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Fifty Years in China - An Eventful Memoir of Tarleton Perry Crawford
By L. S. Foster

Chapter XVI
This and That

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      Several persons who joined Monument Street Church in its early days expected to be employed by Mr. Crawford in some reli­gious or secular capacity, and to them it mattered not which, so erroneous was their conception of Christianity. And it must be confessed that much of what they saw around them tended rather to foster than to correct this erroneous impression. They thought that if the missionary needed a cook, carpenter, mason, watchman or house servant, he should employ his Christian brethren, even though they were ever so unfit for the position. Missionaries would rather take a Christian, even though he were less expert, but for the fact that this employment idea would fill the church with place seekers and so corrupt the very fountains which should be kept pure. Mr. Crawford constantly advocated a clear distinction between religious and secular matters, but with little response for many years. He also laid great stress on a native-supported minis­try. This he advocated both by word and example. In his annual report to the Board for 1871 he wrote, "I have a class studying for the ministry. They come once in three months, remaining as my guests for a week or ten days, studying the Scriptures, and then return home to prepare the lessons I give them. Thus they are to go on studying and preaching, without money, supported by their farm labor until they are ready to be ordained and supported as pastors by churches they themselves are to establish. Such, at least, is the theory of the plan."

      In the United States in early life, Mr. Crawford had known a great many godly ministers who supported themselves on their farms and preached the word on Sundays and leisure times, doing a great work for the Lord without money and without price.

      This class was continued for some years, increasing to nine or ten. At these times other native Christians or inquirers would come to receive instruction adapted to them. Mrs. Crawford usu­ally took charge of the inquirers, teaching them also to sing Chris­tian hymns. At times one and another of this class would accompany

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Mrs. Crawford or some of the ladies of the mission on itiner­ating tours, the missionaries defraying the expenses of the trip. Oc­casionally two of these brethren were sent out by the church to preach for a specified time.

      In process of time the class began to realize the fact that Mr. Crawford really intended to pursue a different course from the pre­vailing one, that he did not mean to employ with foreign money any preachers or other religious workers. And then the zeal of many began to wane. One of the members died witnessing a good confession; another kept on preaching the gospel to his fellow countrymen when opportunity offered, and at the same time sup­ported himself at his own business. One of the most zealous of them was excluded from the church for ancestral worship and other sins, another for deception, while still another, filled with wrath, vented his spite by vilifying Mr. Crawford and his methods. A few of them, relinquishing all thought of the ministry, became steady-plodding Christians. Their call came not from God, and so they fell into the niche they were prepared to fill. Two native Christians, not of the class, were afterwards licensed by the church, but were never ordained. One of these was still preaching in 1894 and zealously instructing Christians. The other joined the Methodists, from whom he received lucrative employment for his services.

      It was about this time that they heard of the death of the honored and beloved Secretary of the Foreign Mission Board, Dr. James B. Taylor. For twenty years, month after month, they had been re­ceiving his letters of loving sympathy and encouragement, and they both deeply mourned his loss. His place was temporarily filled by Rev. A. D. Phillips, former missionary to Africa, until the election of Dr. H. A. Tupper, who continued in the office for the next twenty years or more.

      In the year 1871 the room in the front court of the Crawford home, which served as a preaching place, could no longer seat the congregation, and Mr. Crawford asked the Board for means to build a small chapel, offering to lend the money for its erection. Dr. Tupper thus quotes Mr. Crawford:

"I am contracting for a lot on which to build a chapel. I need three thousand dollars for the work. I cannot afford to stop labor for want of a chapel, and I shall confidently expect the Board to furnish the means. Twenty years of constant labor in China entitles me to a chapel in which to train the congregation which, from nothing, I have gradually built to its present number."

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      The Board cheerfully granted this, and Dr. Tupper writes, "Brother Crawford's chapel at Teng Chow has been completed (1872). Everybody, both native and foreign, says it is a most beau­tiful structure, the acoustic properties are fine, and the whole cost has been some three thousand dollars. The audience room is capa­ble of seating two hundred and eighty persons. At the opening ser­vices the sermon was preached by Rev. Timothy Richard, of the English Baptist mission." Some years after this the money ad­vanced was returned by the Board.

      In June, 1872, Miss Edmonia Moon arrived at Teng Chow, and was joined the following year by her sister, Miss Lottie Moon. They remained in the home of Mr. Crawford and his wife until the autumn of 1875, when Mr. HartwelPs connection with the Foreign Mission Board was dissolved and his North Street dwelling was turned over to the Monument Street mission, and these sisters moved into it. Here Miss Edmonia began a boarding school for girls, but was obliged by failing health in 1876 to return to the homeland. Miss Lottie continued the school until the end of 1883.

      Mr. Crawford, soon after settling on Monument Street, began the work of preparing a hymn book in the Mandarin dialect for the use of his congregation. He changed most of the Shanghai collec­tion into Mandarin, selected and revised some from other hymn books, and translated and composed many new ones. During the two decades which followed, both he and Mrs. Crawford wrote or translated a number of books mentioned in detail elsewhere.

      The Margary murder, 1874, which seriously threatened hostili­ties between Great Britain and China, gave the missionaries much uneasiness. A large number of Chinese soldiers were sent to Teng Chow, some of whom had been old rebels, and all of whom were turbulent fellows ready for any ugly work. They thought they had come for the purpose of exterminating the "barbarians," and ru­mors of the destruction of foreigners again became rife. These sol­diers took pains to insult the missionaries whenever they met them and gave them daily inconvenience. When the missionary ladies visited the homes of the people the soldiers would often try to fol­low them in, or stand around the door to hoot at them when they came out. Under such conditions their visits were not very wel­come, and their work suffered in consequence. The soldiers would also pick quarrels with the native Christians and mission school boys, and would frequently come to the chapel and gaze at and otherwise insult the women and girls. For some unknown cause a crowd of them assembled one Sunday afternoon in front of the

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Crawfords' home. They demanded the doors to be opened that they might come in "to hear preaching." They were told that this was a private residence, that the chapel was near by, and that they might go there a few hours later for this purpose. They seemed much excited and there were great fears that they might break open the doors. The official's learning that a riot was brewing, fired a signal, calling them all instantly to camp. They frequently entered the court yards of the mission houses in groups and be­haved very insolently.

      A large party of them having been offended by some of the Presbyterian students, once went to the college when all the for­eign inmates and most of the natives had gone to Sunday-school. Those in charge of the houses were severely beaten, windows were smashed, doors broken down, and much other damage done to the premises. Hearing of the disturbance and knowing that Dr. Mateer was absent, Mr. Crawford hastened over to see if he might render assistance. An immense crowd of gazers surrounded the establishment, but a mandarin soon arrived on the scene and qui­eted the tumult.

      In 1876 the health of Mr. and Mrs. Crawford was suffering so seriously that they went to Japan for recuperation. It was their first visit to that fairy land and they greatly enjoyed it. A stronger con­trast can hardly be imagined than that between Japan and North China. The sturdy, severely practical, self complacent people they left were as different as possible from the sprightly, receptive and affable Japanese. Nature itself also presented a complete change. Instead of the barren hills, thirsty valleys, and scanty vegetation (except the crops) about Teng Chow, they found a luxuriant growth of trees covering hills and vales, amidst lovely seas, lakes, rivers and neat villages. All this was refreshing to them beyond ex­pression. The cordial manners of the people also charmed them, and they said one day to a Japan missionary, "How easy it must be to work among such a people. How delightful not to have to feel that we ought not to be killed." The public mind in North China was still at that time bitterly hostile, and many of the people be­lieved that the government was only waiting for an opportunity to exterminate all foreigners.

      This missionary replied, "Yes, there may be some truth in what you say, but you in China have many advantages over us here. When you win a Chinese you are pretty sure of him, and there is something in him. But if you get a Japanese today, you cannot tell where he will be tomorrow. If you travel too slowly in the race he

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will hasten your steps by pelting you with stones." Still to these visitors it was inspiring to see their faces glow with enthusiasm under a sermon, and a whole audience warmly bow their appre­ciation to the preacher as he closed his discourse.

      While in Japan that summer Mr. and Mrs. Crawford arranged to adopt a son and daughter, the children of English parentage. The daughter, then fourteen years old, was in a mission school. The son was only seven. His mother had died in his infancy, and he was here in the hands of a very unsuitable guardian. The children were sent over to them the following spring, having received the consent of the father who was then in the United States. These children, though causing anxiety, were the source of much pleas­ure. The relationship they felt was also an advantage to them in their intercourse with the Chinese, who, like David, consider chil­dren a great blessing and their absence the evidence of divine dis­pleasure. Childless Chinese frequently give themselves to deeds of charity in order to accumulate merit as a compensation.

      The daughter, Minnie, grew to womanhood and became the wife of Rev. Alfred G. Jones, of the English Baptist mission. He was a most estimable and consecrated missionary. They lived at Ching Chow, Shantung Province, and had a family of three chil­dren. In July, 1905, while Mrs. Jones and the children were in England, Mr. Jones, who was spending the summer in a temple on Tai Shan, was killed under a landslide caused by a cloudburst, which came suddenly during the night. The adopted son, Alfred Crawford, is now farming near Knoxville, Tennessee.

      Owing to extensive drouths in 1876, a large part of central Shantung suffered severely from famine. Rev. Timothy Richard, of the English Baptist mission, had been two or more years living in Ching Chow, the center of the famine-stricken region. A private letter of his getting into one of the newspapers of Shanghai moved the Europeans all over China to contribute largely to the, relief of the sufferers. Mr. Richard was reluctant at first to engage in the distribution of this charity, but later he consented. Other mission­aries, notably Dr. Nevius, of the American Presbyterian mission, threw themselves also into this work. The number of people who perished in this famine is roughly estimated at one million. The scarcity of food stuffs extended over to Teng Chow. The public granaries were opened and private charities were taxed to the ut­most. Public acknowledgments and honors, were conferred by the officials on Dr. Nevius, Mr. Richard and others for their self-sacrificing labors and fidelity in this emergency. Great ingatherings

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into the Christian churches, for which central Shantung has been noted, began soon after this famine. Whether the two only synchronized, or whether the aid extended moved the people has not been fully settled, though most probably the principle of re­ligion which prompted the aid appeared so desirable to the natives that it made a strong appeal to them, and was used by the Holy Spirit for their awakening.

      In May, 1877, the first general conference of China missionaries was held in Shanghai. There were present from various parts of the empire about one hundred and thirty men and women. Each sta­tion had sent up in advance questions for discussion, and a general committee had appointed persons to write papers on these sub­jects. Mr. Crawford wrote an argument against the Employment of Native Assistants with Foreign Money, and Rev. Mr. Sites, of Foo Chow, wrote an article taking essentially the same ground as Mr. Crawford. The two papers provoked warm discussion in the con­ference, the great majority being against the views of these two writers, but a few strong advocates were heard from. The history of Mr. Crawford's opinions on this subject has been embodied in a small volume, Evolution in My Mission Views, published in 1903, to which the reader is referred. The theme of Mrs. Crawford's arti­cle for the conference was Woman's Work.

      It was thought that much good was accomplished at this confer­ence by the interchange of thought and feeling and mutual ac­quaintance among the missionaries. But there was an attempt to­ward a kind of permanent organization by the appointment of standing committees for sundry purposes, which was deprecated by Mr. Crawford and others, who were zealous for church inde­pendence and gospel liberty.

Go to Chapter 17

[From L. S. Foster, Fifty Years in China - An Eventful Memoir of Tarleton Perry Crawford, D. D., 1909; reformatted and reprinted in 2005. The document was provided by Jackie Battles, Winchester, VA. - jrd]

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