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AFRICAN MISSIONS

Papers of the Mission of the United Presbyterian Church from the National Library of Scotland

The United Presbyterian Church of Scotland (UPC) was formed in 1847 by the union of the United Secession Church and the Relief Church. In 1900 it merged with the Free Church of Scotland to form the United Free Church of Scotland which in 1929 united with the Church of Scotland.

The UPC inherited from the Secession Church missions in the Caribbean and in Calabar, Nigeria. It also took over the work in Jamaica begun by the Scottish Missionary Society and the mission in Kaffraria established by the Glasgow South African Missionary Society.

The Calabar mission in Nigeria was set up in 1846 in Old Calabar and was led by Hope Masterton Waddell (1804-1895), a Scottish Missionary Society missionary backed by the United Secession Church. Waddell was joined in 1849 by William Anderson (1812-1895) who remained as a prominent figure at the mission until 1891 and Hugh Goldie (1815-1895) who became the mission’s leading Efik scholar and translator. The missionaries hoped to make conversions through education and evangelical work but progress was initially slow. They also hoped to change local customs such as ritual killing, the killing of twins and poison ordeals. By the 1880s the Church membership had grown and the mission began to expand to places such as Okoyong.

Mission work in South Africa comprised of the Kaffraria, Lovedale, Port Elizabeth, Blythswood, Transkei and Buchanan stations.

The mission at Lovedale was founded in 1824 by the Glasgow Missionary Society and named after Dr John Love. In 1841 the Lovedale Missionary Institute was set up by Edward Govan who was succeeded in 1870 by Rev James Stewart. The institution provided for the education of Africans of both sexes and also gave training in various industries such as farming and printing. The Victoria Hospital at Lovedale was opened in 1898, closed briefly from 1899-1903 and was then reopened after the war with Dr Neil Vicar as the medical superintendent and Miss Mary Balmer as matron. Initially viewed with suspicion by the Africans it became extremely well regarded for its medical work and training. Blythswood Mission was set up in 1875 as a response to requests from Amamfengu Africans for a new mission to be situated in the Ngamakwe district.

The UPC also founded new missions in Rajputan (now Rajasthan) in India in 1860, in Machuria in China in 1872 and in Japan in 1873. The UPC Foreign Mission Committee was also concerned with colonial and Jewish mission work in Canada, Europe and North Africa.

This microfilm publication concentrates on the African missions of the United Presbyterian Church of Scotland and contains all incoming letters from missionaries in Africa sent to the UPC Foreign Mission Committee between the years 1874-1928.

The letters are divided into:

  • Letters from missionaries in Nigeria and the Gold Coast, 1919-1928
  • Miscellaneous letters concerning West Africa, 1919-1925
  • Letters from missionaries in Kaffraria, 1885-1908
  • Letters from missionaries in North Kaffraria, 1883-1904
  • Letters from missionaries in Natal, 1874-1909
  • Letters from missionaries in South Africa, 1919-1928

Letters from missionaries in Nigeria and the Gold Coast, 1919-1928

An alphabetical index of correspondents is given at the beginning of each section. The letters cover a wide variety of topics:

  • Missionary salaries
  • Mission finances
  • Housing and new mission buildings
  • Health with much on epidemics
  • Missionary itinerations
  • Training of theological students
  • Transport
  • Medical work
  • Hope Waddell Training Institution
  • Meetings of the Calabar Mission Council
  • Education
  • Conferences
  • Evangelical work
  • Translation of the Scriptures
  • Accra Book Depot Accounts

Miscellaneous Letters concerning West Africa, 1919-1925

An alphabetical index of correspondents and institutions is given at the beginning of the section. A good selection of material concerning West African institutions is included:

  • African and Eastern Trade Corporation
  • Committee for the Welfare of Africans in Europe
  • International Missionary Council
  • Foreign Mission Committee of the United Free Church
  • Women’s Foreign Mission of the United Free Church
  • Native Races and the Liquor Traffic
  • British Empire Exhibition

Letters from missionaries in Kaffraria and North Kaffraria, 1883-1908

An alphabetical index of correspondents and institutions is given at the beginning of each section. The letters cover a wide variety of topics:

  • Minutes, reports and lists of contributions regarding the Free Presbytery of Kaffraria
  • Minutes and correspondence of the Free Synod of Kaffraria
  • Reports on the expansion of the mission
  • Financial reports of missions such as Maimba
  • Native pastors
  • Expenses incurred in connection with the Mzimba movement
  • Letters from the Lovedale Missionary Association
  • Reports of the Lovedale Native Congregation and notes on the Native Congregation at Johannesburg and at Port Elizabeth
  • Report on the Lovedale Victoria hospital
  • Minutes of the Mission Council of Kaffraria
  • Minutes of the United Presbyterian Foreign Mission Board and Synod
  • Finances of the Lovedale Education Board
  • Report on the funeral of the missionary, Rev James Stewart
  • Report on Gooldsville, 1908
  • Finances of the Blythswood Institution
  • Report on the United Free Presbytery of Transkei

Letters from missionaries in Natal, 1874-1909

An alphabetical index of correspondents and institutions is given at the beginning of each section. The letters cover a wide variety of topics:

  • Constitution of the Gordon Memorial Mission, Natal, annual reports and finances
  • Minutes of meetings of the Presbytery of Natal
  • Reports on schools with lists of scholars
  • Medical work
  • Evangelical work
  • Agricultural work
  • Finances of the Impoliveni Mission
  • Rents from native tenants
  • Obituary of Rev James Dalzell
  • Report on the Boys Institution at Impoliveni
  • Management of the Renier farm

Letters from missionaries in South Africa, 1919-1928

An alphabetical index of correspondents and institutions is given at the beginning of each section. The letters cover a wide variety of topics:

  • Papers regarding the case of Rev A F Cowan, a missionary for 17 years
  • Missionary travelling expenses
  • Finances of the South African Native College
  • Inauguration of the new Native Church
  • Proceedings of the First General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church of South Africa
  • Correspondence with the Paris Evangelical Society
  • Minutes of the Lovedale Governing Council
  • Correspondence with the Blythswood Institute, Butterworth
  • Building and furnishing of the Presbyterian Hostel
  • Correspondence with the Buchanan Mission
  • Proceedings of the Third General Assembly of the Bantu Presbyterian Church of South Africa

The papers also include:

• Correspondence concerning the return of German missionaries to the stations in West and East Africa from which they were expelled during WWI and for which the United Free Church took temporary responsibility,1917-1926

• Three letters from David Livingstone to the conveners of the Foreign Mission Committee – Rev William K Tweedie, 1861, Rev Robert S Candlish, 1862 and to Rev John Wilson, missionary and orientalist, 1872



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