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Mission in 1877
Fifty Years in Amoy--The Story of the Amoy Mission,
By Rev. Philip Wilson Pitcher, Missionary of the Reformed
(Dutch) Church at Amoy, China (Published by
the Board of Publication of the Reformed Church in America, New York,
1893). Scanned from my personal copy. Enjoy--and please share any texts
or photos you have about the Amoy Mission.
Thanks! Dr. Bill
Dedication to Dr. J. V. N. Talmage
1 Intro & Survey
2 Historical Outline
3 History of Missions in China
6 The Doors of Amoy Opened
7 Founding of Amoy Mission Chapter
8 Succession of Missionaries
9 Missionary Methods Chapter
10 Church of Christ in China
11 The Nine Churches Chapter
12 Benovelence of Amoy Churches
13 Two Notable Political Events
14 Medical Work
15 Education Work Appendix
FIFTY YEARS IN AMOY
Or A History of the Amoy Mission, CHINA.
FOUNDED FEBRUARY 24,1842. Under the Patronage ot the American Board at
Commissioners for Foreign Missions from 1842-1857.
Transferred to the government of the Board of Foreign
Missions of the Reformed (Dutch) Church in America in June. 1837.
To the Memory of Rev.
J. V. N. TALMAGE, D.D., Veteran
Missionary, whose memory will ever remain fragrant in the hearts of those
who had the pleasure of being co-laborers with him, as well as in the
hearts of those who walk with God through the Word he preached unto them,
this review is most affectionately dedicated.
PREFACE. The purpose of this little volume is, first: To acquaint
the churches with a history of the origin and progress of the Amoy Mission,
China, and with some of the important political events inseparably connected
there-with; and, secondly: To arouse a deeper interest in the salvation
of, and a deeper respect for, the people amongst whom the Mission is established.
Its author would simply say
that he has been led to attempt this history for these two reasons, viz:
(1) Because no such history exists.
(2) Because the close of fifty years seems most opportune to record that
history. The volume claims to be nothing more than a plain narration of
facts that the author has gathered by a personal relation with the work,
and such as he has been able to glean from the following sources: The
Annual Reports of General Synod of the Reformed Church, the "Missionary
Herald," Manual of the Reformed Church in America, History of the
Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions, 1842, William's Middle Kingdom,
History of the Insurrection in China, the "Christian Intelligencer,"
Annals of the American Reformed Dutch Pulpit. and other works mentioned
The author feels under obligation to Revs. A. P. Van Gieson, D. D., and
Wm. Bancroft Hill, of Poughkeepsie, N. Y., for so generously placing their
libraries at his disposal, and to the former for other courtesies and
helpful suggestions as well; and to Rev. Wm. "Wurts, of Berne, N.
Y., for kind assistance in gathering personal information. Acknowledgments
are also due to Rev. Elbert Nevius, of Stuyvesant., N. Y; Rev. J. B. Drury,
D. D., Editor of the "Christian Intelligencer"; Mr. Wm. Adriance,
of Elmira, N. Y., and to members of the Amoy Mission for a helping hand.
It is unfortunate that in the spelling of Chinese names no harmonious
system has been adopted by the Missionaries of China, the endeavor has
therefore been made to follow a system of spelling conforming somewhat
to the Amoy Romanized Colloquial.
The illustrations are a selection from a series of photographs collected
while engaged in the work at Amoy, and it
is with the hope of both increasing the value and interest of the book,
that so many are incorporated therein.
If, therefore, the book can in any way fulfill its purpose by promoting
the great and good object for which the Amoy Mission exists, the labor
herein expended will not have been in vain. For such reward only, the
author earnestly seeks. Philip Wilson Pitcher Poughkeepsie,
Aug. 1st, 1893.
I. INTRODUCITION-A SURVEY OF THE WORK.
A review of fifty years of toil-a half century of faithful service in
any one of the Master's vineyards, must contain much of interest, much
of encouragement, and much of inspiration for those who are engaged in
the building up of Christ¡¯s Kingdom, by seeking the lost ones in this
sin-stricken world. But is there not an added interest, encouragement,
and inspiration attending a review of fifty years of labor-the founding
and successful carrying forward of a work in a land of heathen darkness,
in that land where idolatry, superstition, and sin in blackest forms have
existed side by side for four thousand years and more--the Kingdom of
There is no thrilling romance connected with missions in Amoy.
Excitement and anxiety have not been entirely out of our borders, yet
dangers and perils have never encompassed our dwellings. There has been
no startling evolution out of heathenism, no vast strides made toward
new and better ways and methods in the fields of Amoy.
It has been slow but sure progress. There may be little or nothing to
call forth applause in behalf of the silent plodders and toilers who have
spent their lives without ostentation in this vineyard, yet when the record
is fully read, much will be discovered that will awaken commendation and
inspiration to go forward and complete what they have so well begun.
While it has not been battle-axes and fire-brands of wild and uncivilized
tribes that have threatened and demanded attention, it has been hosts
upon hosts who, clinging to a system of worship hoary with age, have written
upon their faces and hearts stolid indifference and blank unconsciousness,
which has required long and tedious years of patient waiting for signs
of yielding, and which has required quite as much courage to face as the
sharper and shorter conflict with savagery, a fact that is not always
Yet this is not man's work, but the work of the Holy Spirit, that we review,
so we may sound the highest, notes of praise our lips and hearts can raise.
No one can read the history of the Amoy Mission without recognizing the
hand of Jehovah guiding and blessing all the way. They who have labored
there have only been His instruments-vessels for His use--sufficiently
honored to be such and nothing more, and glad if in any way they have
fulfilled His purpose, in seeking and bringing back these lost ones into
His fold and into eternal life through His Son. For of Him, and through
Him, and to Him are all things, to whom be the glory forever. Amen. (Rom.
And now, in this Jubilee year, the redeemed of the Lord, of "The
Church of Christ" in Amoy, China, would
sound the "yobel" until its notes echo the world around, that
all people might know that the Lord is bringing His redeemed ones home.
He has made them to feed in the way, and their pastures have been in all
high places. Their hunger has been satisfied, their thirst quenched. The
sun has poured down upon them only gentle rays, for He that had mercy
upon them hath led them, even by the springs of water hath He guided them.
The mountains have been made a way and the highways exalted. And, behold!
they come from afar, from the north and from the west, and these from
the land of Sinim. Sing, 0 heavens, and be joyful, 0 earth; and break
forth into singing, 0 mountains; for the Lord hath comforted His people,
and will have mercy upon the afflicted. (Isa. xlix.)
Just fifty years ago, February 14th, 1842, Dr. David Abeel
first planted the standard of the cross on Kolongsu, a small island lying
off from Amoy about one furlong. Possessed
with unbounded faith, he began what must have appeared to the outer world
an insurmountable task. But he believed that nothing was too hard for
God, so with au unfaltering trust, and unshaken confidence in the covenant-keeping
Lord, he laid the foundations of a work that the Church may well view
with satisfaction and becoming pride.
Traders and merchants may have laughed at him while they scoffingly said:
"So you will make the Chinese Christians?" Let the records answer.
To-day there are in the territory of the Amoy Mission 3,000 communicants,
8,000 to 10,000 adherents, 20 organized churches, 150 ordained and unordained
native pastors and helpers, 3 Foreign Missionary societies represented,
50 male and female missionaries at work, 4 hospitals, 2 theological schools,
2 high schools for boys, 4 girls' schools, 2 schools for women, and a
score or more of parochial schools and numerous chapels and churches scattered
everywhere. Of this enumeration, there are under the particular care and
supervision of the Missionaries of the Board of Foreign Missions of the
Reformed (Dutch) Church, 968 communicants [1,008 communicants in 1893]
9 organized and (practically) self-supporting churches [10 in 1893], 9
ordained native pastors, 16 unordained native helpers, 12 teachers, 23
regular preaching places, 1 theological seminary, [The theological seminary
and academy are under the superintendence of the English Presbyterian
and Reformed (Dutch) Church Mission] 1 academy, 2 parochial schools, 1
school for women, 2 girls' schools, 1 hospital, and 18 male and female
missionaries at work. Yet another item for which we can never cease rejoicing.
These churches (of the Reformed (Dutch) Church) during these fifty years
have contributed about $50,000, and in 1891 their benevolence reached
the magnificent sum of $3,382.08 [1893, $3,894.80].
Such facts and figures are sufficient to awaken throughout the whole Church
one song of praise, and should constrain us all to join the chorus of
our brethren in Amoy, as they remember the
works of the Lord. It was a great pleasure to every member of the Mission,
and to the native church as well, to have our beloved secretary, Dr. Henry
N. Cobb, and Miss Cobb, and their companions [Miss M. Celeste Weed, Miss
Margaret B. Thorne, Mr. Samuel Thorn, Jr., Mr. S. B. Thorn] with us during
this Jubilee year. And it must have been a source of great satisfaction
to Dr. Cobb to behold with his own eyes some of the results of the marvelous
things the Lord had wrought this half century in Amoy,
and to hear with his own ears the testimony of those who had given up
all their idols and turned aside from the paths of darkness, to serve
the true God, and to walk forever in the paths of light.
These are great events, yet all have taken place in a lifetime. One of
our missionaries was permitted to witness the entire history, save five
years, of the work at Amoy. Dr. David Abeel,
Revs. E. Doty and W. J. Pohlman
passed away, and to their reward, while the work was yet in its infancy,
but to Dr. Talmage alone was the beautiful
vision granted of watching and beholding the work nearly from its inception
to the very close of fifty years. And to us has been afforded the beautiful
sight of beholding two such eminent and godly men as Dr. Abeel
and Dr. Talmage standing, the one on the
threshold and the other at the close of fifty years' work for the Master
in Amoy. They clasp hands over the intervening
years, while from their lives we receive inspiration and courage to go
forward as we stand on the threshold of another fifty years. Overarching
these lives a bow of brightest colors seems to span the skies -and that
bow is full of promise of China's full salvation. For on that bow is transcribed
the words of the Psalmist when he was bearing the Ark into that former
impregnable fortress of Jebus: "Lift up your heads, 0 ye gates, even
lift them up, ye everlasting doors, and the King of Glory shall come in."
We rejoice also in that greater work that has been done in the Empire.
A half century ago there were only six converts in the whole Empire of
China. At the expiration of fifty years we find there are 38,000 communicants
[over 40,000 in 1893], 150,000 adherents, 500 organized churches, 21l
ordained and 1,266 unordained native pastors and helpers, 40 different
societies represented, 196 male and female missionaries at work, 61 hospitals
and 44 dispensaries, besides numerous schools and colleges established.
(See Appendix A,)
Such statements, though by no means startling, will do to banish any fears
or unbelief of China's ultimate redemption. China is slow by nature and
slow by practice. Time seems to be of no consequence with them. Since
the prize is so great we can afford to be patient and not be hastily disheartened.
Slow progress, but sure progress, may be expected.
The Japanese have been compared to the impulsive and inconstant French,
while the Chinese compare favorably with the sturdy and enduring Saxon.
"They have their staying qualities." "They never give up."
Once set out to accomplish a purpose, accomplish it they will, though
centuries are required to accomplish it. The following story fully illustrates
one of the chief characteristics of the Chinese.
A noted general, who commanded the forces of the Chinese army in the war
against Russia, "away over in Central Asia," came to a desert
covered with hundreds of miles of sand, "with here and there an oasis."
This desert lay between his army and the "province where the military
operations were to be carried on. They could not get provisions across
to the armies that were fighting the Russians, so what did they do? Why,
this old gentleman set himself to planting colonies of Chinese soldiers
in these oases, and they planted crops year after year. So they pushed
their way along. He wasn't in a hurry; he knew the Russians would wait
there for him, and when he got his crops all ready then he moved his armies
on over these oases with a base of supplies a good deal more complete
than General Sherman had in his march down to Atlanta. Then he engaged
in all those hard-fought battles, in which the Chinese armies did not
suffer." Such a people once won for Christ will wield a power which
will be felt, not only throughout Asia, but throughout the whole world.
II. HISTORICAL OUTLINE OF FOREIGN MISSIONS OF THE REFORMED (DUTCH) CHURCH.
According to the record, the Reformed (Dutch) Church has always possessed
the missionary spirit, but, the first records of any foreign missionary
organization is made in the year 1817. At that time the United Foreign
Missionary Society, composed of Presbyterian, Associate Reformed, and
Reformed (Dutch) denominations, was founded for the purpose of carrying
the Gospel to the heathen.
This society continued in existence nine years, when in 1826, upon the
recommendation of the Board of Managers, the General Synod transferred
its interest in the Society to the American Board of Commissioners for
In 1830 the General Synod sought closer relations with the A. B. C. F.
M., and after a conference between representative committees of the two
Boards, a plan of co-operation was adopted in October, 1832. By this plan
the General Synod reserved the right, first: Of using the funds they appropriated
to the support of the missionaries of their own recommendation, though
the appointing power still remained vested in the Prudential Committee
of the A. B. C. F. M., and second: of forming "a new and distinct
mission, with a distinct ecclesiastical organization, according to their
own wishes," and the privilege of using funds and men of the Board
at their own discretion for the maintenance of such work.
This very liberal agreement and co-operation remained in force for a quarter
of a century. They were twenty-five years of delightful fellowship, with
love and confidence unbroken, with not the least sign of unbrotherly or
unChristian jars or contentions.
At Ithaca, June, 1857, General Synod established its own independent Board
of Foreign Missions, which has ever since carried on the missionary operations
of the Reformed (Dutch) Church. The two missions that were to come under
its immediate supervision were the Amoy Mission, China (See Appendix B),
and the Arcot Mission, India, and along these lines (and with Japan later)
the history of the Missions in this Church has followed during these fifty
THE ORIGINAL MEMBERS
AND OFFICERS OF THE BOARD OF FOREIGN MISSIONS OF THE REFORMED (DUTCH)
CHURCH IN 1857.
Rev. Isaac Ferris, D.
D., Rev. J. Demarest, Jr.,
Rev. Thos. DeWitt, D. D., Rev. A.P. VanGiESON,D. D.,
Rev. E. P. Roger, D. D., Rev. D.McL. Quackenbush,
Rev. D. H. Riddle, D. D., Hon. T. Frelinghuysen,
Rev. H. R Wilson, D. D., Mr. Wm. B. Crosby,
Rev. D. D. Demarest, D.D.,Rev. J. E. Moore,
Rev. J. H. Borg, D. D., Rev. C. S. Little,
Rev. J. M. Strong, D.
D., Rev. A. J. Beckman,
Rev. W.J.R. Taylor, D.D., Rev. S. Van Rensseler,
Rev. W. W. Halloway, Rev. A. B. Preston,
Rev. A. R. Thompson, Rev. S. Cobb,
Rev. P. Peltz, Rev. J. J. Johnston,
Ezra A. Hoyt.
Hon. Theo. Frelinghuysen, President.
Rev. Thomas DeWitt, D. D., Vice-Pre8ident.
Rev. Isaac Ferris, D. D., Corresponding Secretary.
Rev. Philip Peltz, Sec'y of Domestic Correspondence.
Rev. Jeremiah S. Lovel, D. D., Recording Secretary.
Mr. Ezra A. Hoyt., Treasurer.
Rev. T. DeWitt, D. D., Mr. Will. B. Crosby,
Rev. D. H. Riddle, D.D. Rev. H. Cobb,
Rev. J. S. Lord, D. D., Rev. A. B. Preston,
Rev. W. W. Halloway, Rev. A. J. Beekman,
Rev. A. R. Thompson, D. D.,Rev. J. E. Moore,
MEMBERS AND OFFICERS OF THE
BOARD OF FOREIGN MISSIONS OF THE REFORMED (DUTCH) CHURCH IN 1892.
Rev. A.P. VanGieson, D.D., Mr. D. Jackson Steward,
Rev. C. L. Wells, D. D., Hon. N. F. Graves,
Rev. M. H. Hutton, D. D., Mr. O. H. Tiebont,
Rev. J. F. Riggs, D. D., Mr. John C. Giffing,
Rev. A. R. Thompoon, D. D., Mr. Wm. L. Brower,
Rev. Lewis Francis, Mr. Henry Fitch, Jr.,
Rev. Wm. R. Duryee, D. D., Mr. Joseph
Rev. E. G. Read, Mr. W. L. M. Phelps,
Rev. J. H. Whitehead, Rev. J. H. Oerter, D. D.,
Rev. T. W. Chambers, D. D., Mr. Peter Donald,
Rev. T. S. Brown, Mr. F. S. Donglas,
Rev. P. Stryker, D. D., Mr. Chas. L. Rickerson
Rev. T. W. Chambers. D. D., President.
Rev. M. H. Hutton, D. D., Vioe-President.
Rev. C. L. Wells, D. D., Recording Secretary.
Rev. John M. Ferris, D. D., Hon. Secretary.
Rev. Henry N. Cobb, D. D., Corresponding Secretary,
25 East 22d St., New York.
Mr. Peter Donald, Treasurer, 25 East 22d St., New York.
Rev. A.R. Thompson, D. D., Mr. Peter Donald,
Rev. Lewis Francis, Mr. Charles L. Rickerson.
Rev. C. L. Wells, D. D., Mr. F. S. Douglas,
Rev. M. H. Hutton, V. D., Mr. Joseph C. Pool,
Rev. E. G. Read, Mr. John C. Giffing,
Henry R. Baldwin. M. D., New Brunswick.
E. G. Janeway, M. D., New York.
CHAPTER III. HISTORY OF MISSIONS IN CHINA.
The first missionary enterprise among the Chinese was conducted
by the Nestorians as early as the sixth century, A. D., and their work
was so firmly established that notwithstanding the fierce persecutions
that shattered their organizations and scattered their converts and turned
"their places of worship into heathen temples," way down in
the seventeenth century traces of it are said to have been found. It is
said that several of the Emperors of the Tang Dynasty (617-906) favored
these early missionaries and ¡°had copies of the Bible translated and placed
in the library of the palace." In the twelfth or thirteenth century
the Roman Catholic Church began its work, but did not meet with much success
until the arrival of Matteo Ricci, in the seventeenth century, who was
a noted mathematician as well as priest, and who seemed to have made a
profound impression upon the Chinese by his scholarly mind, and gained
much favor for his sect. Great success followed his efforts, and before
persecution fell upon them, they intimated that they were successful in
organizing 300 churches with a membership of 300,000 converts. In the
eighteenth century (1723) the Government became wearied with their intrigues
and contentions, and ordered that all, except a few of their best mathematicians,
should be banished to Macao. But the work was kept alive by native catechists,
and by secret visits of priests from Europe.
In the sixteenth century the Greek Church became established at the Capitol,
but it is only in recent years that they have made any vigorous attempts
in making converts.
Modern Protestant Missions began under the auspices of the London Missionary
Society of Great Britain, who sent our Robert Morrison in January, 1807,
and who lived in Canton (Kwang-tuug Province, i. e., the most south-east
province of China) September, I807.
The next year he took upon himself added duties and became translator
of the East Indian Company. In 1814, Dr. Morrison baptized his first convert,
and in the same year issued the New Testament in Chinese. In 1818, assisted
by Rev. Wm. Milne, who arrived at Canton in 1813, he issued the whole
Bible in that language. Dr. Morrison's labors were confined to Canton,
and even there, were greatly circumscribed.
The first American society (and the second in the Empire) to begin missionary
work in China was the A. B. C. F. M., who sent out Rev. Elijah C. Bridgman
and Rev. David Abeel (conditionally) in October,
11829, and who arrived at Macao February 9th, lS30, and at Canton February
Rev. E. C. Bridgman was the first editor of the "Chinese Repository,"
which was issued for the first time May 31st, 1831, under the direction
of an organization called the "Christian Union," founded by
Drs. Morrison and Abeel and others. The object
of this Union was to diffuse Christian knowledge and useful knowledge
concerning the Chinese among English readers. And this was done through
the columns of the "Chinese Repository." This periodical changed
its name in later years to the periodical issued now, viz.: "The
The year 1834 was noted for two important events. (1) The death of Dr.
Morrison. (2) The first persecution upon the native Christians.
The authorities became aroused on account of the work missionaries had
already accomplished and took measures at once to stop any further increase
by issuing a proclamation condemning the "traitorous natives"
who had taught the foreigners the Chinese language. Subsequently their
arrest was ordered, and all printed matter destroyed. Much valuable material,
as well as the labor of years, was thus demolished, and the little band
of converts and a school of boys dispersed. The next year (lH35) the printing
press, and what remained of the type, was removed to Singapore, where
the tracts and other books were thereafter issued. Five Chinamen went
along as printers.
The story of those early years of pioneer work is thrilling and intensely
interesting, but we must only linger for a moment over those events.
Various trips were made along the coast, extending to the Province of
Shan-tong, Central China. Once the missionaries visited the City of Shanghai
and distributed 4,000 tracts. The first visit to the interior was probably
made by Messrs. Steven and Gutzlaff and an English gentleman in May, 1835,
by sailing up the Min River, in the Fukien Province. They only succeeded
in getting seventy miles west of Foo-chau, when they were fired upon by
Chinese soldiers and compelled to return, suffering only to the extent
of having one of their crew wounded.
Thus the work continued until the barricaded doors swung open and the
walls of separation began to crumble.
Other societies rapidly followed in establishing themselves in the land
of the celestials, viz.: The third society to find a footing in the Empire
was the American Baptist, North, 1834, The fourth: American Protestant
Episcopal, 1835. The fifth: American Presbyterian, North, 1835. And sixth:
The Reformed (Dutch) Church, 1842, at Amoy.
CHAPTER IV. AMOY
is the name of an island, a city, and is also applied to the district
occupied by our Mission, hence the name: Amoy Mission.
Amoy Island lies just off of the southeastern
part of the Fukien Province (and forms a part of it), in the Formosa Channel.
The island is 12 miles long, 10 broad and 30 in circumference. The surface
is extremely rough and rugged. Great boulders and high rock-capped hills
stretch out before the vision in a line of unbroken profusion, making
a landscape that is wild, if not pleasing. Vegetation is scarce. The Chinese
farms must be confined to the very small patches of ground that lie in
the valleys or nestle by the hillside. The only things that seem to flourish
are men, women and children. They abound. One hundred and forty villages
are hidden away somewhere amongst these hills and rocks¡ªjust where is
too great a mystery for human eyes to penetrate¡ªwith an estimated population
of 400,000. In three of these villages, viz. Kang-than, Kio-thau and Chhan-chhu-oa,
are chapels connected with the Reformed (Dutch) Church Mission, where
congregations meet every Sabbath to worship the true God.
Amoy City is a commercial port, situated on
the southern point of the island, north latitude 24¡ã 28', about one degree
above the Tropic of Cancer, east longitude 118¡ã 10". Its latitude
is almost identically the same as that of Key West, Florida, 24¡ã 30¡±.
It is located about 300 miles north of Hong Kong, 150 miles south of Foochau
(the Capitol of the Province), 550 miles south of Shanghai, and 1,100
miles from Peking (these are English miles and in a straight course).
The seasons are four: Spring, summer, autumn and winter; or it may be
classified in two, viz.: Wet and dry. Spring begins in February, summer
in June, fall in October, winter in December. The spring is decidedly
moist, the summer broiling, the late fall and early winter delightful.
When the weather gets at it, it sticks to it on the same tack for one
hundred and twenty days. There is no rise or fall in the mercury of 20
degrees in twenty-four hours, if you please, and for those who object
to sudden changes, here is a perfect Elysium.
The rainy season keeps it up four or five months. It has been known to
pour for forty days at a stretch, reminding one very forcibly of the days
The summer runs on the same schedule. Four months of hot weather, with
75 or 80 per cent of humidity thrown in gratuitously, is a spell of weather
some would rather read about than experience. However, there is compensation
in all things. The four months of fall and winter, merged into one season
of delightful California weather and Italian skies, in a measure make
up for all the cruel things one has had to endure before. In summer the
mercury goes up to 96 (in the shade), and in winter goes down to 47. Occasionally
there is frost.
And now let us take a peep into the city. It has a population of several
ten-thousands-according to the accuracy of a Chinaman. That is to say,
that is close enough figuring for him¡ªa matter of one or two thousands
more or less is of no consequence.
The estimated population is between sixty and one hundred thousand. If
that statement is any clearer than the former, you are entitled to all
the satisfaction you can derive therefrom.
Besides the foreign business houses, banks and Custom House, and the native
warehouses, stores and shops, there are four native churches, supporting
their own pastors, located in the city. Two of the churches, viz.: The
first and second churches (Sin-Koe-a and Tek-Chhiu-Kha) are under the
supervision of the Reformed (Dutch) Church, and the other two are under
the supervision of the London Mission Society. Services are held there
every Sabbath at 9 a. m. and at 3:30 p. m. A weekly prayer-meeting is
also observed in each church. A woman's meeting is held twice a week,
as well, in each church, one being held on Sunday, which is conducted
by the pastor's wife, and the other held on a weekday and is conducted
by one of the lady missionaries.
There are also two hospitals in Amoy city.
One under the support of the English Presbyterian Mission, Dr. A. L. Macleish
in charge, and the other supported by the foreign community, Dr. B. S.
Ringer in charge.
Amoy has a reputation. Few cities have not.
It is reputed to be the dirtiest city in China. Pity the city that is
more so. From all appearances, as well as from all information that comes
through the olfactory channel, it sustains that reputation admirably.
Happy is the man in China whose olfactory nerve has lost its powers. To
our knowledge, there is but one missionary so blessed, and he is the most
devoted missionary on the ground. This may explain it.
A city. Banish from your
minds the thought of wide avenues, clean streets, beautiful private residences.
magnificent public buildings and imposing mercantile houses. Amoy
is not built in that way. Her streets are as crooked as ram¡¯s horns, ever
winding and twisting, descending and ascending and finally ending in the
great nowhere, and the wayfaring mall, though wise, shall err therein.
There is no street either straight, or called "straight". They
do not make them that way. And for a reason.
People have an idea that the upper world is full of spirits¡ªgenerally
evil¡ªwho, if allowed to move in a straight line, somebody would get hurt.
Human beings cannot move about corners and sharp turns with the same momentum
as in straight lines. No more can the creatures of the upper air. Hence
the turns and twists in the streets of Amoy,
so as to ease up against the force of the bumps of these wicked spirits
as they strike poor weak and human creatures. Then in addition to the
crookedness, they must add another aggravation by making them like lemon-squeezers.
There are streets in Amoy so narrow that you
cannot carry an open umbrella. The average street is about four feet wide.
Why do they make them so narrow? To keep out the sunshine. They do it
effectually. But the principal reason for their narrowness is for protection.
It is a noisy and a busy town. A real Fourth of July
celebration is going on continually. Through the narrow thoroughfares,
with their stall-like shops wide open, with their wares in full view,
the multitudes tramp the whole day long, while the whiz and bang of the
irrepressible fire-cracker never ceases. Why do they shoot fire-crackers?
To make a noise. They succeed beautifully. We may say, however, that the
noise is made for the purpose of driving away the evil spirits.
Pandemonium reigns. Gongs are sounding from every direction,
traveling musicians and theatre orchestras are vieing with each other
to make the louder noise, hucksters and coolies are shouting, dogs (with
which the land abounds) are barking and fighting, and with a street fight
(war of words, generally) and side shows, it is enough to bewilder creatures
from other lands than ours.
The port of Amoy is an important one, being
the fourth in importance for the exportation of tea (the most of it being
brought over from Formosa). It is only in recent years that it has reached
this importance, and it is not too much to say that business successes
are in no small measure indebted to the influence of missions. From their
establishment the progress has been rapid and continuous. And if only
the effort of our churches had kept pace with the effort of commerce,
Amoy to-day would not only be the fourth in
importance as a commercial centre, but its importance as a centre of Christian
influence could not be estimated. But this in passing. The trade has gone
on increasing until now every year hundreds of thousands of tons of tea
are shipped from this port to America and England.
It is no uncommon occurrence for vessels to leave with 1,000 tons of tea
at a time. In the latest statistics at hand it is reported that in one
year 560 vessels, with an aggregate of 224,436 tons, entered this port,
bringing sugar, rice, raw cotton, hardware and oil to the total value
The same year 554 vessels cleared, bearing away tea,
porcelain and paper, etc., to the total value of $5,720,230. Besides this
there is an immense trade earned on by Chinese junks, statistics of which
cannot be obtained.
Amoy has been one of the conspicuous
names in the history of the Chinese Empire. Being one of the
natural entrepots of the nation, it was early brought to the notice of
foreign Powers. It is quite likely that this is one of [the very places
that Ptolemy "the celebrated geographer,¡± mentions in his writings
concerning places along the coast of China. Yet, it would be profitless
to even attempt to verify this, or to identify satisfactorily the names
mentioned in this early record. But still, there are enough undisputed
facts to prove that Amoy was known to the
traveler and the merchants in the very earliest centuries of the Christian
Amoy's fame has been made world-wide by siege
and bombardment and captures.
The great rebel chief, Ching-Ching-Kung
(Koshinga or Koxinga, as written by the Portuguese), chose the place
as his defence against the invasions of the Manchus in the seventeenth
century, and here fitted out an armament to strengthen himself for the
resistance. Under the combined forces of the Dutch (who had a bone to
pick with him), and the Manchus, Amoy was
captured in 1663, and the subjugation of the Fukien Province to the Manchu1
power was completed.
The East lndia Company made Amoy
one of its chief commercial centres, and in 1678 built a factory here,
and had invested (together with a place on Formosa) $30,000 in bullion
and $20,000 in goods. A successful trade was carried on until 1681, when
the restrictions placed upon it by the Mancus¡¯ became so grievous that
they were compelled to remove the factories to Canton and Foochau. Trade,
however, at Amoy was renewed in 1685. But
the most important event in the history of Amoy
was its capture by the British forces in 1841, during the time of the
Soon after the capture of Canton, the British forces [Williams¡¯ ¡°Middle
Kingdom,¡± Vol. II], "consisting of two 74s and seven other ships
of war, four steamers, twenty-three transports, and two other vessels,
carrying in all 3,500 troops, under the joint command of Sir Hugh Gough
and Admiral Parker, moved northward up the China coast for the purpose
of subduing the nation." Four days after leaving Canton the whole
flotilla dropped anchor in the harbor of Amoy,
Aug. 25th, 1841. The British forces had not been unexpected, and extensive
preparations had been made for their reception.
"Every island and protecting headland overlooking the harbor bad
been occupied, and armed, and a continuous line of stone wall more than
a mile long, with embrasures roofed by large slabs covered with earth
to protect the guns, had been built, and batteries and bastions erected
at well-chosen points.¡± The broadsides of the ships had little effect
on these stone walls.
Twenty-four thousand rounds from the two 74s, "besides
the discharge from frigates and steamers," failed to make
any apparent impression upon the fortifications. And it was not
until the troops landed and drove out the garrison that the forts were
Lack of discipline on the part of the Chinese, as was everywhere manifested
in this unfortunate and unjust war, caused
them to lose the battle, and on the 27th of August, 1841, the city fell
into the hands of the British. "All the arms and public stores, consisting
of powder, wall-pieces, gingals, matchlocks, shields, uniforms, bows,
arrows, spears and other articles found in great quantities were destroyed;
500 cannon were found in the forts." The Chinese forces were estimated
to be 8,000 troops and 26 war junks, one two-decker, built on the foreign
model and carrying 30 guns. Leaving a detachment of 550 troops on the
Island of Kolongsu, and three vessels in the harbor to guard the city,
the flotilla left for Chusan. The British did not lose a man, and the
Chinese not more than fifty, in the conflict. [Williams, ¡°Middle Kingdom,¡±
The Amoy district, or, to be more correct,
"the territory occupied by the missions at Amoy,"
covers an area of country equal to about 120 square miles, including the
two large cities of Chiang-Chin and Choau-Chiu, each of which is larger
than Amoy. An area of country 60 miles long
and 14 wide, by the comity of missions, is under the supervision of the
Reformed (Dutch) Church Misison, with an estimated population of 3,000,000.
¡°If the cities of Boston, New York, Philadelphia and Baltimore were situated
in a valley 40 miles long, 15 wide, and the whole intervening country
were so thickly studded with villages that a man should never be out of
sight of one or more of them, still the population of this valley would
not be equal to the number of souls accessible to the missionary from
Amoy." (Annual Report.)
'[he people of the Amoy district are an industrious
and a very peaceable people.
Mr. Burlingame, special representative of 'the United
States Government to the Court of China in 1867, after his return to America,
at a public dinner tendered to him by the merchants of New York, in a
speech delivered on that occasion made use of the following language in
regard to the people of China:
¡°The Chinese are a great people; they are a polite people,
they are a patient people, they are a sober people, and they are an industrious
people." These are the characteristics of the Amoy
people, and we might speak of every one of them, but suffice it to speak
only of their industry and their peaceableness.
"Idleness," it has been well said, "is not conspicuous."
As John Wesley said of a prosperous and a successful church, so it may
be said of them: ¡°They are all at it, and always at it"¡ªtoiling.
From the dim outlines of dawning day until the shadows have wrapped their
world in darkness the hum and whir of traffic pulsates through every town
and village of this district. And week in and week out, month after month,
and year in and year out, excepting two or three weeks at the Chinese
New Year, those wheels of traffic never cease.
We are not praising what they accomplish, neither the crude methods they
employ, nor the cruel system of bondage to eternal toil, but only mention
that idleness, as we term the characteristic, is not in their make-up.
This same diligence is witnessed amongst the scholars in their persistent
and indefatigable zeal to obtain a coveted degree---even after repeated
failures. At a single prefecture ten thousand candidates present themselves
at the regular examinations. In some cases there will be found the grandfather,
son and grandson, all competing for the same degree. In 1889 the Governor-General
of the Fukien Province reported that at the autumnal examination in .Foochau
there were nine candidates over eighty years of age. We may say here that
at another examination in another province there were thirteen candidates
over eighty years and one over ninety years of age. At still another,
thirty-five competitors were over eighty and eighteen over ninety. We
have nothing to say of their system of education, so grossly defective
and circumscribed, and which really produces only a few readers and still
fewer scholars, but such indomitable perseverance and pluck along educational
lines is seldom witnessed outside of China.
Probably there was no intention of defining the character of the people
of Fukien by the name given to the province. The meaning of Fukien may
be rendered "established happiness." Fu, happiness; Kien, established.
If a people are happy they are usually contented and peaceable, especially
when that happiness is established.
If such a reasoning be permissible, then maybe in this way this characteristic
of the Amoy people at least may be accounted
Whilst both north and south there has been serious trouble, nothing like
open violence and mob forces have ever, to our knowledge, presented themselves
in the Amoy district. As noted below, in these
after pages, the disposition toward missionaries from the start has been
most friendly, and whenever there has been trouble, it has been stirred
up by the ruling classes, and not by the people.
Only one or two events during these fifty years have occurred to disturb
this tranquility, viz., 'Ihe Tai-peng Rebellion (1850-'64), aud the "Anti-Missionary
Movement" in South China (1871). Possibly to these should be added
the political disturbances occasioned by the French war. Whilst these
movements were at their height, the people of Amoy
were more or less excited and ill-disposed toward the foreigners. Still,
even in these most exasperating times, uncontrolled passion never gained
full sway, neither did mobs ever threaten our dwellings.
True, we have never possessed the full confidence of this people. We have
not yet reached that happy condition of having our presence among them
above suspicion. Even this peaceable people cannot banish from their minds
the idea that we are among them, not as those who serve, but as those
to obtain some personal or national advantage. But we are confident that
among such a peaceable people, even confidence will be established, also.
This peaceableness of the people may be accounted for in another way,
viz.: because they have never been brought into contact, to any great
extent, with foreign nations.
What we mean is, that the people of Amoy do
not emigrate to Europe or America. So they are not cognizant of the ill-treatment
their countrymen receive at the hands of so-called Christian nations.
The Amoy people, true to the colonizing instincts
of the nation, do emigrate, but they emigrate to Singapore, Penang, Manila
and the Dutch possessions of the East Indies. A great number go to these
places, and, like good and true Americans and Europeans, maintain their
citizenship and their individuality, get rich and come back to Amoy
to enjoy their riches.
A people more like the Anglo-Saxon one will have to search
far to find.
They emigrate and take their nationality with them. Oh, Americans, do
you dare to criticise them for this? Make them Christians, and you will
have another Eastern Anglo-Saxon race, in very truth, on the other side
of the world, that will speak louder in actions than the western ever
The people of Amoy are not physically strong
in appearance. The people of Southern China are less robust, shorter,
and of lighter build than the people of the North. Yet they are hardy
and an enduring people. A great many old people are found among them.
When we consider what they eat and how they labor, it is surprising they
do live to be eighty and ninety years old. Perhaps it is the quantity
they eat, and not so much the qnality, for a Chinaman thinks nothing of
seven or eight bowls of rice, as a bite.
Their principal diet consists of rice, fish, pork, sweet potatoes, pickled
vegetables and green vegetables. Some of the poor folks live on sweet
potatoes, and others on such shell fish as they can scrape together, and
when poverty presses them hard, they may be obliged to eat rats.
But let it be understood that it is a ridiculous idea, and preposterously
absurd, for anyone to say that the Chinese are a race that delights in
eating rats. They are no more a people who eat rats than the American
people are a people who eat frogs¡¯ feet, or horse-flesh, or raw pork.
The Chinese are a respectable race, a race with 5,000 years of history
behind them, a race of wealth, a race that need not eat rats, and they
Amoy, like other parts of China, is a place
of sharp contrasts-the comfortably rich and the miserable poor, the highly
educated (Chinese education) and the utterly ignorant, living side by
There are, however, three distinct classes, even as they
are divided the world over, viz.: the high, the middle and the lower.
There is no such thing as caste, however; the different grades of society
are open to all. The Chinese divide themselves up into scholars, farmers,
workmen and merchants. A still better division would be (1) aristocracy,
(2) merchants and farmers, and (3) the laborers.
In the aristocracy are included the Imperial family, the princes, the
mandarins and the literati.
The homes of this class are built of brick and stone. Whilst the architecture
is very simple, yet they are sometimes most exquisitely decorated with
carvings and paintings outwardly and inwardly. Sometimes, as in the case
of a dwelling on Kolongsu, these are built in suites of dwellings, arranged
around open courts, some to accommodate the numerous wives and families,
others for guests according to their rank, others for secretaries and
teachers, and still others for the retainers and servants.
For furniture, carved chairs, hard and uncomfortable, with the indispensable
tea-table between every two, are arranged about the room. Sometimes there
are settees also. The walls are loaded with scrolls and banners, inscribed
on which are the choice words of China's great Sage, or perhaps phrases
lauding the virtues and greatness of the families to which they belong,
in each particular instance.
There is no carpet on the floor. Tile floors are the
fashion, and it prevails universally. There are no bay windows or balconies
attached to these houses, and until recently no window-glass was employed
in their construction. The light usuallv travels through the open door
and apertures in the wall, which are called windows, if it ever at all
gains admittance into these houses. At the present time, howevcr, Chinese
houses, of the richer classes, at least, are modernized and civilized
to the extent of having window-glass. It is a step in advance, and to
us, who watch every step so closely, it indicates an onward and upward
stride of civilization and Christianization, slow though it be and not
always apparent. And we breathe the prayer that the windows may be placed
in their souls, so that the true light may shine in and scatter all the
darkness that has hung so long and so heavily upon them..
In the middle class, i. e., merchants and farmers, are
included the bankers, merchants, clerks, teachers and farmers. Their homes
generally are less elaborate than those just above them. While they are
not rich as a class (they are poor, as we count riches), still, some of
these merchants may be well termed "merchant princes," and their
homes are quite as grand as any.
In this class, as a class, we find a nearer approach to our family life
than elsewhere in China. We may say here that we consider this class to
be the backbone of the nation and the hope of the Church. And it is of
this material principally that our Amoy churches
Generally there is but one wife, and she has a voice
in the domestic affairs of the household. She may also possess a fair
The business of the country, for respectability, competition and honesty
will compare favorably with the business of other countries, such as manufacturing,
shipping and mercantile.
There are no more clever farmers in the world. Their
farms are exceedingly small, compared with American farms. They are kept
under a high state of cultivation, and around about Amoy
are expected to yield two crops each year.
Their little farms of half an acre to three or four acres, some terraced
one above the other up the hillside, have more the appearance of garden
spots than otherwise.
The principal products about Amoy are rice,
sugar-cane, sweet potatoes, Irish potatoes, beans, peanuts, peas, cabbage
and wheat. Opium is also being cultivated. Fruit abounds. There are orange,
banana and pumelo orchards, yielding their delicious products.
Guavas, persimmons, cocoanuts and pineapples, figs and mangoes are cultivated
and yield in their season. Tea is not extensively raised. Most of the
tea is cultivated in Formosa and transshipped from this port. The farmer
is the most independent and most respected individual in the Empire.
In the laboring class are included the carters, farm hands, wheelbarrow
men, chair-bearers, boatmen and runners. Their homes are simply wretched.
No pen can describe them as they are, for one cannot transcribe smells.
(This is not only applicable to the homes of the poor. In every home odoriferous
sights fill earth and sky.) So what need to attempt even to describe them.
All we need say is that if one wishes to witness poverty, misery, in grossest
forms, visit the homes of the poor of China. There may be places where
more filth abounds, but for downright poverty, bare walls and floors,
one would have to search far to find their equal.
Yet this very class teach us two beautiful lessons of submission and liberality.
Among all this army of struggler very few words of complaint are
raised above the hum of toil and labor. Like some wise philosophers patiently
enduring what they cannot be curing, this mighty host of sufferers march
on in unbroken ranks, toiling on and on under most cruel bondage. Who
ever heard of such a thing as a strike, or a rebellion against capital
amongst their number? No such thing is known. They are not a nation of
strikers in any sense. They are plodders and toilers, and the nation must
be very blind that casts them off for strikers and rioters and rebels.
We have not a few of this class enrolled among our church members. The
dear Lord was poor. So we despised not these poor ones, even though they
be Chinamen. It is from them that some princely sums are cast into the
No more beautiful sight, no more encouraging sign can be afforded than
this, showing how deeply rooted the Word of God has become in the heart
of this people when they give their dollars out of such poverty for the
Lord's work. We have reserved another place to speak more fully of their
benevolence, so there is no need to speak further here.
We do sometimes wonder what kind of crowns these will wear, what places
they will occupy in that upper Kingdom. We, who see the condition in which
they live and the magnificent sums they give, imagine it will be a very
bright crown, sparkling with jewels. And we imagine, too, that some of
them will have a place very near the great white throne.
Click here for "Discover Gulangyu"]
The meaning of this
word is "The Drum Wave Island." Ko, drum; long, a rushing stream
of water; su, an island. It is supposed to receive its name from a part
of the island, where there is a hollowed rock, through which the waters
of the sea rush, producing a sound like drumming.
On a great pile of high rocks (in the centre of the island), lifting their
grey heads 300 feet into the air, there is an inscription, the meaning
of which is: Kolongsu is the most
delightful spot under heaven.
Kolongsu lies just off south from
the city of Amoy¡ªabout one furlong. It was
at first considered more unhealthy than the city of Amoy,
with all its filth and dirt. When the British soldiers
attacked Amoy, they stationed themselves on this island. They died
off by hundreds, stricken down by fever, and to them and the early missionaries
it seemed nothing less than a deathtrap. Dr. Abeel,
Mr. Doty and Mr. Pohlman
first resided there, but on September 22, 1844, they all moved over to
Amoy. And there in the city, on the water's side, they built their homes,
which can be seen to this day. After twenty years' residence in Amoy,
the missionaries discovered that Kolongsu
was a much more healthy spot than Amoy. This
was not because the conditions of Kolongsu had changed, but it was because
the missionaries and soldiers in former days had to occupy Chinese homes,
which are bad enough themselves, but thrice uninhabitable when situated
in damp, low places. It was all right when they got up on the hilltops.
The resident physician condemned the houses in which the missionaries
were living in Amoy in the year 1865, and
then they began turning their attention to Kolongsu once more. The Mission
wrote home, asking for $6,000 to buy a site on which to build a house
on this island. In 1867 the site was secured, and the building so long
occupied by, and called for a quarter of a century, Mr. Talmage¡¯s
residence, was erected. Now all the foreigners (about 250 English, Portuguese
and Americans) reside on this island, and, although they have not found
it "the most delightful spot under heaven," they have found
it the best and most comfortable place for sixty miles around. Here are
located, too, the higher educational institutions of the three missions,
viz.: Theological seminary, boys¡¯ academy, girls' schools, Charlotte Duryee
Woman's Training School, and the Children's Home (orphanage).
The Douglas Memorial, erected in
1880 to the memory of Carstairs Douglas,
member of the English Presbyterian 3lission, is located on this island.
The students of all our schools, with native Christians residing on the
island, meet in this building every Sabbath for public worship.
There is also a union chapel on the island, where English services are
conducted every Sabbath by the missionaries. There are also consulates,
hotels and stores on the island.
And besides, on this same island there are three distinct Chinese villages,
with a population of four or five thouand. |
Kolongsu is a little more than a mile long and half a mile wide.
A road committee keeps a road that goes round the island in good condition,
and as this is the only civilized thoroughfare for miles around, it is
appreciated and enjoyed.
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