Scottish Missionary Society
Name of creator(s):
Administrative/Biographical history: The foundation of the Baptist Missionary Society and the London Missionary Society in the late eighteenth century helped to solidify the call for the formation of missionary societies in Scotland; 1796 saw the organization of the Scottish Society (known later as the Edinburgh Missionary Society, and from 1818 as the Scottish Missionary Society) and the Glasgow Society for Foreign Missions. These Societies represented both the Church of Scotland and the Secession Church, and initiated evangelization in West Africa, the Caribbean (from 1800), the Caucasus (from 1802), India (from 1823).
Whilst the work of the Scottish Society and the Glasgow Society continued, growing pressure mounted for the founding of a missionary society by the established Church of Scotland. Accordingly, in 1824 the Assembly of the Church of Scotland appointed a committee to inaugurate foreign mission; this led, in 1829, to the sending of Alexander Duff (1806-1878) to Calcutta, to take over the headmastership of an educational institution. Subsequently in 1835, the new Church Mission took over the Bombay mission which had been established by the Scottish Society in 1823.
Following the Disruption of the established church in 1843, the newly established breakaway Free Church of Scotland formed a Foreign Missions Board which in 1845 assumed responsibility for the South African missions of the Glasgow Missionary Society. Similarly, the Scottish Missionary Society's Jamaica and Calabar (Nigeria) missions were in 1847 taken over by the newly formed United Presbyterian Church. The Caucasus mission had been terminated by the Russian government in 1835.
Immediate source of acquisition:
CONTENT AND STRUCTURE
Scope and content/abstract: The collection comprises both home and overseas archives of the Scottish Missionary Society, the former including letterbooks (including those of the Scottish Missionary Society's secretary, William Brown), and the latter being made up of correspondence from missionaries in the Society's fields of the Crimea, Jamaica, Astrakhan, and Western India, along with material from the Society's Bombay Corresponding Committee (including correspondence of its secretary, the Reverend Joseph Laurie) and papers on education in the Caribbean.
System of arrangement: The collection is a subfonds of the Church of Scotland Board of World Mission, and is divided into a home and an overseas series. The home series is subdivided into letter books of the Society's Secretary (188-1851), Secretary copies (c1820-1837) and correspondence and papers (1796-1841). The overseas series is subdivided into material relating to the Bombay Corresponding Committee (1829-1832), papers on education in the West Indies (1835-1838) and correspondence with missionaries based in the Crimea (1820-1832), Jamaica (1824-1838), Astrakhan (1821-1836), Western India (1822-1835) and elsewhere (1820-1837)).
ACCESS AND USE
Conditions governing access: Available for consultation by serious researchers.
Conditions governing reproduction:
Finding aids: Catalogues as cited in Publication note.
Related material: The Centre for the Study of Christianity in the Non-Western World at the University of Edinburgh holds:
Date(s) of descriptions: 2nd May 2002