SAN DIEGO I
Photo by Ovinius Davis, Edinburgh.
THE REV. W. H. MURRAY.
BY THE USE OF WHICH
BOTH BLIND AND SIGHTED
CAN VERY QUICKLY
BE TAUGHT TO READ AND WRITE FLUENTLY
CONSTANCE F. GORDON-CUMMING
AUTHOR OF "WANDERINGS IN CHINA," "AT HOME IN FIJI," "FIRE FOUNTAINS
OF HAWAII." ETC. (PUBLISHED BY BLACKWOOD)
" TWO HAPPY YEARS IN CEYLON," ETC. (PUBLISHED BY CHATTO AND WINDUS)
A NEW EDITION
DOWNEY & CO. LTD.
12 YORK STREET, COVENT GARDEN, LONDON
" God hath chosen the weak things of the world to
confound the things which are mighty ;
" And base things of the world, and things which are
despised, hath GOD chosen .... to bring to nought things
that are :
" That no flesh should glory in His presence."
i Cor. i. 27 29.
The bright yellow binding of the book was selected
because in China this colour is held in much reverence,
being sacred to the Emperor. All Imperial buildings are
roofed with glazed tiles of this colour.
Friends in this country, and in the Colonies, or America,
could help to extend practical interest in the subject, by
ordering a few copies to lend, or place in public sitting
rooms. No one can tell what may be the mission of any
one copy of a book which tells of such a life-story.
A BRIEF EXPLANATION vii.-x.
A HAND MAP OF CHINESE DIALECTS xi.
BIOGRAPHY AND FIRST SIXTEEN YEARS IN CHINA, WORKING
AS COLPORTEUR AND FOR THE BLIND .... 1-84
NUMERAL TYPE ADAPTED TO THE SIGHTED . . . . 85-139
LETTERS FROM COMPETENT WITNESSES ... . . 139-160
THE LORD'S PRAYER IN FOUR TYPES . . . . 161, 162
EXPLANATION, WITH ILLUSTRATIONS, BY PROFESSOR RUSSELL,
OF THE IMPERIAL COLLEGE OF PEKING .... 163-181
MEMBERS OF COMMITTEE AND FINANCE .... 182
CATALOGUE OF Miss C. F. GORDON CUMMING'S BOOKS .last page
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.
Photo of the Rev. W. H. Murray Frontispiece
Blind Chinaman led by a Boy 1 1
Braille's Embossed Symbols 18
A page from Murray's Primer 21
Murray's School of Blind Men and P>oys ... 35
Blind Peter and his Bride 39
Page of Shorthand 45
The Rev. W. H. and Mrs. Murray 51
Two Girls on a Chinese wheelbarrow ...... 58
Ch'ang, the Blind Apostle of Manchuria . . . . -75
The Numeral Type for Blind and Sighted 87
A page of Numeral Type . . 91
Blind Hannah and her first Class of Sighted Women ... 94
Musical Notes in Numeral Type ....... 95
The Rev. W. H. Murray's Four Eldest Children . . . .107
A page from the Parallel Gospel . . . . . . .123
Plan of Peking 131
The Lord's Prayer in Four Types 161
Tables of all the Symbols used in Numtral Type .... 164
Table of Mnemonic Sounds 173
Braille's raised Dots 175
Symbols in Numeral Type 1/6
Tones (how indicated) 177
Reading Lesson . 179
A BRIEF EXPLANATION OF THE SYSTEM.
THE EXTRAORDINARY SIMPLICITY OF THIS SYSTEM IS DUE TO
THE FACT THAT IT WAS EVOLVED IN TWO DISTINCT STAGES,
THE FIRST BEING ONLY FOR THE USE OF THE BLIND.
ITS VALUE LIES IN THE FACT THAT ALMOST ALL CONVERTS
TO THE CHRISTIAN FAITH ARE QUITE ILLITERATE PERSONS,
who are unable to read, and can only join in hymns they
have learned by heart, or listen to what is read or preached
(on perhaps the very few occasions) when they can get
the opportunity of hearing. Few indeed can carry a book
home to read to themselves or their neighbours.
Here, therefore, we realize something of the vast im-
portance of the invention of a system so very simple that
the most illiterate persons, both blind and sighted, can (IF
THEY CHOOSE TO TRY) learn both to read and write in
less than three months many have done so in half that
A sighted Chinaman learning to read his own book must
be able to recognize at sight AT LEAST FOUR THOUSAND
COMPLICATED CHARACTERS. This generally involves about
six years of study.
It was, however, pointed out by Dr. Morrison, the first
missionary to China, that (as is stated in the native diction-
aries) there are only FOUR HUNDRED AND TWENTY DISTINCT
SOUNDS IN MANDARIN-CHINESE, WHICH is THE LANGUAGE OF
FOUR-FIFTHS OF THE WHOLE EMPIRE. Therefore, when Mr.
viii A BRIEF EXPLANA TION
Murray longed to teach the blind, he aimed at finding some
method by which to represent four hundred and twenty
sounds. (He found it possible to reduce this number to 408.
Of the various methods hitherto invented in Europe for
teaching the blind, none expresses fine gradations of sound
so clearly as the system of embossed dots evolved by
Monsieur Braille. By taking a group of six dots, and
omitting one or more at a time, SIXTY-THREE SYMBOLS CAN
BE PRODUCED. These Mr. Braille arranged as representing
the twenty-six letters of our alphabet, and various syllables,
also punctuation and musical notes.
But as the Chinese have no alphabet, and it is necessary
to represent four hundred and eight sounds, MR. MURRAY
SOLVED THE DIFFICULTY BY MAKING THE EMBOSSED DOTS
REPRESENT NUMERALS ; the same group of dots, differently
placed, representing units, tens, and hundreds.
Ten groups represent units, i, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, o.
Any two of these symbols placed together represent tens,
e.g. 4 o = 40.
Any three represent hundreds, e.g. 408 = 408.
HE THEN NUMBERED THE FOUR HUNDRED AND EIGHT
SOUNDS OF MANDARIN CHINESE, as spoken at Peking. Thus
No. i stands for A ; No. 2 represents Ang ; No. 12 suggests
Chang ; No. 108, Hsiang ; No. 123, Jan ; No. 181, Liang ;
No. 302, Shuang ; No. 393, Ying, and so on (as anyone can
see for himself in Professor Russell's most clear explanation
of the system ; see Table A in the Appendix.
The pupils having learnt this list by heart (which they do
with remarkable facility), thenceforth find that the touch of
the dots representing any numeral, instinctively suggests
the corresponding sound (just in the same way as to us the
merest glance at certain letters of the alphabet suggests
certain sounds, e.g. we do not spell PLOUGH or ROUGH, we
utter the words without a moment's hesitation, although
the letters represent such different sounds).
On an average the blind pupils learn to read and write
A BRIEF EXPLANATION ix
fluently in less than three months from the date of their
first lesson. Many have done so in half that time.
For ten years (i.e. till 1889) Mr. Murray's invention
was supposed to be only for the blind. Then he realized
its infinitely wider application, namely, FOR THE USE OF
ILLITERATE SIGHTED PERSONS, who would never have time or
patience to learn to read their own complicated ideographs.
HE FOUND THAT he had only to adapt the Numeral Type
for their use BY THE VERY SIMPLE METHOD OF USING BLACK
LINES, PLAINLY VISIBLE TO THE EYE, INSTEAD OF THE
RAISED DOTS EMBOSSED FOR THE FINGERS OF THE BLIND.
The result surpasses his highest expectations. IN LESS
THAN THREE MONTHS the most ignorant peasants, instructed
by blind teachers from books prepared for sighted persons
by the pupils in his School for the Blind, find that
they can read more fluently than the average Chinaman can
do after several years' study of the Chinese ideograph.
MOREOVER, THEY ACQUIRE SIMULTANEOUSLY THE ART OF
WRITING CORRECTLY, which in the ordinary Chinese method
is a separate study, and so very difficult that comparatively
few persons ever master it.
The value of this invention in all Mission work is evident,
when it is considered that throughout China almost all
Christian converts are illiterate persons, who would never
attempt to acquire their own bewilderingly intricate hiero-
glyphics, and who can only be taught by ear, and even that,
perhaps, only on very rare occasions. Now those who take
the very small amount of time and trouble necessary to
master this system, can take any book printed in Numeral
Type to their own homes, and read to themselves and their
neighbours. So each convert will become a far more
effective home-missionary than heretofore.
Here we must note two points of special interest. In the
first place, if Mr. Murray had begun to work in any other
part of China, he would have found a different number of
sounds. But FROM HIS BEING LED TO BEGIN WORK AT
PEKING, HE OF COURSE ADAPTED HIS SYSTEM TO PEKINGESE
MANDARIN, WHICH IS THE STANDARD FOR THE EMPIRE.
Moreover, had he intentionally set himself to try to in-
vent some easy method for the use of illiterate sighted
persons, he would almost inevitably have devised something
alphabetic, with curved forms both abhorrent to the
Chinese as being essentially " foreign."
BUT BECAUSE HE WAS GUIDED TO WORK FIRST FOR THE
BLIND, HE NECESSARILY ADOPTED BRAILLE 1 S SYMBOLS, AND
WHEN THESE ARE MADE VISIBLE BY BEING CONNECTED
BY BLACK LINES, THE RESULT IS A SERIES OF THE SIMPLEST
GEOMETRIC FORMS, WHICH REPRESENT NUMERALS, and
both Numerals and Geometric forms are held in reverence
by the Chinese.
So, instead of despising these new symbols, they are
inclined to receive them with favour, as a wondrously
modified and simplified form of the square ideograph which
they so deeply revere.
Further, they can easily be written in columns with the
tiny brush and Indian (or rather, " China ") ink to which
they are accustomed.
The objects of the Mission may be briefly summarized as
I. WORK FOR THE BLIND.
II. WORK BY THE BLIND FOR THE BLIND.
III. WORK BY THE BLIND FOR ILLITERATE SIGHTED
AN EXTEMPORIZED MAP OF CHINA.
Look at the back of your left hand.
The four fingers, from A to B C D E, represent the
Provinces in which Mandarin Chinese is spoken, and for
which Mr. Murray has adapted his Numeral Type. The
population of these is estimated at 300,000,000.
The eighteen million inhabitants of Manchuria also speak
Mandarin-Chinese, and acquire the Numeral System with
The thumb, A to F, represents all the non-Mandarin
districts in the South East, and very varied dialects to
which it has NOT been adapted. These are spoken by about
84,000,000 persons, and include Shanghai, Ningpo, Foochow,
Amoy, Swatow, Canton and the Island of Formosa", which are
all non-Mandarin, and are so very different from one
another that each requires a separate version of the Bible,
which has been printed for their use by the great Bible
Societies in the Roman alphabet.
It is only in non-Mandarin districts that this has been
xii A VAST FIELD
done, so that if Mr. Murray's confident assurance proves
correct, and his invention is really shown to be capable or
proving a blessing to four-fifths of the illiterate inhabitants
of China (and an enormous economy to the Bible Societies),
it must be admitted that the field open to him is a pretty
large one ; and surely all who desire to spread the know-
ledge of the Gospel in that vast land may well not merely
wish him success, but also do what in them lies to further
his very uphill work.
INVENTOR OF THE NUMERAL
TYPE FOR CHINA.
" The people that sat in darkness have seen a Great Light."
" They bring a blind man unto HIM."
" It is always interesting to trace the genesis of any important
cause, to note the small beginning out of which momentous
results grow. How much more so, when the issues at stake are
for Eternity, and when development and advance mean the growth
of the Kingdom of Righteousness." MRS. DUNCAN MCLAREN.
MONG the innumerable inventions of the present
day, there is one so simple, and produced by a
worker so humble, that it is in danger of being overlooked ;
and yet so vast are its latent capabilities, that I have no
doubt whatever that it is destined to prove a most valuable
handmaid to all missionary effort in China. It is already
available for all those provinces where Mandarin-Chinese is
spoken, that is to say, in four-fifths of that vast Empire, and
it is quite possible that its simplicity and cheapness of pro-
duction may eventually lead to its being adapted to the
varied non-Mandarin dialects which make up the remaining
(As regards the many dialects spoken in China, there are
no greater authorities than Dr. Edkins and Mr. P. G. von
Mollendorff. In a paper read by the latter in December,
1894, before the China Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society
(Dr. Edkins in the chair), he estimates that the Mandarin
2 A LITTLE ACORN
dialect is spoken by four-fifths of the inhabitants of China
Proper. He reckons 300 millions who speak Mandarin, and
84 millions (chiefly along the coast of South and Central
China) who talk other dialects, each of which is composed of
a different number of sounds, and is different in construction.)
The work of the Rev. W. H. Murray has only just come
to the surface sufficiently to claim public recognition. For
years the little acorn which he has planted has been quietly
germinating in the heart of the Chinese capital, known only
to a handful of poor blind men and women, and scarcely
even recognized by many of the little group of foreign
residents in that city ; and though there is every prospect
that it will assuredly develop into a wide-spreading Tree of
Life and Knowledge, destined to overshadow the whole land
with its beneficent influence, it is as yet but a feeble sapling,
the growth of which, humanly speaking, depends on the
fostering care of the Christian public.
Only those who have attempted to master the excruciat-
ing difficulties of any of the numerous dialects of Chinese, or
the terrible array of intricate written characters which the
weary eye must transfer to memory ere it is possible to
read the simplest book, can fully appreciate the boon which
has been conferred on the legion of the Blind in China,
and now also on the illiterate Sighted, by means of the
patient ingenuity of a Scotch working-man.
The calling to Mission work of the benefactor who has
been enabled in so wonderful a sense to open the eyes of
the blind, reminds me of one of the Bible stories, of
how often, when GOD selected men for special work, HE
summoned them from the plough, from the care of their
flocks, from their fishing, mending their nets, or tent-
making. And ONE WHO was LORD of all, consecrated all
honest work, by choosing to receive His early human
training in the carpenter's shop.
William H. Murray was born at Port Dundas, near
Glasgow, on June 3rd, 1843 the only son in a family of
EARLY YEARS 3
ten children. He believes the date of his birth to have
been June 3rd, 1843, but is not positive as to the year, the
first pages of the family Bible on which were inscribed these
domestic entries having been accidentally burnt.*
His father was employed at Brownlee's saw mills in Corn
Street, off the Garscube Road, beside the canal in Port
Dundas, and the family lived at St.. George's-in-the-Fields,
St. George's Road.
In the natural course of events the lad would in due time
have adopted his father's profession as a saw-miller, but for
an accident by which, when about nine years of age, while
too fearlessly examining the machinery, his left arm was
torn off and he was thus disabled an apparent calamity
which was the first link in that chain of events leading up to
discovery which, if properly developed, may prove an in-
calculable boon to millions yet unborn in the Celestial
From the first, the brave boy resolved that although
crippled, he would never be a burden to his parents, arid
that whatever he had to do, should be done as well as
possible. So he began by being an earnest, careful school-
boy, and so soon as he was able to work for his living, he
obtained employment as a rural letter carrier in the neigh-
bourhood of Glasgow.
Many friends along his route still remember the ever
obliging and genial one-armed young postman, who daily
started from the General Post Office in Glasgow at 5 a.m.
and walked via Cathcart and Busby to Carmunnock, return-
ing in the afternoon a daily round of eighteen miles.
In this, however, the subject of Sunday work proved a
serious difficulty, which he solved by giving up two shillings
a week of his scanty wages in order to be free-d from an
* Mr. John McGaw, Postmaster at Old Cathcart, Glasgow, who hap-
pened to be present at the moment of the accident, and watched with
interest the boy's subsequent development, maintains that he was born in
4 AN EARNEST POSTMAN
obligation against which his conscience revolted. His
sacrifice, however, bore good fruit, for the earnest remon-
strances of this young postman proved the commencement
of that widespread movement which has secured so large a
measure of Sabbatical rest for his comrades in the service of
the Post Office.
He devoted part of his Sundays to teaching in a Sunday-
school, for which purpose he learnt music on the Tonic
Sol-Fa system. Little did he then foresee how valuable this
learning would prove to his future work in far-distant
China. Many years later, when he discovered the need
of music for his Blind Students, he represented these notes
by numerals, and as he only uses half of Braille's symbols
for reading, he uses the other half to represent the Tonic
Sol-Fa in his Numeral Type.
Weary as he must often have been with his daily
eighteen miles' tramp, he determined that he would devote
his evenings to the study of Hebrew^ and Greek * in order
to be able to read the Holy Scriptures in the original. Of
course he had already mastered Latin.
When he had made some progress in these languages he
resolved that in addition to his mail-bags, he would always
carry with him his precious books. Thenceforth he divided
his long daily walk into three parts, and as he tramped along
the monotonous road, he beguiled a third of the distance
by the study of the Holy Scriptures in the original Hebrew;
the second beat was devoted to the Greek Testament;
while the last section was reserved for quiet prayer that
GOD would make it plain what HE intended His servant to
do with his life.
More and more clearly was it impressed on his mind that
in some way he was to prepare himself for Mission Work.
* His faithful friend, Dr. T. Brown Henderson, writes : " Murray and
I studied ' Stokes on Memory ' together. He used to pigeon-hole two
hundred Greek words in an evening, and next day could recall them all
quite easily, by his mnemonics."
AMONG THE SAILORS 5
With this object in view he applied again and again to the
National Bible Society of Scotland. But though greatly
attracted by the lad, the Secretary feared that one so
unassuming, and apparently so very simple, would fail to
prove a successful Colporteur, and, having given up the
secure services of the Post Office, might be thrown, literally
single-handed, on the world.
But, as the same Secretary * now says, " What could he
do against a man who was praying himself into the service
of the Society ? "
At last, when in 1863 he renewed his application to the
National Bible Society, his services were accepted, and he
was commissioned to commence work among the ships
congregated on the Clyde, and very soon the Society
discovered that "it had never had such a Colporteur" as
the gentle being who made his way among the sailors of all
nations, readily acquiring such scraps of divers tongues as
enabled him to effect more sales of the Holy Scriptures
in foreign languages than had been accomplished by any
of his predecessors. And yet (like another who, more than
three thousand years ago, was called from the care of his
father-in-law's flock to accomplish a great work) in his own
mother tongue he is " not eloquent, but slow of speech."
The work amongst sailors was reserved for the winter
months. In summer he was sent round wild districts in
the Scotch Highlands, pushing his Bible-cart along many a
lonely track of bleak moorland a task which, on hilly
roads, must often have needed all the strength of this
willing but only one-armed colporteur, who all the time
was longing to be employed in carrying the Word of Life
to those to whom it was yet unknown.
[ wonder whether in those years of probation, he often
found encouragement in the thought of how only a hundred
years ago, William Marsham, bookseller's apprentice, sat
down wearily in Westminster Abbey, grieving at the
* William T. Slowan, Esq.
6 SMALL BEGINNINGS
prospect of spending his life in carrying heavy book parcels,
while Carey, the Baptist cobbler, was being snubbed by the
assembled ministers for presuming to suggest the duty of
commencing Foreign Missions ! Yet notwithstanding all
the drawbacks of general inertia, and the fewness of the
workers, look at the results to-day of the work begun
jointly by the bookseller's apprentice and the poor cobbler !
Truly, in the spiritual kingdom, weak things of the earth
are chosen to confound the mighty !
Perhaps Murray remembered how seventy years ago
Morrison began Mission work in China alone and despised,
having to wait fourteen years ere he baptized his first
convert. To-day, 100,000 in that great Empire own
allegiance to his MASTER, and of these about 20,000 are
habitual communicants in connection with one or other of
the Protestant Missions.
Doubtless also, Murray's thoughts sometimes pictured
the two humble Wesleyan missionaries, Messrs. Cargill
and Cross, who, in 1835, landed on one of the Fijian Isles, at
the imminent hazard of their lives, yet resolved at all risks
to carry their SAVIOUR'S Message of Love to those ferociously
bloodthirsty cannibals.* To-day, not alone in the 200 isles
of that fair archipelago, but throughout the beautiful groups
which stud the South Pacific, not a trace of old heathenism
Or his thoughts may have travelled to Livingstone, the
Glasgow cotton-piecer, and to scores of other humble
human agents, and from one and all he would gather the
same lesson of earnest care in doing the very best for the
work now committed to each one of us no matter how
trivial it may seem, assured that it must be the best prepara-
tion for whatever else we may be destined to accomplish.
Ere long, Murray's remarkable aptitude for languages
attracted the notice of some of the Directors of his Society.
* See "At Home in Fiji," page 65, by C. F. Gordon-Gumming, pub
lished by Blackwood.
COLLEGE CLASSES ?
It was suggested that he might attend classes at the Old
College in the High Street (a friend helping him to pay his
fees), provided his studies nowise interfered with his
regular work. All day long, therefore, through the gloomy
Glasgow winters he stood in the streets beside his Bible
waggon, hurrying back to his lodging for a hasty supper ;
then studying till 9 o'clock, and rising daily at 3 a.m. on
the chill wintry mornings in order to prepare for his classes
at College from 8 till 10 a.m., at which hour he began a
new day's work of street bookselling.
Thinking it possible that his calling in life might prove
to be the Ministry, he devoted himself latterly to a course
of Theological study, which eventually proved very valuable,
but for some years longer he was destined to work as a
street bookseller, for when in 1871 he completed his seven
years' apprenticeship as a home colporteur, he was asked
whether he would go to North China, as agent for the
National Bible Society ? To this he glady assented, and
very soon sailed for China, where it was arranged that ere
beginning work at Peking, the Imperial capital, he should
remain six months at Cheefoo, engaged in the bewildering
task of learning to recognize at sight the 4000 intricate
ideographs or written characters by which the Chinese
language is represented on paper characters which some-
one has aptly compared to the marks that might be left by
a drunken fly that had dipped its feet in ink.
Of these, between 30,000 and 40,000 are to be found in
the Chinese dictionaries, and a very large number of these
must be mastered ere the student can read the classics of
Confucius. But for a very simple book such as the Bible
it suffices to have a thorough knowledge of 4000, and it
generally takes a Chinaman about six years to master
these. We, who had only to learn twenty-six * very
simple letters of the alphabet, can quite understand that
the vast majority of the Chinese never attempt to learn
to read, still less would they dream of learning to write
8 A COLPORTEUR IN CHINA
It is estimated that not more than five per cent, ot the
men and one in two hundred of the women can read the
Chinese characters. These are all persons of some leisure,
and as the Christian converts are almost invariably quite
poor working people, it follows that hitherto none of these
have been able to read at all.
But the same aptitude for mastering crabbed symbols
which had facilitated Mr. Murray's study of Greek and
Hebrew, enabled this very diligent student to acquire
about 2000 Chinese characters in four months ; then he
started on his first pioneer journey to visit a city about
250 miles in the interior of the Province of Shang-tung. He
invented a rude litter slung between four mules, as the
most convenient method of carrying his books, and thus
made his way safely along precipitous mountain roads,
facing bitter cold, and many difficulties, but sustained
through all discouragements by occasional gleams of great
But it is not my purpose to enlarge on Mr. Murray's
many and varied experiences during a quarter of a century
of incessant work as a colporteur in various provinces of
China, often in stifling heat beneath the blazing sun, and in
suffocating dust at other times almost washed away by the
violence of the rains, or on his more adventurous expeditions
into Manchuria and Mongolia, though these are full of
stirring human interest, by no means lacking in quaint
Imagine travelling all day by difficult paths, crossing
dangerous rivers, and facing all manner of perils, to find
oneself at night glad to seek shelter in a wretched so-called
inn, which proves to be little better than a miserable shed,
wherein mules and men seek shelter together from the
pitiless storm, where the scanty food is of the coarsest and
most repellent to the foreign palate, and where the
traveller, blinded by the dense smoke which pervades the
house, is perhaps guided to the only " reserved " sleeping
THE REWARD OF PATIENCE 9
berth the post of honour which proves to be the coffin
which the host is carefully cherishing for his own eventual
use the filial and most acceptable gift of his dutiful sons !
As regards work, Mr. Murray has sometimes had to face
the discouragement and danger of waiting till riotous and
antagonistic mobs grew weary of their own rude insolence
to the gentle foreign teacher. But his unfailing courtesy
and marvellous patience and perseverance in his efforts for
their good, have rarely failed of ultimate success.
On one occasion, after he had thus patiently endured
weeks of annoyance without effecting a single sale, the
fickle folk suddenly veered round, and clamoured for the
foreign " Classics of Jesus ; " so that he could scarcely
produce copies fast enough, and when evening came he
found he had sold 3000 books ! After this the people in
that city became so friendly that they would not hear of
his leaving them, so he remained there for six months ; his
knowledge of machinery and of shipping details proving an
unfailing source of interest to the crowds who thronged
him ; and it is almost needless to add that the influence
thus acquired was invariably used as a means to edge in the
subject which ever filled his heart.
Since his arrival in China he and his Chinese assistants
have sold upwards of 450,000 copies and portions of the
Holy Scriptures in the Chinese character. Many of these
have been purchased at great fairs by merchants and
influential men from remote districts, and some copies even
found access within the sacred precincts of the jealously-
guarded Imperial Palace many years before the Empress
consented to accept the Book which was so specially
prepared as her birthday gift. Truly, were these the sole
results of Mr. Murray's accident, they would have proved
no trifling gain to some of his fellow-men.
But interesting as are all efforts for imparting spiritual
light to those into whose hearts it has not yet shined, the
work which is so emphatically Mr. Murray's own peculiar
io PREVALENCE OF &LIMDNESS
Gift, is that of enlightening those who are also physically
blind. One of the first things which deeply impressed him
(as it must impress every traveller who looks around him in
the densely crowded streets of Chinese cities) was the
extraordinary number of blind men who mingle in every
crowd, some going about alone, or guided by a child ;
others in gangs of eight or ten, each guided by the man in
front of him, while the leader feels his way with a long stick
a most literal illustration of the blind leading the blind.
A gentleman assured me that he had on one occasion seen
no less than 600 miserable blind beggars all assembled to
share a gratuitous distribution of rice ! r
I am told that even in our own Colony of Hong Kong
several hundred miserable beggars may often be seen in
Battery Park in the early morning when the European
Police are off duty, and a large proportion of these are
Blind. But on certain days, when a rich Parsee gives
large alms, all the approaches to his house are literally
blocked by wretched creatures, leprous, maimed, halt and
This very large proportion of blindness is due to several
causes, such as leprosy, small-pox, neglected ophthalmia,
and general dirt, to which, in great tracts of North China,
we must add the stifling dust and smoke caused by the lack
of ordinary fuel, which leads the people, all through the
long, parching summer, to cut every blade of sun-dried
grass, and turf sods, to heat their ovens. This produces a
dense smoke, which penetrates to every corner of the
houses, causing the eyes to smart most painfully.
Sad to say, a considerable number of children are
purposely blinded by their own parents, that they may be
trained to earn a living as fortune-tellers. I have been told
by medical missionaries that they have sometimes offered
to treat curable cases of defective sight in young children
and the parents have refused to allow them to do so, be-
cause as the children grew up they would not be able to
William Simpson, F.R.G.S.
BLIND CHINAMAN LED BY BOY.
12 DARKENED LIVES
earn so much, and consequently they would themselves have
to work harder. The Chinese believe that the blind can
see into the hearts of others, and are thus enabled to
reveal secrets. So mere boys become professional fortune-
Now when you consider the size of the vast Chinese
Empire as compared with our little England (which is
barely the size of the smallest of the Eighteen Provinces,
and not a third of the size of the larger ones), and recollect
that in our favoured land, where the ravages of small-pox
and ophthalmia are so effectually kept in check, there are
nearly 40,000 blind persons, to say nothing of the
multitudes whose sight is seriously defective, and when you
come to think that, although there is only provision for
about 3000 in asylums, yet it is very exceptional to see even
one blind person in England, you can readily understand
that when we roughly estimate the blind of China at
500,000 (that is to say, an average of one in 600, supposing
the population not to exceed 300,000,000), we are probably
very far below the mark.
Many of these blind men and women are simply most
miserable beggars, hungry and almost naked, lying on the
dusty highway and clamouring for alms, holding out
begging bowls to receive gifts of rice or other food ; or else
yelling frightful songs in most discordant chorus, to an
accompaniment of clanging cymbals, beating small gongs
or clacking wooden clappers, producing such a din that the
-deafened bystanders gladly pay the infinitesimal coin which
induces them to move on. Those who earn their living as
fortune-tellers, play dismally on flutes to attract attention.
These men carry a board with movable pieces something like
draughts, each marked by a symbol, by means of which they
pretend to foretell lucky days, and answer all manner of
questions. Thus for unnumbered centuries have the blind
legions of China dragged through their darkened, dreary
lives, a burden to themselves and to all around them, and
LONGING TO HELP 13
as to the possibility of teaching them any useful way of
earning their living, that seems never to have occurred to
any Native philanthropist.
And yet blindness seems to be the only form of human
suffering for which the average Chinaman feels a certain
moderate degree of pity. Few are so utterly debased as to
rob a sightless man, and such are generally addressed by a
title of respect, as Hsien-Sheng, i.e. Teacher, although the
adult blind are, as a class, about the most disreputable
members of the community so bad that even a hopeful
soul like their friend Mr. Murray is compelled to admit that
the majority appear incorrigible.
All his hopes, therefore, rest on training young lads, and
so far as possible isolating them from their seniors, for
whom he fears that comparatively little can be done. But
by taking boys in hand as early as possible some as young
as seven years of age he has good hope that (as spotless
paper may be evolved from foulest rags) so from this, the
worst class of the people, he may rescue many, who, under
careful training, may not only attain undreamt-of gladness
for themselves, but may also be made the means of incal-
culable good to their fellow-countrymen truly a bright
star of hope now rising on their gloomy horizon.
Of course, to this sweeping classification of the adult
blind, there are many bright exceptions, but almost
invariably amongst those who have become blind after they
were grown up, and who having previously been devout
heathen, have retained the devout habit of mind after they
To this again there are exceptions. I have received a
most interesting letter from Mr. E. F. Knickerbocker of the
China Inland Mission, writing from Ninghai in the Province
of Chekiang, he tells me the history of the leading Christian
at one of his outstations. This man was the very truculent
head of a family which had long had a blood feud with
another clan. He spent large sums of money on hiring
14 MADE BLIND ON PURPOSE
several hundred mercenary soldiers to wage war on these
neighbours, and utterly refused to accept any overtures of
peace. It was evident that both families would soon be
totally ruined, if not exterminated.
In this dilemma his aged Father entered into a conspiracy
with the enemy, and by his aid, his too warlike son was
captured and made blind. (This is said to be a common
method of dealing with unruly people in China !) Won-
derful to relate, this fiery warrior's whole nature seemed to
change when he sat helpless in darkness. He sought com-
fort and sympathy from the Christians, to whom he had
hitherto been intensely antagonistic, and ere long he him-
self desired baptism, has ever since proved himself an earnest
and humble follower of the Saviour, and eventually has
found congenial occupation as a door-keeper in the house
of the true GOD.
The first thing which specially attracted Mr. Murray's
attention to the present work was the fact that amongst the
crowds who (with true Chinese reverence for all written
characters) pressed forward to purchase the copies or por-
tions of Holy Scripture which he offered for sale at a very
cheap rate, blind men sometimes came, likewise desiring to
purchase the " Foreign Classics of Jesus " as our Bible is
called by men accustomed from their infancy to reverence
"the Classics of Confucius." When he asked why they
wanted a book which they could not see to read, they replied
that they would keep it, and that perhaps friends who
could read would sometimes let them hear it. Then he
would tell them how, in Europe, the blind are taught to read
and even to write ; but this they never could believe, for he
seemed to them as one that mocked, so utterly incredible did
it appear that anyone should learn to read with his fingers.
But the more he saw, the more grievous did it appear that
absolutely nothing has been done for those darkened lives
by any Christian Agency known in Peking, and he began
to plead their cause amongst the missionaries pf various
CLAY SYMBOLS 15
nations, whom he could reach. These, however, very
naturally replied, " We Christian missionaries of all
Protestant denominations put together, are in the pro-
portion of one to one million of the population. How can
we undertake any additional work ? Perhaps in the next
generation, if there are ten times as many missionaries and
ten times the funds now available, something may be done
for the Blind of China."
Still as he went about his daily task, mingling with ever-
changing crowds, in scorching summer and freezing winter,
this thought was never absent from his mind. Failing to
awaken human sympathy, his soul was the more ceaselessly
absorbed in prayer that some means might be revealed to
him whereby he might help these poor neglected sufferers.
He had need of truly GoD-given patience, for eight years
elapsed ere he arrived at a satisfactory solution.
The first step in the right direction was when he realized
that although at least 4000 complicated characters are used
in printing even a simple book, there are really only 408
distinct sounds in Mandarin Chinese, which is the
language of about 300,000,000 of the people. Something to
this effect is stated in the native dictionaries, which led Sir
Thomas Wade to prepare a Peking syllabary of 420 sounds.
These, however, Murray found it possible to reduce to 408.
So he aimed at representing 408 symbols.
Ere leaving Scotland he had mastered Professor Melville
Bell's system of Visible Speech for the instruction of the
deaf (which he found so greatly facilitated his own study of
the very difficult language, that he has prepared a pamphlet
on the subject, for the use of all foreign students). It
occurred to him that this might be adapted to the use of
the blind, his first idea being to reduce all Chinese sounds
to symbolic forms. He went so far as to have these made
in clay and baked, so that they could be handled. From
these some blind pupils learnt to read ; amongst others
who were thus taught was a deaf mute. But this system
16 MOON'S SYSTEM
was cumbersome and unsatisfactory all the more so, as it
occurred to the teacher that as the Chinese adore their own
written hieroglyphic characters, they would probably
render Divine honour to these clay symbols !
Moreover, during his residence in Glasgow, his interest
had been so deeply aroused by seeing blind persons reading
by means of Moon's system of embossed alphabetic symbols,
that he had set himself to master it. Now he ceaselessly
revolved in his own mind whether it might be possible to
adapt it to the bewildering intricacies of the non-alphabetic
Chinese language, with all its perplexing " Tones," which
by almost inappreciable difference of pronunciation, cause
one word to convey a dozen different meanings. But he
very soon realized that this system which cannot represent
musical notes, could never be satisfactorily adapted to the
amazingly fine gradations of sound which prove so
maddening to the foreigner who is learning Chinese.
It was not till long afterwards that he learnt that twenty
years previously Dr. Moon had produced portions ot
Scripture in his own type in various Chinese dialects, by
which some blind persons in the Southern Provinces had
been taught to read.
The solution of the problem was brought home to Mr.
Murray in a very simple and touching manner. I have
already called attention to the fact that he was Guided to
begin his work at Peking and that the Mandarin Chinese
there spoken is that which is accepted as the Standard for
On arriving in Pejcing, he being a Glasgow man was
rejoiced to find that another Glasgow man, Dr. Dudgeon,
was in charge of the London Medical Mission naturally he
at once asked for permission to lodge there. Now it so
happened that a little daughter of that house, Mina
Dudgeon, had been born blind, and just at the time when
Murray was agonizing to find some means of helping the
blind of China, a lady was sent from England to teach the
AN INSPIRA TION \ 7
little girl to read and write by means of the system of
embossed dots devised in the year 1834 by Mr. Braille, a
It is a system which expresses fine gradations of sound
so clearly, that the most complicated music can thus be
written for the blind. By taking a group of six dots,
arranged in two rows of three, so as to form an oblong,
and omitting one or more at a time, sixty-three
symbols can be produced. By means of these, we of
the Western World, represent the twenty-six letters of
the alphabet, which so accurately express the forty-one
sounds of the English language, and the balance of
the sixty-three are left to denote punctuation and musical
Needless to say that, taught by this lady * and the little
child, Mr. Murray very quickly mastered this system and
at once saw its excellence in presenting to the Blind any
language which is written alphabetically. But the Chinese
have no alphabet, and it was necessary to represent at least
408 sounds. How could Braille's sixty-three symbols be
made to do this ?
After long perplexity, and many months devoted to
experiments, there was vouchsafed to this patient seeker
after his LORD'S guiding, a Vision which he recognized as a
distinct Revelation, a belief which surely no Christian
will be inclined to gainsay. Iti the broad noonday, while
resting from his long morning of exhausting toil (book-
selling in the street under the blazing sun, among noisy
Chinese crowds), suddenly, as clearly as he now sees one of
his stereotyped books, he seemed to see outspread a great
scroll, whereon was embossed in Braille's dots, the whole
system which he has since then so patiently and ingeniously
worked out. Then the thought seemed to be flashed into
his mind, since there is no alphabet, "MAKE THESE DOTS
* Miss Chouler, now married to the Rev. W. Brereton.
1 8 BRAILLE 1 S EMtiOSSED DOTS
REPRESENT NUMERALS, AND THEN NUMBER THE SOUNDS."*
There, in a nutshell, lies the whole secret.
Table to show how six dots can be varied so as to produce the sixty-
three groups by means of which Braille represents letters and music.
It must not be inferred that Mr. Murray's Vision at once
brought him " to the desired haven " in regard to its
practical application. But the inspiration thus received
* It is interesting to learn that when (a good many years
after Murray had perfected his system) the telegraph was
introduced into China, the only practical system was found
to be that of numbering the 6000 characters most commonly
used, and telegraphing the number only. Thus the precise
characters are indicated with smallest possible risk of any
confusion. This, of course, involves a knowledge of the
ADAPTED TO NUMERALS tg
Was as a chart by which he was enabled carefully to work
his way through a thousand perplexities a labour of love
to which he devoted every hour that he could steal from
sleep or rest, through eight long years. For deeming
himself bound to devote every moment of the day to direct
work for the Bible Society, it was only after " business
hours " that he allowed himself to work out the details of
this, his special interest.
I have already explained in the Introduction how HE
DECIDED TO REPRESENT EACH OF THE TEN NUMERALS, I, 2,
3t 4i 5> 6, 7, 8, 9, o, BY ONE OF BRAILLE'S SYMBOLS ; BY
COMBINING THESE, ALL OTHER NUMBERS ARE OBTAINED. For
instance, it is clear that to represent the number 387, it is
only necessary to place the symbols 3, 8, and 7 one after
another. When the deft finger-tips are passed over the
symbols 3, 8, and 7 in immediate succession, the ready
mind instantly suggests the number 387, and by the law of
association which, natural and unerring in the mind of the
blind, takes the place of sight, the sentence in the Primer
beginning 387 and closing with the sound yang, springs into
mental vision, and the pupil involuntarily utters the sound
SIMILARLY THE ENTIRE 408 NUMBERS CAN BE REPRESENTED
BY THESE TEN SYMBOLS. BUT FOR THE SAKE OF DIS-
TINGUISHING EACH WORD FROM THE PRECEDING, FIVE INITIAL
SYMBOLS ARE ADDED, used solely to represent the first
numerals of the five groups of numerals between i and 99,
100 and 199, 200 and 299, 300 and 399, 400 and 408,
respectively, so that when the finger-tips rest upon any one
of these five initial symbols, the pupil discerns the beginning
of a new word.
With this equipment of 408 sentences, and fifteen of
Braille's symbols, the pupil is ready either to read or write
Chinese Mandarin Colloquial without the tones.
IF BOTH TONES AND SOUNDS ARE TO BE INDICATED, THEN
FIFTEEN MORE SYMBOLS ARE EMPLOYED, MAKING THIRTY IN
20 NUMBERING THE SOUNDS
ALL, AND LEAVING THIRTY-THREE SYMBOLS TO INDICATE
PUNCTUATION AND MUSICAL NOTES.
A very important feature is that no symbol is ever
employed for more than one purpose. Hence there is no
confusion in the mind of the pupil arising from the use of
the same symbol, sometimes as a mere initial, and at others
as an entire word.
Having thus apportioned the thirty symbols, Mr. Murray
proceeded to write the numerals I to 408, marking beneath
each, one of the 408 sounds, and as an aid to memory, he
arranged 408 doggerel lines connecting each numeral with
its corresponding sound, as children say,
One to make ready.
Two to prepare,
Three to be off,
Four to be there.
Of course for grave Chinamen who only reverence the
wisdom of Confucius, Mr. Murray had to arrange suggestive
sentences, such as that which stands for K'u, or bitter, for
which the line is, " Bitter lips are a disgrace," &c.
These are printed on four sheets, and divided into groups
of five lines each.
The pupil has in the first place to be taught these by
heart, and as alt the Chinese are endowed with singularly
retentive memories, they find no difficulty whatever in doing
so very rapidly, and thenceforth THE MOMENT THE FINGER
TOUCHES ANY NUMERAL, the mind instinctively flashes over
the line, and RECOGNIZES THE FINAL SYLLABLE AS THE SOUND
REPRESENTED, AND Vice Versa FOR WRITING, GIVEN A SOUND,
INSTANTANEOUSLY ITS NUMBER IS NAMED.
Just in the same way as in our own language, an
unconscious glance at a combination of certain letters of
the alphabet suggests a whole word, no matter how long.
We can conceive nothing more simple than our own
method, but the CHINESE FIND MURRAY'S SYSTEM OF
NUMBERS SO SURPRISINGLY EASY THAT THE MOST IGNORANT
1 S '49 MS 12
A page from Murray's Primer, giving a sample of the four thousand
Chinese symbols, and their simple equivalent in embossed dots, which in
no case exceed three groups, representing units, tens and hundreds.
22 FIRST FRUITS
BLIND PERSON WHO TAKES THE TROUBLE TO TRY TO
LEARN, ACQUIRES THE ARTS BOTH OF READING AND
WRITING FLUENTLY IN LESS THAN THREE MONTHS. AND
NOW SIGHTED PERSONS ARE LEARNING BY EXACTLY THE
I must add that the Chinese memory is so retentive, that
comparatively few take the trouble to learn the mnemonic
lines they find no difficulty in recollecting which number
represents each sound.
In point of fact many persons, both blind and sighted,
have mastered the system in a month or six weeks, whereas
the average Chinaman takes several years to acquire the art
of reading his own Chinese books in a very hesitating
manner ; the very difficult art of writing being a totally
separate study and so difficult that only a comparatively
small number even attempt to learn. Of course many
bright students, who can give a good deal of time to the
study of the Ideograph, do learn to read in a much shorter
time, but I am assured that six years is the average. This
is a most important point, for in Murray's simple system the
pupil acquires simultaneously the power of reading and
writing, and the latter is so rapid that a good pupil writes
on an average twenty-two words per minute.
Great was Mr. Murray's joy when he had so far arranged
his system that he could make it understood by those for
whose good he had so long toiled. He determined first
to try whether it could be acquired by a poor old blind
man, " Mr. Wang," who was crippled with rheumatism,
and like to die of want. He provided the old man with
such creature comforts as ensured a quiet mind, and then
with the aid of a native colporteur commenced teaching
him, and soon, to the unspeakable joy of both pupil and
teacher, the poor rheumatic fingers learned to discriminate
the dots, and the blind man was able to read the Holy
Word for himself.
Just then a blind man, Mr. Lee, " a tall, handsome man,
PRO VEN S UCCESS 23
aged forty-two," was brought to the medical mission, having
been severely kicked by a mule which he had inadvertently
approached, his long guiding stick passing between its legs.
This man was induced to beguile the hours of suffering by
the study of the new system. He proved an apt pupil, and
within two months could read well, though his finger-tips
were roughened by age and work.
The next pupil was a poor lad who had become blind,
and who, having no one to provide for him, had been left
to starve, and, when quite helpless, had literally been thrown
out with other rubbish on to a dung-heap and there left to
die alone. He was found by a man who had known his
father, and said he was a good man, and that it was a pity
to leave the lad to perish ; so having heard of the foreign
bookseller's extraordinary care for the blind, he actually
resolved to risk the very trifling expense of hiring a cart,
and brought the poor starving boy to Mr. Murray's lodgings,
begging him to try and save him. Of course Mr. Murray
carefully refunded the cart-hire, and then three months of
careful nursing, with good food and needful drugs, restored
the lad to health, and he soon was overjoyed by finding
himself able to acquire the honoured arts of reading and
Mr. Murray next selected a poor little orphan blind
beggar, named Sheng, " a little thing scarcely human in
appearance," whom he often observed lying naked in the
streets in the bitter cold of winter, but who, notwithstand-
ing his loneliness and poverty, always seemed cheerful and
content, and who, moreover, had the special recommenda-
tion of being free from all taint of leprosy (an important
consideration when you are bringing a guest to stay in
* So very practical is the honour accorded to learning that a literary
man is exempt from all the varieties of most igrominious corporal punish-
ment which figure so largely in Chinese Courts of Justice (or rather, of
Injustice !). A scholar in presence of the magistrate simply bows, and
stands erect, whereas a merchant or shopkeeper must lie prostrate, with
hjs head on the ground before the great man,
24 MY VISIT TO PEKING
your house). He took this lad in hand, washed and clothed
him, and undertook to feed and lodge him, provided he
would apply himself in earnest to mastering this new
learning. Naturally, the boy was delighted, and we can
imagine his ecstasy, and the thankfm gladness of his
teacher, when within six weeks he was able, not only to
read fluently, but to write with remarkable accuracy
better, indeed, than many sighted Chinamen can do after
studying the ordinary method for upwards of twenty years !
It was at this stage, in June, 1879, that I first made
acquaintance with Mr. Murray and these four pupils, the
very first rescued from the dreary darkness of blind life in
I had been travelling and paying a succession of long
delightful visits for about twelve years years of pleasant,
aimless drifting, with no special object beyond that of
filling large portfolios of water-colour sketches, and seeing
as much as possible of the manners and customs of far-
distant countries. After some interesting months in
Southern China, I decided that I had had enough of
wandering in foreign lands, and so resolved to return home.
I had actually secured my ticket from Shanghai to
California when it seemed as if all my friends had entered
into a conspiracy to prevent my leaving Ch'na without
visiting Peking, the great northern capital. To do this
involved a long and expensive journey, and I had really no
wish to see anything more. But it seemed as if I HAD TO
GO, for my friends were persistent, and at the last moment
the kind consul came to tell me that a pleasant English
family had just arrived on their return journey to Peking,
and that they would undertake all the trouble of securing
my boat for the three days' journey from Tientsin up the
Peiho river, and engaging carts for myself and luggage at
the end of the journey. So all was made so easy for me
that I had to give in, cancel my steamboat ticket to San
Fi ancisco, and secure one to Tientsin instead.
A CORDIAL WELCOME 25
My many kind friends in Shanghai had all (in truly
Eastern fashion) decided that I must be the guest of certain
foreign residents in Peking, to whom they despatched
introductory letters. Had their intention been carried out,
what I now believe to have been the reason why 1 was led
to Peking at that time, would have failed, for I should
certainly have seen nothing of Mr. Murray or his work.
But the Guiding, in which I so firmly believe, as directing
all the smallest details of our lives, had caused a missionary
lady at Tientsin (Mrs. Jonathan Lees) to have occasion to
send a special messenger to the London Medical Mission at
Peking, and in her letter she mentioned that she had just
been helping to furnish my boat with the necessary com-
forts for the three days' slow journey up the Peiho.* That
letter bore good fruit, for on my arrival, I was met by a
messenger bringing me the most cordial letter of welcome
from Dr. and Mrs. Dudgeon, of the London Mission, bidding
me consider their house my home for as long as I wished
to stay in Peking. So that day found me comfortably
established in a Chinese bungalow beside the London
Mission Hospital, where all day long Dr. Dudgeon was
ministering to sick and suffering Chinese patients.
Lodging within that same compound was Mr. Murray,
the colporteur of the National Bible Society, and (as all my
busy friends had to divide the troublesome task of escorting
the traveller with an insatiable thirst for sight-seeing, to all
the chief points of interest in the great capital) my gentle
countryman took charge of me when, in the small hours
of the morning (from 3 to 5 a.m.), he went to try and sell
books to the retainers of the Tartar nobles, on their way to
or from the Imperial Palace, when attending the Emperor's
Thus we became excellent friends, but it was not till
some days had elapsed that he summoned up courage very
* See "Wanderings in China," by Miss C. F. Gordon-Gumming,
vol. ii., page 136. (Published by Black wood.)
26 A TRAVELLERS FORGETFULNESS
shyly to ask if I would come and hear his blind men
reading. Of course I did so, but without in the least
realizing how great had been the difficulties to be overcome,
or how different was the system to those which have so
long made blind readers familiar objects in our own streets.
All the same, it struck me as intensely pathetic, as we
stood at the door of a dark room for it was evening, but
that made no difference to these blind readers to hear
what I knew to be words of Holy Scripture, read by men
who, less than four months previously, had sat begging
in the streets in misery and rags, on the verge of starvation,
and without a hope in life, now full of delight in their
newly acquired power, truly salvage from the slums of
Peking. Thus it was that by what we are wont to call
" the merest chance," I became an eye and ear witness of
these first samples of Mr. Murray's teaching.
It might naturally be supposed that on my return to
Britain I at once endeavoured to awaken practical interest
in this new effort to bring Light and Gladness to so
numerous a class of sorely afflicted fellow-creatures. But
this was not the case. It did not at the moment impress
me much more than if I had seen a very small school for the
blind in Europe, and (engrossed as I was with the innumer-
able and very novel scenes to be visited in China, and in my
subsequent travels in Japan and the Sandwich Isles) it
seemed for a while to have passed from my remembrance.
Then followed my return to Scotland, and the engrossing
interest of writing those records of my wanderings,* which
have secured to me so many friends personally unknown,
many of whom have in later years helped very practically
in the development of this work.
It is still more remarkable that no one else seemed then
to realize what a Wonderful Baby-Giant Murray had
evolved, and so for eight years more he continued to
work on almost unknown even to his few countrymen in
* gee Catalogue op last page,
PRACTICAL SYMPATHY 27
Peking, scrupulously throwing all his energies into street-
preaching and book-selling in all recognized working hours,
and only devoting the time he could strictly call his own,
to elaborating the details of his system, and training as
many pupils as he could feed and teach. This, of course,
meant sacrificing the noonday rest (so essential to one
whose work often began about 3 a.m.), and stealing hours
from the night, often after long days of hard travel, exposed
to scorching sun or freezing wintry blasts.
So the development of the work was hindered both by
lack of time and of funds, being limited to what could be
accomplished by the willing and continual self-denial of the
working-man, to whose patient ingenuity the whole exist-
ence of the system is due. And assuredly it must have
taxed his slender salary to the very utmost to provide
board, lodging and clothing for his indigent blind students
and make the modest sum intended to keep one man, feed
and clothe several. For when one poor helpless lad after
another seemed thrown upon his hands, he felt that it was
impossible to reject those so manifestly entrusted to his
care, and of course he could not leave them to earn their
living as street beggars while he was trying to teach them.
Very touching is the first account of this beginning of
work as described by Mr. Murray, when writing in May,
1879, to his friend Mr. W. H. Slowan Western Secretary
of the National Bible Society especially interesting, as
telling of " the new-born rill " which has now developed
into a gently flowing rivulet, and is assuredly destined to
become a broad river of Water of Life.
He describes his very first pupils, and how he had
(naturally) hesitated ere undertaking another. u Then I
thought if I could only take care of the odd pennies I
might have him for a pupil too. After some thought and
prayer, I asked him to join Ting in his studies, so now
Ting calls for him and they come along together. We can
hear the rattle of their long sticks some time before they
28 PECUNIARY DIFFICULTIES
appear, like husband and wife, arm in arm ! It is half-past
nine in the evening. The three ku-sao blind ones are
busy at their work. Just now I have been over to see
what was going on. To them darkness or light makes no
difference, but I could see nothing till I returned for my
lamp. Sheng (so recently a naked little street beggar) is
sitting as happy as a king between the two men, each
with a table of his own. . . . These three could now easily
teach other six, but I have gone as far as my means allow,
as each must have for his support (i.e. for actual food)
about thirteen shillings a month. If I could only get six
churches, each to maintain one blind man, we could have a
school of nine, the blind teaching the blind."
This letter and appeal were inserted by Mr. Slowan in
the " Quarterly Record " of the National Bible Society for
October, 1879, with a special reference to " the self-denying
and generous efforts of one whom the Society is honoured
to have as its representative at Peking." He pointed out
what heavy expense Mr. Murray had already incurred for
this benevolent effort, and added, " There should be little
difficulty in finding half-a-dozen congregations willing to
give iQ each for a year's training and support of so many
blind Chinamen, who will, it is hoped, in their turn, help
to diffuse the knowledge thus gained." He somewhat
unfortunately added a footnote to say that Mr. Thomas
Coats, of Paisley, who had long been personally interested
in Mr. Murray, had generously placed ^~ioo at his disposal
for this purpose I say unfortunately, because it seems to
have been assumed that no further help was required, so
that appeal in the " Quarterly '' does not seem to have
brought any responses.
Very quietly, but very steadily, Murray worked on from
1879, when he had perfected his system, till 1886, training
his little band in the humble schoolropm which he himself
had hired, and in which they not only studied but lived,
as, in order to isolate them from grossly contaminating
BRITISH AND FOREIGN BIBLE SOCIETY 29
surroundings, he found it necessary to feed, clothe, and
After awhile he earnestly appealed to the National Bible
Society of Scotland to undertake the moderate expense of
enabling him and his blind men to print the Scriptures for
the use of such blind persons as could be induced to learn
This was refused, as it was considered that the invention
was still at an experimental stage. (Yet Samson and
Solomon were once infants !) Thus Mr. Murray was left
to find money for the project where he best could.
In April, 1883, Mr. S. Dyer, agent at Shanghai for the
British and Foreign Bible Society, visited Peking and was
much struck by the work done in Mr. Murray's Blind
School. " Some of the boys wrote something to dictation.
Others were called in and read it off to them ; then played
a tune on the harmonium." Mr. Murray asked u whether
the British and Foreign Bible Society would help him in
bringing out the Scriptures in the Numeral Type for the
Blind ? "
This request was forwarded to the Rev. William Wright,
D.D., who, thinking it strange that an agent of the National
Bible Society should have to seek aid from another Society
in carrying out " what seems to be an admirable system for
teaching the Blind to read the Scriptures," wrote to the
senior Secretary, the Rev. W. H. Goold, D.D., to ascertain
his views on the subject. Dr. Goold replied in August,
1883, that his Committee were not disposed to take up this
work for the blind, but that they would rejoice should the
British and Foreign Bible Society see their way to do so.
So the British and Foreign Society supplied the necessary
materials for producing the first edition of St. Mark's
Gospel and the Acts of the Apostles, embossed by the
Blind themselves at the little school in Peking, specimens
of these being sent to London as soon as they were pre-
pared. Consequently to this Society belongs the credit of
3 o SMALL BEGINNINGS
having been the first to recognize and officially aid the
Encouraged by this beginning, Mr. Murray, in November,
1883, again applied to the National Bible Society of
Scotland to ask if they would not authorize the publication
of the Book of Genesis and the Gospel of St. Matthew ?
His friend, Mr. Slowan (the Western Secretary), who had
been in South Africa at the time of his previous application,
was now at headquarters, and was able to send him the
sanction of the Committee to produce these books, provided
the cost did not exceed 20. He added, " I hope you will
always find us ready to do all we can for one of our best men."
So since then a succession of small grants for materials
have been made by the National Bible Society, which have
enabled Mr. Murray and his blind men, working in their
own school, to produce all the principal books of the Bible
for the use of the Blind.
Then when the infinitely wider application of the
Numeral Type, as adapted for the use of Sighted persons,
more especially THE ILLITERATE POOR, had been fully
proved (by the pupils themselves printing small editions of
the four Gospels, and several Epistles, besides hymns and
reading lessons) the N.B.S. in 1893 1894 yielded to Mr.
Murray's importunity so far as to authorize him to print
FOR THE SOCIETY an edition of 2000 copies of St. Mark's
Gospel, with notes a small first step towards what will, we
believe, prove a very great development of the Society's
work in China.
It is satisfactory to learn that this first grant has been
followed by others, accompanied by the expression of the
interest of the Society, and its willingness to entertain
further applications to meet increased demand.
But I must return to the early days of the Blind School.
Besides perfecting the details of his system of reading and
writing, and making experiments in teaching his pupils
various industrial arts, he very soon determined to give
MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS 31
them some training in music. And here I may note how
wonderfully some men and women contrive to make the
very most of very small advantages in the way of teaching,
while others are mere sinks of learning, which never
reappears in any form for the good of others.
The only musical teaching Mr. Murray had ever received
was a sufficient knowledge of the old Tonic Sol-Fa system,
to enable him to teach the scholars at a Sunday-school, in
which he taught at the time when he was a postman in
Glasgow. All else he has evolved for himself.
In the first place he thought it would be a help to possess
some musical instruments, so on several occasions when
foreign residents were leaving Peking, and their very dilapi-
dated pianos or harmoniums (ruined by the excessive heat of
summer and cold of winter) were sold for a few dollars, he
contrived, off his modest pay as a street bookseller, to save the
needful coin and bought the apparently worthless old things.
Then (although he has only one arm) he contrived, with
the help of one of his Chinese assistants, to supply new
wires, reeds, felts, or leathers whatever was lacking and
made them once more give forth musical tones, and on
these he has taught several of his blind pupils to play so well,
that they are now the organists of various Mission Churches.
It is a remarkable fact that the blind seem almost in-
variably to be endowed with a marked faculty for music,
and though, when left to themselves, they naturally indulge
in the horrible caterwauling which passes for music in the
Celestial Empire, they very easily acquire European tunes,
and not only pick up a new air very rapidly, but remember
it accurately a very important qualification for all engaged
in pioneer Mission-work, in which the value of singing, as
the handmaid of preaching, is being more and more fully
recognized in all parts of the world.*
* So fully is this the case in regard to America's Foreign
Missions, that the New England Conservatory of Music at
Boston now invites all who are studying for Mission-work
32 MUSIC IN MISSION WORK
Murray's next question was how to represent musical
notes. Braille's system is found to be so admirably fitted
for the representation of sound, that all musical notes and
terms in the study of harmony have for many years been
thus rendered in Europe and America, where a considerable
musical literature has therein been prepared for the blind
of all nations.
But for a land which possesses no alphabet, it was necessary
to represent the Tonic Sol-Fa by Numerals, and as only
half of Braille's forms were required in reading (with the
addition of Tones and Punctuation), there were still 33 out
of the 63 symbols available for music. (To the uninitiated
the symbols representing musical notes look exactly the
same as those representing ordinary sounds, and we could
not tell a page of music from a page of any book.)
So early as 1881, music was recognized as an essential
part of the training in the humble school at Peking, the
blind students writing out musical scores from dictation
with wonderful accuracy, as part of their regular morning
Their writing-frames and paper being adjusted, all wait
with style in hand, ready to begin, and in about twenty
minutes they produce a perfect score, perhaps one of
Sankey's hymns in four parts. Then, with great pleasure
to themselves, they pick out the tunes on the piano,
to accept its teaching free of charge, that they may not only
have the opportunity of studying Church and chorus music,
and sight-singing, and may be instructed in piano and reed-
organ tuning, but may also acquire such a knowledge of the
fundamental principles of harmony, as may enable them to
arrange native music, and write the accompanying parts ;
in short, that they may be taught how to teach others both
vocally and instrumentally. This musical training is now
offered, because experience has proved that much of the
deadness and apathy in many Missions has been due to its
neglect, whereas the most successful Missions have invariably
been those in which singing was largely employed.
BLIND MUSICIANS 33
harmonium, or American organ, beginners being taught
by having the embossed symbol pasted on to each note ; so
then each student reads the written score with one hand,
while with the other he finds out the notes.
Having thus mastered the tunes, the blind organist and
choir sing their Christian lyrics in the chapel, which is
open to all comers ; and when a good congregation has
assembled, attracted by the music, one of the students
addresses the people, and afterwards recommends those
who can read to purchase a copy of the Holy Book,
that they may study it for themselves. Thus, at the close
of the day, the sales by the blind lads have sometimes
proved to be larger than those of the Bible Society's
No wonder that to their countrymen it should appear
little short of miraculous that blind beggars should be thus
cared for by foreigners, and endowed with apparently
supernatural powers indeed, had it not been that Mr.
Murray had so thoroughly won the confidence of the people
by his constant intercourse with them while Bible-selling
in the streets, they would assuredly have attributed the
whole work to magic, and thus irreparable harm would
have been done. As it was, many even of the adult
Christians found it so incomprehensible that, for awhile,
they deemed this reading with finger-tips to be accom-
plished by clever jugglery a sort of sleight of hand.
Speaking of musical instruments, Mr. Murray gives some
suggestive details of the difficulties of keeping these in
repair, in a climate subject to such excessive heat and cold
(to say nothing of their being subject to such incessant
practising !). Finding that those in the school had become
semi-dumb, he called in the aid of the invaluable Blind
Peter, and a Chinese tinker, and took them to pieces, when
he found reeds broken, sound-boards split, and bellows
burst. With much ingenuity they contrived to repair
these so thoroughly, that the instruments were again fit
34 SELECTION OF STUDENTS
for use. When one thinks of three harmoniums and a
piano all going simultaneously, in so confined a space (to
say nothing of so many human voices, including those of
young children, with occasional variations on banjo, guitar,
dulcimer, and concertina), and that, in such summer heat
as makes noise almost unendurable, one cannot but pity
those whose lot is cast within earshot thereof!
On first realizing with what facility the Blind could
acquire the power of reading, there seemed good reason to
hope that a great multitude of miserable Blind beggars
would be transformed into useful Scripture Readers, certain
to attract great attention in the streets of Chinese cities,
not only by the novelty of the thing, but because the man
who is able to read is deemed worthy of much honour.
This sanguine hope, however, was not entertained by those
who knew the true character of those with whom they had
to do, the adult blind in China being notorious for the
grossest immorality ; their night refuges in Peking bear so
vile a character, that Murray himself has never ventured to
To teach such men and allow them to become street
readers would be manifestly wrong, and would degrade the
office of Scripture reader in the eyes of the Chinese. So,
from the beginning, Mr. Murray has devoted his always
limited means, to teaching only men of hopeful character,
either already Christian, or likely to become so. And his
chief hope lies in taking young lads, and keeping them till
they are thoroughly trained. For, as he justly says, if in
our own land, where all surroundings are at least influenced
by Christianity, we deem it necessary to train our future
teachers, first at school, then at college, till a strongly
Christian character is formed, how much mere is this
necessary in a land where every child is from its earliest
infancy trained in idolatry, and steeped in all the gross
habits of life and thought inseparable from heathen
SALVAGE FROM THE SLUMS 3 5
So he has taken as many boys as possible, with excellent
Very touching is the story of most of these poor waifs.
For instance, having resolved to adopt a blind lad who
came to his door begging, Mr. Murray visited the wretched
parents in their miserable home, where the father lay
suffering tortures from rheumatic fever, and the only other
MR. MURRAY'S FIRST CLASS OF BLIND MEN AND BOYS.
child was also blind. Soon afterwards the father died, and
the mother brought her second boy to commit him to the
care of this good friend. But in giving her two sons the
parting kiss, the poor bereaved creature sank to the ground
in an agony of tears and lay prostrate, weeping bitterly for
two hours ; her grief appealing so intensely to the sympathy
of the other blind lads and men, that all united in a chorus
36 BLIND PETER'S ARRIVAL
of sobs and tears. So deeply were the neighbours touched,
that notwithstanding their own deep poverty, they raised a
small subscription, to help her on her journey to a distant
friend ; the blind lads adding the few cash which they had
received as presents.
One of the brightest lads, and the sweetest singer, was
brought to the school by a man who had rescued him from
a most horrible death ; his cruel father, not caring to be
troubled with a blind son, having thrown him into a foul
pit of semi-liquid sheep's dung, and there left the poor
little minstrel to suffocate. Happily he was rescued just
in time, and his singing proved none the less joyous for
that terrible experience. That was a most literal case of
A large number of children annually become blind, owing
to neglect while suffering from small-pox or ophthalmia, and
it is then a common practice on the part of their parents or
other relatives thus to drown the useless brats whom they
see no advantage in rearing. Several of these poor little
creatures have been rescued when half drowned, and made
over to Mr. Murray, who has had the joy of training them
to be useful members of Society. Some have proved
valued readers to the sick folk in the Hospital of the
The most remarkable thing of all has been that one of
the poor little blind lads thus saved, became the teacher of
the first blind woman who tried to learn to read and thus
enabled her to start the School for Blind Women ! But I
must refer to this later.
One of the earliest and most satisfactory pupils was one
known as Blind Peter. He was only twelve years of age
when he was led to Mr. Murray's door by his elder brother,
aged fourteen. They were on their first begging tour, and
had travelled 150 miles from their native town, where both
parents had died of fever. The elder brother, whose sight
was good, said he could work, and earn enough to keep
BLIND ORGANISTS 37
himself, but could not provide for two without having
recourse to begging, from which he shrank ; so he entreated
Mr. Murray to take charge of his brother, promising to
return ere long, to ascertain whether he was found capable
of learning. But, evidently fearing lest the blind lad should
be returned to his care, the elder brother did not return for
two years, by which time the bright little fellow had proved
himself an eminently satisfactory scholar, the best hand at
stereotyping, and most reliable in all departments of work ;
having moreover so marked a talent for music, that he
subsequently became organist in the Chapel of the London
When the elder brother returned, Mr. Murray took him
into the school, and without speaking a word placed his
hand in that of the younger, who instantly recognized the
touch ; the two stood speechless for a moment, then tears
began to flow, and he retired, leaving the two together to
talk over their varied experiences.
Of course there was no further question of Peter resuming
his travels. It was plain that he was on his way to earn
his own living by teaching others, and making himself
useful in a thousand ways, and thenceforth this was his
never-failing record. By degrees he rose to be Mr. Murray's
right hand in all departments of the school, taking charge
of all new pupils on their arrival, and teaching them most
To quote Mr. Murray's own words : " Blind Peter, the
young man of our own training, is now at the head of
affairs in the school, and has proved the best teacher we
could have, in pushing the boys forward. He drills them
well, and is fully qualified to advance them in all the
branches, especially in music, vocal and instrumental. He
is quite a musical genius, and has written out and learnt by
heart all our hymns. He is now the regular organist of the
London Mission Chapel., and is invariably invited to play
when he. attends any Chinese meeting in the various
38 PETEWS LIFE AND DEATH
English or American Chapels. I have been advised to
apply, on his behalf, for the post of organist to the
Emperor, who has now got an organ for himself. But I
think that he has nobler position where he is, and will do
and get more good in teaching his blind countrymen."
Of course a blind organist has to know all his music by
heart, and as an instance of the wonderfully retentive
memory of the Chinese, which is especially remarkable in
the blind, Mr. Murray mentions that at very short notice
a new hymn-book was adopted by the London Mission.
He and Peter set to work, arranged plans, found the new
tunes, and Peter wrote them out embossed from dictation,
and by the aid of Mr. Murray's system of memorizing,
within two months he had mastered the whole book, so
that as soon as a hymn was given out, he knew the appointed
tune for it. As the book contains more than four hundred
hymns, even a Chinaman could not have done this without
the aid of the system of mnemonics.
Peter also became a very earnest and persuasive
When in May, 1890, Mr. Murray attended the great
Missionary Conference held at Shanghai, he took with him
Peter, as a most practical illustration of the results of his
system of teaching the blind, and Peter's excellent reading,
writing, and playing the church organ, won enthusiastic
appreciation from that great assemblage gathered from all
parts of China.
Naturally, on his return to Peking his fame went abroad,
and doubtless tended to influence a very pleasant sighted
girl, who having been brought up in a Christian school
(the American Presbyterian), was allowed the unheard-of
privilege of selecting her husband from half-a-dozen available
young men. She unhesitatingly selected Peter, as being
the best, cleverest, and best looking of the lot, stating her
views in the most matter-of-fact terms to the woman who
a.cts as professional go-between in arranging such family
BLIND PETER AND HIS BRIDE.
40 OF SUNDRY STUDENTS
matters. So as her widowed mother and elder brother
approved, the damsel allowed her hair to hang over her
forehead in a fringe, which in China is the recognized sign
of an engaged maiden, the marriage contract was drawn up
on a sheet of lucky scarlet paper, and marriage settlements
were arranged according to Chinese custom by Peter
undertaking to make a regular allowance to his mother-in-
They seem to have been a very happy couple during
their brief years of married life, although their home was
saddened by the death of their three little ones.
Alas ! in the autumn of 1895, while Mr. Murray and his
family were in Scotland for a brief period, they received
letters from Peter, telling of failing health. He was
apparently a victim of the dread consumption which has
proved fatal to so many of the most promising students.
He wrote that he feared he would have passed away ere
his dear friends returned to Peking, but happily he and
they were spared that trial. They returned early in autumn
in order to reach Peking ere the Peiho river was frozen, so
Peter had the joy of welcoming them back, and handing
over to their keeping all the interests left in his charge.
It was not till the following spring that he was translated
from his life-long physical darkness to the unspeakable joy
of "beholding the King in His beauty," in the land where
there is no need of the sun, because the Lamb Himself is
the Light thereof.
In thus sketching the career of one of Mr. Murray's first
pupils, I have gone far ahead of my main subject, which
was the early stages of Mr. Murray's school, from its very
beginning in 1879.
It was not to be supposed that all his pupils could turn
out as satisfactory as Peter. Sad to say Sheng, the very
first boy taught, whose prospects seemed so hopeful, was
tempted just for one day to rejoin his former associates,
that he might display his various attainments. He was
PREVALENCE OF CONSUMPTION 41
decoyed away by a wandering blind minstrel, and though,
after a while, he returned to his benefactor expressing much
contrition, and was once more received into the school, he
was found to have suffered such complete moral shipwreck,
that, for the sake of the others, his expulsion became
necessary a very bitter sorrow to the patient friend who
had so rejoiced over his early promise.
Of course, tidings of the wonderful gift thus conferred on
a chosen few, have brought others who, being able to
maintain themselves, have come as self-supporting pupils.
Thus one blind man arrived- who had travelled 300 miles
to put himself under Mr. Murray's tuition. Another came
who was found to be endowed with talents which -seemed
so specially to fit him for the ministry, that he was trans-
ferred to an institution at Tien-Tsin where candidates are
prepared for Holy Orders. There for about three years he
studied under the Rev. Jonathan Lees, acting as organist
to the Mission, and also going daily to the Hospital to read
and speak to the heathen patients. Though blind, he was
at the head of his classes, and was just finishing his training
when his health broke down. Mr. and Mrs. Murray went
to see him, and though he could hardly speak, he expressed
so great a wish to return to his old home and friends in the
Blind School at Peking, that arrangements were made for
his return. But one fiercely cold night, with a wind
blowing from Siberia, the spitting of blood returned, and
could not be checked. Poor Wang was heard to pray that
God would take him soon, for he was past work on earth.
And God took him. He was much loved, and was so wise
and good, that his death was a real loss.
Another Wang, a beggar-lad aged fourteen, showed
considerable ability. "It was a pleasure to teach him,"
but alas ! his constitution was already undermined by con-
sumption, and he only lived long enough to give evidence
of a new and enduring life begun he died after he had
been seven months under Mr. Murray's care. Everything
42 AN INVENTIVE GENIUS
that love could do was done for him, as indeed for all
Another very encouraging pupil was a young man who
lost his sight when he was about twenty. He rapidly
acquired the blind system of reading and writing, and
then set to work to stereotype an embossed Gospel of
Mr. Murray has all along taught his pupils to do every-
thing for themselves in the preparation of their books, even
to the stereotyping, which by a very ingenious contrivance
of his own invention, they are able to do so rapidly, and
with such accuracy, that any one of these lads can with ease
produce ten pages a day. A blind man in London working
with a hand frame could only turn out four or five plates in
a day, and the best blind stereotyper in the employment of
the British and Foreign Blind Association who now works
with a machine, considers eight pages a good day's work.
The Chinese lads work more accurately than their brethren
in our own land, and at a far cheaper rate. Of course, as
long as they are students, they gratefully work for their keep.
To quote Mr. Murray's own account of this :
" It occurred to me that I could simplify the process of
stereotyping, so instead of holding the punch in one hand,
and having only the tip of the little finger to guide, while
the other hand holds the mallet, I designed a table with
a lever at one side, and a mallet to work by a treadle, the
mallet always to strike the centre of the table, and squared
off the plane, over which the block would have to describe.
The treadle is of course worked - by foot, and with side
woods, the width of two words, and woods the width of a
double line, which exactly correspond in size with the
latter ; for the guide in shifting the block upwards in the
plane of the fixed mallet, as the other, the side woods keep
the position sideways ; the stereotyper moves these as he
finishes two words at a time, the top piece, at the finishing
of the double line, is taken from the top, and pushing up
TIN ENVELOPES FOR LETTERS 43
the block, he puts that wood at the next foot, and then the
block is in proper position for striking the next, and is firm
and fast in its position.
" Thus, the right hand, which would otherwise have had
to hold the mallet, is left free to handle the manuscript,
and to relieve the tip of the little finger, and take to
guiding. Now, with us the process is so simplified that the
operator can work with great speed and pleasure.
" The advantage will appear best in the results, when I
tell you that the boy can do with ease in one day double
the amount of work which a blind man in England could
do with a hand frame, and the quality of the work is struck
Among Mr. Murray's many ingenious devices for the use
of the blind, I may mention the envelopes in which their
letters, embossed on large sheets of paper, travel so securely.
When first pupils left the school to go to other districts as
Scripture readers or in any other capacity, he feared they
would get out of touch with him, as the most sensitive
fingers could not read a letter in embossed dots, after it had
been crushed in the common post. Always on the alert to
utilize waste material, he happily bethought him of a pile
of old tins in which sugar and oil had come, and calling in
a Chinese tinker, he bade him cut these up and make a
number of tubes, just large enough to hold a loosely-rolled
sheet of paper. _ Now, whenever one blind man wishes to
write to another or to Mr. Murray, or to send off a new
hymn tune, or anything else of special interest, he rolls up
his letter, places it in one of these tin tubes, passing a string
through to secure it. Then he pastes paper on the outside,
which some sighted friend addresses, and away goes the
letter by Chinese book-post some of these, with their
interpretation, have reached me safely in Scotland.
Thus, whereas it is an almost unheard-of thing for poor
people in China to write to one another, the Blind trained
by Mr. Murray can indulge freely in this solace at the
44 A SYSTEM OF SHORTHAND
smallest possible cost, and of course these cylinders can
travel to and fro many times, so they are constantly
carrying messages of counsel and love to former pupils,
now widely scattered in distant parts of the Empire, and
especially to the teachers of five Schools for the Blind, now
commenced at Mission-stations in five different Provinces,
who are thus kept in touch with the mother school at
Peking, which indeed is to so many of them their only
ideal of Home. Many, in writing back, dwell on this,
saying that they always think of it as such, and of Mr. and
Mrs. Murray as their true parents.
Mr. Murray's next invention (in 1880 to 1881) was one
which bids fair to have a far-reaching influence for good,
in that it will probably be received with enthusiasm by
Chinese literary men, who are generally antagonistic to
everything foreign. This is a system of SHORTHAND, so
effective that those who have mastered it are able to,
produce a verbatim report of a whole sermon, and /'/ is so
simple that the reporters have never the slightest difficulty in
reading what they have ivritten, which is more than can
always be said by shorthand writers in Europe !
He had himself learnt Pitman's system, and he wondered
that a nation so literary as the Chinese, with their
voluminous examination papers, should never have devised
any such aid. Then it occurred to him TO ADAPT SHORT-
HAND SYMBOLS TO NUMERALS, and as he marks only the
first and second element of each" word, he has a distinct set
of symbols for these, so as to avoid confusion.
Like the type which it represents, this Shorthand has
as yet only been adapted to the use of those Provinces in
which Mandarin Chinese is spoken, i.e. to four-fifths of the
Empire. Naturally in so vast a territory the pronunciation
varies greatly, but IN A SYSTEM WHICH is EXPRESSED BY
NUMBERS, NOT PHONETICALLY, this is found to be of no conse-
quence, especially as the numbers express Mandarin Chinese
as spoken at Peking, which is the standard for the Empire.
i <M CO
46 SHORTHAND FOR MUSIC
Mr. Murray's own account of it is as follows : " In our
shorthand style there are only two parts initials and finals.*
There are forty-one initials and ten finals ; the latter are
made up of two dashes, a hyphen and tiny circle given
in four positions upright, horizontal, slanting down to
right, and the opposite. It is simple to learn, and allows
considerable speed. Various contractions have been intro-
duced, and a hundred words have been written in a minute
in a neat hand. With constant practice a clever writer
could easily double this number."
Not only is it rapidly and easily learnt, and written with
speed and accuracy, but it is actually one of the lessons
taught by the Blind to Sighted pupils ! To enable them
to do so, Mr. Murray invented a curious variety of the
familiar " Black-boaid " of our schools. He got a joiner
to cut out in wood ten complete sets of the Shorthand
Symbols, each ten times the written size. One set of these
he glued to a board 2 feet high by 5 inches wide. The
carpenter also made three frames, each 10 inches by
5 inches, with a grooved line cut longwise, a little below
the middle. The Blind pupils get a lesson from those
glued on, and they then practise with the movable letters
on the grooved board. They can thus show two words at
a time, and they find it as interesting as a game.
When teaching Sighted persons, the Blind teacher
directs his pupils to copy these symbols one by one, till
they can reproduce them accurately. Neither teacheis nor
learners seem to find any difficulty in this method.
This shorthand is also applicable to writing music in
two parts, treble and alto, which can be done at great
The system is really so simple that Mr. Murray thinks
* In case of any misunderstanding from the use of these terms,
Mr. Murray explains that they do not refer to the principle, but TO THE
FIRST ELEMENT AND SECOND ELEMENT, WHICH TOGETHER FORM
BETTER LATE THAN NEVER 47
intelligent students will have no difficulty in acquiring it
by themselves. He has therefore now prepared a very
careful explanation, with illustrations, which he _ got
modelled and then sent to Shanghai to be stereotyped and
printed on two cards, of a size to go in an ordinary envelope.
He reckons their cost at about a penny per card, and
intends to place them for sale in some of the shops which
sell foreign goods (notably wine and spirits), and which are
frequently visited by Chinese students, who, he believes,
will certainly be attracted thereby, especially when a few
have been helped by their use. He has also prepared a
larger book from which I have reproduced the accompany-
He mentions having just had a call from one of the
eunuchs of the Imperial Palace, who is learning his Short-
hand, and who brought with him a younger man, also one
of the Palace eunuchs, who wished to see the School and
to hear the boys read. So he lives in hope that influential
men may ere long be interested in the work.
He is sometimes gladdened by hearing that his system
has been adopted by foreigners for their own personal
convenience, as in the case of Dr. Fryer of Shanghai and
the Rev. Dr. Corbett of the American Presbyterian Mission
at Chefoo. He says : " From time to time I receive
evidence that our plans suit the wide field indicated, and
that many we cannot enumerate, are using our methods.
The actual number we can give, does not show the work
that is going on, and which is sure to bear fruit by-and-by."
All this varied work was quietly carried on in the School
year after year, receiving very small attention from even the
foreign residents in Peking, and still less from any other folk.
It was not till 1885 (when I was writing my book,
" Wanderings in China ") that I made inquiry into exact
details, and so was led to realize in how great a measure it
was still dependent on the small earnings of the inventor
a hard-working street bookseller and then, for the first
48 MY O WN JUBILEE !
time, I understood why I had been constrained to end my
twelve years of pleasant aimless travelling by making that
journey to Peking so entirely against my own inclination.
Also why it had been so ordered, that I became a guest at
the London Medical Mission, at the very moment when
Murray's eight years of earnest endeavours on behalf of the
Blind, enabled him to show me the successful fruit of his
labour, in the form of the four first Blind men whom he
had taught to read and write namely, in order that I
might be an independent eye and ear witness of this
beginning, and might be able to tell the story of this
earnest worker, and enable his countrymen and country-
women to share the privilege of helping him to carry out
his beneficent projects.
So I then began writing about it to a multitude of news-
papers and periodicals, and when my fiftieth birthday was
approaching (May 26th, 1887), only two days after our
Queen's birthday, I ventured to confide this fact to the
many sympathetic readers of my books of travel, asking if
any would gladden my own Jubilee by sending me such
donations as would enable me to assist Mr. Murray in
developing his wonderful inventions.
(I may add that I took special pleasure in thus utilizing
my own grey hair as " a talent " to be devoted to the
benefit of the only race who are so enlightened as to
reverence all old women, simply BECAUSE THEY ARE OLD
Then from all ends of the earth I received most kind
responses, bringing me gifts for this purpose. Many of
the letters were most pathetic in their references to blind
friends and relations, or to those who had passed away
one mother sent a little packet of faded yellow paper con-
taining a gold coin which had been the treasured fortune
of her little son, long treasured by herself, and she felt that
teaching a poor blind child was the most sacred purpose
for which it could be used.
FIRST FORMAL RECOGNITION 49
Little by little a sum of about ^"2000 was accumulated,
and then I asked the National Bible Society of Scotland to
release Mr. Murray from such constant work as a colporteur
and to administer this fund for the development of his
special Work for the Blind.
As the Society could not recognize that this was quite in
its own line of business, several leading members of its
Committee formed themselves into a separate and quite
independent Committee for this purpose. To these were
soon added eight men of high standing in Peking, who being
well acquainted with Mr. Murray and his work, have ever
since formed his very practical Committee on the spot.*
Thus it came to pass that in 1887 Mr. Murray's invention
of the Numeral Type first obtained formal recognition as a
definite and very valuable new factor in Chinese Mission
work work destined to bring a priceless blessing to all
future generations of Blind Legions. For as yet we
deemed it to be only " Work for the Blind," and we had
no idea of its far wider and more important latent capa-
bilities in relation to the illiterate Sighted. These were
not discovered till three years later.
Meanwhile, in 1886, Mr. Murray, being entitled to a
year's furlough, had returned to Scotland, not to rest, as
most of us would have done, but to work harder than ever !
In the course of some of his Bible-selling expeditions in
remote districts, he had on several occasions been visited by
unmistakably genuine converts, who had become so solely
from reading the written Word, perhaps accompanied by
some teaching from another convert. These have come to
him asking for Christian baptism, although fully realizing
all the persecution that would probably ensue.
It was most painful to have to explain to such earnest
seekers that he was not qualified to bestow the Gift they
* The names of the members of both Committees, with
other business details, will be found at the end of this
50 ORDTNA TION
desired, .especially as it was more than probable that they
might never again come in contact with any foreign
missionary. Ere he left Scotland Mr. Murray was studying
Divinity with a view to entering the ministry, but he had
temporarily abandoned this intention when he was offered
immediate work in China as a colporteur.
He now, therefore, resolved that on his return to Scot-
land he would ascertain whether any branch of the Christian
Church could dispense with the usual lengthy course of
Theological Training, and grant him Ordination after less
than a year of special study. Finding that the United^
Presbyterian College in Edinburgh might possibly do so,
he entered himself as a Divinity Student, and absorbed
himself in the close study of Theology, Greek, and
Hebrew, as a pleasant relaxation from the Chinese dialects
in which he had been steeped for the last sixteen years.
It is pleasant to learn that the merits of this earnest
student were so fully recognized, that eminent representa-
tives of the three Battalions of the Presbyterian Regiment
took part in his Ordination, the venerable Dr. Andrew
Bonar of the Free Church, and the Rev. Dr. J. Elder
Gumming, of the Established Church, having gladly
accepted the invitation of the United Presbyterian Synod
to assist in the service, which was held in Berkeley Street
Church, Glasgow, on the evening of the 23rd June, 1887.
In Glasgow at about the same date, the Rev. William H.
Murray found his bride, Miss Maggie Glen, whose devoted
work among the very poor in the slums of that great city
was good training for facing the manifold trials of life in the
heart of a great Chinese city. Very soon after their
marriage she accompanied him on his return to his loved
With part of the aforesaid " Jubilee Fund " a small
property in Peking was purchased, on Avhich stood old
Chinese houses, one of which was occupied by the Murrays
while the others were easily adapted to the use of the
fhott by Ovinius Davit, Edinburgh.
THB REV. W. H. AND MRS. MURRAY,
52 CHINESE SUPERSTITION
blind students, both male and female (of course in quite
separate schools). A further sum was apportioned to the
immediate expenses in maintenance and clothing of a
limited number of pupils, rarely exceeding twenty at a
time ; while a portion was set apart as the very modest
nest-egg for an Endowment Fund. This we deemed it
desirable to secure, ere suggesting that Mr. Murray should
resign his appointment as a colporteur, in order to have
entire command of his time for the development of his
special work, trusting to our raising the balance of his
salary, as well as necessary funds for the maintenance of
the school, by annual collections.
But Mr. Murray knew the Chinese populace too well to
risk the danger of falling out of constant touch with them.
The work for the Blind was then still very new, and he
said, " Were I to cease continually going about in the
streets, and talking to the people, they would quickly
forget me, and would soon raise a cry that my teaching of
the blind was all witchcraft, and I myself a wizard, and
perhaps some day they might come and pull down the
school and maltreat all the inmates."
The street bookselling also helps to attract attention to
the school. Thus we hear of a visit from one of the
eunuchs of the Imperial Palace, who, observing the sale of
Bibles in the street, found his way to the premises of the
Blind Mission, where he bought a number of books and
inspected the school. One of the pupils wrote to his
dictation, and he carried off the paper, which may thus
have received attention within the Palace.
So up to the present date 1899 Mr. Murray has con-
tinued to devote one-third of his time to colportage for the
National Bible Society, while during the remaining two-
thirds he is Principal of his own School for the Blind.
How well founded was his estimate of the danger of
losing personal control of the ignorant superstitious mob
was fully illustrated when, soon afterwards, two American
FIRST BLIND WOMAN TA UGHT 53
lady doctors engaged Lu Te (which is the Chinese equiva-
lent of Ruth), one of the blind girls, who is endowed with a
fine voice, to return with them to their hospital in another
Province, in order to read and sing to the patients.
This she did, to their great delight, and Mr. Murray was
congratulating himself on the discovery of this field for
usefulness for blind women, when the old, cruel superstition
asserted itself, and the hospital was surrounded by an
infuriated mob, who declared that now they had proof
positive of all they had been told about foreigners bewitch-
ing Chinese men and women, and extracting their eyes to
make medicine of them. It was evident, they said, that
Ruth had been so bewitched, and that her seeing to read
with the tips of her fingers was all the result of witchcraft.
They would certainly have wrecked the hospital had not
poor Ruth, with much difficulty, been smuggled away, and
restored to Mr. Murray's safe custody at Peking.
The commencement of a School for Blind Women was a
very difficult matter. Of course, at first, only Mr. Murray
and one or two of his earlier students were competent to
teach. But these were all men or lads, and that a woman
should be taught by a man is altogether shocking to
Chinese notions of propriety. One blind woman, however,
was resolved to learn, and allowed her relations no peace
till they consented to interview Mr. Murray on the subject.
He suggested that a curtain might be hung, so that he
could not possibly see the woman, but her hands might
come through, and he could guide them when teaching
her. This suggestion was actually under consideration,
but was dismissed by the family conclave as being quite too
improper. They put it to the woman's own sense of
decency how could she possibly wish to learn what only
a man could teach ? But meanwhile she had contrived to
make further inquiries, and she replied that " certainly she
did not wish to be taught by a man, but she had ascertained
that one of the small blind boys who had been saved when
$4 SCHOOL FOR BLIND WOMEN
half drowned, was not yet eight years old, and there could be
no objection to his being admitted within the women's
quarters ; " so she secured him as her teacher, and every
day this little chap came and taught her the lessons he had
just learnt, and thus she acquired the arts of reading,
writing, and of playing the concertina, and so fitted herself
to become the teacher of the few blind girls who, after Mr.
Murray's marriage, ventured to come to the school thus
Amongst its earliest inmates were two little ones saved
from untimely death. One poor little thing became blind
from small-pox when she was only three years old. The
woman who had adopted her as a daughter could not be
troubled with a blind child, so resolved to poison her, when
happily a foreign lady heard of the case and rescued the
poor little creature, wlio soon became the pet of the school,
and grew up to be a useful girl and a capital reader.
Another poor little waif was rapidly becoming blind, so
her own parents decided to drown her, when happily the
Murrays were able to save her, and she likewise became a
The slow development of this female school has been
somewhat disappointing, comparatively few women having
as yet availed themselves of the privileges offered to them.
As we all know, the greatest boons are not always eagerly
accepted by. those who need them most, and the Chinese
notions of propriety as regards the seclusion of women are
so strict that even poor peasants could not come to be
taught in the same enclosure as the blind men. However,
after the female school had been effectually separated from
that for the men, a few Christian girls were sent from
neighbouring Mission stations. One of the early pupils
was " a kindly, simple-looking young widow, twenty-three
years of age. The mother of one of our blind pupils saw
her crying in the street, and was sorry for her, and came to
tell us.- We took her in, and she is doing well. She learnt
EARNEST BLIND TRAVELLERS 55
to read and write in a few days. What a change of life !
people at home cannot fathom it. But for the pupil's
mother seeing her, what a risk she ran a thousand to one
A Manchu widow and her daughter, fifteen years of age,
smart and promising, came about the same time ; also an
old widow from the London Mission, and a young girl from
the Baptist Mission in another Province. Mi Chia, fourteen
years of age, was sent by the American Mission at Peking,
and Fei Pi, aged ten, came from a London Mission station
two days' journey to the south of Peking. It was a
striking testimony to the simplicity and effectiveness of
Mr. Murray's system, that in six weeks, " these two
bashful little girls mastered the Primer, and could read,
spell, and write correctly," while, at the same time, they
were learning Sunday-school lessons, and to sing hymns by
Little by little, women hearing of such triumphs as these,
are beginning to gain courage, and several Christian con-
verts have come such long distances, and in the teeth of
such difficulties and opposition as effectually shames our
One of these arrived unexpectedly in the very depth of
winter, when a bitter blast was blowing fiercely from the
frozen plains of Mongolia. Mr. Murray was in the act of
writing to me, describing the intense severity of the winter,
when he looked up and saw a strange group in the court
of the Blind School, namely, a coarsely dressed, toothless
old Chinese peasant, leading a donkey, on which sat a poor
woman, so muffled up to keep out the cold, that she
appeared like a bale of goods. They had found the outer
gate open, and had entered unchallenged. On being asked
what he wanted, the old man mumbled out a reply totally
incomprehensible either to Mr. Murray or his Chinese
Bible-man (that is his native colporteur).
Twice the question was repeated with the same result,
S 6 RESOLUTE STUDENTS
and the intruders were on the point of being turned out as
ordinary beggars, when the old man produced a packet
containing two letters addressed to Mr. Murray, and from
these he learned that the writer was a blind woman, twenty-
seven years of age, wife of the old man, who was about
sixty years of age. Their home is in Shantung Province,
distant from Peking about 1400 li (equal to about 470
miles), and they had been twenty-five days on the journey,
the woman sitting perched on one side of the quaint wheel-
barrow, with only one large central wheel, which is the
ordinary (and very uncomfortable) conveyance of the poor.
The bundles of luggage are slung on the other side of the
wheel, to balance the passenger. This was drawn and
pushed by her husband and another man. In this difficult
fashion, in a country practically without roads, they
travelled till within a day's journey of Peking, when they
exchanged the wheel-barrow for a donkey, in order to
approach the capital in better style ! The peculiarity of
the Shantung dialect, combined with the loss of his teeth,
accounted for the difficulty in understanding the old man's
speech, which was as unlike ordinary Chinese as if it had
Needless to say, the woman was quickly lifted from her
donkey and taken into the Girls' School, where she was
warmed and fed and comforted, while her husband, good
old Chin Ma, was well cared for by Mr. Murray. It appears
that the young wife is very intelligent, and has a happy
talent for communicating to others whatever she herselt
acquires. So there seemed good hope that if she received
a training at the Blind School, she might be able to com-
mence work as a teacher in connection with the English
Baptist Mission in Shantung.
I think many persons who can see, would shrink from
facing a journey of twenty-five days in a comfortable railway
carriage, solely in order to learn to read still less would
they care to encounter all the dangers and difficulties of
ANOTHER EARNEST BLIND TRA VELLER 57
that long, long journey on a wheel-barrow well nigh a
month of incessant slow travel in the depth of winter ; but
" It's dogged as does it," and this undaunted couple de-
termined to conquer all difficulties. So, leaving their two
children in charge of a friend, they started on their toilsome
way, sustained by a wonderful faith in all the good that
may result from this hard pilgrimage to the capital, and
from the teaching of the wise foreigner.
Is it not strange and touching to look back to the time
when young Murray's arm was torn off in his father's saw-
mill in far-distant Scotland, and to remember that that
accident was the first link in the chain of events which has
thus opened a new world of good to these people, who
have so long dwelt in darkness ?
The young woman was, naturally, all impatience to begin
her studies. Not being troubled with the distractions of
sight, the mighty walls and towers and other wonders of
Peking could not compete with the one thing she had
come so far to seek, namely, the power of reading the
Word of God ; so it was arranged that after one day's rest
her studies should commence, and then her good old man
would start alone on his weary return journey.
Evidently her good example proved infectious, for in
the following year another blind pupil arrived from the
same mission. This was a girl fourteen years of age (or,
according to Chinese reckoning, fifteen, as they count a
child one year old at its birth). She also had made the
long journey on the barrow with the one large central
wheel, and had been wheeled all the way by her own
father, who is a much respected and gifted native preacher
a man not accustomed to manual labour, and one to
whom about twenty-five days of severe physical toil must
indeed have been a serious undertaking. Well might
Mr. Murray remark, " That is indeed the right sort of man
to preach the Gospel of Love."
So different are the dialects of these two Provinces
53 AN UNCOMFORTABLE CONVEYANCE
(although comparatively near), that when the girl ad-
dressed blind Mrs. T'sui, her future teacher, the latter was
obliged to confess . that she could not catch one word
she said. YET BOTH LEARNT WITH EQUAL FACILITY, BOTH TO
READ AND WRITE FROM THE SAME LESSON BOOKS IN MR.
MURRAY'S NUMERAL TYPE.
TWO GIRLS ON A WHEELBARROW.
I was telling this story at a meeting in Glasgow, when
a card was handed to me, which proved to be that of Mr.
Forsyth, the very missionary who had sent both these
women to Peking. That was a pleasant corroboration on
In case any of my readers should in their own minds be
picturing a comfortable English wheel-barrow, I here give
an illustration of its Chinese namesake. I once contrived
A PLEASANT CONTRAST 59
to stick on to one for nearly five minutes, and then, much
as I dislike walking, I decided once for all that the wheel-
barrow was impossible.
The picture is of two cheery young women on their way
to some festivity, being wheeled along on a summer's day,
so it gives a very imperfect suggestion of the blind women's
journey, each separately, and in the depth of winter, which
is the only season when such luxurious travel is possible in
Shantung, for there are no roads there, and in summer all
the swampy rice fields are impassable, so it is only when
these are frozen in the bitter winter, that it is possible
to trundle a wheel-barrow over this rough ice.
About this time Mr. Murray wrote concerning the blind
girls in his school : " It is a picture for the heathen to see
them going in a band every Sunday morning through the
streets leading to the London Mission, where they always
attend service. They look so clean, bright, and fair, their
faces preaching the Gospel. What a contrast to the usual
bands of blind singing girls ! "
After a while he wrote about these : u The young girls
are growing in stature and in grace. They are now about
fifteen years of age, and are noble Christian little girls ;
only a fair opening is required to show how they would
speak forth the Word of the Lord boldly. One of these
was very bad, and we nearly despaired of her, she stole
things, and concealed them so artfully, but that was long
ago. She was then slovenly and idle. Now she is honest,
bright, open-hearted, and does everything well. She has
no home but the school, as her mother would sell her
were she to return to her."
In China, even more than in other heathen lands, immense
importance attaches to all Christian influences which can
be brought to bear on the women, the mothers of the rising
generation, and great is the difficulty of reaching them in
the dreary homes in which, it is reckoned, that about
150,000,000 Chinese women of all ages live their mono-
60 PATRIARCHAL HOUSEHOLDS
tonous lives in strict seclusion. Some of these patriarchal
households number from sixty to one hundred women,
ranging from great grandmothers down to their female
slaves, and including the wives, widows, and other relations
of father, sons, grandsons, and uncles. Of course, with the
exception of the very few foreign ladies who have been able
to make themselves acceptable to their Chinese sisters,
no direct missionary influence can possibly find entrance
within these jealously guarded homes, and the women's
quarters are emphatically the great stronghold of that
worship of their own ancestors, which is the main principle
of Chinese life.*
It is the women who train their sons continually to offer
worship and sacrifices to propitiate the dead, and whose
vigorous denunciations have such weight with the husband,
who (half disposed to become a Christian) is held back by
the anger and despair of his women-folk at the thought of his
barbarously ceasing to offer the accustomed sacrifices to the
dead. So until the women of China can be won for Christ, we
can never hope for a very general conversion of the men.
And the great difficulty is to gain access to them.
Foreign ladies are welcome, but not Chinese women of the
lower classes, who form the bulk of the Christian converts,
and consequently of the Bible-women.
When first Christian blind women had been taught
to read, we trusted that they might prove valuable mission
agents to their heathen sisters, as a blind Scripture reader
would certainly be welcomed, were it only as a curiosity, to
relieve the tedium of the dull day. But we quickly realized
that this would not answer, as to send a blind woman alone
* In my " Wanderings in China " (published by Black-
wood), I have given very full details of this extraordinary
system of religion, and of the manner in which it permeates
every phase of Chinese life ; also of some points of deep
interest in the working of various Christian Missions, and I
venture to ask all who are interested in the subject to refer
to these chapters.
WOMEN'S QUARTERS IN CHINA 61
into a heathen house would involve very grave peril to her-
self. Very likely she would never be taken into the women's
Then we supposed it was simply a question of expense,
and that all would be well if we could secure an extra \Q
a year to support a respectable sighted woman to take care of
each blind reader. But it was soon found that reliable women
are not to be had. None are available to whose charge a
blind girl could safely be entrusted, so this phase of useful
work cannot be developed till a longer course of Christian train-
ing has produced an altogether different code of morality.
When one thinks of the many thousands of blind girls
and women in China, who could so easily be taught reading,
writing, and to play the concertina as an accompaniment to
the sacred lyrics which invariably prove so fascinating to
Oriental ears, and when one realizes how welcome such
teachers would be in the Zenanas, where the many million
mothers of China are training their sons, it is distressing
that this admirable work cannot be secured for the blind.
There is, however, good room for hope that when the
extraordinary facility of Mr. Murray's Numeral Type for
Sighted persons becomes known, a great many sighted
women, who can take care of themselves, will gain access to
these homes, in order to teach ladies to read.
Chinese women are quite as intelligent as those of other
lands, and though very few can read their own dull books,
and much of their time is occupied in gossip, the care of
their clothes, and ceaseless offerings of food and other gifts
on the household altars, either to the gods or to their own
ancestors, they can grasp a new idea, and ponder over it,
and if it commends itself to them, they hold it with surpris-
ing tenacity, and endeavour to impress it on their neighbours.
Hence it is that the staunch Chinese converts, both men
and women, so frequently become active witnesses for the
It is scarcely to be expected that the Chinese themselves
62 FIRST LESSONS IN GEOGRAPHY
should make any special effort to send pupils to be trained
at a school where every influence is used to convert the
students to the Christian faith, and, as yet, only one pupil
of any social standing has availed himself of Mr. Murray's
tuition. Consequently, the average number of about nine-
teen lads and six or seven women continues to be recruited
from the lowest of the people. Yet the wonderful rapidity
with which those who are willing to be taught succeed
in mastering the difficulties of reading, writing, and also of
both writing and reading music, clearly proves how vast a
field this work is destined to cover when once it becomes
rightly known and understood in a land so slow to
adopt any novelty.
Mr. Murray may be excused for a little pardonable pride
in regard to lads who have been described as " salvage from
the slums of Peking." " Now," he says, u it is a sight to see
them at church. There are no Chinamen like them,
so healthy, clean, and bright ; " and several have already
been sent forth thoroughly trained, to work under mission-
aries in other provinces.
Of course, it would be folly to expect that the flesh
and the devil could allow so excellent a work to proceed un-
marred, especially considering amid what utterly debasing
influences most of these poor lads have hitherto lived. As
regards blind adults, the majority are so utterly depraved
that it is only in exceptional cases that Mr. Murray attempts
to train one ; and even these have, in several instances,
caused him bitter disappointment, and he has, at various
times, found it necessary for the good of all to expel both
men and lads on whom he had lavished much care and
But, then, the bright stars compensate for many sorrows.
Reviewing the work in the boys' school at the close of
1891, Mr. Murray says : u We have fifteen boys, and all are
healthy and apt students. In addition to reading, writing,
and music, THEY NOW LEARN GEOGRAPHY AND ARITHMETIC.
MENTAL ARITHMETIC 63
I have had a whole series of maps punched out on tin
sheets, and the divisions numbered for convenient reference.
The whole cost two dollars ! The work was done by a
needy scholar from a flooded part of the country. He first
drew the outline on thin paper ; this was pasted on to the
tin sheet, with the drawing next to the tin. The lines thus
reversed showed through sufficiently to guide the punch ;
thus they appear on the other side of the tin in raised out-
line, suitable for the blind pupils to finger."
The arithmetic lesson is wholly mental, and is taught by
means of a memoria technica utterly perplexing to the foreign
mind, but to the Chinese wondrously simple. Mr. Murray
gives out long sentences, of which each word has a re-
cognized equivalent in figures, and on the following day,
solely from memory, the boys or girls give the result in a
long, accurately worked- out sum perhaps in compound
He says : " I have prepared a little book on MENTAL
ARITHMETIC BY MNEMONICS. The blind boys and girls have
performed a feat by it. Every night for one week large
sums were read out, as we would read out an anecdote, and
on the following night the answer was given accurately,
whether it was in addition, subtraction, division, or com-
pound multiplication. The sums in addition had as many as
ten lines of figures, all in thousands. One reading sufficed.
Perhaps a boy read, and a girl translated the value. They
went into it with such zest, that it was perfectly charming
to me. No abacus needed ! " (In Chinese shops the
sighted tradesman cannot, or will not, reckon the smallest
account without calculating by means of an abacus, which is
a wooden frame with movable beads strung on wires.)
An extraordinary cultivation of the mechanical memory
is one of the most striking characteristics of all Chinese
education, so that an exercise which to us would be distaste-
ful and laborious seems simple and easy to the Chinese, and
most of all to the blind.
64 EX TRA ORDINAR Y MEMOR Y
Certainly from the extraordinary powers of memory with
which some of the students are endowed, it seems as though
this special compensation were often bestowed on those who
are deprived of the blessing of sight. One of Mr. Murray's
earliest pupils had not only written out St. Matthew's
Gospel, but could repeat the whole perfectly by heart.
Another had likewise committed to memory the whole of
St. Mark. Others know every hymn in the hymn-books
(one of which contains about one hundred and forty hymns,
and another upwards of four hundred). I shall have occasion
to refer later to this very remarkable characteristic of the
The daily routine of learning goes on as already described,
to the evident enjoyment of the students. All pmboss from
dictation, while to the more advanced workers is entrusted
the stereotyping on brass sheets of pages of the Holy
Scriptures. The Gospels have long been in circulation,
each forming one concise volume such as the smallest lad
can conveniently carry under his arm. Now the Book of
Psalms and several more of the Old Testament and most of
the Epistles are ready others are in course of preparation.
On this subject Mr. Murray very early wrote : "We do
the work ourselves in school, stereotyping, printing and
binding, so it costs nothing, being done as part of the boy's
course of lessons." Consequently, he is able to offer copies
of each book for sale at an amazingly low price, as compared
with that of books for the use of the blind embossed in this
country. Sighted men have, however, to assist in embossing
from the stereotyped sheets, and a reader has to go over all the
work most carefully, as the arrangement of the verses is far
more difficult to the blind than ordinary writing would be.
For some time six of the smallest boys were daily sent to
read the Holy Scriptures in the intervals between the daily
services at several mission chapels of various denominations
in different parts of the city. These little lads read with
the greatest coolness and courage, and with a fluency,
LITTLE BLIND SCRIPTURE READERS 65
accuracy, and excellent intonation to which Chinese scholars
gifted with eyesight rarely attain in reading from their
hieroglyphics, and many passers-by, who would never enter
to hear foreign missionaries preach, paused wondering ly to
watch these boys read so admirably with the tips of their
fingers, and some who could read the hieroglyphics bought
copies of the Book that they might read it for themselves.
Of these Mr. Murray wrote :
" Certainly God is blessing His WORD in the mouth of
these babes, who themselves seem to be really impressed
with the responsibility and honour thus laid upon them, and
nowhere is this more striking than at the hospital of
the London Mission, where they read daily to an average of
a hundred patients." Among these, considerable interest
was aroused by William Burns' translation of " The Peep of
Day." As the book had not at that time been embossed, the
little reader wrote out one chapter every forenoon, and by
eleven o'clock was ready to march off with it to the hospital,
and there read it over and over again to successive groups of
patients. Well might Mr. Murray say, " Could a sighted
writer do more ? "
He continued : "If you could only hear how easily
and fluently both boys and girls can read ! it comes up
to my brightest hopes. A young woman reads at our
morning family prayers, and the little boys by turns in the
evening. The other day Blind Peter was to give the
address, so he asked a lad to read Romans iv. We
could not but admire the speed and precision with which he
read, and afterwards I made him read three chapters right
through, while I took the time by my watch. The chapters
I selected were the 3rd, 4th, and 5th. He took exactly
four and a half minutes to the 3rd, the same to the
4th, and five minutes to the last. Nothing could be more
desirable than that ! I feel a great delight in mentioning
this, for I never in Edinburgh or Glasgow heard any-
thing like it, and I am sure that nothing could surpass
66 FLUENT BLIND READERS
this. Think how the fingers look to see this ! They
seern hardly to touch the paper, but glide over the page
like those of a skilled player over the key-board of a
" After sending the boy back to school, I read the same
chapters while Mrs. Murray held the watch. I read as
quickly as people usually read the sacred volume, and the
time I took was as nearly as possible the same. I consider
it a triumph that the Chinese boy without eyes should be
able to read as quickly as I did with eyes ! "
Of course these dawnings of Light cculd not fail to
be chequered by many shadows.
Thus in 1890 it was deemed desirable to send three adult
pupils back to their villages. Two were men over forty
years of age, whose progress was slow, and who sometimes
found it difficult to conform to the discipline of the school.
Two very promising lads died.
Mr. Murray speaks sorrowfully of many such disappoint-
ments. He says : " Death has been such an enemy to our
success. It has seemed like educating them for Heaven,
and as soon as they are fully equipped, off they go ! I fear
this is not my wish ! We would like them to be spared to
do some work here first. But the LORD means otherwise."
In one year three of his advanced students died : all of
them lads who, in addition to other acquirements, were
able to stereotype well. All three had returned to theii
respective homes, apparently suffering only from a slight
cold, but in each case rapid consumption set in and soon
proved fatal. The young brother of one of these, a lad
aged 14, remained in the school, a good student, and one of
the chapel readers, but the doctor said this insidious disease
was in his blood also, so he was soon likely to follow. All
possible care is taken of the poor lads physically as well as
morally, but consumption seems to be exceedingly common
among the Chinese, especially the blind, and Mr. Murray
learns that other schools have a like experience.
RAPID LEARNERS 67
A very disappointing instance of this was the death of a
blind man in the Province of Shantung, who was unable to
come to Peking to be taught. The missionary who had
advised him to do so then sent to Mr. Murray for a Primer
and a writing-frame, and having commenced by himself
mastering the system, he straightway set to work to teach
the blind man, succeeding so well that he felt assured thai
his pupil would prove of real use, when alas ! this apt
scholar sickened and died. The facility with which the
teacher taught himself with only the aid of the Primer, was
a satisfactory reply to some who raised objections to the
system, on the ground of its being so perplexing !
Amongst many who have given practical proof of this
facility, I may mention Miss Sheckleton, who brought a
blind girl from Shansi Province, to be trained as a teacher.
During the few days she herself remained in Peking, she
went round the other Missions to see their work, and then
went to the Blind Girls' School to get a lesson herself.
After the second lesson she said, " Now I do not require
another word of instruction ! I know my way." She then
settled down to work, and, after two or three days, was able
to write quite clearly. She then started on her return
journey, studying hard all the time.
I have exactly similar details of the experience of a Bible-
woman who was sent to Peking from another Province in
order to be taught.
As a striking instance of the rapidity wich which a really
intelligent blind pupil, anxious to learn, can acquire Mr.
Murray's system, he mentions Mr. P'an, the Blind Evan-
gelist trained for the Rev. Mr. Keers, of the Irish Mission at
Niu Chwang. On the two first days after his arrival, Mr.
Murray devoted two hours each morning to teaching him.
On the third morning he repeated the whole of the lessons
and the thirty Braille symbols employed in reading. Of
this earnest student Mr. Keer wrote that his reading and
effective speaking were a marvel to the people, and that
68 AN EARNEST BLIND CONVERT
his life was to the glory of GOD. But sad to say, his career
of usefulness was very soon cut short by the dread cholera,
which claimed him as a victim.
Even quite young boys sometimes master the system
effectually in five days, and can then gradually, by practice,
acquire speed in reading and writing. In 1897 there was
in the school a little chap, only seven years old, who did
this in ten days, though the poor little fellow's progress was
somewhat impeded by an occasional breakdown, crying for
As an instance of a man blind from his birth or childhood,
who grew up steeped in all the evil common to his class,
and nevertheless has turned out a thoroughly satisfactory
convert, I may mention one specially dear to Mr. Murray
namely, Mr. Hsu, who, from the first time he had a chance
of hearing the Gospd preached, became truly converted.
He had been a fortune-teller, and a man of immoral
character. He sought medical advice at the London
Mission Hospital, where he heard the Gospel preached, and
Owing to the nature of his disease, he could not be
received at the Blind School, but being remarkably intelli-
gent, he rapidly mastered the Primer with the aid of a
sighted boy, who had learned it in order to acquire Mr.
Murray's system of shorthand writing. Then he returned
to the school to crave a lesson in fingering, and gave such
convincing proof of his earnest desire to live a new life,
that Mr. Murray undertook to teach him.
" I sinned," he said, " because I did not know GOD.
Henceforth I desire to serve HIM only, and to be able to
read His WORD."
By the fifth day he could finger so freely that he was
able to read two chapters of Romans correctly, and within
a fortnight he was brought before the Peking Board of
Directors of the school, and read several passages correctly.
Someone dictated a very out-of-the-way sentence, which he
HSU, THE ORGANIST 69
wrote, and then a blind boy was called in from the school,
and at once read it correctly.
His heathen relations, who foresaw the loss of considerable
gain in his giving tip fortune-telling, did all in their power
to prevent his doing so ; his step-father captured and beat
him, stripping him of all the clothes given him at the
Mission, except one light garment. But Hsu stood firm, and
made his way back to his friends, and, ere long, was admitted
to baptism. Thenceforward his chief desire has been to tell
the story of the Cross, and to read the Bible to those who
formerly paid to hear such different stories from him, and
now come to hear " without money and without price."
As a beginning of work he was provided with a table and
two folding stools, for himself and his companion, and he
sat in the street, reading. (The IQ a year requisite for
his maintenance was provided by a friend in Prince Edward's
Island.) He was a skilful player on the Chinese guitar,
banjo, and dulcimer ; now he can also play on the piano
and the American organ, and it is hoped that he will gain
admission to the homes of the well-to-do class who have
blind sons wishing to be taught.
Having received a request from the missionary in charge
of the American Presbyterian Mission at Nanking, to send
him an organist who was also thoroughly acquainted with
the various developments of the Numeral Type, Mr.
Murray selected Hsu for the post. He wrote : " Hsu is a
capable fellow, and well able to do us credit. He can play
hundreds of tunes on his various instruments. He speaks
well, and reads touchingly. He can teach reading, writing,
and shorthand, both to the blind and the sighted. I know,
if God keep him, he will be a treasure to a Mission."
Soon he received letters cordially commending Hsu and
his musical and other talents, and Mr. Murray hoped that his
Numeral Type was now securely started at Nanking,* " the
* Nanking Nan, South ; king, Capital. Peking Pe, North ; king,
70 MEDICAL MISSION A T MOUKDEN
Southern Capital." But other influences had been at work,
and the advocates of another system for teaching the blind
prevailed, so Hsu was sent back to Peking, much to
Mr. Murray's disappointment. He is now working in
Peking as a colporteur under the Rev. George Owen, and
is organist at the London Mission Chapel in the East City,
where he gives the utmost satisfaction.
PERHAPS THE MOST STRIKINGLY INTERESTING OF MR.
MURRAY'S PUPILS is MR. CH'ANG, A BLIND MAN FROM
MANCHURIA, that vast Province to the extreme north-east,
just north of Korea, and which (like that strange Hermit
Kingdom) was, till quite recently, untouched by missionary
effort except a small Roman Catholic Mission. At last a
beginning was made by the establishment of a Presbyterian
Medical Mission at Moukden, the capital which is a city
of about 250,000 inhabitants a tiny light kindled in the
midst of the great idolatrous city, and so rapid has been the
spread of interest and inquiry, that it is difficult to believe
that Manchuria actually forms part of ultra-conservative
The simple story of Ch'ang's conversion is, in itself, an
all-sufficient answer to those who are disposed to cavil at
the slow return of missionary efforts. He was a member of
the Hun Yuen, a very zealous sect of Buddhists. They
are vegetarians, abstaining from both flesh and wine. They
form one of the numerous secret societies of China, and are
hence suspected by the Government as dangerous. They
have initiatory rites which are as secret as those of Free-
masonry. The members of this society are generally earnest
and devout, and when really converted they become most
uncompromising Christians. Many hundreds of the con-
verts in Manchuria, to the north of Moukden, belong to
the Hun Yuen.
Ch'ang was intellectually a seeker after truth wherever
he could find it, and was well versed in the teachings of
Confucius as well as those of Buddha, Taou and Mencius.
J3LLVD CH'ANG OF MANCHURIA 71
But these cold systems failed to touch his heart or control
his life, and he was known as an inveterate gambler.
In 1886, when he was about thirty-seven years of age,
his sight began to fail, and it became rapidly worse.
In his remote mountain village of Tai-ping-kou, he heard
rumours of wonderful cures wrought at Moukden by
Dr. Christie, at the Medical Mission of the United
Presbyterian Church. So in his dreary darkness he groped
his way for more than a hundred miles to place himself
under his care, hoping that he too might have his sight
He had sold what little property he possessed to pay his
gambling debts, and carried with him the small surplus in
order to pay for his lodgings in the city ; but alas ! he was
waylaid by thieves, who robbed him of everything, and left
him to starve.
With increased difficulty he continued his journey,
begging his way to Moukden, and there one morning a
poor blind man. clothed only in a few rags, and apparently
in the last stage of dysentery, was found at the gate of the
Mission Hospital. Every bed was full, but the native
Evangelist offered to give up his own, in order that this
poor sufferer might receive the best possible nursing. Never
was care better rewarded.
Ere long Ch'ang's health was restored, and as regards
sight, a partial cure was effected, so that he could see a
little. But soon after he left the hospital a Chinese friend
assured him that he could greatly improve the sight by
inserting a needle into the eye, an operation to which poor
Ch'ang unfortunately submitted, with the result that he
was thenceforth totally and incurably blind.
But the Christian teaching which is daily given at every
Medical Mission, at once struck home, and took root in his
innermost heart. He had long before selected for himself
all that was best in the teaching of Buddha and Confucius,
but he had found that their cold counsels of perfection gave
72 A REAL CHRISTIAN
him no comfort, and now he recognized that what he had
been ignorantly feeling after was the knowledge of a
personal Saviour A FRIEND and from the moment he
heard of the LORD JESUS, he at once accepted and enthroned
HIM as his own Lord and Master.
Ere a month had expired he asked to be admitted to
Christian baptism. With what seems an excess of caution,
his teacher deemed it right to insist on a period of pro-
bation. Truly touching was the blind man's reply. " NONE
OF MY PEOPLE HAVE EVER HEARD KVEN THE NAME OF
JESUS, OR OF HlS OFFER OF A GlFT OF ETERNAL LlFE,
AND DO YOU THINK I CAN KEEP THAT TO MYSELF ANY
LONGER ? I do wish for baptism, but I cannot delay my
return." So poor Blind Ch'ang was dismissed without
this outward sign of his new faith, only with a promise
that ere long his friend, the Rev. James Webster, would
follow and seek him in his mountain village.
But there were at that time only three missionaries in
Moukden, and the multitude of cares and pressure of
work proved more than they could meet, so that six months
elapsed ere Mr. Webster was able to redeem his promise,
and then had considerable difficulty in reaching this remote
village. He was much surprised, however, in a country
where blindness is common, to find how well known this
poor blind man seemed to be ; and when at length he
reached the village of which he was in search, and which
apparently had never been visited by any foreigner, instead
of being received with the usual shouts of " foreign devil,"
he was cordially welcomed by Mr. Li, the village school-
master, who expressed his pleasure that " the pastor had at
length arrived," and told him how Ch'ang had gone forth
on what, since his return from Moukden, had been his
daily occupation, namely, that of travelling from village to
village (across the muddy swamps and over the steep hill
paths, which had proved so difficult to and wearisome to the
foreigner gifted with sight), in order to tell the people about
A ZEALOUS TEACHER 73
" this religion of Jesus," sometimes in the evenings gather-
ing hundreds of hearers beneath the shade of the willow
trees or getting smaller congregations in such houses as
would receive him.
At first everyone laughed at him, or pitied him, thinking
him crazy, but after awhile, as he persevered and gave
practical proof of true holiness of life, public opinion became
divided. - Some were for him and some against him ; some
blessed him, some cursed him. But week after week the
blind man persevered, daily praying for help from on high,
never weary of singing the one hymn he had been taught
in the hospital, " This I know, that Jesus loves me," and
then going forth alone, groping his darkened way with his
staff, and ceaselessly telling to all who would listen, the
good news of ETERNAL LIFE BY JESUS CHRIST.
" And the result of all this," said Mr. Li (who himself
was Ch'ang's first convert), " is that a large number earnestly
inquired about his ' doctrine,' and heartily believe, and
desire to become members of the religion of Jesus."
Presently Ch'ang himself returned, and his joy on hearing
of his friend's arrival was most pathetic. Tears dropped
from his sightless eyes as he exclaimed (in a manner which
clearly proved how many had scoffed at the blind man's
faith in his friend's promise) " O pastor, I always said you
WOULD come ! " Very quickly he despatched messengers
to various villages, whence his converts soon arrived, and
these, one by one, in the simplest language, and with an
indescribable warmth of feeling and earnestness of purpose,
gave expression to a faith so unmistakably genuine, that on
the morrow nine of them, headed by their sightless teacher,
received that holy baptism which all fully recognized as the
outward symbol of a faith exposing those who profess it to
the chance of persecution even unto death, in such horrid
forms as has recently been the lot of many of China's
martyrs. Several others likewise desired to be baptized,
but were required to wait for fuller instruction.
74 CffAA'G'S VISION
" One thing of which I am well assured," says Mr.
Webster, <l is this : Blind Ch'ang, of Tai-ping kow, with
little knowledge, but with a heart thrilled to the core with
the truth which he knew, had in these months done more
work and better work for the kingdom of heaven than half-
a-dozen foreign missionaries could have done in as many
years. And this is only one of many proofs that China
must be evangelized by the Chinese."
Ch'ang confided to his friend that he had been greatly
helped and comforted by a dream which he had one night
soon after leaving the Mission ; he had been groping along
the mountain paths from one village inn to another, telling
his wonderful story to his fellow- wayfarers wherever he
spent the night, till wearied nature claimed her rest. Then,
in a glorious vision, he beheld the Saviour robed in white,
and crowned with dazzling light. He came towards him
with a Book in His hand, and, smiling upon him, HE gave
him the Book and straightway vanished." He added, " of
course I know that it was only a dream, but it has given
me the greatest comfort."
His friend replied that it was not a mere dream, for that
THE BOOK THE TRUE WORD OF GOD IS NOW PUT INTO
THE HANDS OF THE BLIND, but that no one in Manchuria
was competent to teach him. Yet, if he aspired to teach
others, he MUST LEARN TO READ THE BOOK HIMSELF, and in
order to do so he must undertake the long journey to
Peking and there place himself as a student in the School
for the Blind.
Naturally the idea that he could ever be taught to read
and write seemed to Ch'ang like a fable. Nevertheless, to
please his friend, he promised to do his best, and so,
accompanied by a delicate blind lad, whose friends wished
him also to acquire this wonderful knowledge, he started on
the long and difficult journey. First, the hundred miles on
foot across the mountains to Moukden. Then by boat
down the river to Niu Chwang, where he must secure a
AN EARNEST STUDENT
passage across the Yellow Sea to Tientsin. Then another
two or three days' journey by boat up the Peiho river to
Tung-chow, whence a cart would convey him to Peking.
CH'ANG, THE BLIND APOSTLE OF MANCHURIA.
All these troublesome changes the blind man faced, though
with small hope of any such blessed result as success.
Warmly was he greeted and welcomed by Mr. Murray,
and, to his own infinite surprise, within three months he
had so thoroughly mastered the arts of reading and writing,
76 A BLIND PIONEER
and also of writing and reading music, that he was able to
take a pupil and instruct him in all these arts.
Fain would Mr. Murray have detained him to receive a
lengthened course of tuition, but the continued illness or
the blind lad, of whom he had undertaken charge, and the
opportunity of a return voyage for both, down the Peiho
to Tientsin for a dollar apiece, by a boat which had brought
stores for the Mission, added to his longing to begin at
once imparting all his new knowledge to his countrymen,
decided Ch'ang to return at once, though grieving sorely to
tear himself away from his friends, especially from Blind
Peter, who had been his special teacher.
" Three months ago," he said, " I came, though believing
it to be impossible for a blind man to learn to read and
write. Now, praise God for His wonders to me ! I can
read and write anything, and instead of having to remember
all as a burden on my memory, I have several books which
I have written out myself. But my countrymen are all
heathen, and I must go and show them what the Lord has
done for me, and preach His blessed Gospel to them."
He was provided with such portions of the Holy
Scriptures as had then been stereotyped by the blind
students at the Peking School, and with a new writing-
frame ; and soon Mr. Murray was gladdened by a letter in
embossed type from Ch'ang himself, who, with the delicate
blind lad as his constant and devoted companion, had
recommenced his daily itinerating, reading the Holy Word
to all the wondering crowds who assembled to see a blind
man read with the tips of his fingers.
It was in 1886 that Ch'ang paid this, his first visit, to
Peking. About the close of 1890 he returned thither for
further instruction on various points, and ever since then
he has continued working zealously as a pioneer in different
parts of the Manchurian mountains, feeling his way up and
down steep and often dangerous mountain paths in order to
carry his MASTER'S Message to remote villages. At one
SOME OF CHANGS CONVERTS 77
time he reached a district fully two hundred miles further
east, and there began a work which has prospered year by
year. At the present moment whole communities are
earnestly seeking further teaching, regarding the truths
first declared so energetically by this earnest preacher.
One of these inquirers said, "Had Ch'ang never become
blind, there might have been no Christians here yet."
Of course when more advanced teaching is required, it is
evident that such pioneers as Ch'ang must be reinforced
and supported by the foreign missionaries, who can keep a
guiding hand and act as chief shepherds of the flock. In
his case the very natural danger has been lest he should
mix up his old dreams of attaining perfection by his own
efforts with the simpler teachings of Scripture.
As an instance of the very varied class of men who have
been converted through Ch'ang's instrumentality, I may
quote part of a letter from the Rev. John Ross, D.D., after
a visit to Tai-ping-kow in 1890. He says : " One of those
baptized, named Liu, was at one time a highway robber.
He was also a heavy opium-smoker, and guilty of most of
the vices of vicious China. His was a decided case of
thorough conversion. A look into the man's face showed
what a change had come over him.
" Next to him stood a native doctor, close upon seventy
years of age, who had come from a long distance to ask for
baptism. He had heard the story of the Cross from an old
member. He wondered whether it was possible that GOD
could display such mercy as to forgive the sins of a lifetime.
Simple-minded as a child, this man received the truth with
"Beside him was a man, named Chao, who had from
youth up earnestly sought after truth. He had become a
strict ascetic at an early age, and always meditated on * The
True.' His influence afterwards became so great that over
a thousand disciples followed his lead, and practised the
same austerities and religious forms. His word with them
78 THE SPREAD OF LIGHT
was law." (He was the local leader of the Hun Yuen
sect.) " A more modest man I have not met in Manchuria,
nor a man who had dived so deep into the treasures of
truth. The questions which he constantly presented
showed him to be a profound thinker. His one great
regret was that he had led so many men in search of
peace ' on the wrong way.' Most of his disciples are well
to do, and he loses a large income by becoming a Christian.
" Close by this man stood a youth of twenty two, a
disciple of the last mentioned. His father is one of the
largest land-owners in that region. His parents were quite
willing that he should be baptized, being themselves secret
believers ; also disciples of Chao.
" The fifth was a blind man, formerly a schoolmaster,
whose peace of mind was well displayed in a face always
shining with the light within. Before a year is over,
each of these will have his own fruit borne, in bringing
" There was, in all, a company of twenty-four believers,
who met twice daily for Christian instruction. They
certainly seemed like thirsty ground drinking in the
refreshing rain. For an hour each time I spoke on some
Christian Truth, and when done, I was plied with questions
to elicit further instruction."
In the following year the Rev. James Webster again
visited this district, i.e. Tai-ping-kow and Mai-mai-gai, and
found " Ch'ang looking stout and ruddy, as if his frequent
fastings had done him no harm." He says : " Where six
years ago we stood and viewed the wide surrounding
country wholly given to idolatry, without a single believer,
there are now upwards of 150 baptized converts, and as
many more who believe, and who will ere long proclaim
themselves for Christ. But that does not tell half the
story of blessing, for from that valley, rays of Gospel light
have streamed out to other villages which were sitting in
darkness, but are now rejoicing in the Light. Many are
PRECEPT EMPHASIZED BY GOOD EXAMPLE 7)
the imperfections of the converts, and great is their need
for further instruction, but their work has been wonderfully
owned of GOD. Truly this is the LORD'S doing, and it is
marvellous in our eyes."
In the autumn of 1892 (a year of bitter persecution and
widespread anxiety, especially unfavourable to the extension
of Mission work) Ch'ang's converts were found to number
considerably over three hundred souls, of whom more than
half had been admitted to baptism, the others being still on
probation. About three years later we heard that fully five
hundred of the men who had come one by one asking for
baptism, attributed their conversion, humanly speaking, to
Ch'ang's teaching, illustrated by his own steadfast Christian
Would that this last testimony could be borne to the
example of all who bear the name of Christ, in presence of
heathen at home or abroad. I have just heard of a poor
convert in the heart of China, who, though quite illiterate,
was so intensely in earnest in pleading for Jesus, out of the
fumess of his own love, that he was appointed to act as a
colporteur, selling portions of the Holy Scriptures. The
people bought them and studied them, and afterwards bore
this remarkable testimony to that poor man's daily life,
"There was no difference between his life and the Book"
I have rarely heard any appeals more soul-stirring than
those recently made to great audiences in England by two
earnest African clergymen, pleading that the young men
sent out from Britain to heathen lands should only be
those who are Christians in life, as well as in name, and
who will not by their example give arguments to the
thoughtful heathen, against their accepting a religion which
is so utterly belied by the lives of so many who are mis-
called " Christians." Some of these have occasionally been
quoted to missionaries, with the humiliating comment,
" That man is ' a Christian ' ! Would you wish me to live
as he does ? "
So A SUCCESSFUL BLIND EVANGELIST
So these Africans (and many thoughtful Chinese likewise,
plead that England shall send forth merchants, diplomatists,
and soldiers, who shall show the practical teaching of the
Book by their own lives.
In these early years Ch'ang was well helped by his first
convert, Mr. Li, who likewise was unwearied in his zeal,
preaching and teaching in all the surrounding villages.
Naturally enough his school was deserted by his former
scholars, and for awhile he had to leave his own village.
In the summer of 1897 Mr. Webster thus sums up the
results of Ch'ang's preaching :
" The work in Mai-mai-gai was certainly begun by him,
and so we may say that indirectly the Church in that
region owes its existence, under GOD, to Blind Ch'ang.
Several years ago he went to another district, 200 miles
further east, and began a work there which has prospered
year by year, and is one of our most hopeful stations at the
present moment. Ch'ang has his failings like everybody
else, but take him all round, there is no more earnest or
successful lay Evangelist in Manchuria, or one who has
been more blessed of GOD in winning men to Christ.
Hundreds in Manchuria owe their Christian faith to his
direct agency, and hundreds more are in the Church to-day
as the fruits of the seed he was privileged to sow. HE HAS
BEEN THE MEANS OF WINNING MORE MEN FOR CHRIST THAN
ANY OTHER MAN I KNOW."
It seems to me that in all its details this story is strikingly
characteristic of the methods most frequently chosen by
GOD for the extension of His Kingdom. Not by human
might, nor by human power, but by the influence of His
Holy Spirit working through what to us seem such humble
agencies. Here we have a chain of events by which two
men (one called from his father's saw-mill in Glasgow by a
distressing accident which left him crippled for life ; the
other from his father's corn-mill at Auchintoul, near Banff,
to very special lines of mission-work in two of the chief
cities of China), though personally unknown to one another,
were each led to take part in the conversion and training
of one poor, recently-blinded Chinaman, whom GOD was
preparing in His own way for unique work as a pioneer in
a great heathen Province work which has been so
honoured by the MASTER, that Ch'ang has been well
described as "The blind Apostle of Manchuria."
Close to that old mill of Auchintoul there is a wood
which to me suggests very strikingly the analogy between
the visible and the spiritual worlds the natural spreading
of plants, and the growth of the Kingdom of Heaven.
About a quarter of a century ago, there was brought to the
garden of the old house of Auchintoul a plant of large blue
forget-me-not, transplanted from a distant part of England.
The little exile took so kindly to its new soil that in a very
few years superfluous plants were thrown out into the wood,
and seeds found their way to the neighbouring glen, where
they found congenial nestling places all along the banks of a
streamlet, whence they spread in every direction, till now the
ground is carpeted with their luxuriant growth, and in the
sweet summer time the shady wood is blue with the lovely
blossoms. And all this beauty has been derived from one
small seedling transplanted from its early home in Yorkshire.
In like manner a son of that old mill was guided to far
Manchuria, where for several anxious years, he and two or
three earnest fellow-workers toiled all unknown amongst
the surrounding millions of Heathen in a vast famine-
stricken region a position which might well discourage
the stoutest heart. Yet he may have found a cheering
gleam of promise in remembering the spreading of the blue
flowerets through the wood beside the old home and
certain it is that already these early sowers of the Word in
Manchuria are being privileged to gather in a harvest
beyond their most sanguine hopes. Dr. Ross writes
concerning this : " The vast change from hostility to in-
difference, and now to deep interest, is to me amazing."
82 A FORTUNATE DETENTION
I have told how Mr. Webster persuaded Ch'ang to take
the long journey to Peking in order to be taught by
Mr. Murray. Though very early impressed by a conviction
of the value of Mr. Murray's inventions, he had never met
him. I must now tell of the assuredly Providential Guiding
which led him to visit the School for the Blind at Peking,
in the spring of 1897.
In the beginning of the year, a lady who had been urged
to take a more definite interest in furthering Murray's
system, had replied that she would do so if she received
from Mr. Webster and Dr. Ross of Manchuria satisfactory
accounts of its practical working. She accordingly wrote to
these missionaries, and at once received from the latter a
letter of warmest commendation thereof.
Mr. Webster had just started on a brief furlough to
Scotland, and being anxious to arrive in time for the
General Assembly in Edinburgh, he and his wife took the
circuitous and troublesome land journey to Tientsin, which
is the Port of Peking, hoping that as the ice there melts
earlier than it does in Manchuria, they might there find a
homeward-bound steamer. On arriving there, however,
they found the Peiho still ice-bound, necessitating a
delay of two weeks. Meanwhile Mr. Webster had received
the lady's letter, and at once resolved to utilize his
enforced detention by a visit to Peking, involving a three
days' journey in a terribly jolting cart. But all the hard
bumps were forgotten in the joy with which Mr. Murray
welcomed his unexpected guests. About a week was
devoted to close study of the system in all its details, and
thus Mr. Webster was able not only to reply from personal
knowledge to one inquirer, but became an enthusiastic
witness in favour of Mr. Murray and his work, to as many
as he could interest in the subject during his too brief stay
Ch'ang's pioneer work has naturally attracted the notice
of missionaries in Manchuria to the training of the blind,
SCHOOL FOR THE BLIND At MOUKDEN 3
both for their own benefit and as valuable agents for
spreading the truth.
Dr. Brander, of the Irish Presbyterian Medical Mission in
Manchuria, was one of the first to send pupils to be trained
by Mr. Murray, that they might return as teachers.
The first tiny school for the blind at Moukden was
commenced by Tiao, a lad sent by Mr. Webster to Peking,
there to be trained by Mr. Murray as an organist. He
remained at the school about two years (till 1892), and was
subsequently sent back for further training in the art of
teaching others. His return was delayed owing to the
outbreak of war in Manchuria, so that ere he left Peking he
was thoroughly instructed in reading and writing, vocal and
instrumental music, and had fingered his way through almost
all the books in stock, stereotyped or hand-written, as also
all the music. Best of all, he had been so long in personal
contact with Mr. Murray and his good influence, that there
was good reason to hope that he might be able to train
others on the same lines.
Of this lad, the Rev. John Ross, D.D., writes : " The
blind have most extraordinary memories. Tiao leads the
psalmody in church, having learned to play accurately
over three hundred tunes. I have on several occasions
translated a tune for him into the Tonic Sol-Fa system. He
has written down treble and bass successively, and then,
laying down the paper on which he had written it out, he
played the tune on the American organ. Only once did
he make one mistake, which was corrected and never
Other missionaries have referred to their surprise when
asked to take the service in one of the churches where the
organist is blind, and being told to give out any hymn that
suited their sermon, without any previous reference to the
accompanist. Perhaps they gave out such a number as 396
or 411, and then noted how the blind man seemed to think
for a few seconds, and then invariably struck up the right
84 EX TRA ORDINAR Y MEM OR Y
tune. Of course their memory is greatly assisted- by Mr,
Murray''s system of mnemonics.
Still more surprising is the memory of Blind Ch'ang,
who now knows by heart the whole of the New Testament,
the Psalms, and several other books of the Old Testament,
and can quote them with such extraordinary accuracy that
if you mention any chapter and ask him to repeat from,
say, the fourth to the end of the seventeenth verse, he at
once begins at the right verse, and quotes faultlessly to the
exact word indicated.
Tiao's school was started with three boys, fine-looking
little fellows, blinded by small-pox. Within two months
one of these could read so fluently that he was ready to
teach others, and Dr. Ross was already looking forward
to their starting schools in at least half a dozen different
districts, all to be taught by Tiao's pupils. The latter
already included some bright young men with sight, who
perceived how valuable the system would be to them as
scholars in taking notes.
Of course the difficulty in starting schools in Manchuria,
as in all other Provinces, is lack of funds, as the pupils are
almost invariably quite destitute blind members of even
respectable families being required to earn their own living
as professional fortune-tellers, and the native Christians are
of one mind as to the necessity of totally renouncing
fortune-telling as well as opium-smoking, as among the
preliminaries to admitting any candidate for baptism.
Dr. Ross estimates that in Manchuria ten blind lads might
possibly be lodged, fed, and clothed for ^*6o a year. He
hopes that ere long many such Messengers of the Cross will
be trained to go forth over the country as bearers of Good
He says: "Op THE SUPERIORITY OF MURRAY'S SYSTEM
TO ANY OTHER I HAVE NO DOUBT, as it is in reality a short-
hand system. IT DESERVES THE SUPPORT OF EVERY PHIL-
ANTHROPIST, AND THE PRAYERS OF EVERY CHRISTIAN."
EASY READING FOR ILLITERATE SIGHTED
the first ten years from the invention ot the
Numeral Type in 1879, it was essentially WORK FOR
THE BLIND, and not even Mr. Murray himself sus-
pected that THIS WAS ONLY THE INITIAL STAGE, or, as he
loves to call it, " his First Revelation." The Second, which
is of infinitely wider importance, is the natural development
of the first, namely THE APPLICATION OF THE SELF-SAME
SYSTEM TO THE USE OF THE SIGHTED, BY CONNECTING WITH
VISIBLE BLACK LINES THE EMBOSSED WHITE DOTS PREPARED
ONLY FOR THE FINGERS OF THE BLIND.
It was about the close of 1889 that someone said to
Mr, Murray, half in jest, " Oh, what a privilege it is to be
blind, and to learn to read and write well in a few weeks,
whereas sighted persons take about six years to learn to
read very imperfectly, and even then cannot write at all.
Why don't you do something for poor sighted persons ? "
Then some of the poor Christians came and entreated
him to try to devise some simple system b)^ which they also
might be enabled to read the Holy Scriptures. " You
know," they said, " how much we Christians wish to read
the Book for ourselves, but we are poor hard-working
people, and cannot possibly give the long time necessary to
learn the Chinese character, even if we had the capacity to
do so, Surely you can help us,"
86 A PLEA FOR 1LLITERA TE SIGHTED PERSONS
Then his friend, Mrs. Blodget (wife of the Rev. H.
Blodget, D.D., of the American Congregational Mission),
suggested that surely the system which proved so simple
for the Blind, would be equally so for the sighted if they
could see it. So he prepared a book with black dots instead
of white embossed dots, but still the effect to the eye was
altogether bewildering. Then he said to his poor friends,
" The system I have adapted for the Blind is meant only for
their fingers you may look at it till you are dazzled, but
your eyes cannot read the white dots, and although I have
now written these same dots in black, the result is very
confusing to the eye, and truly I do not know how to help
He was sorely perplexed, and in his perplexity he did the
best thing anyone can do, for he simply and very earnestly
prayed that GOD would show him how to help these poor
Christians, to whom it would be such a boon to be enabled
to read. Then (surely in direct answer to his pra)^er) the
thought was given to him, " JUST CONNECT THE DOTS BY
STRAIGHT BLACK LINES." THAT WAS ALL A VERY SIMPLE
THOUGHT, BUT ONE WHICH SOLVED THE WHOLE DIFFICULTY.
By so doing, he produced a series of lines, angles and
squares, forming the simplest set of symbols ever devised
for use in any country.
Now it is evident that if Murray had in the first instance
tried to help the illiterate, he would certainly have ex-
perimented with the alphabetic curved forms, so dear to
us, but so obnoxious to the Chinese, and which moreover
would have to be adapted separately for every variety of
dialect. BUT BECAUSE HE HAD BEEN GUIDED TO WORK
FIRST FOR THE BLIND, HE HAD OF NECESSITY USED BRAILLE'S
SYMBOLS, WHICH, BEING FILLED IN WITH LINES, PRODUCE THE
SIMPLEST SET OF GEOMETRIC FIGURES, AND THESE HE HAD
USED TO DENOTE NUMERALS, AND BOTH GEOMETRIC FORMS
AND NUMERALS ARE HELD IN REVERENCE BY THE CHINESE.
Thus he was guided not only to adopt the simplest
NUMERAL TYPE FOR BLIND AND SIGHTED 87
possible square and angular forms, but these are also sym-
bols which the people are naturally disposed to respect.
Moreover they can easily be written on Chinese paper with
the tiny brush and Indian Ink,* which are the Chinese
equivalents of pen and ink, and in the upright columns in
which the worshipful ideograph is invariably produced.
So these symbols are really acceptable as being a won-
derously simplified modification of the square characters
which are so deeply revered a sort of " poor relation "
which even learned men are inclined to tolerate for the use
of ignorant persons.
Here are specimens of these different styles of writing.
Embossed for the blind.
o*ooe 000*00 0*0
Printed in black for the sighted, by filling in the outline
of the points.
i rnrjnr L ^ in
Mr. Murray at once wrote out lessons in these new
symbols with his tiny paint-brush, in order to test whether
illiterate sighted persons could recognize them, and to his
great joy he succeeded in teaching several to read in less
than a week. The next anxiety was to get metal types for
printing prepared ; but now there ensued a series of those
tantalizing delays which have proved so sorely trying to
even this most patient of men at every successive stage of
* By a curious misnomer \ve call their paint " Indian ink," whereas it is
all manufactured in China chiefly in the Province of Wuhu. It is a most
elaborate process, and varies greatly in quality, its price ranging from less
than 2s. to "jl. per pound (i.e. about thirty-two of the pieces m ordinary
use). Gold-leaf, to impart a metallic lustre, and musk of the musk-rat, to
sc.ent it, are among the costly ingredients-
88 VEX A TIO US DEL A YS
his work. More than two precious years were lost ere he
was able to get this simple type and so turn his invention
to practical account.
First he appealed to the friends of the Blind in London
to have the type prepared, but needless to say, his require-
ments were not understood, and met with no response.
Then he wrote to his own Committee in Glasgow, with the
same result (and remember, each letter written and answered,
or not answered, involves three months' delay).
He next prepared small models of all the symbols, and a
Chinaman cut exact copies of these in wood, from which
Mr. Archibald, of the National Bible Society's printing-
press at Hankow, prepared matrices, and was ready to
produce the much-desired type, when the order for its
preparation was cancelled, because some members of Mr.
Murray's own Home Committee considered that this was
not a legitimate use of money given to develop his inven-
tions for the Blind !
Three years later, when in dire anxiety lest a Roman
alphabetic system should be adopted in many districts, he
says : " If only I had a private income, the Numeral Type
would have been started three years ago. The fault of slow
results is not in myself ! " *
* The incessant thwarting hy which at every step this work has been
hindered and dtlayed, has really seemed to justify the remark of one who
said we could not have a belter proof of its real value, than the fact that
Satan seems to be continually on the alert to hinder it in every detail, and
again and again on some pitiful pretext to stir up opposition from most
Think of the many m nths that must elapse between the date of his
writing from Peking to Scotland for something imperatively needed, and
then when at last the answer is due, to find that it is only a request for
further instructions, or possibly a refusal ! Too often a long-expected
treasure arrives sadly damaged, as was the case with a valuable stereotype-
maker, the cost of which was collected by a blind friend in America. A
typewriter from Scotland arrived m nus essential parts, and when after
more than a year's de:ay the omission was rectified, the long-looked-for
package was never received.
Not k'ast among tria's of patience must be reckoned the extraordinary
difficulties which attended the procuring of better premises, and which com-
pelled Mr. Murray, with his family and his blind pupils, to continue living
TURNING THE TABLES 89
Happily his friend Dr. T. Brown Henderson lost no time
in starting a special collection for this beginning of WORK
FOR THE ILLITERATE SIGHTED, and at last the metal types
were cast, and were found to produce a printed page as
clear as the finest copper engraving.
The first specimens reached Peking just ere the close of
1891. As soon as they arrived, Blind Peter and one of the
blind girls who were busy embossing books for their own use
were asked to feel the types, and say if they knew what
they were. They at once recognized them, and said. "These
are our own symbols, but you have used lines instead of
dots. Why have you done so ? "
" BECAUSE YOU BLIND PEOPLE ARE NOW GOING TO PRE-
PARE BOOKS FOR SIGHTED PERSONS, AND THEN YOU SHALL
TEACH THEM HOW TO READ ! "
And this is what is now being done. Surely a more
pathetic turning of the tables was never devised !
in houses which several years ago were pronounced both insanitary and
A very trying delay was that of a good printing press for which
Mr. Murray appealed in 1895, and returned to Peking gladdened with the
promise that he would find an excellent one awaiting his anival there.
After a tantalizing delay of nearly three years, it became evident that
further waiting was useless so at last, in 1898, his own Committee pur-
chased a suitable press, which happ ly arrived just in time to be at once
placed in the printing room at the new premises.
As a small instance of "hindering," I may mention that on hearing of
the International Congress of Friends of the Blind, to be held at Chicago
some yeais ago, I wrote to the President of that Congress, to intimate that
I was sending to his care five hundred copies of my little book about
Murray's work, for gratuitous circulation. Hearing nothing further on the
subject, I wrote, and after a prolonged correspondence with many per>on,
ascertained that the Customs at Chicago had made a claim for duty and
refused to deliver the package till this was paid.
As no one was found willing to advance this sum and trust to me for
repayment, this golden opportunity was lost. The unfortunate package
was subsequently traced through diveis removals from one place to another,
and though a veil was drawn over its final fate, I was given to understand
that my five hundred books were cremated in obedience to red tape regula-
tions, a suitable result of Satanic intervention to hinder the knowledge of
Murray's work reaching so many pers( ns specially interested in the Blind.
I can only hope that in years to come, many readers in the Unittd
States will make atonement fur the grave discour esy which thus annulled
my previous efforts to make known this pathetic story, by giving practical
help in the development of Mr. Murray's inventions.
90 FIRST CLASS OF SIGHTED PUPILS
Blind girl compositors were soon busily at work pre-
paring column after column of this clear simple type, and in
the evening a sighted colporteur came and printed off
several hundred copies of the sheet. Then the neat-fingered
blind girls dispersed the type into its place, and again set
up new columns.
Soon the first specimen pages in the new type were
ready, and proved beautifully clear and pleasant to the eye.
I here reproduce in facsimile a page from the book of
Romans, and also one from the hymn-book with music and
words, but I may add that the type generally used is larger
and much clearer than this.
Mr. Murray's next anxiety was as to whether the poor
Christians, for whose special benefit he was striving, could
learn to read from his new pages. He therefore went round
the company of poor converts, and having selected some of
the dullest and most ignorant men, of ages ranging from
fifty-five to sixty-five, he told them he wanted them to learn
to read. With one accord they concluded that he must
have gone out of his mind, to suppose such a thing possible.
But when he added that he purposed giving each of them
a sum equal to 2\d. a day while they were learning, they
agreed that it was certainly a very pleasant form of madness,
and they willingly agreed to come and be taught, and
probably hoped this lavish provision would be continued to
their lives' end. But, being Chinamen, they could not
avoid a feeling of pride in attempting to acquire any
literary skill, and to their own unbounded surprise and
delight, they soon found they had succeeded, and at the
end of six weeks they came to Mr. Murray to say they
could no longer honestly claim his daily 2\d , as they
found that they all could not only read, but also write !
All this was most satisfactory ; but as seeing is believing
or at any rate is so to the unbiassed mind Mr. Murray
invited a number of his brother missionaries and some
other foreign residents to be present at a formal examina-
i F 1
A page of the Epistle to the Romans in Mandarin Chinese in Murray's
Numeral Type. Printed by the Blind in the School at Peking for Sighted
92 BLIND PRINTERS FOR THE SIGHTED
tion of a dozen other pupils, also taught by blind men and
women. One of these had had his first lesson six days
previously ; he read without one mistake, though the
examiners the Rev. W. S. Ament, Rev. E. Bryant, Rev.
J. Allardyce, and Professor S. M. Russell purposely made
him read words here and there in any part of the pages.
The others likewise acquitted themselves to the entire
satisfaction of all present in fact they read better and
more fluently than many Chinese students can do after
several years of hard study of their own bewildering
It next occurred to Mr. Murray to print the lessons for
the sighted in very large letters on wall-sheets. He
divided the space into squares, and got a native engraver
to cut each symbol. From these, moulds were taken, and
then each was stereotyped on a separate plate, and from
these he can now print very effective sheets, which can be
mounted on cloth for the use of classes.
Thus a good beginning was made, and ever since then a
certain number of the blind men and women have been
teaching classes of sighted persons, while others have
been diligently and accurately preparing new pages for
the printer all happy and very useful. Thus in a few
days some sacred Book is complete a Gospel or an
Epistle and then the blind pupils fold and stitch it in its
paper cover, and it is ready for sale to sighted readers. At
first, should there be a demand for more than the two
hundred copies, all had to be set up again, involving much
waste of time and labour ; but now the stereotype is
employed, and an impression is kept of all books of
Scripture, or hymns with or without their music.
Finding that multiplication of writing for the sighted, by
his new system, was desirable, Murray set to work (always
hampered by the difficulty of having only one arm to work
with) to master letterpress printing and also lithography.
He commenced work by making some cheap stones from
FIRST CLASS OF FARM WOMEN 93
which he succeeded in printing very fairly, when to his
great joy a beautiful lithographic press arrived, which made
his self-taught work a delight.
Almost the very first to appreciate the latent value of
this new invention were Mrs. Allardyce and her sister,
Miss Goode Australians. (The Rev. J. M. Allardyce was
then in charge of the West City station of the London
Mission at Peking. He is now Professor of Literature in
the new Imperial College at Peking. Miss Goode is now
married to Professor S. M. Russell of the Imperial College.)
These sisters were in the habit of every winter receiving
a certain number of Christian women from distant farms,
who, while work was slack, came to be taught, for a period
of two to three months, during which they laboriously learnt
to read the Catechism and a few chapters of a Gospel in
Chinese character. They then returned home, able to read
those only (as in any new chapter they would find ideographs
which they had not learnt).
But in 1893, Mrs. Allardyce resolved to give the new
system a trial, so she asked Mr. Murray whether he could
prepare, in his new type, the Union Catechism, which is
now used by all the Missions at Peking, and also some
hymns and portions of Scripture, and WHETHER HE COULD
SEND A BLIND GIRL TO TEACH THE CLASS ?
Of course he was delighted. The blind compositors set
to work, the pages were soon ready, including a selection of
hymns with their tunes, the music being printed just in the
same way as ordinary reading. Then Mrs. Murray took
blind Ha Na (i.e. Hannah) in a native cart to the London
Mission, and there left her alone with these Chinese women
and the two foreign ladies as her pupils.
Within a week Mrs. Allardyce had mastered the system
so thoroughly that she could puzzle it out for herself. (Of
course she has a thorough knowledge of Chinese.) After
a day or two more study one of the sighted women was
able to write a letter quite clearly with all the tones
94 A BLIND TEACHER AND SIGHTED PUPILS
perfectly indicated. (I have that letter now before me, as
also a whole psalm written without a mistake by another
woman, who had only been learning for a few days ! I do
not suppose that any of us could have done tha~t a few days
after we wrote our first stroke !)
I here reproduce a most pathetic photograph of Hannah
and her very first class one blind girl surrounded by a dozen
# BLIND HANNAH AND HER FIRST CLASS OF FARM WOMEN
sighted women and eight children, whose presence must surely
have added to the difficulties of both teacher and pupils ! -
Ere the end of the third month, all the farm women
were able to read and write with enjoyment, and all had
learnt to love their gentle, blind teacher. So thoroughly
satisfied was Mrs. Allardyce with the success of this experi-
ment, that she resolved that so soon as the farm workers
MUSICAL NOTES IN NUMERAL TYPE 95
"THERE is A FOUNTAIN FILLED WITH BLOOD." Cmvper.
returned to their homes she would commence a similar
class for women living in the city.
Six months later Miss Goods visited these women at
their villages, taking with her some newly printed hymns,
96 CHEERING LETTERS
one of which is here given with music the Four Parts
(each line contains two parts) all exactly as written with
the typewriter, which is used as for ordinary correspondence.
This, with portions of Scripture, they read at sight
or if they found any symbol which they did not at once
recognize, they "reckoned" it (just as we should spell a
doubtful word) and then rendered it, and the tones, quite
correctly. They read right through the Gospel of St. Mark
with the greatest interest and pleasure. Well may Mr.
Murray, in relating this, add, " You will be able to see the
importance of this change to the little Church, and to the
Other women in these villages were so astonished and
delighted at the literary skill of their friends, that a very
large number entered their names as anxious to be taught
in the following winter, but ere that season came, the war
with Japan had broken out, and as all Mission work was
necessarily stopped for a season, Mrs. Allardyce and her
sister profited by this opportunity to visit their father in
Australia. While there they were greatly cheered by the
receipt of several clear, well-written letters in Numeral-
Type from the farm women who had come to them the
previous winter so utterly ignorant, and who could now
easily accomplish a feat which comparatively few of their
countrymen can do, namely, that of writing a simple letter
to a friend. Of course they had to get some literary friend
to address their envelopes.
The great satisfaction of having thus proved how easy
the new method is to poor, illiterate peasants, lies in the
fact that these form the enormous majority of the converts
of all Christian Missions in China. Mr. Murray says : " All
the women and ninety-five per cent, of the men are
illiterate." Now, as in the days of old, it may be asked
" Have any of the Rulers of the people believed ? " And
the reply will still be, "To the poor the Gospel is preached."
Whatever they learn is acquired orally. In church they
A TREE OF LIFE 97
can join only in such hymns as they have learnt by heart
and in the same way they can only carry home such verses
of the Bible or of hymns as they have thus learnt. So it is
no small matter to have discovered a simple method by
which these can carry the Word of Life into their own
homes, there to study it for themselves and to impart it
Here, then, we have the history of the early infancy of a
great work. Like other healthy plants, this baby-tree has
been quietly growing up from its obscure cradle beneath
the soil, destined, I firmly believe, to become a wide-
spreading Tree of Life a mighty agent in the extension
of that kingdom which cometh not with observation. I
BELIEVE THAT WHAT THE INVENTION OF ALPHABETIC
PRINTING HAS PROVED TO THE WHOLE CIVILIZED WORLD,
EXCEPT CHINA, MURRAY'S NUMERAL TYPE WILL EVENTU-
ALLY BECOME TO ALL CHRISTIAN MISSIONS THROUGHOUT
AT LEAST FOUR-FIFTHS OF THE VAST CHINESE EMPIRE.
It has already been proved that in its adaptation to the use
of the blind, it is as clearly understood by people of the far
south and north as by those of the extreme east and west.
Among the pupils who have come to his school for the
blind, there have been men from Manchuria, Chih-li, Shan-
si, Shantung, Hupeh, and Kuantung that is to say, from
the extreme north-east of the Empire to the far south ;
and though their pronunciation differed so greatly that
some could scarcely understand one another, all alike read
from the same Scripture ; and all who have mastered the
system are confident that it will be found equally applicable
to every part of China where Mandarin dialects are spoken.
If this is the case with the blind, how much more certain
is it that the identical system can be read by the sighted
persons of all these provinces ?
And this brings us to the grand point, namely, that the
natural inference is that ONE VERSION OF THE HOLY SCRIP-
TURES, PRINTED IN THE NUMERAL TYPE, AS SPOKEN AT
98 DIVERSE DIALECTS
PEKING, WILL BE CURRENT THROUGHOUT THE MANDARIN
PROVINCES, because, being read by numbers, not phoneti-
cally, the varied pronunciation of different dialects is of no
consequence. Each symbol represents the sound as uttered
by the people of any district. Just as in Scotland the word
over is sometimes rendered diver (pronounced hour), and in
poetry becomes o'er, so words which at Peking are pro-
nounced K'uo and Yung, are pronounced K'o and Jung fifty
miles to the south. We know that in our own little island,
peasants from Somerset, York, Glasgow or Aberdeen, while
reading from the same book as a London "cockney," will
each pronounce it very differently from the cultured man
of letters. But in Great China many different versions
would be absolutely necessary, even in Mandarin-speaking
Provinces, were the Roman Alphabet employed, whereas by
Mr. Murray's system each reader will recognize the numeral,
and pronounce it his own way.
As an example of this varied pronunciation I may
mention how even so excellent a Chinese scholar as the
late Dr. Williamson, coming to Peking from the next
Province in Mr. Murray's absence, bade his servant go and
buy five catties of Niu Jow, but pronounced it Yoo, so
instead of a good piece of beef, the man brought a large
lump of suet, which was strictly correct, but very trying to
a hungry man.
Sir Harry Parkes told me how he had once ordered, for
Lord Elgin, a large supply of (I think) potatoes, and after
a most irritating delay, received a huge consignment of
The difference between many of the Chinese dialects is
so great that the people of different Provinces literally
cannot understand one another's speech. Those who can
read and write have recourse to slates, and write theii
conversation. Others who have acquired the atrocious
patois called Pigeon (or Business) English, talk that.
HOW TO MARK A FIFTH TONE 99
NOTE. Although Mr. Murray lays stress on the point
that One Version of the Scriptures printed at Peking in
the Northern Mandarin dialect can be read in all the
Southern Mandarin Provinces, yet in view of the fact that
some of the latter have a fifth Tone, and also a much larger
number of Sounds than the 408 of Peking, it seems to some
of Mr. Murray's friends that it would be well that he should
arrange extra numerals to represent these extra sounds,
and print a Nanking Version for the Southern Mandarin
If experience proves this to be really desirable, it can, of
course, be quite easily done.
At present, in the few books which have as yet been
required for districts in which the fifth Tone is used, it is
indicated by a minute circle placed after the Numeral
Doubtless the vast field over which one, or at the most
two, versions in Numeral Type can be used, is its most
striking advantage ; but it has many others. Several
persons who have learnt to read both the Alphabetic
system and the Numeral Type affirm that the latter is very
much easier. Besides there is the great advantage that by
it the student SIMULTANEOUSLY ACQUIRES THE POWER OF
READING AND WRITING.
The Murray type has also an immense advantage in
regard to speed. Suppose a test-trial between two persons
of equal ability, either in type-writing or with the pen ; the
writer in Murray type will produce nearly 400 words, while
his competitor produces 100 alphabetically, and moreover
saves two-thirds of his paper a detail which not only
implies economy of material, but great convenience in
storage, and facility in the carriage of a large number of
too WORK FOR THE BLIND
Another very important point is that in the new type
most of the work is done by the blind students in school,
all correcting of proofs is done on the spot, and THE COST
OF A COMPLETE BlBLE, WITH THE " TONES " AND ASPIRATE
OP' EVERY WORD PERFECTLY RENDERED, WILL BE ABOUT
ONE-THIRD THAT OF A SIMILAR BOOK PRODUCED ALPHA-
BETICALLY BY SPECIALLY-TRAINED SIGHTED COMPOSITORS
Mr. Murray considers that it is now fully proved that the
new type is not only the easiest conceivable form to read
and write, but that it is by far the cheapest to produce.
BEST OF ALL, IT PROMISES A SOLUTION OF ONE OF HIS
GRAVEST PROBLEMS, IN THE PROVISION OF ALMOST INEX-
HAUSTIBLE STORES OF REMUNERATIVE OCCUPATION FOR THE
BLIND, AS COMPOSITORS, PRINTERS, BINDERS AND TEACHERS.
He has done his best to teach them certain trades, and
has found his pupils very successful in making door-mats
and coarse matting for passages, while the women learn
knitting and sewing mattresses and pillows. Various other
work has been tried, such as shoe-making (the Chinese
cloth shoe resembling a shapeless boat !) The latter, how-
ever, has not proved successful.
And, indeed, as regards making them self-supporting by
instruction in any of the usual industrial arts, Mr. Murray
despairs of the blind ever being able to compete against the
legions of sighted Chinese who already overcrowd the
market or basket and cane work, knitting, weaving, &c.,
and who would inevitably undersell the produce of the
blind. He says : " The Christian Church here is a mere
handful of outcasts surrounded by hordes of unfriendly
heathen. Where is the sympathy to encourage teaching
the blind any handicraft ? Even in England, what would
become of their industries apart from hearts in sympathy
and open purses to help ? "
So it appears that embossing, stereotyping, and book-
binding, piano and harmonium tuning and teaching, knit-
DOMESTIC TELEGRAPHY 101
ting and mat-making, are the most promising industries
of the class usually considered suitable for the blind, and
that their employment must lie chiefly in literary and
musical work. They also write out books of embossed
manuscript music, which they stitch and bind very decently.
Ever on the alert to turn their musical instincts to account,
Mr. Murray is now teaching them to construct dulcimers,
for which he believes a demand may be created, and that
some will find employment in teaching sighted persons to
play these as an accompaniment to sacred lyrics.
This first step in the manufacture of musical instruments
has awakened a larger ambition. An old harmonium
having recently come to grief, he took it to pieces, and
with the aid of his pupils, he assorted a new set of tuneful
reeds, with such satisfactory result that now he has half-
developed plans for getting a Chinese carpenter to construct
rude wooden cases, within which the blind pupils may
arrange reeds, &c., and so produce instruments which may
at least do for teaching those pupils whom they hope to
attract from middle-class or even upper families.
A friend, who had seen how many blind men in Japan
earn their living by Massage, suggested that Mr. Murray
should introduce this as a profession, but he finds that the
Chinese do not use it, at least not in North China.
The same friend had suggested teaching the blind
Telegraphy, and was interested to learn that it had been
one of Mr. Murray's early ideas. He says : " Between our
front and back courts I had overhead wires laid. And in a
cupboard in each room I had two electric bells of different
tones. By having the connections cut, each bell gave only
a single stroke for one touch of the key, so that with but
few signs, it was like a voice speaking ! Having our ' code '
fixed (it was of course our own plan of lessons), we held
intercourse, and in that way communicated music lessons.
When a boy came from the back room and read his piece
of music, and found it correct, what pleasure it gave him !
102 BLIND "BUSY SEES "
He was like a child with a new toy ! In 1886, I had to
prepare to return to Scotland, and the telegraphy was put
aside. Since my return to China, I have not been able to
take the matter up, but I have all the material here, and
might easily have the thing started again."
In the meanwhile the Chinese have themselves organized
a telegraphic code, telegraphing only numerals, which indi-
cate the 6000 hieroglyphics in most common use.
Though there seems so little hope of the students in the
Blind School becoming self-supporting by ordinary indus-
tries, tl ey are unwearied in their exertions on behalf of
their sighted brothers and sisters.
Writing in 1894, Mr. Murray thus describes his hive of
busy blind bees at their work : " With the exception of
two, who are making rope door-mats, two boys who are
at the Braille stereotype, one reading, and the other
punching at his dictation, making the brass sheets from
which the embossing is done for blind readers, and some
who are re-tuning the piano, all hands are busy preparing
books for sighted readers ; boys or girls are composing and
distributing ; the Chinese scholar is reading proof-sheets ;
one man is preparing the papier-mache with which to take
a mould ; another is boiling the zinc to pour on to other
moulds ; two men are at the press, printing the Gospels ;
two are in the shop, printing the London Mission Hymnal.
" One of the boys has just finished tuning the shop piano.
He has replaced a wire that snapped, and also all the felts
and flannels. The latter was supplied by tearing an old red
flannel garment into strips, while my last year's felt slippers
were likewise turned to account.
" Two girls at a time work part of each day as compositors.
They work in this way : the first girl reads with one hand
on her Gospel in raised type for the blind, while with the
other hand she lifts the two types representing each word
in the type for the sighted, and hands them to the second
girl to place in the forme for printing. Thus the two blind
"KUAI-TZU? OR "EASY CHARACTERS'' 103
girls work till a paragraph is finished. Then the second
girl reads from the type thus set up (of course it is all
reversed, but to the blind this is just as easy to read,
as their every-day writing with punctured dots is all
written backward, and when taken off the frame has to be
turned over, and then is right for the reader). While
one girl reads, the other follows with her finger on the
Gospel in the raised Braille Type, and so checks any
" In this way we have set up and printed 100 copies of
smaller Epistles ; 400 copies of the Gospel of St. Matthew ;
400 copies of St. Mark ; 400 copies of St. Luke ; 1200
copies of St. John as far as the loth chapter ; 1400 sheets
of reading exercises ; 100 hymn-books, all for the use of
sighted persons, and now ready for distribution as the
" We have had the 408 sounds of the syllabary arranged
according to our primer, and lithographed, making four
pages in large type of about half an inch in size. These are
stitched in the form of a book, and are supplied to beginners.
A large number of these are now in use, and I have sent
many to missionary friends who wished to study the lessons.
So our school this year has been like a wholesale publishing
house. And if all could see the joy which lights up the
blind faces to find themselves both useful and important,
I think that from the Emperor downward all would give us
their sympathy and help. All the pupils have had a trial
as compositors, distributors, and proof-readers, each has
had a sighted pupil to teach, and all feel the utmost
confidence in their prospects of success as teachers. This
indeed has already been so AMPLY PROVED that ALL
THEORETICAL OBJECTIONS should now be silenced."
It was by this lime fully proven that the Numeral Type
is wonderfully simple and intelligible to the Chinese,
whether blind or sighted, as indeed we may gather from
their descriptive name for it as Kuai-Tzu, or "Easy
104 PROFESSOR RUSSELL'S PAMPHLET
Characters" ; but to the great majority of foreigners it was
perplexing till Professor S. M. Russell, M.A.,* of the
Imperial College at Peking, wrote a very detailed explana-
tion of the system in English, with tables illustrating the
whole so clearly, that none acquainted with Mandarin
Chinese could fail to understand them.
When complete there was some difficulty in getting it
printed. At the printing press of the American Board of
Missions there was no foreign superintendent, and the only
Chinaman who could set up English was called away on
Government duty. In this dilemma Mr. Murray sought
the aid of the Roman Catholic fathers in the West City.
Their English being as imperfect as Mr. Murray's French,
they all talked Chinese, and agreed to do the work, Mr.
Murray himself correcting the English proofs, and one of
the pupils going daily to set up the illustration of the
A slight difficulty arose in regard to printing the final
illustration, which was to have been the Lord's Prayer, but
as the Protestant translation differs slightly from that used
by the Roman Catholics, Mr. Murray agreed to change this
to the native Chinese " Three Character Classic," and so
that difficulty was obviated, and the pamphlet most satis-
factorily completed. A reprint of it will be found at the
end of this book.
Just at this time occurred the invasion of China by Japan,
which proved the beginning of a prolonged time of grave
obstruction to the development of Mission work at Peking
At first it was hoped that the war would be confined to
Korea, but as the summer wore on it became evident that
the invading forces of Japan were bent on shaking the very
* Of whom Murray writes : " He is a staunch friend he befriended us
when we were most in need," And again, " lie is as true as steel."
WAR WITH JAPAN 105
foundations of the Manchu Empire, and as operations began
to close towards Peking, and the streets of the capital itself
were thronged with hordes of undisciplined Chinese troops
from country districts (far more dangerous to foreigners
than the Japanese invaders) very grave alarm was felt.
On the 4th October, 1894, a circular was issued by the
British Minister of Legation, requiring all foreign women
and children to leave Peking within two days. This sudden
necessity for flight was especially trying to Mrs. Murray,
with her five children ranging from seven years to fourteen
days old. Happily her husband was entitled to his year's
furlough, so he was able to decide that instead of living at
great expense at Shanghai (which was already thronged with
refugees), he would escort his family direct to Scotland.
Then followed two days of tremendous effort and work,
in which his one arm had to do the work often, in packing
and sorting household and school goods. He sent as many
of his pupils as had available homes, to their own people,
and left the others in charge of several gentlemen of the
Local Committee, who proposed remaining on the field to
look after their people, and who promised to keep work
going on at the Blind School, each undertaking to visit it
on certain definite days.
Then the Mission House (dilapidated as it was !) had to
be put in order, books and furniture left as secure as circum-
stances admitted of, the family packing accomplished, and
commissariat arrangements made for the journey. By the
kindness of a friend, who lent Mrs. Murray a chair carried
by coolies, they were enabled to avoid the Peiho river, and
to travel by land to Tientsin, whence steamers ply to
At Tientsin there was a delay of four days, during which
Mr. Murray was gladdened by much hearty sympathy
evinced towards his work, several missionaries pledging
themselves to make the teaching of the illiterate by the
blind a primary object in opening up new country districts.
106 VOYAGE TO BRITAIN
A lady, who was likewise detained for some days at Tientsin,
turned that delay to excellent account in teaching the art
of reading in Numeral Type for the sighted, to a native
Bible-woman from another district, and so well did her
pupil prosper that ere they parted, each to her native
country, the lady was able to give the Bible-woman a
certificate of qualification, showing that she was competent
to teach other women in her far-away district. So the
work spreads as opportunity offers, and this exemplifies how
it may gradually cover the great Empire.
On arriving at Shanghai, " the great Athens of China,"
Mr. Murray found that he had three days to wait ere the
steamer would sail for London, and these days also he was
able to turn to account. The recent publication in The
Messenger of the very favourable review of Professor S. M.
Russell's pamphlet, " Explanation of Mr. Murray's System of
Teaching the Sighted," had called attention to this further
development of his work, and he was cordially welcomed
and much encouraged by several leading missionaries. Not
least satisfactory was a letter from the learned Dr. Fryer,
translator and publisher of scientific works in Chinese, who,
being surrounded by military cordons, could not arrange a
personal interview, but wrote : " Let me tell you that I am
using your method for the Shanghai dialect on my type-
writer." That surely is conclusive evidence in its favour,
the more so as the dialect spoken at Shanghai is non-
The homeward journey to London, and thence to Glasgow,
was uneventful, though the care of five babies who could
not speak a word of English only pure Mandarin Chinese
was no trifle to the anxious parents, who were thankful
indeed to find themselves safe in Scotland. Their too brief
stay was anything but restful, as there was much to do, and
they were resolved to return early in October, so as to reach
Peking ere the freezing of the Peiho cut off the capital from
communication with the outer world.
t'hoto by Oviniuf Davis, Edinburgh.
THE REV. W. H. MURRAY'S FOUR ELDEST CHILDREN.
loS THE ANGEL OF DEATH
Of course their first care on their return was to re-
assemble the scattered students, and once again to make
the best of the dilapidated old Chinese houses which had
been condemned as dangerous six years previously, but
which were still the Mission premise-;.
1896 brought the first domestic sorrow to the little home.
The new year brought a sixth addition to the family a
beautiful, blue-eyed baby. But the care of five young
children, without any attendant to help her on the long
return journey to Peking, had seriously affected the mother's
health, and she was unable to give him the same devoted
personal care as the others had enjoyed.
When the summer heat and rains drew near, the Doctoi
insisted that they must all leave the city and find healthier
quarters in the hills, so they found lodgings in a temple,
two hundred years old, picturesquely situated between two
mountain torrents and overshadowed by fine old trees.
This temple is the private property of two brothers of the
blood royal, who lock up the idols and pay no attention to
them, and who were most kind to the Murrays, allowing
them to lodge at a very low rent.
All profited by the change except the beautiful and
singularly wise and winsome baby, whose large wondering
blue eyes seemed to appeal so pathetically for comfort in
his constant suffering. Not all the care of two kind doctors
could save the little life, and on Friday night, the loth July,
little Matthew ended his brief experience of earthly trials,
leaving very sore hearts mourning for him. The little
coffin arrived at I a.m. on Sunday morning. At 3 a.m.
several friends came from the hill sanatorium of the London
Mission, and (some on ponies, some on donkeys) accom-
panied the sorrowing parents to the cemetery outside the
city walls on the south-west side, where they were met by
other friends bringing flowers and a lovely wreath. Even
the donkey boys gathered lovely large white convolvuli to
lay on the little coffin which was carried by four Chinamen.
DILAPIDA TED MISSION PREMISES 109
Four more carried the mother in a covered chair. Heavy
rain-clouds threatened a downpour all day, but happily
the storm was stayed till towards evening, when all had got
safely back to the hills.
I spoke just now of the dilapidated Mission premises.
Though I have not referred to this very practical subject, I
may mention that the old Chinese houses which had at first
been bought and adapted for the use of the Murrays and
their Blind Scholars, were very soon found to have been a
most unsatisfactory acquisition.
In the first place there was not a corner which could be
set apart as an infirmary, so as to make it possible to isolate
cases of infectious illness, to which all are specially liable in
the heart of such a city as Peking. The need for such an
asylum was sorely proved when a very promising pupil died
of consumption, and a little blind girl was seriously ill with
typhus fever, all at the very time when Mrs. Murray herself,
and also a young blind married woman, required the utmost
care and quiet. And all this within the confined space of a
small Chinese court ! At other times scarlet fever and small-
pox was so rife in the city that funerals were constantly
passing along the street. There were two cases of fever in the
Blind School, causing great anxiety lest the infection should
spread, and many a wish for the isolation of the patients.
In 1890 there had been trials of various sorts incursions
of thieves, serious sickness in the city, a succession of dust
storms, and of such appalling rains as flooded vast districts
of the Empire. Though Peking suffered less than many
other places, great damage was done, and the inmates of
the Blind Schools had their full share of anxiety and
Letters from Mr. Murray and others told how a summer
of almost unprecedented heat (resulting in a grievous
epidemic of typhoid fever) was followed by terrible and
prolonged tempests, with incessant rain. Every mountain
streamlet was transformed into a raging torrent whole
villages were swept away, leaving scarce a trace of what,
a few hours earlier, had been flourishing communities
fertile plains, richly clothed with millet and other crops,
became the bed of wide lakes, whose surging waters
carried sudden death and destruction to many a peaceful
In the city of Peking there was widespread ruin and
many lives lost, as on every side mud walls crumbled,
heavy thatched or tiled roofs gave way, as the timbers
which had upheld them fell crashing to the ground.
Within the School for the Blind Mr. Murray kept anxious
watch, his care being divided between his helpless blind
charges and his own family his wife's nervous system
having quite broken down under such prolonged tension
following immediately after the birth of her second child.
There was also grave anxiety on account of several
colporteurs, who had been sent with a supply of books for
sale in the country. These latter eventually returned in
safety (having, however, been obliged to abandon their
cart); but, to quote Mr. Murray's words, "both carters and
mules looked but the ghosts of their former selves. The
sights they have seen, of ruin and distress, would fill a
volume." They had to ford fourteen streams, each of
which had become a rushing river, so that they were
repeatedly in imminent danger, the mules sinking and
tumbling, stupefied with fright, and the men often breast-
deep in the flood. The most extraordinary thing was, that
under such very adverse circumstances and with rain falling
incessantly, they should have succeeded in selling nearly
1000 copies of the Holy Scriptures.
Mr. Murray told how, day by day, as portions of his walls
and ceilings fell, he shifted his pupils, their books and
furniture, from one corner to another, covering them up as
best he could, but living in the ceaseless expectation of a
One horribly suggestive detail in the story of their
GRIE VO US FLOODS 1 1 1
miseries was the overflow of the city sewers, which flooded
the school, of course totally destroying all the mats and
whatever else was touched by that foul stream. The
subsequent cleansing of the premises was very troublesome
work, especially as every neighbour was in the same plight,
and it would have been marvellous indeed if a renewed
epidemic of fever had not ensued.
Notwithstanding his splendid faculty for accepting all
life's trials as blessings in disguise, Mr. Murray confessed
that it was not easy to be philosophical when the house
was tumbling piecemeal, and when, day and night, he was
expecting a crash.
Of course there was no chance of any help in China,
where all were paralyzed by the magnitude of the disasters
which had overwhelmed such vast districts in so many
Provinces. In the country around Peking and Tientsin
alone, the official report stated that upwards of 1000 villages
had been destroyed in some cases swept away, with all
their inhabitants, none surviving to tell the tale, while
4,000,000 persons were left absolutely destitute. Even
when the flood had begun to abate, the waters still covered
an expanse of fully 3000 square miles of what was fertile
and densely-populated land, and it was estimated that even
if the waters received no fresh accession, it would be about
three years before they ran off sufficiently to allow of
cultivating the soil.
Under these circumstances it was evident that there was
very special need for immediate pecuniary aid to enable
Mr. Murray to rebuild his schools, and I earnestly appealed
to the public to give practical proof of sympathy by sending
a donation, AS A THANK-OFFERING FOR THEIR OWN COMFORT-
I am sorry to say that the response was so meagre that it
only sufficed to patch up the dilapidated old Chinese houses,
ani for nine successive years each summer with its wild rain
storms proved a season of grave danger and anxiety far
1 1 2 HOME, S WEE T HO. ME
more so than the snows and tempests of winter and each
season necessitated serious repairs.
In August, 1893, Mr. Murray wrote from the American
and Presbyterian Sanatorium, in the Western Hills, to
which he had happily removed his children : " The storms
of the season for the third consecutive year have been very
severe indeed. Even here the houses seem to totter with
the vehemence of the rain. Think of one downpour lasting
without cessation for three days and three nights ! All the
houses leaked, and a wall of one fell during the night.
" But what of our house in the city ? As soon as the
storm abated, I rode into the city no easy matter, the
roads being now rivers. The mud in many of the streets is
literally two feet deep, with here and there great holes into
which mules and carts tumble helplessly. Arrived ! Ah
me ! Desolation ceilings all down, or parts hanging in
tatters. Furniture soaked, as also my favourite book-case
and all my books my Hebrew, Greek and Latin commen-
taries. Every part of the house leaked the shop, the
blind men's room, the book room, the printing room ; of
the latter, the outer half of the wall fell, as also part of the
roof of our sitting-room. The only places that resisted are
the Boys' School and the room which I built out of the
wreck of last year. Everywhere the smells are putrid."
Two months later he wrote : " The rainy season began a
month earlier than usual and is only just over. Even now
some streets are not passable. The schools had a longer
holiday than usual on this account, but now we have all
work going forward." Throughout this interval he was
very ill from being obliged to live in the soaking ruins,
inhaling the pestilential miasma. For one thing he
developed a racking cough and cold, and greatly alarmed
his doctor by spitting blood. Happily his work on earth
was still unfinished, and he made a strangely rapid recovery.
His wife returned from the hills that she might personally
superintend the Chinese masons, joiners and coolies who
A TRYING CLIMATE 113
were patching up the ruins to make them once more
In June, 1894, he wrote : "I have had masons at work
for a month patching up the roofs, in the hope of enabling
them to stand the strain of another year's storms, just at
hand. The mason, who is an elder of the London Mission,
is doing the work well. But there are two parts liable to
tumble ; one of these is our bed-room, unless we can get at
the decayed pillar and renew the foot, which will not be
easy, as the wall is already split, and to touch it may bring
it all down, and the roof at the same time." (A pleasant
house in which to face vehement and tempestuous winds
and storms!) "This is the broiling season. It is very
unhealthy in the city, as more drains are being opened this
year. Fever is very prevalent. Two missionaries are down
In August he told us how the cobbled-up houses had
stood the dangers. " The rains have not been so savage as
those of '92 and '93, but have been more constant, and
continue longer. The city is a picture of distress, like a
saturated sponge. The heat has been very great. I am
glad to say the Christian mason made so good a job of
repairing our roofs that they have held tight, except in one
part which leaked, and there the ceiling came down with a
crash beside my bed, and awoke me with a start. Still, the
old beams are so risky, and all the woodwork so rotten, and
a great smash is so probable, that it was a comfort to have
the children in safety at the Mission station in the hills.
The great heat and damp try the strongest constitution.
One week back in the city seems to have undone all the
good, for the children (who were looking so well) now look
sickly, and suffer much from diarrhoea, &c. Everything
smells damp and sickly. The very typewriter is sick. The
type-plate has stretched, and lies on the ink-plate, stiff and
hard to work, and prints the letters out of line. I hope it
will recover when dry weather comes."
H4 NECESSITY FOR BETTER PREMISES
By dint of persevering appeals to the public, I succeeded
by 1894 in raising the lowest sum for which it was
considered possible to replace the old Chinese houses by
suitable weather tight buildings, and the order to com-
mence this work had actually been given, when the war
with Japan put a stop to everything. Ere its close, it was
found that all prices had risen so much, that the money
previously collected for re-building was insufficient, so a
further delay arose till more could be collected.
This enforced delay proved a blessing in disguise.
Mr. Murray had all along urged that instead of rebuilding
on the same cramped site, which would necessitate making
the house two stories high a detail very seriously objected
to by the Chinese for superstitious reasons we should
endeavour to raise a sum sufficient to secure a larger pro-
perty, which would allow space for the extension of the
Blind School and development of the Printing Works,
instead of everything being overcrowded, with no room
whatever for expansion.
Subscriptions for even the minor outlay had however
come in so slowly, that this larger hope was not seriously
entertained till the summer of 1896, when a letter was
received from a lady offering to guarantee ^"1000 of the
whole cost, provided that steps were at once taken to make
up the previously collected building fund to a similar sum
by Christmas, 1896.
This generous offer cheered the disheartened collectors,
who set to work with renewed vigour, and succeeded in
raising the required sum. The lady's action evoked the
sympathy of a friend in New Zealand,* who in the name of
his own blind daughter, paid the^~iooo she had guaranteed,
so we naturally supposed there would be no further delay,
and that in a very short time the Murray family and all the
blind pupils would be safely established in one of several
desirable properties known to be for sale, and having on
* See page 133.
DIFFIC UL TIES OF P URCHASE 1 1 5
them ready-built Chinese houses, which could easily be
adapted to the requirements of the Mission. But we forgot
that we had to reckon with Chinese prejudices !
In order to waste no time, our Committee in Peking had
commenced their investigations for suitable premises, as
soon as they heard of the aforesaid guarantee, and from
that time till the following summer (July, 1897) the leading
members were by turns engaged in negotiating for sundry
desirable properties, always to find themselves thwarted,
and that the negotiations had to be broken off. The fact
is that any respectable Chinaman can scarcely bring himself
to face the disgrace of selling land to a foreigner. He would
sell to an insignificant Chinaman, who might in his turn
sell to us. But this might involve risk of finding the title
deeds insecure, and that is a very important matter.
Moreover every transaction of any importance in China,
is done by Go-Betweens, whether it is arranging a marriage
between the son of one man with the daughter of another,
or the purchase of a neighbour's house, all has to be
arranged in this circuitous manner. The principals never
meet, so neither really knows the true mind of the other,
nor to what extent the Go-Betweens are each trying to
feather their own nests.
The result in this case has been that with money in hand
for the purchase of apparently ideal premises which are
standing waiting for a purchaser, the poor Murrays and
their blind scholars had to endure yet another rainy season
in the dangerous and unwholesome houses which had been
condemned fully six years before, and again all suffered
more or less from malaria and other evil consequences of
their insanitary surroundings. Truly those who devote
their lives to working in China for the good 01 their fellow-
creatures have special need of God-given patience.
And this they seem to have acquired to a remarkable
degree (doubtless long practice makes perfect), for it is we
in Britain who have waxed impatient, and the sufferers on
ii6 A GOOD PROPERTY SECURED
the spot have reminded us that " We must wait till God
opens the way ; to attempt to do otherwise would mean
miserable failure. Under His direct management His
people took over forty years to travel a journey which a
caravan could travel in three or four days." And again,
" People at home can have no conception of what it is to
do such a thing in China. Some of the Missions have
spent as much as seven years in negotiating the purchase of
At last their patience was rewarded, and an excellent
property was secured in the West City, close to the London
Mission, where Mr. and Mrs. Allardyce and Miss Goode
had already proved themselves such appreciative helpers.
All previous efforts had been directed to secure premises
in the East City, in the neighbourhood of the old school,
which has the advantage for Mr. and Mrs. Murray and their
family, of being near the place where the Union Service in
English is held every Sunday evening. Of course this
weekly meeting with fellow countrymen and women is a
very cheering incident to the foreigners resident in the
heart of the great city so " wholly given to idolatry."
But in all other respects the advantages are on the side
of the newly acquired property. To begin with, the East
City is largely composed of squalid, narrow streets, all
densely peopled, whereas the West City has wide open
spaces and a far less crowded population. The new premises
occupy a nice healthy position on high ground near one
of the city gates, and consequently near the open country.
The medical attendant of the Mission looks confidently for
a marked improvement in the health of all concerned,
European and Chinese. _ On this site stood several good old
Chinese bungalows (i.e. one-storied houses with verandah)
which, although out of repair, were all built of such ex-
cellent material, that by partial repairing and some rebuild-
ing, a satisfactory Mission Station has been provided, with
large schools for blind lads and blind women, a good
THE RAIL WA Y TERMINUS \ \ 7
dwelling-house for the Murrays, one for the assistant whom
he hopes soon to find, a workshop, a house for printing
office, a book-room for the books of the National Bible
Society of Scotland, and ample space for extension when
the work is further developed.
Among the chief advantages of the property is the fact
that it possesses a well of good water an item of the
The credit of conducting all the delicate negotiations for
this purchase, and bringing them to a successful issue, is
due to the Rev. S. E. Meech of the London Mission.
An equally good property in the East City would have
been much more costly, for, as in China all things seem to
go contrary to the rest of the world, the East City has
hitherto been the fashionable end ; but now that a railway
has actually been opened between Peking and its port at
Tientsin and that trains are daily running to the terminus
(which is in the country more than two miles from the
South-West gate of the Chinese city),* it seems inevitable
that the hitherto sleepy West City will awaken, and that it
will become the most important quarter, perhaps even as in
London, Glasgow, and other cities in the old world, the
West End will become the fashionable end.
Certainly it must prove an advantage to the Mission
Station to be several miles nearer to the railway terminus,
especially when heavy parcels of books have to be des-
patched from the printing press at Peking to distant
provinces. It is also a very great advantage that instead of
the three days' journey by specially hired boats from
Tientsin to Peking, the journey is now accomplished by
train in a few hours. Already Mr. Murray has on several
occasions been gladdened by visits from Missionaries, who,
* For superstitious reasons, incomprehensible to any but
a Chinaman, the railway is not allowed to come nearer to
the City walls. The marvel is that it has been allowed
1 1 8 CO UN TING A SALAR Y IN CA SH !
on their way to distant Inland Stations, have left their
mules, men and baggage at Tientsin, and thence diverged
by rail to Peking in order to judge for themselves of the
merits of the new mode of teaching the illiterate, with the
invariable result that they have resolved to adopt it.
Cheering as is a visit from such sympathetic guests, it is
not quite such a simple matter to welcome their coming,
and cheer their parting, as we should find it in Britain, and
their coming and going are not facilitated by the strange
Chinese dread of the evil influences of steam and foreign
inventions, which has caused them to make the railway
terminus several miles from the town ! From the Blind
School it takes two hours of good driving in mule carts to
reach the station, so that to breakfast and catch the six
o'clock train, involves rising not later than 3 a.m. To the
anxious host and hostess it is apt to mean a much earlier
awakening. But with such guests as these the early break-
fast is a cheery family meal !
Two such visitors members of the China Inland Mission
sent back a messenger to Mr. Murray asking that a
teacher, well supplied with books, should be at once des-
patched to meet their colleague, who was to leave Tientsin
the very day after the messenger arrived. Fortunately,
Mr. Liu (the sighted young man who won such praise from
Mr. Webster for his successful work in Manchuria, and who,
since his return, had been on a brief visit to his parents)
returned to Peking that evening. The Murrays spent the
whole night getting his supplies ready, counting his wages
(no joke, in bulky strings of very varied cash, all of infini-
tesimal value), and preparing " a blessed cargo" of books for
twenty-two pupils, blind and sighted, with writing-frame for
the blind, music, shorthand, etc., the whole making a
package as heavy as he would be allowed to carry by train.
And by 8 a.m. he started on this work in a new Province,
saying that, " Trusting in the Lord of Heaven, he would do
U-HUNG-CtiAN&S BUND GRANDSON 119
Mr. Murray's thoughts are so centred on his work that he
rarely makes any reference to the political news which rivets
the attention of all the outer world. In a recent letter,
however, he refers to the fact that a number of foreigners
have been stoned and hurt in the streets of Peking. " The
Rev. Dr. Lowry, of our local committee, and President of
the University, a justly loved man, was stoned, and received
a large cut on the side of his head ; one or two ribs were
also broken. Other foreigners have been seriously injured.
Anti-foreign curses have been written even on our outer
wall, as the outcome of what is supposed to be the Empress
Dowager's new policy. People who were formerly friendly,
now wear a scowl on their faces. We hope it will soon pass
off. We can but trust, and strengthen ourselves with the
thought that God still reigns."
" Meanwhile we must possess our souls in patience.
Several friends who had asked me to send them a teacher
for their poor converts now write, " Wait the women who
had promised to learn are now afraid to do so. Doubtless a
reaction will come in due season."
Mr. Murray's latest letters tell of a very satisfactory
private pupil, namely, young Mr. Li, a blind grandson of Li-
Hung-Chang (who by the way, is called by his countrymen
Li-Chung-T'ang, and by foreign residents, Lord Li). His
grandfather wished him to begin his studies from certain
Chinese books. Mr. Murray suggested a collection of 3000
Chinese proverbs, to which, after careful examination, Li
consented. So a blind lad in the school was selected to
emboss these from dictation, and when finished and bound
in blue silk, they made three handsome volumes. These,
varied with St. Matthew's Gospel, were the first reading
books of the young aristocrat, whose example may, it is
hoped, lead other great families who have blind sons or
daughters, to apply to Mr. Murray for teachers.
120 AN INFLUENTIAL PUPIL
The young man, who is very bright, quickly found such
delight in practising writing on a Hall Braille typewriter
lent to him by Mr. Murray, that his grandfather, who takes
a keen interest in his progress, purchased it for him, and
has engaged Mr. Murray's best sighted teacher, young Mr.
Liu, as his private tutor. Liu is the capable young Manchu
who has so successfully taught classes in Manchuria and
Mongolia, so that in one sense, his promotion is a loss
to the Mission, but on the other hand, in his new sphere
he may have a far-reaching influence for good.
One of Li-Hung-Chang's seven brothers was also blind,
and was noted as being a most capable man, very exact, and
highly esteemed. It was he who managed the family
estates, and kept all accounts. So it is hoped that the
present young student will prove equally satisfactory.
In truly Chinese fashion, all arrangements for his tuition
were made by " go-betweens," and it was not till he had
made some progress that Mr. Murray received a formal
invitation to visit his pupil. His account of the interview
is most interesting. Accompanied by Dr. Coltman, he was
ushered into the reception hall, where Lord Li received his
guests in the foreign fashion, i.e. advancing to meet them
and shaking hands. He placed Mr. Murray in the seat of
honour facing himself. Presently his two grandsons entered,
and when the elder (who had just come in from his govern-
ment office) had been divested of his official boots, hat and
jewelled belt, he sat on his grandfather's right hand, while
the blind brother (who is a pale, slender lad, aged fifteen by
foreign reckoning, or sixteen by Chinese calculation) took
his place on the left, leaning on his grandfather a pleasing
Lord Li asked the usual questions regarding his guest's
age and country, and on hearing that he hailed from Glas-
gow, he at once recalled with pleasure his own cordial
reception in that great busy city, and his visit to some
of its principal works.
ABACUS FOR THE BLIND 121
Then the conversation turned to the subject of the
young man's education. First, how to keep up a supply
of suitable literature in the advanced Chinese classes. Mr.
Murray advised Lord Li to engage a Native Classical
Scholar, who could dictate to the blind pupil, who would
thus himself emboss his own books, and the pages when
complete could be bound at the Blind School.
Now a surprise was in store for Mr. Murray. An embossed
book was brought in, as if from the School. On examination,
Murray said," This is my system, but not of my production."
On inquiry he found that it was written by the young man
himself, and he was asked to read from it. His fingers
glided gracefully over the lines, as he read clearly; but
neither Mr. Murray nor Dr. Coltman could understand
him. Murray asked Lord Li whether he understood the
young man's reading, and with a pleased smile he replied
that he did. Then it transpired that it was the Anhui
dialect, which is that of the family home.
Mr. Murray then strongly recommended that this very
bright pupil should be taught musical notation and to
calculate by means of the Abacus for the blind. He was
asked whether " the Abacus for the blind is superior to
the ordinary Abacus in common every-day use throughout
China ? " This he quickly proved, showing how the type
can be placed on it by the blind as quickly as the balls are
arranged on the native Abacus. Then the type is fixed,
and there is no fear of its being disarranged by accidental
contact with the wide sleeves.
The suggestion of the study of music was also most
favourably received, and arrangements were at once made
for the purchase of an American organ. Thus a whole
world of new interests have been opened up for this hitherto
darkened life, and there can be no doubt that the interest
which will certainly be aroused in Chinese " society " by
the accomplishments of this very satisfactory pupil, will be
far-reaching in its effects.
1 22 PA RALLEL GOSPEL OF S T. ATA TTHE W
The most noteworthy event of the year 1898 in the annals
of this Mission has been the publication of a volume which
seems likely to prove of incalculable benefit to sighted
persons in all ranks of life both Chinamen and foreign
This is " The Parallel Gospel of St. Matthew " printed in
alternate upright columns of the Ideograph and of Murray's
He describes its production thus : " It was a happy hit
I made, and one which costs very little. Having com-
posed the Numeral Type, corrected the proofs, and made
our stereos from which to print an ordinary edition, we
then separated the upright lines of type, one by one,
leaving a blank space between each. Having printed
proofs from this type, I then got a scribe to write the
Chinese characters, each opposite the corresponding symbol
of the Numeral Type. This costs about lod. per 1000
The primary idea was that any missionary acquainted
with the ideograph (i.e. Chinese characters), could by this
means easily teach his illiterate converts to read the
But there is every probability that it will find a far more
wide-reaching application, as it will now be easy for ANY
aspiring Chinaman, or foreign student who has mastered
the sounds of Mandarin Chinese, very quickly to learn the
thirty simple symbols of the Numeral Type, and then at his
leisure teach himself to recognize the corresponding 408
Chinese characters required in reading the Bible in the
Northern Mandarin dialects.
" These Parallel Gospels will prove most perfect teachers.
A human teacher often gives a wrong tone, and even the
wrong sound, but this is carefully prepared by one who is a
correct scholar, and it is the purest Pekingese Mandarin,
which, as I have already observed, is the standard for the
Empire." So there seems good reason to believe that
PAGE OF A PARALLEL GOSPEL
&* _ i
A i * ;
eE v :
Jt i 1
C ! O
l l h
A paije of St. Matthew printed in Parallel Columns of Chinese Ideograph
and of Mr. Murray's Numeral Type, as adapted for Sighted persons.
124 HAMMOND'S TYPEWRITER FOR NUMERAL TYPE
many who would never otherwise study any Christian book
will be induced to do so, as their easiest method of attaining
the power of reading their own classics.
A small but valuable detail of progress in 1899 has been
the adaptation to their Type- writer by Messrs. Hammond, of
New York, of a new shuttle for writing Numeral-Type for
the sighted, which, it is hoped, will greatly facilitate some
of Mr. Murray's very heavy correspondence. He writes :
" It is invaluable ! 1 expect that with this ' Hammond ' an
expert writer will easily attain a speed of ninety words per
minute in the Numeral Type, and THAT, in first class
Mandarin Chinese, with the tone of every word correctly
indicated. And this is not in our Shorthand, but in the
clear simple symbol which can now be read by so many
poor old women in the villages.
" Think how easily a missionary could write out his
sermon, and even in newspaper office work, what a saving
of time this may prove. I believe that Messrs. Hammond's
new shuttle will ere long prove the means of widely ex-
tending practical interest in our system."
And here I may mention an ingenious way of tiding over
a difficulty, which may prove helpful to others likewise
suffering from home neglect, while working in hot dry
climates, where small necessaries of life cannot be renovated
at a neighbouring shop a matter which friends in Britain
are apt to forget. Mr. Murray's recent type-written
letters being scarcely visible, he remarks that the ribbon
which has so much wcrk to do is two years old (instead of
two or three months), but that he has in some measure
preserved it by taking it off when not in use, and placing
it in a tightly-closing tin case with a juicy pear, and the
INSUFFICIENT PA CKING 1 2 5
moisture keeps the ribbon soft an item of trouble which
would not commend itself to busy men in Europe. More-
over we have always to remember that Mr. Murray's
difficulties are increased by his having only one hand.
As these pages may be read by many who have occasion
to send goods to friends in China, I think that for their
sakes it is well to make known one sad and bitter cry which
again and again has reached us from Peking, namely, of the
insufficient packing of expensive machinery and other
heavy goods, which are despatched in far too light, packing
cases, so these too often arrive smashed, and the contents
are grievously injured ; and this, moreover, is in a place
where repairs (which in England would be so easy) are well-
nigh impossible, and at best, occasion the loss of precious
days going from place to place in search of some means of
remedy. What needless worry is thus caused !
And another simple precaution too often neglected, is
that of sending duplicates of such portions of any machine
as are liable to require speedy renovation. Thus with
regard to a valuable gift of filters sent to the Mission in
1898 by order of a friend, Mr. Murray writes on Septem-
ber 24th : "The beautiful filters are still lying unused, as
half-a-dozen of the rubbers were dried up and split, and the
candles lying at the bottom. I cannot find India-rubber
tubing anywhere in Peking. At last I have got rubber
sheeting to try what I can do by wrapping it round the
split ones, and I hope they will hold and be air-tight. But
if the manufacturers had sent twopence worth of extra
rubbers, all my time and this delay would have been saved."
Apparently the rubber sheeting failed, but happily a few
months later some tubing was found, which answered the
The safe arrival of the Printing Press was a matter of
great rejoicing, arriving as it did, just in time to be at once
placed in the new printing room, and to supply the rapidly
increasing demand for books.
126 THE PANTOGRAPH
Mr. Murray also hails with joy the receipt of a Panto
graph, which, strange to say, arrived uninjured, although
its packing-case was smashed ere reaching Shanghai. This
is a machine by means of which a facsimile reproduction ol
any book can be obtained, much larger or much smaller
than the original. On unpacking the Pantograph, an un-
foreseen difficulty was discovered namely, that all the
technical definitions are in French. Vainly did he seek the
aid of the Professor of French at the Imperial College ; he
could not explain the terms. So Mr. Murray had to make
a pilgrimage across the city to the Roman Catholic Press to
confide his troubles to the French manager, who is a
practical printer. His English being as imperfect as Mr.
Murray's French, their medium of communication was the
In the sudden demand for books, which even blind com-
positors and printers could not supply at a few days' notice,
Mr. Murray sent a copy of the Gospel of St. Mark printed
in very small type, to Shanghai, to be enlarged by the
older process of photo-lithography, and in a very brief time,
and very small cost, he received an edition of upwards of
1400 copies in large clear type.
The first Edition of the New Parallel Gospel of St.
Matthew (in alternate columns of Numeral Type and
Chinese character, had likewise to be sent to Shanghai for
reproduction, because the " copy " was written in Chinese
watery ink, whereas the Pantograph requires an ink pre-
pared with greasy matter. But in future Mr. Murray hopes
to do all such work on his own premises.
The bliss of getting safely housed in the new home was
not without alloy. Considerable alterations were of course
necessary in order to adapt existing Chinese buildings to
the various new requirements. These have necessitated
constant, close, personal supervision by Mr. Murray in.
person, as he found the Chinese builders and carpenters
were alike ready, unless constantly watched, to put in bad
A HELP- MEET 127
work and inferior material, in the interest of their con-
tractor, and such supervision involved exposure to very
trying varieties of weather, especially to the intense heat of
the months immediately preceding the summer rains, which
to a European is well nigh unbearable.
At the same time, largely increased correspondence, and
exertion to meet the increasing demand for supplies of
books, necessitated working at high pressure, often day and
night, all of which, combined with many other cares and
anxieties, doubtless predisposed Mr. Murray to a prolonged
attack of dysentery, a disease which has been very prevalent
in China, and has temporarily laid aside many of our most
energetic missionaries. Mercifully Mr. Murray was able to
join his family in the Western Hills, to which they had
removed after the serious illness, also from dysentery, of
the youngest child.
Naturally anxiety as to how things would go on in his
absence did not tend to his speedy recovery, but here I
cannot refrain from quoting his testimony (which indeed is
that of all who know Mrs. Murray's rare energy and unselfish
devotion), as to her being emphatically a true help-meet in
his difficult work.
" During my illness she came thrice all the way from the
hills into the city, through mud and water, and kept things
going gave out supplies, and superintended all the work
of removing into our new house. Now we are enjoying
the fruit of her labour. For courage and work she is
equal to a dozen."
On the same subject Mrs. Allardyce writes :
" Mrs. Murray's strength and energy have been severely
taxed. In addition to the many cares of her own young
family she has so much responsibility and daily anxiety
connected with the blind scholars. A short time ago, a
little blind lad was very ill for more than a month, with a
very loathsome disease, and the care and attention Mrs.
Murray gave him the whole time, until he died, was
128 A SERIOUS ACCIDENT
wonderful, and of course was a great strain upon
This is only one of very many ever-recurring instances
of the same sort, all tending more and more to prove how
very desirable it is for both Mr. and Mrs. Murray to secure
European assistants, whom they can train so as to be
competent to carry on the work should either be disabled
by illness. But it is work which, in every department,
involves very special capabilities, beginning with perfect
knowledge of Mandarin Chinese, real love for blind persons,
no matter how unattractive, and unbounded patience. It
is evident that it is in China itself that we must hope to
find these needful helpers, and as yet they are not forth-
Unfortunately, while still enfeebled by illness, Mr. Murray
met with a very serious accident, a refractory mule, terri-
fied at the sight of foreigners, having succeeded in pitching
him from the mule-cart, against a stone wall, rendering him
unconscious. His head was severely cut, and his poor
(armless) left shoulder very seriously injured. That involved
several weeks of great suffering, and when his health was
only partially restored, the influenza and bronchitis fiends
took possession of him, assuredly " messengers of Satan
to buffet him."
While still in the clutches of these tormentors, tidings
came that his little son had developed small-pox immedi-
ately after his return to school at Tientsin, a serious matter
for all parties. The boy was in the first instance sent to the
General Hospital for three weeks, a grave item of expense,
and as soon as he was discharged thence, his mother had to
go to Tientsin to receive him and bring him to a point near
Peking, whence his father could take him to a sanatorium
in the hills.
This suggests another matter, which will ere long have
to be taken into consideration.
One disadvantage of life in Peking, with its extreme
A SANATORIUM SEA OR HILLS? 129
variations of excessive cold in winter and of almost un-
bearable heat in summer, preceding and accompanying
torrents of rain, is that in the early autumn the whole city
becomes an awful morass of filthy mud, and the terrible
miasma that rises in consequence causes malarial fever and
If foreigners are to keep their health, it is found to be
absolutely imperative to get away at this season. Conse-
quently, most foreign residents and Missions have erected
a bungalow either on the Western Hills or at Pei-Tai-Ho,
which is a recently established sea-side sanatorium on the
Gulf of Pei-Chih-Li, close to the point where the Great
Wall ends at the sea These houses are provided with
rough and-ready furniture (in order to avoid the great
expense and damage of annually carting these necessaries
of civilized life to and fro), and are left in the care of a
reliable Chinaman. So these simple cottages are available
when required, and are found to work great good in
keeping members of the Missions in good health.
Unfortunately, everyone wants to leave Peking at the
same time, so, although the Murrays have occasionally had
the loan of a house, they have generally had to rent rooms
at one of the Buddhist Temples on the hills. These are
generally close, dirty, and ill ventilated, and involve the
aforesaid expense and trouble in regard to transport of
furniture. So, in view of the very grave consequences
involved should Mr. and Mrs. Murray be compelled, by a
breakdown of health, to take the long sea voyage to Britain,
it becomes a question for consideration whether it would
not be more satisfactory for this Mission to secure a plot of
ground at Pei Tai Ho, and there erect a simple summer
Then, again, though this would be by far the greatei
change of air, it is still two days' journey from the capital,
involving a railway journey at 3O/- per head, whereas the
Western Hills can be reached in a few hours. So the
1 30 THE CITY OF PEKING
question of how to act for the best in this matter is
To a suffering man, locomotion even in the city itself is
not a joy. Thus in September, while confessing to feeling
very weak and unfit for work, Mr. Murray wrote : " I went
across the city to-day to the Bank. The roads are still
TERRIBLE. It took me four hours' urging and belabouring
of the mule, and my own body feels untied. I have not
got my stamina yet."
And writing in July he had said : " It takes such a time to
plod through mud in broiling heat, from the Blind School
in the East City, to the London Mission " in the West.
I should mention that the terms East and West City
refer to the two sides of the Tartar or Manchu City. A
glance at the accompanying map will show how remarkable
a feature of this great northern capital of the Chinese
Empire, is its division into distinct cities, each separated
from the other by great castellated walls. These seem
like the work of giants, and they are entered by massive
gateways, each of which is closed at sunset, and the key
delivered up to high officials, so that it is truly a serious
matter to find oneself at night on the wrong side of a
The city of the conquering Tartars lies to the north
it is a great walled square. The Chinese city is an oblong,
lying to the south, the south wall of the Tartar city forming
its north wall. In the centre of the Tartar city another
walled square is the Imperial city, in the heart of which (as
a precious gem enclosed in successive caskets) another
walled square encloses the grounds of the Imperial Palace,
within whose sacred precincts no foreign barbarian has ever
been suffered to set foot. Of these beautiful Imperial
pleasure-grounds, however, some glimpses may be obtained
from certain points in the Imperial city looking across the
great moat, especially from a noble nine-arched white
marble bridge, six hundred feet in length, which spans a
PLAN OF PEKING.
BY WILLIAM SIMPSON, F.R.G.S.
i to 4. The Four Gates of the Imperial
5 to 13. The Nine Gates of the Tartar
14 to 20. The Seven Gates of the Chinese
A. Site of the present School for the Blind.
B. London Society's Mission, East.
C. London Society's Mission, West.
P. Site of New School for the Blind.
E. Terminus of Railway from the Pert of
F. Foreign Legations.
G. Examinat ; on Hall.
I. Pehtang. French Ecclesiastical Mis-
J. Russian Mission.
K. Tung Ho-Kung. Lama Temple.
L. Confucian Temple and Hall of the
M and N. Lama Temples.
O. Altar to the Moon.
P. Mei Shan. Artificial hill made of coal.
Q Altar to the Earth.
R. Altar to the Sun.
132 THE YELLOW-ROOFED PALACE
very pretty artificial lake on whose clear waters float lovely
water lilies and lotus blossoms.
Under Mr. Murray's kind escort, I found myself there
one morning at the first glimmer of dawn, looking across a
cool green meadow, shaded by weeping willows, to the
park-like foliage, from which rise many attractive curved
roofs of brilliant apple-green or golden-yellow tiles, dazzlingly
bright in the light of the morning sun. At the further end
of the lake lie the various buildings of the palace. I could
see one with high triple-roof surrounded by a whole cluster
of fanciful double-roofed buildings, while a little further lies
another great yellow-roofed palace. Just within the wall
on that side is a very fine Imperial Temple, or rather group
of temples, with many gables and most complicated triple
roofs, all yellow of course, being Imperial, and this is
approached by three won drou sly gorgeous triple "pai-lows"
(commemorative gateways) all of dazzling yellow china.
These temples are faced with china of the most elaborate
patterns, in which the dragon and phoenix figure largely.*
To return from these glimpses of the Imperial home
(concerning which its real joys, sorrows and intrigues
we know so little) to our newly acquired Mission Station.
On November 2 2nd Murray wrote rejoicing that at
last all the workmen had left the premises, and that he had
had the satisfaction of fitting up a shop opening on to the
street. He described its attractive appearance, decorated
with some carved wood from the old houses, and with copies
of books for both blind and sighted persons, laid open to
attract passers-by. He added, " We look to this as a great
means of influence. The dead stone wall enclosing a
Chinese property, to secure privacy, certainly does not sug-
gest that invitation to "inquire within" which we so
specially desire, in order that all may know that we are
teachers of good only."
* For fuller details of Peking and its Temples, Fee " Wanderings in
China." By C. F. Gordon-Gumming. Published by Blackwood.
HELPERS IN THE SICK-ROOM 133
November loth, 1898, was a red-letter day in the history
of this Mission, as being that of " THE FEAST OF THE
DEDICATION " of the new premises. About forty friends,
missionaries and laymen, met for a solemn dedication service
in English and Chinese, followed by a happy social evening.
The satisfactory manner in which all details had been
worked out was certainly cause for very special thanksgiving.
For the consolation of some who, being " GOD'S prisoners"
by reason of illness, deem themselves cut off from actively
helping in Mission work, I should like to trace back to its
source, the history of the generous gift which at last put us
in possession of the long desired Mission premises.
In the autumn of 1894, I was invited to address a small
drawing-room meeting in Elgin at the house of a dear old
friend, Miss Fuller Maitland. Shortly before the arrival of
her guests, I met her in bonnet and cloak, when she ex-
plained that she was just going up the hill to a little cottage
where a poor woman lay bed-ridden. She said, " Poor old
Christina cannot come to the meeting, but she will like to
know about it, and I am sure that she will lie there praying
for a special blessing on it."
The little meeting passed off without much apparent
result, but one lady present, who had just heard that her
sister (residing at a seaport town in New Zealand) had had
an accident which confined her to her bed, sent her a copy
of my first little book concerning Murray's inventions,
hoping that it might wile away an otherwise tedious hour.
The book was called " WORK FOR THE BLIND IN CHINA."
It so happened that some months later, a Blind Lady and
her friend were travelling by a New Zealand coasting
steamer which touched at that seaport town, and the friend
landed to call on the aforesaid lady, who was still confined
to bed. The latter lent her the little book that she might
134 A VAST FIELD A VAILABLE
read the story of Mr. Murray's life and work to her blind
friend, whose interest was thus so effectually aroused that
she procured other copies of the book to lend to other
Amongst those to whom she told the story was a lady
who returned to England, just when I had put forth a
special appeal for money to secure sanatory premises for the
Mission. By a timely guarantee of ^"1000 this lady so
cheered me and my helpers that we set to work with
renewed energy, and succeeded in raising the balance. The
guarantee was then taken up by the father of the blind lady,
and thus the sum needed was secured, and now the whole
party at Peking are comfortably housed.
But the first threads in this web of practical interest for
far Cathay were spun in quiet sick rooms in Elgin and
" For so the whole round world is every way
Bound by gold chains around the feet of God."
To return to the educational subject. Of course Murray's
system has not escaped a certain amount of that adverse
criticism which seems to be the fate of every invention for
the true good of mankind. His reply is characteristic.
" Blind Bartimeus was not to be so easily silenced ! May
he be our example, and may we succeed as well." " If the
advocates of alphabetic systems prevailed, there could be no
united action. EVERY DISTRICT THROUGHOUT CHINA WOULD
REQUIRE TO HAVE ITS OWN PECULIAR VERSION. There Could
be no central depot."
A recent writer on the best method by which to represent
Chinese sounds in all the varied dialects of China, rather set
aside the Numeral Type, on the ground that it was still in its
infancy. So it is. In its application to sighted persons, it
has only been in type about seven years. Four hundred and
fifty years ago, exactly the same objection might have been
raised to the art of printing, as now practised throughout
all the civilized world except China. Our hope is that long
ere one century has passed, very many thousands of Chinese
men and women will by means of this system be able
to read the Holy Scriptures for themselves, and to teach
their children to do so, and that hereafter Murray will be
recognized as the Caxton of Christian China.
From time to time encouragements reach him in the
form of letters from missionaries in distant Provinces, who
have procured copies of his primers for both blind and
sighted persons, and who have not only puzzled them out
for themselves, but have then instructed blind persons, who
in their turn have taught others.
Especially in North China are Missionaries now waking
up to understand the value of his inventions, and all those
who have really tried them are enthusiastic, and describe
them as a Heaven-revealed blessing for the good of the
illiterate sighted, as well as for the blind. Others are quite
willing to send blind converts to Peking to be trained and
then start schools in their own Province, if only their
Home Societies will authorize the initial expenses.
On this subject Mr. Murray writes : " If we had some
Apostle at home, just to show to the Societies the im-
portance of this matter, no doubt the money would be
voted and the work of the Missions would increase with a
bound. The work of each man in the field would equal
that of ten now."
As yet only about a dozen tiny schools have been
commenced at different Mission stations, in five of the
Mandarin-speaking provinces, the teachers having in each
case been sent to the parent school in Peking to be trained,
or else sent from Peking. It is hoped that from these
small seed-plots others will develop, and also that all the
principal Christian Missions may send agents either Euro-
peans or carefully selected Chinese converts to be trained
by Mr. Murray, that they may carry his system to every
136 TREE KANGAROOS
existing Mission Station. It is very desirable that in the
first instance, as many as possible should be brought (and
remain for a considerable time) under his own strong
personal influence. Then one such SIGHTED head-teacher
i.i each district could there found a Blind School, and train
Chinese Scripture Readers, and thus the work ' may be
ceaselessly extended in every direction, till it overspreads
the whole vast Empire like a network of fertilizing streams
from the River of the Water of Life.
That it is ^already thus extending is certain slowly and
not " with observation," yet surely, and in a manner which
leaves no room for doubt of widespread results in the near
future. Notwithstanding the general unrest throughout
China, which is of course unfavourable to any literary
aspirations, and specially to the introduction of a totally new
system of foreign origin, many missionaries are now ready
to form classes so soon as opportunity seems favourable.
Already we have good reason to believe that many
humble readers who have returned from Peking to their
own villages are even now, all alone in their own homes,
teaching many of their friends, who in their turn will teach
others, and thus silently the good leaven will spread.
I am tempted to recall a hopeful analogy from the
natural world. When I was travelling in the Pacific, I
stayed awhile off the coast of New Zealand on the little Isle
of Kawau, long the home of Sir George Grey, who loved
thereon to acclimatize all manner of plants and living
creatures from other countries. One day the captain of a
trading vessel brought him a pair of lovely little tree-
kangaroos, pretty furry creatures about the size of a hare,
which climb trees like squirrels. These were turned loose
in the woods, and for several years were no more seen. It
was feared that they were dead, when, to Sir George's
delight, he one day observed a pair playing on the grass.
Soon another and another were seen, and ere long they
were found to have multiplied and overspread the Isls
TIME FOR HARVEST 137
to such an extent, that at the time of my visit they
were almost as numerous as rabbits in Scotland.
So we may hope that ere long, Mr. Murray's long years
of paiience will be rewarded by his being allowed to
' see of the travail of his soul," for truly he has travailed,
working ceaselessly to the utmost limit of human endurance,
in a country where the most stifling summer heat combines
with pitiless rains to produce pestilential miasma and all
the evils born of malaria, while in winter the cold is
so intense that for many months the river is frozen.
In such a climate the mere work of a colporteur involves
great physical strain, but in Mr. Murray's case, the
additional long hours which for so many years have been
stolen from sleep for the study (often by very defective
lamplight) of the most intricate characters, beginning with
Greek and Hebrew, and now for twenty-eight years of
bewildering Chinese all combined with very extensive
correspondence have sorely overstrained his precious
eyesight, and caused him many an anxious qualm. So
it is time he had his reward, in proving that his system is
now so clearly worked out, that other men can take it up
and make use of it, simply from the study of his Primers.
We have to remember that in China everything moves
very slowly, ?nd that NOTHING is so OBNOXIOUS AS NOVELTY,
WHICH ASSUREDLY IS A STRIKING FEATURE IN ALL THIS WORK.
Happily it is commended to the people of Peking by the
fact of Mr. Murray's having been continually amongst them
for a quarter of a century of friendly intercourse. His
kindly and genial manners, and inexhaustible patience,
have gained their confidence in a remarkable degree, and
have predisposed them to receive his innovations with
less suspicion than would meet those of a new comer.
This New Mission must certainly appeal, as no other
has yet done, to two of the stiongest characteristics of
China's millions, namely, their reverence for pure benevolence,
and their veneration for the power of reading. To see
138 WHO WILL HELP?
foreigners undertaking such a work of love for the destitute
blind, and for those who, though endowed with sight, are
utterly illiterate, will go far towards dispelling prejudice
against Christians and their MASTER, and will prepare the
way for the workers of all Christian Missions.
I would earnestly entreat all who have already helped it,
not to allow their interest in the subject to flag, but on the
contrary, to do all in their power to awaken that of others.
For though I am fully convinced that this Agency is
destined to do a very great work in China, it is as yet only a
Baby-Giant, and stands greatly in need of the care of as
many foster-mothers as possible (in the way of collectors).
Assuredly no Mission-field is more certain ere long
to yield fruit an hundredfold than this Chinese Empire ;
and I know of no agency which is more surely destined
to work among the masses, as an ever-spreading leaven
of all good, than this training of Scripture Readers, who
year by year may be sent forth from this school to read
the Sacred Message in the streets of Peking and other
great centres of heathenism, holding forth to others the
LIGHT which has gladdened their own lives.
SURELY SUCH A STORY AS THIS MAY WELL INCITE MANY TO
PROVE THEIR INTEREST BY SOME ACT OF SELF-DENIAL WHICH
MAY ENABLE THEM TO HELP SO EARNEST A WORKER. (For
we all know how very apt we are to limit our giving-power
to such a sum as we can spare without involving much
self-denial ! )
I was lately telling this story to a number of working
girls in England, and a somewhat rough, rather unsatisfac-
tory lass was observed to be listening attentively with tears
in her eyes. Afterwards she said, " I have two hands, and
two eyes, and I haven't done much good with them." Not
yet, but perhaps " HENCEFORTH," for her, and we trust for
Would that some who read these lines would consider for
a moment what life would be to themselves were they
CONFERENCE AT SHANGHAI, 1890 139
deprived of gifts so precious as SIGHT and LIGHT, and
would each resolve to present for this branch of GOD'S
work such a sum as he shall really miss not taken from
the total of his accustomed offerings, but as a Special Thank-
offering for these precious gifts a portion of that money-
talent which we know we only hold in trust, as we so often
need to remind ourselves when we say, " Both riches and
honour come of THEE, and of THINE own do we give
TESTIMONY FROM COMPETENT WITNESSES.
IN conclusion, I may quote a few of the many testimonies
we have received from men of experience in Chinese
matters, who have seen for themselves the practical results
of the work.
In May, 1890, a great Missionary Conference was held
at Shanghai, and as by this time several other systems had
been devised for teaching the blind, chiefly in the Southern
Provinces, this was one of the subjects to be considered. It
was therefore deemed desirable that Mr. Murray should
attend the Conference.
He accordingly went to Shanghai, accompanied by Blind
Peter, and read a descriptive paper, which, however lucid
to Chinese hearers, seems to have somewhat perplexed his
European audience. But when Peter's turn came to give
practical illustrations of reading, writing, and playing the
church organ, his reception was enthusiastic. Several
Missionaries from Peking who were present, testified from
personal knowledge to the like ability of other boys and
men, girls and women, in the Blind School. Even the
President left the chair that he might tell how, when he
was in Peking, he had sung a tune to one of Mr. Murray's
pupils a tune which probably no one in Peking had ever
heard before and how the blind man had noted it down by
140 DR. STEVENSON'S VERDICT
his system, and in a very few moments reproduced it
perfectly on the harmonium.
Mr. Murray very unfortunately assumed that he had now
done all that was required to secure support, and, being
anxious to catch the return steamer to Peking, he forthwith
departed, without waiting to take part in the delibera-
tions of the small Committee which was subsequently
appointed by the Conference to consider which of the
various systems that within the last few years have been
evolved for the use of the blind, should be adopted through-
The supporters of several other systems were on the
Committee, and the truth of the old proverb, " The absent
are always in the wrong," was once more proved, for, to
the amazement of all who understood the practical working
of Murray's system, it was simply ignored, and a statement
was widely circulated to the effect that it was not taken
into consideration, not being considered sufficiently simple !
Thereupon, some of the missionaries and others who
have for years watched the silent, unobtrusive progress of
Murray's work at Peking, deemed it necessary to publish a
counter-statement of the true facts. This paper, which
was published at Shanghai in the Chinese Recorder for
June, 1891, commenced by noting how the Committee of
the Shanghai Conference recommended, "First, a system of
writing by Initials and Finals." Secondly, a system of spelling
in the European method. While NO MENTION WAS MADE OF
THE FULLY PROVEN SUCCESSFUL WORK OF MR. MURRAY.
(The system of Initials and Finals is practically spelling
phonetically. It must, therefore, be separately adapted to
each of the innumerable dialects of the Empire ; whereas
Murray's books can be read throughout all the Mandarin-
On this subject I cannot do better than quote the opinion
oDr. Stevenson of Ssu C'huan Province, a member of the
Educational Committee for China. After devoting a year
THE SUPREME TEST OF SUCCESS 141
to the study both of the Initial and Final system, and of
Murray's Numeral Type, he now gives his deliberate
decision that "THE LATTER is HEAD AND SHOULDERS ABOVE
THE FORMER, AND IS GOOD FOR MANDARIN AT LEAST" (i.e. for
four-fifths of the Empire).
The paper then proceeded to give a clear account of
Mr. Murray's system, which is described as being " in
perfect harmony with the genius of the Chinese language,
which is A LANGUAGE OF UNITS. EVERY WORD IS A UNIT.
To DIVIDE IT INTO SYLLABLES is UNNATURAL. The Murray
system seizes upon this distinctive feature of the language
and makes it a corner-stone. EACH OF MURRAY'S WORDS
REPRESENTS TO THE PUPIL A PERFECT CHINESE SOUND.
" It accords with the genius of the Chinese mind ... of
which . . . the one conspicuous power in activity . . . de-
veloped through a thousand years of culture, is the mechanical
memory. . . . Here again, Murray's system seizes upon the
mental characteristics of the people for whom it is prepared.
"No SYMBOL IS EVER EMPLOYED FOR MORE THAN ONE
PURPOSE, hence there is no confusion in the mind of the
pupil, arising from the use of the same symbol, now as a
mere initial, and again as an entire word.
"FINALLY THERE is THE SUPREME TEST OF SUCCESSFUL
TRIAL. The system works ; boys learn it ; girls learn it ;
it does not seem to the pupils difficult. Bright scholars
master it in a fortnight ; some have been known to read
the Bible in a few days. Even dull ones can learn to read
and write in a few months ; the dullest in one year. The
asylum is now in full operation. From a little girl of four,
who has almost completed her primer, to men forty years
of age, they may be seen reading, writing, stereotyping,
printing, even writing music and reading it from their own
or other's copy. Can it be that this is the system too
complicated for general use throughout China !
" (Signed) ], W. LOWRIE, American Presb. Mission."
142 TESTIMONY OF IMPORTANT WITNESSES
To which was appended the following postscript :
" The above seems to us a fair and moderate view of the
advantages of Murray's system for teaching the blind in
China to read and write. OF ITS SUCCESS IN PRACTICAL
WORKING WE ARE ALL WITNESSES.
" (Signed) JOHN WHERRY, American Presb. Mision.
H. H. LOWRY, Methodist Episcopal Mission.
GEORGE OWEN, London Missionary Society.
EDWARD S. PRITCHARD, ditto.
WM. S. AMENT, American Board Mission.
S. M. RUSSELL, Imperial College, Peking.
To this a final note on u the many and great advantages
of Mr. Murray's system" was added by the Rev. H.
Another very important letter was published in the
Chinese Recorder in the spring of 1896, to refute various
mis-statements regarding the Numeral Type which had
been widely circulated.
The only valid ground for these attacks lay in a misunder-
standing on the part of some of the advocates of the system,
who at first thought that the books printed at Peking were
available for the whole of China, without any alteration
whatever. WHEREAS THE SYSTEM is AT PRESENT ADAPTED
ONLY TO THE USE OF THE THREE HUNDRED MILLIONS WHO
SPEAK MANDARIN DIALECTS. A fair field for one man to
seek to occupy !
The letter in question replies at length to the various
points raised, and says : " AT PRESENT ALL WE CAN CLAIM
is THAT MURRAY'S SYSTEM is UNIVERSAL, WITHOUT ANY
MODIFICATION, FOR ALL THE MANDARIN DIALECTS. ... If
the reader will remember that in Murray's Numeral system
there are never more than two Braille elements to each
word, and that no spaces are needed between the words, as
each word begins with what we may call a capital letter,
TESTIMONY OF IMPORTANT WITNESSES 143
he will be able to realize the very great rapidity with which
Murray's blind pupils can read." . . . (The finger glides
swiftly over its elements, and there is no ambiguity as to
where one word ends and another begins.) " Thus a
degree of fluency is attainable far beyond that of any other
u The system is very simple, easily acquired, and requires
no effort of thought in its acquirement ; only a little
Then with regard to teaching sighted persons, the letter
goes on to say,
(i It should be remembered that the Romanized version
of the Bible, and that in Murray's system, are both intended
for the illiterate and those who have not time to acquire the
Chinese characters. . . . Now in teaching ignorant people,
why compel them to recognize Roman letters ? They are
not simple, and certainly not easy (to the Chinese) to write.
In fact, old men and women, for whom the Romanized
system is principally intended, can never hope to be able to
write. With Murray's system old women can write nicely,
as soon as they are able to read. It is a great advantage
for converts in the country to be able to communicate by
letter with the missionary.*
" (Signed) S. M. RUSSELL, Imperial College, Peking.
J. DUDGEON, Esq., M.D.
Rev. W. S. AMENT, American Board Mission.
Rev. H. H. LOWRY, D.D., President of the
Rev. F. D. GAMEWELL. \Peking University.
Rev. G. OWEN, London Missionary Society.
Rev. S. E. MEECH, ditto.
Rev. J. STOXEHOUSE, ditto.
Rev. J. M. ALLARDYCE, M.A., ditto."
John Dudgeon, M.D., whose long and great experience
* The Lord's Prayer in the Romanized Chinese, Numeral Type, Short-
hand, and Mandarin Chinese, will be found on pages 161-162.
144 LETTER FROM DR. DUDGEON
of the Chinese entitles his verdict to the greatest considera-
tion, also wrote in the Chinese Recorder: "In speaking of
the extent to which Murray's system can be used, what
should have been said was that it was available wherever
Mandarin is spoken, which is generally understood to
embrace four-fifths of the Empire, or say 300,000,000 of
people. . . . ^ We only ask for a fair consideration of the
Numeral system, the ease and rapidity with which it can
be acquired, its extreme suitability to the Mandarin, and
the possibility of its application to the non-Mandarin districts
by the preparation of primers for each dialect or district.
If the latter can be arranged, there is no reason why the
system may not be adapted to these non-Mandarin speaking
". . . . The Roman letters are held to be more compli-
cated than the Murray letters. They are written with
much more difficulty ; the Murray system consists only of
strokes and lines at right angles. It takes up almost one-
third less of type-setting, one-third less of paper, one-third
less of space, one-third less of freight, one-third less of
storage, one-third less of duty, and so on."
". . . . When we see old women learning to read in two
months, and writing to their absent missionary friends in
Australia, it certainly shows a vast improvement on the old
way of doing things."
Of course either Roman or Numeral type can be printed
of any size. We have received samples of the latter in most
minute type. THE ABOVE CALCULATION is BASED ON TWO
SAMPLES PRINTED IN TYPE OF RELATIVELY THE SAME SIZE.
Dr. E. H. Edwards, of T'ai-Ytien-Fu in Shansi Province,
writes from his own practical experience :
" ANYONE OPPOSING MURRAY'S SYSTEM IN ANY WAY, is
DOING A CRUEL INJURY TO THE POOR BLIND OF CHINA.
Some of us would be glad if he could add an industrial side
DR. E. H. EDWARDS' TESTIMONY 14$
to his work, but IT is so USEFUL AS IT is, THAT WE, WHO
KNOW ITS VALUE, DO NOT LIKE TO CRITICIZE.
Again, he writes,
WHAT HAS MURRAY'S SYSTEM DONE FOR THE BLIND
OF CHINA ?
Some thirteen years ago a party of six blind men came to
the door of the Medical Mission Hospital in Tai-Yiien-Fu
in the Province of Shansi. They were much travel-stained,
and on inquiry it was found that though they had engaged
as guide a man who had two good eyes, they had taken
thirteen days to accomplish the journey from their home in
the adjoining province, to the hospital.
And what had induced these men to undertake a journey
which meant their crossing mountains 4000 feet high ? A
patient who had been cured of cataract in the hospital,
returned to his home and there gave such a wonderful
account of his own cure, that his blind friends were induced
to scrape together all the money they could, engage a guide,
md undertake the long journey in the hopes that they
too might regain their sight.
Unfortunately all six cases were hopelessly blind, and
only those who have had to tell others that for them there
is " no hope " can understand the disappointment it was to
these poor men. At that time we knew nothing of Mr.
Murray's system, otherwise we might have held out some
cheer for them. As it was, there was nothing for them
but to retrace their steps over the mountain heights.
Two of them, however, decided to remain, as we said that
if they were willing to submit to prolonged treatment, we
would try a new remedy which had been suggested for their
particular malady. At the end of six months their sight
had not improved, but " the eyes of their understanding "
had been opened, and before they went home they received
baptism, confessing Christ as their Saviour.
146 A TYPICAL BLIND CONVERT
At that time there was no Mission-station in the neigh-
bourhood of their home, and on their return they had to
stand alone against much opposition from their heathen
relatives and friends. Subsequently a missionary settled in
that district and kindly looked them up. He was so pleased
with one named Sz-er that he sent him to Mr. Murray's
school in Peking. He there quickly acquired the system,
and returned to be a most helpful evangelist in the work.
On one occasion he heard that a Roman Catholic bad been
seeking to influence some of his friends in a neighbouring
village. Sz-e'r, taking his Bible with him, went to visit his
friends, and so effectually silenced the Romanist by his
appeal to the Scriptures, that he never came to that village
And now, but for Murray's system, what would Sz-er
probably be doing ? Since he had become a Christian he
would not learn the vile songs which the blind usually sing,
and of course he could not undertake the rule of a fortune-
teller. His friends therefore made him in the summer
stand all day at the well, drawing water to irrigate their
gardens and fields. In the winter there was absolutely
nothing for him to do. But now, being able both to read
and write, he is usefully employed all the year round a
help to his own family and a blessing to many others.
Sz-er is only an example of many other blind men,
scattered over North China, whose lives have been bright-
ened and made useful by being brought into contact with
Mr. Murray. Go into several of the largest Mission chapels
in Peking and listen to the singing of familiar tunes to
what to some of us would be unfamiliar words. Who are
the organists ? Blind men who have been trained by Mr.
Murray. What a contrast to those other blind, who wander
about the street twanging a guitar or playing a flute, hoping
to be invited into some house to tell a fortune or sing a
AND WHAT MAY MURRAY'S SYSTEM DO FOR THE
OPPONENTS HINDER MISSION WORK 147
ILLITERATE SIGHTED OF CHINA ? Some time ago a
Chinese gentleman visited our Mission, and I was taking
him round the premises, showing him the different depart-
ments of the work. In the chapel our blind organist was
practising ; this led me to expatiate on Mr. Murray's
system. I was explaining how it was adapted for the
sighted, and showed him a copy of one of the Gospels in
Murray's type, but was obliged to confess I could not read
it. Immediately one of my Chinese assistants standing by
said he could do so. I then procured a copy of the same
Gospel in the Chinese character, so that the gentleman
might see for himself that he was reading correctly.
It then transpired that this assistant had LEARNT THE
SYSTEM FROM THE BLIND TEACHER AS A PASTIME, AND FOR
SOME MONTHS HAD BEEN TEACHING OTHERS. Some of his
pupils were catechumens who for years had been trying to
learn the Chinese character in order to be able to read the
Bible. None of them had made much progress, and
certainly they would not attempt to write much in Chinese.
But now, in a few months they had so far acquired the
Murray system that they not only were able to read, but
wrote their own letters to their teacher and to each other.
So keen were they, that whenever they visited the Mission
Station they would find their way at once to the teacher's
room to get further help in their new study.
Is it any wonder that those of us who have seen the
practical working of Murray's system should thank God,
and wish to see a centre for teaching both blind and sighted
opened in all the mandarin-speaking provinces ? THE
MARVEL TO US IS HOW ANY CAN BE FOUND TO OPPOSE THE
SYSTEM. What have they to offer in its place, AT ONCE so
SIMPLE AND COMPLETE ? IN MY OPINION ALL WHO SO OPPOSE
ARE DOING A CRUEL INJURY TO THE BLIND OF CHINA, AND
HELPING TO HINDER THE SPREAD OF CHRISTIANITY IN THAT
E. H. EDWARDS, M.B.
148 "AN UNQUALIFIED SUCCESS"
In October, 1896, the Rev. Robert Wallace, of Toronto,
wrote from Chefoo to the Editor of The Christian ; " Mrs.
Wallace and I were in Peking last week, and had the
privilege of seeing something of the good work in which
Mr. and Mrs. Murray are engaged. We are glad to add
our unqualified testimony to the real value of the work,
and the need for more room for extension and develop-
ment. . .*. THIS IS A TRUE AND BEAUTIFUL WORK OF FAITH
for a large and needy class whose lot is very hard and
hopeless, and Mr. and Mrs. Murray should be cheered and
encouraged by a prompt and liberal response to the appeal,
on behalf of the proposed improvements.
In 1896 the Rev. W. Hopkyn Rees, of the London
Mission at Hsiao Chang, asked Mr. Murray to send him
a blind girl to teach a class of ignorant village women.
About two months later he wrote : " Quite a number of
the women and girls are now quite proficient in the system,
and can read the Catechism and the Gospel of Mark. I
enclose a note from one who has been learning for only
six weeks. We have several who will be able to teach next
year. We can honestly congratulate you on your successful
invention. Very many thanks for the very efficient services
rendered by Hannah (the blind teacher). We are all very
grateful for the valuable work done."
In the following spring Mr. Rees wrote again to Mr.
Murray on this subject : " IT HAS BEEN A SUCCESS ! . . .
This work will be carried on every winter in future, and
Miss Roberts is teaching our system at the out-stations. . . .
GOD bless you and guide you to still nobler efforts for China.
We are unanimous IN VOTING YOUR SYSTEM AN UNQUALIFIED
SUCCESS, and an invaluable boon in teaching women and
Mr. Rees followed up this letter by giving so excellent
MRS. REES* BLIND WOMEN 149
an account of his experience of the value of the system at
the annual meeting of missionaries at Tientsin, that four
then and there decided to adopt it.
In July, 1897, Mrs. Rees wrote,
LONDON MISSION STATION, Cm-Cnou.
" We have been encouraged again this year with the pro-
gress made by the women and girls who have attended the
classes held annually for the instruction of our female con-
verts. Each class stays here for a month. This year the
ages range from twelve to seventy years !
" I daresay the latter figure will amaze you. What can
be done for women of such an age ? Can they learn any-
thing ? It used to puzzle me, but it is wonderful how
quickly they learn. Love and patience make them
courageous and confident. ... It is such a joy to see how
God's Words take root in their hearts, and the fruits of the
Spirit then begin to grow steadily. They return home
with truer ideas of right and wrong. Unkind and hasty
words are few, and quickly repented of.
u This year I have had my bright women taught the
' Murray ' system of reading. Mr. Murray was kind
enough to send me one of his blind teachers. It is
marvellous how much the women can learn in such a short
time. Some have learned in six weeks to read the Cate-
chism, St. Mark, and St. John's Gospels. They seemed
much interested in it, and I believe this new system will?
under God's blessing, be productive of much good. TEN
OF THE WOMEN, AND ALL THE SCHOOLGIRLS HAVE ENTIRELY
MASTERED IT IN LESS THAN six WEEKS, and can now read
MOST OF THE BOOKS THAT ARE PRINTED IN THE ' MURRAY '
TYPE. Last night one of them wrote me a letter, and
with the help of the book, I was able to make out every
" THIS IS BY FAR THE EASIEST WAY OF TEACHING THE
WOMEN OF CHINA TO READ, and if I had the funds I would
l$o A CHEERING LETTER
invite another batch of women here to learn before the
busy season begins. The women taught this year will be
able next year to teach others.
"My heart yearns to be able to keep up this plan of
work for a few months longer, but alas ! I have no more
funds. FIVE OF THE WOMEN BROUGHT THEIR OWN FOOD AND
FIREWOOD, AND ONE WOMAN BROUGHT FOOD FOR HERSELF
AND ANOTHER. This is a step in the right direction, and
MANY WISH THEY COULD DO SO, BUT THEY ARE TOO POOR,
AND CANNOT KEEP TWO HOMES GOING."
Here is a truly cheering extract from the letter of a
sympathetic worker in Southern China :
" Tell Mr. Murray that there never yet was an invention
(revealed by God) to ameliorate the lot of the human race,
but it was cavilled at and abused, and sometimes rejected
altogether, through unbelief. Tell him to take heart and
take courage. If his invention is worth anything it MUST
meet with opposition, that is its inevitable fate. Remind
him of the fate of chloroform in surgery, of antiseptics, of
printing, of the spinning-wheel, in fact I don't think there
has ever been one great invention, one that would really
benefit the human race, but those same stupid humans have
rejected it, at any rate for a time.
" And that brings me to my second point of cheer.
Such an invention is NOT man's ' invention, 1 but GOD'S
revealing, and if HE intends it for the benefit of mankind,
it cannot die, though the man who first made it known die
before it be adopted or even understood ; IT cannot die,
and must and will take its proper place eventually in
furthering the good of the human race. So bid him
remember the work is not his, but God's."
EVIDENCE OF THE REV. ROBERT TURLEY 151
Here is a valuable opinion from the Rev. Robert T. Turley,
Agent in Manchuria for the British and Foreign Bible
Society, written after a visit to the various Missions in
Peking. First he described the general work in the School
for the Blind, where boys and men, girls and women, were
all busy at work, reading or sorting and setting type, &c.
He said : " The bright and happy look on all these was very
cheering, and one easily saw the power Mr. Murray had
personally gained over them by his kindly, patient dis-
posirion and exertions on their behalf."
He then visited the London Mission, and there saw a
class of very ignorant, sighted Chinese women being taught
to read by a blind girl. He said : " These women had
been there at the most only two months, and had, I believe,
only been able to give a portion of each day to the study ;
they could read quite nicely. . . . THIS VERY SIMPLE AND
PRACTICAL SYSTEM OF STRAIGHT AND SQUARE MARKS RECOM-
MENDS ITSELF TO EVEN PREJUDICED CHINESE, WHO WILL NOT
TOLERATE THE ROMANIZED. . . . All the old missionaries
in Peking, of whom I requested an opinion concerning
Mr. Murray's work, were loud and unqualified in their
praise of it. ... The system may not be perfect, but it is
useful, easy, simple and practical, and thoroughly effective
for its purpose ; and many will praise the LORD for His
faithful and hard-working servant, William Murray."
After two years of practical experience of the system for
sighted persons, Mr. Turley wrote as follows :
MOUKDEN, November 28^, 1898.
" My wife is giving all her spare time to training women as
teachers. We have a nice class going now, taught by Mrs. Turley
and a woman who eight months ago knew nothing and could read
nothing. We are teaching specially selected women from the
villages. They come and live in our own Compound for two months,
and then go back either as teachers or to be trained as Bible-
women. Thus the terrible dearth of Bible-women may quickly
cease, and probably our Manchurian Church, with the women well
harnessed into the traces, will roll ahead at a fine rate.
One excellent teacher was specially irained by Mrs. Turley last
152 MISSIONARY CONFERENCE IN MANCHURIA
summer. Owing to her inability to learn Chinese character, she
was of no use to the Church as a worker ; now she teaches well
and reads fluently. Our Bible-woman, who CAN read the character
fairly well has improved immensely since learning Mr. Murray's
system THOSE MISSIONARIES WHO STILL CLING TO THE
OLD STYLE, WILL BE LEFT FAR IN THE REAR, AS REGARDS
INTELLIGENT WOMEN CHRISTIANS."
IMPORTANT DECISION IN MANCHURIA.
WHEN the missionaries of Manchuria met in Conference at
the close of 1897, the merits of the Numeral Type were
among the subjects for discussion, and the following resolu-
tions were unanimously adopted :
" THE COMMITTEE ARE UNANIMOUSLY OF OPINION THAT
MR. MURRAY'S SYSTEM HAS PROVED ITSELF TO BE WELL
ADAPTED FOR TEACHING- THE BLIND.
" From reports from various sources the Committee have
learned that Mr. Murray's System, as applied to the teaching
of illiterate Sighted, has produced very gratifying results.
" The Committee are of opinion that a School for the
Blind, on a small scale, might with advantage be established
" THE COMMITTEE RECOMMEND THAT ANY MISSIONARY
DESIRING TO MAKE A TRIAL OF THE SYSTEM, AS ADAPTED TO
THE ILLITERATE SIGHTED, SHOULD BE ENCOURAGED TO DO SO."
Recent letters from Manchuria prove that the system has
been tried in many places with surprising success.
I have already referred to the thoroughly appreciative
letters from the Rev. John Ross, D.D., of Manchuria,
telling of the work which has already been accomplished in
that vast Province by the instrumentality of blind men
trained by Mr. Murray, and his conviction that many of
their pupils will very soon be able to teach schools in new
"A MOST PERFECT SYSTEM 1 " 153
I will add the following from his coadjutor, the
Rev. James Webster, of Manchuria, who, writing on
1 5th June, 1897, says : " It is the universal opinion of
every missionary who has the least acquaintance with
Mr. Murray's System for the Blind-, that IT is A MOST
PERFECT SYSTEM FOR THE EDUCATION OF THE BLIND, and
worthy of the hearty support of every Christian.
"As regards the application of the system to the Sighted,
I may say that there are diverse views as to its utility. I
WENT TO PEKING PREJUDICED AGAINST IT. I LEFT PEKING
WITH THE FIXED RESOLVE TO DO MY UTMOST TO INTRODUCE
IT AMONGST OUR ILLITERATE CHRISTIANS IN MANCHURIA, AS
BEING, IN MY OPINION, THE BEST PLAN YET OFFERED TO
MAKE OUR NON-READING MEMBERS BECOME ACQUAINTED AT
FIRST HAND WITH THE WORD OF GOD.
" At Peking we saw old women of over fifty reading almost
as fluently as if they had been at school in their teens,
whereas they had never been to school till they were half a
century old, and then only for two or three months. We
could hardly believe our eyes and ears.
When we came back to Kai Yuan, I said to some women-
folk, ' Wouldn't you like to be able to read the good Book
yourself?' And they smiled, and said, "It would be
great." So we got a teacher from Peking and the needful
books, and ten women who didn't know a solitary Chinese
character set to work to master it. In a month they were
spelling, in two months they were reading fluently, in three
months they could write letters to us and tell us how they
were getting on. Forty, fifty years of age, and yet reading
the New Testament, the hymn-book, or anything else that
came in their way ! Wasn't it wonderful ? When they
went home we urged them to teach others, promised them
gratuities for every woman they taught to read and write,
and now I really don't know how many are working.
Mrs. Webster has been simply inundated with demands for
bocks. Half-a-dozen women came in from our village
1 54 VA L UA BLE DE TAILS OF EXPERIENCE
yesterday to be examined ; they could all read nicely, and
wanted pencils so that they might write letters ! So we
bless Murray of Peking, and we bless the Heaven that sent
him the inspiration.
" What is needed is patience. Time alone will prove the
validity of the claims made in its behalf. GIVE MURRAY
AND THE REST OF US FIVE YEARS, AND I AM SATISFIED IT
WILL BE A PROVED BOON TO TENS OF THOUSANDS OF ILLITE-
RATE CHRISTIANS IN THE NORTH OF CHINA. EVERYONE
WHO HAS USED MURRAY'S SYSTEM EXTOLS IT, AND NO ONE
ELSE CAN SPEAK WITH ANY AUTHORITY."
Mrs. Webster gives interesting details of her very first
class of ignorant Manchurian women.
"It was about the middle of April when the teacher sent
by Mr. Murray from Peking arrived. He turned up quite
unexpectedly one day, when Mr. Webster was busy with
his students' class-work, and we had no preparation made
for a class for women. Besides, the system he had come to
teach was entirely new, and prejudice had to be overcome.
None of the natives knew anything about it, and many of
them seemed inclined to throw a wet blanket on the effort.
Mr. Webster's teacher examined some of the books, and
gave it as his deliberate judgment that the women could
never learn the system. However, we set to work and
gathered a class from around our own doors.
" By the end of the first month we had a class of fourteen,
their ages ranging from fifteen to sixty. Two or three of
the women, we all thought were exceptionally stupid, while
others were exceedingly bright and clever.
" At first they met for four hours daily, but we found
that two hours every forenoon, and an hour or two in the
afternoon twice a week was a better arrangement. Some
of the women picked up .the symbols very quickly indeed.
I am told two of them were spelling out words at the end of
the first week, but the majority took much longer, and a
few found it so difficult that they were losing heart over it.
MR. A. H. BRIDGE, OF WEI-CHEN 155
But by the end of the first month they had all mastered the
symbols, and it seemed when they reached that stage their
lessons became a pleasure to them.
"By the end of the fourth month results were as
Failed through ill-health 2
Read correctly, but slowly ... .3
Read fluently 9
" Several of these women are quite capable of giving
instruction to others.
" We quite expect that during the autumn the Bible-
women will be able to introduce the system in several
villages where there are numbers of illiterate Christian
" And now let me tell how our hopes are being already
fulfilled, through the spread of interest in THIS SPLENDID
SYSTEM FOR TEACHING THE ILLITERATE. Mr. Webster and
I were out in Ma shih p'u (i.e. Horse-market village) a few
weeks ago, and as one of the pupil teachers who passed is a
native of that village, we did what we could to encourage
her to teach, and the women to learn. Yesterday a message
came in, telling us of ten women who are learning, and
several others who are only waiting for us to send books in
order to begin reading.
Among the first to realize the full value of the Numeral
Type was the Rev. A. H. Bridge, who sent blind pupils to
be trained, and so thoroughly mastered the system himself,
that so soon as Mr. Murray adapted it to the use of sighted
persons, and sent sample pages to Mr. Bridge, the latter
returned them, pointing out two printers' mistakes, thereby
proving how carefully he had read them, and how easy is
the transition from the embossed dots to the black lines.
Mr. A. H. Bridge, who is working alone in the large dis-
trict of Wei-Chen, sends a most interesting account of the
work already done by his first blind convert, Ssu Yungkuei,
156 ANOTHER BLIND EVANGELIST .
an able and exemplary man, who has for some time
been working as an Evangelist in sole charge of a dis-
trict, sixteen miles to the south of Wei-Chen. With the
help of a nephew, trained by himself, he has gathered
quite a large congregation of earnest converts, whom he has
convinced of the truth " by simple preaching and arguments
" from the Scriptures, placed in his hands by the wonderful
"invention of Mr. Murray. He does real good solid work,
" and is a man in whom I have every confidence. He is now
'' about forty years of age, and he became blind when he was
" about twenty. He was converted about eight years ago."
It has sometimes been said that the foreign teachers who
are most likely to oppose the introduction of Murray's
system (of numbering the sounds in the language, and
writing the numbers only, in his simple new symbols), are
those who themselves have devoted years to the study of
Chinese characters. A very effectual answer to this is given
by Mr. A. H. Bridge, who has not only thoroughly mastered
both Northern and Southern Mandarin dialects, but also
ACQUIRED A KNOWLEDGE OF I2,OOO OF THE BEWILDERING
IDEOGRAPHS. Of those there are altogether about 40,000,
but VERY FEW EUROPEANS EVER ATTEMPT TO MASTER MORE
THAN 4000. Accordingly he might naturally be supposed
to be strongly in favour of their use, but on the contrary
he has from the first been a firm advocate of the Numeral-
Type for the use of ignorant persons.
About seven years ago he settled, absolutely alone, at
Wei-Chen, a totally heathen district, about a week's journey
from Peking, previously untouched by any missionary effort.
Already he has the joy of having gathered in fully a thou-
sand converts, many of whom were in the first instance
attracted to him by his knowledge of medicine.
Among his earliest patients was Mei-Chung, a poor opium-
smoker, who came to seek his aid in conquering the opium
craving. For a considerable time this man stood as far off
as possible whenever Mr. Bridge was speaking to anyone
A VERY REMARKABLE PROOF 157
on Christian subjects. After awhile, however, he com-
menced drawing nearer, so as to be just able to hear. At
length he came for definite instruction, and finally asked
From that time forward, he strove to learn the perplexing
Chinese characters, in order to read the Bible for himself,
and for six years he persevered in this effort, without
success. It was truly pathetic to see hiir< month after month
conning the same page, but never able to read it.
Then Mr. Bridge engaged -him as cook for the blind men
in his school, and Mei-Chung eagerly watched these men
reading the Scriptures embossed for the fingers of the blind.
Just at that time Mr. Murray was preparing a hymn-book
and some of the Gospels in the same type, made visible for
sighted persons by the use of straight black lines instead of
raised dots, and he sent sample volumes to Mr. Bridge, who
distributed them to his Chinese teachers to see what they
thought of the new invention.
A day or two later, much to his surprise, he saw Mei-
Chung with these books in his hand in chapel, and when he
gave out a chapter in one of the Gospels, Mei-Chung turned
over the pages and followed most attentively. Then the
hymn was given out, and Mei-Chung opened the hymn
book and sang lustily. Mr. Bridge thought he knew the
hymn by heart, and after service he went up to him and
said, " Why were you pretending to read when you know
you cannot ? "
" Oh, but I can," was the reply, and he then explained
how ever since he had been cook for the blind men he had
been teaching himself to read the embossed dots, and under-
stood the system perfectly. So now that it was adapted to
the use of sighted persons, he found no difficulty whatever
in reading the new books.
Some of his poor neighbours (of a practical turn of mind),
asked " what good a man in his position could gain from
being able to read ? It would be a different matter if he
158 A SELF-TAUGHT TEACHER
could keep accounts ! " Mei-Chung replied that for some
time he had kept all his bazaar and kitchen accounts in this
way, so he remained triumphant, and the facility of Murray's
system for ignorant persons was at once fully proven.
Such an example as the last ought surely to suffice to
silence all cavillers. Among the many cheering letters
received by Mr. Murray from Missionaries in many parts
of China, there is one from the Rev. H. C. Burrows, who,
as he was passing through Tientsin on his way to his
Mission in the Shansi Province, received a copy of the
Primer, &c., from Mr. Clark, of the Inland Mission. With-
out any instruction he mastered the system and taught first
a seeing person, then a blind girl. The latter, in her turn,
taught a seeing person, and then a blind one. Now Mr.
Burrows writes that a blind man who had heard of this,
had travelled a hundred miles to entreat him to teach him
also. This illustrates how silently the work is extending,
but it fails to tell of the excellent influence on the character
of those taught, which in many cases is so remarkable.
Just one more extract from a letter received by a friend
in Scotland from the Rev. Stewart McKee. North
July 2i.tf, 1897.
" For some time it has been a burden on me that our women-folk were
unable to read their Bibles, and in spite of all efforts .... not one made
anything like progress. After six months of hard work (i.e. in studying
Chinese ideograph), one little woman could read five chapters in St. John.
That was the best. Our dialect differs so much from any in which the
Testament is printed in Roman alphabet, that that system is useless for us.
" On the other hand, although this is a Mandarin-speaking district, the
language is so different from book Mandarin, that it is almost another
dialect, so the women cannot understand what they read, hence the
" At last, I think I can cry, ' Eureka ! I have found it ! ' Murray, of
the National Bible Society of Scotland in Peking, has a system for the
Blind, which he has also adapted for the seeing. ... I have set to and
learned the system, and IN TWENTY-FIVE HOURS' WORK I HAD MAS-
TERED IT SUFFICIENTLY TO READ LUKE'S GOSPEL, AND TO WRITS
ANY WORD IN OUR DIALECT 1
"TWENTY-FIVE HOURS OF STUDY" 159
" You know there is nothing sharp in me, so THE FACT THAT I
LEARNED IT SO EASILY, PROVES ITS SIMPLICITY. I am now teaching
it to a class of men, who are greatly charmed with it, and Kate and the
ladies are learning it in order to teach the women. In fancy I can see I he
day when ALL OUR WOMEN AND GIRTS WILL BE ABLE TO READ THEIR
BIBLES FOR THEMSELVES, which will be a great boon indeed." ....
This letter is especially valuable, as proving the rapidity
with which the Numeral System can be acquired by a
European missionary who is already thoroughly acquainted
with any of the Mandarin dialects.
Three months later the Rev. Stewart McKee wrote to
Mr. Murray :
November nth, 1897.
"Our first class for women broke up to-day. Of the five women, one,
who is a confirmed invalid, has learnt all the characters and only needs
practice to make her a reader. One had to give up owing to illness.
THE OTHER THREE WENT CLEAR THROUGH IN Six WEEKS. Two of
these have read St. Mark's Gospel four times and Romans twice. They
read quite fluently, and to-day I gave them the hymns just received, which
they read with ease and accuracy. Then Mrs. McKee dictated a hymn
which they wrote rapidly and with few mistakes.
" The other woman, who is about forty years of age, is rather dull, but
she has read the Gospels of St. Mark and St. John twice ; she reads slowly
but accurately, AND KNOWS WHAT SHE is READING.
" A few days ago I got her daughter (who is one of our school -girls) to
write a letter, and I then went in with her to see whether the mother could
read it, which she did quite easily.
"THIS HAS OPENED UP GREAT POSSIBILITIES IN OUR WORK, FOR
WHEREAS FORMERLY IT WAS A FIXED IDEA IN THE MINDS OF THESE
PEOPLE THAT WOMEN CANNOT LEARN, IT IS NOW PROVED THAT
THEY CAN LEARN. For this we thank you and praise GOD.
" I have adapted your system to another useful purpose. I have taken
the Rev. J. G. John's book for Mission Schools, which gives all the
Chinese characters used in the New Testament, and I have written your
' Easy Characters ' above each. So those who know the Hsin Tsu can use
this as a sort of dictionary, and so find out the names of characters without
a teacher. ALREADY QUITE A NUMBER OF OUR COUNTRY PEOPLE ARE
LEARNING IT FOR THIS PURPOSE. By next spring we expect to have
many readers, so send us all the books you can, as those who learn are
great readers and want all they can get."
It would be easy to multiply similar testimonies, but I
think these should suffice to convince any unbiassed mind
of the value of Mr. Murray's inventions for both blind and
illiterate sighted Chinese.
i6o LETTER FROM THE REV. CANON ARMOUR, D.D.
In conclusion, it may not be amiss to quote part of a letter
from the Rev. Canon Armour, D.D., which appeared in the
Liverpool Daily Post, October 2Oth, 1898 :
. . . . " This invention by the Rev. W. H. Murray cannot
fail to prove a most powerful influence in spreading Chris-
tian enlightenment and civilization in China. . . . Like
many another stroke of genius, it is a marvel of simplicity.
.... It is impossible to over-estimate the importance of
this new numerical notation, not merely as a means of
spreading the Christian religion, but as promoting the moral
and intellectual enlightenment of millions of illiterate
Chinese, who would never otherwise have acquired the
power of reading and writing their own language.
" The subject is full of interest, both from the standpoint
of the zealous missionary and of the scientific philologist."
I cannot refrain from adding an extract from a letter just
received from Mrs. Russell.
"IMPERIAL COLLEGE, PEKING,
"_// ne 24///, 1899.
" Last year I held a class to teach some of our church
members to read. One bright clever little woman, wife of
a coffin -maker, came most regularly, bringing with her, her
baby and her little girl. WITH HER INFANT CONSTANTLY IN
HER ARMS, IN THREE WEEKS SHE LEARNED TO READ PERFECTLY.
She has read all the books that are printed in Numeral
Type, and FROM IT, SHE is NOW TEACHING HERSELF TO
READ THE CHINESE CHARACTER. She has also taught her
husband and his apprentice, and to-day they have gone to
Mr. Murray to pass an examination in reading.''
A Missionary, writing from Manchuria, tells of a woman
who, having learnt the Numeral Type, was actually able by
means of it, to teach her husband to read the same Gospel
in Chinese character. This was before the publication of
the Parallel Gospel shown on page 123.
THE LORD'S PRAYER IN MANDARIN CHINESE.
1. IN ROMAN ALPHABET, according to Sir Thomas Wade's standard
spelling. This requires to be altered to suit each dialect in every
Wo s men 1 tsai 4 1' ion 1 shang 4 ti 1 fu 4 ,
yuan 4 jen 2 tu 1 tsun 1 Ni 3 ti 1 ming 2 wei 4 sheng 4 ,
yuan 4 Ni 3 ti 1 kuo 2 chiang 4 lin 2 ,
yuan 4 Ni 3 ti 1 chih 3 yi 4 hsing 3 tsai 1 ti 4 shang 4 ,
ju 2 t' ung 2 hsing 2 tsai 4 t' ien 1 shang 4 .
Wo 3 men 1 jih* yung 4 ti 1 yin 3 shih 3 ,
chin 1 jih 4 t' su 4 yu 3 vvo 3 men 1 ,
mien 3 wo 3 men 1 ti 1 chai 4 ,
ju 2 1' ung 2 wo 3 men 1 mien 3 jen 2 ti 1 chai 4 .
Pu 4 chiao 4 wo 3 men 1 yii 4 chien 4 shih 4 t' an 4 ,
chiu 4 wo 3 men 1 t' o 1 li 2 hsiung 1 e 4 ,
yin 1 wei 1 kuo 2 tu 4 c' hiian 1 ping 1 jung 2 yiieh 4 c' hiian 1 shih 4
ni 3 ti 1
shih 4 shih 4 wu 2 c' hiung 2 a 1 men 1 .
2. IN THE NUMERAL TYPE, which can be read with equal facility in all
Provinces of Mandarin China which comprises eight-ninths of the
whole of China without any alteration, except, in certain Provinces,
the addition of a very simple symbol to denote a fifth tone. (See
note on page 99. )
r \ r - -
* 5r- | flx^J J < l rT r *^\< %
THE LORD'S PRA\ER IN MANDARIN CHINESE,
3. IN SHORTHAND FOR NUMERAL TYPE.
n ' > v
;> T ^<-^ *
-)l^<, < i L
t, -^^ 7
4 THE LORD'S PRAYER IN MANDARIN CHINESE AS PRONOUNCED AT
n if . n-
i* fi ;
A ffg ^ ^ m
ft 65 D *n to
MR. MURRAY'S SYSTEM
TEACHING ILLITERATE SIGHTED CHINESE
PROFESSOR S. M. RUSSELL, M.A.
Imperial College Peking.
FOR many years the Rev. W. H. Murray, agent of the
National Bible Society of Scotland, has worked among the
Blind in China. No one who has visited his school in
Peking can have failed to have been struck with the rapidity
and correctness with which his pupils read and write.
Owing to his great success in teaching the blind,
Mr. Murray conceived the idea that the same system might
be readily acquired by illiterate men and women, who,
although endowed with sight, had not the time or ability
to learn the Chinese hieroglyphics.
As the system for the Seeing 'and the Blind are exactly
the same in principle, I shall explain the former only.
There are 408 sounds in the Chinese Mandarin dialect.
These sounds are given in Table A, in rows of ten charac-
ters. The first and last rows contain only nine characters.
Above each character is written its number in the series,
from No. I to 408. Below each character is written its
pronunciation in the Pekingese dialect ; but of course a
person in, say Shantung, would give the Shantung pronun-
ciation. Underneath the pronunciation of each character is
its symbol in Mr. Murray's notation, representing numerals.
^ d \
^ c \
*-O *^\\ _fj
\O rJUj ^ *
* "^ )JT> c^
co *~^jt ^
s * 'rffi ^
, ^ D
oo 33 J 3 J
"~ C^ 1
*" <; P
^ Sj L
^? tij ^ i
4 = r
-$ " r
j. , . -/. i
*^~ S \
">3J J 1
^4tf- 1 '
*-/"! <^f^! "^
v^ T^ ^
tx ?v . "<~! ,^-
CO |]S\ <D
^ V\T* MH
^ tS^if --3
N ^?^ 3
^ -fT- "
W f4^ <^*
N ft\\* i 1 ^^
u-j ftKn .
^O QH "cl I
t^ p3T M
oo jy* ^ i
^ *Mj> ^ ^
c 3 4
" SOhf" **
i^. ^ 3
"* ^ \
o 55 .
H > w
" t> V.
2 m --5
^ I W
x> i^f ._ | W
ti ^^V 3 I
ir^ frtrr> c ^
S-, / f
* . 3 P"
^M 1 1
! H |[
M JRfJ yj _J 1
r ^WH ~J
H L r
- I *
u-l "S c3
t* 3 J L '
<? WJJ 3" IF
vo SI > J
f > ^^ ^-
, The first thing for the pupil to do is to learn by heart
these 408 sounds, and the number corresponding to each
tenth sound. For instance, he must remember that 390 is
Yen, that 160 is K'uan, and so on. Mr. Murray makes this
comparatively easy by a system of Mnemonics, which I
shall now explain.
SYSTEM OF MNEMONICS FOR LEARNING THE
In Table A, at the beginning of each line, and forming a
separate column, are placed the characters Ssu, Ti, Ni, Mi,
&c.* These are the Mnemonic sounds, and stand for
In Table B, I give the Mnemonic sounds in ten squares.
The sounds in the first square, Tan, Ti, &c., all represent
One ; Ni, Na, Nan, in the second square, all stand for two,
and so on. Those in the tenth square, Hsu, Ssu., Suan, all
stand for the o, as in 200, 300, &c.
The pupil first learns Table B thoroughly, so that if the
teacher says 5, the pupil at once repeats Lai, Li, &c. ; or if
the teacher says 8, the pupil answers, Fen, J-a, &c. ; or if
the teacher says Ling, the pupil answers, Hsu, Ssu, Suan ;
and vice versa if the teacher says Pai, the pupil answers 9.
Having learned Table B thoroughly, the pupil learns
METHOD OF LEARNING TABLE A.
The pupil begins by learning the Mnemonic sound,
coupled with the first sound in each row of ten, as Ssu A (i),
Ti Chan (10), Ni Cheng (20), Mi Chieh (30), Ju Chueh (40),
Ta suan Huan (100), Ju Ssu-yung (400). Nearly all of
these have a meaning which helps to fix it in the memory.
* Of course these Chinese characters are only for the use of the
teacher, from whose lips the illiterate pupil learns the sound
<U rr C
[ 1 *^ M
^ *- 4)
L <3 ^<>2
Si o> ^.
T 2 a
This must be learned thoroughly, so that if the teacher
says, for instance, T'a Shift., the pupil at once says, iCuan
(160), or vice versa.
The use of Mnemonics in Table B is now evident ; for
instance, if the pupil says T^a Men Jo, he knows at once
that Jo is the i3Oth sound ; for T'a stands for i, and Men
for 3, and likewise for all the others.
Having now learned the first sound in each row, according
to the above method, the pupil learns each row of ten
separately, as A, At, An, &c., and Chan, Ch'an, Chang, &c.
The teacher should now question the pupil as to his
knowledge of Table A. For instance, if he asks what is the
64th sound, the pupil should at once recollect that 6 is the
Mnemonic Shan, and so CJhta is 60, and counting 4 further
on, get Ch^uan for 64. At the beginning the pupil must so
count, but with a little practice, the mental process is
performed with almost automatic rapidity, and the eye
learns to recognize the symbol, as quickly as a Chinese
scholar recognizes a character.*
According to Mr. Murray's system, instead of writing the
sound, the pupil writes only the number of the sound as
given in Table A.
For the Blind, Mr. Murray uses Braille's elements (i.e.
embossed dots). For the Seeing, the dots in Braille's
elements are joined by lines. The Notation for the Seeing
exactly corresponds with that for the Blind.
Thus the Blind can set up the type, and prepare books
for those endowed with Sight.
Table C shows the elements used for the Blind, and
Table. D those used for the Seeing. >
* Or a British schoolboy seeing eight or ten letters of the alphabet, all
w'th totally different sounds, does not say them, but recognizes at a glance
the word which they represent, e.g. THOROUGHLY, YACHT, COMPARA-
FOR THE BLIND.
Embossed in white dots.
LARGE OR DOUBLE LETTERS.
SMALL OR SINGLE LETTERS.
310 to 408
210 tO 309
no to 209
For details see Table A,
How THE TONES ARE INDICATED.
The sounds in Table A, from one, to nine inclusive, are
indicated by one single letter, so that there is one space
left vacant. High or low to the left indicate ist or 2nd
tone, and high or low to the right, the 3rd or 4th tone.
For instance, sound No. i a in the four tones is expressed
as follows :
All sounds from the loth to the logth are expressed by
two single letters. Both letters high, indicate the ist
tone ; both low, the 2nd tone. First letter low, second
high, the 3rd tone, and the reverse the 4th tone.
Thus the nineteenth sound, CWen, is expressed in the four
tones as follows :
All sounds from ist to logth, that is, those expressed by
small or single letters, are read from left to right.
All sounds from noth to the end consist, as we have
seen, of a large or double letter, and a small or single.
The small letter on the left, high or low, indicates ist or
2nd tone. The small letter on the right, high or low,
indicates the 3rd or 4th tone. Thus for the ist or 2nd
tone we read from right to left, and for the 3rd or 4th tone,
from left to right. In fact we always read from the double
letter. As an example I give the 28jth sound Sung in the
4 tones :
I have gone into the above at full length, but one learns
in a few minutes the notation, and the method of indicating
the tones. Since this was written Mr. Murray has added a
very simple symbol to denote the 5th tone, which occurs in
An easy reading lesson is next given, with the number
in our notation and the corresponding sound and tone.
Thus Q J- is 127, 2nd tone, as small letter is low on the
left, and looking up Table A we see that the I2yth sound
is "jtn*". 1 is 34, ist tone, as small letter is high on
the left. After some practice in reading, the pupil recog-
nizes a symbol directly without thinking of the number it
represents. Indeed, he recognizes the symbol as a China-
man recognizes a character.
NOTE. In certain Provinces a 5th tone occurs. Mr,
Murray has devised a special symbol to express this.
$C 28 1 L
?E 315 , \
* -*3 r -
JA 391 -
H 6 3 1
^ 106 _j r
jOi 205 .j >^
^B 1 08
-^r 215 v \
n 3S5 \\
M 185 \ IT
ft 58 X L
"P 374 n ~|
xf; 274 a c
Jp 114 -J *.
if 337 TO
t. ._ (
I/I 22 ||
^? 57 Q
ADVANTAGES OF MR. MURRAY'S SYSTEM.
IT is quite as easily learnt as the Romanized indeed
more easily. Once acquired it can be read much more
fluently and correctly. . As each word consists of only two
letters (or parts), they catch the eye at once, whereas in
the Romanized the eye has to glance over several letters
forming one word.
In the Romanized system the sound is indicated by a
system of initials and finals, so that it is often very difficult
to represent the exact sound. In Mr. Murray's system the
sound is learned from Table A by means of the Chinese
Character,* and is therefore exact.
As it stands, Mr. Murray's system is a universal one for
all Mandarin dialects, and by certain modifications it might
be adapted to all other dialects. (See note on page 132.)
The pupil learns the 408 sounds direct from the character
in Table A. A man of Peking would give his pronunciation,
a person from Shantung would give his, one from Nanking
his, and so on for the other Mandarin-speaking districts.
Now in the Romanized system a new orthography would
be necessary for almost every district. A version in
Pekingese would be unintelligible in Shantung, and vice
versa. For example, in the list of sounds in Table A,
number 170 is pronounced K'uo in Peking ; fifty miles to
the south it is pronounced K'e. Now in the Romanized
system such a change of dialect involves great confusion,
but in Mr. Murray's system all difficulty disappears., The
man of Peking sees the symbol, and reads it K'uo, whilst
the man from the country reads it as K'e, and to each it
conveys precisely the same meaning.
* As previously stated, these Chinese characters, or ideographs, are only
for the use of the teacher. It is not necessary for the pupil to know a,
single character. He has only to master the different sounds.
As each word consists ot two letters only, inclusive of tone,
books in this system can be printed very cheaply, whereas
in the Romanized many words consist of five or six letters,
and in addition, aspirates and tones have to be indicated,
so that books in the Romanized system must necessarily be
bulky and expensive.
The blind can set up the type and print for the seeing,
and thus suitable employment may be found for the blind
boys and girls in the various Missions.
Another advantage is that Mr. Murray's system is very
easily written. A lady who has taught the Romanized
tells me that in future she will never teach her women to
write, as it is so difficult for them to learn. Whereas the
very first class of country women who learned Mr. Murray's
system for a period of three months (and who did not
begin to learn to write till they had been learning the
system for about seven weeks), found that they were able
to write letters to their teachers, the writing being good,
as well as correct.
The Rev. W. H, MURRAY'S Mission
Blind and Illiterate in China.
OFFICE-BEARERS AND COMMITTEE
REV. J. ELDER GUMMING, D.D.
T. BROWN HENDERSON, ESQ., M.D.
. WALLACE ANDERSON, ESQ.,
JAS. BLACK, D.D. [M.D.
REV. G. L. CARSTAIRS. .
REV. J. MARSHALL LANG, D.D.
Miss C. F. GORDON-GUMMING,
COLLEGE HOUSE, CRIICFF, SCOTLAND.
DAVID LOCKHART, ESQ.
REV. JAS. RENNIE.
REV. JOHN KIDDELL, B.A.
REV. JOHN SLOAN.
REV. W. ROSS TAYLOR, D.D.
MRS. DUNCAN McLAREN,
ST. OSWALDS, EDINBURGH.
JOHN GRANT, ESQ., B.L., WRITER
(Messrs. Grant & Wylie), 204, St. Vincent Street, Glasgow.
JAMES DRUMMOND, ESQ., CHARTERED ACCOUNTANT
(Messrs. Hoceyman & Drummond), 58, Bath Street, Glasgow.
-4 PEKING LOCAL COMMITTEE
PROFESSOR S. M. RUSSELL, IMPERIAL COLLEGE, PEKING.
The REV. H. H. LOWRY, D D.
PRESIDENT OF PFKING UNIVERSITY.
The REV. J. W. LOWRIE,
AMERICAN PRBSBVTERIAN MISSION.
The REV. J. M. ALLARDYCE, M.A.
IMPERIAL COLLEGE. PEKING.
The REV. THOS. HOWARD SMITH
LONDON MISSIONARY SOCIETY.
The REV. W. S. AMENT,
AMERICAN BOARD OF MISSIONS.
The REV. W. HOSKYNS RtES,
LONDON MISSIONARY SOCIETY.
The REV. WILLIAM H. MURRAY,
SCHOOL FOR THE BLIND.
JOHN DUDGEON, ESQ., M.D.
REGULATIONS FOR THE MANAGEMENT OF THE
BUSINESS OF THE SOCIETY.
DRAWN UP BY THE COMMITTEE IN 1894.
I. The object of the Mission shall be to originate and maintain Institu-
tions for employing the Chinese blind, teaching them to read and print or
distribute the Scriptures and other Christian literature in the Chinese
tongue ; and generally to promote and develop the systems invented or
employed by the Rev. W. H. Murray, whether for the benefit of blind or
sighted persons in China.
II. The charge of the Mission, including the funds and the direction of
all serious expenditure, shall continue to be in the hands of the present
Committee, who shall have power to fill up vacancies as they occur in
their number, from the subscribers to the funds. The Committee shall
consist in future of not less than ten persons ; and shall meet in Glasgow
at least twice in the year five to be a quorum.
III. The Committee shall appoint an Acting Committee, whose du'y it
shall be to transact all ordinary business, and which shall consist of at least
four persons, with the Chairman, Treasurer, and Secretary, ex offldis
four to be a quorum.
IV. The procedure of the Acting Committee shall be subject to the
review of the General Committee; and a special meeting of the General
Committee shall be summoned at anytime on the written request of any
two members of the Acting Commit! ee.
V. The Chairman, at all meetings, shall have a deliberative and a
VI. The General Committee shall appo ; nt a Local Committee in China,
to advise and co-operate with Mr. Murray in developing the various
branches of his work ; and this Local Committee shall have power to carry
out such details and sanction such minor expenditure as may be deemed
suitable. Minutes of their transactions shall be submitted quarterly to the
Acting Committee in Glasgow.
VII. The Committee shall endeavour to secure an adequate Endowment
Fund, and Annual Subscriptions for the maintenance and development of
VIII. The accounts shall be audited annually by two Auditors appointed
by the Committee.
IX. A Public Meeting of the Friends of the Mission shall be held from
time to time, as may be deemed advisable, and a report of the Society s
proceedings submitted to it.
"Seeds that mildew in the garner,
Scattered, fill wiih gold the plain."
THE sole property of this Mission consists of the recently
acquired premises, and a small Endowment Fund,
which at the close of 1897 amounts to a little over ^4000,
yielding about ^130 interest, towards securing Mr. Murray's
FOR ALL OTHER PURPOSES. Maintenance of Blind students,
upkeep of buildings, development of Mr. Murray's inven-
tions for the illiterate Sighted, salary of a Matron for the
Blind Girls' School, and of a much-needed assistant for
Mr. Murray in short, for extension of work in any direc-
tion, this Mission is wholly dependent on very fluctuating
donations, and a VERY FEW ANNUAL SUBSCRIPTION'S.
It is greatly to be desired tbat the latler should largely increase in
number, and that many Churches and Schools should undertake to collect
an annual sum for the support of one Blind Student or Teacher. About
10 annually suffices for this purpose.
Who will give .300 to secure his own permanent representative in this
Mission? I doubt whether it would be possible to find any investment
which, from a Missionary point of view, is more certain to prove remunera-
It is much to be desired that the great Societies which have established
Missions IN THE MANDARIN-SPEAKING PROVINCES OF CHINA should
now authorize and recommend their Agents at many stations to incur the
expenses necessary for sending some of their own illiterate converts, both
blind and sighted, to Peking, to be taught and trained as evangelists,
teachers, organist*, and printers, and then sent back to their own villages
to start schools there among their own poor neighbours.
FORM OF BEQUEST 185
It is also essential that a grant should be made to support these for the
first few years, as at first the scholars will be almost exclusively very poor
persons, each of whom, however, will almost certainly become a very
practical Home Missionary, and thus the "little leaven" will spread till
by degrees it " leavens the whole lump."
In no other country have so many converts attributed the conviction
which has induced them to face all the persecution that almost invariably
follows the renunciation of idolatry, solely to their solitary study of some
copy of the Scriptures which has casually fallen into their hands. If this
has been the case where so small a proportion of the people are able to
read, how certain will be the increase of converts when this extraordinarily
simple method of printing and of learning to read, places the Holy BOOK
within easy reach of all ?
Friends who desire to transmit large gifts direct to the
Mission-field, can do so by payment to the Hong Kong and
Shanghai Banking Co. in London, for transmission to the
Local Treasurer's account with their branch in Peking.
May I call attention to the fact that the regular commis-
sion of 3*/. for sums under ^"3, and bd. for larger sums, is now
charged by all Banks on cashing every cheque for charitable
purposes. Also that owing to frequent inaccuracy in regard
to Christian names, there is sometimes trouble in cashing
Money Orders, which can be prevented by using Postal
form of Bequest
Those -who wish to remember the Mission in their last Will and Testament,
an requested to me the following FORM OF BEQUEST.
I GIVE and bequeath to Mr. Murray's Mission to the Chinese Blind,
and to promote and develop the systems invented by him, whether
for the benefit of Blind or Sighted persons in China, the sum of (to be
inserted in words), to be paid, free of all Government Duties, to the
Treasurer or Treasurers for the lime being of said Mission, whose receipt
of discharge for the same shall be sufficient.
ABACUS, 63, 121.
Accidental loss of arm, 3.
Accident in 1898, 128.
Age, Chinese reckoning of, 57.
Allardyce, Mrs., 93, 96.
Alphabet, foreign, repugnant, 86.
Ancestral Worship, 59, 60.
Angular forms acceptable to Chi-
Archibald prepares type, 88.
Arithmetic, mental, 63.
Assistant needed, 128.
BABY giant, 138.
Bell's visible speech, 15.
Blinded on purpose, 10, 14.
Blindness, why so common, 10.
Blind, the, manner of life, II, 14,
left to starve, 23.
saved from suffocation, 36.
from poison, 54.
from drowning, 36, 54.
first pupils, 22.
printers, 89, 103.
work for the, 100.
Braille's System, viii., 17.
British and Foreign Bible Society,
CAREY, the Baptist cobbler, 6.
Cargill and Cross land in Fiji, 6.
Catalogue of Miss Gordon- Cum -
ming's books, last page.
Caxton of Christian China, 135.
Ch'ang of Manchuria, 70.
his dream, 74.
his journey to Peking, 74-76.
his harvest, 79.
his memory, 84.
Chicago, cremation of my books, 89,
China, starts for, 7.
Chinese ideograph, 7.
Christie, Doctor, 71.
Classics of Jesus, 9, 14.
Clay symbols, 15.
Climate, 8, 112, 128, 137.
Coffin, a post of honour, 9.
College of Glasgow, attends classes
Colporteur, is engaged as a, 5.
Colporteur's experiences, 8, 1 10.
Committee formed in 1887, 49.
members of, in 1899, 182.
constitution of, 183.
Consumption, deaths from, 66, 41.
DEDICATION, Feast of the, 135.
Delays, 87-89, 114.
Dialects, xi., 2.
Dudgeon, Doctor, 16, 25.
EARNEST student, 4, 7.
" Easy characters," 103.
Emperor's early levees, 25.
Envelopes of tin, 43.
Example, plea for a go.>d, 79.
FACILITY of Numeral Type, 67,
Finance, 184, 185.
First formal recognition, 49.
Floods in China, 109, in.
Fluency in reading, 65.
Foreign ships, work among, 5.
GEOGRAPHY for the blind, 62.
Geometric forms acceptable, x., 86
Glasgow doctor, 16.
Glasgow, place of birth, 2.
God's prisoners, 133.
Goode, Miss, 91.
HAND map of Chinese dialects, xi.
" Henceforth," 138.
Hindrances, 83, note.
Home, sweet Home, ill.
Hsu, organist, 63.
Hun Yuen sect, 70.
Hymn with Music, 95.
Illiterate persons, vii., 7, 8, 96.
Illness, 112, 127.
Indian ink, 87, note.
JAPAN, war with, 104.
Jubilee, my own, 48.
Fund, how apportioned, 52.
LARGER number of sounds in
Southern Mandarin, 99.
Lee, blind pupil, 22,
Lees, Mrs. Jonathan, 25.
Li-Hung Chang's grandson, 119.
Literary honour, practical, 23, note.
Lithographic press, 93.
Little Scripture readers, 65.
Livingstone, the Glasgow cotton-
London Medical Mission at Peking,
Lord's Prayer in four types, 161,
Lowry, Rev. D. D., 119.
MANCHURIA, first blind school in,
Mandarin dialects, xi. , 2.
number of sounds in, 15, 99.
Map on tin sheets, 63.
Marsham, bookseller's apprentice,
Massage not practised, 101.
Medical Mission at Moukden, 70.
Memory, retentive, 22, 63, 64, 83.
Mission premises, old, 109, 112.
new, 1 1 6.
Mnemonics, 20, 21, 63.
Moon's alphabet for the blind, 16.
Morrison begins work in China, 6.
Murray, birth, 2.
post-office work, 3.
sails for China, 7-
his teacher, 17.
his vision, 17.
first pupils, 22, 28.
practical philanthropy, 27.
appeals to British and Foreign
Bible Society, 29
Ditto, National Bible Society,
Murray, Mrs., true helpmeet, 127.
Musical instruments for the blind,
3 l > 33> 101.
Music for the blind, 31, 32.
in mission work, 31, note.
NATIONAL Bible Society, Murray
and the blind, 29, 30.
partial connection continued,
Non-Mandarin dialects, I, 2.
Numerals, acceptable to Chinese,
Numeral Type, how invented, 17,
explained, viii., 86.
table for teaching the blind, 21.
compared with other systems,
its facility, 67, 157.
iis future, 97-134.
OCCUPATION for the blind, 100.
Old women respected, 48.
TACKING insufficient, 125.
Parallel Gospel, 122.
Patience, nted of, 15, 88, 115.
Peiho freezes, 106.
Pei Tai Ho, 129.
Peking syllabary, 408 sounds, 15
my visit to, 24.
Map of, 131.
Peter, Blind, 36.
Pigeon English, 98.
Postman, work as a, 3.
Sunday-school teacher, 4.
Primer for the blind, 21.
Printing press, 125.
RAILWAY to Peking, 117.
R. C. Mission press, 104.
Return to Scotland, first, 49.
River, a life-giving, 27, 136.
Ross, the Rev. John, D.D., 77, 83,
Russell, Professor, pamphlet
printed, 104 and note.
Ruth, blind, 53.
SANATORIUM needed, 128, 129
School for blind men, 35.
better premises, 116.
Schools for blind in five provinces,
Shanghai Conference in 1890, 139.
Sheng, blind pup'l, 23, 28, 40.
Shorthand by numbers, invention
Taught by the blind, 44.
Sick-room, helpers in the, 133.
Sighted persons, printing for, 85,
first sighted pupils, 90-93.
Sounds, number of, 15, 99.
Square forms acceptable, 86.
Stereotyping, 42, 92, 102.
simple method, 42.
Stokes on Memory, 4, note.
TELEGRAPHY (domestic), 101.
Chinese, 18, 102.
Testimony in favour of Mr. Murray's
system : Dr. Ross, 77-83 ; Dr.
Fryer, 106 ; Dr. Stevenson, 140 ;
many, 142 ; Dr. Dudgeon, 144 ;
Dr. Edwards, 144-147; Rev. R.
Wallace, 148; Kev. W. H.
Rees, 148 ; Rev. R. T. Turley,
151 ; Rev. James Webster, 72,
78, 153 ; Rev. A. H. Bridge,
155-158; Rev. H. C. Burrows,
158 ; Rev. Stewart McKee, 158 ;
Rev. Canon Armour, D.D., 159.
Tientsin, 105, 128.
Tin envelopes for letters, 43.
Ting, blind pupil, 27.
Tones in Chinese, 99, 177, i/S.
Tonic Sol-fa, why learnt, 4, 31, 32.
Tree Kangaroos, 136.
Tree of Knowledge, 2.
VERSION, one or two? 99.
Visible speech, 15.
Vision of the Numeral Type, 17.
WANG, first blind pupil, 22.
Two others, 41.
Webster, the Rev. James, 72, 78.
Wheelbarrow, 56, 58.
Witchcraft, fear of, 53.
Women, Blind School for, how
commenced, 53, 59.
earnest blind travellers, 53, 57.
Writing letters, 96.
PRINTED BY GILBERT AND RIVINGTON, LI).
ST. JOHN'S HOUSE, CLRKKENWELL, B.C.
Miss C. F. GORDON-CUMMING'S
BOOKS OF TRAVEL.
PUBLISHED BY CHATTO AND WINDUS,
in, ST. MARTIN'S LANE, LONDON, W.C.
Two HAPPY YEARS IN CEYLON. With 28 Illus-
trations ... ... ... ... ... ... 8 6
IN THE HIMALAYAS AND ON INDIAN PLAINS.
With 42 Illustrations 86
Iff THE HEBRIDES. With 23 Illustrations... ... 8 6
VIA CORNWALL TO EGYPT ... ... ... ... 76
PUBLISHED BY BLACKWOOD,
45, GEORGE STREET, EDINBURGH.
WANDERINGS IN CHINA ... ... ... ... 10 o
AT HOME IN Fiyi ... ... ... ... ... 7 6
A LADY'S CRUISE IN A FRENCH MAN OF WAR ... 12 o
FIRE FOUNTAINS OF HAWAII. (2 Vols.) ... ... 25 o
GRANITE CRAGS OF CALIFORNIA ... ... ... 8 6
PUBLISHED BY DOWNEY & CO ,
12, YORK STREET, COVENT GARDEN, LONDON.
THE INVENTOR OF THE NUMERAL TYPE FOR
CHINA* One Shilling and Sixpence nett
Post free I 9
joAf* University of California TY
trom which it was borrowed.
LA COL LIB 62006
TECE?VED JUN 6 I 2006