The Nova Scotia Records of the United Society for the Propagation of the Gospel : 1722-1860.

Call Number: MIC-Loyalist FC LCR .N6C4N6S6
Category: Church
Creator: Nova Scotia. Church Records.
Description: 15 microfilm textual records () ; 35 mm

The Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts (SPG), now called the United Society for the Propagation of the Gospel (USPG), was a missionary organization of the Church of England founded in 1701 by Rev. Thomas Bray and others. It sent Anglican clergymen and religious literature to Britain’s colonies, supported schoolmasters and the establishment of new churches, and was very active in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries in its attempt to improve the position of the Church of England in the colonies. It also worked toward the Christianization of Native Americans (Indians) and African Americans (blacks). The American Revolution brought conflict and division among the missionaries as many were loyal to the Crown. After the American Revolution, it expanded its activities in the Caribbean and what remained of British North America.

The Diocese of Nova Scotia was created in 1787 and included present-day Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Quebec, Prince Edward Island, and Newfoundland. The separate Diocese of Quebec was created in 1792; and in 1825, the Diocese would be divided into 4 archdeaconeries: Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Newfoundland, and Bermuda. A separate Diocese of Newfoundland was created in 1839, and for Fredericton in 1845. The Anglican Bishops of Nova Scotia included Charles Inglis (1787-1816), Robert Stanser (1816-25), John Inglis (1825-50), and Hibbert Binney (1851-87).


The records contain letters and annual and quarterly reports from the missionaries in the field to the USPG home office in London, 1722-1860. The bulk of the communicants are from the province of Nova Scotia, and to a lesser extent, New Brunswick, Quebec, Prince Edward Island, and Newfoundland. To illustrate the types of material included, the section with the letters of John Inglis contains: letters to and from the bishops of Nova Scotia; communications from Society schoolmasters; parish and church-warden petitions and memorials; newspaper cuttings; official documents; letters to and from the lieutenant-governors of Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, and other colonial and British officials such as the archdeacons and the Bishop of London. Wallace Brown, in the guide to this collection states: "the scope of the records is much wider than religion, partly because of the central role the church played in people’s lives, making the content a treasure trove for the study of local history", particularly social history, including primary and Sunday school education, the American Loyalists, blacks, natives (Indians), immigration and emigration. They also detail relationships between Anglicans and other religious orders, including statistics, and covers subjects such as politics; economics; trade; education (e.g. King’s College); and charitable endeavors (charity) due to fire, shipwrecks, poverty, disease. As well, the records deal with much about the everyday, such as weather, salary, travel conditions, illness, and personal tribulations.

Arrangement and Detailed Contents

The collection is organized into 16 sections (CAN/PreQue, CAN/NS/1-15), and 139 subsections called folders; thus within each section, the material has many folders and is not in a strictly chronological order as a whole. The main correspondents, their geographical locations and the years during which they sent to London their correspondence are detailed as follows:

Reel 1: C/Can/Pre Quebec and Montreal, 1759-92; Newfoundland, 1772-87

  • Main correspondents: Rev. James Balfour, Harbour Grace, 1772-83; Rev. John Doty, Montreal/Sorel, 1778-93; Rev. Walter Price, St. Johns, 1784


Reel 1: C/CAN/NS 1 (nos. 1-115) Nova Scotia, 1752-91

  • Main correspondents: Rev. Joseph Bennett, Windsor, 1768-78; Rev. John Breynton, Halifax, 1753-85; Rev. Isaac Brown, Annapolis, 1783-5; Rev. T. Desbrisey, Charlottetown, 1786-87; Rev. Bernard Houseal, Halifax, 1784-91; Rev. George Panton, Shelburne, 1783-5; Rev. Peter de la Roche, Lunenburg, 1783-5; Rev. J.C. Wagner, London, 1786; Rev. William Walter, Shelburne, 1783-90; Rev. Joshua W. Weeks, Halifax/London, 1779-85; Rev. John Wiswall, Cornwallis, 1784-6


Reel 2: C/CAN/NS 2 (nos. 1-211) Nova Scotia, 1790-1851

  • Main correspondents: Rev. Roger Aitken, Aberdeen/Lunenburg, 1814-25; Daniel Anderson (schoolmaster), Merigomish, 1816-24; Rev. William Cochran, Windsor, 1796-1831; Rev. Charles Inglis, Claremont, 1811-12; Rev. John Inglis, Sydney, 1816-50; Rev. William King, Windsor, 1816-43; Rev. John Millidge, Annapolis, 1804-29; Rev. Robert Stanser, Halifax, 1794-1817; Rev. William Twining, Liverpool, 1790-1826; William West (schoolmaster), Halifax, 1816-19. This section contains much about King’s College.


Reel 3: C/CAN/NS 3 (nos. 212-387) Nova Scotia, 1792-53

  • Main correspondents: Rev. George Best, Westminister/Granville, 1817-22; Rev. Hibbert Binney, Sydney/London, 1818-24; Rev. John Burnyeat, Truro, 1820-34; Rev. Edwin Gilpin, Aylesford/Annapolis, 1819-53; Rev. R.A. Grantham, Yarmouth, 1819-35; Rev. Robert Norris, Cornwallis, 1817-34; Rev. Thomas B. Rowland, Shelburne, 1819-34; Rev. Charles W. Weeks, Guysborough, 1817-41; Rev. Joseph Wright, Horton, 1817-28


Reel 4: C/CAN/NS 4 (nos. 1-198) Nova Scotia, 1819-60

  • Main correspondents: Rev. Thomas Adin, Charlottetown, 1823-7; Rev. Horatio Nelson Arnold, Granville, 1824-7; James Aull (schoolmaster), Dalhousie, 1821-2; Joseph Clarke (schoolmaster), Douglas/Preston, 1821-9; Abel S. Gore (schoolmaster), Halifax, 1821-9; Rev. J.W.D. Gray, England/Amherst, 1822-4; Rev. Henry Haden, Rawdon/Sackville, 1820-39; Rev. Louis C. Jenkins, Charlottetown, 1819-54; Rev. W.B. King, Windsor, 1828-49; Rev. George Morris, Rawdon/Dartmouth, 1821-54; Rev. James Shreve, Chester, 1822-60; Lieut. Gov. Charles D. Smith, Prince Edward Island, 1823-4; Rev. Roger Viets, Digby, 1821-37.


Reel 5: C/CAN/NS 5 (nos. 199-276) Nova Scotia, 1824-55

  • Main correspondents: Rev. Edward Benwell, Dartmouth, 1826-7; Rev. James Breading, Beaver Harbour, 1824-5; Rev. Alfred Gilpin, Weymouth/Windsor, 1824-54; William Nisbett (catechist), Halifax, 1827-8; Lieut. Gov. Sir James Ready, Prince Edward Island, 1827-30; Rev John T. Twining, Halifax, 1827-8; Rev. William Walker, St. Eleanor’s, 1828-30; Rev. Joshua W. Weeks, New Dublin, 1827-48; Rev. Richard Wiggins, Amherst, 1828-32; Rev. Edward Wix, Halifax, 1827-9


Reel 5: C/CANNS 6 (nos. 1-164) Nova Scotia, 1819-38

  • Rev. Cornelius Griffin (concerning the case of).


Reel 6: C/CAN/NS 7 (nos. 279-362) Nova Scotia, 1824-56 (Also referred to as the Robert Willis Papers.)

  • Main correspondents: Rev. John T. Twining, Halifax, 1824-5; Rev. Robert Willis, Haliax, 1824-56. (The first 24 documents concern the dispute over the succession to the rectorship of St. Paul’s Church.)


Reel 6: C/CAN/NS 8 (nos. 363-491) Nova Scotia, 1824-56

  • Main correspondents: Rev. Dr. James Cochran, Windsor/Lunenburg/Halifax, 1824-53; Rev. J.T.T. Moody, Liverpool/Yarmouth, 1828-56; Rev. J.A. Shaw, Arichat, 1827-54; Rev. R.F. Uniacke, Halifax, 1827-50; Rev. F. Whalley, Granville, 1828-43.


Reel 7: C/CAN/NS 8 add (nos. 1-110) Nova Scotia, 1821-58 (also referred to as Nova Scotia Diocese: Miscellanea)

  • Main correspondents: Rev. John M. Campbell, Cornwallis/Granville, 1830-58; Rev. James Robertson, Bridgetown, 1832-55; Rev. John Stevenson, King’s College, Windsor, 1832-46; Rev. Thomas Howland White, Antigonish/Shelburne, 1831-56; Rev. Abraham V.G. Wiggins, St. Eleanor’s Prince Edward Island, 1831-50.


Reel 8: C/CAN/NS 9 (nos. 1-119) Nova Scotia, 1808-49 (also referred to as John Inglis Letters)

  • Main correspondent: Rev. John Inglis, Halifax/England. (There is much on King’s College and Inglis’ view of the High Church.)


Reel 9: C/CAN/NS 10 (nos. 120-240) Nova Scotia, 1833-41

  • Main correspondent: Rev. John Inglis, Halifax


Reel 10: C/CAN/NS 11 (nos. 241-385) Nova Scotia, 1842-5

  • Main Correspondent: Rev. John Inglis, Halifax


Reel 11: C/CAN/NS 12 (nos. 1-103) Nova Scotia, 1832-57

  • Main correspondents: Rev. Charles Elliott, Picton, 1832-57; Rev. Archibald Gray, Sackville/Digby, 1834-57; Rev. H.L. Owen, Aylesford/Lunenburg, 1834-57; Rev. Addington D. Parker, Dartmouth, 1835-41; Rev. Charles Shreve, Guysborough, 1834-57; Rev. John Stannage, St. Margaret’s Bay, 1835-55.


Reel 12: C/CAN/NS 12 (nos. 104-154 Nova Scotia, 1830-58

  • Main correspondents in folder order: Rev. RJ. Uniacke, Newport/Sydney, 1839-57; Miscellaneous letters, 1830-8 (particularly interesting for education); Government correspondence, 1838-41; Rev. G. Townshend, Amherst, 1840-58.


Reel 12: C/CAN/NS 13 (nos. 1-62) Nova Scotia, 1831-58

  • Main correspondents in folder order: Rev. W.H. Snyder, Weymouth/Mahone Bay, 1840-58; Rev. W. Bullock, Digby/Halifax, 1841-50; Rev. Charles Lloyd, Milton, Prince Edward Island, 1831-58; Rev. T.C. Leaver, Antigonish/Truro, 1841-58; Rev. R. Jamison, Ship Harbour, 1841-58.


Reel 13: C/CAN/NS 13 (nos. 63-142) Nova Scotia, 1831-58

  • Main correspondents in folder order: Rev. Rev. F.D. Panter, Prince Edward Island, 1841-45; Rev. W.Y. Porter, Cape Breton Island, 1831-58; Rev. F. Roberts, Prince Edward Island, 1842-44; Sir H.V. Huntley, Governor, Prince Edward Island, 1842-45; Rev. A.W. Millidge, Antigonish, 1846-57; Rev. John Storrs, Cornwallis/Horton, 1842-59; Rev. W.M. Godfrey, St. Clements, 1843-58; Rev. J.H. Read, Prince Edward Island, 1843-57.


Reel 14: C/CAN/NS 14 Nova Scotia, 1840-58

  • Main correspondents in folder order: Rev S. Lett, Halifax, 1844-48; Rev R. Yarker, Chester, England, 1845; Rev. Thomas Maynard, Nova Scotia, 1845-58; Rev. P. Filleul, Mahone Bay/Weymouth, 1845-58; Rev. Robert Arnold, Parrsborough/Sydney Mines, 1845-58; Rev. Richard Avery, 1840-58; Rev. W.H. Cooper, Prince Edward Island, 1846-53; Rev. E.E.B. Nichols, 1847-57; Rev. L.M.W. Hill, Digby, 1848-57; Rev. J. Bainbridge Smith, King’s College, Windsor, 1847-53; Rev. W. Taylor, Rawdon, 1849-54; Rev. J. Dixon, 1849-53; Rev. W.T. Morris, Manchester/Antigonish, 1849-58; Miscellaneous, 1840-55; Rev. John Pearson, 1848-54; Rev. H.M. Spike, Newport, 1851-57; Rev. W. Stuart, Barrington, 1853-58; Rev W.R. Cochran, St. Margaret’s Bay, 1853-57


Reel 15: C/CAN/NS 15 Nova Scotia, 1795-58

  • Main correspondents in folder order: Rev. J. Forsythe, Albion Mines/Truro, 1853-58; Rev. J. Stamer, 1842-58; Rev. John Ambrose, 1853-58; Rev. W. Stewart, Prince Edward Island, 1852-58; Rev. J.S. Smith, 1853-58; Rev. H.B. Swabey, Prince Edward Island, 1854-58; Rev. S.D. Gren, Musquodoboit, 1855-56; Rev. P. Tocque, 1855-57; Rev. W.G.T. Jarvis, Guysborough, 1854-58; Rev T.D. Ruddle, 1848-58; Miscellaneous, 1852-58; Government Correspondence 1795-1849; General Diocesan papers, 1795-1853.



The original Records were held by the Archives of the United Society for the Propagation of the Gospel, England.

Archival Ref. No.:


Finding Aids:

For most of the sections (1-15), preceding the original documents is found the following to assist the researcher: 1. Content Listing, which includes separate listings for: authors of correspondence, persons mentioned, petitions, miscellaneous documents; and 2. Typed calendar which summarizes each of the documents. Sections NS 12-15 only have the content listing by folder, which is repeated above in the content list; as well as a calendar. NS 6, relating to Rev. Griffin, does not have a typed summary of each document at the start, but does have a typed background note for context as to what the situation is surrounding the Reverend.

The above is also available printed in the Loyalist red binders.

The microfilm of the material and the guide, The Nova Scotia Records of the United Society for the Propagation of the Gospel, 1722-1860 (HIL-MICGDL CD1069 .L68 N68 1985), are both published by Microform Academic Publisher: East Ardsley, Wakefield, West Yorkshire, England, 1985.

Electronic Finding Aid Record:
Part Of: Forms part of the Series, British Records Relating to America in Microform.
Other With: