Related Letters - 1907.01.25 - Mr. Baring Gould to Bishop Price
Church Missionary Society Salisbury Square London. E. C. 25th January 1907
My Dear Bishop,
Pray accept my cordial thanks for your important and interesting letter of December 19th. First of all, let me heartily reciprocate your good wishes for the New Year. We had already received a New Year’s Card from you and Mrs. Price, thoughtfulness which we thoroughly appreciated.
There is no doubt about it that the Society is in a very grave financial position. There has been nothing at all like it during the twenty-eight years in which I have been associated with the Committee. The depletion of our Capital Fund is deplorable, and its reinstatement a matter of the greatest difficulty. Unless abnormal help is granted to us by God, personally I believe prompt and drastic reductions are inevitable. If, therefore, grants which appear to the brethren in the field urgent are declined, you will at once be able to explain the grounds upon with the Committee are acting….
As the letter is rather lengthy, the section concerning Miss Barber alone is included below.
Regarding Minute xi. The whole question of Probation and Service is at present in abeyance. It is a very thorny subject, and some of us at Salisbury Square at present do not see our way.
Minute xiv. The question of Ning-taik has been in dispute, to my certain knowledge, for the last 13 years. The line taken up by the ladies does, it seems to me, make it very difficult to carry out the suggestion of Conference, and Mr. White’s arguments in his letter are undoubtedly weighty.
Minute xv, rule 31. I am most thankful to you for the lucid explanation regarding this matter which you have kindly given to me regarding this problem, as indeed of all others connected with your recent Conference….
With respect to Miss Barber, on her return to England I found that the dealing of Conference regarding the question of the Status and Probation of Missionaries appeared to her to be the fons et orige of all her troubles. She tells me that she claimed that the P.C. expected Conference to take counsel regarding the policy itself as well as, if approving that policy, to indicate the special method in which it should be carried out in the Fuh-Kien Mission, but that this view was not taken by her colleagues, who held that the policy was determined, and the only question for Conference to decide was as to the methods by which it was to be carried into effect. If her description is correct, I am bound to say that Miss Barber was right in her contention, and I exceedingly regret that our covering letter should have been open to any misunderstanding on this point.
In our covering letter of September 29, 1905, we say—”copies of certain suggested alterations in the Regulations, part 2, are sent for the consideration of the Conferences in your Mission,” hence, Miss Barber was clearly justified in her contention.
Between ourselves, I greatly fear that through some misunderstanding full information appears not to have been at the disposal of the Women’s Conference regarding this most important question. In fact, I am inclined to doubt whether a copy of the covering letter was, in the first instance, laid before the Women’s Conference at all. Possibly our letter reached the Mission so near the time of the meeting of Conference that this omission was inevitable.
Once more thanking you for writing to me so fully, and assuring you of the prayerful sympathy of our Committee in all your anxious and important work connected with the Diocese.
Ever, my dear Bishop
Very sincerely and faithfully yours,
B. Baring-Gould, Sec. C.M.S.
This letter is dated as being written on January 26th in A Seed Sown in China. This is a minor mistake. The letter was written on a typewriter and the date of 25th is clear.