The West Indies in Records from colonial missionaries, 1704-1950

E series of original missionary reports, 1901-1950

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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 the period. 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, accurate account of life in the West Indies in the first half of the 20th century. All speak of dire poverty, of insularity and the shortage of well-trained staff. The records for the Diocese of Antigua, covering 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.West Indian dioceses received grants from the SPG to subsidise existing parochial work of preaching and teaching. All agreed that the work was hard, comprising missionary work as well as ordinary parochial duties. Not all clerics received a grant from the Society, and the reports from Antigua reveal that as many as 22 missionaries filled in a report in one year and as few as two in another. Many churches in the Leewards were long-established, and now mainly for blacks, who also had special ones built for their own use. Everywhere there was felt a need for schools to help all the ills that beset parishes, 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. Reports from the Windward Islands begin in bulk after 1918, as do those for Codrington College, but few records for the rest of Barbados or for Jamaica. Records for Nassau are curiously disparate, and reveal disturbing racial tensions.From this series we gain a remarkable insight into the clergy of the Church, most of whom were now competent or literate, comprising 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, as 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 at the start of the 20th century. He reveals too how far the SPG encouraged its workers to report fully and 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 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 earned him the Archbishopric of the West Indies in 1922. When he died in 1936, he had set the example to his flock of a West Indian, born and educated in the islands, showing special gifts of leadership which illumine these records. Avoiding Creole and European white exclusiveness, on his death Archbishop Hutson handed on a Church increasingly reliant on 'native' clergy to minister. Above all shines a special sympathy for the poor in a Church come of age.

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Showing 13 documents E series of original missionary reports, 1901-1950

Original missionary reports, 1901-1903

  • Contributor: Bodleian Library
  • Reference: 97370-01
  • Keyword:  colonial missionary west indian
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Original reports received, 1904-1907

  • Contributor: Bodleian Library
  • Reference: 97370-02
  • Keyword:  colonial missionary west indian
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Original missionary reports, 1908-1910

  • Contributor: Bodleian Library
  • Reference: 97370-03
  • Keyword:  colonial missionary west indian
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Missionary reports, 1911-1912

  • Contributor: Bodleian Library
  • Reference: 97370-04
  • Keyword:  colonial missionary west indian
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Missionary reports, 1913-1915

  • Contributor: Bodleian Library
  • Reference: 97370-05
  • Keyword:  colonial missionary west indian
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Missionary reports, 1916-1917

  • Contributor: Bodleian Library
  • Reference: 97370-06
  • Keyword:  colonial missionary west indian
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Missionary reports, 1918-1920

  • Contributor: Bodleian Library
  • Reference: 97370-07
  • Keyword:  colonial missionary west indian
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Missionary reports, 1921-1922

  • Contributor: Bodleian Library
  • Reference: 97370-08
  • Keyword:  colonial missionary west indian
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Missionary reports, 1923-1924

  • Contributor: Bodleian Library
  • Reference: 97370-09
  • Keyword:  colonial missionary west indian
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Missionary reports, 1925-1927

  • Contributor: Bodleian Library
  • Reference: 97370-10
  • Keyword:  colonial missionary west indian
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Missionary reports, 1928-1931

  • Contributor: Bodleian Library
  • Reference: 97370-11
  • Keyword:  colonial missionary west indian
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Missionary reports, 1932-1935

  • Contributor: Bodleian Library
  • Reference: 97370-12
  • Keyword:  colonial missionary west indian
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Missionary reports, 1936-1950

  • Contributor: Bodleian Library
  • Reference: 97370-13
  • Keyword:  colonial missionary west indian
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