ARRIVAL of Rev. J. T. Jones at Bangkok. Character of the Siamese. Arrival of Mr. Dean. His Labors among the Chinese at Bangkok. A Chinese Church. Arrival of other Missionaries. Progress of Chinese Department. Death of Mr. Reed and Mrs. Jones. Printing the Scriptures in Siamese. Arrival of Messrs. Slafter and Goddard. Death of Mr. Slafter. Progress of each Department of the Mission. Temporary Station at Macao. Chinese War. Its Results. Removal of Missionaries to Hongkong. Death of Mrs. Dean. Station at Ningpo. Treaty between China and the United States. Its Results. Death of Mrs. Shuck. Prospects of the Station at Hongkong. Condition of the Mission at Bangkok. Translations of the Bible in China. Labors of Messrs. Dean and Goddard. Present Attitude of these Missions.
THE Mission of the American Baptists in Siam is designed in part for the Siamese, and in part for the Chinese, who are found there in great numbers, and until within a few years have been wholly inaccessible in their own country. It was commenced in March, 1833, by Rev. J. T. Jones, formerly of Kangoon, who with Mrs. Jones at that time established his residence at Bangkok, the capital of the kingdom. The city had already been visited at different times by Rev. Mr. Gutzlaff of the Basle Missionary Society, Rev. Mr. Abeel of the American Board, and more recently by Rev. Mr. Toumlin of the London Missionary Society. These gentlemen however had all gone to other fields of labor; and the latter on his departure had written to the Baptist Missionaries in Burmah, urging them to send some of their number to Siam. In was in these circumstances, and by the appointment of his brethren at Maulmain, that Mr. Jones went to Bangkok for the purpose of commencing a mission there.
The city stands upon the river Meinam, the chief river of Siam, about twenty-five miles from the sea. It is built in part upon an island in the middle of the river, and in part upon either bank, along which it extends for several miles. Its appearance, to one approaching it from the sea, is far from imposing, though it is said to contain many magnilicent buildings, and to be distinguished for its profuse display of oriental wealth and splendor. The population has been variously estimated; by some it has been put as low as 40,000, while by others it has been reckoned at upwards of 400,000. Mr. Malcom, who was at considerable pains to form a correct estimate, makes the number of inhabitants in the city and its immediate suburbs, about 100,000, of whom not more than 3,000 or 4,000 live within the walls. They are made up of many different races, and present a motley variety of costume, manners, language and modes of life. The Chinese are the most numerous, and number not less than 60,000. Of the remainder 30,000 are Siamese, and 10,000 are of other races, such as Cochin Chinese, Peguans, Malays and Portuguese.
The religion of Siam, as of Burmah, is Buddhism, though in Bangkok it is not a little modified by the variety of forms in which it is professed by the different races composing the population. The Siamese are a grade lower in civilization than the Burmans. They are less active and intelligent, and are equally addicted to the vices of half civilized life. In personal appearance they are said to be among the least attractive of the Asiatic races, but they are by no means among the most degraded. Though mean, slothful, crafty and rapacious, they are described as possessing qualities which indicate that they are not wanting in capacity for civilization. Their language is exceedingly simple, and is far more easily acquired than the Burman, though it contains but little literature, and the number of Siamese who can read is said to be unusually small.
On arriving at Bangkok in 1833, Mr. Jones was courteously received by several of the officers of the court to whom he became known, and was soon able, without opposition or molestation, to commence the labors of the mission. His house became
a place of frequent resort for a large circle of persons, Chinese, Burmans and Peguans, who came to converse with him concerning the doctrines which he taught. He found the Chinese part of the population by far the most accessible and inquisitive; but as he was unacquainted with their language he was able to reach only those who could speak the Burman or the Peguan tongue. The four earliest converts were Chinese. Two of them had formerly been instructed by Messrs. Gutzlaff and Abeel, and seemed to have been converted by their instrumentality. They were all baptized by Mr. Jones on the 8th of December, 1833; and one of them, named Chek Bunti, was immediately appointed an assistant in the mission, to take charge of a school for Chinese boys, and also to conduct worship in Chinese on the Sabbath.
Mr. Jones soon acquired such familiarity with the language as to feel justified in commencing the translation of the Scriptures. The Gospel of Matthew was completed in 1835, and a catechism of the New Testament was also gotten ready for the press. He accordingly repaired to Singapore in order to have them printed at the press of the mission of the American Board, which was established there. A large edition of each of these works was speedily printed, and in the following June he returned to Siam, furnished with additional means of carrying forward the labors of his mission.
The mission at Bangkok had been commenced without waiting to obtain the sanction of the Board of Managers; they however immediately gave it their full approbation. A treaty of amity and commerce had recently been concluded between the government of the United States and the King of Siam, and the attention of the Board had already been directed to that country as furnishing, on account of its intimate relations with China, a suitable field for missionary operations among the Chinese. On learning that Mr. Jones had gone to Bangkok, they immediately determined to carry out their design and to send additional missionaries to the station. In this manner Bangkok became the seat of missionary labors both for the Siamese and for the
Chinese, great numbers of whom reside in Siam or are constantly drawn thither in the intercourse of trade. In pursuance of this design, Rev. William Dean and his wife sailed from the United States in September, 1834, and arrived at Singapore in February, 1835, during the visit of Mr. Jones at that port. They determined to remain at Singapore, engaged in studying the Chinese language, until the printing of the Gospel of Matthew should be completed; but during the interval Mrs. Dean was suddenly summoned away by death, only a few weeks after their arrival. Mr. Dean accompanied Mr. Jones to Bangkok in the following June, and entered immediately upon his labors as a missionary to the Chinese. In December, three other Chinamen were baptized and added to the little band of disciples. Indeed the Chinese inhabitants of Siam soon began to evince a greater interest in the teachings of the missionaries than the native Siamese, and even to the present day nearly all the spiritual fruits of the mission at Bangkok have been among them.
So strong however is the appetite for opium among these people, and so ruinous are the effects of its use, that the missionaries early found it necessary to adopt special precautions in order to fortify the converts against its seductive influence. They were formed into an association, in which they pledged themselves to each other to abstain from the use of the intoxicating and enervating drug. But in spite of every precaution, Chek Bunti, the assistant in the mission and one of the earliest converts, yielded to the tempation and fell away from the faith which he professed. Others also were at first corrupted by his evil example; but most of them soon returned in penitence, to confess the shame they had brought upon the cause of the new religion.
In March, 1836, Mr. Jones having completed the translation of the Acts of the Apostles, went again to Singapore to obtain fonts of types both in Siamese and Chinese, in anticipation of the arrival of a press which had been promised from America. He extended his voyage to Penang and Malacca for the benefit
of Mrs. Jones's health, and on his return to Singapore found that Rev. Messrs. Davenport, Reed, and Shuck, with their wives, had arrived during his absence, bringing with them the expected press, and the necessary materials for printing. Messrs. Davenport and Reed soon accompanied him to Bangkok, the former to be attached as preacher and printer to the Siamese, and the latter to be associated with Mr. Dean in the Chinese department of the mission, while Mr. Shuck remained at Singapore, intending soon to commence a station either at Macao or at Canton.
The mission was now fairly started at Bangkok. A commodious printing house was erected, together with a strong store made of brick, for containing the paper and other materials, and keeping them secure from dampness and from the insects that might destroy them. The press was kept constantly in operation under the direction of Mr. Davenport, printing books and tracts, both in Siamese and in Chinese. Mr. Dean occupied a floating house on the river, and was constantly engaged in labors for the Chinese population, having at his house on Sundays and other days of preaching, congregations varying from thirty to fifty persons; while Mr. Jones still devoted himself to the translation of the Scriptures into Siamese, the preparation of tracts, and to visiting the Wats, or places of worship, for the purpose of conversing with the people and preaching to them the doctrines of the gospel. He also made several excursions up the river Heinam and short distances into the interior, in order to become acquainted with the population and to distribute tracts and books which he had prepared for their instruction. Schools were also established in which the few pupils who could be induced to attend were instructed by the ladies of the mission. The parents, both among the Siamese and the Chinese, generally refused to allow their children to attend the schools of the missionaries, alleging as reasons that they did not wish them taught not to worship priests and idols, and that in case they were in need of money they might choose to sell them as slaves. Indeed a considerable portion of the scholars, who have been retained in the schools long enough to receive even the rudiments of an education,
have been such as were redeemed from slavery either by the influence or the direct purchase of the missionaries themselves.
In the summer of 1837 the mission at Bangkok was visited by Rev. Mr. Malcom, in his official tour in the East, and while he was there its several members, together with the three Chinese converts who still remained faithful, were formed into a Christian church. Three others were added soon afterwards, and the labors of the mission, particularly among the Chinese, continued to prosper until they were interrupted by changes and bereavements which filled the hearts of all its members with sorrow. The first of these was the death of Mr. Reed, which took place in August, 1837, just as he had completed his novitiate as a missionary, and was commencing the work of preaching in Chinese, for which he had been long preparing. In October of the same year Mr. Dean, having seen his fellow-laborer smitten down by his side, found his own health seriously undermined, and was obliged to make a voyage to Singapore for its recovery. While the mission was thus reduced in numbers and in strength, it pleased Heaven again to visit it with another heavy affliction in the sudden death of Mrs. Jones. She was seized by that dreadful scourge of the East, the spasmodic cholera, and died in March, 1838. She had been a missionary for nine years, and, in feeble health, amidst many disadvantages, had mastered both the Burman and the Siamese language, and performed an unusual amount of service, especially among her own sex, in the missions with which she had been connected. In addition to this she had translated into Siamese two books of the Old Testament, and prepared a dictionary of several thousand words of that language. She died happy in the consciousness that her efforts to give the gospel to the heathen had not been in vain; for she had seen many of her own sex, so neglected and degraded by the social systems of the East, raised by her instrumentality to the liberty and dignity which the gospel of Christ alone can confer.
Mr. Dean having extended his voyage from Singapore to
Macao and Canton, was married at Macao to Miss Theodosia Ann Barker, an English lady resident there, with whom he returned to Bangkok in May, 1838. Mr. Jones had for some time been engaged in revising his translations of the New Testament. He had now completed the Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke, together with the Acts of the Apostles, and was already commencing some of the Epistles, and at the same time enlarging and perfecting the dictionary which had been begun by other hands, whose labors, alas! were now closed by death. The arrangements for printing, which had proved exceedingly defective on account of the imperfection of the types, were also perfected in the summer of 1838 by the arrival of the necessary material for a type foundry, which was procured at Malacca by Mr. Jones of Mr. Dyer, a gentleman in the employ of the London Missionary Society. A second printing press was also added to the property of the mission in December, 1838. With these additional facilities the work of printing was resumed; tracts and copies of the gospel and other portions of the Scriptures were rapidly multiplied, and nearly a million of pages were also struck off for the use of the missionaries of the American Board who were stationed in Bangkok. *
In June, 1839, Rev. Messrs. Slafter and Goddard with their wives arrived at Singapore, having been appointed by the Board as a remforcement of the mission in Siam. Mr. Slafter carried with him an additional press and proceeded immediately to Bangkok, where he became associated with Mr. Jones in labors among the Siamese. His career as a missionary was brought to an early close. He speedily acquired the language, and made several excursions in different directions into the interior for the purpose of circulating books and conversing with the people; but ere he had scarcely begun the work of preaching the gospel, he fell a victim to disease, and died on the 7th of April, 1841. Mr. Goddard, who was originally designated to the Chinese
* The mission of this Board at Bangkok was commenced in 1834, before it was known to the Commissioners in the United States that Mr. Jones had gone to Siam.
department of the mission, remained at Singapore for more than a year, studying the language, and in other ways preparing himself for the labors of his post. He went to Bangkok in October, 1840, and immediately entered upon the routine of duties which there awaited him.
The operations of both branches of the mission have been frequently interrupted by changes occasioned by the ill health of the missionaries, yet they have been attended with very different measures of success. Among the Siamese, the gospel has been preached, and that too with scarcely any opposition from either the government or the priesthood of the country. The entire New Testament* and several books of the Old Testament have been translated and printed, and tracts and books have been given to the people in unusual numbers, and with all desirable care on the part of the missionaries to insure their being read, but no corresponding results have thus far followed. Not a single Siamese+ has been converted to Christianity, and scarcely any durable impression has been made on the imperturbable indifference with which the mind of the nation seems to regard religious truth. It is true they appear to have read the books, and often to have expressed opinions concerning them. The priests have in many instances acknowledged the utterly false and fabulous character of their own sacred writings; yet neither priests nor people have thus far recognized the obligations of Christianity, or been attracted by the simple beauty of its heavenly message. This department of the mission at Bangkok has in consequence failed to create the interest which its connection with a populous kingdom would of itself naturally inspire. Its missionaries, always few in number, have often been obliged to remit their labors in consequence of enfeebled health. Mr. Jones has twice visited the United States. Mrs. Reed and Mrs. Slafter, who were for some time engaged in schools, have both withdrawn from the mission; and
* This was aecomplished by Mr. Jones, in 1839.
+ The conversion of the first Siamese is reported in a recent letter from the mission. See American Baptist Magazine, March, 1849
Mr. and Mrs. Davenport, unable longer to labor in the climate of Siam, returned to this country in 1845, and have since ceased to be missionaries.
In 1843, Mr. Chandler, a machinist and type-founder connected with the mission at Maulmain, went to reside at Bangkok. He has been attached to the printing department, and has rendered much valuable incidental service in introducing the mechanic arts into the kingdom. For this purpose he accepted the invitation of Prince Momfanoi to aid him in building several kinds of machinery after American models. The arrangements which were adopted were designed to be specially favorable to the improvement of the Siamese artisans; and so respectful was the prince to the religious principles of Mr. Chandler, that he directed his laborers to cease from work on the Sabbath, and though they were often hurried in their labors, yet the rule was faithfully observed for more than a year. But notwithstanding these and other incidental results which have been accomplished, it must still be confessed that little hold has thus far been gained upon the mind of the Siamese; and after fifteen years of the labors of the missionaries, prosecuted amidst all the advantages of the press and of the translated Scriptures, Siam now presents not a single Christian church for her own people rising among her countless temples of heathenism, and scarcely a single worshipper of the true God kneeling in spiritual devotion amidst her millions of idolaters.
The branch of the mission among the Chinese population of Bangkok has been attended by many encouragements. This station, and the station at Macao, where Mr. and Mrs. Shuck went to reside in September, 1836, were designed to be points of approach from which the missionaries might at length extend their labors to China itself. They were both commenced at a period when the teachers of religion and the agents of commerce were alike studiously excluded from the empire, and when of all its countless population, the doctrines of the gospel could be made known only to those who were living away from ta scornful prejudices, and beyond the jurisdiction of its haughty
despotism. It was found at these, and at other neighboring posts at which Christian missions had been planted for their benefit, that the Chinese were far more accessible than had been imagined; and that, when away from China, they evinced far less of their characteristic contempt for the civilization and religion of Christian nations. They are separated from the rest of mankind by a language of the greatest difficulty; yet, when this has been fully mastered by the missionaries, they have proved themselves by no means indifferent to the appeals of moral truth; and though even to this day but little has been accomplished by the combined efforts of all the missionaries who have been sent to them, yet many of the strongest barriers to the diffusing of the gospel have been removed, and both among the learned and the unlearned there are now found those who have received the religion of Christ.
At the Bangkok station, Mr. Dean and Mr. Goddard were for two years after the arrival of the latter the only missionaries among the Chinese. Mr. Dean was employed as a preacher and preparer of books and tracts, and also instructed the native assistants in Christian theology, and in other ways directed them in the performance of their labors. Mr. Goddard, with here and there a brief interval of interruption, has been up to a recent period assiduously engaged in the service of the mission as a preacher and a translator of the Scriptures. In 1840 the members of the church were nine in number; in the following year seven more were added, and each succeeding year has witnessed some accession to the little band. Portions of both the Old and the New Testament have been prepared and printed by the missionaries, and tracts and books have been circulated among the people, and also, by means of the sailors and merchants who come to Bangkok from every port in China, have been scattered along the entire coast, and it may be far into the interior of the empire.
At Macao, a port under the jurisdiction of the Portuguese, Mr. Shuck met with the same facilities for laboring; among the Chinese. In September, 1841, Rev. Issachar J. Roberts, who
had for some time been residing at Macao as a missionary of a society then existing in the Western States, entered into the service of the Board, and became associated with Mr. Shuck. Two or three Chinese were baptized at this station, and tidings of the gospel were borne widely abroad by the wanderings of those who had conversed with the missionaries or read the tracts and books which they distributed. Small, however, and quite inadequate were the fruits which had been borne at this station, when, in 1841, missionary labors among the Chinese were for a time interrupted by the breaking out of the war between England and China, and the blockade of the port of Macao.
This war was regarded by the religious public, both in England and in this country, as one whose objects were wholly unjustifiable, and whose results would probably tend still further to alienate the empire from all Christian nations. Serious difficulties had been pending for three years between the two nations, arising mainly from the attempts of the emperor to suppress the trade in opium in which the English were largely engaged. Several acts of hostility were perpetrated in 1840; and in the following spring, having collected large naval and military forces at the island of Hongkong, the English proceeded to invest Canton and several other leading cities along the coast. It was not till after the sacrifice of immense treasure and the lives of thousands of his subjects, that the emperor would accept the terms dictated by the English minister plenipotentiary, in a manner so humiliating to imperial pride. At length, in August, 1842, a treaty of perpetual amity was concluded, which has altered the relations of China to the entire civilized world. By the terms of the treaty the island of Hongkong, lying at the mouth of the Canton river, was ceded to "the queen of England, her heirs and successors forever," and the five ports of Canton, Amoy, Fuhchau, Ningpo and Shanghai, were opened to British commerce, and the residence of British officers and merchants. Thus, as has often happened in the collisions of nations, did a war which was begun in order to promote
an iniquitous traffic, finally terminate in the extension of Christian civilization and in preparing the way for the ultimate introduction of the gospel into the most populous empire of the globe.
The result was hailed with thankfulness and joy by the friends of missions in all parts of the world as most auspicious to the cause which they were engaged in promoting; and in England especially, it awakened new feelings of obligation to send the blessings of Christianity to the distant people thus subjugated by her arms. The English immediately began to occupy the ports which were opened for their residence, and the American missionaries to the Chinese, who had been residing at Bangkok and Macao, determined to remove to China, and establish the mission at such of the free ports as might prove most advantageous and inviting. Mr. Roberts had already gone from Macao to Hongkong in February, 1842, and was followed a few months later by Mr. and Mrs. Shuck. Mr. Dean also left Bangkok in February, 1842, and after lingering at Singapore and Macao for the benefit of his health, arrived at Hongkong in the following June. Though the treaty had not then been ratified, yet the free ports were all in the hands of the English, and the missionaries, availing themselves of the protection afforded by the British flag, immediately set about ascertaining the different points at which stations might most advantageously be planted. For this purpose Mr. Dean accepted the invitation of the captain and supercargo of the Lowell, the first American ship which entered the eastern harbors of China, to take passage to Kulangsu, Chusan and Amoy. At each of these places he made inquiries and observations respecting the object he had in view, and also obtained much valuable information concerning the other cities on the coast which were likely to be opened to the commerce of the English. He returned in October apparently most favorably impressed with Amoy as the future seat of the mission; but as the extent of the toleration which would be granted to a foreign religion was not yet fully known, it was decided to plant the principal
[page 199 is missing; 200 has a map of China.]
station for the present at Hongkong, which was already presenting a most inviting field for missionary labor. The island has several towns, all of which, beneath the freedom and security of the English rule, are rapidly growing in population, and are evidently destined to assume a commanding importance. Messrs. Dean and Shuck accordingly established themselves at the principal city of Hongkong now known as Victoria, while Mr. Roberts went to Chek-chu, a smaller town on the south side of the island.
At Victoria a lot was granted by the government on which a mission house was erected; two commodious chapels were also built, to be used alike for public worship and for schools; and the expenses of these buildings were defrayed principally by English gentlemen then residing at Hongkong and Macao, among whom was Sir Henry Pottinger, the negotiator of the treaty. A church of five members, in addition to the missionaries, was organized and placed under the care of Mr. Shuck, to which four others were added by the close of 1842. A chapel was also erected at Chek-chu, in which Mr. Roberts conducted service both in English and in Chinese, and also superintended a school for Chinese youth, which was instructed in part by one of the disciples who had come up from Siam. Thus, under the supervision of these three missionaries, were planted the earliest missions of the American Baptists in that ancient and hitherto unknown empire, which embraces beneath its sway nearly a fourth part of the human race. They had long been laboring among the Chinese, but now for the first time were their stations established in China. Though for the present limited to a single island, yet both the missionaries and their friends in America exulted in the thought that the barriers of ages were at length broken down, and that the way was now open to the country on whose confines they had long been eagerly waiting.
In March, 1843, the mission was bereft of Mrs. Dean, a lady of superior culture and most exemplary piety. Born at Thetford, England, she had come to China in 1836 in the service of
the "Society for Promoting Female Education in the East." At the period of her marriage to Mr. Dean she had already acquired the language; and an extensive acquaintance with the manners and religious opinions of the people and their acquirements, together with the eminent advantages which she had enjoyed in England, fitted her for high usefulness in her subsequent capacity as the wife of a Christian missionary; and, whether at the solitary station at Bangkok or beneath the victorious flag of her own countrymen at Hongkong, she ever proved herself a judicious adviser and a devoted laborer in the mission which she had adopted. Mr. Dean, from the commencement of his labors among the Chinese, had been accustomed to the Tie-Chiϊ dialect, and hence most readily directed his attention to the people of that province who resided at Hongkong or occasionally visited the island for the purposes of trade. He had maintained public worship in this dialect for several months; and in May, 1843, a second church was constituted at Victoria, composed of three members from the Tie Chiϊ province. The church was placed under the charge of Mr. Dean, whose health however had now become so far enfeebled as often to interrupt his labors, and intimate to him that he must soon suspend them altogether and go to a more genial climate.
The mission at Hongkong, though still subjected to interruptions and bereavements, soon became highly prosperous. Its interests and objects were favored by many of the English officers and residents, and the Chinese people heard the gospel preached in their different dialects, or read its precepts in the written language which is common to them all. Accessions were made to the churches, and all the interests of the station assumed a most encouraging aspect. In the spring of 1843 Dr. D. J. Macgowan arrived at Hongkong, and became connected with the mission. He, however, soon went up to Canton, and, after spending several weeks with Dr. Parker in professional observations and practice in the hospital there, he took passage to Chusan and Ningpo, and at the latter place established a mission-hospital, in
which he has since been usefully employed in connection with various labors as a religious teacher.* The treaty which had been concluded between Great Britian and China had created the deepest interest in the commercial circles of both Europe and America; and other nations were eager to obtain for themselves the commercial advantages which it was supposed were secured to England by its stipulations. In the summer of 1843 the government of the United States despatched an embassy to China, at the head of which was placed Hon. Caleb Gushing, for the purpose of opening diplomatic intercourse with the emperor. Mr. Gushing arrived at Macao in the following February. He was there met by the commissioner appointed by the emperor, and the terms of a treaty were mutually agreed upon, which was signed by the representatives of the two countries on the 3d of July, 1844, at Wanghia, a small town in the vicinity of Macao. The new treaty embodied all the important features of that which had been negotiated with the English; and in addition provided for the erection of chapels, hospitals, and cemeteries, at each one of the five ports, and at the same time for other commercial advantages, which were also to be extended to all nations. Its effect has undoubtedly been to secure to the American missionaries and other American residents many privileges, which without it they would have had only by sufferance from their connection with the English.+ It has given to the missions from this country a permanent footing in China, and distinctly recognized them as among the interests that are to receive the protection of the government.
* This hospital appears to have been at first the joint establishment of Dr. Macgowan and Dr. Macartey, of the American Presbyterian Mission. Dr. Macgowan has now associated with him Rev. E. C. Lord as preacher, thus making what has always been fonnd the most useful combination of labors among the Chinese.
+ At present it is said that we are held in special favor by the Chinese. Our merchants have undoubtedly profited by the fact, and our missionaries have on several oecasions been saluted with peculiar regard, as belonging to "the nation of the flowery flag."
But these fair prospects of the mission have also been shaded by afflictive events, which for a time diminished its efficiency and tended to discourage its members and friends. In November, 1844, Mrs. Shuck died at Victoria, after a brief illness. She was the daughter of Rev. Addison Hall, of Virginia, and sailed from the United States with her husband in the autumn of 1835, destined for the mission in Siam. Their residence, however, was at Macao, where Mrs. Shuck early began to devote herself to the duties of her station. In her sudden death many tender ties were sundered and many fond hopes were blighted, for she was summoned away just at the beginning of the new era of the mission to which she had long been attached.* Mr. Dean also, at nearly the same time, was obliged temporarily to abandon his post and return to the United States in order to recruit his health. He arrived in New York in March, 1845, and after spending upwards of a year in this country,+ returned with recruited energies to the station at Hongkong. The mission had also been strengthened by the arrival of Dr. Devan and his wife in the autumn of 1844. They subsequently removed to Canton, where a mission-house was erected and several assistants were employed. Their connection, however, with the mission in China was brief. Mrs. Devan died, much lamented, at Canton, in October, 1846, and her husband, finding himself unable to reside permanently in the climate of the tropics, returned to the United States, and has since been transferred to the mission in France. Mr. Shuck also returned to this country in the spring of 1845, when, at his own request, he was transferred from the service of the Missionary Union to that of the Southern Baptist Convention, by whom the mission buildings at Canton were purchased. But,
* A valuable memoir of her useful life has been prepared by Rev. J. B. Jeter.
+ Mr. Dean was aecompanied by Ko Abak, a Christian Chinaman, with whom he visited many of the churehes in the Northern and Western States, every where addressing crowded auditories, on the religious condition of China. His visit was to many a chureh the beginning of a new interest in Christian missions.
amidst all these changes, some of them causing serious interruption to the labors of the mission, its interests have continued to prosper in some humble manner, and its. churches have gradually increased.
The station at Hongkong is represented as especially promising. Though long regarded with doubt by the missionaries of other societies, and occupied by our own not without hesitation, this island is now admitted to possess advantages which belong to none of the neighboring ports. The people here are entirely accessible and free from many of the jealousies which characterize those of Canton and the districts around it. Here too, in connection with the station, and under the care of the missionaries, is the largest and most flourishing Christian church in all China. Rev. John Johnson and his wife* were added to the station in 1848, and Rev. E. C. Lord and his wife were added to that at Ningpo in the year preceding; and the mission, though still in its infancy, has already taken an honorable rank among the agencies which are now employed by a benignant Providence, in introducing the blessings of Christian civilization into the most ancient empire of the world.
In the mission at Bangkok, after the close of the war in China, all preaching in the Siamese department was for a time suspended in consequence of the absence of Mr. Jones. He returned to the station in January, 1847, accompanied by Mrs. Jones and Miss Harriet H. Morse, the latter lady being appointed to teach in the Siamese schools. Since that period the labors of the missionaries have been prosecuted with renewed hope, and have evidently been regarded by the people with less indifference than before. The presses have been generally kept in operation under the direction of Messrs. Jones and Chandler, and have furnished multitudes of books and tracts in Siamese, Peguan and Chinese, for both departments of the mission. Among the Chinese, Mr. Goddard has continued the work of preaching and translating, to which he early devoted himself
* Mrs. Johnson died soon after her arrival at Hongkong.
with singular assiduity, interrupted only by occasional ill health. The church of which he has had the charge, though frequently diminished by deaths and removals, now numbers twenty-three members, and constitutes the germ of a Christian society which is deemed exceedingly important on account of its bearings, not upon Bangkok alone, but upon the multitudes of Chinese who frequently visit that city in their widely extended traffic along the shores of Eastern Asia. In 1846 an accession was made to this department of the mission by the arrival of Rev. E. N. Jencks and his wife. The health of Mrs. Jencks, like that of most of the ladies who had preceded her at the station, began almost immediately to decline, and she has since died while on a passage with her husband to the United States. The vacancy thus created in the station at Bangkok has been supplied by the appointment of Rev. Samuel J. Smith, a young man born in the East and educated in this country, to whom the language of Siam is almost vernacular. He sailed in October, 1848, and was designated especially to the work of preaching to the Siamese, a work which he would be able to enter upon soon after he should arrive at Bangkok.
In 1843 several meetings of both English and American missionaries to the Chinese, of different denominations, were held at Hongkong, for the purpose of adopting measures to secure a standard version of the sacred Scriptures in the language of the country.* After repeated consultations it was
* The entire Bible had long before been translated into Chinese by Rev. Dr. Morrison, the earliest English missionary to China, assisted by Rev. W. Milne. It was printed at Macao in 1818, at a press sent out by the London Missionary Society. Another translation was also made by Rev. Dr. Marshman of the Serampore Baptist Mission, which was printed at the mission press in 1822. The expenses of both these editions were principally defrayed by the British and Foreign Bible Society. Both have been pronounced unusually faithful and correct translations, considering the circumstances in which they were made, though that by Dr. Marshman, on account of its foreign dress, has never been much circulated in China. A dictionary of the Chinese was also prepared by Dr. Morrison, and published in 1823 in six quarto volumes, at an expense of £12,000. For an account of the various missionary labors in China, see Medhurst's History of China, and Williams's Middle Kingdom, Vol. ii, ch. 19.
proposed that a general committee should be formed, who should submit a portion of the New Testament for translation to each of the several missionary stations that might be willing to share in the undertaking; that the portions thus translated should be returned for the revision of the general committee, and by them submitted for final examination and approval to the Bible Societies of England or America. The project was at first regarded with favor by the American Baptist missionaries, and by them recommended to the Board, who authorized the removal of Mr. Goddard from Bangkok to Hongkong in order to engage in the work of translation. His departure however at that time, in the absence of Mr. Jones from Bangkok, would have left the station there entirely unoccupied, and it was on that account delayed. Since then doubts have been entertained respecting the practicability of the plan, and some disapprobation of the arrangement having been expressed by the American and Foreign Bible Society, the missionaries, with the approbation of the Board, have decided not to enter into it but to make a version of their own. This Mr. Goddard and Mr. Dean have been for some time engaged in executing. In order to facilitate the work, and to prosecute it in the most favorable circumstances, Mr. Goddard has left the station at Bangkok and is now settled at Ningpo. The translation of the Scriptures into Chinese is a task of peculiar difficulty, arising from the genius of the language; but they have already completed several books of the New Testament which are soon to be printed, and it is hoped that their version when finally accomplished, with the use of all the aids at their command, will not be inferior to any other by whatever hands it may be executed. If the importance of these missions may be estimated by the extent of the countries in which they are established, or the numbers and characters of the people for whom they are designed, we may surely rank them among the foremost of those in which our denomination is now engaged. It is not its past success which gives character to either. The people of Siam have thus far entirely refused the gospel, while but here and
there a few among the Chinese have embraced its truths; yet the present attitude of each of these missions, thus offering the blessings of Christianity to two powerful nations, is one of unusual interest. Their career and their destiny will undoubtedly be greatly affected by the changes which may take place in the East, now just beginning to be deeply stirred by the influences of western commerce and western civilization. The events of every month are accumulating new proofs of the amazing superiority of Christianity over all the systems of oriental faith, and are loosening the hold of Buddhism upon the minds of the people. The religion of the Bible is thus gaining a freer course and a fairer opportunity, for continued progress. Among the Chinese the mission is just entering upon a new era of its history. Long excluded from the empire and confined to her exiled and wandering people, it has at length planted itself within the walls; and, side by side with the missions of other societies and other nations, it has commenced the work of giving the gospel to the most populous country of the globe. Its stations at Hongkong and at Ningpo are fortunately selected, and its missionaries are men of large experience and of tried wisdom. Its character partakes of the grandeur of the field which it occupies, and its prospects, dim and shadowy as they now appear, open far into the vistas of that eventful future which is manifestly in reserve for China.
==========[From William Gammell, A History of American Missions in Asia, Africa, Europe and North America, 1849, pp. 187-208. jrd]
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