned with the problems of Codrington College, especially securing teachers. Other letters deal desultorily with the problems of the estates, securing managers, the state of the cottages and the crops. He was also actively concerned with the choice of clergy, an important matter in changing times.
C/WI/BAR/Box 4, 1842-1849, contains the papers of the second bishop, Thomas Parry. After 1842 the bishopric had been divided and Parry had only Barbados proper under his care. The collection is large but somewhat parochial ? dealing with the problems of church building ? but also showing the development of a national consciousness. Parry was anxious that Anglican influences in the eastern Caribbean should counter the influence of Roman Catholicism. A letter of 23 June 1847 has the revealing comment that it was Utopian to try to have British university educated clergy and grammar schools; native clergy should be ordained. In all, Parry was an able pastor and there are many thoughtful letters on the conditions of the church.
3.8.ii The history of the Codrington estates
The management and history of the two estates in St John parish, Codrington and Consett, bequeathed by Christopher Codrington to the SPG in 1710, to a degree fall outside the religious foundations of the Society. Indeed, though Codrington College and the lands for its maintenance might in the present century have become one of the finest jewels of the SPG, throughout the eighteenth century the management of the Codrington estate proved something of an embarrassment to the Church of England, not least because the task of administering a slave plantation was wholly incompatible with the work of a religious order pledged to give at least token care to the souls of the enslaved.
The embarrassment of riches was a leading factor behind the decision of the Society to leave the care of the estates in the hands of lay attorneys; and so the management of the estates became separate from that of the school and to some extent from the work of the church as a whole too. Though ultimately under church control, the two estates were run as conventional eighteenth-century sugar plantations - and very full records are preserved. The dilemma of a Christian body using slave labour was never successfully resolved and once the spirit of Codrington's bequest - to found a college to minister entirely to the souls of the enslaved negroes - was ignored, criticisms of the work of the SPG grew, not least for their treatment of their slave labour who produced a rich crop from which they profited themselves not at all.
From the outset the estates came under a Committee set up in London under the Archbishops of Canterbury and York. The Barbados Committee had its own journal and was made up of leading clergy and laity, often with specialised knowledge of matters in Barbados (see the USPG 'X' series). A similar committee also met in Barbados to deal with routine matters of estate management and incidentally with issues connected with the college and with the catechists. From the outset (1710) a lay attorney was appointed to manage affairs ? a custom much used in the islands. This practice was followed with only a brief four year intermission from 1749 to 1753, when the College staff handled affairs, until 1783 when there was a 10 year lease given to a leading Barbadian, John Braithwaite. Thereafter, in part because of declining profitability, the SPG once again resumed control. Attorneys were still used but the Society exercised more direct control.
The two estates, which operated together, were of medium size: Codrington, the upper plantation in the centre of the island, contained 270 acres all under cane but at Consett, the lower plantation with an outlet to Consett Bay, only 50 of the 480 acres could be cultivated, the rest being used variously, especially for quarrying. Ideally the plantations should have produced 200 hogsheads of sugar a year but this figure was rarely exceeded and quite often not achieved. Even so, an average profit of £1000 a year was returned and we can see from the meticulous accounts kept that this margin of profit was maintained through to the nineteenth century. More important is the evidence that from the opening of the new century there was a real attempt to meliorate conditions for the slaves. The slave trade was abolished in 1807 and after renewed missionary activity in the Caribbean by all denominations, the SPG tried to introduce the cottage system in Barbados. This meant that slaves were given their own cottages with a plot of land on which to grow provisions. Church marriages were encouraged and the baptism and teaching of infants; the use of the whip was prohibited. Significantly, there was increased stress on melioration when Bishop Coleridge came in 1824 and the transition from slavery to freedom was made easier. The plantations continued in full production in the 1830s and 1840s but the stress by the Church on education for negroes (until the grant ran out in the 1840s) indicates that by 1833 sufficient headway had been made to achieve increasingly improved living conditions among the newly emancipated workers.
3.8.iii The history of the Care of Souls at Codrington: catechists and chaplains
In line with their work in the other islands, the SPG determined that catechists should be appointed to minister to the slaves on the plantations. But throughout the eighteenth century the records of these catechists were very uneven. They seem to have been increasingly badly paid and few baptisms are recorded, though two early catechists, Thomas Wilkie and Arthur Holt, were outstandingly good. The chaplains took little interest and by the end of the century laymen even held the post of catechist. Under the chaplaincy of John Hothersal Pinder (1819-26) and John Packer (1827-30) real attempts were made to Christianise the slaves. The SPG hesitated to be too precipitate but even though reforms in the 1820s and 1830s were cautious, it is clear that the next Chaplain, Rev. T. Watts (1831-40) was expected to strive for full attendance at chapel and work for an active schools programme.
3.8.iv The history of Codrington College
Codrington College has a history distinct from the work of the SPG proper, before and after diocesan control, and distinct, too, from the management of the Codrington estates.
Christopher Codrington, who died in 1710, bequeathed to the SPG two plantations in Barbados 'to maintain a convenient number of professors and scholars'. Bishop William Fleetwood in London viewed the gift as a foundation for negro education and Christianisation in a remarkable sermon on racial equality later called 'the Charter of liberties for negro rule'. In Britain there were plans drawn up for the proposed college and the first stone was laid in Barbados in 1717. Funds were to come from the two plantations and building began in 1721. It was not until 1745, however, that the College opened under Thomas Rotheram and clearly established itself as a grammar school for white boys only. This was far from the intention of the original bequest and it is significant that there was some stress on the appointment of a catechist to teach the slaves. But the distinction was invidious and it was not until the beginning of the nineteenth century when John Hothersal Pinder was appointed catechist for the slaves and a separate chapel for slaves was built in 1819 that the religious instruction of negroes was given serious weight.
In the meantime the grammar schools did not prosper. It is clear that Barbadian planters and former students prized it highly but funds from the two estates were not sufficient and the school failed by 1775. When it reopened in 1797 under Mark Nicholson, the President for the next 24 years, the SPG had united local pressure to reopen a boys' school with renewed pressure from Britain to take a more active part in the Christianising of the slaves. After 1813 the school was under the control of the Governor of Barbados but the struggle of the SPG to control both the estates and educational policies slowly gained ground and were crowned with success in 1824 with the appointment of the first Bishop of Barbados, William Hart Coleridge. Coleridge was anxious to improve education and it was under his guidance that educational policies widened extensively. Thus, in 1830 he opened a new Codrington College ? at last to train candidates for the ministry. The old grammar school was continued, as the Lodge School, but with the coming of emancipation, rather more efforts were turned to negro education and the building of schools for the newly emancipated, a Negro Education Grant providing for this until 1845. Although far from the intention of the original bequest, the founding of a grammar school served as best to help establish an indigenous 'gentry' in Barbados by seeing that the planters were a little less inclined to become absentee. On the other hand, the problem of gaining recruits for the theological college was to prove grave. As in Jamaica, white West Indians were considered to be unsuitable candidates, there was prejudice against negro or coloured men and Englishmen (though not necessarily college-educated ones) were held to be the most adaptable to changing times. Thus whilst the schools in Barbados flourished, Codrington College fell on hard times after 1887 and only the celebration of the SPG bicentenary in 1901 revived it. Arthur Henry Anstey was appointed principal and proved a great success; after 1955 the Community of the Resurrection took over the running of the College.
It is difficult to see that the eighteenth century Codrington College ? or even the nineteenth century theological foundation ? contributed much to the abolition of slavery and later to the successful integration of society. But the foundations for education were laid in Barbados and more than just token insistence placed on the importance of the need for religious instruction. Ultimately, if not for some while, the insistence that the task of the SPG was to preach and to teach made headway and, if initially too privileged in Barbados, by the twentieth century the SPG and their Codrington bequest became a meaningful factor in the life of the island and of its religious foundations.
The material in the Codrington collection may be summarised as follows:
C/WI/COD/1-16 deals with the settling of the estate between 1710 and 1726 and is largely concerned with matters arising under the will of Christopher Codrington who died in 1710. The issue of Barbuda, the small off-shore island which the Codrington family leased as a cattle run, is also raised.
C/WI/COD/17-29 deals with early plans for the building of the college. Letters were sent to the leading architects, Vanbrugh, Wren, Hawksmoor and the Archers, asking for advice and a petition was sent to Queen Anne regarding the building. The Attorneys for the estate agreed that matters relating to the College should be handled separately. Sadly, these documents have not been reproduced within this collection, though detailed floor plans and artists impressions of the new buildings do appear in Papers relative to Codrington College, Barbados (X/39) and elsewhere.
C/WI/COD/30-61 relates increasingly to estate management. Letters from the attorneys, John Smallridge and especially his successor John Vaughton and thereafter to the nineteenth century attorney Foster Clarke, deal with most matters arising from the need to make the estates pay. The attorneys were Barbadians and concerned with estate management only. There is one letter of c1778 from a clergyman, protesting about cruelty to slaves not least in 'these American times'. Nineteenth century accounts show that the estate continued to be profitable even after emancipation (C/WI/COD/58) but with the coming of the bishop in 1824 and melioration of slavery urged it is clear that the attorneys had to take these factors into account (C/WI/COD/55). C/WI/COD/48 lists the number of slaves on the estate from 1700 to 1782; Codrington left 324 slaves and by 1782 there were only 283. The SPG seems to have been reluctant to purchase.
C/WI/COD/62-77 deals with the issue of the chaplains and the catechists and there are several letters concerning the eighteenth century appointments, though not until the nineteenth century with the coming of J.H. Pinder and John Packer (C/WI/COD/67-8) was there much advance, as their reports show. Support for melioration escalated after Bishop Porteus took up the matter (C/WI/COD/76 ? for Porteus' Memorandum for instructing negroes) and letters of the 1820s show the growing support for emancipation (C/WI/COD/70-73). The chaplains were to play an important part in the new theological college founded in 1830 and in the foundation of Lodge School, which continued the traditions of the first grammar school (C/WI/COD/74-5). The failure of this first venture was in part for lack of funds; but its popularity led to the refounding of the school in 1797 with the appointment of Mark Nicholson as principal and the closer management of the SPG (C/WI/COD/89-105). The school had clearly become viable by 1830 when Bishop Coleridge began the founding of a new theological college.
C/WI/COD/106-125 deals with the new status of the college after 1830 under J.H. Pinder, the new principal, and his successor, Rev. Henry Jones (1838-48). There is an interesting sidelight on Edward Parry Smith, a pupil and then a tutor at the school (C/WI/COD/109). There was also a medical side to the new college (C/WI/COD/113-116). C/WI/COD/123 deals with the Lodge School ? the continuation of the old grammar school ? whilst there are miscellaneous souvenirs belonging to the old Codrington College Library (C/WI/COD/135-140).
The remainder mostly contain material relating to the agents or merchant bankers of the SPG. C/WI/COD/127-130 deal with the letters and accounts of Thomas Daniel & Sons of Bristol from 1785 to 1846. C/WI/COD/131-134 and 141-145 contain the papers and accounts of Marmaduke Trattle of London, 1784-1840. C/WI/COD/152-177 contain accounts for 1710 to 1731 with some omissions and 1812 to 1840, also with some omissions. These are particularly interesting for they show the profitability of the estate up to 1833 and beyond. They reveal, too, the extent to which the SPG was involved in estate management and the widespread nature of the plantation's business.
So important were the West Indies islands in the eighteenth century that various committees of planters and of merchants existed, chiefly in the City of London, to deal with the West India interests which had the additional support of West India agents representing the interests of the various islands in the House of Commons.
The Barbados Committee of the SPG was established in 1710 and its records run until 1832. It was headed by the Archbishops of Canterbury and York and the Bishop of London. It met frequently, at least once a month if not more often, and a sub-committee was set up apparently by the mid-eighteenth century. These bodies were concerned with everyday matters, the college, the catechists and the running of the estate. Lay members, sometimes leading West India planters, were co-opted from time to time and in spite of the routine discussion of clerical matters, it is clear that the Barbados Committee was also concerned extensively with the management of the estates and the need to secure profits therefrom. Although primarily a church body, the Barbados Committee, which meticulously preserved its accounts, kept formal minutes of its meetings and may be regarded as a small but not insignificant part of the West India interest in London in the eighteenth and early nineteenth century.
The Barbados X series is mainly the records of the Barbados Committee and its work.
X/14-16 and 23, the fair copy of the Barbados journal, consisting of the minutes of the Barbados Committee, 1701-1832.
X/24-31, the Barbados Committee Minute Book (signed original) contains the minutes of the subcommittee from 1741 to 1833. A fair copy (X/23) exists for the early years, 1710-1726 and 1741-1742. The condition of this original minute book is often poor.
X/32, the Memoranda Book, contains miscellaneous matters of importance: legal matters settled after Codrington's death in 1710, the problems during 1779-1809 of finding a suitable attorney; and reactions to criticism about callousness to slaves in the same years.
X/33, the Attorney's Book, is in very poor condition. It appears to contain only the papers granting the power of attorney to eighteenth century estate managers.
X/39, Papers relative to Codrington College, Barbados, is a useful history of Codrington School, printed in 1828 with a manuscript supplement to 1842, showing its dependence on the profitability of the estates.
The last four boxes contain accounts. The Codrington estates were always profitable and these clear, balanced accounts reveal that the estate, producing on average 200 hogsheads of sugar a year, yielded a profit of at least £1000 per annum. The estates were of medium size and contained approximately 230-250 slaves. In view of the extensive soil erosion in Barbados, the profitability of Codrington reveals the care taken with its management and the increasing efforts of the SPG (e.g. the appointment of a resident bishop in 1824) not to be absentee.
The SPG was founded in 1701 to act as the spearhead of the Anglican church overseas. Initially the SPG worked in North America and the Caribbean but later extended its activities to many other parts of the world, preaching and teaching, with the support of the established Church and of the British Government. The West Indies always received careful attention from the Society but, unlike the earlier C and D Series, the present E Series is a more regular collection, containing a fairly complete set of quarterly Reports from 1901 to 1950. Not all missionaries filled out a Report, much less a quarterly one, or even the A, B and Z forms sent out by the Society; but many Reports give a moving and very accurate account of life in the West Indies in the first half of the twentieth century. All speak of dire poverty, of insularity and the shortage of well-trained staff. The records for the Diocese of Antigua, which concern the Leeward Islands, are particularly full and speak of missionary work in churches whose congregations were almost entirely black. The work of the SPG to end racial discrimination in the West Indies is very important indeed.
The work of the SPG in the West Indies was in the form of grants to the dioceses to subsidise existing parochial work of preaching and teaching. All agreed that the work was hard and consisted of missionary work as well as ordinary parochial duties. Not all clerics received a grant from the Society and the Reports from the diocese of Antigua reveal that as many as 22 missionaries filled in a Report in one year and as few as two in another. The churches in the Leewards were mainly long-established, and now mainly for blacks, who might also have special ones built for their own use. Everywhere there was felt a need for schools to help all the ills that beset the parish, mainly great poverty, migration, ignorance and declining church membership. The island governments were not sympathetic to church schools and competition from other denominations was often acute. Though the work in British Guiana and British Honduras was essentially missionary, and clerics had to travel long distances into the interior to reach native Indians and many other races, especially East Indians, there was also an established church life very like that of the island sees. Trinidad remained a missionary outpost too, though the Anglican establishment had clearly made headway since the last century in an island which remained mainly Roman Catholic; only in Tobago did the rural peace of an established Church order prevail. The Reports from the Windward Islands begin in bulk after 1918, as do those for Codrington College, Barbados, but no records as such exist for Barbados and Jamaica; whilst the records for Nassau are curiously disparate, revealing disturbing racial tensions.
From these records we gain a remarkable insight into the clergy of the Church, very few of whom remained incompetent or even illiterate, as once they had been, but instead now comprised a very long-serving band: over 40 years for men like Canon Joseph Emery in Nevis; and nearly as long for Archdeacon Herwald R. Davies in Tobago. The latter is of real interest, for his Reports are unique in their length and importance, cleverly and amusingly illustrating everyday incidents and building up an amazing picture of life in a small tropical island in the first years of the twentieth century. He reveals too how far the Society encouraged its workers to report fully and how far they discouraged gossip going on behind the Bishop's back. His Reports also demonstrate the continuing importance of white clergy, though some were West Indian born or, like himself, married into West Indian families; but all seem to have been Creolised and show a special sympathy for their work, loving their parish and the children in particular. The career of Archbishop Edward Hutson is a special glory for the Church in these years; born in the islands in 1873, he served with his father in the Virgin Islands before being elevated to the See of Antigua in 1911, one of the youngest bishops in the field. The love and respect he won gained for him the Archbishopric of the West Indies in 1922. And, when he died in 1936, he had brought special powers to his flock: the example of a West Indian born and educated in the islands and showing special gifts of leadership which illumine the content of these records. He avoided the Creole and European white exclusiveness and on his death was to hand on a Church which was increasingly able to turn to 'native' clergy to minister. Above all, Archbishop and his clergy show a special sympathy for the poor and a desire to minister to Church in the West Indies had come of age.
1901-1903 (97370/1): The records of the Diocese of Antigua (for the islands of Nevis, Montserrat and Antigua in the main) are very regular and full; less so are those from the Bahamas. Virtually all speak of the dire poverty; of the desire to have babies baptised but of the scarcity of communicants, few being confirmed or legally married. Superstition flourished but cheerfulness in the face of hurricanes and volcanic eruptions (in 1901) was wonderfully apparent. Joseph Emery, missionary at St George's, Antigua, mentions an old lady of 95 who had been 60 years a teacher - and a teacher before slavery was abolished, too; whilst Francis Harding from Guiana mentions in 1902 the continuing missions to the Amerindians. There is a note that work in Honduras was still receiving help from Jamaica and from the Panama Rail Road and American Corporation in Colon. Nassau Reports speak of heat - the result of the volcanic eruptions in the Lesser Antilles; and of church buildings in the smaller islands - though there was backsliding and among the girls too (December 1902).
1904-1907 (97370/2): The Reports from the diocese of Antigua continue to speak of grim poverty. In St Mary's, Antigua, they had been able to repair buildings but the Rev. Mackenzie Gillie pointed out (September 1904) that his daughter could now play the new American organ for services. In Nevis, Rev. Lawrence Thomas noted that the Fig Tree Church, where Lord Nelson had married Mrs Nesbit, contained a marble slab on the walls to commemorate this event; and a monument to the Stapleton family, an eighteenth-century planter family, but that there were not at the present time 100 whites left all told. More interesting is his tale of superstition, that although no voodoo or devil-worship flourished, obeah doctors were still influential in St Lucia especially, where a boy had been murdered and his heart cut out and used for obeah charms (December 1904). The Report from the Guiana mentions that the Chinese were still working there, though only a third of the 600 who had settled in 1865 remained (Rev P.A. Stevenson, 1904).
From Honduras the Rev. E.C. Robinson speaks of travelling thousands of miles up the mahogany banks to take services, especially of working amongst the children. There were still few communicants among the mahogany cutters, but the work was hard and engrossing (December 1904). Nassau also received scant help from the SPG and the missionary there, stationed on one of the out-islands, had been ill.
The reports for 1905 contain more statistics than previously, especially for the diocese of Antigua where there was a full complement of SPG missionaries - 14 in 1905 and 20 in 1906. Most reports mention the emigration of the young men to work in the cane fields of San Domingo seasonally; all were delighted to welcome their new Bishop, Walter Farrar, ordained in Antigua in 1905. A few brief Reports from F.J. Briggs, the new catechist on the Codrington estates in Barbados, and from R. D'y Brace on Long Cay, Bahamas, speak of continuing hard work, as do the Reports from Guiana.
The reports for 1906 are full and all speak of the good work of the new Bishop and of the continuing problem of segregation in the Antigua diocese. Rev. Joseph Emery of St Kitts mentions an old man, born a slave and still living in dire poverty (June 1906). Canon F.W. Haines mentioned a chapel built about 1838 as a thank-offering for emancipation and still used as a special school and chapel for blacks in the heart of Montserrat (September 1906). A. Humphreys said that deer were raised as game in Barbuda (September 1906); but Archdeacon Hutson from St Thomas in the Danish West Indies noted that black men were being trained as missionaries so little money for white curates existed (June 1906). Missionaries on St Kitts spoke of insularity and the drift to Protestant groups like the Methodists. In Antigua, however, a new ladies group had been created, the Daughters of the King, a complement to the Sons of St Andrew. The Reports from Barbados of the new catechist, F.J. Briggs, speak of the all-black congregations and of a falling-off in religion; only the school master and the clergy belonged to the upper status. Illegitimacy was rampant among the negroes, and he knew of a group of native Baptists who baptised children in the name of the Holy Trinity (September 1906). The Bishop was active, however, both in visiting Honduras and in holding a Synod.
The reports in 1907 have little to say: Bishop Farrar had been ill, so one congregation in St Kitts had had to put aside their confirmation clothes (Joseph Emery, September 1907). Even missionaries had a keen eye for events and places: Emery gave an interesting description of St Eustatius, an eighteenth-century free port and now a sleepy humdrum place, as were all the islands where migration to San Domingo alone brought seasonal work to the young men. W.A. Edwards of Anguilla had arranged to cyclostyle letters to them every month to help (November 1907). The real news came from a brief Report from Jamaica of the powerful earthquake there, which had wrecked Kingston and left a huge task of restoration.
1908-1910 (97370/3): The 1908 Reports for Antigua speak of a peaceful year, though one of great poverty. A new Bishop was to come, a help for much-needed restoration projects ranging from the old, loved piano at St Anthony's, Montserrat, to the fortifications on Brimstone Hill, St Kitts, an excellent place for a picnic. Brief Reports from Barbados speak of the hardship of getting the children to come to school as they were needed early in the morning in the fields (F.J. Briggs, March 1908). In Guiana the East Indian population had increased and the second generations were more sympathetic to Christianity. Honduras, Nassau and Trinidad sent in forms indicating the slow progress of work. By 1909, however, the Antigua missionaries spoke universally of the continuing drain of young men to San Domingo; Bishop Mather had come out of retirement to cheer them, a comfort in these days of poverty and depopulation. Reports from the catechist of Barbados dwelt on the small sins around him (F.J. Briggs, March 1909), but the accounts from Guiana, Honduras and Trinidad speak of missionary work among the Amerindians and East Indians, a hard pioneering exercise. Herwald R. Davies in Tobago began the first of his lengthy 'logs', a daily report of life on the island filled with small matters, often of real and continuing interest. A Bishop had still not been elected in 1910 and the matter was referred to Canterbury, but the Antigua diocese was plagued by obeah, though this was strictly forbidden (Canon Haines, Montserrat, March and June 1910).
1911-1912 (97370/4): The reports for both these years from the diocese of Antigua speak of the quiet round and even of an increase of work, though the new Bishop had apparently to seek the retirement of some members of the clergy because of advancing years or an unbalanced mind. Herwald Davies of Trinidad wrote lengthily; and from Honduras came news of work in Central America, though Guiana confined itself to the missions to the Amerindians and East Indians.
1913-1915 (97370/5): The reports of these years stress the special difficulties found everywhere in the Lesser Antilles. Migration continued, there was no money but church work and teaching continued; and in the north in the Bahamas it was noted that white pupils were coming to the black schools, which were also using more women teachers. The outbreak of war in 1914 came as a great blow. The Antigua Reports stress the threat of the great, unrighteous and terrible war; and in Honduras, where there were especially bad conditions among the racially mixed groups, the effect of the war was held to be a great problem. Herwald Davies in Trinidad gave a vivid account of the times, but in Nassau the demand for more funds from the SPG for church-building was made nonetheless. The rise of prices and the need for controls noted in 1914 continued in 1915, with news, too, of recruiting among the blacks who now were going as a contingent to war and not as seasonal labour. Collections for the war effort were taken in many churches but there was great poverty and little cotton was being grown. The situation in Central America was dangerous and difficult, and the end of trade with Germany had hit the Bahamas hard; but women had been to teach in the schools there and were doing well.
1916-1917 (97370/6): By 1916 the diocese of Antigua had adjusted to the war, but Rev. John Vanier of St Thomas, Nevis, stressed that trouble among the labouring classes was coming to a head with the formation of a trade union (June 1917). An American fancy religion, the Christian Mission, was making gains (Joseph Emery, Nevis, June 1917), but in Honduras, Trinidad, Nassau and the Windward Islands the work continued.
1918-1920 (97370/7): In his Report for 1916 the Bishop of Antigua had attacked 'Kikuyu tendencies' in the Church and the tendency to take Holy Communion outside the parish. He knew well the deep poverty facing West Indian labourers but he prayed that all classes would think deeply and be aware of the crisis facing them and the poor in particular. It was timely advice. On 9 March 1918 there was a riot in St John's, Antigua; cane fields were set on fire, planters mobbed, and two of the rioters were then shot dead. It was a foretaste of two decades of stormy race relations to come and an indication of changing times in the West Indies. And yet the missionary Reports for that year speak only of the sons of clergy serving overseas and of the universal joy in the news of Armistice in November. The 1919 Reports spoke of the hardships facing returning servicemen, and labourers were counselled to see the folly of striking, though their need for higher wages was recognised. The missionaries, too, bemoaned the blindness of the governments in the islands who felt that the negro should not be educated and had little understanding of the 'natives' (Rev John Vanier, St Kitts, December 1919). 'We don't feel much like peace' in Trinidad and Tobago was the view of H.R. Davies (June 1919), who went on to report a growing lawlessness and demand for higher wages among people 'who had ceased to fear the church'. Church workers were clearly now not only social workers but arbitrators in labour disputes, even at a time when membership among the young especially was falling off.
Nor had the situation improved by 1920, when food shortages and the rising cost of living were noted by all. Codrington College in Barbados was becoming increasingly active, and their Principal, A.H. Anstey, had been elevated to the see of Trinidad. The importance of this island was becoming plain as the new oil industry developed. H.R. Davies was sent briefly to nearby Venezuela, another oil-producing region, protesting especially about women trying to exercise power by 'keeping down certain people', that is, blacks (1920).
1921-1922 (97370/8): The papers for these years run into each other, the most important event being the elevation of Bishop Edward Hutson of Antigua to be Archbishop of the West Indies in 1922. His Report of the XIXth Session of the Diocesan Synod dealt with the Lambeth Appeal, which concerned the ministry of women and Church finances. The Archbishop felt that the Lambeth Appeal conformed to Roman Catholic views, but the Synod would not accept it. By 1922 the SPG required the Bishops to complete annual reports showing how the Society's grants were used, and the Reports which follow for the next decade reveal clearly the extent of the influence of the SPG in church building and in providing salaries for clergy and catechists.
1923-1924 (97370/9): From this date onwards the Reports from the mission in Argentina are included in the West Indies papers of the SPG. The Archbishop's report for Antigua speaks of an outbreak of alcestrim in the island, a disease similar to smallpox. Much was hoped of the new Girls High School in Georgetown, British Guiana, and converts among the East Indians were increasing. But poverty was everywhere apparent together with increasing cruelty to children in a country where peasant proprietors could no longer keep order (H.R. Davies, October 1923, Tobago).
1925-1927 (97370/10): The hurricane of 1924 which hit the Leewards, especially Montserrat, dominates the news in these years; but there were new influences at work in the islands, too. H.R. Davies in jokingly about 'Bolshie influences'; but this was no joke along the Mexican border with Honduras, as the mission in Nicaragua reported in 1926. In Guiana a century of Christianity was celebrated in the centenary of Holy Trinity, Georgetown, British Guiana, founded by Edward Piercy Austen; whilst the Cathedral Church of St John the Baptist in Belize, British Honduras, celebrated its founding as well. In Tobago H.R. Davies spoke of the hardship of winning converts among the East Indians, highlighting the work of the two mainland churches (1927). All looked to the Provincial Synod of the West Indies for help in its task of redrafting its constitution taken up in 1926 - these diocesan and provincial synods being a very important part of Church government.
1928-1931 (97370/11): Reports for these years speak of a worsening financial depression, and the destruction of Codrington College by fire in 1929 did not dispel the gloom; nor did growing racist tension in Nassau and hurricanes throughout the region. But there was a desire to look forward: to found a University of the West Indies in Jamaica, for example, affiliated to Codrington College and the Agricultural College in Trinidad (Bishop of Barbados, Report, 1929). The strain on the older missionaries was hard, however; old Canon Emery had had a bad fall and his wife died of one shortly after, too anxious to be up early on Easter Day. H.R. Davies spoke for them all: 'Our Empire is God's people set here in the world to bring all people to a knowledge of men' (1929). Davies' own position was becoming increasingly important for the Trinidad oilfields were producing growing wealth and some was coming to the Church; but Trinidad remained a missionary field for the Anglicans, though life in Tobago was probably quieter than in Trinidad where the majority were Roman Catholics. A new Bishop, John Dauglish, had been appointed for Nassau, and it was hoped that, with his work at sea, the new man would bring changes, not least in fostering a native ministry (Nassau, 1931); at the same time a Bishop of the Windward Islands had been appointed (1930) and this new See was created out of the old Bishopric of Barbados.
1932-1935 (97370/12): The reports for these years show clearly the coming storms ahead. The annual Bishops' Reports had begun to fall off, but new typewritten Reports and other printed matter bore out the disquieting news. Not even the meeting of the 23rd session of the synod of Antigua held in January 1933 and the devastating effects of the depression could conceal the race riots which spread throughout the Caribbean in 1935. Even more disquieting were the views of H.S.R. Thornton of the Church of the Good Shepherd, San Jose, Costa Rica, part of the mission from British Honduras. In 1935 he wrote in strict confidence of dissension among the German residents, speaking of Nazi influence which was clearly anti-religious. 'Many dislike it but could not resist it lest they be delated by local informers and find themselves debarred from trading with Germany. There is a German school here supported by the Home Government which names the teacher in charge. In some cities it would be well worthwhile for our Government to have the sense to do the like.'
Racial violence and increasing segregation was recorded in Nassau and in the Windward Islands in 1935. The Report of G.T. Bartholomew in Port of Spain, Trinidad spoke for all (November 1935): there was change everywhere, Europeans were very secular and relations between the races were worsening. Though Trinidad was one of the wealthiest islands, few had any idea how to deal with problems, indigenous West Indian priests were few and outsiders had no understanding of the islanders.
1936-1950 (97370/13): The death of Archbishop in 1936 marked the end of an era. Riots everywhere and a lack of support for the West Indian mission field filled reports: H.R. Davies in Tobago had the right word, as ever. As for the riots of 1937, 'Moscow knows all about us' was his view. The new Bishop of Nassau was even more disquieting in his views Writing with fine detachment but rather clinically, he noted that the problems of insularity were great: the coloureds were not clever and coloured priests gained credence only by being treated as equals with whites. In strict confidence, he noted the increasing racial violence. This was also reported from the Windward Islands where the appointment of a Royal Commission to deal with the seething unrest throughout the Caribbean was noted. There were a few Reports for 1939; thereafter the Reports as we know them cease to exist. There is a quantity of material covering the years 1939 to 1950 for Antigua, rather less for the other regions, giving some items of news (including the resignation of Archdeacon H.R. Davies in 1947); but the older island order had passed and a new day had dawned for the West Nevertheless the work of the SPG was to continue. Slowly the work of the Church was seen as playing a significant part in the coming of independence for the West Indies by keeping to the true spirit of Christopher Codrington and his will of 1710.
Notes on the images in the E series
1. Pagination is not regular on some volumes in this publication. Material was originally microfilmed as bound, but occasionally some pages appear to have been omitted in the compilation during binding.
2. Quality of reproduction is best available on those pages which were completed in pencil or light coloured inks/crayons and also some carbon copies, which are "fuzzy" but readable.
3. Very occasionally some part of the text may be lost as a result of tight binding on volumes.
Introduction reproduced from two guides originally composed in 1984 & 1987.
R. Augier, The making of the West Indies (Longmans, 1960)
J. Harry Bennett, jr., Bondsmen and bishops: slavery and apprenticeship on the Codrington plantations of Barbados, 1710-1838 (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1958)
Olwyn M. Blouet, 'To make society safe for freedom: slave education in Barbados 1823-33', Journal of negro history, LXV (1980) 126-134
Alan C.M. Burns, History of the British West Indies (Allen & Unwin, 1954)
Alfred Caldecott, The church in the West Indies (London, 1898; Cass, 1970)
Carl Campbell, 'Social and economic obstacles to the development of popular education in post emancipation Jamaica, 1834-1865', Journal of Caribbean history, I (1970) 57-88
Mary Clement, Correspondence and records of the SPG relating to Wales, 1701-1750 (Cardiff: University of Wales Press, 1973)
Hans Cnattingius, Bishops and societies: a study of Anglican colonial missionary expansion, 1698-1850 (Society for the Propagation of Christian Knowledge, 1952)
Henry N. Coleridge, Six months in the West Indies in 1825 (London, 1826)
Edward L. Evans, A history of the diocese of Jamaica (Kingston, c1960)
Sehon S. Goodridge, Facing the challenge of emancipation: a study of the ministry of William Hart Coleridge, 1st bishop of Barbados, 1824-1842 (Bridgetown, Barbados: Cedar Press, 1981)
Shirley C. Gordon, A century of West Indian education (Longmans, 1963)
Douglas Hall, Five of the Leewards, 1834-1870 (Caribbean Universities Press, 1971)
Jerome S. Handler, Unappropriated people: free men in the slave society of Barbados (Baltimore, Md: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1974)
Vincent T. Harlow, A history of Barbados, 1625-1685 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1926)
Vincent T. Harlow, Christopher Codrington, 1668-1710 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1928)
Charles S.S. Higham, 'The negro policy of Christopher Codrington', Journal of negro history, X (1925) 150-153
Frank J. Klingberg, Contributions of the SPG to the American way of life (Philadelphia: Church Historical Society, 1943)
Frank J. Klingberg, ed. Codrington chronicle: an experiment in Anglican altruism on a Barbados plantation, 1710-1834 (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Publications in History, vol. 37, 1949)
Nina Langley, Christopher Codrington and his College (SPCK, 1964)
Claude Levy, 'Barbados: the last years of slavery 1823-1833', Journal of negro history, XLIV (1959) 308-345
Claude Levy, 'Slavery and the emancipation movement in Barbados, 1650-1833', Journal of negro history, LV (1970) 1-14
Robson Lowe, The Codrington correspondence, 1743-1851 (Robson Lowe, 1951)
John W. Lydekker, Thomas Bray, 1658-1730, founder of missionary enterprise (Philadelphia: Church Historical Society, no. 14, 1943)
Samuel C. McCulloch, British humanitarianism: essays honouring Frank J. Klingberg (Philadelphia: Church Historical Society, 1950)
William W. Manross, The Fulham Papers in the Lambeth Palace Library, American colonial section: calendar and indexes (Oxford University Press, 1965)
William W. Manross, SPG papers in the Lambeth Palace Library: calendar and indexes (Oxford University Press, 1974)
John H. Parry and Philip M. Sherlock, A short history of the West Indies (2nd ed. Macmillan, 1963)
C.F. Pascoe, Two hundred years of the SPG: an historical account of the society... 1701-1900 (2 vols., SPG, 1901)
Edgar L. Pennington, Thomas Bray's Associates and their work among the negroes (Worcester, Mass: American Antiquarian Society, 1939)
B.E. Thompson, Calendar of letters from Canada, Newfoundland, Pennsylvania, Barbados and the Bahamas, 1721-1793 preserved at the United Society for the Propagation of the Gospel (List and Index Society, special series, vol. 5, 1972)
Henry P. Thompson, Into all lands: the history of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts, 1701-1950 (SPG, 1951)
Charles H. Wesley, 'The rise of negro education in the British empire', Journal of negro education, I (1932) 354-366; II (1933) 68-82
Eric E. Williams, From Columbus to Castro: the history of the Caribbean, 1492-1969 (Deutsch, 1970)
Acknowledgement of Copyrights:
Copyrights in this guide belong to Dr Clare Taylor and Microform Academic Publishers. Its contents may be copied for the purpose of private study and research in accordance with the principles of "fair dealing" and "library privilege" established in copyright legislation. Institutions and individuals may freely link to this guide in their library catalogues for reference by their users. Enquiries concerning any reproduction falling outside the scope of the principles mentioned above must be addressed to the publisher.
To cite this resource:
Clare Taylor (2010) West Indies material in the archives of the USPG, 1710-1950 : an introduction to the British Online Archives edition, https://boa.microform.digital/collections/22/view. Last updated: 17 February 2010.