Correspondence and accounts of Thomas Pyne

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

Papers, 1835-c1975, of and relating to the Rev Thomas Pyne, comprising correspondence and accounts, 1839-1845 and undated, documenting Pyne's guardianship of (John) Ossoo Ansah and (William) Quanti Massah in England (1840), associated expenses, and aspects of their trip including invitations to dinner, entrance permits to London Zoo and to George Heriot's Hospital [School], Edinburgh, undated plan of a breakwater, Falmouth(?), undated print of Brighton Pavilion and other ephemera relating to places visited, photographs of paintings of the princes, and various visiting cards; other correspondence and papers of Pyne, 1835-1873 and undated, including printed Thanksgiving sermon preached at St Peter's Church, New York, including anti-slavery sentiments, 1835, pamphlets by Pyne on peace, 1844 and undated, and astronomy, 1852, a letter from L'Institut d'Afrique to Pyne concerning honorary membership, 1843, miscellaneous pamphlets relating to African affairs, and a photograph of Pyne, 1870; correspondence, notes, transcripts from original documents, and other papers, 1950-1953, c1975 and undated, concerning Pyne and his papers, and the two princes, including their portraits.

Administrative / Biographical History

Born in London, 1801; son of a leather merchant; studied at St John's College, Cambridge; BA, 1824; MA, 1832; ordained in the Anglican church; the family emigrated to America, 1833; appointed Rector of St Peter's, New York, and Librarian of the General Theological Seminary of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States; was dismissed after preaching a Thanksgiving sermon advocating emancipation of slaves, 1835; returned to London and became curate of Tooting (Surrey); given responsibility for the guardianship of two princes from the Gold Coast, (John) Ossoo Ansah (c1822-1884), son of the reigning king of Ashanti, and his cousin (William) Quanti Massah (Nkwantamisa) (d 1859), 1840; the princes had been sent as hostages under a peace treaty of 1831 between the Ashantis and the British government and it was felt that they would benefit from a trip to England, including her manufacturing towns; Pyne was subsequently perpetual curate of St Paul, Hook, near Kingston-upon-Thames, Surrey, 1843-1873; married Elizabeth (d 1911), daughter of Thomas Waters, 1860; believed in the power of hypnosis, advocated teetotalism, and opposed capital punishment; died, 1873. Publications included: translation of Pagan Rome (1839); Vital Magnetism: a remedy (1844); Judaea libera; or, the Eligibility of the Jews ... to Parliaments (1850); The Law of Kindness (1850); The Sabbath: its origin and perpetuity vindicated, from the Old and New Testaments [1850?]; A Glance at the Heavens, or, Sketch of Modern Astronomy (1852); A Memoir of the Rev R F Walker [1855]; translation of César Henri Abraham Malan's Traits of Romanism in Switzerland [1859?]. For further information see Maboth Moseley, 'The Ashanti Hostages in Britain', West Africa, 1 Nov 1952, p 1013.

Conditions Governing Access

Open

Acquisition Information

Presented to SOAS by the Methodist Church Overseas Division in 1996.

Other Finding Aids

Unpublished draft handlist

Custodial History

The records passed from Thomas Pyne's daughters to the Rev T A Beetham of the Methodist Missionary Society in the 1950s.

Related Material

Further information on the princes appears in War and Colonial Department correspondence relating to Sierra Leone and the Gold Coast at the Public Record Office (Ref: CO 267).