THE DEPENDENCY QUESTION

CHAPTER FIVE

THE CAYMANAS CHURCH UP TO 1839

The resolution of the "dependency question" is important for the reliable understanding of questions surrounding the establishment of the Church in the Cayman Islands. In the last quarter of the twentieth century there have been two separate versions of the Anglican witness in the Islands, each one to some extent appealing to history to justify its position. One version recognizes the mark of Anglicanism in the Cayman Islands nowhere other than in churches acknowledging the jurisdiction of the Bishop of Jamaica. The other version appeals to "older laws" - in this case the constitutional history of the Islands and the longstanding polity of the Church of England overseas - to obtain its understanding and definition of an authentically Anglican Cayman Islands Church.

"In the beginning" the Caymanas Church was a congregation of worshippers presided over by a "respectable Inhabitant"and it is notable that the Caymanas "Governor" William Bodden had a "house of Public worship" built for them.5.1 There is no question that the inhabitants took it for granted that the Faith they practised was the Faith of the Mother country, and they would have been within the ecclesiastical jurisdiction of the Bishop of London.5.2 Later, the See of Jamaica was erected and the Rt. Rev. Christopher Lipscomb was installed as the Church of England's first Bishop of Jamaica. It should not be forgotten that the Church of England had already existed in Jamaica before that time for over two and a half centuries, but apparently had formed no ministerial connection with the Caymanas Church from the time that it began independently.

The purpose of the Letters Patent issued in 1824 for the new Bishopric of Jamaica was to "erect found ordain make and constitute the Island of Jamaica the Bahama Islands and the Settlements in the Bay of Honduras, and their respective dependencies, to be a Bishop's See".5.3 In 1825 the new Bishop communicated with the "Governor of the Caymans" letting him know of his intent to establish the Church in "that part of his diocese". At the same time Mr. James Coe Junior in the Caymanas wrote a letter to the Rev'd Isaac Mann in Jamaica in which the feasibility of a clergyman being sent to the Caymanas from Jamaica was discussed. In December 1831 a Church of England clergyman arrived in the Caymanas from the Bishop of Jamaica, and until 1839 the Church in Caymanas manifested in practical terms its willingness to receive the Bishop of Jamaica's pastoral oversight. All this came to a decisive end by the summer of 1839, when once again the Caymanas Church became ministerially disconnected from the Church in Jamaica, and documentary sources from 1845 to 1970 all without exception show that the Cayman Islands were not included in the Diocese of Jamaica (see Ch. 6 sections 3 and 4 below).

If the question is asked, "Why would the ministerial connection formed for about 7 years between the Caymanas Church and the Jamaica Church in the 1830's not constitute an `establishment of the Church' or the `establishment of the Diocese of Jamaica' in the Cayman Islands?", a reliable understanding of the dependency question becomes necessary for forming an accurate answer. This is so because in the 1830's the Church of England was established overseas, for example in Jamaica and the Cayman Islands, not only by the missionary thrust of the work of the Church itself but also by the passing of bills in a legislature. For in those days the Church had taken the form of a "state" body, many of whose officers (the clergy) were stipended by the appropriate government. If the Caymanas had been a Dependency of Jamaica in the normal sense of its being subject to the Laws of Jamaica at that time, whatever acts being necessary for the establishment of the Church in Jamaica that were passed by the Jamaican legislature would have applied also in the Caymanas. As we have clearly seen, this condition did not exist between Jamaica and the Caymanas, a state of affairs that was not always perceived or understood at the time even in the Colonial Office.

The Letters Patent issued for the new Bishop of Jamaica certainly appear to have been understood by him in the earlier years of his jurisdiction, and no doubt by others, as giving authority for the new Diocese of Jamaica to extend over the Caymanas. However, legal authorities have shown that such Letters Patent are not by themselves fully sufficient to establish an overseas diocese.5.4 Wherever there is a legislature authorised to pass laws for the territory, that legislature has to give its stamp of approval by passing an act that regulates the relevant ecclesiastical organization in its territory, confirming and establishing there the legal status and authority of the Bishop. The Letters Patent erecting the Diocese of Jamaica explicitly defer to some such act or acts that should be passed in the legislatures of the proposed Diocese, namely those of Jamaica, the Bahama Islands and the Settlements in the Bay of Honduras. The Letters Patent provide that

...nothing herein contained shall extend or enure to derogate from or interfere with the force and effect of any act or acts relating to Ecclesiastical Regimen or to any matter or thing hereby regulated which shall have been passed by the Governor Council and Assembly of any or either of the above islands and Settlements [i.e. Jamaica, the Bahama Islands and the Settlements in the Bay of Honduras] respectively and have received the Royal Confirmation so long as the said act or acts shall continue unrepealed or in force ...5.5

In Jamaica these acts were the "Clergy Acts".5.6 The Letters Patent, then, show what the Crown intended, but the local legislation is the test of whether that intention had been achieved. However, the fact that the legislation of Jamaica, including the Clergy Acts, did not take effect in the Cayman Islands meant that these Letters Patent also could not legally extend to them; but this was not understood, at least at first, by the principals involved, who also, apparently, assumed that the Caymanas fell within the category of "their respective dependencies" in the Letters Patent, the possibility of which was foreclosed, as we have seen, by the Jamaican Legislature in 1835.

The 1825 letter from the office of Bishop Lipscomb reads as follows:-

To the Governor
of the Caymans Spa. Town Jamaica
Nov. 25th 1825

The Bishop of Jamaica presents his compliments to the Governor of the Caymans and begs to introduce to him the Rev. Percival Burton. As soon as the Bishop shall have received the necessary information from Mr. Burton he will take the earliest opportunity of placing that part of his diocese as an ecclesiastical establishment as circumstances will permit. It will be necessary for the Bishop to know what provision will be made for the clergymen of the established Church and also what accommodation in Church room is afforded the inhabitants. Mr. Burton has the licence of the Bishop of Jamaica to officiate generally in the Caymanes.5.7

Some significant points can be immediately drawn from this letter:

(1) The newly appointed English Bishop adverted to the Caymans as part of his diocesan territory. The visiting clergyman had the "licence of the Bishop of Jamaica" to officiate generally in the Caymanes, and the authority to send clergymen to reside and minister there was assumed.
(2) The Bishop was intending to "place" it "as an ecclesiastical establishment".
(3) The Bishop begins his letter with a briefly deferential approach to the "Governor of the Caymans", the local "Governor" at this time, James Coe the Elder.5.8
(4) The Bishop expected that the stipend and accommodation of the clergymen to be sent as well as the provision of places of worship of sufficient size would be provided from Caymanian resources. It would also have to be guaranteed in advance.

By this letter the Bishop appears to have tried to bring to a quick resolution the problem of how the Caymanes was to obtain the services of a paid clergyman. Evidently it was a problem that had already been discussed; for the Bishop's letter from Jamaica was written at almost the same time as was a communication in a much lower key to Jamaica from or on behalf of the Caymanas "Governor", as follows:-

Grand Caymanas Novr 26th 1825

The Reverend Isaac Mann &ctr.[?]
Reverend Sir,
Robert Stephen Watler Esqre who is the bearer hereof, informed me that you expressed a desire to be informed whether it would be agreeable to the wishes of the Inhabitants of the Island to have a Curate sent down here. It is much to be wished that there was one here. But I fear the Island would not be able to support one. There are several no doubt who would willingly contribute their mites, and would, if in their power, take the burthen on themselves, But alas! the power of doing good does not always lay open to us. There might probably be a small Tax raised, but I fear quite inadequate for the purpose, and probably at first be productive of more harm than good, as it would by numbers probably be considered an oppression. However, if tried, in the end much good might result from it. I suppose the Government of Jamaica could not assist us in that point.
R.S. Watler Esqre did not give me early information being I presume hindered from unavoidable business, or I might have communicated your sentiments to several and have wrote you more fully on the Subject. I shall with satisfaction receive any communication you may wish to make further on the Subject. And in the mean time shall consult with the principal Inhabitants.
I am &c
/signed/ James Coe Junr
P.S. Is `Law's Serious call to a Devout & Holy Life' to be obtained in Jamaica? if so and Mr Watler be recommended where to apply, He will endeavour to procure it J.C.Junr 5.9

Significant points to be drawn from this letter include the following:

(1) The wishes of the inhabitants of Grand Caymanas with regard to a clergyman were expected to be considered.
(2) A "small tax" on the inhabitants of the Island was being considered as a means for the clergyman's support, and to obtain financial support from the Government of Jamaica was not thought to be a serious possibility.
(3) The writer of the letter expressed a desire in principle for a clergyman but feared the Island would not be able to support one.

The difference of perspective of the two simultaneous letters is clear. The Bishop placed the weight of his authority behind his expectations of receiving as a matter of course the very assurances which the Caymanas inhabitants felt quite unable and certainly unwilling to give. Also the Caymanians were limiting their considerations to one clergyman only. The Bishop was being gently shown the key factor in the issue, that in spite of the passage in Jamaica of the first of the Clergy Acts (the local ecclesiastical legislation to which the Letters Patent deferred) there was no legislation in effect either to provide financial support in the Caymanas from the colonial government or to compel any Caymanian authority to provide it.

It should not be forgotten that for many years the Caymanians had formed themselves into a church, albeit without the sacraments, conducting services without the benefit of clergymen. Twenty years beforehand the "Governor" had been William Bodden, who had built for the Caymanas church and community its house of public worship.5.10 From his letter, James Coe Junior (either the "Governor" of the time, James Coe the Elder, or his son) is seen to be sufficiently knowledgeable of the Church of England's devotional and literary materials to have desired a copy of William Law's "A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life". In short, the Caymanas Church recognized a general need and duty to accept an Island Curate, but the Bishop does not seem to have shown the degree of insight or knowledge of the case that would be necessary for a successful partnership with those who he believed had been legitimately assigned to his pastoral care, considering their long-accustomed independent practices.

The exchange of letters bore no immediate fruit, though the Bishop himself set foot in the Grand Caymanas in 1826 on his way from Jamaica to Belize. He was unable at the time to alter the Caymanas' condition, "where there is neither Clergyman, Lawyer or Apothecary", and is reported to have contracted there a violent fever.5.11

However, Lord Belmore (the Governor) reported to the Colonial Office that a clergyman, the Reverend Thomas Sharpe, arrived in Grand Caymanas on the 23rd December 1831 and began his spiritual labours on Christmas Day.5.12 By a remarkable coincidence this was the very same month in which historic events of a legislative nature were occurring in Caymanas, the meeting at St. James's, Pedro Point on the 5th, the election of Representatives on the 10th and the first legislative meeting beginning on the 31st. These, as we have seen, were the events that began the process of definition of the relationship of the Cayman Islands to Jamaica. In December 1831, however, both Governor and Colonial Secretary were aware only of their lack of information about the Caymanas.5.13 The Bishop between 1825 and 1831 could not have been any better informed then these were about the Caymanas' legal position.

In July 1834 the newly appointed Governor, Lord Sligo reported that he had made "the Clergyman there" (Mr. Sharpe) a Magistrate and that it was his intention to invest him with the power to act "in apprentice cases".5.14 This was before it had been clarified that the Caymanas slaves ought not to be apprentices on emancipation in August that year.5.15 A letter dated December 13th 18345.16 from Lord Sligo is one of the clearest statements drawing together the complex position of both Church and State in the unresolved relationship between Jamaica and the Caymanas.

[Stamped]"received Feb 9, 1835"
Kings House, St. Jago de la Vega
December 13th 1834
Sir I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your despatch No. 39, dated 10th October 1834, directing me to cooperate with the Bishop of Jamaica in his plan for dividing the Island of the Grand Caymanas into two livings.
Having placed myself in communication with his Lordship, we are both of opinion, that it would be useless to attempt anything of the Sort, until some enactment of the British Legislature shall have decided who is to possess the supreme authority over it. Since his Lordship visited that Island5.17, I have also been there, and finding from the Enquiries which I made what an anomalous position it was in, as to Law and Government I procured from them a copy of their Laws, and a precis of their self constituted Legislative body. These I have had the honor already to send home to you, and trust that they will induce you to bring forward such Measures as will place it under some legitimate constraint. In one of the despatches, which I have received since my arrival here, it was stated to me that the matter was under consideration. In one of Mr. Hayes' letters to the Commissioner of Correspondence he stated the same part, and added that at his suggestion, it had been decided at the Colonial Office, that no Measures should be taken on that point, until it should be ascertained what had been done by the Legislature of Jamaica.
I beg to represent to you that it would be infinitely more desireable, that any laws which should be passed on the subject, should emanate from the British Parliament, than from the Legislature of this Island. The assembly here have such strange ideas, & reason generally so unlike other persons, that situated as I am, without any official organ in that House, I could not depend upon any efficient or satisfactory Measure being passed there.
The Bishop concurring in opinion with me, we have resolved on taking no further steps until I shall hear from you on this subject, but if any Measure shall be resolved on in the British Senate, we both hope that some payment for the Clergymen, or at least for one, ought to be secured, otherwise it will not be paid. Mr. Sharpe whom the Bishop sent there & whom I have since promoted at his request to an Island Curacy in this Colony, was not paid the Entire of the miserable pittance ­£100 a year which they engaged to pay him, nor have they built as yet the second church, which they engaged to have completed long since, So as there Churches are nothing more than thatched Cabins, built on rough Stakes of forest Timber covered with Mud by way of Plaister, It is not likely that unless compelled to do so, they will pay the Clergymen. It is my intention therefore, to await your further orders before I take any step on the subject.
In conclusion I would beg to call your attention to one of their Laws I think the last of those which I have had the honor to send you. It relates to the Legal strength of Rum: I mention it, to shew how unfit they are to Legislate for themselves: I have ascertained that this law was passed at the insistence of an influential individual at a moment when no other person but himself & a Mr. Phelan had any Rum for sale in the Island. In order to make his go further, Mr. Phelan very plentifully watered his, and as what he had was lasting on consequence much longer than was expected, the other person Mr. Parsons, who had not thus increased the quantity of his store of spirits, procured the passing of this act, which enabled him to cause all Mr. Phelan's Rum to be spilt, & then Mr. Parsons sold all his at an advanced price.
I have the honor to remain
Sir
Your obedient servant,
Sligo.

Significant points from this letter include the following:

(1) The Bishop planned to divide the Grand Caymanes into two livings and to send a clergyman to each one. This plan had received the support of the Colonial Office and legal difficulties hindering the plan had not been foreseen by them.
(2) However, being aware that legal enactments such as the current Jamaican Clergy Act would have needed to apply in the Caymans in order to secure the stipends of the clergymen, the Governor persuaded the Bishop to agree with him that the existing legal position of the Caymans was so anomalous5.18 as to require to be corrected before anything of the sort was attempted.
(3) In order to correct the situation, the Colonial Office of the day felt that the first attempt should be made by the Legislature of Jamaica. In holding this opinion, they apparently ignored the conclusions of Mr. Stanley and Mr. Lefevre who had worked on the problem of the legal anomaly less than a year previously.5.19 Lord Sligo pleaded with his correspondents to attempt the passing of an appropriate Bill in the British Parliament and cited what he considered to be the wholly unsatisfactory state of the Legislature of Jamaica. Following such a bill, but not before, Lord Sligo hoped to secure by colonial legislation the payment from Caymanian sources of at least one of the proposed clergymen, as otherwise (on the basis of recent experience) they would not be paid.
(4) The Reverend Mr. Sharpe had by December 1834 been promoted to an Island Curacy in Jamaica. Local funds had not been found in the Caymans to pay him all that had been agreed, nor had the second promised church materialised. Legal enforcement was the way suggested to ensure that any clergymen such as might eventually be provided under the Bishop's plan would receive their payment. For this it would be necessary for the Caymanas to be possessed of a secure legislative environment, the absence of which had caused Mr. Sharpe to withdraw.

The Rev'd Thomas Sharpe returned only in 1837 on leave from his current post in Jamaica,5.20 perhaps mainly to act as the Bishop's emissary for the conveying of an important message from him and to see that the Bishop's plans were implemented, but in any case only for a short period. In 1836 another clergyman was sent by the Bishop to the Caymanas to be "Stipendiary Curate of the Island of Grand Caymanas", the Reverend David Wilson, Deacon. The two clergymen were never simultaneously Stipendiary Curates of the Island.

According to the transcript of the "Local Laws of Grand Cayman" that was forwarded to the Colonial Office by the Governor in 1862 in despatch CO 137/367, the Caymanas "Assembly and Magistrates" passed a resolution on the 2nd January 1834 providing that a Parsonage should be erected at the expense of the Island. For this a grant of £200 was to be provided from the Island Treasury in four instalments and was to be reimbursed by a Tax on White or free Males above 18 years old of six shillings and eightpence each per annum.

It is notable that this was not included in the list of the laws and resolutions provided to Governor Lord Sligo in the latter part of 1834. Possible reasons for its non-inclusion are not hard to find. In the first place the tax may have met with too much resistance and in the second it could well have been known that the Curate would soon be leaving. Resolutions made subsequently in February 1835 show that the planned-for Parsonage had not been built. Neither is there before January 1836 any mention (on the CO 137/367 list) of provision being made for the clergyman's salary. The situation in which the Rev'd Thomas Sharpe had found himself must have been extraordinarily difficult and confusing. Possibly in his material necessities the Governor was a lifeline to him. At some time before July 1834 the new Governor (Lord Sligo) had made him a Magistrate.5.21 This at least may have carried with it an allowance, as Lord Sligo's subsequent letter of August 12th noting the appointment of Doctor Hulme as a Magistrate shows.5.22 However, Mr. Sharpe would also have been becoming aware that his Caymanian paymasters were being considered by the Governor and the British authority in general to be functioning in a legally anomalous manner. He may well have concluded that his whole position in the Caymanas was untenable.

Meanwhile the date of Emancipation, the 1st August 1834 arrived and passed. The events of this occasion in the Caymanas may be reflected in the account given to us by S.O. Ebanks5.23, telling of happy celebrations at Bodden Town in which the Rev. Mr. Sharpe (according to the account) was an opening speaker and pronounced the closing benediction after two days. Bodden Town was the site of the earliest building originally set apart for the worship of the Caymanas Church. It seems likely that just as Jamaican slaves celebrated slavery's passing on the 1st August 1834 with thanksgiving in churches, so the most appropriate time and place for a similar Caymanas celebration would be on or about the 1st August 1834 at or around the site of the historic house of public worship.5.24 The Island Clergyman's involvement would quite reasonably be expected.

After the Rev. Thomas Sharpe's withdrawal, the Legislators met on the 4th Feb 1835, for the purpose inter alia of deciding about the Parsonage. They decided to keep the existing Parsonage reserved as such, and took on the responsibility of paying rent of £28 per annum to the proprietor Mr. Page who would keep it in repair.5.25 This raises the question of whether this was a continuation or updating of some personal arrangement made previously by Mr. Sharpe for his own accommodation. They further resolved to purchase some land, recorded as known by the name "Page's Grasspiece" for £14 for the purpose of building a Parsonage house on it, and that the building of it should start immediately.

Several meetings on, however, on the 20th June 1836 (after the new Curate had arrived), the long-planned Parsonage was still not built. R.S Watler was to be subject to the £50 penalty specified in his contract if the frame of the Parsonage was not delivered at a fair valuation, and the contract with him was considered forfeited. Samuel Parsons was appointed to erect a Parsonage at George Town (presumably on Page's Grasspiece) and four men (none of whom was the clergyman) were appointed to inspect the work.5.26 Since the Parsonage is recorded to have been damaged by the 1837 storms,5.27 it seems that the 1836 contract with Mr. Parsons was fulfilled.

Perhaps the total lack of progress on the Parsonage in 1835 is related to the fact that there was apparently no Parson. The Bodden Towners are on record at this time as coming out against supporting the Church. In May 1835 during his visit to Cayman to declare the apprentices free (his second visit to the Caymanas) the Governor made enquiries about what he heard was the Bodden Towners' concern to divide the Island into two parishes. He found that their motive for this was very different from the Bishop's.

... They say that the amount of their annual Taxation is about £200 a year, but that the blow on them which my visit has inflicted, will prevent their being able to pay so much in future, I found them very anxious to divide the Island into two parishes, and as that is a measure which has been already recommended I made some further enquiries into the subject. It was confessed that the object was to save themselves in Bodden Town, which is to the South and East, from paying any part of the debt due for building a wretched Cabin as a Church. It is not denied now, that at that part of the Island they do not wish to have a Clergyman or to incur any expense whatever for a Church, the object therefore of dividing it into two parishes appears to me to be quite nullified, and I cannot recommend it to be thought of for the present. I trust that your Lordship's attention will have been turned during the present Session to the anomalous position of these Islands, and will have passed some law to put them under the rule of some legally passed laws.

I have the honor to be
My Lord
Your Lordship's
Most Obedient
humble Servant
Sligo5.28

The Bishop of Jamaica's proposed establishment of the church in the Caymanas can be seen in hindsight to be contingent upon the regularisation of the legislative process there. As has been seen, such regularisation never occurred until 1863. Already by the end of 1834 the Bishop's original plan had failed; for the only clergyman he had succeeded in getting there had either left or was preparing to leave to take up his new post in Jamaica.

Whatever understanding Bishop Lipscomb had by this time of the implications of the anomalous position of the Caymans as to law and government for the establishment of the church there did not prevent him from searching, and one supposes, praying, for a new source of funds. It was only a few months earlier that he had consecrated the new, albeit very humble, church in George Town5.29 and he would be most anxous that the work that had been started should not be aborted. The Bishop would be prepared therefore to change his plan of action for the Caymanas if a new way forward could be found. In Jamaica at the time, during the early apprenticeship period, the church was engaging in broad new fields of service to the newly emancipated but mostly still apprenticed labourers. The need for the funding of catechists and schoolteachers as well as additional clergymen was greater than what the legislature along with grants from the British Parliament could support. With the encouragement of the Bishop these needs were being partly addressed by the two main missionary societies of the Church of England, the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel and the Church Missionary Society. The CMS seems to have organised fairly self-contained missions, but the SPG operated more specifically as a resource for missionary work that was organised by the Bishop. Such "missionary work" was being carried out throughout Jamaica and records show that the SPG's association with the Church of England in Jamaica increased considerably in the period immediately following the emancipation of the slaves.5.30 The historical records of the United Society for the Propagation of the Gospel (the present name for the SPG after it merged with another missionary society) include a "missionary roll", a list of names and brief details of service of those who were counted as SPG missionaries. It appears that these may not have been sent from England directly by the Society, but were probably or mostly clergy appointed by the Bishop whose stipends were part-funded by the Society. Significantly, the date for the first SPG missionaries in Jamaica is recorded on the roll as 1836, and of particular interest is the inclusion in this list of the name David Wilson.5.31

On the 14th January 1836 the Custos John Drayton presided at a meeting held at George Town which they called a "Court of Sessions", consisting of the Magistrates and Representatives and a "large number of the principal inhabitants of the Island". The Custos put before them a "letter from the Revd J. McIntyre purporting that the Lord Bishop of Jamaica was most anxious to send a Clergyman, and desired to know what stipend would be allowed from the Island". After a debate among about 45 voters whether the sum provided would be £70 or £50 per annum the figure of £50 was voted by a majority of two or three. A resolution was passed to this effect, the amount to be payable from the Public Treasury quarterly.5.32

The question can be asked whether, if in 1836 the Islanders felt that no more than £50 could be afforded, they had really engaged earlier to have paid the Rev'd T.C. Sharpe £100 annually, as Lord Sligo believed in 1834 that they had.5.33 Perhaps that had been an understanding at the time, or a suggestion made that was thought to have been accepted, rather than an actual engagement. Presumably the Rev'd Mr. Sharpe would not have moved to the Caymanas without the Bishop's prior assurance, yet he arrived just before the Magistrates and Representatives started to make resolutions and pass laws. The £50 voted is perfectly consistent with their failure (as the Governor saw it) to have afforded £100 for the Rev'd Mr. Sharpe.

The Bishop's approach at the beginning of 1836 to the Caymanas authorities, when compared with his 1825 approach as a freshly consecrated and appointed overseas bishop, seems to have changed, a change forged no doubt in the fires of years of difficulties and also with some personal knowledge of the Caymanas. It was less assertive and more pastoral. The idea of ecclesiastical establishment was no longer the main thought. Guaranteed provision for the clergy was no longer demanded as "necessary for the Bishop to know". In place of this, he merely conveyed that he was "most anxious" to send a clergyman and "desired to know" what stipend would be allowed from the Island. Unfortunately there is no certainty that the 1836 Caymanian record of what the Rev'd Mr. McIntyre's letter said actually quotes from the Bishop but the impression of its character is strong. By the end of 1835 the Bishop would be well aware of the failure in August 1835 of the British authority's plan to unite Caymanas to Jamaica for legislative purposes.5.34 One of the factors delaying the re-starting of the Caymanas work may have been the desire to await the successful implementation of this plan. As a result of its failure his earlier intention to have two livings legislated for the Caymanas continued to be beyond his powers and delayed indefinitely. The Establishment of an ecclesiastical organization in the Caymanas, he must then at least have suspected, was unattainable. However he could still draw upon the moral authority he possessed and use it for the continuation of the work and the pastoral care of his flock.

To cover some of the ground in Jamaica it had already proved necessary to draw on the financial support of the missionary societies. To the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel, therefore, the Bishop turned for help with the Caymanas work. It seems probable that by the beginning of 1836 the Rev'd David Wilson had been ordained a Deacon by the Bishop and assigned to serve as an SPG Missionary in Grand Caymanas.5.35 By placing the Caymanas work under the SPG missionary scheme, the Bishop had the immediate benefit of half of the Curate's stipend being secured from a source outside the Caymanas, and indeed outside his Diocesan responsibility. The evident change of tone of his approach to the Caymanas authorities is entirely consistent with the change of outlook that these circumstances would have generated. In the event, the 1836 initiative was perhaps the most successful of anything he had tried to do thus far in the Caymanas.

The Bishop's Caymanas strategy was not without risk. The SPG's special help to the Jamaica Church at this time was intended to help bridge the gaps between the state-funded Church's resources and the Church's need and desire to catechise and make disciples of the huge population of newly apprenticed labourers consequent on emancipation. It was a temporary measure, and the SPG's funds were not inexhaustible. When an Island Curacy became vacant a curate was transferred there from an SPG curacy wherever possible so as to conserve SPG funds.5.36 The SPG continued to make grants until 1865.5.37 The overall intention was for the SPG to hand back to the host church by stages the responsibilities it had adopted. The risk that the Bishop faced in using the SPG for the support of the Caymanas work was that unlike in Jamaica there was no Island Establishment to which responsibilities could be handed back when the Society's support there was no longer possible.

Recently a short report of his work in the Caymanas by the Rev'd David Wilson was found in the SPG Archive of the Rhodes House Library, Oxford, England. The form of David Wilson's report is similar to those of other SPG missionaries. Evidently David Wilson had supplied his report to the Society either directly or through the office of the Bishop. It reads as follows:-

The Report of the Rev'd David Wilson Stipendiary Curate of the Island of Grand Caymanas from the 9th of June 1836 to the 9th June 1837


Until the Month of November last I had confined myself to the discharge of my duties in the church of George Town, but since that period, I performed full Services, with a Sermon, morning and Evening, every alternate Sunday at a place called Prospect
My Congregation at George Town 280
Ditto Prospect 200
At each place there is a Sunday School the attendants at which I instruct. - The average attendance about 30. At the Day School, which I employ a Young Man to keep, there are 20 Scholars
I also occasionally preach at Bodden Town and the Spotts during the Week. Indisposition prevented my performing the Evening Service, three Sundays, during the time I was in the Caymanas
Number of Baptisms - 38
Ditto Marriages - 11
Ditto Burials - 9
[signed]David Wilson
Stipendiary Curate5.38


The report, though short, is immensely informative and is up to now the first discovery of complete historical trustworthiness of the actual words or writings of either of the Island Clergymen. From it can be learned many significant points, including the following:-

(1) There was indeed a Rev'd Mr. Wilson who served in the Caymanas whose Christian name, however, was David (not Charles as has been surmised5.39). This is discoverable not only from this document and other SPG records recently uncovered, but also from a long report made around the same time by a Wesleyan, James Atkins, to a Rev John Buckam of a Missionary Committee of his Church in London, encouraging them to sponsor missionary work in the Grand Caymanas.5.40

(2) The Rev'd David Wilson reports from the 9th June 1836. It may reasonably be assumed that this date marked the beginning of his work in Grand Caymanas. This timing is reasonably consistent with the local debate and decision about the stipend in January that year. Further correspondence may have been necessary between the Bishop and Cayman before the clergyman was actually sent, and passages to Caymanas from Jamaica were not frequent at the time.

(3) The Rev'd David Wilson is unambiguously stated to have been the "Stipendiary Curate of the Island of Grand Caymanas from the 9th of June 1836 to the 9th June 1837". He was in charge of the pastoral ministry of the Island.

(4) David Wilson's regular ministry included George Town, Prospect, Spotts and Bodden Town. This was clearly an Island ministry. He would not have preached in weekdays in Bodden Town if someone else had been preaching there on Sundays. It is true that not all of the Island was covered in this report (e.g. West Bay and East End). If the Island had at the time been divided into two livings, one would have been the western section, with its centre at George Town, and the other would have been the rest centred probably at Bodden Town. David Wilson's ministry extended all the way from George Town to Bodden Town including them both. This again indicates that he was the only Curate at the time.

It is notable also that David Wilson's second regular congregation was not in Bodden Town but in Prospect; and this raises the question whether the second of the two Churches referred to in the 1837/38 Memorial5.41 as having been erected, was not in fact in Prospect, rather than Bodden Town5.42 (whose chief voices in 1835 had sounded against supporting the Church). The success of this second church project would have certainly formed "a strong contrast" to the previous lack of progress in Bodden Town.5.43

(5) The Sacrament of Holy Communion is not referred to. The regular services held were no doubt the Church of England's Morning Prayer and Evening Prayer, and he delivered Sermons with both. He baptised, married and buried. He taught the Sunday Schools at George Town and Prospect. He certainly seems to have ministered as comprehensively as he could, allowing that he was not a Priest at the time, but a Deacon. The fact of his being a Deacon is learned specifically from James Atkins' report, and his own report of his work is fully consistent with the fact.

(6) He also employed a "Young Man" to keep a private Day School, with 20 scholars. He does not claim to have initiated the school, which since he called it "the Day School" was probably in George Town rather than being the same school as the one to which the Bishop himself had appointed Mr. T.S. Watler as schoolmaster in 1834. In any case this may be the first reliable record that we have of a functioning school in the Caymanas, and the work of the Rev'd David Wilson must have continued to blaze the trail for all later educational initiatives.5.44

The evidence to hand, admittedly only a short report made by the Curate himself, conveys the distinct impression of a successful ministry in the short period of one year. According to James Atkins, Wilson then returned to Jamaica "for ordination", clearly to the Order of Priest.

Whatever had been the circumstances of the 1835 hiatus in the work of the Church of England in Caymanas, and even after nearly a year's work by Deacon David Wilson, in 1837 an adverse judgement on the Church's total ministry up to that time was delivered by the Wesleyan observer James Atkins. From the Church of England perspective first, what might have been the causes of weakness? These evidently included the following:-

(1) The Lord's Supper, the central act of worship of the whole Church throughout the world, may never have been held in Caymanas except when the Bishop visited (and there is no actual record of it even then). David Wilson was made the Stipendiary Curate even though he was still a Deacon and therefore unable to have conducted Holy Communion. It has been suggested that the Rev'd Thomas Sharpe also was only a Deacon.5.45 In that case the devotional heart of the Church's ministry would all the time have been entirely missing. It is also possible that Sharpe was priested after part of his ministry in the Caymanas, and that he then held Holy Communion infrequently by today's standards.

(2) Thomas Sharpe may have felt the need to spend much of his energy in shoring up his difficult and poorly supported position for as long as it seemed possible to him to do so, and then when he realised his position was untenable, in planning for his removal to a living in Jamaica. He has been regarded by other writers5.46 as energetic and effective, but it seems that this might be at least partly due to a misunderstanding of one historical document, to be considered below.

(3) The legal and financial support for establishing the Church in the Caymanas, on which for several years up to the summer of 1835 the Bishop had hoped to draw, was illusory.

(4) The prolonged absence of any clergyman in 1835 and the first five months of 1836 is likely to have affected very seriously the continuity of the Church's ministry.

(5) There is little or no evidence of the qualities of spiritual depth, scriptural exposition and scholarship which are the particular hallmarks of the most authentic Anglican ministerial style.

(6) Mr. Wilson's instruction of the Sunday Schools and perhaps his participation in his Day School programme may well have been effective, but they were too short-lived to have secured the teaching ministry of the Church in the minds and hearts of the Caymanas inhabitants.

(7) Underlying many of these causes of weakness was the current mode of establishment of the Church of England which, as we have seen, provided the general means of support for the church from the public purse wherever she existed. Many are those who decry that mode of establishment, and indeed it had certain serious disadvantages for a church's health. However, to put those disadvantages into perspective it is necessary first to observe that the structure of establishment began as a result of successful evangelisation. When a country or, indeed in the early Christian centuries an Empire, such as the Roman Empire, was evangelised successfully to the point of adopting the Christian Faith in the place of its existing religion, it meant not only that individuals were converted but that its whole legal and social structure was changed to accommodate the new allegiance. It was natural that support for the holders of office in the new imperial or national religion became legally entrenched in the structures of the Christianised state.

The disadvantages of such a condition begin to outweigh the evident advantages when instead of the church continuing to have a converting and sanctifying effect on the surrounding culture, the human fallenness endemic to the culture becomes strong enough to distort the humanly frail church with its own concepts. The means of support offered by the culture then increasingly become a means of temptation to divert the church from her mission in favour of upholding the support on the culture's own terms.

In the nineteenth century, concepts of "promotion" and the "worth" of an office measured by financial criteria were strong within the church, just as they were within the professions. After somewhat less than three years in the Caymanas, Thomas Sharpe was "promoted" to an Island Curacy in Jamaica, for which he was assured of a government stipend. In the 1830's there were distinct grades of position for a clergyman. He might be a curate paid by the SPG (like David Wilson) or by some other source, e.g. his Rector, or he might be promoted to an Island Curacy (like Sharpe after he returned to Jamaica), or he might be a Rector. These all received very different stipends.5.47 For a clergyman of the Jamaica Church to have wanted to stay in the Caymanas with small and uncertain government support and no apparent prospects for "advancement" he would have needed to break free of the cultural mindset that largely controlled the church he represented. It is no discredit to the memory of these first men in Holy Orders to have lived in and served the Caymanas, and to have done creditably, to observe also that they were men of their time.

Significant observations of James Atkins, the Wesleyan observer, who seems to have arrived on or about the 19th May 1837, include the following:-

"The individuals who took me on shore had been born in slavery in the Caymanas, and I found nothing pleased them so much as to speak of Lord Sligo, who in 1834 in consequence of their non-registration made them all free."

"They were in the state of the greatest ignorance, `without God or hope in the world'."

"Almost the first person I met was Mr. David Wilson, a Gentleman in deacon's orders, and who was just about to return to Jamaica for ordination. Without any introduction or enquiries, he offered me his hand, and although the "Elizabeth" a small schooner was under weigh, in which he had engaged his passage, he invited me to his house and returned with me. On our way, we passed the Church, which I should not have recognized as a place of worship, although surrounded by a number of graves, had he not pointed it out. I felt anxious to see the interior, but had hardly time to mention it, before I was invited in. The building is 42 ft by 24 ft and eleven in the elevation, and like all the houses, or native huts on the island, is composed of the ruffest materials. A few posts are driven a short distance into the ground without any thing more in the shape of a foundation, it is further wattled, and plastered, on the outside, and the roof thatched in with leaves from the Palmeto tree. The benches, desk, pulpit and communion table are made of Cedar, but in a very rude manner. There is no window and the doors are destitute of any kind of fastening, but immense wood hinges, which move with a horrid creaking, and give an opening of about a foot on the opposite side."

"After I had taken a little refreshment [evidently at the Parsonage] I went out to visit Mr. Drayton the Custos and a few other influential persons in the neighbourhood of George Town to whom I had letters of introduction. They received me with the greatest kindness and afforded me every facility in their power for the prosecution of my mission.
The largest and most convenient place in town was offered me to preach in, which of course, I gladly accepted, and agreed in accordance with their requests to hold divine service on the sabbath morning about half past ten o'clock, of which due notice was given by the Magistrates."

"I was received with the greatest possible kindness and not a little amused with a notion which prevailed generally among the black population, and which I heard of in every place. On my arrival on the island I found they had been eleven months without rain, in consequence of which their plantations had failed, and their grass pieces had accidentally ignited, it was supposed from the scorching heat of the sun, and these continuing to burn for the space of many days had levelled trees with the ground and spread blackness over a piece of land, perhaps the best cultivated on the island, not less than twelve or fourteen miles in circumference. These and other circumstances which I have not now time to mention had occasioned a partial dearth in the island. Acquainted with these things I made mention of them to God in my prayers both before and after the sermon. Providentially about one o'clock on the Monday morning a heavy storm set in which continued untill near midday with such violence that the main road was buried above a foot under water. All this they attributed to my prayer without book as they were pleased to term it. Praying and preaching without book was to all a matter of very great astonishment as they had never seen any thing of the kind before. Even the white people regarded this, and spoke to me about it as something quite supernatural."

"Tuesday, May 22nd was a high day in Bodden Town. On account of my arrival and intention to preach, every body left their work put on their best clothes and kept it as a sabbath day. A large building in the centre of the town 48 ft by 30 was the place where I was requested to preach by the Magistrates as no other place could be found large enough. ... Assisted by Mr. Glover, their Chief Magistrate, I gave out a number of Testaments &c to the black and coloured people, who engaged to make good use of them. On retiring from the place many questions were proposed to me by different members of the congregation who appeared anxious to understand the scriptures."

"Again on Thursday evening I met the people at George Town and after a short address delivered the remainder of the Testaments &c. Many persons who happened to have been at sea during my visit to Bodden Town had walked across the island, for the purpose of seeing me and obtaining if possible a book, which I gave them with great pleasure, especially as I found them in every place destitute of the scriptures, of other books, and of every means of instruction, so that they may well say No man cares for our souls."

"There are upwards of two thousand souls, scattered over an island above thirty miles in length and absolutely perishing for lack of knowledge, for although they are favoured in George Town with a small church and the residence of a catechist or curate for a few months in the year, yet they cannot be said to have any regular means of instruction. The people generally are living without God or hope in the world, and this is especially the case with the negroes who amount in number to two thirds of the population."

"I visited no place but the people strongly entreated me to use my best influence with the Committee to send a Missionary among them. What they especially need is a Missionary who understands and is willing to undertake the duties of a school master, for they have no school on the island, and the children are growing up without a knowledge of letters or of God. To this evil the Parents are now broad awake and would make any sacrifice to get a school amongst them."5.48

5½ years of oversight of the Caymanas Church by the Church of England in Jamaica had unhappily left such serious deficiencies that the Wesleyan had no difficulty whatever in spreading the conviction from the highest to the lowest that there
was the paramount need for an alternative ministry, one that would, indeed, be supplied by Wesleyans if their Missionary Committee could be persuaded to sponsor the commencement of the work.

From the Wesleyan perspective the deficiencies were the lack of instruction in the scriptures, the lack of education of the most basic sort, and the lack of continuity or regularity in the current form of Christian ministry as well as a lack of depth or fervour. Particularly noticeable was the enthusiasm of the Bodden Towners for this new ministry, which unlike that of the Church of England seems to have been presented to them on the wings of gifts rather than as a burden of obligation. Perhaps the Rev'd David Wilson himself had much to tell the Bishop on some of these subjects when he returned to Jamaica for ordination to the Priesthood. If the period of this part of his ministry in Grand Caymanas is correctly shown in his report as continuing until the 9th June 1837 he would have had time to assess the effect of the Wesleyan's visit. As we have seen the Bishop had already taken a leaf out of Atkins' book by appealing to the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel (SPG), one of the main Missionary Societies of the Established Church of England, and the Stipendiary Curate of the Caymanas himself was at the time an SPG missionary.

Hirst states that when Mr. Sharpe returned to Jamaica, he became sucessively curate at Marley in St. James, in Darliston and in St. Andrew, where he died in 1845. As we have seen, Mr. Sharpe left the Caymanas in late 1834 or early 1835 to take up the Island Curacy in Jamaica to which he had been promoted, and not in 1839 as Hirst states.5.49 Fortunately, although Thomas Sharpe was never apparently an SPG missionary, there is, as it happens, a reference to Sharpe in the 1838 SPG annual report, which includes a full reprint of the report for the year ending 31st December 1837 of the Rector of Westmoreland, Jamaica. To quote the USPG Archivist, "He [the Rector of Westmoreland] lists all the chapels in the parish and the clergymen there and under St John's Chapel, in the Darleston (sic) District (page 112) he notes `the Revd. D. Wilson officiating for the Revd. T. Sharpe, head curate on leave at the Caymanas'.5.50

Sometime after Wilson returned to Jamaica in 1837 for ordination to the Priesthood, Thomas Sharpe returned to the Caymanas for a short period. The SPG information above provides independent evidence that at the time Sharpe was not the curate for the Caymanas, because he was the head curate in charge of St. John's, Darleston. For the remainder of 1837, at least, David Wilson stayed in Jamaica and took Sharpe's place at St. John's while Sharpe was "on leave" at the Caymanas. Sharpe left the Caymanas again in 1838 and David Wilson returned to his post, but not for long.

The forces of nature played their part in the unfolding course of events. In September and October 1837 two devastating hurricanes blew down the George Town church and damaged the other, and damaged also the Parsonage along with some one hundred other dwellings. With Mr. Sharpe present a Special Vestry convened at George Town on the 29th December 1837. Although two other resolutions were moved and passed at this meeting, it is clear that it was assembled specifically to hear a letter from the Bishop read by the Rev'd T.C. Sharpe and to pass five consequential resolutions moved by Mr. Sharpe.5.51 The record of this meeting has given rise to considerable misunderstandings about the role of Mr. Sharpe at this time and has been taken to prove his great energy and effectiveness as a clergyman, an educator and as a magistrate. These misunderstandings are corrected when it is understood that he was neither the regular Island Clergyman at this time nor a magistrate. His magistracy had been served only for part of 1834 when he was commissioned as such by Lord Sligo, and there is no evidence to show that his magistracy had provided then any particular benefits for the community.

In the December 1837 meeting he is listed with the others as "Present" and in a rough application of normal rules of precedence at the time is shown with the honour due to his clerical office second to the Custos, the Hon. John Drayton. He is not listed as one of the Magistrates, who are grouped separately. He is the only person present other than the Custos, the Magistrates and the Vestrymen, and he alone is listed without a position, such as "magistrate" or "clergyman". There are five Magistrates (apart from the Custos who would only exercise a casting vote in the event of a tie) and twelve Vestrymen, making a total of seventeen normal voting members of the meeting. The first of the two extra resolutions at this meeting was passed 16 For and 1 Against, thus excluding the possibility of Mr. Sharpe being a voting member. The Rev'd Mr. Sharpe was evidently invited to this Special Meeting for a special reason and was not a regular member of the legislative body. It is true that he is recorded as "moving" the various resolutions to which, no doubt, the Bishop had asked him to secure the Caymanians' agreement. Since they were all passed nem. con., the constitutional nicety that not being a regular member he should have found someone to move them who was, was apparently overlooked. Perhaps this was the first and last time in the Caymanas that Mr. Sharpe, with his Bishop's letter at his fingertips, found some effective leverage. One of the ironies of Caymanian history is that this moment of glory for the former Caymanas curate, far from advancing the cause of the establishment of the Church in Caymanas, heralded the complete loss of whatever foothold in the Island the Establishment in Jamaica appeared to have had.

According to the record of the meeting the Bishop's letter promised:-

(1) A sum of £100 sterling in aid of St. George's Church,
(2) "An offer to assist" in the erection of a School house in George Town, and
(3) "A further promise" to provide half the salary of a school master who would be certificated from the central school in Kingston.

On the strength of this letter the Vestry made the following commitments:-

(1) A pledge of £50 for the erection of the School house "forty feet by thirty at George Town which will be vested in the Lord Bishop of Jamaica and the officiating Minister of Grand Cayman for the time being";

(2) An undertaking (on the strength of the above vote of money) that when the building was completed - presumably by drawing upon the Bishop's offer to assist - the other half of the school master's salary would be provided;

(3) The School house would be erected under the superintendence of a committee that included the Rev'd T.C. Sharpe;

(4) The foregoing resolutions would apply to Bodden Town as well. £50 would be provided towards erecting the School house there, and the Magistrates and Vestrymen of that district should be the Committee for the superintendence of its erection.

The Bishop was formally thanked for a donation for the relief of hurricane sufferers and for the "liberal grant" of £100 sterling made by him towards the rebuilding of St. George's church.

The Caymanians had evidently felt they needed to take further action, however. In their 1837/38 Petition to the Commons the Custos, Magistrates and other Inhabitants lament

... two awful visitations of the Almighty on the 28th and 29th September and 25th October last when two violent Hurricanes destroyed one of their churches consecrated by the Bishop in 1834 severely injured the other5.52 reduced upwards of One hundred dwellings to the ground wrecked their vessels destroyed their fields and has brought them to a state of comparative starvation
...

That the Island of Grand Caymanas occupied by your Petitioners not having participated in any grant made by your Honorable House for the moral and religious improvement of the apprentices your Petitioners humbly submit this also to your consideration as well as the impoverished state of the Island and the deplorable condition of many of its inhabitants from the severe hurricanes of September and October.5.53

Rather intriguingly, when the Colonial Office received the Governor's despatch with this Petition, the Colonial Secretary Lord Glenelg queried the Petitioners' statement that they had not benefited from the Parliamentary grant.

With reference indeed to their statement that no part of the Parliamentary grant for Negro education has been extended to them, there appears to be some misunderstanding as in Dec. 1836 a sum of £150 was granted to the Society for the propagation of the Gospel out of the Parly vote for Negro education in aid of the erection of a School House in the Caymanas calculated to hold 110 scholars. I have to request that you will communicate with the Bishop of Jamaica on this subject, as he will be able to inform you of the measures which have been taken for the appropriation of this sum. ...5.54

The fact is that by the time the Petition was drafted the sum had not been applied to the purpose for which it was granted and evidently the knowledge of it had not reached the Caymanas. The Rev'd Mr. Wilson's school had not benefited from it, and no progress had been made since. Lord Glenelg decided therefore to encourage the Trustees of the Mico Charity to spearhead the educational work in the Caymanas.

... Since the receipt of this Memorial I have invited the attention of the Trustees of the Mico Charity to the wants of the Caymanas, and I trust that they will be enabled, with the assistance that I have offered them from the Parl. grant, to undertake the establishment of one or more schools in that quarter.5.55

To set this suggestion in its proper context it is necessary to list the several different providers of education that were running schools in separate systems in Jamaica at the time:-

1. There was the Established Church, which was providing what were called the National schools.
2. There were the Wesleyan schools.
3. There were the schools of the Scottish Missionary Society.
4. There were the Mico Charity schools.

All of these received help from the annual Parliamentary grant, which, however, the Mother Country was seeking gradually to discontinue.

By 1841 there were also to be schools supported "entirely by the contributions of the negro population".5.56


The expression "National schools" shows why the George Town school house at the time was being referred to as the National school house. The original intention was that it should be the first school of a network of schools set up in the Caymanas by the Established Church of England. But as we shall see, following Lord Glenelg's intervention it was tendered to the Superintendent in Jamaica of the Mico Charity schools, who presumably became the next providers of education (after the Rev'd David Wilson in 1836/37) in the Caymanas.

The existence of the £150 granted in Dec. 1836 still unappropriated at the end of 1837 can possibly explain at least in part the liberality (as it was described) of the Bishop towards the needs of the Caymanas during the December 1837 meeting of the Magistrates and Vestry. Thomas Sharpe apparently stayed in the Caymanas for several months, no doubt serving on the Committee to which the Special Vestry had appointed him for superintending the erection of the School house. Presumably after Sharpe had reported to the Bishop on the state of things in the Caymanas on his return to Jamaica in 1838 the Bishop received the letter of enquiry from the Governor that the Foreign Secretary had requested about the appropriation of the Parliamentary grant, and the Bishop was able to convey an encouraging picture:-

Bishop's Lodge
May 4th 1838

My dear Sir
In reply to Your letter of the 1st inst: I have the honor to acquaint You for the information of His Excellency The Governor, that a school House is nearly completed in the Grand Caymanas by aid of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel, & the Parliamentary Grant.
That the church of George Town has been rebuilt in five months since the Hurricane by further aid from the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel.-
That the same Society provides a Moiety of Stipend for the Curate & the Inhabitants only supply one fourth of his remuneration the Bishop granting one fourth from other means at his disposal.
That the same Society has engaged to provide a Moiety of Stipend for a National Schoolmaster, so soon as the School room is completed.-
And finally - that the present exertions of the Inhabitants & during the last five or six Months & the engagements they have entered into with a view to the religious Instruction of the population are gratifying to me & will if fulfilled form a strong contrast to the procrastination previously evinced in building the additional church of Bodden Town. -
I remain
&c &c &c

signed C. Jamaica

Fine copy
(signed) C.H. Durling5.57

The following points should be noted from the Bishop's letter to the Governor:-

(1) The sources of finance upon which he was drawing, the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel (S.P.G.), and the Parliamentary Grant, are freely acknowledged (while to the Caymanians he was merely presented as being "liberal").

(2) By the S.P.G.'s aid, St. George's Church was rebuilt in five months after the hurricanes. This shows that the fact that the church had blown down provides no credible cause for the impending collapse of the Church's oversight.

(3) Unhappily the School house was still not completed. The Bishop used that fact in his letter to the Governor to show why the S.P.G.'s provision of half of the schoolmaster's salary was a future projection, not currently in effect. But it seems clear that from the Caymanians' point of view the Bishop was holding back on his offer to assist with the School house. Moreover, according to the Colonial Secretary, it was the erection of a School house in the Caymanas to hold 110 scholars that was the purpose in the first place of the vote of money to the S.P.G. from the Parliamentary Grant. It is puzzling how the Bishop stated to the Governor that by the aid of these funds the school house was nearly complete, while the Caymanas record shows rather clearly that this grant had not been received. It seems that a lack of straightforwardness to the Caymanians about the funds made available for the Caymanas, and in particular the disheartening obstacles that the clergy seemed to be allowing to frustrate the desire for education (fuelled partly by the visit of the Wesleyan missionary), bore a disastrous price for the Church. The Caymanians were beginning to distrust the officers of the Church and consequently to be drawn further towards other solutions that were beginning to appear both for religious practice and for education.

Ten months after the Bishop's "offer to assist" in the erection of the School House in George Town had been conveyed to the Magistrates by Mr. Sharpe it still seemed to the Caymanians that the Bishop had not made available to them what was expected of him. A Vestry meeting took place on the 10th October 1838 in which the following significant matters are recorded.

(1) "The present Vestry having been convened by order of the Hon. John Drayton Custos, at a late hour in the day his honour came forward and said that from age and debility he was no longer capable of attending public business, and made the following appointment. `I hereby nominate and appoint James Coe Junr. Esqr. the Senior Magistrate of this Island, to preside over the Vestry convened here this day'. The Business of the Vestry then went on ..."

(2) "Resolved That whereas the present state of the National School House in George Town requiring that it be immediately thatched, to keep the frame from the exposure of the weather, that a sum from the Island Treasury be at once appropriated for the purpose, which sum shall be replaced on the receipt of the grant from the Lord Bishop of Jamaica and that the work required be contracted for and carried on immediately under the Superintendence of the Committee appointed at a former Vestry - the Revd Mr. Wilson appointed in the room of the Revd Mr. Sharpe left the Island."5.58

The Resolution for the School House shows either that up to then it had never been completed or that it had suffered some disrepair. The former seems the more likely, as "the grant from the Bishop of Jamaica" had still not been received. But to secure the building the remaining work had to go ahead. The record provides evidence also that Mr. Sharpe had left before October 1838, and that David Wilson (priested in 1837) had returned.

The standing of the Church of England in Caymanas was in steep decline. At the Vestry held on the 11th and 12th January 1839 it was resolved "That whenever the Clergyman of this Island thinks proper to leave, that his Salary from the Island ceases during his absence." The record of the Vestry of the 23rd August 1839 conclusively shows that the responsibility for pioneering the educational work in the Caymanas had passed from the Church of England. The significant matters dealt with at the meeting include the following.

-The Bishop of Jamaica had sent a letter saying he could not send a Teacher from the National School Establishment as the authorities of Cayman had declined paying a moiety of his salary.

-The George Town new school house was completed.

-A letter from Mr. Walbridge, General Superintendent of Schools under the Mico Charity in the District of Jamaica proposed the establishment of an efficient school at George Town.

-The decision was made to tender the school house to this Superintendent for educational purposes; he could hold it rent free from 1 Jan 1840 to 1 Jan 1843.

-Wesleyan Missionary the Revd. M.B. Bird could use the G.T. school house for preaching the Gospel, when available.

-Mr. Walbridge was not to be remitted rent paid by the Mico charity for the school room building at Bodden Town.

-The 14th March 1838 despatch from Lord Glenelg to the Governor of Jamaica No. 244 was cited - £150 was "vested in the hands of the Lord Bishop of Jamaica" by Her Majesty's Government for erecting a School House at Grand Cayman.

-It was proposed that the still-awaited money go towards a School House at Prospect "& supplying it with an efficient & permanent Teacher" - but they would not agree to meet the Moiety (provide one half) of the Salary of the said Teacher.

Predisposed to be friendly to the Wesleyans in any case the Rev'd David Wilson had probably already left, never to return. With his personal involvement in the earlier pioneering efforts in education he may have felt at least as keenly dismayed and frustrated by the School House matter as did the Caymanians, and humiliated as well. It was the ignominious end of the Bishop's original dream for an establishment consisting of two livings at George Town and Bodden Town. The Bishop would surely have spurned the suggestion from the Caymanas Vestry that he should supply the long-awaited grant for a school house at Prospect sandwiched between two alien "establishments" at George Town and Bodden Town.

The closure of the Caymanas ministry would not have been determined by the particular circumstances of the Reverend David Wilson or his feelings about them, so much as by a policy determination by the Bishop. That policy was now the reverse of his original policy fourteen years earlier. As a new bishop, he had supposed that the same power existed to provide for the establishment of the Church in the Caymanas as operated in Jamaica. By the end of 1835 it was clear to him that there was no such power for the Caymanas. From then on the ministry at the Caymanas was funded by the SPG missionary society providing half the stipend, and by a provision of a quarter of the stipend from funds at the Bishop's disposal, and of a quarter, by agreement, from the Caymanas treasury. The Bishop was well aware that the support of the SPG would not continue indefinitely, but he had no means of replacing it. It is possible that the January 1839 resolution by the Justices and Vestry (p. 81 above), in spite of its making good sense to them, was the last straw to him. The Bishop would have been put into an embarrassing position if the Caymanas authorities truly took it upon themselves to determine whether or not to pay their portion of the stipend as and when they judged fit. It made it crystal clear that neither he nor any part of the Jamaican Establishment had control over them, and it was equally clear that there was no prospect of any ministry provided by him for the Caymanas being securely supported.

A resolution at the Vestry in April 18405.59 forms a sad postscript.

Resolved - That a Committee be addressed to the Lord Bishop of Jamaica, requesting advice how the Church at George Town may be occupied, or whether the building be suffered to go to decay, and that Messrs S. Parsons, Eden and Glover be a Committee, to address his Lordship.

The Rev'd David Wilson continued as an SPG missionary, returning to Jamaica to serve there for some time. He is listed in the SPG Annual Reports for 1840 to 1843 as serving in Westmoreland.5.60 No record of him after that was retained by the SPG and in the ordinary course of events he may have been promoted to an Island Curacy.

The coming to nought of the Bishop of Jamaica's 14-year long effort for the Caymanas was one more effect of the same condition that had characterised the whole history of the Grand Caymanas and continued to do so for at least another quarter-century: its anomalous condition with regard to law and government. Ironically, the Wesleyan initiative that had supplanted the work of the Church of England and made bid to take over the Caymanas Church, after a promising beginning, quickly failed. Soon after this a subsequent Church of England Bishop of Jamaica ceded the use of the George Town church (or what was left of it) and parsonage to the Church of Scotland, whose work was begun and carried out by a succession of dedicated missionaries. The attempt by the Diocese of Jamaica to include the Caymanas had failed.