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Papers of Revd. Henry Clarke (1)

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Five volumes of The Journal of Henry Clarke, comprising a typescript version of an autobiography written by the Revd. Clarke with reference to his diaries of 1847-1897; two volumes of typed transcripts of his letters, 1855-1876; three volumes containing photocopies of his letters, 1877-1888.

Dates

  • 1847-1897

Extent

10 Volumes

Language of Materials

English

Preferred Citation

Oxford, Bodleian Libraries [followed by shelfmark and folio or page reference, e.g. MSS. W. Ind. s. 66].
Please see our help page for further guidance on citing archives and manuscripts.

Full range of shelfmarks:

MSS. W. Ind. s. 66

Collection ID (for staff)

CMD ID 1234

Biographical / Historical

Henry Clarke (1828-1907) emigrated to Jamaica in 1847, where he took up a teaching post at Savanna La Mar. He remained there until 1851, when he returned temporarily to England to marry Jane Lister, with whom he had eleven children. Deeply religious, he was ordained in Jamaica in 1852 and began his ministry in Lucea, 1853, where he continued to teach for the next two years.

In 1857 he started a lifelong interest as an inventor, periodically returning to England in a series of unsuccesful attempts to patent his designs. These included rotary and turbine steam engines, an aerial screw (flying machine) and aerial screw steamer (a boat powered by the same principles), and a velocipede.

As an Anglican priest he took a strong stance on the rights of Jamaica's Coolie and Creole immigrants and an interest in the position of ex-slaves and their descendants. In 1873 he founded the Westmoreland Building Society, one of the cornerstones of the later Jamaica Public Building Society. At the same time, he came into personal conflict with the episcopal authorities, nearly losing his living in the process, and faced a number of difficulties with his children - in particular two of his sons, one of whom suffered from severe epilepsy and another of whom was an alcoholic and the subject of a scandal involving an illegitimate child.

In 1894 he resigned his living and was elected to the island's Legislative Council, though he continued preaching in various churches including Baptist and Wesleyan congregations. As a member of the Legislative Council, he spoke out against the Produce Protection Law, was involved in discussions involving currency, and put forward a bill for registering illegitimate fathers, though this was never enacted. He retired from the Council in 1900. His wife died four years later.

Other Finding Aids

The library holds a card index of all manuscript collections in its reading room.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The papers were donated to the library by Oliver Clarke, via his cousin Hugh Clift, on 11th November 1997.

Related Materials

Diaries, 1847-1897 (ref. MSS. W. Ind. r. 10).
Title
Papers of Revd. Henry Clarke (1)
Status
Completed
Author
Paul Davidson
Language of description
English

Repository Details

Part of the Bodleian Libraries Repository

Contact:
Weston Library
Broad Street
Oxford OX1 3BG United Kingdom