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Full text of "Robert Morrison : the pioneer of Chinese missions"

THE PIONEER 

OF CHINESE Missh 





THE LIBRARY 

of 
VICTORIA UNIVERSITY 



ROBERT MORRISON 



THE 



lioneer of Chinese fissions 



WILLIAM JOHN TOWNSEND 

AL THOR OF " THH GREAT SCHOOLMEN OF THE MIDDLE AGES " 







^issionnni -Srcirtn a (gbition 



LONDON 
S. W. PARTRIDGE & Co., 9, PATERNOSTER Row 



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IV / T / 

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PRINT ELI BY 

IIAZBI.I., WATSON, ANU VINKV, l.f>., 
-. AND AYLESIirKV. 



510 




PREFACE. 



THE ever-growing interest now being manifested 
in the evangelisation of the Chinese Empire 
has created a favourable opportunity for issuing a 
brief memoir of the first Protestant missionary to 
that country, and thereby extending a knowledge of 
his life and character amongst the young of our 
Churches and Sunday Schools. 

This present enlarged edition is prepared specially 
for circulation amongst the Sunday Schools and 
Juvenile Missionary Associations of the London 
Missionary Society, and it is hoped that the spirit 
of the subject of this memoir may rest abundantly 
on the youth of this generation. 

The Author has collected the materials of the 
book from sources too numerous to be mentioned, 
but he desires to express his fervent thanks to 
Mrs. Hobson, the aged and amiable surviving 



6 PREFACE. 

daughter of Dr. Morrison, who has kindly allowed 
him to have access to and make extracts from 
many letters of Dr. Morrison not hitherto published, 
and to his revered friend, the Rev. J. C. Bruce, D.D., 
for a similar favour, and also for the use of an 
unpublished lecture on " Morrison and Chinese 
Missions," given by him in Newcastlc-upon-Tyne 
in 1859. 





CONTENTS. 



CHAPTER I. 

CHINA AND ITS PEOPLE 

CHAPTER II. 

THE RELIGIONS OK CHINA 



CHAPTER III. 

EARLY ATTEMPTS TO EVANGELISE CHINA . 

CHAPTER IV. 

ROBERT MORRISON : CHILDHOOD AND YOUTH 

CHAPTER V. 

PREPARATION FOR THE GREAT WORK 

CHAPTER VI. 
INITIAL LIFE AND WORK IN CHINA 



CHAPTER VII. 
PERSECUTION. LONGING FOR SUCCESS 



PACE 

9 



33 



67 



85 



8 CONTENTS. 

CHAPTER VIII. 

PAGE 

A FELLOW-LABOURER 99 

CHAPTER IX. 
VISIT TO PEKIN. COLLEGE AT MALACCA . , . .112 

CHAPTER X. 
CHINESE BIBLE COMPLETED. DR. MILNE S DEATH . .128 

CHAPTER XI. 

WORK IN ENGLAND 153 

CHAPTER XII. 
LETTERS TO HIS CHILDREN 1/5 

CHAPTER XIII. 

RENEWED LABOUR . .184 

CHAPTER XIV. 
WHAT HE WAS AND WHAT HE DID 213 

CHAPTER XV. 

THE LONDON MISSIONARY SOCIETY , . , . . 2l8 

CHAPTER XVI. 

CONTINUANCE OF THE WORK: AMERICAN AND CONTINENTAL 

SOCIETIES 2^2 

CHAPTER XVII. 

0>N IT NUANCE OF THE WORK: BRITISH SOCIETIES . . 24! 

CHAPTER XVIII. 

THE OPIUM TRADE OF CHINA . . 0-3 

CHAPTER XIX. 
CHINA FOR CHRIST 2 cg 




ROBERT MORRISON. 



CHAPTER I. 

CHINA AND ITS PEOPLE. 

" It is Christ alone can lead in the glorious dawn of the Chinese 
renaissance, the new birth of a mighty nation to liberty and righteous 
ness and an ever-expanding civilisation." G. JOHN. 

CHINA is a great empire situated in Eastern Asia, 
lying from 20 to 40 north latitude, and from 100 
to 122 east longitude. It is a wonderfully compact 
territory, its length and breadth being nearly equal. It 
includes more than a million square miles, and possesses, 
on the whole, an excellent climate. Two noble rivers flow 
down its centre, watering and fertilising its extended plains 
and beautiful valleys. The ocean, adorned with numerous 
islands, washes round its eastern and southern coasts ; the 
mountains of Thibet bound it upon the west, and the north 
is protected by a wall thirteen hundred miles in length. 
Much of this wall is now crumbling away, but it took the 
united labours of the nation to build it two thousand years 
ago. Beyond these mountains and this great wall are bleak 
deserts and sterile wastes, forming a contrast so striking 
to the general fertility of the country, that the Chinese 



IO 



ROBERT MORRISON. 



have from remote ages called their teeming soil "The 
Flowery Land." Extensive as is the surface of China its 
immense population requires every inch. From the late 
imperial census the number of the people is estimated at 
three hundred and ninety-two millions, or more than one- 
quarter of the earth s inhabitants. To accommodate such 
a number every scrap of space requires to be economised, 
and therefore the people are packed together in houses and 
corners in a way that is astonishing to our Western ideas. 
Crops are sown and gathered on tiny and almost inaccessible 




CHlM-,bt HOUottOAl. 



spaces, thus utilising every possible foot of the land. The 
Chinese gather two crops a year from their fruitful fields ; 
and that the more land may be left for cultivation the people 
in large numbers live on the water, and the surface of the 
great rivers presents the appearance of floating villages. 
This economy is the more needful as there are large tracts 
in China which cannot be cultivated. There are grand 
mountain ranges lo the west, with stern lofty peaks and 
frowning sides, varied with slopes covered with cedar and 
pine forests. The centre provinces are hilly, interspersed 
with fertile plains, where the tea plant flourishes luxuriantly ; 



CHINA AND ITS PEOPLE. n 

whilst to the east and all round the extensive seaboard are 
flourishing cities and seaports, the centres and outlets for 
numberless villages and wide agricultural districts, which 
give these provinces an aspect of a garden of the Lord. 

China is the home of a very ancient and advanced 
civilisation. Its inhabitants were clothed in their silken 
and linen fabrics when our forefathers were simply staining 
their skins with woad. They had their great cities when the 
tribes of Britain rambled in primeval forests. They manu 
factured paper nine hundred years before Europe had dis 
covered the useful art. They invented printing at least 
five hundred years before the Dutchman took the impres 
sion of the letters he had carved upon the tree. They had 
used the mariner s compass for five centuries before Marco 
Polo brought it into Europe. They had an extensive 
manufacture of pottery and porcelain ages before the ele 
gant forms of Grecian or Etruscan pottery were moulded. 
They were acquainted with abstruse philosophies and 
curious sciences before the Republic of Rome had arisen. 
From hoar antiquity popular education had existed in the 
land, and by a system of competitive examinations every 
office of the State has been thrown open even to the poorest. 
Thus China, as a great and civilised nation, comes down the 
stream of time side by side with the ancient empires of 
Egypt, Assyria, and India. These passed away, and there 
succeeded the splendid empires of Greece and Rome, and 
these again have been followed by the young, fresh nations 
of Europe and America. But China has not passed away, 
as its early contemporaries did, but is to-day as populous, 
as strong, and as promising in regard to the future as it 
has ever been. 

It is true that the civilisation of China has been arrested 
in its growth. All progress comes from a sense of short 
coming, and the Chinese long since imbibed the paralysing 
notion that they had attained perfection, and styled them 
selves "The Celestial Empire." This was fatal to all further 



CHINA AND ITS PEOPLE. 13 

growth, and therefore the Chinaman despises all things that 
are called new, and, with his head turned the wrong way, 
looks to and worships the past. Old forms and patterns are 
therefore endlessly reproduced in manufactures, old customs 
are jealously guarded, and the intellectual growth of the 
people has long since stopped. Nor is this all ; for as the 
Chinese have become simply a nation of imitators, they are 
being left behind in the march of progress not only by 
Western nations, but by the more progressive peoples of 
the East, who welcome and cultivate modern ideas and 
inventions with great advantage to their development and 
prosperity. 

The people are quiet, peaceful, and law-abiding ; they are 
outwardly and ceremoniously polite ; they are industrious 
in their habits and refined in their tone. Like all heathen 
nations, they are deeply sunken in vice, but their vices take 
the milder rather than the ruder forms. They are shame 
fully sensual, dishonest, and untruthful, but they are not 
violent or cruel ; and, unlike the warlike nations of the 
West, they have generally sought to avoid war, and to live 
undisturbed on their own homestead. They have culti 
vated the home and family sentiment beyond all other 
peoples, and yet, in common with other Eastern nations, 
they have so low an estimate of women as to expose to 
death in large numbers their female babies. Many of their 
social habits are in strange contrast to ours. When we meet 
our friends we shake their hands ; they shake their own 
hands. We salute our friends by wishing them " Good- 
morning " or " Good-evening ; " they salute theirs by asking 
questions, " Have you eaten rice? " "Will you drink tea ? " 
" Is your father living ? " " How many children have you ? " 
In the presence of our superiors we uncover our heads ; 
they cover theirs. We treat our women as our equals ; they 
reckon them the foolish ones of the family, and relegate 
them to the inner rooms of the house. Our badge of mourn 
ing is black, theirs is white. They mourn for the dead by 



r4 ROBERT MORRISON. 

proxy ; we sorrow for ourselves. We read and write from 
left to right, horizontally ; they do so from right to left, per 
pendicularly. Our women pinch in their waists ; they bind 
and dwarf the feet. Our place of honour is the right, theirs 
is the left. Our young people select their own husbands or 
wives ; their parents decide who their children shall marry. 
\Ve eat with knives and forks, they with chopsticks. We 




CHINESE MANDARIN IN SUMMER DRESS. 

pnge our books at the top of the page, they on the margin. 
We print on both sides of the page, they only on one side. 
We put the title of a book on the back of the binding, they 
on the margin of the leaf. We set our volumes on the edge, 
they lay theirs down. We educate our girls, they put them 
to service. We carry out our manufactures largely by 
machinery ; they work by hand. We print by a press, and 
with marvellous rapidity ; they print slowly, with wooden 
blocks and a hand-brush. So it is with many other things; 



i6 



ROBERT MORRISON. 



all showing how much they differ from, or how far they are 
behind, the Western nations of the world. 

Their garments are made of satin, silk, cotton, hemp, the 
grass of the field, and the feathers of birds. The men wear 
a long pigtail, a broad-sleeved coat, and wide trousers ; the 
women wear an embroidered skirt, loose-fitting jacket, and 
tiny shoes. The patterns of their clothes are uniform and 
old-fashioned, but they are made for ease and convenience 




LANTERN SELLER. 



rather than for ornament ; and in this respect they show 
more sense than we do. 

The dwellings of the common people are poor and 
filthy. They contain usually but one room with one 
window. They are built of stone, or bricks, or mud, 
according to the means of the family ; but the Chinaman 
easily adapts himself to circumstances, and will sleep 
soundly in any corner on land or water. Their food is 
various ; but they eat fowls, fish, puppies, rats, and cats, 



CHINA AND ITS PEOPLE. 17 

They grow and consume rice, maize, millet, wheat, and 
barley; they cultivate potatoes, turnips, tomatoes, pears, 
peaches, grapes, guavas, pineapples, and pomegranates, 
with many other fruits. The upper classes are rich, many 
of them enormously so ; the common people are poor, so 
that if the Yellow River inundates a province or a harvest 
fails it means starvation and death to millions, and beggars, 
reduced to skin and bone, and many sorely afflicted, swarm 
in every part of the land. 

The language of the Chinese is a difficult and singular one 
to Englishmen. It has no conjugations or declensions, no 
affixes or terminals, no syllables or alphabet. It is made up 
of upwards of forty thousand symbols or characters, many of 
which have the same sound, but several meanings, the differ 
ence between which can only be known by observing the tone, 
or emphasis, or inflexion with which it is accompanied. The 
forty thousand characters are arranged in two hundred and 
fourteen classes, each class being placed under a certain root, 
which forms a component part of each character in its class. 
This somewhat simplifies the finding of words in the dic 
tionary, and helps to impress them on the memory. Although 
it is an unwieldy and inconvenient language, and contains 
many dialects within itself, yet the written language is the 
same in all Chinese-speaking nations. Thus, in mastering it, 
we have a key wherewith to reach not China only but Japan, 
the Corea, Cochin China, the numerous races beyond the 
Great Wall, and the millions of Chinese in Siam, Borneo, 
and the inhabitants of the Straits Settlements, not to 
speak of the emigrants in Australia, California, and India. 
No language was ever so widely diffused or so largely 
used, and probably, with the single exception of Hebrew, 
it is the oldest upon the face of the earth. 

The Chinese are a merry-making people, and have 
numerous holidays and festivals, into which they enter with 
extraordinary zest. The chief of these is the New Year 
festival. It is elaborately prepared for ; and before it arrives 



1 8 ROBERT MORRISON. 

houses, shops, and public buildings are cleaned and decorated, 
illuminations are arranged, and holiday attire provided. 
When it dawns business is suspended, and there are nothing 
but salutations, visits, feastings, and rejoicings, which continue 
for ten days. Then there is the feast of " Welcoming the 
Spring," observed by civic processions and ceremonies, 
ploughing a furrow by prefects or other officials, and 
offering sacrifices. The " Festival of the Tombs " is the 
occasion of sacrificing to the spirits of the dead, and often 
takes the form of a family excursion, by boat or road, to the 
hills, where reverent services are held, followed by great 
feastings. Many other popular holidays occur, prominent 
among which is the "Feast of Lanterns," held in the 
autumn. This is to propitiate the spirits of those who 
have been drowned, and to please the water-gods of China. 
Long processions of boats, each covered with rows of 
lanterns, glide over the rivers, while Taoist priests, arrayed 
in scarlet and embroidered robes, offer prayers and beat 
gongs to secure the goodwill of the deities, and cast gilt 
paper, burning, into the streams. It is a splendid scenic 
effect. 

A great feast is held when a son is married. Relatives 
assemble at the bridegroom s house to drink and rejoice. 
The bride, after elaborate preparation, is takan from her 
home, shut up in a Sedan chair, and carried to her future 
husband s home. When she arrives there fireworks are sent 
up, and revelry commences. The bride conceals her face 
from public view, holding her hands in a semicircle before 
her head, and allowing the broad sleeves of her wedding 
dress to hang before her features. Thus supported by two 
attendants, she goes round, as tea is presented to the guests, 
receiving compliments, and bowing in response. Coarse 
jests pass from lip to lip, and often efforts are made to trip 
up the bride as she goes about, or to pull down her wearied 
arms so as to expose her face ; and if she manifest any im 
patience on such occasions, it is reckoned as an augury of 



20 ROBERT MORRISON. 

an unhappy career, and the bridegroom is condoled with on 
the prospect before him. 

Theatres abound in China. Not magnificent buildings 
like those we have in our cities, but. slight movable con 
structions of bamboo poles, covered with sheets of matting, 
painted red, and roofed with palm leaves woven together. 
Stage and galleries are formed of rough boards placed on 
bamboo sticks, and accommodation is often provided for a 
thousand people. The plays are so long that sometimes 
they will require several weeks for their presentation ; but 
they can be abbreviated at the will of the manager or the 
audience. It is a curious scene. The actors are dressed 
in gaudy colours, with false beards, they recite their parts in 
the absurdest fashion, and a deafening sounding of gongs 
and cymbals fills up every interval. These travelling per 
formances are immensely popular in China. 

The capital city of China is Pekin, which contains the 
enormous population of about two millions. It is in the 
north, in the province of Chih-li. There are the Palace of 
the Emperor, the seat of Government, and the Temple of 
Heaven, where once a year, as the high-priest of the nation, 
the Emperor offers worship and sacrifice. Here idols and 
coloured glass are manufactured, and extensive printing 
works are in operation. Canton is in the south, and con 
tains a population of a million and a quarter. The provinces 
of the south are largely cultivated for rice-growing, and also 
for the growing of the mulberry plant and the breeding of 
silkworms. In the city of Canton there are great manu 
factories in iron, brass, and stone. Hankow, an inland city, 
situated on the river Yang-tse-Kiang, is the centre of the 
great tea trade. Foochow exports tea, timber, and bamboo. 
Amoy manufactures porcelain and paper. Nankin was the 
old capital of the empire and the centre of the silk and 
nankeen manufactures ; but it is now decaying, and these 
trades are migrating elsewhere. Hong Kong is an island at 
the mouth of the Canton river, which was ceded to England 



CHINA AND ITS PEOPLE. 



21 



in 1843, and from which the trade of England with China is 
superintended. The great Chinese Canal is the longest in 
the world, being seven hundred miles in length, and by it 
the products of the north-eastern provinces are brought up 
to the northern seaboard. 

All over the land are great cities, which teem with life. 
Rivers and canals throughout the provinces are lined with 
towns and cities, many of which are failed with populations 
numbering from one hundred thousand to half a million. 
In the north, coal and silver mines are being opened and 
vigorously worked. Here also railways, telegraphs, tele 
phones, and other wonders of modern times are being 
introduced, all foretelling a day of increased commercial 
prosperity and importance to the old hoary land. 





CHAPTER II. 
THE RELIGIONS OF CHINA. 

4 While a slave bewails his fetters, 

While an orphan pleads in vain, 
While an infant lisps his letters, 

Heir of all the age s gain, 
While a lip grows ripe for kissing, 

While a moan from man is wrung, 
Know by every want and blessing, 

That the world is young." 

KlNGSLEY. 

IT is probable that in the early history of the Chinese 
empire correct ideas of the true God were maintained, 
but these were lost in the idol worship which afterwards 
prevailed universally. The images and idols of China are 
now innumerable. There are gods of the heavens and earth, 
of the stars and planets, of the rains and winds, of the 
seasons, of mountains, pastures, rivers, and lakes, of thunder 
and lightning, of fire and cold, of wealth and war, of com 
merce and agriculture, of every trade, profession, and calling, 
and even evil spirits are worshipped, because the Chinese 
say that to worship a good god is of no use, because he will 
not harm you, but it is very important to keep right with the 
evil one. 



THE RELIGIONS OF CHI X.I. 23 

While China is a nation of idolaters, there are three great 
religions into which they may be distributed. These are 
Confucianism, Buddhism, and Taoism. The first of these 
is derived from Confucius, who lived about 550 B.C. He 
was born in the province of Shantung, and was the son of a 
statesman. He founded rather a system of moral philosophy 
than a religion, for his teaching has no reference to a 
Supreme Being who is to be worshipped, or to a soul that 
needs to be saved from sin. He gave utterance chiefly to 
moral maxims, some of which seem to be related to the 
Proverbs of Solomon, and inculcate a lofty tone of virtue. 

Confucius lost his father when three years old, and he 
passed his youth in obscurity and comparative poverty. As 
he grew up he gave himself to diligent study, and at the age 
of twenty-four resolved to devote himself to the improve 
ment of his countrymen in knowledge and virtue. With 
this object he issued books expounding his views, and in 
course of time he had trained three thousand pupils, some 
of whom became the preachers of his doctrines throughout 
the nation. He travelled throughout the land, speaking 
much in the open air, and, like other sages and prophets, 
drawing many lessons and illustrations from common life 
and from the objects of nature. 

After many years spent thus he returned to his native 
province, where his house became a common resort for the 
thoughtful and inquiring. Unlike Socrates, who taught 
largely by asking questions of his pupils, Confucius en 
couraged those who sought his instruction to question him 
on all subjects of morals, politics, or literature. His pupils 
were earnestly attached to him, and propagated his opinions 
throughout the whole country. He was afterwards ap 
pointed chief minister of State, and carried out many reforms 
in the administration, giving encouragement to trade and 
industry, and greatly increasing the prosperity of the people. 
But jealousy and opposition arose against him, he retired 
into private life, and for more than ten years happily devoted 



24 ROBERT MORRISON. 

himself to literature. When he felt his end was approaching 
he summoned his disciples to a hill in the neighbourhood of 
his dwelling, built an altar, on which he placed his books, 
then, kneeling with his face towards the north, he gave 
thanks that he had been able to complete the work given 
him to do, and implored a blessing on his country from his 




ANCIENT CHINESE TEMPLE. 



labours. He died at the age of seventy-two years, 479 B.C. 
He lived in a great period of the world s history, during which 
the Jews returned from captivity, the second temple was 
built, Greece was invaded by Xerxes, Egypt was conquered 
by the Assyrians, the Persian empire was firmly established, 
and within seven years of which Socrates, perhaps the only 
superior to Confucius in the heathen world, was bom. 
His system, both of morals and national economy, was 



26 ROBERT MORRISON. 

founded upon the sentiment of filial piety. From the 
reverence and obedience due from the child to the parent 
he educed the obligations binding upon all ages and all 
classes in the State. He enforced the principles of honesty, 
justice, and benevolence, but also he permitted, or incul 
cated, idolatry, polygamy, and the bitterest revenge. He 
became the favourite and adored sage of the empire. His 
name is intensely reverenced, his sayings are household 
words, his writings are text-books in every school, his prin 
ciples are professedly practised by every civil official in the 
bnd. He lived a noble life, and left behind him a grand 
heritage to his countrymen. Temples are built everywhere, 
and worship offered to his memory. His system, whilst 
pure and elevating in many respects, yet leaves quite un 
touched the great truths of a Deity, a future life, the real 
nature of sin, or the means of human salvation. Con 
fucianism is the State religion of China. It has for its 
votaries nearly all the scholars, the officials, and Government 
agents, many of whom, however, unite with the profession 
of Confucianism the rites and observances of other religious 
systems. 

Buddhism is the great religion of Eastern Asia. It was 
introduced into China about A.D. 60 in a curious and 
interesting manner. The Emperor, prompted, it is said, by 
a dream of the night, sent messengers to the West to seek 
for a knowledge of the true religion. Confucius had long 
before stated that in the West a great and holy sage would 
arise, and such a dream might have sprung out of this 
saying. The messengers proceeded on their errand as far 
as India, and there met with Buddhist priests, who imparted 
to them a knowledge of Buddha and his doctrines. They 
concluded they had obtained what they sought, and re 
turned home with a new god and a new religion for their 
countrymen. 

Buddhism was founded by Sakya-mouni, or the Wise 
Man, who lived about seven centuries B.C. The life and 



THE RELIGIONS OF CHINA. 2 7 

history of this sage is surrounded with a haze of myth and 
romance. He is said to have been an Indian prince, who 
turned from the pomps and vanities of a palace, and devoted 
himself to a life of meditation, of works of mercy, and of 
self-inflicted privations and tortures, until he reached the 
state of Buddha, or " perfect knowledge." From this he 
taught that men might pass into a higher state called 
" Nirvana," in which they lose personality, pass from rela 
tions and intercourse with material things, and lose all 
individual desires ; in short, in which human nature is 
annihilated. Buddha, however, lingers on the verge of this 
highest state, denying himself its repose in order to promote 
human happiness and lessen the sum of-human misery. 

Buddhism teaches the existence of a benevolent Deity, 
surrounded with lesser ones, who seek to save men from 
the practice and consequences of sin. It inculcates belief 
in the transmigration of souls and the doctrine of human 
merit. Flowing from these teachings there come prayers 
and offerings to the numberless gods of the system, works 
of penance and merit, the offering of presents for the sup 
posed needs of spirits in Hades, and for their departed 
friends. 

Temples for the worship of Buddha are scattered all over 
the land. Many of them are splendid and costly buildings. 
As the system is promotive of habits of quiet meditation, 
they are chiefly situated amidst the hills or in secluded 
valleys, and are charming for their natural surroundings. 
Idols, representing the many gods of the system, fill up these 
temples, several hundreds being sometimes found in one 
building. Some of the temples have pagodas connected 
with them. These are graceful towers built of stone or 
brick, in some special cases of porcelain, and rising from 
eighty to two hundred feet in height. The idols are made 
of many materials of bronze or brass, or other metals, of 
stone, wood, clay, and pottery. The images of Buddha 
represent a human figure with a sleepy countenance, having 



28 ROBERT MORRISON. 

the toes and fingers of equal length, and the ears reaching 
to the shoulders. Besides the images found in the temples 
and joss houses they may be found in private houses, on 
doorsteps, in porticoes, or almost anywhere, thus giving sad 
proof of the extent to which the minds of the Chinese are 
given to idolatry. 

Buddhist priests swarm in China, and in many of their 
practices resemble the priests of Romanism. They shave the 
head, they profess to fast, they are not permitted to marry, 
they recite prayers, they receive and appropriate the offerings 
presented in the temples, and they perform a service morning 
and evening. They attend funerals and festivals to preach 
or to tell stories, and often are engaged to officiate on such 
occasions in private houses. They are daily and impor 
tunate beggars, and make their own garments. Nunneries 
are also prevalent in China, and in these companies of 
women associate, who shave the head, pass through rounds 
of religious rites, and train the novitiates who have entered 
their institution. 

Buddhism is by far the most popular religion in China, 
and is a system which is marvellously adapted to the con 
dition and circumstances of human nature. It recognises 
the religious longings, the depraved habits and the distressing 
miseries of the race of man ; but by diverting the religious 
element in man into gross idolatry it leads the soul from 
the true God, by teaching the doctrine of merit it fosters 
human pride and self-sufficiency, and by teaching the 
doctrine of final annihilation as an escape from misery 
it plunges the mind into the darkness of despair. 

Taoism, although much inferior to the preceding, both 
in the weight of its influence and the number of its ad 
herents, is the third great religion of China. Its founder 
was Laotse, a philosopher who was born 604 B.C. He 
composed a book called "A Treatise on Truth and 
Virtue," which is reckoned as a leading classic in Chinese 
literature. The word "Tao," meaning Truth, is derived 



THE RELIGIONS O/- CHINA. 



29 



from the leading name in the 
title of the book, and is the 
subject chiefly enlarged upon. 
It is said that Confucius visited 
Laotse and discussed important 
subjects with him. Taoism has 
greatly degenerated from the sim 
plicity of its early history. It 
has become corrupted by super 
stitions, it has absorbed many 
of the vagaries of astrology and 
alchemy, reading the stars, seek 
ing for the elixir of life and the 
philosopher s stone, and is now 
a form of the grossest idolatry. 
In its root it is a system of 
pure materialism. It teaches 
that matter is eternal, that its 
grosser forms tend downwards, 
and become the substance of 
the earth, while its finer essences 
tend upwards, and become pos 
sessed of individuality and life. 
The stars are some of these, 
which have assumed visible 
forms, and look down with in 
terest upon the earth. The body 
and soul of man also repre 
sent the more gross and 
refined essences or prin 
ciples of nature. 

This system declares 
Laotse to have been a 
living principle pervad 
ing space long before the 
creation of the heavens 




30 ROBERT MORRISON. 

and the earth. In the course of long ages this principle 
developed into a Deity, called the " Holy Ruler of Won 
derful Identity." After further prolonged ages this Deity 
emerged as the " Holy Ruler of Wonderful Entity," and 
by-and-by a third evolution produced the " Holy Ruler of 
Chaotic Confusion." Beginning with this chaotic jargon, 
there is taught a system of semi-pantheism. Laotse is said, 
after the appearance of man upon the earth, to have lived 
under the names and persons of several great sages and 
prophets, and finally to have been born of a virgin. His 
hair was white with old age at his birth, and his votaries 
claim for him the possession of the most astounding qualities 
and powers. He is now worshipped with many other gods 
and deified sages, for Taoism, like Buddhism, has invented 
deities for every occasion and for almost every locality. 
Amongst its gods must be mentioned the dragon, whose 
domain includes seas, lakes, rivers, and ponds, with all their 
living creatures. All the varied phenomena of clouds and 
rainfalls are also supposed to be under his control. In his 
realm are said to be innumerable lesser dragons, who are his 
subjects and agents. References to other gods of this religion 
might be multiplied indefinitely, but space will not permit. 

Taoism is preferred by the rulers of China to Buddhism, 
because of its native origin. Therefore its priests and 
ceremonies are employed in the State worship. Its temples 
and priests are comparatively few, and women are not 
attracted to its worship in crowds as they are to Buddhism. 
It deals too much in mere abstruse speculation to be 
generally popular, although, as if to illustrate the curious 
meeting of extremes, it has long practised all the forms of 
modern spiritualism, with its rappings and table turnings. 
In all public places in China its mediums are to be found, 
who, for a small payment, may be consulted on the future 
world, or departed friends, or events which are transpiring 
in other parts of the world. There are certain idolatrous 
practices common to all these religions which interlink them 



;. t 




32 ROBERT MORRISON. 

in the history and belief of the nation. The chief of these, 
and the only one requiring notice at present, as being the 
most deeply rooted in the religious life of China, and 
forming the most formidable obstacle to the spread of 
Christianity, is Ancestral Worship. Its rites are looked 
upon as being an indispensable element of filial piety, and 
every person in the nation has the duty enforced upon him 
of observing these forms in the most positive manner. Each 
family is expected to preserve ancestral tablets or paintings 
for this purpose. The ancestral tablets are made of wood, 
and are about twelve inches long. They are inscribed with 
the names and titles of the dead, the dates of their birth 
and death, and the names of their sons. The paintings are 
taken after death, and seldom can be reckoned as faithful 
portraits. These tablets are brought out and worshipped at 
the new year and on the birthdays of the deceased. The 
worship of ancestors consists of prostrations, offerings of 
cooked foods, burning of incense, candles, and paper-money, 
and sometimes dramatic performances are gone through. 
The worship may be offered at will in the dwelling-house, 
or the family temple, or at the grave. 

In all the religions of China there is nothing which 
efficiently restrains from the practice of evil or enables a 
man to lead a holy life. The teachings of Confucius, which 
ignore the existence of God and the immortality of the soul, 
cannot cleanse the heart or inspire a noble and pure life. 
The superstitions of Buddhism, leaving its votaries without 
a guiding Providence in this life, and pointing to extinction 
as the highest goal of human nature, cannot feed or fill the 
cravings of the soul for endless happiness. The specula 
tions of Taoism end in its magic and spirit-rapping, and 
show it to be the doctrine of darkness and devils. From 
such a review we turn with unspeakable relief to the pure 
and purifying teachings of Christianity, and cry, with 
deepest gratitude, 

NONE BUT JESUS, NONE BUT JESUS. 




CHAPTER III. 
EARLY ATTEMPTS TO EVANGELISE CHINA. 

" Hark ! the strains of music roll, 
Like a tide they fill the soul ; 
As they to their highest rise 
We will launch our enterprise." 

LYNCH. 

\ RDENT longings for the conversion of China early 
A\ stirred the souls of consecrated Christian workers, 
and attempts to diffuse the Gospel throughout the 
land were made in different periods of the history of the 
Church. Nor is this to he wondered at. The tenacious 
life which had prolonged itself during four thousand years, 
surviving the tempests of time which have carried succes 
sive leading empires of the world into utter destruction, 
stamps the Chinese as being a peculiar people, and invests 
them with a halo of romance well calculated to fire with 
enthusiasm the adventurous spirit. Their hoary systems 
of religion and philosophy, their attainments in various 
sciences, their proficiency in many arts and manufactures, 
the immense mineral treasures of the land, have all operated 
to attract the attention of the student, the merchant, and 
the statesman. But the enormous population, sunken to 



34 ROBERT MORRISON. 

the lowest moral depths, might well move the benevolent 
impulses of the philanthropist, and rouse the zeal of every 
Christian whose soul vibrates to the command, " Go ye 
into all the world, and preach the Gospel to every creature." 

One insuperable difficulty prevented for centuries Christian 
effort being put forth for the conversion of the empire of 
China. The nation has been rootedly and perseveringly 
opposed to intercourse with foreigners, especially with such 
as would attempt to proselytise from the accepted religions 
of the people. Therefore it has hermetically sealed itself 
at every point against the Christian propagandist. The 
result was that, up to the commencement of the present 
century, no evangelical teacher of truth had been able to 
enter the country ; and, until the middle of the century, no 
real foothold for the Gospel had been obtained. 

It is true that upwards of a thousand years ago an 
attempt was made to enter China by Christian missionaries. 
The Nestorians, in the sixth or seventh century, sent out 
messengers to China ; and an interesting relic of their 
labours remains in a monument at Se-ngan Fu. This 
monument contains a short history of the Nestorian sect 
from the year 630 to 781, and also an abstract of the 
Christian religion. Scarcely a trace remains of the work 
done through this movement. When Roman Catholic 
missionaries entered the country in the fourteenth century 
they found the Nestorians swaying considerable influence 
both amongst rich and poor ; and it may be reasonably 
hoped that, through the eight centuries of their history in 
this land, great numbers of the Chinese were brought 
under the sanctifying power of the Gospel. The sect 
eventually lost its simplicity of faith and became extinct, 
any lingering remnant becoming absorbed in the Romish 
Church. 

During the twelfth century repeated and widespread 
rumours travelled to the West, in which there may have 
been some element of reality, concerning Prester John, said 



EARLY ATTEMPTS TO EVANGELISE CHINA. 35 

to have been a great Christian king who ruled over a 
professedly Christian people in the country contiguous to 
the north of China. It was rumoured that he united in his 
person the offices of both king and priest, and that he had 
successors ruling in a similar manner for some generations. 

In the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries there were 
pioneer messengers from Europe men of devoted spirit 
and great capacity, who made their way into China and 
made known some of the doctrines of the Gospel. The 
leader of these was a Franciscan monk, John de Monte 
Corvino, concerning whom the judicious historian, Neander, 
testifies that he was the pattern of a true missionary. He 
penetrated to Pekin, and succeeded in gaining a high posi 
tion in the Court of the Emperor. He became an adept in 
the language, and translated into Chinese the New Testa 
ment and the Book of Psalms. With true sagacity he 
devoted himself to work among the young, and the rearing 
up of native missionaries, who might disseminate the new 
doctrine among their countrymen. He baptised six thousand 
converts, and founded two churches in Pekin, one of which 
was so close to the royal palace, that the sweet singing 
of the Christian hymns was wafted on the morning breeze 
into the chamber of the Emperor. Corvino overtaxed his 
strength by his multiplied efforts, so that when fifty-eight 
years of age he died, prematurely old, and worn out by hard 
ships and privations. 

Two and a half centuries rolled by, when a man having a 
truly apostolic spirit made another attempt to penetrate the 
great moral desert. In the year 1553 the saintly and lofty 
Francis Xavier reached the island of Sancian on his way to 
China. He had passed through gigantic toils in India and 
Japan, but a hungry dissatisfaction rose within him until he 
had declared the name of Jesus to the millions of China. 
Many difficulties arose before him, but he perseveringly 
strove to overcome them, and he seemed to be on the eve 
of attaining his desire. From the little islet he strained his 



36 ROBERT MORRISON. 

eyes, and ga/ed on the rocky beach of the land he yearned 
to penetrate, and waited impatiently for a junk to carry 
him over the intervening waters. He meant to land under 
cover of the darkness of night. He anticipated being seized 
and cast into prison ; but so also were Paul and Silas at 
Philippi, and a great revival arose out of that persecution. 
God could still make the wrath of man to praise Him ; and 
if nothing else could be done, some seed could be sown in 
the hearts of Chinese prisoners which would produce a 
bounteous harvest when he was laid low. But the All-wise 
Ruler, who had inspired the idea, and would reward the 
spirit of devotion, yet did not permit the realisation of the 
purpose. While he waited for the vessel to take him over 
the waters he was smitten down with raging fever. He lay 
upon the beach, with the bleak winds of a bitter winter 
driving around him. In his delirium his soul seemed to be 
filled with his apostolic fervour, and he cried out Amplius, 
amphiits, " Wider, further ! " As the fever abated his 
strength failed, and he lay facing the last dread foe. His 
face shone with more than earthly radiance, and he wept 
with holy joy, crying out, " O Lord, in Thee have I trusted, 
let me never be confounded." Thus triumphantly he passed 
from the bitterness of an earthly winter to the eternal 
summer of heaven. 

Other kindred spirits soon resolved to attempt again to 
pierce the great dark heathen continent. The Italian Jesuit 
Valignano, being stayed at Macao on his way to Japan, be 
held afar off the shores of China still closed to the Gospel. 
He cried, " Oh, rock, rock ! when wilt thou open ? " and 
being anxious to carry his aspirations to a practical issue, he 
induced two of his companions both men of remarkable 
character and abilities to try to storm the impregnable 
fortress. The attempt succeeded, owing to the united 
determination and wiliness of the agents. They disguised 
themselves as Buddhist priests, and then posed as literati 
of China, with the result that ere long one of them, Mathew 



38 ROBERT MORRISON. 

Ricci, was appointed to an important literary post in Pekin, 
and became a favourite with the Emperor. However other 
wise he seemed to be employed, he never failed to labour 
indefatigably for the establishment and spread of his faith. 
He spent twenty-seven years thus, and in 1610 he died, 
deeply lamented by his fellow-labourers and by the Christian 
community which had been formed under his guidance. 
He left upwards of three hundred churches behind him 
as monuments of his zeal and prudence. He was followed 
by others of a kindred spirit, men of cautious and sagacious 
habit of mind, but of fixed purpose. Chief among these 
were Adam Schaal, who died 1666, and Ferdinand Ver- 
biest, who died 1688. These were both skilled in science 
and various knowledges, and, as learned philosophers, had 
conceded to them an eminence which would have been 
denied them as Christian propagandists. They arranged the 
calendar of the year, they directed the casting of cannon, 
they negotiated treaties with other nations ; but through all 
they kept before them, as their real and sole mission, the 
diffusion of Christianity. They proclaimed their message in 
Pekin and the imperial court, they cast their shield over their 
humbler brethren labouring in various distant provinces and 
cities, and they contrived to open the gates of the country 
for the stealthy admission of fresh helpers from time to time. 
Persecution broke out, and raged for some years, during 
which the Christian churches were closed, and the members 
dispersed; but in 1671, when the tribulation had passed 
by, and when the existing churches were opened, although 
further attempts at extension were forbidden, not less than 
twenty thousand baptisms were reported. It may be that 
these baptisms were largely nominal, and that the conver 
sion to which they witnessed was only on the surface ; it 
may be that the doctrines disseminated were wofully de 
ficient, from an evangelical standpoint ; it may be that 
the poison of Popery was intermingled with their system, 
so as largely to discredit their work in our eyes ; but let us 



EARLY ATTEMPTS TO EVINCE USE CIIL\A. 39 

be just to them, and even charitable. The tracts they 
spread over the land were far superior to the miserable and 
shallow productions distributed by Roman Catholics of later 
days, which are largely filled with legendary nonsense. They 
were clear in their statements as to the nature of sin, the 
incarnation of Christ, and the reality of the atonement. 
They had many genuine converts, who were ready to seal 
their faith with their blood ; and whatever estimate may be 
formed as to the character of the work done, let them have 
the honour paid to their memories, which is their just due, 
as being- the first Christian missionaries to the great centre 
of heathendom, and as setting an example worthy of imita 
tion to the Reformed Churches. The Roman Catholics 
have maintained to this day an extensive mission in the 
land. They have about two hundred churches, and two 
hundred and fifty thousand professors or members. Their 
interference with the civil and political life of China draws 
upon them much jealousy and dislike from both the officials 
and the common people, and but for this they might 
progress at a much more rapid rate than they have done of 
late years. 

One result of the great evangelical revival of the eight 
eenth century was the intense desire for the conversion of 
the heathen which took possession of Protestant Christen 
dom. As a result of that desire, and through the agency 
of chosen instruments, modern missionary societies arose, 
and the great evangelistic movement of the present century 
came into being. It was impossible that, in the urgent 
yearning to scatter the Gospel amongst the nations still 
given up to superstition and idolatry, China could be 
overlooked, or that it should fail to absorb to itself much 
prayerful attention. Its antiquity, its exclusiveness, its 
peculiar civilisation, its overwhelming population, made it 
at once the most interesting, the most difficult, and the 
most extensive field opened out for conquest by the Church 
for the Lord Jesus Christ. The Apostles themselves had 



4 o 



ROBERT MORRISON. 



no grander or wider sphere opened before them, as they 
went out in faith to attack the strongholds of sin in the 
Roman empire. The faith, zeal, and unction required by 
them in their great work were also imperatively demanded 
of the men who should undertake the task of attacking 
this hitherto invulnerable fastness of sin. 

To briefly trace the career of the first modern apostle to 
China, who, with indomitable and persevering zeal, went 
forth to this giant enterprise, is the object of these pages ; 
and it is earnestly hoped that the narration of this story 
will fire many hearts with a generous and Divine enthusiasm 
in aid of the great work for the conversion of this enormous 
nation. The motto of every Christian just now should be 

CHINA FOR CHRIST, AND IN THIS GENERATION. 




$i 




CHAPTER IV. 

ROBERT MORRISON : CHILDHOOD AND YOU 111. 

" Fair boy, the wanderings of thy way 

It is not mine to trace, 
Through buoyant youth s exulting day, 
Or manhood s nobler race. 

"What discipline thine heart may need, 

What clouds may veil thy sun, 
The eye of God alone can read, 
And let His will be done." 

ROBERT MORRISON was horn on January 5th, 1782, 
at Bullefs Green,* in the little picturesque town of 
Morpeth, Northumberland. His father, James Mor 
rison, was a farm labourer, who removed, when Robert was 
three years old, to Newcastle-upon-Tyne, where he esta 
blished a business as a last and boot-tree manufacturer in the 
Groat Market. The place where he and his family resided 
was long called by the name of " Morrison s Close," in 
remembrance of his famous son. Here he employed several 
workmen, earned a comfortable livelihood, and brought up 
his family of eight children in the feaj of God. 

He was a Scotchman by birth, his wife was a Northum- 

* The house was in existence till March 28th, 1887, when it \vas 
razed to the ground. 



42 ROBERT MORRISON. 

brian, and both of them were people of fervent and consist 
ent piety. They became members of an old Presbyterian 
church in the High Bridge, the entrance to which was 
through a public-house yard. Mr. Morrison was held in 
high estimation by the church, and an old lady, who knew 
him and his son Robert well, and who was a member of 
the same church, recently testified that the father was a 
most worthy man, and that no member or officer of the 
church was so highly esteemed. He was for many years a 
much valued elder of the church. The minister at that 
time was the Rev. John Hutton, a man faithfully devoted to 
the interests of his people, and one who exercised a health 
ful and powerful influence on the mind of the subject of this 
memoir. 

Robert was sent to a school kept by James Nicholson, 
his maternal uncle a man of respectable attainments. 
Here he received a sound elementary education. For some 
time he showed great slowness in learning, and has been 
ranked amongst the illustrious dunces of history ; but after 
wards he brightened up, manifested great delight in his 
studies, and made rapid and satisfactory progress. 

He was also carefully trained in Scripture knowledge and 
religious duties by his pastor, Mr. Hutton, who frequently 
catechised him, both at home and in public, after the fashion 
long in vogue in Scotland and in the North of England. 
The story is a favourite tradition in Newcastle, and used 
often to be told by the old lady already referred to, that 
when he was twelve years of age, he repeated in the chapel 
one Sabbath evening the whole of the ii9th Psalm ; and, 
to further test his memory, the pastor exercised him on 
different parts in various ways, the boy passing through the 
ordeal without a single error. 

On leaving school at the age of fourteen, he was bound 
apprentice to his father, and wrought at his trade with great 
diligence and industry. For a brief period he seems to have 
been led into evil courses by careless companions, but at 



CHILDHOOD AND YOUTH. 43 

home he manifested such dutifulness that his father rarely 
had need to utter a word of rebuke. Towards his mother 
he showed a loving attention that was almost chivalrous ; and 
he had so keen a love of truth that never but once was he 
ever known to tell a falsehood, and then, although he had 
no fear of detection, he felt such qualms of conscience that 
he made an open confession of his fault. In 1798 he re 
linquished his bad habits, separated himself from all friends 
that were evil or doubtful, and became soundly converted to 
the service of God. The great change seems rather to have 
been the outcome of long previous training, and of health 
ful religious influences around him, than of any special 
instrumentality ; but he at once sought union with the 
church, and joined a meeting for prayer which assembled 
in his father s workshop on Monday evenings. He also 
began a course of devotional reading, chiefly of the Scrip 
tures ; drew out a plan for the regulation of his time, which 
he carefully observed ; and even learnt a system of short 
hand to facilitate his studies. He formed an intimacy with 
a young man at Shields of kindred religious fervour, and 
they met almost daily for prayer and pious conversation. 
They also visited together the sick poor, and engaged in 
work for God in various ways as they had opportunity. 

Gradually his soul became more deeply engrossed with 
religious subjects. In 1800 he removed his bed into the 
workshop for the sake of greater privacy, and often till 
one or two o clock in the morning was engaged reading 
Romaine s " Life of Faith," or Hervey s " Meditations," or 
Marshall on " Sanctification," or Mosheim s " History of the 
Church," but most of all searching the treasures of Matthew 
Henry s incomparable " Commentary." He also strove to 
perfect himself in English grammar, and carefully examined 
the evidences of Christianity. The Missionary Magazine 
had begun to appear from an Edinburgh publisher, and this 
he borrowed regularly from a friend ; and probably from this 
periodical he received the first bias of his mind towards the 



44 ROBERT MORRISON. 

mission field. The workshop where he studied and slept 
remained till lately in much the same condition as when he 
left it. In 1859 a rude attack was made in Newcastle-upon- 
Tyne upon the memory of Dr. Morrison, by Rev. R. I. 
Wilberforce, then a Romish pervert. This was taken up 
and replied to in a lecture by Rev. J. C. Bruce, D.D., 
from which we extract the following passage : 

"The shop is at present occupied by a joiner. I visited 
the room last week in company with my friend, Mr. John 
Fenwick. The place is in a somewhat frail state, and its 
whole aspect is such as rather to depress than to excite any 
noble elevation of soul. My friend, on entering, felt himself 
carried back fifty years. He pointed to the bench where 
he had scores of times seen Morrison at his work, and told 
me that he generally found him with a book lying open 
before him. In this humble workshop two of Northumber 
land s greatest men must frequently have met Robert 
Morrison and George Stephenson. The families of each 
were mutually acquainted. Mr. Stephenson, when a young 
man, filled up his spare time with making shoes. He made 
his own lasts, and boasted of his performances in this way. 
On one occasion Stephenson entered into competition with 
a fellow-artist, and, in order to exclude the possibility of 
prejudice on the part of the umpire, obtained leave from 
the Morrisons to affix their stamp to his production." 

Young Morrison also rented a little garden in Pandon 
Dene, then a charming suburb of Newcastle, but which has 
now disappeared before the march of building and commerce. 
Here he often repaired for quiet meditation and prayer; 
and, even when at work, the Bible or some other book was 
open before him, in order that his heart and mind might be 
refreshed while his hands were busily occupied. On the 
Sabbath he regularly attended the services of the church, 
he often conducted family worship in his father s house, he 
regularly visited the sick and devoted a proportion of his 
scanty earnings to their relief, and the intervals between 



46 ROBERT MORRISON. 

worship on the Sabbath he generally gave to the instruction 
of poor children. His father had a young apprentice whom 
he strove to win for Christ, and he often took him aside to 
pray with him privately. His soul became intently earnest 
in seeking the conversion of his kindred and friends. He 
appealed to one young relative a sailor with such per 
tinacity, imploring him to seek the Lord, that the young 
man said his words were never out of his ears, until he was 
led to come to Jesus. Thus from his earliest Christian life 
he manifested those profound convictions of duty, that 
intensity and fixedness of purpose, and that desire for the 
salvation of souls, which characterised all his future 
course. 

His early Christian life is very interestingly described in 
a letter he wrote to the Committee of Hoxton Academy, 
when, in 1802, he offered himself for the work of the 
ministry. In it he states as follows : 

" In the early part of my life, having enjoyed the inestim 
able privilege of godly parents (a blessing for which I ever 
desire to be thankful), I was habituated to a constant and 
regular attendance on the preached Gospel. My father was 
ever careful to keep up the worship of God in our family, 
and educated me in the principles of the Christian religion. 
When farther advanced in life, I attended the public cate 
chising of the Rev. John Hutton, from whose instructions I 
received much advantage. By these means (under the good 
hand of God) my conscience was somewhat informed and 
enlightened, and I was kept from running to that excess of 
riot to which many persons in an unregenerate state do, though 
as yet I lived without Christ, without God, and without 
hope in the world. I was a stranger to the plague of my 
own heart ; and, notwithstanding that I often felt remorse 
and the upbraidings of conscience, yet I flattered myself 
that somehow I should have peace, though I walked in the 
ways of my own heart. 

" It was about five years ago that I was much awakened 



CHILDHOOD AND YOUTH. 47 

to a sense of sin, though I cannot recollect any particular 
circumstances that led to it, unless it was that at that time 
I grew somewhat loose and profane, and more than once, 
being drawn aside by wicked company (even at that early 
time of life), I became intoxicated. Reflection upon my 
conduct became a source of much uneasiness to me, and I 
was brought to a serious concern about my soul. I felt the 
dread of eternal condemnation. The fear of death com 
passed me about, and I was led to cry nightly to God that 
He would pardon my sin, that He would grant me an in 
terest in the Saviour, and that He would renew me in the 
spirit of my mind. Sin became a burden. It was then that 
I experienced a change of life, and, I trust, a change of heart 
too. I broke off from my former careless company, and 
gave myself to reading, to meditation, and to prayer. It 
pleased God to reveal His Son in me, and at that time I 
experienced much of the kindness of youth and the love 
of espousals ; and, though the first flash of affection wore 
off, I trust my love to and knowledge of the Saviour have 
increased. Since that time (soon after I joined in com 
munion with the Church under the Rev. John Hutton, my 
present pastor, and likewise became a member of a praying 
society) the Lord has been graciously pleased to humble 
and prove me ; and, though I have often experienced much 
joy and peace in believing, I have likewise experienced 
much opposition from the working of indwelling sin the 
flesh lusting against the spirit, and the spirit against the 
flesh and these being contrary the one to the other, I 
could not do the thing that I would. I have gradually 
discovered more of the holiness, spirituality, and extent of 
the Divine law, and more of my own vileness and un- 
worthiness in the sight of God, and the freeness and rich 
ness of sovereign grace. I have sinned as I could ; it is 
by the grace of God I am what I am. " 

For some years he kept a diary, or journal, in which he 
recorded his doings and experiences. The entries reveal, 



48 ROBERT MORRISON. 

in a natural and easy manner, the real bent of his mind. 
Two or three extracts from that kept in 1800 may be given 
as a specimen of many : 

" February $th. Rose at five. Text, Nahum i. 7 : The 
Lord is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble, and He 
knoweth them that trust in Him. Comfortable words ! In 
the evening I took a walk, and was delighted with the works 
of God. The sun descending, the moon shining brightly, 
the night was come, and the ocean murmured at a distance. 
God is my Maker and my Saviour. This night I was alone 
in the house, when I engaged in prayer to my God. Slept 
five hours." 

" February 2yd. Sunday. Rose at half-past six. Went 
and took a walk to the Forth, very misty. Came home and 
went to prayer in the shop. O blessed solitude, I love 
thee ! I am not alone, for God is with me. Read a part 
of Mr. Romaine s sermon on the death of Mr. Hervey. 
Went to the meeting-house, and heard a lecture on Simon 
Magus. After dinner I took Jem into the shop and prayed 
with him, and then asked him his catechism. In the after 
noon I heard a sermon on Christ Crucified. I took my 
tea with my brother Thomas. C. H. and I joined in 
singing, prayer, and reading the Scriptures. Text, Psalm 
xlviii. 14. I was beset with vain thoughts, and when I 
would do good, evil is present with me. " 

"June i&th. Rose at five. After prayer I sat till six, 
then went to work, and wrought till nearly 8 P.M., when 
C. H. came up. We joined in singing, prayer, and reading 
a sermon, after which I took a walk as far as the garden 
with him. We called on Mr. Hutton. We were engaged 
in serious conversation. Oh that I may watch and be 
sober when my Lord cometh ! " 

In 1 80 1 he began to entertain definite ideas as to entering 
the Christian ministry, and prepared to study systematically 
with this object before him. The following passage from 
his diary indicates his state of feeling at this time : 



CHILDHOOD AND YOUTH. 49 

" Friday, June iqth. This day I entered with Mr. Luidler * 
to learn Latin. I paid ten shillings and sixpence (the 
entrance money), and am to pay one guinea per quarter. 
I know not what may be the end God only knows. It is 
my desire, if He please to spare me in the world, to serve 
the Gospel of Christ as He shall give me opportunity. O 
Lord, my God, my whole hope is in Thee, and in Thee 
alone. God be merciful to me a sinner through Christ my 
Saviour, and grant Thy blessing with this attempt, if it 
please Thee. Amen." 

This extract plainly shows the direction of his thoughts, 
and he arranged all his movements accordingly. He 
wrought at his trade from six to six, save that from nine to 
ten he waited on Mr. Laidler. He arranged his meals so 
as to facilitate his studies, and nightly he was at work with 
his books when the rest of the household had retired to 
sleep. So assiduously did he cultivate knowledge that, 
eighteen months afterwards, when he entered Hoxton 
Academy as a student, he had not only a fair knowledge 
of Latin, but had also acquired the rudiments of Greek and 
Hebrew. 

While he was thus earnestly devoting himself to prepara 
tions for future advancement, he went for a short time to 
Sunderland to gain a knowledge of another branch of his 
father s business, and there became acquainted with a 
young man called Wilson. This friend relates the following 
incident : 

" Four or five of us very young men were conversing 
together about some of those things which the hoary- 
headed Christian places among the secret things of God, 
and which he adores in silent submission. As Mr. Morrison 
was not forward in speaking, we requested him to favour us 
with his mind on the subject before us. He replied, What 
soever I may not know of these things, this I do know, that 
I am a sinner, and that Jesus Christ is a suitable Saviour. 
* A minister resident in Newcastle. 

4 



50 ROBERT MORRISON. 

Such a remark from the youngest in the company forcibly 
struck us all." 

Between Robert and his mother there existed a most 
tender affection. He was her favourite son, and with true 
maternal instinct she soon guessed the bent his mind was 
taking towards the ministry of the Church. But, as infirmi 
ties increased upon her, she clung passionately to him, and 
was distressed at the idea of him leaving home. His sense 
of filial obedience was so strong that he promised he would 
never do so as long as she lived. Such was her confidence 
in him, that she looked to him for comfort and solace in the 
later experiences of her life. In 1802 she was taken from 
her family and from earth by death. During her illness he 
assiduously attended her bedside, marking her wants, giving 
her medicine, offering prayer by her side, and finally, after 
receiving her last blessing, closing her eyes in death. 





CHAPTER V. 
PREPARATION FOR THE GREAT WORK. 

"Great offices will have 
Great talents, and God gives to every man 
The virtues, temper, understanding, taste, 
That lifts him into life and lets him fall 
Just in the niche he was designed to fill." 

COWPER. 

AS Mr. Morrison laboured diligently in his preparations, 
his purpose became more definite and settled. The 
way into the ministry of the Presbyterian Church did 
not open, and his thoughts were directed to the Congre 
gational Theological Institution, then known as Hoxton 
Academy, afterwards as Highbury College. The two 
following extracts indicate the yearning of his soul both as 
to progress in the Divine life, and a ministerial course : 

" O blessed Jesus, long have I sought for rest to my 
immortal soul, at one time in the gratification of the lusts 
of the flesh, and at another of the mind. When very 
young I was a companion of the drunkard, the Sabbath- 
breaker, the profane person ; but in these my heart smote 
me, I had no rest. Then I made learning and books my 
god ; but all, all are vain. I come to Thee : Come unto 
Me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give 



52 ROBERT MORRISON. 

you rest. Fatigued with unsuccessful pursuits after happi 
ness, and burdened with a sense of guilt, Jesus, Thou Son 
of God, I come to Thee, that I may be refreshed and my 
burden removed. 

" Jesus, my Lord ! Thou art possest 
Of all that fills the eternal God ! 
Oh ! bring my weary soul to rest, 
Remove my guilt, that ponderous load. " 

On September 25th, 1802, he wrote thus : 

"This day I wrote to desiring to know some things 

respecting the Hoxton Academy. What shall I say on this 
day now closing? O Lord, pardon my sins, and make me 
Thine in that day when Thou makest up Thy jewels ; in 
that day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus 
Christ. Have faith in Jehovah with thy whole m nd : but 
lean not to thy own understanding. In all thy ways acknow 
ledge Him, and He will direct thy paths. Thou shalt love 
the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy mind, 
and with all thy thought. This is the first and great com 
mandment. " 

On November 24th he made formal application for 
admission to the Academy. His letter deals at great 
length with his early religious impressions and his con 
version to God, and then proceeds in the following 
sentences to refer to his doctrinal sentiments and his call 
to the ministry: 

"As the compass of one letter will not suffer me to 
enlarge with respect to my principles, it will perhaps be 
sufficient to observe that, being educated in the doctrines 
of the Church of Scotland, as contained in the Westminster 
Confession of Faith ; so far as I have been enabled to examine 
them as yet, I have espoused them from principle. Hence 
also my views with respect to the ordinance of baptism will 
be known. 

"As to the motives that induce me to wish to be a 



PREPARATION FOR THE GREAT WORK. 53 

minister, they are these viz., an earnest desire of being 
instrumental (under the good hand of God) in turning 
sinners from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan 
unto God of being instrumental in building up the Church 
being zealous of spiritual gifts, I seek that I may excel 
to the edifying of the Church. I covet to prophesy, for he 
that prophesieth speaketh to men to edification, to exhorta 
tion, and to comfort ; and I would moreover observe that 
these passages not only express my motives, but also con 
tain what I considered a warrant for my present undertaking, 
as they come from the apostle to the Church of Corinth 
in the form of an exhortation, Seek that ye may excel. 
Covet to prophesy. 

"However, I would willingly resign myself to the 
direction of my heavenly Father. He knows best, and 
will choose and use what instruments He seeth meet. His 
will be done." 

He was immediately accepted by the Committee and 
summoned to London, where he arrived on January 6th, 
1803. 

Hoxton Academy was then under the care of the Revs. 
Dr. Simpson and W. Atkinson, and amongst the students 
he found congenial spirits in men known afterwards as 
Revs. H. F. Burder, D.D., of Hackney; J. Clunie, LL.I)., 
of Manchester; J. Fletcher, D.I)., of Stepney; and G. 
Payne, LL.I)., of Exeter; with all of whom he maintained 
a firm friendship, and with the two former a close intimacy 
until his death. 

He had scarcely settled at the College before a trial 
came which deeply moved his spirit. His father s health 
had been feeble for some time, and the business had been 
largely dependent on the exertions of Robert. His father 
grew worse, and an urgent and affectionate summons came 
for his son to return home and resume his former position. 
His heart was too fixed and his enthusiasm for his new 
calling too imperative to permit him to do so, and he wrote 



54 ROBERT MORRISON 

a reply which, whilst brimming with tenderness and filial 
piety, yet expressed his unalterable purpose to pursue his 
sacred calling. 

li February $th, 1803. 

" Honoured father, brother, and sisters, I received your 
letter on the i9th ult. The account of my father s leg 
growing worse and worse concerns me ; but what can I do? 
I look to my God and my father s God. He doeth all 
things well, and He will make all things work together for 
good to those that love Him. My father, my brother, my 
sisters, I resign you all and myself to His care, who I 
trust careth for us. Are not our days few ? Yet I desire, 
if the Lord will, that He may grant you wherewithal to 
provide things honest in the sight of all men during the 
few days of your pilgrimage. I trust He will ; and may 
the Lord bless you with rich communications of saving 
grace and knowledge. You advise me to return home. 
I thank you for your kind intentions ; may the Lord bless 
you for them. But I have no inclination to do so ; having 
set my hand to the plough, I would not look back. It 
hath pleased the Lord to prosper me so far, and grant me 
favour in the eyes of this people." 

His family were still not satisfied with his decision, and 
it was a painful subject for him to write about ; but he 
never swerved for a moment from what he firmly believed 
to be a sacred duty, and both his father and brother and 
sisters lived long enough to recognise that he had been led 
by Divine Providence in his chosen path. 

He had not been long in the Metropolis before he pre 
sented himself to the Rev. Dr. Waugh, a minister of fervent 
piety and affectionate spirit, who then presided over a 
large church in Wells Street, Oxford Street. He was 
received into membership, and shortly afterwards preached 
his first sermon in St. Luke s Workhouse, and from that 
time he became a frequent preacher in the villages around 
London. He also found many opportunities to visit 



56 ROBERT MORRISON. 

the poor and sick, after the habit he had formed at 
Newcastle. 

He pursued his studies at Hoxton with untiring assiduity, 
and his fellow-students above referred to have left glowing 
testimonies as to his fervid pursuit both of mental and 
spiritual attainments. Dr. Clunie sums up a very full de 
scription of his college life in these words : " He was a 
most exemplary student, and always aimed at distinction, 
even in some branches of study for which he appeared very 
little adapted. But his chief reliance to secure success 
was not on any effort of his own, however diligently and 
constantly exerted, but on the Divine blessing. Hence few 
ever entered more fully into Luther s great axiom, To 
pray well is to study well; for of him it may be very 
justly said, that prayer was the element in which his soul 
delighted to breathe. Though it was little apprehended 
that he would so soon be called to fill one of the most 
arduous and important spheres which could be conceived, 
or that he would rise to such eminence in it as to com 
mand the admiration of all classes of the Christian Church 
and of the community in general, yet it is impossible 
to reflect on his diligent and devoted course at Hoxton 
without clearly recognising the incipient elements of all his 
future success. Others possessed more brilliant talents, a 
richer imagination, a more attractive delivery, or more 
graceful manners, but I trust I may be permitted to say 
that there was no one who more happily concentrated in 
himself the three elements of moral greatness, the most 
ardent piety, indefatigable diligence, and devoted zeal in 
the best of all causes." 

After he had been a short time at college a desire for 
foreign missionary work, which had occasionally arisen 
within him at home, became a definite and ruling purpose 
of his soul. He made this known to the tutors and treasurer 
of the institution. They represented to him the arduous 
nature of the work, and the special opportunities he had 



PREPARATION FOR THE GREAT WORK. 57 

for great usefulness in the home field, and offered him the 
privilege of a training at one of the Scotch universities. 
They advised him to carefully pray and think about the 
matter. This advice he readily adopted, with the result 
that his purpose became greatly strengthened ; and on 
May 27111, 1804, he wrote to the Rev. A. Waugh, then 
chairman of the Committee of Examination of the London 
Missionary Society, offering himself for labour in a foreign 
sphere. His letter has been often referred to as a model 
one. It briefly records the facts of his conversion, of his 
desire to enter the ministry, and of his growing interest in 
mission work. He says : 

" My first wish was to engage as a Missionary. This 
was the burden of my prayer. I avowed this design to my 
friends. I frankly own it was the wish of my heart when I 
came to Hoxton ; and had the question been asked of me 
I should have professed it. I had no design to conceal it ; 
but I then considered myself unfit, and believed learning 
necessary. I knew nothing of a Missionary Academy. I 
still cherished the desire of being a Missionary, but thought 
it premature to come to a determination, and therefore 
entered upon the foundation at Hoxton. Knowing that 
Jesus wills that His Gospel should be preached in all the 
world, and that the redeemed of the Loid are to be 
gathered out of every kindred and tongue and people ; 
recollecting, moreover, the command of Jesus to go into 
all the world, and preach the Gospel to every creature, I 
conceive it my duty, as a candidate for the Holy Ministry, 
to stand candidate for a station where labourers are most 
wanted. My affectionate relatives in the country, and my 
kind friends and patrons in town dissuade me from it, tell 
me of the difficulties I shall have to encounter, and promise 
me much should I stay at home. I have considered these 
things, prayed to the Lord to direct me and to enable me to 
count the cost, that I may not act the part of a foolish 
builder. I am extremely suspicious of myself, jealous of 



58 ROBERT MORRJSON. 

the strength of my love to Jesus to bear me through. But 
leaning on His love to me, I have now, sir, made up my 
mind, if the Lord will, to forsake all and follow Him, 
to spend and be spent for the elect s sake, that they may 
obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus, with eternal 
glory." 

In coming to this decision he had a painful struggle with 
his home relatives, who were strongly opposed to it. He 
pleaded the case most tenderly and affectionately with his 
father, offering to desist from his purpose, " If my father or 
other friends can give such reasons why I should not take 
this step as will satisfy my mind on a dying bed." No such 
reasons were forthcoming; but the struggle of mind he 
endured may be imagined from these words, extracted from 
a letter he addressed to his very intimate companion 
Cuthbert Henderson : " My brother Thomas has sent a 
letter which grieves me very much. He represents the 
situation of my father s affairs in such a distressing light . . 
and then charges me with wilfulness that I can help them, 
and won t. Shall I see my father s house thus thrown into 
confusion? I myself, my dear brother, wander from day 
to day, mourning an absent Lord. I wander under the 
hidings of my Father s countenance, under a sense of my 
own ignorance and weakness. What can I do ? For years 
past I have desired and prayed and laboured night and day 
for that which the Lord has been pleased to bring about ; 
and now when my wishes are gratified, my prayers are 
answered, shall I turn back ? O my God, I lift my soul to 
Thee. How shall I stand before Jesus in the day of 
judgment, should I now forsake Him and His work when a 
difficulty arises? O my friend, pray that the Lord may 
remove all my sins, that He may make my way plain before 
me, that He may be near to my precious and immortal soul; 
pray for my brother and father, I entreat thee, my good 
friend go often to see them ; and may the Lord bless thee 
and keep thee through faith unto eternal salvation." 



PREPARATION FOR THE GREAT WORK. 59 

On Monday, May 28th, he appeared before the Missionary 
Board. The interview was so satisfactory that the usual 
custom of a second examination was dispensed with. He 
was accepted at once, and ordered to proceed to the 
Missionary Academy at Gosport, then presided over by the 
venerable Dr. Bogue. 

He prepared to obey the order at once. His fellow- 
students affectionately commended him to "the special 
grace of God," in a meeting for united prayer ; and on 
the Wednesday following his acceptance, he proceeded to 
Gosport, where he received a warm welcome from the 
Governor of the Institution. His stay there was but a 
short one, his fitness and preparedness for the work being 
soon demonstrated ; and arrangements were quickly made 
for his appointment to a sphere of labour. For some time 
he was in uncertainty as to his destination, and writing to 
his friend Mr. Clunie, on July 3151, he says : 

" My future destination is altogether unknown to me. 
It is in agitation to send a mission to China. Mr. Bogue 
seems quite fond of it. I have had some thoughts of going 
into the interior of Africa, to Timbuctoo. I give up my 
concerns to the Lord. I hope He will open a door of 
useful missionary labour in some part of the world, and 
give me souls for my hire." 

At the same time also he wrote to his sister Hannah : 
"It is in agitation to send me on a mission to China; 
however, it is altogether uncertain as yet. I have thought 
of going to Timbuctoo, in Africa. I hope the Lord will 
carry me out to some situation where He will make me 
abundantly useful to the souls of men." 

The references to Timbuctoo may be explained by the 
fact that the brave but unfortunate traveller, Mungo Park, 
was at this time contemplating the formation of an English 
settlement there. It was in deliberation to send a medical 
gentleman, Mr. Anderson, to Africa, and a clerical missionary 
with him. Mr. Morrison seems to have been anxious to 



6o ROBERT MORRISON. 

go ; but the Committee of the Society designed him for 
other work, and at first were disposed to send him to 
Prince of Wales Island, in the Malacca Straits. 

He was not left long in uncertainty as to his destination, 
but was appointed to China, and directed to turn his atten 
tion to gaining an elementary knowledge of the Chinese 
language, with the object of qualifying himself to translate 
the Bible into that tongue. Mr. Morrison ever firmly be 
lieved that the appointment to China was providential. He 
had made his appointment a matter of special and prolonged 
prayer, and had even poured out a supplication that for 
lofty self-forgetfulness was truly apostolic viz., "That God 
would station him in that part of the missionary field where 
the difficulties were the greatest, and, to all human appear 
ance, the most insurmountable." The sequel seems to show 
that this prayer was certainly answered. 

The idea which was in the mind of the Committee in 
making the appointment, was that the agent selected should 
proceed to China, either seeking a residence in the country 
itself, or finding a refuge on one of the adjacent islands, and 
should there obtain a knowledge of the language, and pro 
ceed with a translation of the Bible. More than this was 
not contemplated just then ; when it was accomplished, the 
next step was to be considered. 

The design of the Committee also included the appoint 
ment of two or three others to accompany Mr. Morrison ; 
and a son of the celebrated Rev. Dr. John Brown, of 
Haddington, was actually selected, but he declined the 
invitation. Then Dr. Vanderkemp was requested to leave 
Africa, and proceed to China to superintend the mission. 
This also came to nothing. Evidently Providence was 
directing the movements of the Society by unrecognisable 
means. As we look backwards from our standpoint to-day, 
it seems quite evident that if a company of agents had gone 
to China, they would have drawn towards themselves the 
virulent opposition of the ruling powers, and rendered all 



PREPARATION FOR THE GREAT WORK. 61 

efforts to obtain an introduction for the Gospel unavailing. 
The appointment of Mr. Morrison therefore remained, no 
companion being found to share with him the trials and 
responsibilities of the enterprise. 

In August 1805 he left Gosport, and proceeded to 
London, that he might gain some useful knowledge in 
astronomy and medicine, and also that he might gather up 
as much knowledge of the Chinese language as was there 
practicable. He walked St. Bartholomew s Hospital, and 
attended a course of lectures on medicine given by Dr. 
Blair. He went to Greenwich, and studied astronomy 
under Dr. Hutton. He resided in Bishopsgate Street., and 
walked to and from Greenwich, carrying his various mathe 
matical and other instruments, and reading the whole of the 
way. He also engaged the services of a Chinese teacher 
then residing in London, called Yang-Sam-Tak. This man 
was possessed of some learning, but was of a most im 
petuous, passionate, and proud spirit. Mr. Morrison was 
greatly tried by his fierce and domineering temper ; but he 
bore with him with marvellous patience, for the sake of 
attaining his great object, and also for the sake of the man 
himself, whose spiritual welfare he greatly coveted. On one 
occasion Mr. Morrison burnt a piece of paper on which Sam 
had written some characters. He had committed them to 
memory, and had no more use for them ; but such was his 
teacher s indignation, that for three days he refused to con 
tinue his instructions ; and to avoid similar offence, his pupil 
afterwards wrote on a piece of tin, from which he could rub 
out the characters when they were no longer needed. It is 
gratifying to know that Sam was so far won by the kindness 
and patience of his pupil, as to join him in reading the 
Scriptures, and also to unite in the worship of the house 
holda thing he had previously regarded with scorn. In 
after life he obtained, through Mr. Morrison s influence, an 
excellent situation in the warehouse of a merchant at Hon 



62 ROBERT MORRISON. 

In the British Museum a manuscript had been discovered 
by the Rev. W. Moseley, Congregational minister of Long 
Buckby, Northamptonshire, which contained the principal 
portion of the New Testament translated into the Chinese 
language. It was a folio volume, and by mistake had been 
lettered, Evangelia Qitatuor Sinice. On a blank leaf at the 
beginning of the volume is this note : " This transcript was 
made at Canton in 1737 and 1738, by order of Mr. Hodg 
son, who says it has been collated with great care, and found 
very correct. Given to him by Sir Hans Sloane, Bart., in 
1739." Mr. Moseley was incited by this discovery to pub 
lish a treatise on "the importance and practicability of 
translating and publishing the Holy Scriptures in the Chinese 
language." After Mr. Morrison had acquired some famili 
arity with Chinese characters, he commenced to transcribe 
this MS., and also a MS. Latin and Chinese Dictionary, 
which was possessed and lent to him by the Royal Society. 
By extraordinary application, he copied these MSS. in the 
few months of his residence in London, besides pursuing 
with ardour the other studies previously mentioned, and 
engaging in many works of practical benevolence. Speak 
ing of these endeavours to prepare himself for his work, 
Dr. Milne says : " What was acquired of the language 
proved afterwards of trifling utility. The Dictionary and 
the Harmony of the Gospels were more useful. These 
were originally the work of some of the Romish missionaries 
in China. By what individuals, or at what time, these 
works were compiled, has not been ascertained; but Pro 
vidence has preserved them to be useful, and the just 
merit of their authors will doubtless one day be reckoned 
to them." 

During this period of preparation his mind was deeply 
concerned for the salvation of his brothers and sisters, and 
their children. He wrote many letters to them, overflowing 
with affection and desire for their welfare. He paid a fare 
well visit to them in July. His friends gathered round him. 



PREPARATION FOR THE GREAT WORK. 63 

and manifested such attachment to him as greatly to try his 
resolution, although without in any degree shaking it. He 
spent a fortnight amongst them, preaching thirteen times, 
and visiting all his friends and acquaintances, going down 
also to Edinburgh and Glasgow. Then he returned to 
London, and prepared for his departure. On October 23rd 
he wrote to his father : " I met the Directors on Tuesday 
last, when it was agreed by the Committee .that I should 
proceed by the first conveyance to Madras, thence pass on 
to Malacca, there leave my luggage, and pay a visit to 
Canton, to see whether or not I can settle there. If I can, 
I will send to Malacca for my books ; and if not, I shall 
return and take up my residence at Malacca, where there 
are a few thousands of Chinese, and where I shall endeavour 
to learn the language, and also, as soon as I can, preach the 
Gospel to the Malays." 

Again, on December 23rd, he wrote to his brother 
Thomas : " I hoped when I wrote to you last that ere 
this time I should have been on my way to China. It was 
fully the intention of our friends that it should have been 
so ; but, owing to the indisposition of Messrs. Hardcastle 
and Cowie, the necessary steps were delayed. You must 
understand that none of our missionaries can go out to 
India in an English vessel, without the express leave of 
the East India Company. Their leave was solicited for 
the Baptist missionaries, who are now at Serampore, near 
Calcutta, and they refused it. Our missionaries who are now 
in India went out in foreign neutral vessels. Our Society 
never asked their leave, but now think of doing it for me." 

The permission, however, could not be obtained. A 
passage was secured for him and two fellow-students 
Messrs. Gordon and Lee, who, with their wives, were about 
to proceed to other portions of the mission field in the 
good ship Remittance to New York, whence he would pro 
ceed to Canton direct or by way of India, as might seem 
most fitting on his arrival in America. 



64 ROBERT MORRISON. 

His feelings at the near prospect of bidding farewell to 
home and fatherland may be judged by the following words 
from his journal under date January 2nd, 1807 : 

"This is one of the most important periods of my life. 
O Lord ! except Thy presence go with me, carry me not 
up hence. May the blessing of God Almighty accompany 
me. May the angel of His presence go before me. I feel 
not much cast down. I endeavoured this evening to re 
collect some, of the promises on which I hope. Fear not, 
for I am with thee, came into my mind ; and again, Fear 
not, thou worm Jacob. I hope to be enabled to lean 
always and only on the arm of God ; none else can hold 
me up." 

He was ordained and consecrated to his sacred and 
apostolic work on January 8th, 1807, in the Scotch Church, 
Swallow Street, in company with the two missionaries above 
named. Prayer, reading of the Scriptures, and exhortation 
were conducted by the Rev. T. Townsend ; questions were 
proposed to the missionaries by the Rev. G. Burder, D.D. ; 
the band of missionaries made a confession of the solemn 
truths they thereby undertook to teach the heathen, and 
then a dedicatory prayer was offered by the venerable and 
venerated pastor of Mr. Morrison, the Rev. Dr. Waugh, 
accompanied by the laying on of hands ; then the Rev. Dr. 
Nicol delivered an affecting charge from Acts xx. 17-27, 
and the Rev. C. Buck concluded with prayer. It was a 
deeply touching and impressive service, and was long 
remembered by those present, not only because of the 
memorable addresses and prayers of the venerable brethren, 
but even more by the simple and natural statement by Mr. 
Morrison of his experience and faith. 

His letters to his father, his brothers, and sisters, on 
bidding farewell to England, overflow with affectionate 
feeling, especially regarding those who had not become 
Christians. Thus he wrote to his sister Hannah : " My 
dear, dear Hannah, do think of your soul now; set heaven 



PREPARATION FOR THE GREAT WORK. 65 

and hell and a dying Saviour before you. My hrotherly 
love to your dear partner ; tell him these things from me! 
Bow down together, and call upon God with tears, and for 
the sake of Jesus ask for mercy. I hope to go to-morrow, 
or Wednesday morning at the latest, to Gravesend, to 
embark for New York. I am in good health, and am not 
depressed ; I sorrow to leave you all, but I do hope and 
pray (oh, God grant it I) that we shall in a little time be 
brought to glory everlasting. But, dear sister Hannah, I 
stand in doubt of you lest you should be in an unconverted 
state. Forgive me, forgive me ; it is not in harshness but 
in love for your precious soul that I speak. Come to 
Jesus ; come to Jesus. There is nothing worth attending 
to till that be done." The intensity of this pleading shows 
the spirit of a true evangelist and missionary. 

In his farewell letter to his father he gives the following 
particulars as to the arrangements made for his voyage and 
settlement : " I have letters of introduction to a great many 
Christian friends in New York who will endeavour to obtain 
for me a residence in the American Factory in Canton. 
The Society puts into my hand ^150 in dollars, which I 
am to keep untouched till I arrive in China, as I have my 
passage paid. I have, moreover, 20 for current expenses. 
They give me likewise letters of credit to the amount of 
^200 on persons in Canton, Malacca, and Prince of Wales 
Island. I am instructed to act very much as circumstances 
may arise, and to provide either in whole or part for myself 
if I possibly can. Thus you see that there is not any care 
wanting, but every precaution that can be is taken." 

Mr. Morrison proceeded to Gravesend, and embarked in 
the ship which was to convey him across the Atlantic. His 
feelings were profoundly stirred. He wrote : " I am alone; 
to go alone. Oh that I may not be alone ; but that the 
good hand of my God may be upon me, and the angel of 
His presence go before me \ What is my object in leaving 
friends and country ? My object was at first, and I trust 

5 



66 



ROBERT MORRISON. 



still is, the glory of God in the salvation of poor sinners. 
Oh for faith in God ! Oh for strong confidence in the 
great and precious promises ! " 

On Saturday, January 3151, he went on board, and 
sailed out of the river on his way to his chosen sphere and 
calling. 





CHAPTER VI. 

INITIAL LIFE AND WORK IN CHINA. 

"There is no substitute for thorough-going, ardent, and sincere 
earnestness." DICKENS. 

"Prayer and painstaking will accomplish everything." JOHN ELIOT. 

AFTER leaving Gravesend, the ship Remittance, con 
taining Mr. Morrison and his fellow-missionaries, 
who were bound for the mission field in India, was 
detained in the Downs waiting for a fair wind. On 
February 7th, 1807, a tremendous storm raged, which 
occasioned great destruction of shipping, so that a number 
of vessels were sunk, and many driven on the shore. Out 
of a large fleet which was anchored in the Downs, the 
Remittance was the only one that was able to pursue the 
voyage. It was indeed a serious time. Mr. Morrison 
wrote as follows concerning it on the iQth : 

" God has preserved us. Yesterday morning I hoped to 
have sent this letter on shore by the pilot, but the gale 
came on so suddenly that he could not leave the ship. 
Before daylight our anchor snapped in two, our mizen and 
fore sails split, and we scudded clown the Channel under 
bare poles. The sea ran mountains high, and the atmo 
sphere was so thick with snow that we could not see the 



68 ROBERT MORRISON. 

length of the ship around us. In the midst of our extremity, 
an alarm was raised that the ship was on fire owing to the 
bursting of some bottles of vitriol. The pilot and one of 
the men leaped into the mizen-chains in order to jump 
overboard which was to cast themselves into the arms of 
death as they preferred death in that form to being burnt 
to death. Happily, however, the other men had courage 
enough to seize the bottles and push them overboard. My 
mind, in the midst of this, was only exercised in casting my 
burden upon the Lord." 

After a long, tedious, and trying voyage, Mr. Morrison at 
length reached New York on April 2oth, and at once took 
steps to secure a passage to Canton. He obtained inter 
course with several of the leading Christian ministers and 
laity of the city, and then proceeded to Philadelphia, in 
order to obtain, if possible, from the Government the 
interest and protection of the United States Consul at 
Canton. There he found friends, who used their utmost 
influence at Washington, and succeeded in obtaining a 
letter from Mr. Maddison, then Secretary of State, addressed 
to Mr. Carrington, the Consul at Canton, requesting him to 
do all he could, consistently with the interests he repre 
sented, to further the designs of the mission. 

He had great difficulty in procuring a passage to China. 
There was only one vessel bound for India, and the 
captain, apprehending difficulty with the British Government, 
absolutely refused to take any passenger. Another was 
bound for China, but the owners demanded one thousand 
dollars for the passage. At last a gentleman, to whom he 
had been introduced by Dr. Mason, a leading clergyman 
of New York, arranged for him to sail in the Trident, com 
manded by Captain Blakeman, who kindly offered to take 
him to Canton, only charging him for the amount of his 
stores. 

The gentleman at whose house Mr. Morrison was enter 
tained in New York communicated, many years afterwards, 



INITIAL LIFE AND WORK IN CHINA. 69 

a paper to the Ofisert er, which narrated many interesting 
particulars in reference to this visit. A few extracts from 
this paper will throw further light on the character of Mr. 
Morrison, and the spirit in which he anticipated entering 
upon his work. The writer says : 

" I shall never forget the evening on which the Missionary 
Company was brought to my house by Dr. Mason. The 
appearance of a Missionary of the Cross then was a rare 
thing, and that of a company of missionaries still more so. 
The countenance of Morrison bore the impress of the effect 
of grace on a mind and temperament naturally firm and 
somewhat haughty. His manner was civil rather than 
affable, serious and thoughtful, breathing a devoted piety. 
The interview was solemn, but pleasant. Strangers born 
on different sides of the Atlantic, there was but one bond 
between us, yet the Divine nature of that mystic tie 
was speedily recognised as Christian communion unlocked 
the hidden treasures of the heart ; and when, at the close, 
we bowed our knees in social prayer, the tears which fell 
on every side were witness to that strange affection to an 
unseen Being, and all who love Him, which knows nothing 
of oceans or separating mountains, nothing of distance or 
of time. 

" In a day or two after Mr. Morrison was seized with 
sudden indisposition. As I sat by his bed, he took my 
hand, and, adverting to the uncertain issue of the attack, 
expressed, in language which told of a mind at ease and 
prepared for every event, his resignation to the Divine will. 
After urging me to greater devotedness to the cause of 
Christ s glory, he closed with these words, which I after 
wards found were ever on his lips, Dear brother, look up, 
look up ! 

" As the notice had been very short, he was placed for 
the first night in our own chamber. By the side of his 
bed stood a crib, in which slept my little child. On awaking 
in the morning, she turned, as usual, to talk to her mother. 



70 ROBERT MORRISON. 

Seeing a stranger where she expected to have found her 
parents, she roused herself with a look of alarm ; but, 
fixing her eyes steadily upon his face, she inquired, Man, 
do you pray to God ? Oh yes, my dear, Mr. Morrison 
replied, every day. God is my best friend. At once 
reassured, the little girl laid her head contentedly on the 
pillow and fell fast asleep. She was a great favourite with 
him ever after. 

" There was nothing of pretence about Morrison. An 
unfriendly critic might have said he was too proud to be 
vain; a Christian would more willingly have said he was 
too pious to be proud. Nothing could be more plain, 
simple, and unceremonious than his manners. His fellow- 
missionaries looked up to him as a father, resorted to his 
room for prayer, and took his advice in all their movements. 
He exhibited less of the tenderness of the Christian than 
they did ; his piety had the bark on, theirs was still in the 
green shoot. His mind stood firm, erect, self-determined ; 
theirs clung to it for support, and gathered under its shadow 
for safety. ... I will only add a brief notice of the parting 
scene as he left us for his destination. On the morning 
he sailed, his missionary companions assembled in his 
room, and there had a most solemn interview their last 
in this world. Poor Gordon was completely overwhelmed. 
Morrison was composed and dignified. He reproved the 
excessive grief of his brother, and conducted their parting 
devotions with great firmness and self-possession. We then 
set out together to the counting-house of the ship-owner, 
previous to his embarkation. I cannot forget the air of 
suppressed ridicule which lurked in the merchant s features 
and in his speech and manner towards Morrison, whom 
he appeared to pity as a deluded enthusiast, while he could 
not but secretly respect his self-denial, devotion, courage-, 
and enterprise. When all business matters were arranged, 
he turned about from his desk, and, with a sardonic grin 
addressing Morrison, whose countenance was a book wherein 



INITIAL LIFE AND WORK IN CHINA. 71 

men might read strange things, said, And so, Mr. Morri 
son, you really expect that you will make an impression on 
the idolatry of the great Chinese empire? No, sir, said 
Morrison, with more than usual sternness I expect GOD 
will. We soon left the man of money, and, descending 
to the wharf, took our last farewell of the future apostle of 
the Chinese, as he stepped into the stern-sheets of a boat 
that was to carry him to the ship that lay off in the bay. 
He said little, he moved less; his imposing figure and solemn 




countenance were motionless as a statue. His mind was 
evidently full, too full for speech : his thoughts were with 
God, and he seemed regardless of all around him. By the 
return of the pilot I received an affectionate note." 

He sailed for his destination in the Trident about the 
middle of May, and reached China in September 1807. 
No incidents of special interest occurred during the voyage, 
but he frequently preached on board with great earnestness, 
and was unremitting both in ministering to the religious 
welfare of all on board, and in pursuing his own studies. 



72 ROBERT MORRISON. 

He gives a very graphic account of "crossing the line," 
which illustrates the rough horseplay which was in vogue 
amongst the tars of that period. 

" As we passed the equinoctial line our people went 
through the ceremony of ducking. Neptune and Amphitrite, 
most ludicrously dressed, he having an immensely long 
beard and tail, with a trident in one hand and a speaking 
trumpet in the other, she clothed in a rough, shaggy skin, 
presented themselves in the forecastle. The men who had 
before crossed the line accompanied the god and goddess, 
having their trowsers and shirt sleeves rolled up so as to 
present their legs and arms bare, painted, or rather bedaubed 
in a most rude manner. Neptune hailed the ship, to which 
a person answered in the steerage. Advancing with the 
goddess and their retinue to the quarterdeck, I under 
stand, said he, in a hollow, grumbling voice, you have 
some of my children here who have not before passed this 
way ; bring them out that I may see them ; bear a hand ! 
One was immediately brought, blindfolded, by two con 
ductors. Each of them laid a large cudgel on the man s 
shoulder. Having dragged him before Neptune, they 
seated him on a half barrel full of water. Well, my son, 
said the god, I am glad to see you pass this way ; you 
must now hail the line, putting the trumpet to his lips for 
that purpose. He cries, Line a-ho ! at which instant a 
seaman throws with violence a pail of salt water down the 
trumpet into the man s mouth. Come now, barber, and 
shave my son, says Neptune. The man steps forward 
with a large painter s brush, and bedaubs the man s face 
and neck with tar or black paint. Amphitrite gives him 
a cordial viz., a glass of salt water. An old rusty hoop is 
then applied to the man s face, and as the tar is scraped off 
the razor is wiped between his lips. Now, says Neptune, 
you must make some vows to me ; first, you must never 
eat brown bread when you can get white, unless you like it 
better. Yes, answers the man, between whose lips a 



INITIAL LIFE AND WORK. IN CHINA. 73 

tarry stick is thrust, that he may, as they say, kiss the 
hook. You must never drink water when you can get 
wine or porter ; you must never leave the pump till it 
sucks ; you must serve as you have been all who come this 
way. To each of these the man must reply, and when he 
opens his lips the tarry stick is thrust into his mouth. Six 
or eight buckets of water are then dashed against him, his 
seat is removed, and he tumbles down in the dark, almost 
suffocated, amidst the loud laughter of his shipmates." 
Half of those on board were thus treated, but fortunately, 
through the intervention of the captain, Mr. Morrison was 
spared the ordeal." 

Before reaching China he called at Macao, an island on 
the coast about ninety miles from Canton, and which then 
belonged to the Portuguese Government. Here the East 
India Company had a Factory, and on landing he was 
surprised to find there Sir George Thomas Staunton, the 
President of the Select Committee of the East India Com 
pany. He also met Mr. Chalmers, chief of the Factory 
at Macao, and presented to him a letter of introduction he 
had brought from Mr. Cowie, one of the Directors of the 
Missionary Society. Mr. Chalmers welcomed him heartily, 
and wished him success, but said, " The people of Europe 
have no idea of the difficulty of residing here or of obtain 
ing masters to teach." He told Mr. Morrison that the 
Chinese were prohibited from teaching the language under 
penalty of death. He also promised to talk the matter 
over with Sir George and Mr. Roberts, the chief of the 
English Factory at Canton. Then Mr. Morrison waited on 
Sir George, and presented a letter of introduction from Sir 
Joseph Banks, the President of the Royal Society. Sir 
George also spoke seriously as to the difficulties of the 
enterprise, stating that the East India Company forbade 
any one to stay there, save on account of trade ; but 
eventually he promised that he would do all in his power 
to promote the object Mr. Morrison had at heart. Sir 



74 



ROBERT MORRISON. 



George was supposed to be the only Englishman living 
who had a proficient acquaintance with the Chinese lan 
guage. He was a gentleman of noble spirit, and this 
introduction ripened into a life-long and ardent friendship 
between him and the missionary. 

On his arrival at Canton Mr. Morrison sought an 
interview with Mr. Carrington, the United States Consul, 




VIEW OF CANTON. 



and presented Mr. Maddison s letter. He received a 
cordial welcome, and was offered a room in the Consul s 
house, which he gratefully accepted. But as this house was 
thronged with visitors, he soon removed to another, occupied 
by Mr. Milnor, where he was more retired, and able also 
to live at less expense. This house was part of the old 
French Factory at Canton, then in charge of Mr. Milnor 
and his partner Mr. Bull, as super-cargoes. He received 



INITIAL LIFE AND WORK IN CHINA 75 

great kindness from these gentlemen, and as an American 
citizen he remained under their protection. As an English 
man he dared not be known. 

From Canton he wrote to Sir George Staunton, as 
follows : " Sir George is most respectfully informed by 
R. Morrison that he has at present an apartment in the 
old French Factory at Canton. If Sir George thinks any 
particular line of conduct necessary for Mr. Morrison to 
pursue, in order to his being permitted quietly to reside in 
Canton, to communicate it will be rendering Mr. Morrison 
an essential service. Mr. Morrison will wait the arrival of 
Sir George at Canton, before any attempt be made to 
procure assistance in learning the language." 

When Sir George came to Canton he at once introduced 
Mr. Morrison to Mr. Roberts, the chief of the English 
Factory, and also obtained for him a teacher. This was 
Abel Yun, a Roman Catholic Chinese from Pekin; and 
from this time he devoted himself with extreme diligence to 
learning the language. It is scarcely possible for us to 
realise the cautious prudence required from Mr. Morrison 
at this point in his career. One false step must have pre 
cipitately closed his career in China, but the difficulties 
which gathered round him only seemed to fire his zeal and 
develop the resources of his nature. In writing to the 
Society he detailed his various movements at great length, 
and gave utterance to the deep feeling within his breast, in 
words as follows : " It is a hazardous but not a doubtful 
enterprise on which we enter doubtful, I mean, whether 
we be right or wrong. We shall not have to reproach 
ourselves for having published the truth of the Gospel 
amongst ignorant, deluded, guilty men. The missionary of 
Jesus will have cause to reproach himself that he served 
not his Lord more fully, but not that he was a missionary. 
O Calvary, Calvary, when I view the blood of Jesus stream 
ing down thy sides, I am amazed at my coldness of affection 
towards the Lord, of my slothful performance of the duties 



76 ROBERT MORRISON. 

which the authority of God, but shall I say, which the love 
of Jesus more strongly imposes upon me. Yes, O Father, 
Thy love in sending Jesus, and, O my Saviour, Thy love in 
giving Thyself for me, and Thine, O Holy Spirit, in apply 
ing the salvation of Jesus to my guilty conscience, unitedly 
overcome me, and constrain me to live not to myself but 
to Thee." 

He gives also an account of the opportunity opened to 
him of learning the language, a work that must necessarily 
precede any other step in the direction of the accomplish 
ment of his great task. 

" There are two Chinese who will, I hope, be useful to 
me ; at present, however, they are so. The name of one is 
Le Seensang. He possesses considerable knowledge of 
Chinese, writes an excellent hand, and having obtained one 
degree as a man of letters, is not so afraid as some of the 
tradespeople are. The other person, Abel Yun, was sent 
to me by Sir George. Abel is here the agent of the 
Romish missionaries at Pekin, a native of Shan-si, where 
the Mandarin language is generally spoken. A great part 
of his life (he is about thirty years of age) has been spent 
with the missionaries at Pekin. They have taught him the 
Latin language, which he speaks fluently. He came to 
me to-day, accompanied by another Christian. Being the 
Lord s Day I could not receive instruction from him. The 
Vulgate translation of the Scriptures was lying on my table. 
On his looking at it we entered into conversation respecting 
its contents. I turned to the fourth Commandment in 
Exodus, and to the closing verse of the 58th of Isaiah. 
He read them, explained them to his Chinese friend, and 
if I understood him rightly, said he had hitherto erred 
respecting the Sabbath. He alluded with readiness to the 
discourse of our Lord respecting the Sabbath, when some 
said that He profaned it by healing on that day." 

Mr. Morrison s position was a trying one, because of its 
isolation and uncertainty. He knew that at any moment 



78 ROBERT MORRISON. 

he might be ordered to leave the country, and his expenses 
were very great. His rooms in the Factory cost him 350 
dollars a year. His board 400 more. He had to keep a 
boy, which cost 100 dollars. Then he had the expense of 
a teacher, candles, furniture, books, and other necessaries, 
besides which he on several occasions became a prey to the 
merciless and deceitful covetousness of the natives. He 
employed a Chinese to buy him a few books in the city, 
and this person bribed the boy to aid him in defrauding 
his master, which he succeeded in doing to the amount of 
thirty dollars. His early impressions of Chinese superstition 
and idolatry he described to his friend Cuthbert Henderson, 
at Newcastle, thus : 

"By the Lord s good hand upon me I am preserved in 
health amidst very close application to the Chinese language. 
I have some opportunities of saying a few things concern 
ing Jesus in private conversation, but cannot make myself 
understood for want of words. I find much difficulty in 
speaking of God, for the Chinese have no proper idea of 
one living and true God, and consequently have no words 
to express such an idea. Your heart, dear Cuthbert, would 
be grieved to see them falling down prostrate, or on their 
knees, touching the earth with their foreheads, before large 
figures in the form of men. Sometimes, instead of a graven 
image, they have a painting of a man. The person worship 
ping kneels, and on his knees keeps the body erect a short 
time, then bends forward, and placing his hands on the 
floor to support his body, brings the forehead into contact 
with the stones or earth, of one or the other of which their 
floors generally are. He again raises his body erect, and 
again bends forward three times. He then stands up for a 
short time, after which he kneels and goes over the same 
number of prostrations a second and a third time. To 
what a low state has sin reduced man ! Why this external 
adoration of a lifeless image ? Blessed book the Bible, 
which reveals to man the true God, and which reveals man 



INITIAL LIFE AND WORK IN CHINA. 



79 



to himself. Blessed Jesus, who was in the bosom of the 
Father, and who has declared Him to us." 
The rooms which Mr. Morrison occupied were called in 




CHINESE WORSHIP. 



Canton a "go down." They were, in fact, simply a base 
ment story, and had been commonly used as warehouse 
rooms. In these he studied, ate, and slept. In order that 



8o ROBERT MORRISON. 

he might attract less attention, he adopted the dress, food, 
and habits of the natives. He wore a pig-tail and loose 
dress, he ate with chopsticks, he allowed his nails to grow 
long. So closely did he devote himself to study, and so 
little did he eat, that in a short time his health failed, and his 
life was in sericus peril. Without questioning the excellence 
of his intentions, the wisdom of some of these steps he 
himself afterwards doubted, as the following lines from 
Dr. Milne s "Retrospect of the First Ten Years of the 
Chinese Mission,"* which was mainly prepared from an 
account written by Mr. Morrison himself, will show : 

" At first he supposed it would greatly facilitate his object 
to live in the manner of the natives ; and under this idea 
he supplied himself with such articles as are commonly 
used by the Chinese in dress and at meals ; but he shortly 
perceived that the idea was erroneous. To make himself 
remarkable in external appearance would have been pro 
claiming to the Chinese that he was not in circumstances 
similar to those of other foreigners at Canton, and that he 
had objects different from those of commerce, which is the 
only one sanctioned by the local and general authorities. 
Again, as religion does not consist in the form or colour of 
one s dress, he not only declined assuming a native dress, 
but also did not make a point of being always dressed in 
black ; the white jacket and straw hat were worn, as other 
Europeans do in warm climates. Whatever may be be 
coming in other countries, in those places where the 
Governments are averse to the diffusion of Christianity, 
all external distinctions of this kind had much better be 
laid aside by missionaries ; let piety towards God and 
benevolence towards men be the characteristics which dis 
tinguish them. 

" At first, as above observed, he ate in the Chinese 
manner, and dined with the person who taught him the 
language. His mode of living was rigidly economical. A 

* Pages 64, 65. 



INITIAL LIFE AND WORK IN CHINA. 81 

lamp made of earthenware supplied him with light ; and a 
folio volume of Matthew Henry s Commentary, set up on 
its edge, afforded a shade to prevent the wind from blowing 
out the light. He did not find, however, that dining with 
a native increased his knowledge of the language ; in the 
time of taking a hasty meal little advantage was gained. 
The same reason which led him to pare his nails, cut off 
his hair, and give away his Chinese dress, induced him to 
desist from being singular in his manner of eating also. 
His nails were at first suffered to grow that they might be 
like those of the Chinese. He had a tail (i.e., a tress of 
hair) of some length, and became an adept in the use 
of chop-sticks. He walked about the Hong with a Chinese 
frock on, and with thick Chinese shoes. In this he meant 
well ; but, as he has frequently remarked, was soon con 
vinced that he had judged ill." 

Soon after his settlement in Canton he attempted to hold 
public worship in his rooms, and invited a few American 
and English gentlemen to attend. He had much dis 
couragement and disappointment in the effort. In order 
to conciliate some who were members of the Church of 
England, he made use of the Liturgy ; but he found, to his 
sorrow, that residence in a heathen land too often fostered 
indifference to Divine worship, rather than imparted a 
greater desire for it. 

From the commencement of his residence in China Mr. 
Morrison strove to induce his native teachers and servants 
to observe the Sabbath. He, of course, gave up all work on 
that day, and engaged in private or public worship, as he 
had opportunity, and thus set them an example which 
he hoped would produce a happy result. When he could 
induce them to stay with him he got them to read the 
manuscript copy of the Harmony he had prepared in 
London, giving exposition and application of it as he had 
the opportunity. He tried also to get them to unite with 
him in singing and prayer. Although he did not make 

6 



82 



ROBERT MORRISON. 



these efforts in vain they were not crowned with the 
success they deserved. 

As Mr. Morrison became more accustomed to his posi 
tion, he removed from the small and unhealthy " go down " 
which he occupied, and rented a building called "The 
Factory," which had been occupied by the French, but 
which was offered to him by Mr. Parry. He had here 




EATING WITH CHOP-STICKS. 

more room and convenience, and here he resided till he 
was obliged to leave Canton by reason of failing health. 

His character and pursuits began to draw towards himself 
the attention and friendship of the leading foreigners in 
Canton. Mr. Roberts, the chief of the English Factory, 
showed increasing disposition to further both his literary 
studies and missionary aims ; Mr. Ball, another leading 
employe of the East India Company, also offered him con 
siderable sympathy ; the Hon. J. Elphinstone sent him a 
present of a Latin-Chinese Dictionary, valued at ^50 ; 



INITIAL LIFE AND WORK IN CHINA. 83 

and Dr. Pearson, the medical attendant of the Company, 
offered to him and his family the most efficient and con 
siderate attention for twenty-five years. Above all, Sir 
George Staunton showed himself a friend indeed, and in 
every need, as long as he lived. 

The anxieties of his situation, and his unremitting appli 
cation to study without sufficient air and exercise, so told 
upon his strength, that he was unable to walk across the 
room. His physician advised a change of air, and by the 
agency of the gentlemen just referred to a residence was 
obtained for him at Macao, where he removed on June ist, 
in a condition of great mental depression. There is no 
doubt that his desire to economise the funds of the Society 
led him to exercise a measure of self-denial that must have 
been injurious to the strongest constitution. But as to his 
mission he maintained a firm spirit, and " bated not one jot 
of heart or hope, but still held on most bravely." 

He remained at Macao till the end of August 1808, 
studying with his Chinese assistants, and his health im 
proved so much that he was able to return to Canton. 
In November political difficulties arose, which led to all 
Englishmen being commanded to leave the city. He 
remained for a brief period on board ship, and then 
returned to Macao, where he took up his residence in his 
old quarters. A few days afterwards Low Heen, one of 
his teachers, ventured also to Macao, but he was in great 
peril from his countrymen, who were strongly opposed to 
any Chinese residing with foreigners. 

A few days after Mr. Morrison s arrival at Macao, a 
young gentleman called upon him to say that his father, 
Dr. Morton, had a letter for him from the Rev. Mr. 
Loveless, an event which had a very serious influence upon 
his future. He invited Mrs. Morton and family to come 
to his house, and unite with him in social prayer. On the 
following Sabbath the whole family spent the day with him, 
and united in Divine worship. The young man, William 



84 ROBERT MORRISON. 

Morton, manifested great desire for the salvation of his 
soul, and Mr. Morrison entertained hopes that he might 
be induced to give himself to missionary work altogether. 
The loneliness of his position was greatly relieved by inter 
course with this Christian family, and between Miss Morton 
and himself there soon sprang up a warm attachment, 
which, by-and-by, culminated in their marriage. She was 
led by Mr. Morrison to give herself entirely to God s 
service, and he thus became the instrument of her 
salvation. 





CHAPTER VII. 
PERSECUTION. LONGING FOR SUCCESS. 

" Some men live near to God, as my right arm 
Is near to me ; and thus they walk about, 
Mailed in full proof of faith, and bear a charm 
That mocks at fear, and bars the door on doubt, 
And dares the impossible." BLACKIE. 

DIFFICULTIES as to Mr. Morrison s continued resi 
dence as a missionary at Macao, or in any part of 
China, increased around him so seriously that he 
resolved to leave and proceed to Penang, and there con 
tinue his study of the language until his way to re-enter 
China was open. He made preparations for his departure, 
when Providence interfered to arrest his flight. The 
opposition arose from the jealousy of the Chinese and the 
enmity of the Roman Catholic missionaries combined, and 
in addition to this, decided opposition was displayed by 
some of the chief employes of the Factories. What, there 
fore, must have been his surprise when, on the very day 
of his marriage to Miss Morton, February 2oth, 1809, he 
received a request to become the official Translator of 
Chinese for the East India Company, at a salary of ^500 
per annum. If any fact could testify to his proficiency in 
the language and to the prudence and consistency of his 



86 ROBERT MORRISON. 

character, this does so in the most ample way. This offer 
decided his destiny, and to a great extent the future of 
Christian missions in China. There was no need now 
to embark for Penang ; Macao or Canton were both open 
to him for residence and for pursuing the great enterprise 
of his life. 

Mr. Morrison had so far succeeded in obtaining a 
knowledge of the language, that he had prepared a Chinese 
Vocabulary, made considerable progress with his Anglo- 
Chinese Grammar and Dictionary, besides having given 
much attention to the translation of the New Testament, 
which he was slowly preparing. He was, however, greatly 
troubled by the capriciousness and ill-temper of his Chinese 
assistants. One of them, when Mr. Morrison was alone 
one evening, tore his coat from his back, and was proceed 
ing to assault him, when his master called some gentlemen 
in the neighbourhood to his assistance. Yang-Sam-Tak, 
who had come out to China, and had been engaged to 
teach him, sent away his other two helpers, and gave him 
intense distress by his violent temper and his high-handed 
doings. Still he did not venture to resent this ill-treatment, 
or he might have been left without a teacher altogether. 
On the contrary, he bore with them, prayed with them, 
expounded the Word of Life to them, and yearned night 
and day for their salvation. Then his house was a 
miserable one. The roof fell in ; but he would still have 
clung to it, only the landlord raised the rent by one-third, 
because his house, he said, had been turned into a chapel. 
Therefore Mr. Morrison had to seek another residence. 
So afraid was he of being noticed by the people of Macao 
that he never walked out, much to the injury of his health. 
The first time he ventured to walk into the fields, skirting 
the town, was on a moonlight night, in company with his 
two teachers. Indeed, his standing in Macao was so 
precarious that he was strained with continual anxiety lest 
by any step he should bring about his dismissal. This 



PERSECUTION. LONGING FOR SUCCESS. 87 

severe mental tension occasioned a renewal of torturing 
headaches, to which he was constitutionally prone, and 
subjected him to other attacks of illness. His marriage 
with Miss Morton also added to his other trials, as her 
health began to fail shortly after their union, and she 
became a permanent invalid. One more disappointment 
came to try him. His brother-in-law, William Morton, 
was obliged to relinquish his studies, give up the calling of 
a missionary, and seek a more favourable climate by reason 
of his delicate health. 

The offer which came to him from the East India Com 
pany was undoubtedly a great relief to his mind. In accepting 
it he had the full approval of the Directors of the London 
Missionary Society. There are some who have blamed him 
for accepting an office of a civil character, and the functions 
of which were outside of his sacred calling as a Missionary 
of the Cross. But such do not seem to thoroughly grasp 
the difficulties of his situation. In entering on these duties 
Mr. Morrison saw at once that he would have new facilities 
afforded him of becoming familiarised with the language, 
that he would be able to remain in the country, and that he 
would not be burdensome to the Society ; whilst he would 
be able to discharge fully his duties to the Company, and 
still give the major portion of his time to the work of his 
life. The course of events fully justified the step taken. 
By becoming an employe of a great, wealthy company, he 
would be protected at once from the hostility of the natives 
and the Romish emissaries. 

The steps he took to make kno\vn the Gospel to the 
Chinese were necessarily of the most quiet and limited 
character. Indeed, to preach publicly had never been the 
purpose of the Society until the conditions of things should 
entirely alter in China. Still, Mr. Morrison could not rest 
without doing something to make known the way of salva 
tion to the heathen around him. His own teachers and 
servants were his first hearers. On the Sabbath, the 



88 ROBERT MORRISON. 

Harmony of the Gospel in Chinese, which he had taken 
out with him, was rend. The enormous difficulties to an 
Englishman of learning the language made it for a long 
time impossible for him to give any fair view of Christianity, 
or to argue with the Chinese as to their false systems. But 
the effort was made ; one or two, sometimes from four up 
to ten Chinese, would be gathered in an inner apartment, 
and the door securely locked ; then the opportunity would 
be afforded to the missionary of declaring his message. For 
a long time this was done without any cheering result to 
encourage or reward his faith. 

At the end of 1810 he wrote to hi? friend the Rev. John 
Clunie, describing his progress and position, as follows : 

" I have experienced since I wrote to you a considerable 
share of affliction ; not indeed in my own person, but in the 
person of my dear Mary. A nervous disease strongly agitates 
body and mind ; she is, I thank the Lord, now somewhat 
better, and I hope will recover her former health and peace. 
Affliction in a foreign land lies doubly heavy ; no kind rela 
tives to assist, no Christian friend to cheer. The mind in 
perfect peace will, I know, sustain any deprivation, or merely 
bodily calamity, but a wounded spirit who can bear? 
My daily occupations are the same as when I last wrote to 
you in the beginning of this year. I believe I was then in 
Canton. I continued there till March, carrying on a dis 
cussion with the Chinese Government respecting the alleged 
murder of a Chinaman. I obtained great eclat by the public 
examination of the witnesses ; everybody was astonished 
that in two years I should be able to write the language and 
converse in the Mandarin and vulgar dialects. In conse 
quence of that, three of the Company s servants determined 
to begin the study of the Chinese language, and I have 
during the summer been a regular Chinese tutor. In addi 
tion to these three, a gentleman who has been twenty years 
in the country attended ; these remained two hours every 
day, and my fifth pupil, a Dutch youth, remained all the 



PERSECUTION. LONGING FOR SUCCESS. 8g 

day. Through the summer I have had much translation to 
do for the Company, and frequent conferences with the 
Mandarins ; neither the one nor the other, I am sorry to 
say, was amicable. The Mandarins are extremely haughty, 
overbearing, and clamorous ; sometimes three or four of 
them will speak at the same time, and as loud as if they 
were all scolding. My tutor K6 Seen-sang yet continues 
with me, and also my assistant Low Heen. I employed 
him to get one thousand copies of the Acts of the Apostles 
printed in Chinese, and he connived at my being charged 
twenty-five or thirty pounds more than the proper price. 
He told me so this evening, and confessed his fault. It 
grieves me very much, as I cannot now trust him. It is 
very desirable to have persons in whom we can place entire 
confidence, but that is not the case with the Chinese. A 
want of truth is a prevailing feature in their character ; 
hence mutual distrust, low cunning, and deceit." 

It was shortly after this that the translation of the Acts of 
the Apostles just referred to was published. One thousand 
copies were printed. The charge for printing was exorbi 
tant, amounting to about half a dollar per copy, the price at 
which the whole of the New Testament was afterwards printed. 
But, as it was considered to be a prohibited book, some risk 
was incurred by the printers, and they expected to be pro 
portionately compensated, besides that the Chinese thought 
themselves at liberty to impose in any way open to them 
upon the foreigner. Three ambassadors from the Islands 
of Lekyo, who had come with tribute to China, had copies 
presented to them on their landing, and the book was 
cautiously circulated at every opportunity. 

Mr. Morrison next prepared a tract, called Shin-taou, or 
the Divine doctrine concerning the Redemption of the 
World. This was printed, and one thousand copies issued. 
Then he translated the Gospel of St. Luke, which was also 
printed. He also composed a Catechism to put into the hands 
of inquirers. At this time the authorities of China evidently 



90 ROBERT MORRISON. 

began to be disturbed at the promulgation of other religious 
views than those long established in the empire, and an 
imperial edict was issued prohibiting the teaching of Chris 
tianity, and four Roman Catholics were expelled from Pekin. 
These steps rendered Mr. Morrison additionally cautious as 
to his next movements. 

His Chinese Grammar had been ready for some time, but 
he found it difficult to obtain its publication. He submitted 
it to Sir George Staunton, who wrote his most cordial 
approval of it in these words : 

" I return you the Chinese Grammar with many thanks 
for the perusal. I am happy to congratulate you on a work 
which will prove, both in regard to its plan and its execution, 
a most valuable acquisition to the student of the Chinese 
language. He will no longer be under the hard necessity 
of working his way through the ponderous volumes of Four- 
mont, Boyer, and others ; and which, after all, are often 
very inaccurate and defective. I hope therefore you will 
soon proceed to the press." 

The Grammar was sent by Mr. Roberts to Lord Minto, 
the Governor-General of India, in order that it might bi 
printed. For some reason, never explained, it was kept 
back nearly three years ; then it was printed at the Serampore 
Press, in 1815, at the expense of the East India Company, 
and was of signal service to many who hitherto had found 
the acquisition of the language a task too difficult for 
them. 

Several important events in relation to Mr. Morrison s 
domestic and family affairs transpired in the year 1812. 
His good and pious father died; two of his brothers also 
passed away ; and he was cheered by the birth of a daughter, 
and the prospect of improved health to his afflicted partner. 

As Sir George Staunton had been withdrawn from China, 
Mr. Morrison s official duties became much more responsible, 
and his salary was increased to a thousand pounds a year, 
with allowances for teachers, a place at the public table, 



PERSECUTION. LONGWG FOR SUCCESS. 91 

and other privileges. His services were represented as being 
of the highest value, and the Honourable Court of Directors, 
when asked to sanction the appointment which had been 
made by the Select Committee, gave "a kind of consent 
to it." The meaning of this apparently tardy consent was 
that the Directors of the East India Company, both in 
England and in China, considered it a visionary enterprise 
to attempt the conversion of the Chinese to Christianity, 
and also feared that such efforts might be opposed to the 
commercial interests of the Company. But the prudent 
and unostentatious, though invaluable labours of Mr. Mor 
rison, won their esteem and admiration, and led them to 
treat him with great confidence. 

He now gave himself with renewed enthusiasm to the 
preparation of the Anglo Chinese Dictionary a formidable 
undertaking, which involved an acquaintance with Chinese 
classical literature such as no Englishman or European had 
ever possessed. 

Three copies of his translation of the Acts of the Apostles, 
which he forwarded to England, aroused the deepest in 
terest in the minds of the lovers of missions. The Directors 
of the London Missionary Society presented one copy to 
the British and Foreign Bible Society, which liberally voted 
,500 towards the printing of the whole Bible in Chinese, 
when the translation should be complete ; another copy was 
unstitched, and its leaves distributed amongst the friends of 
the Society in various parts of the United Kingdom. It 
seemed to them to be the first demonstrated step towards 
the eventual conquest by the Gospel of the whole heathen 
empire, and they rejoiced accordingly. In the same letter 
that told him of the welcome reception of his translation, 
the glad tidings were communicated that at last, in response 
to his frequent and earnest pleadings, a helper had been 
appointed to come and share his labours. This was Mr. 
William Milne, a young man of most devoted piety, and of 
perfect fitness for the work to which he was designated. 



92 ROBERT MORRISON. 

Mr. Morrison s apprehensions were now painfully excited 
by an edict against Christianity issued by the Emperor. 
The following extract from his letter to the Society, dated 
April 2nd, 1812, will show at once his danger and his calm 
resolution : 

"By the last fleet, which sailed about a month ago, I 
wrote and enclosed you a copy of my translation of the 
Gospel by Luke, and a Chinese tract on the Way of 
Salvation, which I hoped would reach you in safety. I 
now enclose you a translation of a Chinese edict, by which 
you will see that to print books on the Christian religion in 
Chinese is rendered a capital crime. I must go forward, 
however, trusting in the Lord. We will scrupulously 
obey governments so far as their decrees do not oppose 
what is required by the Almighty. I will be careful 
not to invite the notice of Government. I am, though 
sensible of my weakness, not discouraged, but thankful 
that my own most sanguine hopes have been more than 
realised. In the midst of discouragement, the practica 
bility of acquiring the language in no very great length 
of time, of translating the Scriptures, and of having them 
printed in China, has been demonstrated. I am gratefu4 
to the Divine Being for having employed me in this good 
work ; and should I die soon, it will afford me pleasure in 
my last moments. 

That there was abundant ground for grave fears for the 
future of Christianity may be seen from the following para 
graph from this proclamation : " From this time forward, 
such European as shall privately print books and establish 
preachers, in order to pervert the multitude, and the Tartars 
and Chinese who, deputed by Europeans, shall propagate 
their religion, bestowing names (i.e., baptising), and dis 
quieting numbers shall have this to look to : the chief or 
principal one shall be executed. Whoever shall spread 
their religion, not making much disturbance, nor to many 
men, and without giving names, shall be imprisoned waiting 



PERSECUTION. LONGING FOR SUCCESS. 93 

for the time of execution, and those who content themselves 
with following such religion shall be exiled," etc. 

The Directors of the Society, in publishing the persecuting 
document, remark : " We are pleased to perceive that the 
mind of our Chinese missionary is undismayed by this edict, 
and that he is resolved to go on in the strength of the Lord, 
to whose omnipotent care they cheerfully commit him, as 
sured that the set time to favour China is approaching, 
when this edict, which will act at present as a most exten 
sive proclamation of the publication of the Scriptures and 
thereby excite the curiosity of the millions of China to 
peruse them, shall not only be revoked, but followed by 
another in favour of Christianity." 

Mr. Morrison was working with great diligence at his 
work of translating the Scriptures and compiling his Dic 
tionary. He had printed most of the Epistles, and also the 
Gospel of St. Luke, already referred to ; but he found the 
preparation of the Dictionary a task which severely tested 
his patience and his resources. To the Grammar, which still 
lay in the hands of the Company, waiting for their decision 
as to printing, he added a volume of Dialogues. 

He became increasingly anxious to see some visible result 
of his efforts to affect the hearts of those natives to whom 
he had access, and was greatly cheered by being informed 
that the life of one person, a Chinese police orderly in 
Canton, had been reformed through reading the tract pub 
lished by him on the Way of Salvation, which tract this 
person had taken up by chance from the table of a relative. 
He had been a notoriously bad man too bad, in the esti 
mation of the person who had distributed the tracts, to 
receive one. The reform in his life was marked by many, 
but did not result in his becoming a Christian. 

Other faint signs of success began to brighten before his 
mind. His Chinese assistants were evidently becoming 
familiarised with Divine truth, and proportionately became 
convinced of the sin and absurdity of idolatry. Several 



94 ROBERT MORRISON. 

entries in Mr. Morrison s journal seem to make this 
evident : 

" October \\th. Lord s day. Discoursed on the parable of 
the Prodigal Son. My people, as usual, were attentive. In 
the evening A-Tso read part of the tract, and explained 
it in a satisfactory manner. He mistook the original right 
eousness of man for the time of every one s birth. A-Fo 
also read it, and attempted to express the sense in his own 
language, but misunderstood its scope. He proposed to 
attend on the Lord s days and at the usual times of worship. 
In the evening I heard the boys repeat their catechism and 
read a chapter of the Gospel by St. Luke. As usual they 
were dismissed with prayer. They all appear to feel the 
absurdity of idol worship. K6 Seen-sang seems ashamed 
of it. The truth appears to have enlightened him in some 
degree. I asked him some time ago if any of his country 
men with whom he was acquainted affirmed that there is no 
God. He did not give a direct answer, but said : How 
can any affirm it, when the heavens and the earth and all 
things were made by Him ? K5 Seen-sang is a man forty- 
five years of age. His father was a Mandarin of some rank. 
He is of a mild and amiable disposition, of good natural 
parts, and has been accustomed all his life to teach. Low 
He en is about thirty, is mild, but insincere. He writes a 
good hand, and is very useful in writing for the press. Ko 
Seen-sang revises what is translated. They both do their 
parts without scruple." 

A-Fo cheered him by apparent increasing earnestness in 
his inquiries after Scripture doctrine. Ko Seen-sang mani 
fested growing interest in sacred subjects ; but the young 
boys gave him most pleasure and encouragement. One day 
A-Fo brought him some idols to look at. He desired that 
his countrymen might not be told he had brought them, 
because they would be extremely angry if they knew of it. 
They were greatly opposed to selling or parting with their 
idols, lest they should be insulted. " For my part," said 



PERSECUTION. LONGING FOR SUCCESS. 95 

A-Fo, "I believe in Yay-soo (Jesus), and hearken to what 
you say of the vanity of worshipping wooden, clay, and 
other images." On November 8th, 1812, A-Fo inquired 
about baptism, and declared his willingness to be baptised 
if his brother might not know of it. Mr. Morrison endea 
voured to explain to him that if his motive was a prudential 
one, in order to avoid drawing the attention of the civil 
authorities to himself, it was allowable ; but if he was 
ashamed to be known as a Christian, it was not. He re 
mained with the missionary after the others had gone for 
further instruction, and for weeks repeatedly asked him to 
offer prayer with him and for him. He seemed to be really 
sincere in his desires for salvation. 

The Roman Catholic Bishop at Macao issued an anathema 
against any who had intercourse with Mr. Morrison, or 
received his books, or supplied him with Chinese books; 
but it had no appreciable effect on his work. He reports 
as to his efforts for the conversion of the natives thus : " I 
have endeavoured to communicate to a few, by oral instruc 
tion, the knowledge of the truth. [Here follow the names 
of eleven persons.] These have attended with the utmost 
seriousness and the utmost decorum. In Macao every Sab 
bath day I conducted worship with the above persons. I 
began by prayer, next read a portion of the Scriptures, some 
part of that which I have already printed, or some portion 
translated for the occasion. These I endeavoured to explain 
and enforce, and then concluded by prayer and singing a 
psalm or hymn." Another evidence of growing seriousness 
is afforded in the following extract : 

"December i8t/i.- K6 Seen-sang, who has been at home 
for several days presiding at the marriage of his son, re 
turned to day. In the evening he had again to go home. 
He therefore requested me that I would engage in family 
prayer sooner, that he might join in it ; for he felt uncom 
fortable in his mind from not having engaged for several 
days. I bless God for this sign of an awakened mind. 



96 ROBERT MORRISON. 

O Lord ! carry it on to complete conversion, through Jesus 
Christ." 

It was just now that Mr. Morrison first broached to the 
Directors of the Missionary Society a project he was some 
years afterwards able to realise in large measure viz., the 
establishment of a Missionary College at Malacca. He 
says : " I wish that we had an institution in Malacca for the 
training of missionaries, European and native, and designed 
for all the countries beyond the Ganges. There also let 
there be that powerful engine the Press. The final triumphs 
of the Gospel will be by means of native missionaries and 
the Bible ; the spring that gives motion to these, under 
God European Christians. We want a central point for our 
Asiatic missions, we want organised co-operation, we want a 
press, we want a committee of missionaries. Such a com 
mittee, being engaged in missionary work in heathen lands, 
would have means of judging which a person in England 
who had never removed from his study or his desk could 
not have. They would know the heart of missionaries. 
The final decision in every case would yet remain with the 
body of directors." 

Mr. Morrison s time was now about equally divided be 
tween Canton and Macao. His wife and infant daughter 
resided at the latter place, and he was under the painful 
necessity of being separated from them for half of the year. 

Mr. Elphinstone, the chief of the Company in China, 
offered him the situation of chaplain, with a salary attached. 
He did this, he said, with the object of increasing the com 
fort of his position, as living at Macao was very expensive. 
The offer was that Mr. Morrison should read the Church 
Service, but not preach. He offered to conduct full service 
on the Lord s day, but declined the salary. He could not 
accept such a position unless it enabled him to preach the 
Gospel of Jesus. The arrangements, therefore, were brought 
to an end. Fresh opposition to the Gospel was manifested 
at this time in Macao. The Government there was a 



98 ROBERT MORRISON. 

mixed one, partly Chinese, partly Portuguese. The Chinese 
ordered that no more Europeans should be allowed to be 
landed on the island to remain. The Portuguese ordered 
that no such persons were to be admitted except such as 
were connected with the European factories. Following 
in these directions, a proclamation was announced by the 
Chinese chief magistrate, prohibiting any Chinese from 
adopting the Christian religion. 

Under Mr. Morrison s earliest entreaty, the Society in 
London had determined to establish a mission in Java, in 
which there were thirty millions of inhabitants, half a million 
of whom were Chinese, and amongst whom the Scriptures 
which were being so rapidly translated and printed might 
be freely distributed. 





CHAPTER VIII. 

A FELLOW-LABOURER. 

"He holds no parley with unmanly fears; 
Where duty bids, he confidently steers, 
Faces a thousand dangers at her call, 
And, trusting in his God, surmounts them all." 

COWPER. 

IT is impossible to adequately realise the delight of Mr. 
and Mrs. Morrison when, on July 4th, 1813, being the 
Sabbath, and just as they were sitting down at the 
Lord s table, a note arrived with the news that Mr. Milne, 
the brother missionary long promised and expected, had 
arrived with his wife at Macao. A more welcome or admir 
able fellow-labourer never entered the mission field. It may 
be convenient at this point to state in a few sentences some 
thing concerning his early days and training for the great 
work. 

He was born in Abercleenshire, in Scotland, in 1785. 
His father died when he was six years old, and his mother 
gave him such education as was common to boys in humble 
life. Soon after his father s death he was put under the 
guardianship of a relative, who neglected his morals, until 
he became notoriously wicked, especially as a profane 
swearer. But he was not long to be given up to sin. In 



ioo ROBERT MORRISON. 

his early years he attended a Sabbath evening school, which 
was taught in the neighbourhood of his residence. Here 
his knowledge of evangelical truth increased, and its value 
was impressed upon his mind. Sometimes he walked home 
from the school alone, about a mile over the brow of a hill, 
praying all the way. At this time he began to conduct 
family worship in his mother s house ; and he also held 
meetings for prayer with his sisters and other children in a 
barn that belonged to the premises. 

When removed from his home, he was placed in a situa 
tion near a very poor man who was rich in faith and holiness. 
He often went to his house at the hour for family prayer, 
and united in the worship. After reading the Scriptures, 
this man was in the habit of expounding them for the instruc 
tion of the children, and his remarks deeply interested young 
Milne, and greatly helped to increase his affection for the 
Bible. Religion was presented to him in this household in 
such an attractive manner, that he was led to make a full 
and deliberate choice of Christ as his Saviour and Friend. 
The family in which he lived were not only irreligious 
themselves, but derided the youth for his piety, making his 
position most uncomfortable. The only place obtainable 
for meditation or prayer was a sheep-cote where the flock 
was kept in the winter, and here, surrounded by animals, 
he often knelt in prayer, on a piece of turf kept for that 
purpose. Many hours were thus spent on winter evenings, 
and here he often had sweet refreshment while the members 
of his master s household were contriving some fresh morti 
fication for his spirit. He read some books at this time 
which greatly influenced him, especially "The Cloud of 
Witnesses," and Boston s " Fourfold State." He became a 
member of the Congregational Church at Huntly, saying 
on his reception, " What a wonder am I to myself ! Surely 
the Lord hath magnified His grace to me above any of the 
fallen race." Hours were spent by him every day in prayer 
for the conversion of the world to Christ ; but it was not till 



A FELLOW-LABOURER. loi 

he was twenty years old that he consecrated himself for 
mission work, and then he had many obstacles in his path. 
He spent five years in hard labour to make provision foi 
his widowed mother and sisters ; and when this object was 
accomplished he at once offered himself to the local com 
mittee of the London Missionary Society. 

On his appearance before the Committee at Aberdeen, he 
seemed so rustic and unpromising that a cautious member 
took Dr. Philip aside, and expressed his doubts whether he 
had the necessary qualifications for a missionary, but he 
added that he would have no objection to recommend him 
as a servant to a missionary, provided he would be willing 
to engage in that capacity. " At the suggestion of my worthy 
friend," says Dr. Philip, " I desired to speak with him alone. 
Having stated to him the objection which had been made, 
and asked him if he would consent to the proposal, he 
replied without hesitation, and with the most significant 
and animated expression of countenance, Yes, sir, most 
certainly ; I am willing to be anything, so that I am in 
the work. To be a hewer of wood and a drawer of water 
is too great an honour for me when the Lord s House is 
building. " 

He was then accepted by the Committee, and directed 
to Gosport, where he went through a regular course of 
training under Dr. Bogue. He says : " I began with 
scarcely any hope of success, but resolved that failure 
should not be for want of application. His subsequent 
course proved that he had both capacity and perseverance to 
enable him to leave a permanent landmark in the cliffs of 
time. He passed through his college course with great 
success. In July 1812 he was ordained to the work of 
the ministry, and dedicated to the service of Christ among 
the heathen. Shortly afterwards he married Miss Cowie, 
daughter of Charles Cowie, Esq., of Aberdeen. She was an 
eminently pious and prudent woman, and contributed greatly 
to his happiness and usefulness until her death, in 1819. 



T02 



ROBERT MORRISON. 



A month after his ordination they embarked at Ports 
mouth for China, and having touched at the Cape of Good 
Hope and the Isle of France, were warmly welcomed at 
Macao by Mr. and Mrs. Morrison Mr. Morrison says : 




MR. AND MRS. MILNE. 



" I went down immediately to the tavern, about ten minutes 
walk from our residence. On the way I lifted up my heart 
in prayer to God for His blessing and direction in all things. 
After we recognised each other, Mrs. Milne was sent home 
in a palanquin, and brother Milne and I called on the 



A FELLOW-LABOURER. 103 

Minister and Governor, according to the custom of the 
place. They both received us with civility, and offered no 
objection to Mr. Milne at the moment. 

" The next day I called on Mr. to state that Mr. 

Milne had arrived, and asked his permission to allow him 
to remain. He demurred for some time, alleging that no 
person is allowed to come here that the object of the 
English here had been fully stated to be purely mercantile 
that the Chinese would disallow a religious establishment, 
etc. He finally consented to do nothing actively. He 
would consider Mr. Milne a Chinese student." 

The following prayer was entered in Mr. Morrison s journal: 
" Thus far (blessed be the great Disposer of events) the 
door has been opened. Oh that the Lord s servant may 
be spared in health, may soon acquire the language of the 
heathen, and be a faithful missionary of Jesus Christ ! " 

When the news circulated as to Mr. and Mrs. Milne s 
arrival, there was excitement both amongst the English 
and Portuguese. Hostility at once broke forth. The 
Roman Catholics appealed to the Governor, the Senate met, 
and it was decreed in full council " that Mr. Milne should 
not remain." In a few days a messenger from the Governor 
waited on Mr. Morrison with a message for him to go up 
to his house. When the missionary arrived, he was coolly 
received. The following conversation took place : " Does 
the Padre," said the Governor, "at your house purpose to 
remain here ? " " Please, your Excellency, for the present, 
if you please," was the answer. " It is," said the Governor, 
"absolutely impossible; he must leave in eight days." Mr. 
Morrison entreated him on one knee not to persist in this 
order, but to at least extend the term. The Governor said 
his orders were not to allow people to remain, that the 
Senate and the Roman Catholic Bishop had required him 
to act, that he had been appealed to against Mr. Morrison 
for publishing books in Chinese at Macao, but from motives 
of friendship he had forborne to act. Finally, he extended 



104 ROBERT MORRISON. 

his permission for Mr. Milne to remain eighteen days. All 
further efforts in the same direction proved fruitless. 

On July 2oth Mr. Milne left Macao in a Chinese fast 
boat. He couid get no legal conveyance, and therefore 
had to proceed by stealth to Whampoa, thence taking 
ship to Canton. This treatment on the part of the authori 
ties at Macao greatly grieved Mr. Morrison, the more so as an 
intimation was given him that he ought to surrender his 
mission work and devote himself exclusively to the affairs 
of the Company. But they had riot properly understood 
the man if they thought such a thing possible. Mr. Morrison 
was missionary first and essentially ; he was a servant of the 
East India Company for its convenience and his own. 

A few days later he went to Canton, where he found 
Mr. Milne well, busily engaged with his studies, but in very 
uncomfortable quarters. Thence he returned to Macao ; 
and on September 3oth again arrived at Canton, having 
just finished the translation of the New Testament in 
Chinese. He now devoted himself increasingly to the 
Anglo-Chinese Dictionary, which severely taxed his powers 
and resources. In the midst of these labours, his position 
was rendered the more trying by the death of Mr. Roberts, 
the chief of the English Factory, who had proved a warm 
friend to him since his arrival in China. 

The year 1814 opened with fresh opposition from the 
Chinese authorities. The Viceroy had reported Mr. Mor 
rison to the Government as becoming fully acquainted with 
the language and customs of the country, and as being the 
translator of all English official documents which were 
received by the Government. The Government sent a 
document denouncing in harsh terms all who were con 
cerned in imparting to him any help in the composition of 
official despatches, and the Viceroy issued an order for 
their apprehension. Ko Seeng-sang and his son were 
therefore dismissed and sent to a place of safety. But, 
on the other hand, the New Testament was printed and 



A FELLOW-LABOURER. 10- 

ready for circulation, so that there was the prospect of good 
being done through its finding a way into the homes of 
many of the people. Two thousand copies were first 
printed, which were taken from wooden blocks. From 
these blocks one hundred thousand copies might have 
been printed without material damage being done to them. 
Mr. Morrison also issued simultaneously ten thousand 
copies of a tract containing an outline of the Christian 
system, and five thousand copies of a Catechism. 

It was soon found that Mr. Milne would not be permitted 
to remain at Canton, and that he must look out for a 
residence elsewhere. Mr. Morrison therefore addressed 
to him an earnest letter as to their future steps. He 
says : " To the attainment of our object under the blessing 
of God a free and unshackled residence in the heart of 
China would be the most desirable, but that is at present 
impracticable. Next to that a residence in the suburbs of 
Canton or at Macao may seem desirable. Were we at 
liberty to exercise our missionary functions it would be so, 
but confined to a room and debarred from free intercourse 
with the natives, it is not so desirable for the seat of the 
mission as may at first sight appear. ... As a residence 
is denied to us here it is ours to fix the Jerusalem of our 
mission elsewhere. We want a headquarters at which to 
meet and consult, from which to commission persons to go 
out on every hand, a home to which to retire in case of 
sickness or declining years. We want, if it be in the course 
of Divine Providence, a school for the instruction of Native 
and European youth ; for the reception and initiation of 
young missionaries from Europe. It is yours to seek for 
and found this important station. Perhaps, at Malacca, 
or Java, an open door may be found." 

It was therefore settled that Mr. Milne should go through 
the chief Chinese settlements in the Malay Archipelago 
with the following objects in view : first, to circulate the 
New Testament and tracts just published amongst the 



io6 



ROBERT MORRISON. 



iLC 



fifi 



f: 
It 



IE 
g 



u 



&?. 



1 



tens of thousands of Chinese who lived in those islands ; 
secondly, to seek a quiet and peaceful 
retreat, where the chief seat of the 
Chinese mission could be fixed and 
its labours pursued without the harass 
ing persecution of a bigoted and ex 
clusive Government ; thirdly, to gather 
up such information as to populations, 
etc., as might afford good grounds for 
deciding as to the best means of pur 
suing mission work among them ; and 
fourthly, to ascertain what opportuni 
ties there were of printing a volume 
of dialogues in Chinese and English 
to assist other agents in the acquisi 
tion of the language. With the pur 
poses of his voyage thus defined, Mr. 
Milne proceeded to visit Java, Ma 
lacca, Penang, and other places. 

During Mr. Milne s absence Mr. 
Morrison proceeded with his work of 
publication. He issued in Chinese 
a pamphlet in which he traced a 
concise outline of Old Testament his 
tory, chiefly relating to the Creation, 
Deluge, Exodus, giving of the Law, 
and principal events of the kingdom 
of Israel. He also translated and 
printed a selection of hymns to be 
used in Divine worship ; consisting 
mainly of psalms rendered from the 
Scotch version, and the hymns of 
Watts, Cowper, and Newton, in most 
general use at Jiome. 
So many copies of the New Testament had been required 

by Mr. Milne for distribution on his travels that a new 




II 






El 
75 



JK 



4 
tl 

J 






ft 



-. 

it: 



13 



THE LORD S PRAYER IN 
CHINESE. 



A FELLOW-LABOURER. 107 

edition was q/ .ickly called for. The book had been printed 
in large octal o form, and Mr. Morrison decided to print it 
in duodecimo, as being more generally convenient. Be 
sides, in the critical condition of the Mission, it was of 
importance to have two sets of blocks, to be kept in different 
places, so that if one fell into the hands of opponents the 
other might be in reserve. New wood-blocks were therefore 
prepared, at a cost of five hundred Spanish dollars,* besides 
half-a-dollar each copy for printing off. But this cost was 
greatly increased by the dishonest advantage afterwards 
taken of Mr. Morrison by the Chinese. 

The Anglo-Chinese Dictionary now approa hed comple 
tion. Immense labour had been spent upon it, and its 
publication became a matter of extreme anxiety to Mr. 
Morrison. It would have been comparatively useless to 
have remained in manuscript. The expense of transcribing 
it for the use of other missionaries or the employes of the 
Company would have been immense. To copy the Dic 
tionary prepared previously by Romish missionaries had 
cost two hundred Spanish dollars, and it was only one-sixth 
the size of this prepared by Mr. Morrison. The expenses 
incurred already in gathering up materials for its composition 
had been very great, and the cost of its publication was 
alike beyond the means of the author and of the Missionary 
Society. It was, therefore, with thankfulness and a sense 
of gracious relief that Mr. Morrison, after much negotiation, 
obtained from the Company a promise to print it at its 
expense. At once the Select Committee made arrangements, 
and shortly afterwards Mr. P. P. Thorns was sent out from 
England to China, with presses, types, and all requisites for 
the work, to superintend its publication. 

The translation of the Old Testament was then in progress, 
and Mr. Morrison finished the Book of Genesis, which was 
printed separately at the beginning of 1815. 

In the meantime Mr. Milne returned from his travels. 

* Then valued at five shillings per dollar. 



io8 ROBERT MORRISON. 

He had visited Java, and received much encouragement 
and help in his enterprise from the enlightened and truly 
Christian Governor, Sir T. Stamford Raffles. After visiting 
other places he called at Malacca, and was received by 
Colonel Farquhar, the Resident and Commandant, with 
great cordiality. This gentleman showed much interest in 
the project of the missionaries, and proved a warm friend 
to them in their future operations. On Mr. Milne s return 
to Canton, it was decided between Mr. Morrison and him 
self that Malacca should be adopted as his future residence, 
and as the base of a new mission. The reasons for this 
choice were several and very weighty. Malacca was near 
to China, and there was frequent and easy intercourse 
between it and all the islands in the Eastern Archipelago, 
where the Chinese resided in large numbers ; it lay con 
venient to Cochin-China, Siam, and Penang; it was en route 
between India and Canton, and ships sailing between these 
places frequently called there. No other place presented 
such advantages for intercourse and transmission of books, 
etc. The climate was healthy, and as a mission station it 
would be a desirable residence for any agents who were ill 
or in failing health. Then it was a quiet place, the authori 
ties were friendly, Colonel Farquhar cordially so, and here 
could be established a missionary settlement which should 
embrace the various and comprehensive scheme which had 
been seething in Mr. Morrison s soul for many months. A 
full report of Mr. Milne s expedition, and the suggestions 
based upon it, were drawn up and transmitted to the Board 
of Directors in London. 

On April lyth he had the happiness of having a son 
born to him, whom he baptised on May ist, in the name of 
John Robert. His little daughter Rebecca was now about 
twenty months old. They were both dedicated prayerfully 
to God s service, and both were permitted to render service 
to the cause of missions in China. 

The year 1814 brought to Mr. Morrison what was the 



A FELLOW-LABOURER. 109 

greatest joy he had hitherto experienced in his arduous 
work. For seven years he had hoped, prayed, scattered 
the seed of the kingdom, yearning that it might fall into 
good ground and bear fruit ; but time seemed to pass by 
cnly to try his faith and patience more severely. But at 
length he was to be refreshed by having one convert to his 
prolonged ministry. This was Tsae-Ako, one of his early 
teachers, and brother of A-He en, still employed by him, 
who now made application for baptism, giving the following 
confession of faith : 

"Jesus making atonement for us is the blessed sound. 
Language and thought arc both inadequate to exhaust the 
gracious and admirable goodness of the intention of Jesus. 
I now believe in Jesus, and rely on His merits to obtain 
the remission of sin. I have sins and defects, and without 
faith in Jesus for the remission of sins should be eternally 
miserable. Now that we have heard of the forgiveness of 
sins through Jesus, we ought, with all our hearts, to rely on 
His merits. He who does not do so is not a good man. 
I by no means rely on my own goodness. When I reflect 
and question myself, I perceive that from childhood until 
now I have had no strength, no merit, no learning. Till 
this, my twenty-seventh year, I have done nothing to answer 
to the goodness of God in giving me existence in this world 
as a human being. I have not recompensed the kindness 
of my friends, my parents, my relations. Shall I repine ? 
Shall I hope in my own good deeds ? I entirely call upon 
God the Father, and rely upon God for the remission of 
sins ; I also call upon God to confer upon me the Holy 
Spirit." 

The account given by Mr. Morrison of this first convert 
to Christ by Protestant missions is interesting : " Ako lost 
his father when he was sixteen years of age. When he was 
twenty-one, he came to my house and heard me talk of 
Jesus, but says he did not understand well what I meant. 
That was my first year in China. Three years after, when 



no ROBERT MORRISON. 

I could speak better and could write, he understood better ; 
and being employed by his brother in superintending the 
New Testament for the press, he says that he began to see 
that the merits of Jesus were able to save all men in all 
ages and nations, and hence he listened to and believed 
in Him. 

" His natural temper is not good. He often disagreed 
with his brother and other domestics, and I thought it 
better that he should retire from my service. He, however, 
continued, whenever he was within a few miles, to come to 
worship on the Sabbath day. He prayed earnestly morn 
ing and evening, and read the Decalogue as contained in 
the Catechism. He says that from the Decalogue and 
instruction of friends he saw his great and manifold errors, 
that his nature was wrong, that he had been unjust, and 
that he had not fulfilled his duty to his friends or brothers, 
or other men. His knowledge, of course, is very limited, 
and his views perhaps obscure ; but I hope that his faith 
in Jesus is sincere. I took for my guide what Philip said 
to the eunuch If thou believest with all thine heart, thou 
mayest be baptised. Oh that at the great day he may 
prove to be a brand plucked from the burning ! May God 
be glorified in his eternal salvation ! 

" He writes a tolerably good hand. His father was a 
man of some property, which he lost by the wreck of a 
junk in the China seas returning from Batavia. Tsae- 
Ako, when at school, was often unwell, and did not make 
so much progress as his brother, A-He en, who is with me. 
A-He en is mild and judicious, but is, I fear, in his heart 
opposed to the Gospel. His attendance to preaching on 
the Lord s day is also constant. But insincerity and want 
of truth are vices which cling to the Chinese character." 

Tsae-Ako had long been preparing for Christian disciple- 
ship. A slow, gradual work of grace had been proceeding 
in his heart, and he had given many proofs of his deep 
sincerity. Mr. Morrison, with his usual caution, had done 



A FELLOW-LABOURER. ill 

nothing to hasten the final step, save to pray for him and 
to instruct him carefully in Divine things. It was with 
much confidence, therefore, that his confession of faith 
was received, and he was baptised into the Church of Jesus. 

In his journal, under date July i6th, 1814, Mr. Morrison 
thus recorded the baptism : 

" At a spring of water issuing from the foot of a lofty 
hill by the seaside, away from human observation, I 
baptised, in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, 
the person whose name and character have been given 
above. Oh that the Lord may cleanse him from all sin 
by the blood of Jesus, and purify his heart by the influences 
of the Holy Spirit ! May he be the firstfruits of a great 
harvest one of millions who shall come and be saved." 

Tsae-Ako adhered to his profession of the Gospel until 
his death, which took place from consumption in 1819. 
Mr. Morrison was not with him at his death ; but he never 
doubted as to his faith in the Lord Jesus at the last 
moment. 





CHAPTER IX. 

VISIT TO PE KIN. COLLEGE AT MALACCA. 

"Every great and commanding movLment in the world is the 
triumph of enthusiasm." EMERSON. 

r I ^HE apprehensions which Mr. Morrison had felt as to 

the firmness of his position were fully justified by the 

reception of a letter from the Select Committee of 

the East India Company, dated October i4th, 1815, which 

contained the following paragraphs : 

" We feel it necessary to acquaint you that the Hon. 
Court of Directors, having been informed- that you have 
printed and published in China the New Testament, 
together with several tracts translated into the Chinese 
language, and having further understood that the circulation 
of these translations has been effected in defiance of an 
edict of the Emperor of China, rendering the publisher of 
such works liable to capital punishment, are apprehensive 
that serious mischief may possibly arise to the British trade 
in China from these translations, and have in consequence 
directed that your present connection with the Honourable 
Company should be discontinued. The Honourable Court 
remark at the same time that they nevertheless entertain 
a very high respect for your talents, conduct, and character, 
and are fully sensible of the benefits derived from your 



1 14 ROBERT MORRISON. 

services ; in consideration of which they have directed us 
to present you with four thousand dollars on the occasion 
of carrying the orders into effect. 

" Notwithstanding the tenour of these orders, which we 
have implicitly communicated to you, we are under so strong 
an impression of the importance of your services to the 
affairs of our honourable employers, and so well assured, 
from our personal knowledge and past experience of your 
prudence and discretion in forbearing to place yourself in a 
situation which may be calculated to implicate the national 
interests through your connection with the Factory, that we 
have resolved to postpone giving effect to any part of the 
above instructions until we receive further orders upon the 
subject." 

Explanation and vindication on Mr. Morrison s part were 
offered by him in a voluminous correspondence, in which it 
became apparent that the local officials of the Company 
were loath to carry out the decision of the Chief Board ; 
and in a few weeks such complications arose between the 
Chinese Government and the Company, that an embassy, 
headed by Lord Amherst as Ambassador Extraordinary, 
was despatched from England to the Court at Pekin, to 
accommodate and arrange the matters in dispute. Mr. 
Morrison s services as secretary and translator to such an 
embassy could not be dispensed with, and he was requested 
to accompany the Ambassador to Pekin. 

For a considerable time Mrs. Morrison s health had caused 
her husband and friends much anxiety, and her medical 
adviser strongly urged that she should try a sea voyage and 
change of climate as means to benefit her. Her husband s 
presence in China at the particular juncture of circum 
stances was deemed too important to be dispensed with, 
and therefore without him, but with her two children, 
Mrs. Morrison embarked for England on January 2ist, 
1815. 

One more trial was in store, for Mr. Morrison during 



VISIT TO PEKIN.- COLLEGE AT MALACCA. 115 

this year. The spirit of religious intolerance was so fully 
aroused, that the type cutters engaged in preparing the 
blocks for the Dictionary were arrested ; and, in alarm, the 
blocks which had just been completed for the fresh edition 
of the New Testament and the Book of Genesis, were de 
stroyed by the printers to prevent discovery. This was a 
deep disappointment to the indefatigable and dauntless 
labourer ; but he at once took heart of grace, and set about 
the preparation of new types. Very soon the intelligence 
reached him that the British and Foreign Bible Society had 
made a grant, as liberal as it was timely, of one thousand 
pounds, which enabled him to have blocks cut, not only for 
the duodecimo edition of the Testament, but for the Book 
of Psalms, the translation of which was just complete. In 
writing to inform him of this grant, the Rev. J. Owen, 
Secretary of the Bible Society, said : 

"Should your translation be, on the whole, a faithful 
image of the sacred original, and the understanding of the 
Chinese be opened by its Divine Author to understand and 
admire it, what an honour will be conferred on your labours, 
and what blessing will you have been called upon to inherit ! 
Desirous of participating in that honour and that blessing, 
the British and Foreign Bible Society has furnished you 
from time to time with contributions of pecuniary aid, 
and you may assure yourself that it will continue to assist 
you in the prosecution of an undertaking so congenial 
with the object of its appointment and the wishes of its 
conductors." 

It may be mentioned here, that a short time before this 
an English merchant had died in China, and had left 
Mr. Morrison one thousand pounds for the purposes of his 
Mission, \\hich sum had been devoted to the printing of the 
New Testament and other Christian books. 

Lord Amherst and his attendant officials arrived at Canton 
in the Alceste on July i3th, 1816, and took on board Sir 
George Staunton r.r.d Mr. Morrison ; then the vessel pro- 



Il6 ROBERT MORRISON. 

ceeded on its way till, on July 28th, it anchored at the 
mouth of the River Peiho. On August i3th they were 
entertained in the city of Tien-tsin at a great banquet, given 
by two Imperial Commissioners in the name of the Emperor. 
Mr. Morrison gives an interesting description of the recep 
tion and entertainment. The Imperial Commissioners and 
the English Ambassadors and Commissioners sat on very 
low cushions, raised about six inches from the ground, while 
the suite of the Emperor sat on the ground, on which a red 
cloth had been placed. 

On August zoth they all arrived at Tung-chow, a day s 
journey from Pekin. Here eight days were spent in dis 
puting a question of ceremony. It was required of the 
English Ambassador that, on being brought before the 
Emperor, he should perform what is called in China " THE 
CEREMONY," or San Kwei, Kew Kow, rendered in English, 
" Three kneelings and nine knocks of the head." The 
mode of performing is, that the person introduced to the 
Emperor kneels on the ground, places his hands when 
bovang forwards on the floor, and strikes his forehead 
against the earth thrice ; then the person rises, and, again 
kneeling down, repeats the performance ; and then, rising 
once more, repeats the whole a third time. Thus it is the 
Chinese worship their gods some by three knocks, others 
by six, and others by nine, according to the veneration in 
which they are held. Lord Amherst was not very likely to 
go through such a foolish and degrading ceremony, and, 
after prolonged disputes, the Chinese noblemen professed to 
waive the requirement. On the 2gth the company arrived 
at the Imperial Palace. The hour appointed by the Em 
peror for giving audience had arrived. The Ambassador 
and his suite had travelled all night, were unwashed and 
unrefreshed, and ill-prepared for the interview with royalty. 
His lordship therefore pleaded with the nobleman who 
received him, that the fatigues of the night had been so 
great that he must beg his Majesty to defer the reception 




CHINESE EMPEROR. 



Ii8 ROBERT MORRISON. 

until the following morning. To effect this, the messengers 
went into the Emperor and told him the Ambassador was 
so ill that he could not stir a step. The Emperor graciously 
permitted him to retire to his lodging, and sent his physician 
to attend him. The physician did not find Lord Amherst 
ill, and no doubt made a representation to the Emperor 
that did untold harm. His Majesty thought he had been 
imposed upon. A special meeting of the Cabinet was 
called. No one dared to explain the real facts of the case, 
and an order was issued that the Ambassador should depart 
immediately. The order was obeyed. The whole party 
left Pekin the same afternoon, and, after incurring a journey 
of fifty thousand miles there and back, Lord Amherst had 
to report a result of nothing. The Emperor afterwards dis 
covered the real state of the case, and degraded the Duke, 
who was brother to the Empress, from all the high offices 
which he held. Three other persons were also degraded, 
and an edict was issued in which the Emperor lamented that 
his courtiers could be so selfishly indifferent to the public 
welfare. He reproached the Duke s friends, that although 
they professed great attachment to him, smiling and fawning 
upon him, yet when they saw him perplexed by misrepre 
sentation, they would not tell him the true state of affairs, 
but simply said, " It is not my business." " Alas ! " he said, 
"on what a dangerous rocky eminence does a statesman 
stand. If you had no regard for the Duke, had you none 
for your country ? " The Emperor s false pride would not 
permit him to explain or reverse his treatment of the Am 
bassador, but he ordered his officers to treat him everywhere 
with politeness, and sent three presents to the King of 
England. He also accepted three from the Ambassador. 
With the same childish idea of his pre-eminence over all 
other potentates, he called his articles sent to the king a 
" donation," but those received he called "tribute." 

Although the object of the Embassy had thus failed, the 
journey gave Mr. Morrison a few months of relaxation which 



VISIT TO PEKIN. COLLEGE AT MALACCA. 119 

his health greatly craved. He was able to extend his know 
ledge of the country and the people, and especially he was 
able to gather up some knowledge of the various dialects of 
the provinces through which he passed, which was of great 
service to him afterwards. 

He and the distinguished party returned to Canton through 
the provinces of Chilhi and Shantung, crossing the Yellow 
River and the Great Canal. They were struck with the 
graceful pagodas and beautiful temples which ornamented 
the scenes they passed through, but the moral and religious 
phenomena most interested Mr. Morrison. He met and 
conversed with a Mohammedan gentleman, who gave him 
full details of the peculiarities of his religion, and its position 
in China. He was surprised to find that, whereas Protestant 
Christianity was not allowed a foothold, Mohammedans were 
allowed the exercise of their religion, were admitted into the 
service of the Government, and that they existed in some 
provinces in large numbers. He also found that in Honan 
there were a number of families called "Teaou Kin Keaou," 
or the sect which plucks out the sinews from the meat they 
eat. They had a temple of worship, and they kept the 
seventh day as a Sabbath. Some time after Dr. Morrison 
was dead a deputation was sent by the Bishop of Victoria 
to visit these people. They were found to be Jews, who 
had lost the memory of their own history. They had a 
number of Hebrew books, which none of them could read, 
but which, when examined, were found to be portions of 
the Old Testament, some of them beautifully written on 
white sheepskin, cut and sewn together, about twenty yards 
long, and rolled on sticks. Other groups of Jews have been 
discovered in various provinces of China, all giving emphasis 
to the Divine prediction concerning them as a "nation scat 
tered and peeled, and a people meted out and trodden under 
foot." 

In Shantung the party passed near to the birthplace of 
Confucius, and on the Po-Yang Lake they found a college 



T20 ROBERT MORRISON. 

at which Choo-foo-tsze, the most esteemed commentator 
on the " Four Books " of the great sage, taught about six 
hundred years before. The college was at the top of a glen, 
through which a sparkling brook sang its quiet tune. At 
the top of the glen a huge mountain lifted its black and 
frowning summit, as though to shelter the " College of the 
White Stag Valley " from the bitter blast. Here Choo-foo- 
tsze taught, and they were shown the rock on which he 
angled, and a tree still bearing flowers which he planted 
with his own hand, to pluck the leaves of which was strictly 
forbidden. 

In crossing the dividing line between the provinces 
Kiang-si and Canton, they passed through a deep mountain 
cutting made through the solid rock by the liberality of a 
retired statesman, a thousand years ago. His image stands 
in an adjoining temple, and divine honours were offered to 
it. The embassy arrived at Canton after an absence of 
six months. Dining Mr. Morrison s absence a volume of 
dialogues in Chinese and English, which he had prepared, 
had been carried through the press at Canton, under the 
superintendence of a gentleman in the British Factory. 

Mr. Milne and his family had left China and taken up 
their residence in Malacca, to carry out the great scheme so 
long a daydream with Mr. Morrison, but which was now 
about to become in great part a reality by the agency of his 
faithful fellow-labourer. Mr. Milne had collected Chinese 
books, printing paper, and other needful materials, secured 
a teacher of the language, engaged workmen, and sailed on 
April i yth, 1815, for his new home. On the voyage his 
family was increased by twins ; and, after thirty-five days 
sail, he reached his destination, and was cordially received by 
Major Farquhar, who proved himself to be a friend indeed. 

The scheme indicated previously in regard to the mis 
sion at Malacca had been carefully formulated by Messrs. 
Morrison and Milne, presented to the London Missionary 
Society, and fully approved and sanctioned by it. The 



122 ROBERT MORRISON. 

programme was an ambitious one, and, whilst successful to 
a degree which fully justified the outlay of its founders, it 
did not realise all that their faith and enterprise merited. 
According to the plan sketched out, a portion of land was 
to be purchased, on which buildings could be erected 
suitable for the purposes contemplated and intended. A 
free school was to be established as a preparation for a 
more advanced seminary, in which native ministers might 
be trained and educated. A monthly magazine in Chinese 
was to be issued. A printing-press was to be set up and 
kept at work, for the purpose of issuing the Scriptures in 
Chinese, and for the diffusion of Christian literature gene 
rally. An English periodical was to be issued also, with the 
view of promoting unity and co-operation among rnissionary 
societies in the East. Divine services were to be held, and 
places of worship to be erected as quickly as practicable. 
The whole scheme was to be called " The Ultra-Ganges 
Mission," as denominating the scene or area of the 
enterprise. 

Mr. Milne quickly began the attempt to realise the 
scheme. A small house in the British compound, which 
had formerly been used as a stable, was fitted up as a 
school. Notices in Chinese were posted up in the town, 
announcing the commencement of a school for the children 
of the poor. Great unwillingness was at first shown by the 
people to send their children, and when the school opened 
on August 5th only five scholars had been obtained; but, 
by sedulous effort and wise caution, the number increased, 
until by the end of the first year the number in daily 
attendance was fourteen, who received the ordinary ele 
ments of Chinese education. By-and-by the Catechism 
prepared by Mr. Morrison was introduced, and the children 
were familiarised with the leading words of religious cha 
racter, such as God, Creation, Soul, Death, and many 
others. Then the teacher and children were drawn to 
attend Divine worship. Great prudence was required here 



VISIT TO PEKIN. COLLEGE AT MALACCA. 123 

First, a few domestics brought from Canton were drawn to 
attend, and then the school teacher and his pupils were in 
duced to follow them. Thus very slowly had Mr. Milne to 
take step after step towards the attainment of his great object. 
A small church of Dutch Christians in Malacca was at this 
time without a pastor, and they invited Mr. Milne to occupy 
the vacant place. This he declined, on the ground that he 
was commissioned for another purpose ; but he undertook 
to conduct Divine service for their benefit once a week. 
For about a year no land was obtained for the erection 
of the meditated buildings; but at the beginning of 1816 
Mr. Milne obtained a grant of land from the English Governor 
at Penang, subject to approval from the Dutch authorities. 
This was a considerable distance from the town, and not 
suitable for the purposes of the Mission. It was, therefore, 
exchanged for a smaller piece near the city gates, a sum 
of about two hundred pounds being paid as a further re 
compense to the vendor. Thus was a site obtained in a 
most eligible situation. It has been mentioned that work 
men as printers had accompanied Mr. Milne from China. 
He now procured a printing-press, founts of English and 
Malay types, and all necessary apparatus for setting to 
work. In order to keep his men employed, he printed an 
edition in English of Doddridge s "Rise and Progress of 
Religion in the Soul," and Bogue s " Essays on the Truth of 
the Christian Religion." These were sold or distributed 
amongst the English residents and adventurers in China, 
India, and in the wide Archipelago of the East. 

On Mr. Morrison resuming his work at Canton, he was 
quickly tried by fresh difficulties which beset him. A 
quarrel broke out among his workmen at the press ; one 
of whom, to revenge himself on others, took a sheet of the 
Dictionary to the Tso-tang, a district magistrate. This 
official was only too glad of an occurrence which seemed 
to afford an opportunity of extorting money, and sent his 
police runners to seize the printing materials, and the 



124 ROBERT MORRISON. 

natives who were engaged in the illegal task of assisting 
foreigners to print the Chinese language. Sir Theophilus 
Metcalf, the English chief of the Factory, interfered with 
great firmness, and prevented the presses and types being 
impounded. The Viceroy of Canton issued prompt orders 
that no natives should aid foreigners in printing the Chinese 
characters ; the names of Mr. Morrison s teachers and 
transcribers were recorded for arrest ; Ko-Seen-sang ab 
sconded, while Sam-Tak, A-Fo, and A-He en were in great 
apprehension. The result was that Portuguese workmen 
had to be instructed to cut the Chinese characters on wood 
blocks for the printing of the Dictionary. 

Besides his incessant labours on the Dictionary, usually 
occupying six or eight hours a day, Mr. Morrison translated 
and published the morning and evening prayers as they 
stand in the Book of Common Prayer, also " Horse Sinicse," a 
series of translations from Chinese classics, and a Chinese 
Primer, all of which, with other works already recorded, 
prove a zeal and diligence of application that must have 
tried tfci most patient mind and tested the strongest con 
stitution. The progress the translation of the Bible was 
making is indicated in the following letter to the Bible 
Society, under date November 24th, 1817 : 

" During the ensuing year Mr. Milne and I hope to 
finish a translation of the whole Bible. He has completed 
Deuteronomy and Joshua. The Book of Genesis has been 
printed some time. I have made a first draught of the 
Book of Exodus and the Book of Ruth. The Psalms I 
have finished, and they are now in the press. The Book 
of Isaiah is about one-half translated. Several type-cutters 
are engaged to go down to Malacca for the purpose of 
printing Deuteronomy, Joshua, and an edition of the 
Psalms in duodecimo ; that which I am perfecting here is 
smaller than our duodecimo New Testament." 

A letter from America at this time informed Mr. 
Morrison that a young Chinaman, about twenty-six years 






VISIT TO PEKIN. COLLEGE AT MALACCA. 125 

of age, from Macao, who had settled in New York, had 
been led, through the reading of the Chinese New 
Testament, to profess faith in Christ, and was manifesting 
the utmost earnestness and consistency. These tidings, 
amidst the dry, monotonous grind of translation work, were 
peculiarly refreshing to his soul. 

Mr. Morrison s labours now began to excite attention 
and interest in all parts of Great Britain, and also in many 
parts of Europe and America. He received letters from 
some of the most learned professors in Germany and 
France, most warmly recognising his eminent attainments 
and services. Dr. Vater, Professor of Konigsberg Univer 
sity, and M. Remusat, Professor of Chinese, etc., in the 
Royal College of France, one of the most erudite men in 
Europe, with others, frankly and cordially congratulated 
him upon the thorough and varied knowledge he had 
gained of Chinese language and literature, and the firm 
foundation he was laying for his successors. He was 
unanimously and gratuitously created Doctor of Divinity 
by the Senatus Academicus of the University of Glasgow, 
as a recognition of the great value of his labours as a 
philologist and a Christian teacher. 

He had now been ten years at work in the far-off land 
years that had been devoted to intense and grinding labour, 
years of prolonged strain and trial by reason of the annoy 
ance and persecution of Chinese officials and the scarcely 
concealed dislike of many of the English merchants, years 
of severe and depressing disappointment on account of 
the stubborn and dogged indifference to Gospel truth 
manifested by the natives. The sterling qualities of Mr. 
Morrison s nature had all been brought into active and 
energetic exercise by the pressing exigencies of his position, 
and they had admirably enabled him to grapple with those 
exigencies. Not that he had been uncheered in his labours 
in the interim. Providence had, on several trying occasions, 
interfered in his behalf in a special manner, enabling him 



126 ROBERT MORRISON. 

to maintain a foothold in the land, giving him a position 
by which he might prosecute evangelistic work undisturbed 
by the official arm, and affording throughout all his labours 
such a fresh, clear rense of peace and comfort that he was 
maintained in hope and courage, and was prepared to 
labour on, resting on the promise, " In quietness and in 
confidence shall be your strength." And certainly the 
results of those ten years were permanent material for the 
future. An ample knowledge of the most difficult lan 
guage and the most obscure literature had been obtained. 
Large plant of printing-presses, types, woodblocks, and other 
material had been accumulated ; one large edition of the 
New Testament in Chinese had been printed and circulated; 
another edition of nine thousand copies was nearly printed off; 
a Chinese grammar, a volume of translations from Chinese 
classics, a psalter, a book of prayers, several small publica 
tions on Christian doctrine and history, had also been 
issued as the result of his own application ; not to speak of 
the Books of the Old Testament already translated, and 
some of them printed, awaiting the completion of the 
whole before passing into circulation. Besides this must 
be taken into account the help given to Mr. Milne in his 
acquisition of the language, and the establishment of the 
mission in Malacca. All this was accomplished, besides 
the invaluable services rendered by Mr. Morrison to the 
East India Company as its official translator and secretary. 
Nor had the ten years been utterly fruitless as to the 
main work of the Christian missionary the conversion 
of souls to God. Two persons at least had given up 
idolatry and professed faith in Christ ; one of these had 
been baptised, and maintained a good confession, and the 
other was giving promise of such growth in Christian 
knowledge and piety as to warrant his reception by baptism 
before long. The experiences of other pioneer Protestant 
missionaries had been far different to Mr. Morrison s. 
They had faced greater risks and dangers from savages and 



VISIT TO PEKIN. COLLEGE AT MALACCA. 127 

barbarians, they had passed through exciting adventures 
and romantic trials, but they had also been cheered and 
inspired by great successes ; and it may be doubted 
whether any of them had shown greater calmness in pre 
sence of danger, heroism more grand, or determination 
more unwavering, in spite of repeated disappointments, 
than had been manifested by Robert Morrison during this 
period. 





CHAPTER X. 



CHINESE BIBLE COMPLETED. -DR. MILNE S 
DEATH. 

" God did anoint thee with His odorous oil, 
To wrestle, not to reign ; and He assigns 
All thy tears over, like pure crystallines, 
For younger fellow-workers of the soil, 
To wear as amulets. So others shall 
Take patience, labour to their heart and hand, 
From thy hand, and thy heart, and thy brave cheer." 

E. B. BROWNING. 

ON November loth, 1818, the foundation-stone of the 
Anglo-Chinese College at Malacca was laid by 
Colonel W. Farquhar, in the presence of the Hon. 
J. S. T. Thyson (the Governor), Hon. J. J. Erskine (Judge 
of Penang), the members of the College of Justice, and 
many other distinguished persons. Mr. Milne represented 
Dr. Morrison, and delivered a suitable address. The 
object was announced as the reciprocal cultivation of 
Chinese and European literature, and the machinery was 



CHINESE BIBLE COMPLETED. 129 

to comprise a library furnished with books treating on the 
language, history, science, etc., of European and Oriental 
nations. European professors of the Chinese language, 
aided by native Chinese tutors, were to impart knowledge ; 
a printing-press was to be made use of in divers manners, 
and it was also intended soon to form a botanic garden, so 
as to have in one focus the plants of the Eastern Archi 
pelago. To the advantages of the institution Europeans 
were to be admitted, to be fitted and prepared for missionary, 
commercial, scientific, or official pursuits in the East, and 
also youths from Chinese-speaking countries, who desired 
to be trained for service under Europeans or in the 
Christian Church. Dr. Morrison contributed one thousand 
pounds towards the establishment, and promised a hundred 
pounds a year for five years towards its maintenance. He 
otherwise, especially in respect of the library, contributed 
largely towards the College. Another gentleman gave the 
sum of four thousand Spanish dollars towards the building, 
the London Missionary Society gave five hundred pounds, 
and European residents in Canton five hundred pounds. 
One friend wrote : 

" I confess that the plan far outstrips my expectations. 
It is benevolent and liberal to a degree; it is extensive 
also, and so ought our donations therefore to be. I shall 
be obliged to you to draw on me at any time you like for 
8420 [that being equal to one hundred guineas]. 

" In faith and hope the world will disagree, 
But all mankind s concern is charity : 
Thus God and nature linked the general frame, 
And bade self-love and social be the same. " 

No words can describe the bright visions of usefulness 
which Dr. Morrison entertained as to the results of this 
institution. Malacca was to be not the Athens only, but 
the Jerusalem of the East. Streams of knowledge and 
spiritual grace were to flow from thence until the Chinese 
world was sanctified thereby. Malacca was one of the 

9 



130 ROBERT MORRISON. 

first European possessions in Asia, being captured by the 
Portuguese a very few years after the successful voyage of 
Vasco de Gama round the Cape of Good Hope. They 
did not do much to improve the moral condition of the 
natives. It was visited by Francis Xavier, who testified that 
the excess and number of their vices alone distinguished the 
Christians from the unbelievers. It was afterwards captured 
by the English, and it was chosen as the most convenient 
and promising centre for the great work Dr. Morrison had 
so much at heart. 

The College erected was a plain substantial edifice, 
ninety feet in length, thirty-four in breadth, with a verandah 
back and front supported by pillars, one hundred and three 
feet long, and sixteen and a half wide. The interior was 
suitably arranged, on one side being the Chinese and 
English printing offices, schools and apartments for native 
masters, workmen, etc. ; on the other the residences of the 
governor and his assistants. The front, which faced the 
sea, was shaded by a row of senna trees, and the whole 
was surrounded by grounds which were well laid out and 
cultivated. 

For some time there was great disappointment in the 
minds of the promoters, as the natives refused to send their 
children, until Mr. Milne was obliged to offer a small 
weekly payment to each child to induce its attendance. As 
the natives became familiarised to the presence of the 
College, and understood better the spirit of its conductors, 
they became more trustful, and the school prospered. 
Pupils and students were trained, during Mr. Milne s life, 
varying in number from twenty up to sixty at one time; 
and of these several were converted and became consistent 
Christians. Books some of them of great importance 
were poured forth from the press, periodicals were main 
tained, and vigorous methods taken to make Malacca the 
centre of Christian propagandism on a large scale. A few 
years after the institution had been opened it was visited 



132 ROBERT MORRISON. 

by the Hon. C. Majoribanks, the President of the Select 
Committee, who in the course of a deeply interesting 
account of his visit said : 

"When I visited the College it contained upwards of 
thirty students. Were its funds greater, its opportunities 
of doing good would be necessarily more extensive. It 
was a source of gratification to hear nearly every one of 
those boys reading with fluency the Bible in the Chinese 
and English languages. Many of them wrote elegantly 
both Chinese and English, and had attained considerable 
proficiency in arithmetic, geography, the use of the globes, 
and general history. Thus does a son of a Malacca peasant 
derive an enlightened education denied to the son of the 
Emperor of China." In 1820 Dr. Milne says : " Connected 
with the Mission are thirteen schools in all, containing about 
three hundred children and youths." 

The higher work of conversion seems also to have been 
proceeding in some minds. A native printer, called Leang 
Afa, who acted as tutor, had professed faith in Christ, and 
after giving satisfactory evidence of his sincerity, had been 
baptised and received into Church membership. He com 
posed and printed a paraphrase on several parts of the 
New Testament, and when called to suffer persecution very 
patiently endured it. He maintained his faith to the end, 
having it tested by the loss of property, scourging, and im 
prisonment. He laboured as an evangelist in several parts 
of China, and was the first person ordained to that work by 
the London Missionary Society. It was through the reading 
of tracts written by Leang Afa that the leader of the Taeping 
rebellion was led to an acquaintance with Christianity, some 
elements of which he professed and advocated in seeking 
to establish his mongrel government in China. 

Several volumes of the gigantic Dictionary were now 
completed and issued; but on November 25th, 1819, it was 
the unutterable pleasure of Dr. Morrison to be able to write 
to the Directors of the London Missionary Society that the 



CHIXESE BIBLE COMPLETED. 133 

greatest object of his life and the largest hope of his heart 
was realised. The whole Bible was now translated into the 
Chinese tongue. 

He, of course, had by far the larger share of the great 
work ; but Mr. Milne had given most effective and willing 
service since his acquaintance with the language had enabled 
him to do so. The whole of the New Testament was the 
work of Dr. Morrison, the Chinese MS. found in the British 
Museum being a basis for a part of it ; and of the Old 
Testament he had done the whole, with the exception of 
the Books of Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Samuel, Kings, 
Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, and Job, which had been 
translated by Mr. Milne. In his letter to the Society 
Dr. Morrison expressly disowns any claim to perfect correct 
ness, and only professes to have laid a foundation for other 
and more perfect translations in after years. A few extracts 
from the letter will be interesting. He says : 

" If Morrison and Milne s Bible shall in China at some 
subsequent period hold such a place in reference to a better 
translation as Wickliff s or Tyndale s now holds in reference 
to our present English version, many will for ever bless 
God for the attempt; and neither the Missionary Society 
nor the Bible Society will ever regret the funds they have 
expended, or shall yet expend, in aid of the object. 

" It is not yet five hundred years since WicklifPs bones 
were dug up and burnt, chiefly because he translated the 
Scriptures ; and it is not yet three hundred years since 
Tyndale was strangled by the hands of the common hang 
man, and then burnt, for the same cause. The alleged 
inaccuracy of Wickliff s and of Tyndale s translations was 
the ground of cavil with all those who were averse to any 
translations of the sacred Scriptures ; and it is but two hun 
dred and seventy-seven years since the English Parliament 
decreed that all manner of books of the Old and New 
Testaments, of the crafty, false, and untrue translations of 
Tyndale, be forthwith abolished and forbidden to be used 



134 ROBERT MORRISON. 

and kept. If such things occurred so recently, more modem 
translators need not be surprised if their works are censured 
and condemned. 

" King James translators were fifty-four in number, and 
rendered into their modern tongue in their native country 
under the patronage of their prince. Our version is the 
work of two persons, or at most of three (including the author 
of the MS.), performed in a remote country, and into a 
foreign and newly acquired language, one of the most 
difficult in the world, and the least cultivated in Europe. 
The candid judge of men s works will not forget these 
circumstances. 

" In my translations I have studied fidelity, perspicuity, 
and simplicity. I have preferred common words to rare 
and classical ones. I have avoided technical terms which 
occur in the pagan philosophy and religion. I would rather 
be deemed inelegant than hard to be understood. In diffi 
cult passages I have taken the sense given by the general 
consent of the gravest, most pious, and least eccentric 
divines to whom I had access. 

" To the task I have brought patient endurance of long 
labour and seclusion from society; a calm and unprejudiced 
judgment, not enamoured of novelty and eccentricity, nor 
yet tenacious of an opinion merely because it was old, and, 
I hope, somewhat of an accurate mode of thinking, with a 
reverential sense of the awful responsibility of misinterpreting 
God s word. Such qualifications are, perhaps, as indispens 
able as grammatical learning in translating such a bock as 
the Bible. 

" To have Moses, David, and the Prophets, Jesus Christ 
and His apostles, using their own words, and thereby de 
claring to the inhabitants of this land the wonderful works 
of God, indicates, I hope, the speedy introduction of a 
happier era in these parts of the world, and I trust that the 
gloomy darkness of pagan scepticism will be dispelled by 
the Dayspring from on high, and that the gilded idols of 



136 ROBERT MORRISON. 

Buddha, and the numberless images which fill the land, will 
one day assuredly fall to the ground before the force of 
God s word, as the idol Dagon fell before the ark. 

"Tyndale, while he was being tied to the stake, said, 
with a fervent and loud voice, in reference to Henry VIII., 
Lord, open the King of England s eyes ; and his prayer 
seems to have been heard and answered. Let us be as 
fervent in a similar petition in reference to the Sovereign 
of this Empire. 

" In the Apostle s words I conclude this letter : Finally, 
brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may have 
free course and be glorified, even as it is with you. " 

The joy entertained by the friends of Christian missions 
throughout Europe and America on the accomplishment of 
this great work was intense. Congratulations to Messrs. 
Morrison and Milne poured upon them from many quarters, 
the University of Glasgow conferred the degree of D.D. on 
Mr. Milne, and fervent gratitude was expressed to the bene 
ficent Providence which had presided over their labours. 
The Rev. G. Burder, D.D., Secretary to the London 
Missionary Society, wrote : 

"The herculean task is at length completed. To Him 
alone who gave the power to effect this great work, and 
who alone can render it effectual for its intended purpose 
the illumination and renovation of human minds to Him 
alone be the glory now and evermore. But, my dear friend, 
we ought not, we will not, we do not, forget the laborious 
agents whom He has been pleased to employ for this great 
end. We thank Him for you and your helper, Mr. Milne. 
We bless God, who has continued your lives in a sultry 
climate, maintained your mental and corporal powers, and 
spared you to see the completion of your great labour. . . . 
Never mind what opponents say. The work is done, and 
God will bless it ; nor will He forget this work of faith and 
labour of love when He shall render to every man according 
to his works. Bless God, my dear sir, that ever you were 



CHINESE BIBLE COMPLETED. 



137 



born, and born again, and enabled to effect this great work. 
You have lived to good purpose in having lived to publish 
a Chinese Bible. Thank God, and take courage." 




A101I1ELARY STREET, CANTON. 



The Committee of the British and Foreign Bible Society 
wrote in a similar strain of thanksgiving and congratulation, 



138 ROBERT MORRISON. 

and granted a fresh sum of one thousand pounds in aid of 
the multiplication and circulation of copies of the translation. 
The Committee of the American Bible Society presented 
Dr. Morrison with a copy of the best edition in octavo 
of the Bible, in splendid binding, as an expression of 
its esteem and approbation, and the American Board of 
Commissioners for Foreign Missions wrote offering their 
most cordial thanks and congratulations. Besides these, 
Sir George Staunton and many other eminent scholars 
wrote in a similar strain, giving proof of the intensity of 
interest felt throughout the Christian world in the great 
achievement. 

This absorbing task being now accomplished, Dr. Morrison 
pursued his work in other directions with unwearied assiduity. 
The Rev. Dr. Baird, principal of Aberdeen University, 
had written to him seeking information as to the poor of 
China. This led him, in connection with Dr. Livingstone, 
the surgeon of the East India Company in Canton, to give 
attention to the enormous numbers of destitute poor and 
sick people who infest all Chinese towns and cities. The 
blind, the lame, the leprous, often filled the highways, and 
their condition excited little concern or compassion. The 
melancholy condition of these sufferers was only equalled 
by the gross ignorance that prevailed as to medical science. 
In the public streets and markets might be seen here and 
there a stall on which dried vegetable substances were 
exposed for sale, these being sold for any, and some for 
every, complaint, without an attempt at discrimination. 
The apothecaries shops at Canton contained professedly 
about three hundred medicines, but only thirty were in abso 
lute practice, whilst one eminent physician chiefly used only 
one viz., rhubarb. His name was Wang, "a king," and in 
allusion to his practice he was called " The Rhubarb King." 
To meet this crying evil, Dr. Morrison opened a dispensary 
for supplying the poor with advice and medicines, super 
intending it himself for one or two hours daily, and being 



CHINESE BIBLE COMPLETED. 139 

assisted in its management by Dr. Livingstone. He also 
purchased a Chinese medical library, consisting of upwards 
of eight hundred volumes, with a complete assortment of 
Chinese medicines, and engaged a respectable Chinese 
physician and apothecary, with the occasional attendance 
of a herbalist (whose complete stock he purchased for Dr. 
Livingstone s analysis), to explain the properties of the 
various herbs he collected and sold. 

The afflicted Chinese of Canton and the adjacent districts 
crowded to this dispensary, and in a few months thousands 
of cases had been under treatment with gratifying success. 
This institution must be considered as the forerunner of a 
crowd of similar institutions, which have been established 
in connection with Christian missions in the East, and 
which are increasingly vindicating their claim to be con 
sidered an integral part of Christian propagandist enter 
prises. 

Amidst more important occupations, Dr. Morrison found 
opportunity to send from the press several useful works of 
lesser account. One was a small treatise contrasting the 
principles of the heathen religions of China with those of 
Christianity ; another was " A Voyage Round the World," 
which was meant to enlarge and enlighten the ideas of the 
Chinese as to mankind, and especially as to Christians and 
practical religion ; a third was " Translations" of the Morn 
ing and Evening Prayers of the Church of England, and 
also of the Psalter. Two thousand copies of this last work 
were ordered by the Prayer Book and Homily Society for 
distribution amongst the Chinese. 

On April 23rd, 1820, Mrs. Morrison, in much improved 
health, embarked with her two children in the Ararchioness 
of Ely, to rejoin her husband in China. On August 23rd 
he had the great happiness of receiving them at Macao, and 
of spending a few weeks of blessed home enjoyment in their 
society. Then he had to leave them, to undertake again 
his official duties in Canton. 



140 ROBERT MORRISON. 

In the meantime Dr. Milne had devoted himself to the 
management of the College at Malacca, and other missionary 
work, with such devotion as greatly to overtax his never very 
robust constitution. He had much to try him in the midst 
of his labours, but in March, 1819, he was called to endure 
the severest earthly trial. Death had already snatched from 
him two dear children, but now his beloved partner was 
called from his side. She died in perfect peace and full 
hope of a glorious immortality. Most bitterly did the 
bereaved husband and father feel these trials. From the 
time of Mrs. Milne s departure from earth, to the time of 
his own death, his journal was often blotted and blurred 
with his tears. " O Rachel ! Rachel ! " he wrote, " endeared 
to me by every possible tie ! But I will try not to grieve 
for thee, as thou didst often request before thy departure. 
I will try to cherish the remembrance of thy virtues and 
sayings, and teach them to the dear babes thou hast left 
behind. The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away ; 
blessed be the Name of the Lord. " 

From this time he wrought on, with the interests of his 
four surviving children resting heavily upon his mind. And 
there was sufficient in the expenses and difficulties of the 
College to cause both Dr. Morrison and him great anxiety. 
The wealthy East India Company had promised to give 
twelve hundred dollars annually towards its maintenance, 
but, on Lord William Bentinck s appointment to the Govern 
ment of India, the allowance was withdrawn. The members 
of the Select Committee of the Company in China were, 
however, so convinced of the excellence of the institution, 
that they wrote a joint letter to Dr. Morrison, expressing 
their deep regret at the step taken, and stating that they 
had resolved to make up the amount themselves, so that 
its influence might be still exercised for the good of the 
East. At this time, also, several missionaries were sent out 
by the London Missionary Society to labour in Batavia, 
Penang, Singapore, and Malacca, and an experienced 



142 ROBERT MORRISON. 

printer arrived at Malacca to aid Dr. Milne in his various 
efforts to scatter a Christian literature throughout the 
settlements. 

In the spring of 1821 Dr. Morrison returned to Macao, 
and for a brief interval he was permitted the delightful and 
restful joys of home life. But a dark cloud hovered over 
that household, and for a time filled it with gloom. He 
had occasion soon to write the following letter to his father- 
in-law, Mr. Morton : " My beloved Mary, from the last 
time of her arrival in China, enjoyed remarkably good 
health, seldom requiring medical aid. We were pleasantly 
situated, and had a piece of ground before our house by the 
seaside in Macao, where we and the children walked happily 
together every evening. We then, after family prayers, sat 
down round a table, all occupied in something useful or 
amusing. My Mary was occupied innocently and pleasantly 
in making clothes for her expected babe, and got all her 
house in order most comfortably ; yet amidst this she never 
went to rest, nor rose to work, without reading considerable 
portions of her Bible ; and since she came out to China, 
she read, I believe, the whole of Milner s Church History, 
which she found edifying." 

On June the 8th she was suddenly taken ill, and not 
withstanding that doctor, husband, and friends did all that 
human skill or affection could devise, she died in her 
husband s arms on Sunday evening, the loth. Dr. Morrison 
wished to bury her by the side of her little son James, 
whose body lay in a grave amongst the hills ; but the 
Chinese would not suffer the grave to be reopened. The 
Roman Catholics refused to allow the dust of a Protestant 
to repose in their cemetery, and therefore the Committee 
of the English Factory purchased a piece of ground, worth 
about a thousand pounds, as a Protestant bury ing-place, and 
here the remains of Mrs. Morrison were reverently placed. 

The blow was so sudden and afflictive to Dr. Morrison, 
and the desolation was so awful, that he seemed stunned 



CHINESE BIBLE COMPLETED. 143 

and paralysed. His health and spirits suffered for a con 
siderable time ; and while he diligently fulfilled his official 
duties, and wrought with undiminished ardour for the com 
pletion of his Dictionary, his correspondence, generally so 
varied and multitudinous, was limited to his nearest relatives. 
When his duties required his presence in Canton he took 
his son with him, leaving his daughter in the care of his 
kind friends Dr. and Mrs. Livingstone, at Macao, intending 
to send both children to England as soon as a convenient 
opportunity occurred. 

His skill and tact as an interpreter and diplomatist were 
to be very severely tested on his arrival at Canton, in con 
sequence of a fracas which broke out between the English 
and Chinese authorities. Some men from an English frigate 
had gone ashore at the island of Lintin, adjacent to the 
Chinese coast, for the purpose of obtaining water. Although 
they were unarmed, a party of Chinese attacked them, and 
several were wounded. A company was sent from the ship 
to defend them, and in the struggle two Chinamen were 
killed. The local government demanded that the murderers, 
as they were called, should be given up, to be executed 
according to law. The English denied that there was any 
murder in the case, and refused the demand. Both parties 
firmly maintained their ground, and as a result trade was 
interfered with, the relations of the two nations were strained, 
the English Factory at Canton was closed, its employes and 
stock were put on board ship, and an unfriendly attitude 
was taken up. Some of the Chinese merchants deeply re 
gretted the affair, and did their best to end the unfortunate 
quarrel by seeking to induce the English to accommodate 
matters somewhat. They even suggested to the officers of 
the frigate that they should say that two of their men had 
fallen overboard, and that, as these were the murderers, 
they could not be given up. They would have been con 
tent to allow the matter to blow over on such a wild story 
as this ; but their pride would not allow them to acknow- 



144 ROBERT MORRISON. 

ledge the plea that the men had been killed by the English 
in self-defence. The English would not concede any point, 
and especially would not give up the men to be strangled 
to death, as they certainly would have been, if surrendered. 
The result was that two months were spent in wearying and 
vexatious correspondence, ending at last in a compromise 
to the effect that friendly relations were to be re-established 
and trade resumed, on the condition that the English 
Government would cause full examination to be made into 
the circumstances of the mclce. Mr. Morrison s services in 
the discussion were invaluable, and on its conclusion a 
report was drawn up by Sir James Urmston, in which the 
following words occur : " During the progress of this affair, 
which had involved the East India Company s representa 
tives in one of the most serious, vexatious, and harassing 
discussions they had ever been engaged in with the Chinese, 
the zeal and exertions of Dr. Morrison were unremitting. 
His extensive and indeed extraordinary knowledge of the 
Chinese language, both written and colloquial, and of the 
system, character, and disposition of the Chinese Govern 
ment, enabled him clearly and fully to comprehend its 
sentiments, views, and meaning, as well as to detect the 
sophistry, duplicity, and even falsity which but too fre 
quently marked the official documents of the local authori 
ties, as well as the language and arguments of the Hong 
merchants ; the latter being always the vehicle of com 
munication between their Government and foreigners. This 
close and correct insight into the Chinese documents proved 
of the utmost importance to the Select Committee, who were 
enabled thus to frame their correspondence and communica 
tions with the Chinese in a form, language, and spirit suitable 
to meet and to resist the arrogant language and pretensions, 
and the unjust demands, of the Viceroy of Canton and his 
colleagues. These communications were translated into such 
perfect Chinese by Dr. Morrison as to render it impossible 
for the Chinese Government to misunderstand, or even to 



CHINESE BIBLE COMPLETED. 145 

affect to misunderstand, the feelings, sentiments, and deter 
mination of the East India Company s representatives ; and 
this circumstance is at all times of immense importance in 
negotiations or discussions with the Chinese. Dr. Morrison s 
invaluable talents and services were fully understood and 
appreciated by those whose vast and important interests 
he had on this as well as on various former occasions so 
essentially benefited." 

The Company s ships returned to their usual stations, the 
trade resumed its course, and Dr. Morrison arranged for his 
children to return to England. His daughter sailed in the 
good ship Kent, in the care of Mr. and Mrs. Maloney, from 
whom she received almost parental kindness. The little 
boy sailed in the Atlas, under the protection of Mr. Dill, the 
surgeon. In writing to his brother concerning their depar 
ture Dr. Morrison said : " I desire that my children may 
be taken good care of, and be brought up in a plain way, 
but, above all things, be taught to fear the Lord betimes 
that is wisdom." 

Dr. Morrison now retired to his desolate home at Macao, 
and devoted himself with renewed application to his mis 
sionary duties and the completion of his Dictionary. He 
was, however, alarmed at the intelligence which speedily 
reached him as to the failing health and critical condition 
of his beloved fellow-labourer Dr. Milne, who seemed to 
manifest an ever-intensifying zeal as his physical capabilities 
appeared to diminish. For upwards of two years the con 
cerns of the Mission in Malacca devolved almost exclusively 
on him. He negotiated with the Government, took the 
oversight of Mission buildings, edited the Gleaner, taught in 
the College, translated pamphlets and books, and regularly 
preached the Word. His chief work was the translation and 
composition of Christian books. His part in the translation 
of the Old Testament has already been narrated; but, besides 
this, he wrote in Chinese or English not less than fifteen 
tracts, varying from ten to seventy leaves each, besides a 

10 



146 ROBERT MORRISON. 

full commentary on the Epistle to the Ephesians, and an 
elaborate work in two volumes, called an "Essay on the 
Soul." Some of his tracts published in Chinese are un 
equalled for their acceptability and their adaptation to 
particular cases. 

In reviewing these results of intense application shortly 
before his death he says : " They appear many for my 
strength, especially if to these the care of my family be 
added. I humbly hope also that they are and \\ill be 
useful to the Church of God. But when I view them as 
connected with the imperfection of my motives and the 
dulness and deficiency of spiritual affections in them, I am 
disposed to adopt the language of the Prophet, Very many 
and very dry. They appear almost to be dead works. 
Woe s me ! Woe s me ! My dead soul ! Lord, make it 
akin to Thee, and this will give life to all my labours." 

Amidst his manifold labours his health failed ; he had 
many premonitions of danger, followed by partial recovery. 
Profuse spitting of blood indicated disease of the lungs ; 
but it was afterwards ascertained that the liver was the seat 
of his complaint. He took a voyage to Penang, hoping 
thereby to recruit his health ; but deriving no benefit from 
the change, he returned, utterly worn out, to Malacca, only 
anxious to die at his post. There he passed peacefully to 
his rest and reward, being thus reunited to his faithful 
partner, and leaving four children utterly orphaned and 
cast destitute on the fatherhood of God. He had written 
to his recently widowed friend, Dr. Morrison, from Penang, 
and on June 3rd, 1822, the following reply was penned : 

" I have received your letter from Penang, and deeply 
regret the afflicting news which it contains. Oh that God 
may spare your life and restore your health ! I am going 
on mourning all the day an unprofitable servant ; Lord, 
pity me ! 

" Aheen has written to me from Canton, saying that he 
is convinced of sin, and desiring to be washed therefrom by 



DR. MILNE S DEATH. 147 

the Saviour of the world, in token of which he asks if he 
may be baptised. The lad Asam, the younger, seems to 
understand the outline of the Gospel, and says he believes 
it. I really hope Aheen is sincere he was always too 
proud, as well as a conceited Tiih-shoo-jin [a literary 
person], to say now that he was convinced of sin and 
wanted salvation, if it had not some reality in it. He is a 
man of few words, and naturally cold-hearted. If indeed 
he now looks to the Saviour, God be praised for giving to 
worthless me some fruit of my feeble labours ! Alas ! I 
write this fearing .you are already beyond the reach of 
letters." 

He was indeed beyond the reach of letters. On June 
2nd, at the early age of thirty-seven, this shepherd lad from 
the hills of Scotland, who became by the force of conse 
crated toil a learned and successful pioneer missionary, was 
called to the eternal home. 

From May 24th, the day on which he returned from 
Penang, it was evident to all who saw him that his useful 
and laborious life was drawing to a close. But having 
begun several works which promised to be useful, both to 
the heathen and future missionaries, he was earnestly 
desirous of being spared to finish them. But such was 
not to be. His disease became rapidly more painful and 
dangerous. It was so agonising for him to speak that, 
except to settle his own affairs or those of the institutions 
he had charge of, he uttered few words. As he drew near 
to the end he expressed his mm faith of salvation through 
the merits of Jesus, and appeared more at ease than he had 
done for some time. His friends thought that this arose 
from some improvement in his condition, but it was from 
exhaustion of nature, for in a short time, without a struggle 
or a groan, he passed away. His body was carried from 
the Anglo-Chinese College to the Dutch burial-ground, and 
laid in a vault he had prepared for his wife and children. 
The funeral was numerously attended by both natives and 



148 ROBERT MORRISON. 

foreigners. The Government officials, the foreign mission 
aries, the members of the Dutch church, most of the 
respectable inhabitants of Malacca, and hundreds of 
Chinese and Malays, were present to offer their tribute 
of respect and reverence to his memory. 

His character was summed up by Dr. Morrison in these 
fitting words : " Dr. Milne appears to have possessed 
naturally a very ardent, impetuous, determined mind, yet 
softened by mildness of manner ; and after it was con 
verted, turned from Satan to God, it retained its natural 
ardour and impetuosity, but directed to new and very 
different objects from what it previously was. He was 
now fully convinced that the cause of Missions was the 
cause of heaven, and neither fire nor water could impede 
his onward course. He served with courage and fidelity 
ten years ; and then, worn out by useful toils and hard 
service, died at his post." 

Dr. Morrison was at this time meditating a jo.urney to 
England, in order to visit old friends and kindred, and to 
enjoy a well-earned furlough. But on the news of Dr. 
Milne s death he gave up for the present all thought of a 
holiday, and resolved to repair to Malacca to arrange for 
the future working of the Mission and the College. With 
characteristic benevolence, also, he resolved to adopt, as his 
own son, little Robert Milne, named after himself, and to 
provide for his maintenance and education with his own 
children. 

In November of this year a fire broke out on the west 
side of Canton, about a mile north of the European 
Factories. It raged furiously for several days, and burnt 
every building westward for a mile and a half, and indeed 
did not cease to burn till no buildings were left. Thou 
sands of Chinese shops and houses were destroyed, and 
millions of pounds worth of property was lost. The East 
India Company s loss was estimated at one million ; and 
the loss of life through the fire, terror, trampling to death, 






DR. MILNE S DEATH. 149 

and attacks of cruel banditti was awful and horrible. This 
was an additional trial to Dr. Morrison, as he lost much 
property by the fire, and especially a hundred pounds 
worth of paper he was about to send to Malacca for a 
fresh edition of the New Testament. 

On January lyth, 1823, Dr. Morrison left Canton for 
Malacca, and on the 2gth of the same month landed at 
Singapore, then a newly formed English settlement in the 
Malayan Archipelago. He was received by the Lieutenant- 
Governor, Sir T. Stamford Raffles, with great friendliness. 
They were men of sympathetic feeling ; and earnest con 
ference on several subjects for promoting the welfare of the 
colony and the Malays occupied the period of the visit. 
The result of the interview was the resolve to establish at 
Singapore an institution similar to that at Malacca ; and as 
the latter settlement was under the Dutch Government, to 
unite both under one management, with the title of "The 
Singapore Institution." A meeting of the principal in 
habitants of the settlement was summoned, and the 
proposal laid be r ore them. It was decided to adopt the 
scheme : the College at Malacca to be carried on as at 
present with its special departments, and the new institu 
tion to take up branches of knowledge and science which 
the older one had not been able to embrace. A liberal 
subscription followed. Dr. Morrison was appointed Vice- 
President, and subscribed upwards of fifteen hundred 
dollars, besides spending much more in the clearing of a 
site of land which he obtained as a grant from the Govern 
ment. On February ist he arrived at Malacca. He 
found everything in a healthy and hopeful condition. He 
says : " The College and the native students gave me great 
satisfaction. The Chinese youths sang the hundredth 
Psalm to Luther s tune. It was composed in Chinese by 
my former assistant, K6-Seen-sang. Finding the good use 
which had been made by my dear William of my books in 
Chinese, and of my funds, and the freedom of worshipping 



150 ROBERT MORRISON. 

God without Mandarin interference, altogether produced on 
my mind a most pleasing effect. Oh, how grateful should 
I be ! " He filled up the vacant post of principal of the 
College by the appointment of the Rev. David Collie, who 
had been sent out by the London Missionary Society in 
1822, and who had shown remarkable aptness in gaining 
acquaintanceship with the Chinese language. Mr. Collie 
fulfilled the duties of the office with great ability up to the 
time of his death in 1828. 

The year 1823 was a memorable one in the life of Dr. 
Morrison, owing to the publication of the Anglo-Chinese 
Dictionary, which must be considered as the great work of 
his life. He had been engaged upon it sixteen years, and 
in connection with its composition he had accumulated a 
library of about ten thousand Chinese volumes. It was now 
issued at a cost of twelve thousand pounds by the East 
India Company. It filled six large quarto volumes, each 
equalling in size a family Bible ; it contained four thousand 
five hundred and ninety-five pages, and recorded forty thou 
sand words expressed by the Chinese character. Having 
accomplished so marvellous a work, it was not wonderful 
that his name became universally famous. Testimonies as 
to the value and importance of the publication came from 
all sides. Dr. Montucci, of Dresden, an erudite Oriental 
scholar, said: " I am free to assert that Dr. Morrison within 
these ten years has published volumes by far more useful to 
the European student than all the printed and MS. works 
published by the missionaries in the course of the last 
century." M. Remusat, of Paris, said: "The Anglo- 
Chinese Dictionary by Dr. Morrison is incomparably supe 
rior to every other." The book is indeed almost as much 
an encyclopaedia as a dictionary ; biographies, histories, and 
notices of national customs, ceremonies, and systems abound, 
making it a repertory of information on all matters touching 
Chinese life and literature. 

Dr. Morrison writes, under date November loth, 1823: 



DR. MILNE S DEATH. 15 l 

" Afh, whom our dear Milne baptised, has led his wife to 
embrace Christianity, and proposes to bring his little son to 
be baptised." And on the 2oth he wrote : "To-day Leang 
Afa, our Chinese fellow-disciple, brought his son Leang-tsin- 
tih (entering on virtue), and had him baptised in the name 
of God the Father, Son, and Spirit. Oh that this small 
Christian family may be the means of spreading the truth 
around them in this pagan land ! " 

The time had now come when Dr. Morrison felt he might 
gratify his long-deferred desire of visiting his native land, and 
associating once more for a brief period with his beloved 
distant friends. He therefore wrote to the Select Com 
mittee of the East India Company : " Having spent sixteen 
years in China, subjected to sedentary occupation, in trans 
lating, writing the Chinese Dictionary, and other works, and 
now feeling indications of my constitution being affected 
by the want of bodily exercise, I have determined to avail 
myself of the liberal permission granted by the Honourable 
the Court of Directors to visit England, with certain allow 
ances. I intend going in the Waterloo, with Captain 
Alsager. Thus 1 shall leave China in the end of December, 
1823. In the close of December, 1824, I purpose to quit 
England and return to China, via. Bengal ; by which means 
I hope to resume my duties in the Factory in August, 1825. 
" For the benefit of Chinese literature in England, I pur 
pose taking thither and leaving there my Chinese library, 
consisting of several thousand volumes, to ship which on 
board the Waterloo I request the Committee s permission. 
And if the Committee can authorise me to draw such part 
of my allowance during absence as they may see fit, in 
England, on my arrival there, it will be a great accommoda 
tion to me, and will be considered a favour." 

The Select Committee willingly granted all he desired. 
He sailed in the Company s ship Waterloo early in December, 
1823, and arrived in England in March, 1824, accompanied 
by a Chinese servant who had lived with him for several 



152 ROBERT MORRISON. 

years, and had made a consistent profession of Christianity. 
One deep regret he had in leaving China, that he was unable 
to leave behind him a missionary to continue his work in 
Canton or Macao. He had urgently besought the societies 
of England and America to appoint a helper, who might be 
his successor in the event of his death, but no provision had 
yet been made. He therefore ordained Leang Afa to the 
office of Evangelist. He had maintained a good confession 
for eight years, and he was now commissioned to carry on 
spiritual work amongst his countrymen in Canton as oppor 
tunities allowed. 





CHAPTER XI. 
WORK IN ENGLAXD. 

" I would not have this perfect love of ours 
Grow from a single root, a single stem, 
Bearing no goodly fruit, but only flowers 
That idly hide life s iron diadem : 
It should grow always, like that Eastern tree 
Whose limbs take root and spread forth constantly; 
That love for one, from which there doth not spring 
Wide love for all, is but a worthless thing." LOWELL. 

^TMIE reputation which Dr. Morrison had won for himself, 
for his devotion as a Christian missionary, and his 
erudition as a philologist, secured him, on his arrival in 
England, a gratifying reception from persons of all ranks, 
and from many philanthropic and learned societies. 
Trouble and vexation, however, attended his arrival with 
regard to the enormous Chinese library he had brought 
with him. Previous to leaving China he had stated to the 
British authorities his object in bringing it to England, 
which was to present it to some public institution, by which 
it might be made accessible to all desirous of learning the 
Chinese language. It was a valuable collection of books. 
Many of them had been obtained with great difficulty, as 
the natives were by law forbidden to sell their books to 



154 ROBERT MORRISON. 

foreigners. Some of the works were rare and expensive, 
so that the cost to Dr. Morrison had been upwards of two 
thousand pounds. His design as to the library being stated 
to the Lords of the Treasury, a remission of the duty 
levied on foreign books was sought. Grave objections 
were entertained as to giving this permission, and Dr. 
Morrison was kept in suspense for some time, only to be 
informed that the library would be allowed to pass duty 
free on application from the public body for whom it was 
designed. This was tantalising in the extreme ; the public 
body had not yet been found that would accept such a gift, 
and Dr. Morrison was not prepared to pay the large sum 
which was required to free the books from the hands of 
Custom House officers. Looking back upon the occurrence, 
it seems a paltry method of treating a liberal offer for the 
public good, to insist on a tax, simply because the bene 
volence is the act of an individual, rather than an association 
of individuals under some collective name. He was so 
discouraged as to have made up his mind to pay the duty, 
when a number of gentlemen, especially his old friend 
Sir George Staunton, pressed the matter so strongly upon 
members of the Ministry, that the books were allowed to 
pass free, and were deposited in a room on the premises of 
the London Missionary Society until they could be satis 
factorily disposed of. This matter settled, no less an 
honour was to be offered to Dr. Morrison than to be 
presented to His Majesty the King. Sir George conveyed 
the news to him in these words : " Mr. Wynn has very 
handsomely agreed to present you himself to the King on 
Wednesday, and to consult with Mr. Peel about the best 
mode of laying before His Majesty your translation of the 
Scriptures. Under these circumstances it might not be 
necessary for me to go; but as you are a stranger, Mr. 
Wynn wishes me to accompany you in order to ensure 
your finding him, and putting you at the proper moment 
into his hands, and this I shall be happy to do, and shall 



WORK IN ENGLAND. 



155 



therefore, as before settled, call for you in Berners Street, 
on Wednesday, at half-past one." 

At the appointed time Dr. Morrison accompanied Sir 
George Staunton to the Levee ; and on being presented to 
the King, His Majesty recognised him in a manner which 
showed he was well acquainted with his merits and the value 
of his public services. He very graciously accepted a copy 
of the translation of the Bible and a map of Pekin, which 







C ll.NEbE BOOKSELLER. 



were acknowledged in the following letters, the first from 
the Right Hon. Sir R. Peel, then Home Secretary, and 
afterwards Prime Minister, and the other from Dr. Sumner, 
afterwards Archbishop of Canterbury : 

"To Sir George Staunton, Bart., etc., etc. 

"WHITEHALL, April i2t/i, 1824. 

" My dear Sir, In laying before His Majesty the 
Chinese Bible, I have not failed to mention to His Majesty 
the very singular and meritorious exertions which have 



156 ROBERT MORRISON. 

been made by Dr. Morrison to promote religion and 
literature in the East. 

" His Majesty has commanded me to convey through 
you to Dr. Morrison the expression of his marked approba 
tion of that gentleman s distinguished and useful labours. 
" I have the honour to be, my dear Sir, 

"Your most faithful and obedient servant, 

" ROBERT PEEL." 

" To the Rev. R. Morrison, D.D., etc. 

"CARLTON PALACE, April \\tJi, 1824. 
" Sir, I have received His Majesty s commands to convey 
to you His Majesty s acknowledgments, and to express his 
sense of your attention in presenting, through Mr. Peel, a 
copy of. your Chinese Bible. 

" His Majesty has been pleased to direct me to take it 
into my particular care, as an important and valuable 
addition to his library. 

" I have the honour to be, Sir, 

" Your obedient and faithful servant, 

" CHARLES R. SUMNER, Librarian" 

The Select Committee of the East India Company also 
introduced Mr. Morrison to the Court of Directors in the 
following flattering words, showing how groundless had been 
all the fears entertained that his official connection with the 
Company would be inimical to its commercial interests : 

" December 5th, 1823. We cannot permit Dr. Morrison 
to depart from the situation he has held for sixteen years in 
this establishment, with eminent advantage to the interests 
of the Honourable Company, without expressing the strong 
sense we entertain of the importance of his services, and of 
the perfect satisfaction we have derived from his abilities 
and general deportment during his residence in this country. 
We trust, therefore, we may be permitted to introduce Dr. 
Morrison to the notice of your Honourable Court as a 
gentleman meriting your best attentions." 






WORK IN ENGLAND. 157 

This was signed by all the members of the Select Com 
mittee, and consequently from the Directors as a body and 
from many of them personally he received attentive courtesy. 
The Court allowed him half his income while on furlough, 
and he was invited to a public dinner given in his honour 
by the Directors, where he formed acquaintance with some 
of the most distinguished personages of the time. Public 
engagements crowded upon him, leaving him no opportunity 
for rest, or for enjoying private fellowship with his friends. 
As soon as hj could tear himself from pressing engagements 
in London he went down to his native county, Northumber 
land, and in Newcastle found himself again amongst many 
friends and relatives, who accorded him an enthusiastic 
reception. He arrived on April i8th, and on the Sab 
bath preached to crowded congregations, hundreds being 
unable to gain admission. He proceeded, on the 23rd, to 
Edinburgh, to visit his daughter, and, accompanied by her, 
returned to Newcastle, en route to Manchester, in order to 
take with him to London his son, to be present at the 
meetings of the various benevolent and religious societies 
in May. He was waited upon by the civil authorities, and 
invited to a public dinner given in honour of his visit. 
One gentleman still survives who recollects, with great 
distinctness, this visit to Newcastle. The venerable and 
much-esteemed Rev. ]. C. Bruce, D.D., LL.D., etc., etc., 
remembers Dr. Morrison paying a visit to his father s house, 
and says of his appearance : " As I remember him, he was 
a well-formed man about middle size, with dark and rather 
curly hair." Dr. Bruce also possesses a copy of his translation 
of the Bible and the Anglo-Chinese Dictionary. 

In reference to this visit he wrote to Sir G. Staunton : 
" My reception in this town is as kind as I could possibly 
wish. It is interesting to me to revisit the streets and fields 
where I lived happily as a poor bashful boy, thirty years 
ago." His experiences in revisiting old haunts he afterwards 
described in writing to his niece on his return to China : 



158 ROBERT MORRISON. 

" I felt deep interest in travelling over again the walks of my 
boyhood : St. John s Church, the Forth, Maiden Lane, the 
riverside, once so lovely to me ; now, the dirty new coal 
shaft has disfigured all the high bank healthy walks, with 
the river between and the windmill hills opposite. At four 
or five in the morning, winter and summer, have I sallied 
forth to the walks I have now alluded to but ah ! how 
changed the circumstances. Holy Scripture, prayer, the 
Sabbath, and the assembly of God s people were then my 
delight days never to return. But there is a better country, 
Hannah, and in China I am as near to it as in England." 

He was overwhelmed with solicitations from all parts of 
England to preach and speak on behalf of various missionary 
and other societies, and he was obliged to appeal to his 
friends to be more considerate of his strength and ability. 
Wherever he went his presence was hailed with overflowing 
and devout enthusiasm, and the claims of China to the 
Gospel more fully acknowledged. He attended the May 
meetings of several of the leading religious societies, 
including those of the London Missionary, the British and 
Foreign Bible, the Religious Tract, the Prayer Book and 
Homily, and the Port of London Societies, with all of which 
he had become closely associated by his work in China, and 
which bonds were drawn the closer the longer he lived. In 
all these meetings the references to Dr. Morrison and his 
work were so eloquent, and were received with such 
enthusiastic applause, that his retiring modesty was very 
much tried. One interesting incident was afterwards re 
corded by the Rev. T. S. Grimshaw, in relation to the 
anniversary meeting of the Bible Society. He says : " The 
day had been signalised by Dr. Morrison having presented 
to Lord Teignmouth, the President, before a crowded and 
distinguished auditory, the Chinese version of the Bible, 
executed jointly by himself and the late Dr. Milne. The 
undertaking was said to have been the result of nearly twenty 
years laborious toil and study, and justly considered to be 






WORK IN ENGLAND. 159 

an extraordinary monument of Christian piety and perse 
verance. Never shall I forget the deep interest of that 
impressive occasion. Dr. Morrison appeared in the front 
of the platform, holding the precious volume in his hand. 
Beside him stood his youthful son, brought forward, as it 
were, like another Hannibal, not indeed to stand pledged 
against his country s foes, but to be consecrated, on the 
altar of the Bible Society, against those of his Redeemer, 
and to share with his father in the honour of extending 
His everlasting kingdom. . . . Mr. Butterworth stated the 
following fact : It is now many years ago that, in visiting 
the library of the British Museum, I frequently saw a young 
man, who appeared to be deeply occupied in his studies. 
The book he was reading was in a language and character 
totally unknown to me. My curiosity was awakened, and 
apologising to him for the liberty I was taking, I ventured 
to ask what was the language that engaged so much of his 
attention. " The Chinese," he modestly replied. " And do 
you understand the language ? " I said. " I am trying to 
understand it," he replied, " but it is attended with singular 
difficulty." "And what may be your object," I asked, "in 
studying a language so proverbially difficult of attainment, 
and considered to be even insuperable to European talent 
and industry? " " I can scarcely define my motives," he re 
marked ; " all that I know is that my mind is powerfully 
wrought upon by some strong and indescribable impulse; 
and if the language be capable of being surmounted by 
human zeal and perseverance I mean to make the experiment. 
What may be the final result time only can develop. I 
have as yet no determinate object in contemplation beyond 
the acquisition of the language itself." Little did I think 
that I then beheld the germ, as it were, of this under 
taking, the completion of which we have witnessed this 
day, that such small beginnings would lead to such mighty 
results, and that I saw before me the honoured instru 
ment, raised up by the Providence of God, for enlightening 



160 ROBERT MORRISON. 

so large a portion of the human race, and bringing them 
under the dominion of the truths of the Gospel. " 

The remainder of the year was spent in visits to France, 
Ireland, Scotland, and all parts of England, with a view to 
excite deeper interest in the spiritual condition of China 
and other Oriental nations. With an entire disregard of 
his own ease, Dr. Morrison powerfully advocated the claims 
of the heathen, urging the various Christian Churches to 
renewed efforts to evangelise the far-distant and ancient 
countries of the East. As a result of his labours a very 
large and widespread interest was awakened respecting the 
social and religious condition of a people concerning whom 
till then so little had been known. Several young men 
of piety and promise were led to devote themselves to 
mission work, who became subsequently successful and 
honoured instruments of spreading the Gospel in the East. 
Associations were also formed in large cities to aid the 
work of the Anglo-Chinese College at Malacca, and the 
missionary spirit throughout the land was greatly stimulated. 
Dr. Morrison says that for some months he " lived mostly 
in stage-coaches and inns," his letters were hurried and 
brief, and his life was an unbroken round of engagements. 
To extend a knowledge of China and the diffusion of 
Christianity, he crossed to France, being furnished by Sir 
George Staunton and other friends with letters of intro 
duction to several distinguished personages in Paris. In 
crossing over to Calais he met with Lord William and 
Lady Bentinck, who offered him great attentions, taking 
him to their own hotel, and procuring for him the services 
of an agreeable guide and interpreter while he was in Paris. 
Lady Bentinck entered most sympathetically into his views 
for the enlightenment of the lands of the East, and when 
afterwards her husband was Governor-General of India, she 
fervently strove to use her influence in encouraging efforts 
for the diffusion of knowledge and religion. 

In Paris he had interviews wiih, and received much 



IVOR K IN ENGLAND. 161 

courtesy from, Baron Humholdt, M. Remusat, M. Klaproth, 
Baron de Stael, M. de Saci, and other of the leading 
literary men of France. He was introduced to the Asiatic 
Society, the National Society, and others, and he returned 
to England satisfied that he had produced a deep impres 
sion on many minds favourable to efforts for the moral 
elevation of the East. On his return from France he 
hastened to Ireland, preaching at Bath, Bristol, and Liver 
pool on the way, to large and crowded congregations. In 
Ireland great enthusiasm was aroused wherever he went. 
In Dublin he preached twice, and attended four meetings ; 
and in these, as in all others in Ireland, the various 
denominations, not excepting the Established Church, vied 
with each other to do him honour. He spent two days 
with the Earl of Roden at Tullymore Park, then went to 
Belfast, and preached in Dr. Hanna s church, and from 
there went to the Giant s Causeway to inspect that most 
wonderful natural phenomenon, and then crossed over in 
a steamer to Greenock. 

In Scotland he visited Glasgow, Edinburgh, and Perth, 
preaching and speaking everywhere as to his great Mission ; 
and went northwards to Aberdeen to see the orphan 
children of Dr. Milne, in whom he took an affectionate 
interest, and earnestly enjoined upon his own children to 
cherish towards them a fraternal regard. Scotland, like 
Paris and Dublin, which he had already visited, poured 
out profuse tributes of admiration for his work; and 
amongst many invitations from distinguished persons was 
one from Sir Walter Scott, requesting him to visit him at 
Abbotsford. This courtesy, however, with many others, he 
was obliged to decline. 

He was greatly encouraged by a gift of fifteen hundred 
pounds from Lord Kingborough towards the Anglo-Chinese 
College, and also three hundred volumes of valuable books 
for the library of the College. Sir George Staunton also 
contributed two hundred pounds, in addition to previous 

ii 



1 62 ROBERT MORRISON. 

liberal gifts towards the same institution. The British and 
Foreign Bible Society voted a further sum of a thousand 
pounds to aid him in the circulation of the Scriptures, and 
authorised him to employ agents and colporteurs as he 
might find openings for them, to be usefully engaged in 
such work. Much other encouragement and help was 
volunteered for the furtherance of the objects he had so 
much at heart. 

He was increasingly anxious as to the destination of his 
vast accumulation of Chinese books, which lay in the 
meantime in the premises of the London Missionary 
Society. He had hoped to have induced one of the great 
national Universities to establish a Chinese Professorship, 
and to have accepted the library in connection therewith. 
This hope was not to be realised for at least two genera 
tions. The learned and religious mind of England was as 
yet but little prepared to adopt or embody the broad views 
of the large heart of the Chinese missionary as to the future 
of China, and the disposition of the library became a diffi 
cult problem. Ultimately it was presented to the Council 
of University College, London, and called " The Morrison 
Library," on the condition that it might be used by students 
of any denomination free of charge. 

He preached one Sunday in Dr. Waugh s church, and 
revived many tender recollections in his mind. The 
venerable minister, then in extreme age, was present, and 
afterwards told him that his understanding and heart 
approved of every sentiment, and that if he could have a 
copy of the sermon he would print it. 

Various religious bodies sought conferences with Dr. 
Morrison as to the best methods of carrying out their 
existing methods for the evangelisation of the East, or as 
to any more efficient means which might be adopted. One 
of his suggestions to promote Christianity in the East, 
which, like some other grand projects, was before its time, 
was the establishment of what was called " The Language 



WORK IN ENGLAND. 163 

Institution." The object of this effort was stated as a plan 
" for a more extensive diffusion of Divine truth, by means 
of a society which should promote the cultivation of all 
the languages of mankind, and afford to those benevolent 
persons who leave their native country with a view of 
imparting to the heathen the knowledge of Christianity 
every degree of assistance before they quit their native 
country." He was urged to write an appeal on this project 
by the London, the Church, the Baptist, and the Wesleyan 
Missionary Societies, and the Society was launched under 
the high patronage of Earl Roden, Lords Calthorpe and 
Bexley, Sir George Staunton, Sir T. Stamford Raffles, 
Sir R. H. Inglis, Barts., Mr. W. Wilberforce, and many 
other distinguished philanthropists. A suitable building 
was taken in Holborn, and the business of the Society set 
on foot. Dr. Morrison granted the Society the use of his 
library and museum, and opened the Chinese department 
by a course of lectures extending over three months. 
Thirteen students attentively followed him through this 
course, four of whom were dedicated as Christian 
missionaries in Malacca and the Indian Archipelago. Dr. 
Morrison s services were so eagerly sought, and were 
deemed so important, that he was induced to prolong his 
stay in England for another year, and he formed classes of 
young men and women, to whom he gave instruction on 
subjects relating to mission life among the heathen. He 
entertained the strongest conviction that women could 
never be elevated and sanctified in Eastern countries, except 
largely through the agency of Christian women. This con 
viction had been impressed on him by his observance of 
the social seclusion of married women, and of the super 
stitions which mixed themselves with their lives from their 
marriage day. When a marriage engagement was formed 
for a Chinese girl, judicial astrologers were consulted, horo 
scopes were compared, and every magical art exhausted 
in order to select a lucky day, and to secure this the cere- 



1 64 ROBERT MORRISON. 

mony was sometimes postponed for months. When the 
wedding day arrived presents were sent to the house of 
the bridegroom and of the bride. When the evening arrived 
the bridegroom came with an ornamented sedan and a 
cavalcade of lanterns, music, etc., to fetch home his spouse. 
On reaching his residence the bride was carried into the 
house over a pan of burning charcoal, which was on the 
threshold. From this time the Chinese woman was shut 
out from social intercourse, and found her chief delight, 
apart from family ties, in observing the idolatrous and 
superstitious rites of Buddhism. Dr. Morrison early per 
ceived the importance of Christian ladies being employed 
to find access to the hearts of Eastern women and influence 
them towards the Gospel. 

The Language Institution did not long continue after his 
return to China ; but through its instrumentality, during its 
brief existence, till 1828, several eminent missionaries were 
partially prepared and fitted for their great work. The Rev. 
Samuel Dyer, for sixteen years a devoted and successful 
missionary in Penang, testified that he and his wife found 
Dr. Morrison s lectures of such advantage, that they were 
able to converse with the people in six or seven weeks after 
their arrival, and that Mr. Dyer then preached in the 
langunge so as to be understood. 

In consequence of Dr. Morrison s determination to remain 
a longer period in England, he removed to a quiet house 
in Hackney, attending, however, thrice a week to lecture at 
the Institution, and on the other three days teaching a class 
of ladies at his own house, who were studying the language 
with a view of going into the mission field. He also fulfilled 
many public engagements, wrote many papers in magazines 
on the language, religions, and philosophies of China, and 
issued two or three books on similar subjects. The strongest 
constitution could not bear so great and prolonged a strain, 
and it is not surprising that he was attacked by an illness 
which excited serious apprehensions on his behalf. He was 



1 66 ROBERT MORRISON. 

induced to accept the oft-repeated invitation to spend a few 
days with Sir George Staunton at Leigh Park, Hampshire. 
His stay of less than a week at this delightful residence was 
the longest interval of rest that he was allowed to indulge in 
during his two years furlough in England. He was obliged 
to decline other opportunities of social enjoyment, only 
allowing himself respite from public duties for a very brief 
visit to Mr. Wilberforce, and to the Rev. C. Simeon, at 
Cambridge. 

The London Missionary Society conferred on him the 
honour, although contrary to its rules, of appointing him one 
of its Directors ; and the Royal Society also spontaneously 
elected him a Fellow of its learned body. In common with 
all great public benefactors who have been successful in 
their work, he had to endure coldness and indifference from 
some quarters and contrary criticism from others. This led 
to a vigorous article appearing in a journal, setting forth in 
sympathetic words the great services he had rendered to the 
world. A few paragraphs from this article will express the 
prevailing opinion of his merits as a linguist and a missionary : 
" We have heard it well remarked that a man of talents and 
learning, who devotes them to the cause of religion, is, in 
the present day, situated something like the first heathen 
philosophers who embraced the faith of the despised Naza- 
rene he is frowned upon and contemned by his brethren 
of the schools. If the projects and performances of Dr. 
Morrison had originated with some sapient professor, too 
enlightened to discern the inferiority of Confucius to Christ, 
is there a man upon earth who does not believe that long 
ere now, every review, every magazine, every newspaper, 
would have sounded his praises all over the civilised world ? 
. . . Quickly as we must come to a conclusion we cannot 
refrain from looking back upon what has been done. Here 
is the Chinese language acquired ; here are tracts in that 
language compiled ; the Holy Scriptures translated into it ; 
a grammar and dictionary of it composed, filling six quarto 



WORK IN ENGLAND. 167 

volumes ; several other works written or translated in that 
most difficult of all tongues ; the great scheme of a college 
formed and brought into active operation ; and all this by 
the labours of Dr. Morrison and a colleague, acting under 
his directions. Is it possible not to feel astonished at such 
achievements of individual talents and industry ? Why, we 
place in the highest rank of men of letters, we describe as 
a colossus of literature, the great English lexicographer, 
Dr. Johnson ; and he deserves it at our hands. We venerate 
the scholars who accomplished the translation of the Scrip 
tures into their and our native tongue, and we do no more 
than what is just. But how much less than justice shall we 
do if, professing to desire the extension of Christianity or 
even literature, we fail to regard with high reverence, and to 
help with hearty co-operation, the man who, almost with 
out assistance, has reduced to a system for foreigners, and 
enriched with an entire translation of the Bible for natives, 
the language of the greatest empire in the world." 

During his residence in England he was married to Miss 
Eliza Armstrong, of Liverpool, a lady who proved a most 
amiable and congenial partner; and, early in 1826, he pre 
pared to return with her and his children, whom he pro 
posed to train for mission work as his successors in China. 
Letters of farewell and benediction poured upon him from 
distinguished scholars and philanthropists, and benevolent 
societies held meetings to commend him to God, and to 
offer him tender and affectionate good-will. One extract 
from the letter of Dr. Adam Clarke, the commentator, must 
suffice as a specimen of many friendly communications. Re 
ferring to his Commentary on the Holy Scriptures, he says : 

" One thing you must indulge me in, otherwise you will put 
me to pain. For some time I have purposed to beg your 
acceptance of a copy of this work for your own library. I 
am sorry it is not a large-paper copy, but there is not one ot 
them left they have long been out of print. I present this, 
out of high respect for your labours, and affection for your 



1 68 ROBERT MORRISON. 

person. I have ordered it in good boards, for it could not 
(a few parts excepted) be bound without being spoiled ; as 
the ink of the latter parts, not being sufficiently dried, would 
set-off. Your prayer for me, at the conclusion of your note, 
is worth a thousand copies of my work. I return you mine, 
in your own words : May the power of Christ rest upon 
your person, your family, and your abundant labours. You 
had two lovely children, I think the finest I ever saw. I 
have carried them on my knees, kissed them often, and have 
borne them in my arms. It is many years since I saw 
them, and they can have no remembrance of me : please to 
tell them, however, that they have an old man s blessing 
and his heartiest prayers. When you sail, may His presence 
go with you, and give you rest. Amen." 

According to usual etiquette, Dr. Morrison notified to 
the Court of Directors of the East India Company his 
intention of returning to China, requesting that he might 
be permitted to resume his duties at the Factory, and that 
his family might be allowed to accompany him. He waited 
before making final arrangements for the voyage, until he 
received an official answer to his application, not, however, 
anticipating any hesitation in granting his request. He 
was, therefore, much surprised on being informed that he 
was permitted to return in the Company s service, " for the 
term of three years," but that his two children were not 
permitted to return with him. Dr. Morrison submitted 
with as much grace as possible to this ungracious refusal, 
contenting himself with sending a memorial to the Directors, 
recalling the services he had rendered to the Company in 
China for sixteen years, and expressing his disappointment 
that so small a favour had been refused. To this applica 
tion no answer was vouchsafed for some weeks, when he 
received a reply stating that under all the circumstances of 
the case he was permitted to take his two elder children 
back with him. Thus he was spared the pang of being 
again separated from them. 



WORK IN ENGLAND. 169 

A valedictory service, held in Hoxton Chapel, and at 
tended by many eminent ministers, the venerable Dr. Waugh 
amongst them, was profoundly affecting. Dr. Morrison 
gave a powerful address containing these words : " Who are 
we that we should go to the kings of the heathen nations 
and attempt to deliver the people from heathen bondage ? 
We have no authority from princes or from kings ; we are 
not eloquent, we have no diplomatic finesse or chicanery, 
we are not men of address, and if we had all these things 
we should renounce all dependence upon them. But we 
rely on the presence of that God who said to Moses, Now 
therefore go, and I will be with thy mouth, and teach thee 
what thou shalt say. God s presence is our hope, else we 
should say, If Thy presence go not with us, carry us not up 
hence." He concluded by saying : " Let us look to Christ 
to Christ in all His love and mercy and mediatorial work. 
Let this ever dwell in our hearts. So shall we be cheered 
in every bereavement, and find ourselves at home in every 
clime. Farewell ! " 

On April 2ist, 1826, he and his partner and children, 
accompanied by a party of friends, went down to Gravesend. 
He intended to sail by the Orwell, a ship in poor repute 
with seamen, on account of its inferior accommodation ; but 
the captain was a religious man, and Dr. Morrison preferred 
congenial company to creature comforts. The vessel, how 
ever, was detained at Gravesend until May ist. As he was 
waiting to sail, he was greatly pleased to receive from his 
tried and proved friend, Sir G. Staunton, the present of a 
beautiful and valuable inkstand, which he acknowledged 
in these words : " I have received the beautiful inkstand 
which you have sent me, and done me the honour to 
inscribe with your own name. In China and in England 
you have for twenty years condescended, I may say (con 
sidering my humble circumstances), to favour me with your 
friendship. This last token of your kind regard shall be 
preserved in my family as a memento of your goodness to 



170 ROBERT MORRISON. 

me. Accept, dear Sir George, of my sincerely grateful 
thanks for all your kindness, and for your substantial aid 
to the cause of our holy religion, through me, its humble 
servant. And accept of my best thanks for this parting 
expression of your affectionate friendship. May the 
Divine blessing of God our Saviour rest upon you ! " 

He was accompanied to Gravesend by a number of old 
and tried friends. He says : " To-day, about eleven o clock, 
a party of friends, Revs. G. and H. Burder, Townley, and 
others, knelt down and commended us to God s gracious 
care. From the room our ship, the Onvell, is in sight, and 
next to her another China ship, the General Harris, which 
will sail before us. In her Sir W. Fraser goes as passenger. 
He is an old acquaintance, and is to be our chief authority 
in the English Factory." 

On July 24th, as the ship pursued its course, a serious 
mutiny occurred on board. The men alleged they had 
been treated with harshness and tyranny, and some bold 
spirits had enticed their companions to swear an oath on 
the Bible to stand by each other. A plot was laid to resist 
the officers, and on the first pistol being fired at them it 
was arranged that every man should draw his knife and 
rush on his superiors, either to murder or overpower 
them. A consultation was called by the captain and officers, 
Dr. Morrison attending. Several pistols were fired, and, 
either by accident or design, one of them shattered the 
gunner s foot, which was afterwards amputated. Dr. Mor 
rison asked and obtained permission to go and reason with 
the mutineers, and proceeding to the forecastle he spoke 
to them with combined firmness and kindness, until he 
persuaded them to obey orders and work the ship. They 
left the forecastle to disperse to their work, when one of the 
chief mutineers held an iron weapon in the chief officer s 
face in a menacing attitude. He was seized, tied up, 
and flogged ; and three others who came to assist their 
eader shared the same fate, and were then put in irons. 



WORK IN ENGLAND. r?i 

There can be no doubt but that the composure and 
self-possession of Dr. Morrison on the occasion prevented 
much loss of life. As he fearlessly approached the angry 
mutineers they showed him no resistance, but listened with 
the utmost respect as he appealed to their better feelings, 
and urged them to return to their duty. He had great 
reward for his efforts in the conversion of one of the sailors. 
He says : " The gunner has been awakened to the most 
serious concern for the salvation of his soul, and is, I hope, 
a true penitent. I have visited, prayed with, and read good 
books to him daily, at his own desire. He has seen many 
wicked companions cut off in their sins, and, although he 
has lost a leg, blesses God that he was not shot dead on 
the spot. The blessed Saviour s full and free salvation, 
without works, has afforded peace to his mind." 

On August 8th the vessel anchored at Anjier, in the 
Straits of Sunda. Here the Rev. W. H. Medhurst was 
waiting to see and confer with Dr. Morrison. He was 
labouring in Java amidst much discouragement. He 
chiefly went from door to door preaching Jesus to the 
Chinese and the Malays in their homes, but with small 
visible success. 

On August 2oth, after a trying voyage of nearly five 
months, Dr. Morrison and his family landed at Singapore, 
and were hospitably entertained by Captain Flint, the 
brother-in-law of Sir T. Stamford Raffles. Here they stayed 
about a fortnight, and Dr. Morrison took the opportunity of 
ascertaining how far the plans put into operation by Sir 
T. S. Raffles and himself had been carried out. He was 
bitterly grieved and disappointed at the result. He found 
that the large funds had been nearly all expended in the 
erection of buildings which were not half finished, while the 
Malayan professor was drawing his salary without attempting 
to discharge any duty. A huge tract of land granted by the 
late governor, and on which Dr. Morrison had laid out 
large sums of money, had been entirely neglected by the 



172 ROBERT MORRISON. 

agent in charge of it, and the various measures taken by 
Sir Stamford to improve the moral atmosphere of the settle 
ment had been allowed to fall into neglect. The work 
seemed to require entire reorganisation. Dr. Morrison 
secured the assistance of the Rev. Robert Burn, chaplain to 
the settlement, a man of piety and ability, and who entered 
warmly into the scheme. He became a trustee of the 
Institution, and manifested the deepest interest in its success. 
Dr. Morrison purchased at his own expense a portion of 
land near the Chinese quarter, to be occupied as a mission 
station. He proceeded with his family to Macao, and here 
experienced further disappointment. He found his house 
and furniture in such a state of dilapidation as to require 
the former to be virtually rebuilt, and the other to be 
renewed. His books also were found to be almost utterly 
ruined by white ants and other insects, which abound in 
Eastern climes. As quickly as possible he made arrange 
ments for the comfortable settlement of his family, and then 
proceeded to Canton, entering upon his duties there in 
October. 

Dr. Morrison wrote to the London Missionary Society a 
very cheering and interesting account of Leang Afa, whom 
he left in charge of the religious work of the Mission : " On 
September 6th we left Singapore, and on the evening of the 
i gth landed at Macao. All my former native domestics 
and my old Chinese teacher were waiting to receive me 
The next day the native Christian, Leang Afa, made his 
appearance, and in social prayer we returned thanks to God 
our Saviour for His kind preservation of our lives, and that 
our minds were still kept looking to Jesus. The following 
Sabbath I recommenced the religious services in which we 
formerly used to engage. 

"Afa presented me with a small Chinese volume, con 
taining explanatory notes to the Book of Hebrews, which he 
had composed during my absence. It is designed to com 
municate to pagans those views of religion which he derived 



H ORK IN ENGLAND. i?3 

from the late lamented Milne. I have read a part of it, 
and considering the few advantages Afa has had, the work 
evinces that he has made the Bible his study, although 
some parts of his composition receive a shade of colour in 
the phraseology from his recent paganism. He wrote also 
a small essay in favour of the Christian religion, which he 
entitled The True Principle of the World s Salvation. " 

Leang Afa had been most faithful and diligent in the 
discharge of the important duties with which he had been 
entrusted. He gave a most interesting account of conver 
sations he had held with his countrymen on the subject of 
religion. One of these took place in a passage boat. Afa 
happened to be reading the Evangelist Mark. A fellow 
passenger took up the book and cast his eyes over chapter ix., 
verse 9 : " Till the Son of man be risen from the dead." 
The inquirer asked what the rising from the dead meant. 
Afa declared the death and resurrection of Jesus to make 
atonement for the sins of men, confessed his own faith, and 
preached salvation to all those who believed in His name. 
He spoke also of the miracles of mercy done by Jesus. His 
companion asked if he had seen these miracles with his own 
eyes. "No," said Afa, " they are related in the sacred books, 
which were published in the land of Judea, situated in the 
Western world, and many nations believed them to be true." 
" Have you never read," said his critic, " what the sage 
Mangtse said ? It would be better for mankind to have 
no books than to believe everything contained in books. 
Although the Western nations believe these books, it is not 
necessary that we Chinese should believe them. Do you 
believe ? " To this Afa replied : " Although I never saw the 
things recorded, I most firmly believe the principles and 
doctrines contained in the Bible. I know that I have been 
a very wicked man, and if there be no Saviour to make 
atonement for sin it would be impossible for me to escape 
the righteous judgment of God." 

Dr. Morrison found also that in the hearts of others the 



174 ROBERT MORRISON 

truths he had imparted to them had taken firm hold, and 
especially so in the case of the person who first assisted him 
in writing out the Chinese New Testament for the press. 

The gentlemen of the Factory at Canton gave him a 
cordial welcome, and, unsolicited, made a subscription 
in behalf of the College at Malacca, which amounted to 
upwards of five hundred pounds. 

Acting upon the instructions he had received from the 
Bible Society, he arranged for the Rev. W. H. Medhurst 
(afterwards D.D.), who was then at Java, to take a tour 
throughout the Indian Archipelago, visiting Borneo, Siam, 
and other places, to distribute copies of the Scriptures and 
various religious tracts and treatises. The Mission press at 
Malacca was kept busily at work for this purpose, and many 
thousands of pages of Christian literature were thrown off 
by it. Than Mr. Medhurst, no one more suitable for such 
work could be found ; he had been ten years in the 
mission field, and had extraordinary knowledge of the 
Chinese language. 





CHAPTER XII. 

LETTERS TO HIS CHILDREN 

" The true ambition there alone resides, 
Where justice vindicates and wisdom guides; 
Where inward dignity joins outward state, 
Our purpose good, as our achievement great ; 
Where public blessings, public praise, attend, 
Where glory is our motive, not our end : 
Wouldst thou be famed ? have these high acts in view ; 
Brave men would act, though scandal would ensue." 

YOUNG. 

HITHERTO, Dr. Morrison has been presented in these 
pages in his public character as a missionary of the 
Cross. The dignity and uprightness of his conduct, 
the unswerving conscientiousness, and the untiring devotion 
to duty he ever displayed in his ministerial or literary 
labours, or in his service to the East India Company, have 
been abundantly illustrated. It is now needful to behold 
him in more private and tender relations, especially as 
manifesting the most affectionate concern and desire for 
the welfare of his children. Many letters are carefully 
preserved by his eldest and still surviving child, the Mary 
Rebecca to whom he refers in some of the extracts already 
presented. She and her brother, by being left motherless, 
drew out the tenderest sympathies of his nature towards 



1 76 ROBERT MORRISON. 

them, and caused him to yearn over their spiritual wel 
fare with a parental solicitude that was remarkable in its 
intensity. It was a rare thing for him to close a letter 
without seeking to impress upon them in some form the 
excellence of religion and the claims of the Saviour. Many 
admonitions fraught with sound sense and sagacity also 
flowed from his pen as he wrote to them, and in the light 
of these letters he appears to have combined in himself the 
most stern and unyielding adherence to principle with the 
most gentle and amiable graces of character. A few ex 
tracts will be alike instructive and interesting. 

The following was written September i4th, 1824, when 
his son was at Mill Hill School : 

" It is gratifying to me that Mary and you feel interested 
in missionaries and the Madagascar boys, because Missions 
are the cause of God. And, my dear boy John, to please 
God, to think and say and do what He approves, is at once 
wisdom and happiness. I hope, Johnny, you and Bee have 
not forgotten one sentence of prayer taught you in China 
after mamma s death ; it was this : Lord, help us to 
remember our mamma s instructions. If you remember 
and act upon mamma s instructions, my dear Johnny, I am 
sure you will be happy, because mamma led you to God 
and to Jesus. May the Lord help you, my dear children, 
to seek His favour as the chief good. 

" I hope, my dear, that you will advance in practical 
knowledge daily, and correct every succeeding day what 
you perceive wrong in your words or actions the preceding 
day. Consider that if Providence spare your life, you will 
have to provide for yourself by your own industry ; there 
fore make good use of your time, and behave so as to 
ensure the confidence and respect of your friends and 
acquaintances. Above all learn to look to the Almighty 
to guide you, keep you from evil, and bless you. God the 
Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit desires the welfare 
of us all, but we must be willing and obedient to the 



LETTERS TO HIS CHILDREN. 177 

voice of conscience, the strivings of the Holy Spirit, and 
the precepts of the Bible. May God for Christ s sake 
make you so. 

"Within the last few days we have received by two 
different ships letters from the Straits, from Mr. Collie and 
from Bee, but not a line from you. This has given me 
and mamma uneasiness about you. If it were intentional 
not to write or mere neglect, it is still equally undutiful. 
You should remember how much we love you and are 
interested about you, and not do anything to grieve us. Be 
careful, my dear Johnny, of giving way at any time to pride 
and passion. Pride is one of the most heinous sins in the 




BANGKOK, SIAM. 

sight of the Almighty. Make me happy, my beloved child, 
by listening to a father s counsel, and not forgetting the 
law of thy mother." 

In the year 1830 an opportunity came for Dr. Morrison s 
son to go to Siam, in connection with an American mer 
cantile expedition, and his father wrote to him on the 
subject as follows : " I was not by any means, my dear 
son, displeased with your notion of going to Siam. At the 
same time it did not seem a judicious resolution, considering 
your youth. I was pleased, my beloved boy, to see your 
zeal, although I had other plans for you. But plans are 
often rendered completely useless by some subsequent 
occurrence. To follow the leading of Providence is the 

12 



178 ROBERT MORRISON. 

best plan. If spared, it would be useful perhaps that you 
should see Europe again before you take a fixed position. 
But, on the other hand, you have your Bible and good 
European authors in every department of knowledge, and 
therefore, as long as health does not indicate the desirable 
ness of a change and you have work here, I do not lay any 
stress on your early return to Europe. Don t fag too hard, 
and, on the other hand, don t be lazy. There is a medium. 
Take care of your health with religious care. Don t let 
pride and the ambition of scholarship drive you to ex 
cessive labour. Let the love of Christ constrain you to 
spend and be spent for His cause. Fear not, only believe 
as you are in duty bound the gracious revelation of Divine 
mercy to sinners. Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye 
to the waters of life. You thirst, my son ? Drink then 
of Divine consolations, yea, drink abundantly whosoever 
will, let him take the water of life freely. " 

His son was at this time at the Anglo-Chinese College 
at Malacca, and was engaged in important duties there, but 
it was now getting time for him to be preparing for a 
definite calling in life. His father therefore wrote to 
him : " I am very well satisfied that you have made 
yourself useful in the College, but you must ere long turn 
your attention to a profession for your subsequent support. 
You are too young to go to Siam. Indeed, I see no utility 
in people moving about from place to place. When we 
have work to do we should attend to it, and not leave it in 
search of what may be more amusing and interesting." 

The following extract is excellent evidence of Dr. Mor 
rison s intense desire for his son to become thoroughly 
versed in the Holy Scriptures : 

" I send one of Mr. Bagster s editions of the Bible in 
English, which he calls the Comprehensive Bible. One 
has gone to the College, and the copy I now send I intend 
for your own use. Read, my dear son, the very instructive 
introduction, and compare parallel passages, so as to make 



LETTERS TO HIS CHILDREN. 179 

the Holy Bible familiar to your mind, and pray for God s 
blessing on your reading." 

Towards the end of 1832 it was decided for John Robert 
to join the expedition to Siam and other places in the East, 
and reluctantly his father consented to the engagement. He 
wrote concerning it to his daughter Mary Rebecca : 

" It is now seemingly decided that your brother should 
leave us awhile, and go among perfect strangers and people 
belonging to other nations. I have hesitated much, but 
incline to hope that the course I have advised is best for 
him, considering his intended pursuits as a Christian mer 
chant. I have advised his being a merchant with a constant 
reference to his being a merchant missionary, i.e. one who 
makes all his pursuits to bear upon the diffusion of the 
Christian religion in these parts of the world. I trust he 
will not be less zealous nor less useful because he is an 
unpaid lay missionary. If Providence should spare his life 
and make him prosperous, he may not only be himself 
independent, but may be a blessing to all our family, 
and also to the heathen. May God preserve him in the 
midst of all dangers and temptations to which he may be 
exposed." 

On the verge of starting on his journey the son received 
the following letter and rules of conduct from his anxious 
father : 

" As to your going I almost relent. I am afraid to trust 
you alone in such society. If you go the utmost vigilance 
and prayerfulness will be indispensable. God grant you 
grace to watch your heart and your tongue at all times. 
The Lord in rnercy direct us in all our ways." 

" RULES OF CONDUCT. 

" i. Mentally pray for Divine help in all affairs. 
" 2. Converse but do not dispute with strangers and 
foreigners. 



180 ROBERT MORRISON. 

" 3. Read each document carefully through to get the 
whole sense before you interpret it, for reading a part only 
one may hastily give a sense that the subsequent parts alter 
or modify, and then it appears as if one did not understand 
the language and only guessed at the sense. 

" 4. In difficult paragraphs consult if possible some native. 

" 5. Let important papers be well studied, and the Eng 
lish made as perfect as possible before delivering them 
in ; therefore hurry is to be avoided. Set about them 
immediately, for procrastination occasions hurry at last." 

As Mr. John Robert was accompanying the expedition in 
the capacity of interpreter and secretary, the force of these 
instructions will be readily recognised, and perhaps in them 
may be found the secret of both Dr. Morrison and his son s 
excellence as translators. 

"January ist, 1832. Another year has commenced its 
course according to our reckoning. The principle of halting 
awhile to review the past at any great interval of time what 
ever the reckoning may be a good one. The review of the 
past even in youth affords matter for sorrow and repentance 
and also for gratitude. 

" How much more then would one think in old age ! To 
be early instructed in the good way, and have an example 
set by parents, is a blessing, my dear John, for which you 
and your sister have to be thankful. May the Lord strengthen 
in your soul every good resolution, and through faith in 
Jesus give you the victory over every spiritual foe. Look 
to Jesus ! He is the Captain of your salvation. Join His 
standard, declare for His cause, and put yourself entirely 
under His orders and His protection. Halt no longer, my 
dear son, between two opinions. Give yourself to the Lord 
and to His Church unreservedly." 

That Dr. Morrison s repeated and earnest exhortations 
to his son to seek and follow the Lord fully were not 
without avail is shown by a passage occurring in a letter 
under date November 23rd, 1832 : 



LETTERS TO HIS CHILDREN. 181 

" I am glad you have come to the resolution, God helping 
you, to avow yourself a humble dependant upon the Saviour s 
death by commemorating the same and showing forth His 
death till He come." 

The following letter, under date September 6th, 1833, 
shows that in the earlier as in the later days of Christian 
Missions a Sadducean spirit was abroad, grudging the money 
spent, and heartlessly criticising those who were bravely 
doing their best, although hemmed in by difficulties : 

" Reform and economy seem to have engendered a 
heartless spirit of severity and suspicion often bordering on 
malice. The Christian Advocate, a rather talented paper, 
has week after week filled its columns with attacks on the 
London Missionary Society, in a most unchristian manner. 
The Directors have no doubt erred ; but who is perfect ? 
The repudiated bad missionaries have all assailed them 
under the generalship of a Mr. Forbes. Grace and peace 
be with you, my son. Oh, keep your heart in the fear of 
God with all diligence ! Neglect no means ; enter not into 
temptation ; seek not the approbation of the wicked ; imitate 
them not. Be simple and unaffected, but be not afraid of 
appearing singular." 

Dr. Morrison was most anxious that his son should 
be engaged in mission work, or that he should qualify 
himself for a life of usefulness in some relation in China. 
So he wrote to him under date September i2th, 1833 : 
" Remember my advice to speak Chinese as much as you 
can till you are quite fluent, and study a more audible 
elocution at all times. I also recommend to you what I 
never had time to do myself, but now regret it. Make a 
collection as they occur of pithy good sentences in all 
languages, that you would like to adopt as your own. Do 
so first in a sort of waste book without order, and if you 
have time hereafter you may arrange them under heads. 
Farewell, my dear son ; God bless you, and make you 
a blessing to your family, your kindred, and all with whom 



1 82 ROBERT MORRISON. 

you have to do. Not only do no evil, but ever study to do 
good. Let the love of Christ constrain you." 

His letters abound in brief, sententious, and important 
scraps of advice, which we may well believe were carefully 
treasured up by his children. The following are taken 
almost at random from a pile of letters addressed to them : 

" In your note you say, in haste. Don t get into a habit 
of making this apology or indeed any other in letters. Say 
the best and the most you can, and let it pass. I mean this 
as a good general rule." 

"Your remarks concerning the hostility to the Morrisons 
in certain quarters are, I fear, too true. At the same time, 
the other party are not what could be wished in respect of 
religious sentiment and Christian morality. We can be of 
no party which is against the truth ; we must ever be for 
the truth, and therefore cannot be acceptable to those who 
reject the truth of the Gospel." 

" Keep short accounts, my dear son, in the books entered 
on high. Every day settle carefully your private memoranda. 
Presume not on to-morrow. When I first came to China, 
I prayed three times a day ; I implored God s protection 
only for a few hours, from morning till noon, from noon till 
evening." 

One more extract from a letter written on board the 
Hercules at Lintin, after bidding farewell to his wife and 
younger children, will further illustrate the tenderness and 
depth of his domestic affection : 

" Yesterday morning at daylight I watched the Ing/is 
conveying you out of sight, with many tears and much 
prayer to God for you, my beloved wife, and our dear, dear 
children. John went to Macao to get me some clothes before 
I start for Canton. I am shut up in the cabin where you 
all slept the last few days. I have a Bible, however, and 
the History of the Sufferings of the Scottish Covenanters, 
in which I find great consolation. I hope the sweet 
presence of the blessed God is with you this day. 



LETTERS TO HTS CHILDREN. 



83 



" John has communicated your last message. By the 
pilot you say, Every one seems kind on board. Thank 
God ! I heartily and humbly bless the Lord that He has 
mingled much mercy with this trying occasion, especially 
in raising up kind friends. I purpose to give myself 
wholly to Chinese, and especially, as I before resolved, to 
the Bible. I should like to print an edition at our own 
press. May the Lord prosper the work of my hands." 

It will be seen, in subsequent pages, how well both of 
these children seem to have absorbed the precepts thus 
instilled into them, and how fully his earnest prayers for 
their welfare were fulfilled. 





CHAPTER XIII. 

RENEWED LABOUR. 

" There is a book 

By seraphs writ with beams of heavenly light, 
On which the eyes of God not rarely look, 
A chronicle of actions just and blight." COWPER. 

DR. MORRISON speedily settled down to his various 
duties and engagements in his chosen sphere. He 
spent half the year at Canton in attendance at the 
Factory, as his official duties required, from the arrival of the 
Company s ships in August until the last was despatched in 
February or March ; and then he went to Macao to rejoin 
his family. He had a busy life. He commenced the gigantic 
work of preparing a Commentary on the Bible in Chinese, 
and laboured at it with all the marvellous patience and 
assiduity of which he was capable. He conducted public 
and private worship with as great frequency as he could 
induce either Europeans or Chinese to attend, and he was 
in daily demand when in Canton to execute commissions 
for missionaries and friends at Penang, Malacca, Singapore, 
and many other places, who were obliged to send to Canton 
for domestic articles of nearly all kinds. Then he had to 
obtain all printing materials, books, teachers, and workmen, 
and keep all in active employment. Missionaries on the 



RENEWED LABOUR. 185 

other stations in the East applied to him for advice and 
direction in every matter of difficulty or intricacy, and his 
long experience and excellent judgment made him an in 
valuable counsellor on every question of Eastern mission 
work. 

He was much hampered also by adverse criticism from 
those who had little sympathy with Christian Missions, and 
by the superciliousness of some in the employ of the East 
India Company, who, while willing to avail themselves of 
his services as an unrivalled Chinese scholar, were yet 
disposed to scoff at him as a Christian advocate, and who, 
whilst making large fortunes out of the commerce carried 
on with China, could not be brought to aid in the attempt 
to enlighten the natives by the truth. Dr. Morrison says 
in his journal : 

" I have been reading on beware of covetousness (Luke 
xii. 15). Covetousness implies discontentedness. I thought 
of preparing an English sermon from those words, but I am 
afraid it may be too pointedly applicable to those who may 
be my hearers. 

" I met this morning with this little Chinese story : Hoo- 
shaou was a very poor man, yet he daily thanked Heaven 
for pure bliss. His wife said to him, We have daily only 
three meals of greens, rice, and water. What do you call 
pure bliss ? He replied, Happily we live in times of peace, 
and experience none of the miseries arising from conflicting 
armies ; happily there is nobody in our family that suffers 
from hunger and cold ; and happily none of us are laid on a 
bed of sickness nor immured in prison : if this is not pure 
bliss, I know not what it is. Though this is a pagan story, 
I think it a very edifying one. We have to thank Heaven 
for all that Hoo-shaou had and a great deal more." 

Christian sentiment in England at this time on the subject 
of liberal giving to the cause of God was not very elevated. 
Dr. Morrison published a tract entitled "Christian Devoted- 
ness," in which he urged strongly the propriety of all property 



1 86 ROBERT MORRISON. 

and riches being considered as from the Lord, and to be 
used in reference to Him ; in fact, of being devoted for 
Him and to Him. The Eclectic Reriew fiercely criticised 
the production, and said the man who wrote it could have 
no children and no living mother. Concerning this, Dr. 
Morrison says : " But I have a wife and children, and yet 
I am a good deal of an anti-earth-treasure-hoarder. But my 
principles go to lending to the Lord He will provide. 
Yes, say the others, by your instrumentality ; and so 
carping and caring becomes a duty imposed by Providence. 
Jehovah-jireh, says the Bible. Yes, says the commen 
tator ; the Lord will enable you to provide ; you are not to 
look beyond yourself for any provision. Now, I ask, does 
not this reasoning convict itself? for, trusting Providence, 
according to it, only means trusting to one s self; and the 
word of God is made just to mean nothing at all." 

About the same time also the Quarterly Review made an 
attack upon him as to the imperfections of his translation 
of the Bible. It taunted him with being " self-instructed," 
and that his " humble pretensions in any other case should 
have disarmed criticism." It also severely blamed almost 
every step hitherto taken by the Bible Society. It was a 
needlessly cruel attack. No one was ever more ready to 
admit the drawbacks of his translation than was Dr. Morrison, 
and all he ever professed to have done by it was to have 
laid a foundation on which others could build a more perfect 
superstructure. He felt this attack, therefore, most keenly, 
and wrote a reply to it, which was not published, but con 
tained the following paragraph: "What good scholar ever 
existed who was not in a great degree self-taught ? . . 
But putting this aside, who was to instruct the modern 
missionaries in Sanscrit, or Chinese, or Otaheitean, but the 
individuals themselves? There had been regularly edu 
cated civilians and commanders, and chaplains, too, in India, 
and commercial agents in China, long before the English 
missionaries were born ; but had they learned or had they 



ft iv - V * 




1 88 ROBERT MORRISON. 

provided means to teach those languages ? England had 
drunk Chinese tea, and raised millions of revenue from it, 
for a century; but England had not furnished one page, 
nor established a single school to teach Chinese, till a self- 
instructed English missionary did it." 

Such a reproach came with ill grace from a periodical 
which at the very time was edited by a man who, however 
much to be condemned for narrowness and asperity of 
spirit, was yet greatly to be commended for having raised 
himself from a shoemaker s bench to a high position in 
scholarship and authorship. 

As the East India Company was without a chaplain in 
Canton at this time, and usual prayers were therefore not 
read on the Lord s Day, Dr. Morrison offered to read the 
prayers and preach without any pecuniary reward until 
another chaplain could be obtained. He stated that un 
willingness to see public worship discontinued was the sole 
reason of his offer. He received the following answer from 
Sir W. Fraser, the President of the Select Committee : 

" I have mentioned to my colleagues the purport of your 
note, and they coincide in opinion with me that we are 
not authorised to accept your kind offer, which I am well 
assured was only made from the best motives and wishes 
for our welfare." Dr. Morrison remarks : " It is a lament 
able state of religious or irreligious feeling, that, in the true 
spirit of Popery, under no circumstances (except reading 
prayers over the dead) will they have communion with any 
who will not bow down to absolute authority, and yield an 
implicit uniformity. If such persons believe, they don t 
act upon the article in the Creed, communion of saints. " 

Under these circumstances a European gentleman offered 
his room to Dr. Morrison, and collected as many as he 
could for Divine service. About twenty attended, and very 
refreshing spiritual meetings were held. 

He was also able to gather a small company monthly to 
pray for the conversion of China. The Chinese converts 



RENEWED LABOUR. 189 

or inquirers, with about seven Europeans, were united in 
this first missionary prayer meeting in that great heathen 
nation. Every one took part, giving out a hymn, reading 
the Scriptures, or offering prayer. This meeting was fre 
quently a great refreshment to Dr. Morrison s spirit when 
he was tempted to despondency. 

At the beginning of 1827 a fire occurred in his neigh 
bour s rooms at Canton, and burnt into his apartments. 
All his books and many valuables were destroyed or 
rendered useless. A friend comforted him by saying it 
was a judgment upon him for being so vain of beautiful 
bindings. 

A new periodical, called the Canton Register, was com 
menced, to circulate in the British settlements of the East. 
It was chiefly a commercial paper, but Dr. Morrison was 
asked to contribute to it regularly, and to this he agreed on 
the condition that he should be fully at liberty to express 
his opinions on the moral and religious subjects it was the 
object of his life to promote. This opportunity was granted 
him, with an offer of three hundred dollars a year to be 
bestowed on any benevolent institution he chose. To this 
paper he contributed frequently till his death. 

Dr. Morrison was destined also to experience much dis 
appointment through the failure of two institutions he 
had been the principal instrument in establishing. The 
Language Institution was dissolved in England for want 
of an enthusiastic spirit to keep it alive. But indeed it 
was before its time by fifty years. Then the Singapore 
Institution also failed entirely through the mismanagement 
of persons who were entrusted with the carrying out of the 
project. Thus the benevolent intentions of Dr. Morrison, 
who had spent about six thousand dollars upon it, and of 
Sir T. Stamford Raffles were frustrated. On the other hand, 
he was cheered by the success of the Anglo-Chinese College 
at Malacca; and the Select Committee of the East India 
Company drew up a memorial to the Honourable Court of 



190 ROBERT MORRISON. 

Directors in England, setting forth very clearly the good it 
was doing, and the excellent influence it was likely to 
exercise on the interchange of commerce between the 
nations, by facilitating intercourse with China and ex 
tending to Europeans the knowledge of the Chinese 
language. The memorial, which was signed by Sir W. 
Eraser, the chief of the Factory, and the other members of 
the Committee, adds : " It is but justice to Dr. Morrison to 
state that the College entirely owes its origin to him, and 
its continuation to his exertions ; and he has thus added to 
pre-eminent success in Chinese literature his unremitting 
exertions for the diffusion of useful knowledge." 

In December, 1827, he experienced a great loss in the 
death of his firm and helpful friend Sir W. Eraser, the 
chief of the British Factory. He died after a month s 
illness, and was buried in the Honourable Company s burial- 
ground at Macao, Dr. Morrison conducting the service. 
He was taken ill when preparing to return to England, and 
the ship which was to have conveyed him fired minute guns 
in the Roads at the time of the funeral. Sir William was 
forty years of age, of ample fortune, and one of the few 
British residents in China who befriended missionaries. 
His funeral was attended by the judge of Macao, and all 
the Europeans who were resident there. 

So carefully was Dr. Morrison observed by the Roman 
Catholics on the one hand, and Chinese officials on the other, 
that he was entirely shut out from preaching or teaching the 
Gospel to any, save the few Chinese in his own employ, 
and occasionally one or two who might be induced to join 
them. He was therefore compelled, almost exclusively, to 
make attempts to reach the heathen through the press, and 
for this purpose he laboured incessantly and devotedly. 
He persevered in the preparation of his Chinese Com 
mentary ; and, in order to train native inquirers into clearer 
views of Divine truth, he prepared a system of reference to 
each book, chapter, and verse of the Bible, with chrono- 



RENEWED LABOUR. 191 

logical, historical, and literary notices. He also commenced 
a Dictionary of the provincial dialect of Canton, which was 
then coming into use almost equally with the Mandarin 
dialect. He employed many means of disseminating the 
Bible and religious tracts, and succeeded in sending large 
quantities to Corea, Cochin China, Siam, the islands of 
the Archipelago, and, by means of traders, into the very 
heart of the interior of China. 

The native teacher, Leang Afa, meantime laboured 
assiduously for the benefit of his countrymen, as oppor 
tunity permitted. He went up the country and opened a 
school, instructing a few children and his own family in 
the principles of Christianity. He wrote from thence to 
Dr. Morrison : 

" The people are all deceived and sunk in stupidity 
respecting vain idols. Although I take the truth and 
exhort them, all my strength is too small to overcome such 
a multitude. At present, during the seventh moon, the 
Buddhists deceive the people by the rites of the Yu Ian 
shing hwuy. Every family, without exception, asserts that 
it is absolutely necessary to exert their utmost strength in 
burning multitudes of paper before the tablets of their 
ancestors, and also burn some in the streets, that destitute 
ghosts coming and going, as well as the spirits of their 
ancestors in Hades, may receive these things, and have 
clothes to wear and money to spend in the other world. 
If these things be not done, the hearts of the people are 
unhappy; not to do so is considered a want of piety and 
affection and virtue. When I look on such stupid nonsense 
I am exceedingly grieved, and at a loss what to do. I can 
only meditate and attend to my own conduct night and 
day, carefully and firmly adhering to the truth, and look 
up and pray to the Lord on high to convert the hearts of 
men, and turn their feet into the straight road which will 
lead them from everlasting misery." 

A curious testimony as to the value of Dr. Morrison s 



192 



ROBERT MORRISON. 



literary labours occurred at this time, being nothing less 
than the translation of his enormous Dictionary into 
Japanese. He was also informed that the prevailing 




BUDDHIST PRIESTS IN CHINA. 



fashion in Japanese fans was to have them covered with 
extracts from the Dictionary, arranged alphabetically, and 
written with extraordinary neatness. 

At the close of the year 1828 he was called to attend two 
young officers on the ship Orwell, by which he had come 



RENEWED LABOUR. 193 

out from England after his visit, and who both died after a 
short illness. He showed them the most tender and careful 
attention, and was rewarded by both of them giving satisfac 
tory testimony that the truth and comfort he imparted, in 
the name of Christ, had been blessed to the salvation of 
their souls. 

Dr. Morrison writes thus concerning their end : 

"The Moravian surgeon has just been here to say that 
his patient, Johnstone, whom I have visited twice to day, 
has departed this life. There was hope in his death. His 
memory supplied him richly with sentences from the prayers 
he had been accustomed to pronounce. On leaving the 
last time, I took his death-cold hand and said, The Lord 
be with you ; he replied, And with thy spirit. Wilson 
is fast sinking. Both he and Johnstone were in high 
health a month ago, and were both at three great parties 
at Whampoa, where they feasted without fear. Johnstone 
gave signs of earnestly pleading for mercy. Wilson is silent 
almost, although he joined with uplifted eyes and clasped 
hands in prayer to God with me. Oh that men were 
wise ! that they would consider before the last hour ! 
The Lx -d help us to live devoutly, and with minds so 
blessed as to look on death as a real gain to us." 

The Sunday evening meetings previously referred to 
continued, and grew in interest and importance. Dr. 
Morrison says of them, under date January ist, 1829: The 
union which takes place in my room at Canton of pious 
books and pious persons of all countries, sects, and creeds 
often excites my admiration and gratitude." 

On this date the gunner on board the Onveil called to 
thank him for the kindness and instruction he had received 
from him when he had his leg amputated after the mutiny. 

Dr. Morrison next appears as the saviour of an innocent 
man from the hands of the executioner. The captain, 
crew, and passengers of a French vessel bound to Manilla, 
when within a short distance off Macao, were all, save one, 



194 ROBERT MORRISON. 

murdered by a number of Chinese, whose cupidity had 
been excited by the treasure on board. The survivor sup 
ported himself on a plank, when he was taken up by a 
fishing-boat] and brought to Macao. He deposed to the 
awful crime before the Portuguese authorities, and infor 
mation was forwarded to the Chinese officials at Canton, 
who directed that prompt measures should be taken for the 
apprehension of the murderers. They were traced, captured, 
tortured, tried, and condemned to be executed; but before 
being so, they were brought to Canton to be confronted with 
the survivor of the murdered crew. The ceremony took 
place in the Hong Merchants Hall, and was attended by 
many foreigners, among whom Dr. Morrison occupied a 
front position. The murderers were displayed in bamboo 
cages, so small that they could not sit upright ; they had 
fetters on their necks, legs, and wrists, and on each cage was 
inscribed the name of the offender and the sentence passed 
upon him. The French sailor recognised most of them, 
but last of all one man was brought forward who attracted 
general attention. He was an interesting-looking man, about 
fifty years of age, and the name Tsae-Kung-chaou was on 
the cage. He attempted to address the Court, but was 
unable to make himself understood. None of his own 
countrymen present could interpret for him, as he spoke the 
Fokien dialect, which differs widely from the Canton. Dr. 
Morrison therefore went forward and conversed with him, 
and ascertained that he was unjustly condemned, and was 
quite innocent of any share in the awful crime. He then 
addressed the Court on behalf of the man so forcibly, that 
he was remanded until proper inquiries could be instituted, 
with the result that in a few days the man appeared at 
Dr. Morrison s house to express his fervent gratitude to him 
as the preserver of his life. The resident Chinese were 
loud in their praise of an Englishman who thus pleaded so 
earnestly for the life of one of their countrymen. 

Mr. Chinnery, a very talented artist who was then in 



:" ^ 




A CHINESE COURT OF JUSTICE. 



196 ROBERT MORRISON. 

Canton, painted a most excellent portrait of Dr. Morrison, 
with two of his Chinese assistants, which was engraved at 
the expense of the gentlemen of the Factory, in testimony 
of their esteem for him, and impressions of the picture were 
sold for the benefit of the College at Malacca (see frontispiece). 

An attempt was made to establish at Macao a " British 
Museum in China," for the purpose of collecting native and 
foreign curiosities, including productions of art, of natural 
history, etc. ; and Dr. Morrison entered into the scheme 
with his usual earnestness and generosity. He also, with 
a view of promoting the study of Chinese literature and 
language, commenced a weekly reunion in his own house of 
students of the language and their teachers, topics for con 
versation being arranged previously, papers being read on 
subjects relating to books, idioms, and dialects, and curiosities 
of all kinds being brought for general inspection. 

He finished, in March, 1829, the third part of his Dic 
tionary of the Canton dialect, and then busied himself with 
other literary work bearing on the diffusion of Divine truth. 
Leang Afa had recourse to him at this time. He had been 
obliged to break up his school, and flee from a persecution 
which had threatened his life, on the charge that he was 
disseminating a wicked superstition, and seeking to sell his 
country to foreigners. He was obliged, therefore, to take 
refuge at Macao with Dr. Morrison. 

The duties of Dr. Morrison at the Factory now became 
more arduous and offensive. They had always been un 
congenial, but he had faithfully and diligently discharged 
them, because only thus had he preserved a foothold in the 
country, and been able to pursue his mission work without 
receiving any recompense from the Missionary Society ; but 
since the death of Sir W. Fraser persons had come into 
power who sought to exercise an authority over him more 
arbitrary than he could bear. He resolved, therefore, to 
resign his office, and devote himself to higher work, although 
it might necessitate his confining himself to Macao or 



RENEWED LABOUR. 197 

Malacca. With this view he wrote a letter to the Select 
Committee, giving up his position. Very suddenly and 
unexpectedly a change was made in the Executive of the 
Company, and a gentleman Mr. J. F. Davis was after 
wards appointed as chief, who proved a firm friend to the 
missionary. 

Leang Afa left him in December to go and print two 
tracts which he had prepared, and by which he hoped, as 
his school had been broken up, to circulate a knowledge of 
the Gospel. Dr. Morrison says of him : " His prayer in 
parting was very appropriate, and shows clearly that his 
heart is in his work, as well as that he is in the habit of 
praying. He desires the prayers of God s people that he 
may be faithful till death. May the Lord bless him and 
make him a blessing." 

In the beginning of 1830 Dr. Morrison had the happiness 
of baptising another Chinese, and receiving him as a mem 
ber of the Church. This was Kew-a-gong. Until his 
introduction to Dr. Morrison he had led an idle and 
improvident life, neglecting to provide for his wife and 
children, whom he had entirely forsaken, and not settling 
to any regular occupation. But from the moment the 
truths of the Gospel touched his spirit he became as anxious 
for the happiness of his family as before he had been care 
less of it. He learnt the art of printing from Leang Afa, 
and worked diligently at it ; meantime receiving instruction 
from Dr. Morrison, until he manifested steadfastness and 
sincerity sufficient to justify his baptism as a believer in 
Jesus. After being baptised he became the companion of 
Leang Afa in the distribution of the Bible, religious books, 
and tracts. 

Dr. Morrison had made very pressing appeals to the 
American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions to 
send agents to China to aid in the work of diffusing the 
Gospel. He was greatly cheered to learn that in response 
the Rev. David Abeel was being sent out as chaplain of 



198 ROBERT MORRISON. 

the Seamen s Friend Society, to labour for sailors frequent 
ing the ports of Canton, with the understanding that after 
one year he was to enter the service of the American Board 
for the purpose of exploring the islands and countries in 
Eastern Asia to find out the best stations for foreign mis 
sions. He sailed for Canton October i4th, 1829, in the 
ship Roman, accompanied by the Rev. E. C. Bridgman, and 
reached the Flowery Land in February, 1830, where he and 
his companion received a warm welcome from Dr. Morrison. 
He at once furnished them with books for the study of the 
language, procured a teacher, and gave them personal help 
and instruction. The American Board most gratefully 
acknowledged his kindness to them, and most warmly did 
he rejoice that at last he had fellow-labourers in the field, 
and that now it was likely that, though he should be shortly 
removed, there would never cease to be earnest witnesses 
for the Gospel of Christ in China. 

He had also the joy of receiving in Canton his eldest son 
John Robert, who, in England and at the Anglo-Chinese 
College at Malacca, had been diligently pursuing his studies 
for some years. He was only sixteen years of age, but he 
had become so proficient in his knowledge and use of 
the Chinese language that he received the appointment of 
translator to the British merchants in Canton. 

Ur. Morrison was not allowed to proceed for any long 
period in his work without being assailed by some calum 
nious or offensive criticism. Towards these he generally 
maintained a patient and silent reserve, satisfied with the 
purity of his motives, and believing that time would pre 
serve his reputation from any ultimate misunderstandings. 
A French philologist of eminence, M. Klaproth, in the year 
1830, proposed to a gentleman in the Company s service, 
who was afterwards Chief Superintendent of His Majesty s 
Commission in China, that he should become the enemy 
of Dr. Morrison, in which case he undertook to laud him 
in the public press. Mr. J. F. Davis, the gentleman in 



RENEWED LABOUR. 199 

question, was celebrated as one of the most learned men 
of his day in Chinese literature as well as Western erudi 
tion, and he had a heart as honourable as a mind well 
informed. He returned the following answer to this 
insidious offer: 

" I cannot help regretting that you should indulge in 
such hostility to Dr. Morrison, concerning whom I must 
declare (and I could not without the greatest baseness do 
otherwise), that I agree with Sir George Staunton in con 
sidering him as confessedly the first Chinese scholar in 
Europe. It is notorious in this country [England] that he 
has for years conducted on the part of the East India Com 
pany a very extensive correspondence with the Chinese, 
in the written character; that he writes the language of 
China with the ease and rapidity of a native ; and that the 
natives themselves have long since given him the title of 
Z<? Dodeur Ma. This testimony is decisive, and the 
position it gives him is such, that he may regard all 
European squabbles concerning his Chinese knowledge as 
mere Batrachomyomachia, battles of frogs and mice." 

The year 1831 opened with the happy tidings that Leang 
Afa had baptised three persons. These were a father, in 
his sixty second year, and his two sons, one twenty-two and 
the otber seventeen. The father was a man of good educa 
tion, and his sons had been hitherto employed in native 
literature. The son of Leang Afa was placed under the 
care of Mr. Bridgman for instruction in the English language 
and in Christian truth. 

Up to the present time the English Government of 
Penang had made an allowance of one hundred dollars 
a month to the Anglo-Chinese College at Malacca. This 
was now withdrawn in connection with a system of retrench 
ment carried out by Lord W. Bentinck. The Select Com 
mittee of the East India Company at Canton, with its usual 
liberality, at once made a grant of an equal sum, under 
" the firm conviction of its excellence," saying, " We believe 



200 ROBERT MORRISON. 

it to be eminently calculated to diffuse the light of know 
ledge and of useful instruction through the most remote 
possessions of Great Britain, and to assist in removing 
those prejudices which have so long fettered the public 
mind in this country." 

Another missionary, to the joy of Dr. Morrison, now 
arrived at Canton from America. This was the Rev. Edward 
Stevens, who came in a vessel named the Morrison, after 
the subject of this memoir. Its owner was Mr. Olyphant, 
a devoted Christian and a faithful friend to the missionary, 
who opened his factory in Canton for Christian worship 
and service at any time. 

Dr. Morrison s " Domestic Instructor " and " Scripture 
Lessons " were now printed and published. He himself 
gave two hundred pounds towards the printing of the former, 
which was issued in four octavo volumes. The two works 
were intended to afford a historical, doctrinal, and practical 
view of the Christian religion, and they were widely circulated 
by the agents now being employed for that purpose. 

His generous sympathies were daily aroused towards all 
cases of individual necessity and of public objects of 
benevolence. The claims on his practical liberality were 
endless, nor were any refused that seemed to merit assistance. 
Especially his desires were drawn out towards the English 
sailors, who, when at liberty from their duty on board ship, 
became the victims of Chinese land sharks, who supplied 
them with distilled spirits, rendering them liable to shame 
ful extortion, and exciting them to riot and outrage. In 
order to do something to preserve such from over-indulgence 
and robbery, Dr. Morrison engaged a respectable native 
to take charge of a " coffee shop," and had handbills 
printed inviting sailors to partake of the cheap and refreshing 
beverage provided for them there, and warning them against 
the poisonous and fiery liquids sold by the natives for the 
purpose of robbing them. 

He gave the English service on the Lord s Day into 



202 ROBERT MORRISON. 

the hands of Mr. Bridgman, and devoted himself to the 
Chinese. He was greatly cheered in having to baptise the 
Mandarin teacher at the Anglo-Chinese College. His name 
was Choo-seen-sang, and he had been an earnest student of 
the Christian system for a long time, but had for a period 
resisted conviction on account of opium smoking. At 
length he was able to break off the habit, and professed to 
believe with all his heart in the Lord Jesus. In his testimony 
he stated that he believed Jesus to be the Son of God, that 
he believed what He taught, obeyed what He commanded, 
and hoped for what He promised." In sailing from Malacca 
to Canton he had been nearly shipwrecked, and thus was 
led to see his wickedness in not professing Christ, after he 
had become convinced of His truth. Leang Afa also had 
the happiness of baptising several others, making seven in 
all who had professed conversion through his teaching. 
At the beginning of 1832 Dr. Morrison wrote : 
"There is now in Canton a state of society in respect 
of Chinese totally different from what I found in 1807. 
Chinese scholars, missionary students, English presses, and 
Chinese Scriptures, with public worship of God, have all 
grown up since that period. I have served my generation, 
and must the Lord knows when fall asleep." 

A very important change in his prospects was now 
threatening. The charter of the East India Company in 
China \vas soon to terminate, and the condition of all in 
the English Factory at Canton would be greatly affected 
thereby. No one more so than Dr. Morrison. He had 
served the Company twenty years, and the Select Com 
mittee had spontaneously sought to induce the Court of 
Directors to grant him a pension in consideration of the 
important services he had rendered. To this appeal no 
answer was made, and he had, therefore, before him the 
alternative of either seeking some secular employment, or 
of having recourse to the Missionary Society, to which he 
had given such splendid gratuitous service for the period 



RENEWED LABOUR. 203 

in which he had been employed by the Company. He 
resolved to wait the unfolding of the Divine will, but of 
the two paths undoubtedly to choose the latter, in order 
that he might still devote his powers to the evangelising of 
the heathen. To the uncertainty of his pecuniary position 
was added also the sorrow of being separated from his 
family. The health of Mrs. Morrison had for some time 
been poor, and a voyage home was necessary for her 
restoration. And to crown his anxieties at this time, he 
received a letter from the Select Committee of the East 
India Company informing him that the Portuguese governor 
of Macao had been appealed to by the Roman Catholic 
dignitary of the diocese as to some of his publications, 
which were alleged to be opposed to the Romish faith, and 
stating that the use of a printing-press was prohibited in 
the Portuguese territories, except under previous censorship, 
and that the press must be discontinued. The Select 
Committee, therefore, requested Dr. Morrison to suspend 
the issue of any further publications from the press at 
Macao. 

This was an ungenerous and annoying act of intolerance ; 
but as there was no appeal from the decision, Dr. Morrison 
had to content himself with offering a strong expostulation, 
and to obey. Still he did not abate any energy in the 
circulation of the many publications from the pens of him 
self, Dr. Milne, Leang Afa, and others, which were now 
extensively distributed, and many of which had penetrated 
as far north as the ancient wall. He devoted himself with 
increasing zeal to preparing his Commentary ; he continued 
his public service on Sabbath mornings ; and, as the habit 
had sprung up in Macao among the foreigners of spending 
the Sabbath evening in recreation and amusement, he strove 
to draw them to a higher enjoyment by commencing an 
evening lecture. At the close of the morning service for the 
foreigners he conducted one for the Chinese. In this he 
ever took great delight, never omitting the singing, although 



204 ROBERT MORRISON. 

he often had it all to himself. In the intervals of worship 
he was occupied in reading, or in hearing his children 
repeat hymns and Holy Scripture. At these times he used 
to resort to a retired terrace in the front of his residence, 
beyond which lay the Bay of Macao, encircled by hills. 
The cerrace was shaded by beautiful flowering shrubs, and 
bordered with Western plants and flowers. Here, accom 
panied by the whole of his family and attendants, a favourite 
Newfoundland dog being always present, most happy hours 
of converse were spent. Often after a Sabbath s labours, 
involving five or six hours standing and speaking, has he 
sat thus conversing on the blessings and mercies of life. 
And if sometimes asked whether he was not tired, his reply 
would be, " Yes, tired in the work, but not of it. I delight 
in the work." 

Symptoms began to appear that his constitution, so strong 
and wiry, was beginning to fail. A sensation of weight in 
/.he top of his head, sleeplessness, loss of appetite, pain 
in the right side, and great prostration of strength, caused 
him and his partner serious apprehension. He consulted a 
doctor, who appeased his fears by stating it was an affection 
of the liver, and that it was only an apparent and not a real 
loss of strength, and that when the excitement caused by 
the departure of his family to England was past he would 
be quite restored. With these assurances he returned to 
Canton, in order to conduct a correspondence having re 
ference to an affray on board one of the opium ships, in 
which a Chinese had been killed. Here he remained until 
within a fortnight of his family leaving Macao. Then the 
Select Committee accepted the services of his eldest son, and 
he returned to his family . Arrangements were made for them 
to sail on December loth, 1833, and they were to embark 
at Lintin, a safe anchorage eighteen miles from Macao. 
On that day, therefore, he and his family, save Mr. J. R. 
Morrison, who was to remain at Canton, sailed in a small 
passage-boat to Lintin, and arrived after a painful passage, 



RENEWED LABOUR. 205 

the whole company being cold, sick, and dejected. The 
party was taken on board the ship Inglis, prayers were 
offered, farewells were taken, and the family separated, 
never again to meet in this world. 

In the uncertainty of his future prospects, Dr. Morrison 
at once gave up his home at Macao, and returned to 
Canton. 

The exchange of the East India Company s regime in 
China for an administration by the Government of England 
gave rise to much and prolonged difficulty between the 
Chinese and the English Parliament. A Bill was ultimately 
passed giving the Government power to do much as it 
pleased in carrying out a system of commercial interchange, 
customs, etc., and Lord Napier was appointed the Chief 
Ambassador of the English Court to China. Several 
members of the East India Council strongly urged 
upon him and his suite to secure the valuable services of 
Dr. Morrison as translator and secretary to the Embassy. 
But a f ter all the worse than coolness which had been 
manifested by the English Government towards Mis 
sions, it seemed most unlikely that a missionary should 
be employed by it for the transaction of business so im 
portant and delicate as must attach to the vacant office. 
No certainty could be attained until the arrival of Lord 
Napier and his attendants. 

On May ist, 1834, Dr. Morrison wrote this entry in his 
journal : " On the 28th of this month it is thirty years since 
I was accepted as a missionary in Mr. Hardcastle s counting- 
house, at the end of the old London Bridge. Rowland 
Hill was there, and asked me if I looked upon the heathen 
as angels did. As I did not know the mind of angels, of 
course I could not say Yes. " 

On July i5th he wrote from Macao: "Lord Napier 
landed yesterday about 3 p.m. The frigate fired a salute 
when he left the ship, and the Portuguese fired one when 
he reached the shore. T went down to the Chinese custom- 



206 ROBERT MORRISON. 

house, where he landed, and handed one of his daughters 
from the boat to my chair, in which she went up to D. s. 
I introduced myself to him in going upstairs. He took me 
by the hand, and said he was glad to make my acquaintance. 
He was dressed in naval uniform. Lady Napier rose from 
her chair and walked towards me to shake hands, with a 
smiling countenance and civil speech, saying she seemed to 
have been long acquainted with me, being so familiar with 
my name. 

"At noon to-day a meeting of all the Factory people was 
summoned at Lord Napier s to hear the King s commission 
read. That which concerns you* and our beloved children 
I will tell first. I am to be styled Chinese Secretary and 
Interpreter, and to have thirteen hundred pounds a year, 
without any allowances whatever for domine, house-rent, or 
anything else. I am to wear a vice-consul s coat with King s 
buttons, when I can get one. Government will pay one 
hundred dollars a month to the College, instead o f the 
Company. His lordship asked whether I accepted of the 
appointment or not. I told him at once that I did. He 
then said he would forthwith make out my commission. . . . 
Pray for me that I may be faithful to my blessed Saviour 
in the new place I have to occupy. It is rather an 
anomalous one for a missionary. A vice-consul s uniform 
instead of the preaching gown ! " 

In writing to his little boy, Robert, he says, concerning 
this same subject : " You must know that dada is a king s 
servant : King William is my master. However, Robert, 
my dear boy, I have a greater master than England s king. 
The Lord Jesus Christ is He whom I serve. He has gone 
to prepare a home for me and for you and all who serve 
Him in His Father s house in heaven." This was the last 
letter he ever signed. 

On July 2oth Lady Napier wished him to preach in the 

* Addressed to his wife. 



REXEll ED LABOUR. 207 

Company s chapel at Macao, and he prepared to preach a 
sermon he had just composed from the words, " In My 
Father s house are many mansions " (John xiv. 2) ; but an 
objection was raised by some narrow-minded sectarian, and 
no service at all was considered better than one conducted 
by a minister who was not properly ordained. 

This sermon shows clearly how much his mind seems to 
have been led to dwell upon the unseen world of glory, as 
though anticipatory of an early decease. It suggests four 
topics of consolation to the Christian under circumstances 
of affliction. First, faith in God as their reconciled Father, 
and in Jesus as the promised Messiah, the great Redeemer 
who came to save His people from their sins ; second, the 
recollection that they had been adopted into the family of 
God ; third, that they had a rich inheritance ; and, fourthly, 
that they were advancing towards an everlasting home, the 
happiness of which would consist in a great degree in the 
society formed there, the family of God, from all ages and 
out of all nations patriarchs, prophets, apostles, martyrs, 
and confessors, with the more humble followers of the 
Lamb, and, above all, the Saviour, whom they would 
see face to face. In describing the heavenly state the 
writer rose to an unusual vividness and impressiveness of 
style. 

On the 23rd he accompanied Lord Napier to Canton, 
his presence being necessary in any interview between the 
ambassador and the Chinese Government officials. He 
suffered frightfully on the voyage. He quitted the frigate 
at the Bogue, and remained all night in an open boat, 
exposed to the extreme heat and a storm of rain. He 
was, therefore, utterly spent when he landed, and had the 
prospect of exciting and anxious negotiations before him. 
On the 25th he writes : "In walking through the hot sun 
to-day from this house to the Company s, where Lord 
Napier is, I was like to drop in the streets, and have been 
groaning on my couch ever since, being now past eight in 



2o8 HUBERT MORRISON. 

the evening." The next day he attended the Council from 
ten to three, occupied in the work of translating letters. 
On Sunday, the 27th, he conducted service with the 
Chinese, having, perhaps, the. largest congregation he had 
been privileged to see, and he was cheered by old Le, who 
had long transcribed for him, telling him that he had been 
led to believe in Christ Jesus. The day before his name 
had been published with those of the officers of the King s 
Commission, being placed above those of the surgeons, 
chaplains, and private secretary. On the following day he 
dragged himself to his official duties, and had a wearisome 
time, with the squabbles between the native and English 
officers, and then his earthly labours were over. He spent 
a wretched night on the Tuesday, and on Wednesday a 
surgeon was sent for. Everything that doctors or his son 
or attendants could do was attempted, but a fever raged 
within him that apparently nothing could assuage. Leave 
of absence from Canton was given him, but he was too 
feeble to be removed. On Friday evening the doctors in 
attendance tried other means for his relief; but he was 
rapidly sinking, and at about ten o clock in the evening he 
closed his eyes and slept. It was the sleep of the righteous, 
from which he awoke in glory. He passed thus quietly 
into the mansion in the Father s house prepared for him 
by the Saviour, and concerning which, as if prophetically, 
he had prepared his last discourse. 

The sorrowful tidings were conveyed by letter to his 
partner in words full of tenderness and consolation from 
his eldest son: "On Friday, July 25th, I had the happi 
ness again to see my father after a separation of nearly 
five months. But that pleasure was greatly damped by the 
extreme weakness which prostrated all his bodily powers, 
but which never touched his powerful mind. On the 27th, 
which was Sunday, he had his little Chinese congregation 
around him, and addressed them as much as his strength 
would permit, and truly it was in this heathen land a most 



210 ROBERT MORRISON. 

cheering sight to see upwards of a dozen Chinese of the 
most depraved city of this debased empire joining in 
prayer and praise to our crucified Redeemer. A greater 
than usual degree of solemnity appeared to pervade the 
little congregation as we received from those lips, then 
dying, though we knew it not, the words of everlasting 
life. And loudly did we sing praises to the Lamb 
who was dead, and is alive again, and who liveth for 
evermore. 

"On Monday and Tuesday his weakness and pain slowly 
increased. On Monday he went twice in a palanquin to 
Lord Napier s. The next day the chairmen were afraid 
to come, but had they come he could not have gone 
out." 

Mr. J. R. Morrison describes fully the medical treatment 
of his father up to Friday evening, and then continues : 
" Our beloved sufferer had received ease the night before 
from the use of an opiate, and requested the same mode 
of relief. But the fever of his frame was such that they 
dare not give it him without first taking from him some 
blood. He submitted, not without reluctance. They bled 
him ; but, alas ! it was too late. After the arm had been 
tied up and the bleeding stopped, he began rapidly to sink, 
and refused the opiate. All pain appeared now to have 
left him. He was still able, however, to move from his 
bed, and was with difficulty kept quiet. I had gone out 
to obtain speedily some medicine. When I returned his 
cheek was pale and his eye glistened. His feet were cold. 
By artificial means we endeavoured to restore circulation 
of the blood. All our efforts were, alas ! in vain. He 
ceased to speak or to struggle for about twenty minutes, 
and about ten o clock he closed his eyes and slept. The 
next moment we cannot doubt his liberated spirit was 
before his God, clothed in the robes of Christ s righteous 
ness, and arrayed in the garments of salvation. 

"On Saturday evening I embarked with the precious 



RENEWED LABOUR. 



211 



remains to convey them to Macao, and deposit them beside 
the grave of her who gave me birth." 

His remains were attended from the house to the place 
of embarkation by Lord Napier, and all the Europeans, 





*&***: }..>.. : ,- 



. 




Americans, and Asiatic British subjects then in Canton. 
Sir George Robinson and other honourable gentlemen 
accompanied them to Macao, and the service was read by 
the Rev. E. Stevens, Seamen s Chaplain at Canton. 



212 ROBERT MORRISON. 

The following inscription was placed upon his tomb : 

<Sacrcb to the mcmorg of 
ROBERT MORRISON, D.D., 

THE FIRST PROTESTANT MISSIONARY 
TO CHINA, 

inhere after a service of hventy-seven years cheerfully spent in extending 

the kingdom of the blessed REDEEMER, during which period he compiled 

and published 

A DICTIONARY OF THE CHINESE LANGUAGE, 

founded the Anglo-Chinese College at Malacca, 
and for several years laboured alone on a Chinese version of 

THE HOLY SCRIPTURES, 

which he was spared to see completed and widely circulated 
among those for whom it was destined, 

he sweetly slept in Jest4s. 

He was born at Morpeth, in Northumberland, 
January $th, 1782, zvas sent to China by the London Missionary 

Society in 1807, 
was for twenty-five years Chinese translator in the employ of 

The East India Company, 
and died at Canton, August 1st, 1834. 



" Blessed are the dead ivhich die tn the Lord from henceforth : 

Yea, saith the Spirit, 
that they may rest from their labours ; and their ivorks do follow t/trrn " 





CHAPTER XIV. 
WHAT HE WAS AND WHAT HE DID. 

" Who sow good seed with tears shall reap in joy. 1 
So thought I as I watched the gracious rain, 
And deemed it like that silent sad employ 
Whence sprung thy glory s harvest, to remain 
For ever. God hath sworn to lift on high 
Who sinks himself by true humility." KEBLE. 

r I A HE intelligence that so great and good a man had 
passed away from this life produced a profound 
sensation, not only in China and in England, but 
in every part of Christendom. The religious societies of 
England, America, and even of the continent of Europe, 
were prompt to express the lofty esteem in which they held 
his character and the work he had sought to perform. 
The London Missionary Society appointed a public service 
commemorating his long devotion to the Mission cause, 
at which a sermon was preached by the Rev. Dr. Fletcher, 
of Stepney, to an overflowing and much impressed audience. 
The personal friends of Dr. Morrison in China, very 
numerous and influential, promptly resolved to establish 
a memorial institution by which a portion of his work could 
be permanently conserved, and the public esteem in which 
he was held could be suitably expressed. A liberal subscrip- 



214 ROBERT MORRISON. 

tion was opened, by which about two thousand pounds 
were collected, and in 1835 "The Morrison Education 
Society " was established and put into operation. 

His life was an unbroken course of self-sacrificing effort 
for the attainment of the great end he had set before him 
at the beginning of his student course the salvation of the 
heathen. His attainments in philology were all consecrated 
to this ; the civil and official duties he discharged through 
so many years were only undertaken and fulfilled for the sake 
of the opportunity afforded of maintaining a standing in the 
country, and of being permitted to pursue his higher work 
unmolested, and yet they were discharged so efficiently as 
to merit and receive the most flattering and grateful 
acknowledgments of the wealthy and influential Company 
that employed him. The large salary he for a time received 
enabled him to live without drawing on the funds of the 
Missionary Society for his personal support, and to give 
with even princely liberality, considering his means, to 
promote the work of education and religion in the East. 

By the learned and distinguished personages with whom 
he came in contact he was treated as an equal, because his 
own extensive attainments in learning, and his natural 
dignity, diminished all sense of distance which might other 
wise have been felt on account of their different social 
positions ; and by his Chinese, Portuguese, and English 
dependants he was revered as a friend whom they could 
approach without fear, and confide in with assurance. The 
work he accomplished will ever remain as a monument of 
indefatigable and patient industry. The translation of the 
Scriptures, carried out mainly by his own agency, has long 
since been surpassed by others, more perfect in their 
renderings, and more idiomatic in style, but this does not 
detract from the praise due to his untiring labour in having 
laid a foundation on which others have nobly built. The 
Anglo-Chinese Dictionary was a miracle of plodding and 
sagacious diligence, prolonged through many years, and for 






U llAT HE WAS AND WHAT HE DID. 215 

its proportions and encyclopaedic character stands perhaps 
unrivalled in human literature as the work of one man. 
The catalogue of his other works cannot be enumerated ; 
but books of doctrine, history, education, catechisms, 
prayers, hymns, etc., flowed from his unceasing pen until 
the list is contemplated with amazement. Dr. Medhurst, 
in " China : Its State and Prospects, says that no fewer than 
751,763 copies of tracts and books were poured forth from 
the Chinese Mission presses from 1810 to 1836. A very 
large proportion of these came from the pen of Dr. Morrison, 
and indeed Dr. Medhurst declares that his list making up 
that number was by no means complete. 

To his literary labours must be added also the time and 
effort consumed in establishing and aiding to carry on the 
various benevolent and religious institutions which owed 
their origin to his energy and zeal. The Anglo-Chinese 
College at Malacca occupied much of his thought, and 
to its welfare he devoted time and money ungrudgingly. 
It accomplished much good, although it came far short of 
the idea of its founder. That it did not accomplish more, 
and that the Singapore Institution and the Language 
Institution failed, was in no sense due to Dr. Morrison, 
but rather to the unfaithfulness of agents in the one case, 
and the slowness of the Christian sense of England to 
appreciate the possible benefits to be derived from the other. 

His character presents many features and qualities which 
must command fervent admiration. He had an ardent 
thirst for knowledge ; he cultivated a fine sensitiveness of 
nature as to moral uprightness ; he manifested unswerving 
conscientiousness ; he had an inexhaustible genius for 
patient, persevering, plodding industry ; and, as an internal 
fire, there ever glowed within him the steady flame of love 
for Christ and zeal for His glory, which lighted with 
lambent glow all the qualities of heart and mind which 
made up a noble personality. He was precisely fitted to 
the position he was called to fulfil. His caution, his 



216 ROBERT MORRISON. 

common sense, his soundness of judgment, never failed 
him, and the result was that he never had to take a back 
ward step. If he baptised but few converts, he had great 
reason to rejoice that those who were received into the 
Church by baptism gave him no cause to mourn over their 
defection or apostasy ; and if he gathered no crowds to 
hear him preach the Gospel, it must be remembered that 
his conditions and circumstances forbade him exercising 
such public ministrations, and forced him to adopt the 
only other way open to him of reaching the Chinese 
intellect by appeals through the press. His patience 
was severely tried, but his faith in the ultimate success 
of the work never faltered ; he was often exposed to 
persecution, and his life was threatened by imperial edict, 
but his cheek never paled nor his heart palpitated with 
apprehension. He did all that he could, and what few 
men could have done, and he lives to-day in the deep and 
growing interest in the Chinese Empire, and in the intense 
enthusiasm which is being manifested for its conversion. 
The influence of such a life and character can never die, 
but must extend and diffuse itself in ever-widening fragrance 
and blessedness wherever his name is known or his deeds 
are recorded. 

On the death of Dr. Morrison, his son, although only nine 
teen years of age, was appointed his successor as Chinese 
Secretary and Interpreter to the British Embassy. Such 
was his maturity of character, general knowledge, vigour 
of intellect, and high attainments in the Chinese language, 
and such his knowledge of forms, usages, and principles 
of the Chinese Government, that his services won the 
highest appreciation from the British Government. He 
was employed by Sir Henry Pottinger as chief interpreter 
in all his negotiations with the Chinese authorities during 
the whole of the war, and was the chief agent in arranging 
with the Chinese the treaties which formed the basis of 
a settlement between the two countries. He was prudent 






WHAT HE WAS AND WHAT HE DID. 217 

in counsel, conciliatory in style, jealous of the honour of 
England, but fair to the Chinese, and he gave himself with 
unflagging zeal to his delicate and onerous duties until peace 
was established between his own and the foreign government. 

He was a devoted Christian, the adviser and protector 
of the native converts when they were exposed to persecu 
tion and injustice, the companion and benefactor of the 
missionaries who were sent into the Empire or the con 
tiguous settlements, and the enlightened advocate of every 
effort which tended to advance the intellectual or moral 
welfare of the East. His public duties, however arduous, 
were discharged so as to draw out the confidence and 
admiration of those who employed him, and he was so 
unremitting in his attention to them that his health failed. 
He received leave of absence for a time, that he might seek 
its restoration ; but pressing duties led him to delay his 
holiday, until he was seized with a fever, which was at 
the time an epidemic, and of which he died at Macao on 
August zgth, 1843. He was buried in the cemetery by 
the side of his father and mother. 

Besides being Interpreter and Chinese Secretary, he had 
been elected a member of the Legislative Council at Hong- 
Kong, and appointed the Colonial Secretary. In announc 
ing his death, His Majesty s plenipotentiary, Sir Henry 
Pottinger, expressed his conviction that it was a national 
calamity, and said that no man living could supply his 
place. Sir Robert Peel, Bart., speaking in the House of 
Commons in reference to both the father and the son, 
declared that in the whole range of public service two men 
could not be found more remarkable for their high character 
and fidelity. 

Dr. Morrison s eldest daughter married Dr. Hobson, a 
scholarly medical missionary in Canton, who left an 
enduring record in eighteen medical works, most of them 
illustrated, and still survives, a worthy descendant of her 
honoured and famous father. 







CHAPTER XV. 

THE LONDON MISSIONARY SOCIETY. 

11 Through midnight gloom from Macedon, 
The cry of myriads as of one ; 
The awful silence of despair 
Is eloquent in awful prayer ; 
The soul s exceeding bitter cry, 
Come o er and help us or we die ! " 

fT^HE London Missionary Society having once boldly 
attempted to enter China and make known the 
Gospel, sent out in rapid succession a number of 
men who laboured faithfully to lay the foundations of a 
widely extended Christian Church amongst the Chinese- 
speaking peoples of the East. Following Dr. Milne, who 
was sent out in 1813, there came the Rev. W. H. Medhurst 
in 1817, who laboured first at Malacca, and then amongst 
the Chinese in Batavia, on the island of Java. Upon the 
opening of the five treaty ports in 1842, he removed to 
Shanghai. He was long the senior missionary in the field, 
and obtained a very familiar acquaintance with the Chinese 
language. He had a fine presence and dignified manner. 
His command of language made him an impressive speaker 
both in Chinese and English. He laboured much to 



THE LONDON MISSIONARY SOCIETY. 219 

diffuse a knowledge of Christ by the voice, but even more 
still by the pen. In 1835 he published an English and 
Chinese dictionary containing fifteen hundred octavo pages, 
and which is well adapted for use by the general student. 
Afterwards he prepared vocabularies for Corea, Japan, and 
China. He prepared a version of the New Testament, and 
several valuable tracts on the Christian religion. When on 
a visit to England in 1836, he published a most interesting 
volume, called " China : Its State and Prospects," which 
had a large sale, and did much to deepen the concern of 
the churches for the welfare of that land. He returned to 
his work, and sedulously pursued it till 1856, when he again 
returned to his native land to plead the cause of China. 
He was suddenly cut short in his career soon after reaching 
his native shores. He died January 24th, 1857, aged sixty 
years, leaving a reputation unblemished for its piety, and 
fragrant with works of love and mercy. 

Several others laboured at Penang, Malacca, and Singapore, 
chiefly amongst the Chinese settlers, who soon returned to 
England through failure of health or other causes, and who 
need not be further particularised. Rev. David Collie was 
a man of much promise, who was sent to Malacca in 1822. 
He succeeded Dr. Milne as principal of the Anglo-Chinese 
College, and translated the Four Books of Confucius. He 
mastered the language in an unusually short time, and 
laboured with great energy and success till 1828. Then 
his health failed, and he started upon a homeward voyage, 
during which he was removed to the rest of heaven. 

Rev. Samuel Dyer was another worthy agent of the 
London Missionary Society, who was born at Greenwich 
in 1804, and in 1827 arrived at Penang. While Dr. Mor 
rison was in England he and Mr. Dyer had much inter 
course, and chiefly under his instructions he was able to 
read imperfectly the Bible in Chinese before starting on 
his voyage. He performed really splendid service in trans 
lating, preaching, type-making, and teaching the young : 



THE LONDON MISSIONARY SOCIETY. 221 

shedding a blessed influence around him everywhere till 
1843, when the end came. He had gone to a convention 
of missionaries at Hong-Kong, called to confer as to the 
more perfect translation of the Holy Scriptures. He was 
appointed the secretary of the meeting, which involved much 
labour and anxiety. The object of the meeting was to 
unite the various evangelical agents in China in the use of 
one version of the Bible. The good men could not be drawn 
into accord, especially as to the term which was to be used 
for God ; and so, after several days discussion, the meeting 
ended without any conclusion being reached. He pro 
ceeded to Canton, where he suffered a severe attack of 
fever, but recovered so far as to sail for Singapore. But 
as the ship called at Macao he had a severe relapse, was 
taken ashore, where he soon peacefully slept, nevermore to 
wake till the trumpet shall sound. His last words were, 
"Blessed Jesus! Sweet Saviour! I go to be with Him 
who died for me." He was buried by the side of Dr. 
Morrison, and the two who had been united pleasantly 
in life found a resting-place together. 

Agents of the London Missionary Society assiduously 
sought to lay the foundations of the Christian religion 
amongst the Chinese in the Straits Settlements ; but when at 
the close of the opium war of 1842, the five ports Canton, 
Shanghai, Amoy, Foo-chow, and Ning-po were opened to 
foreigners, and the island of Hong-Kong became a British 
possession, they were removed to China, and in some of 
these cities there were soon to be found churches, schools, 
and large printing establishments. The Anglo-Chinese 
College founded by Morrison was removed to Hong- 
Kong, and was for years under the excellent management 
of Rev. Dr. Legge. In that seminary great numbers have 
been taught English and Chinese, have been carefully in 
structed in religion, and many have given evidence of real 
piety. Some have become Christian agents, others have 
gone out as interpreters in merchants orifices and govern- 



222 



ROBERT MORRISON. 



ment departments, where they have been able to exercise 
a widespread and useful influence. 



M 




REV. JAMES GILMOUR, M.A. 



In 1839 *he London Missionary Society sent out its first 
medical missionary, Dr. W. Lockhart, who first laboured at 



Ti:E LONDON MISSIONARY SOCIETY. 223 

Macao, and then removed to Shanghai. He was accom 
panied or followed by Rev. James Legge, Rev. W. C. Milne 
(a son of Dr. Milne), and Dr. Hobson, afterwards son-in-law 
of Dr. Morrison. These again have been succeeded by many 
others who have written their names indelibly in the history 
of the evangelisation of the Chinese Empire. Amongst these 
may be named Rev.W. Muirhead, Rev. J. Edkins, D.D., Rev. 
J. Chalmers, D.D., Rev. Griffith John, D.D., and others, who 
have done earnest and successful work in Hong-Kong, 
Canton, Hankow, Shanghai, Tientsin, and other places. 

This Society has now extensive missions and valuable 
establishments in five provinces, and still maintains a position 
that befits the pioneer Society in the work of piercing with 
Divine light the densest and largest heathen empire in the 
world. The principal centres occupied by the agents of the 
Society are as follows : 

PEKIN, where there are not only preaching centres, but 
medical hospital and girls training schools, with a staff of 
eight European missionaries, supplemented by many pious 
native helpers. The Rev. G. Owen is the senior missionary 
in the field. It is with deepest regret that we observe that 
the Rev. J. Gilmour has recently died. He was a man of 
great force of character, of somewhat original methods, 
adapting himself freely to the habits of the natives, that he 
might better win their confidence if possible, and counting 
no sacrifice too great to be made if he could thereby pro 
mote the great work. He gave himself up enthusiastically 
to work in Mongolia, and came to be called affectionately 
by the natives amongst whom he lived " our Gilmour." 
There was everything about him to attract the affections of the 
people. He devoted himself to the welfare of the Mongols 
in every respect. As a doctor he prescribed for their ail 
ments; he denied himself home comforts, that he might travel 
from place to place the more readily ; he was a vegetarian, 
that he might have the more to spend upon his work ; and 
in a brilliant review of his fascinating book, " Among the 



- 




THE LONDON MISSIONARY SOCIETY. 225 

Mongols," which appeared in the Spectator, it is said, " As 
for danger, he had made up his mind not to carry arms, 
not to be angry with a heathen happen what might, and, 
although he does not mention this, not to be afraid of 
anything whatever neither dogs, nor thieves, nor hunger, 
nor the climate ; and he kept these resolutions. It has 
been justly said by a friend, He has been called away 
perhaps to higher service, because no one can imagine such 
a restless, untiring spirit as his doing nothing. " 

The girls training school in the capital city is a fine 
institution and under skilful management, and doing much 
to train Christian women, who may hereafter become Bible 
readers to their own sex, or will make pious and helpful 
wives to the native agents and members in the Mission. 

TIENTSIN. In this great seaport the London Missionary 
Society commenced its work in 1861. There is scarcely a 
finer sphere for the Christian agent in China than here. 
Tientsin is not only the location of an immense population, 
but it is the centre of a wide district, the inhabitants of which 
come crowding into it from all quarters both by sea and 
land. It is, moreover, the principal centre of the railway 
and telegraph systems in China, and is more deeply touched 
by the modes of western civilisation than any other place. 
It is no wonder, therefore, that it is the headquarters of 
several missionary societies. Rev. Jonathan Lees is the 
senior agent, having laboured here since the commence 
ment of the Mission in 1861. He is well sustained by 
several other clerical missionaries, and also by two medical 
and two lady agents. A very beautiful medical hospital 
was built here some years ago, chiefly through the liberality 
of the great commissioner, Li Hung Chang, Viceroy of the 
Imperial Province. Lady Li had been greatly benefited 
by the instrumentality of Dr. Mackenzie and Miss Dr. 
Howard, now Mrs. Dr. King, and in gratitude they erected 
the hospital, which for many years was under the manage 
ment of the London Society. Through the interference 

5 



226 ROBERT MORRISON. 

of the Chinese officials some alteration has been made 
in the management but not in the usefulness of the 
institution. 

A very interesting feature in the work at Tientsin, is 
the girls school under the management of Mrs. Bryson, 
wife of Rev. T. Bryson, who has been on the Mission for 
twenty-five years. In the year 1885, Mrs. Bryson com 
menced a class for women on Thursday afternoons. A 
large number attended at first, no doubt prompted by 
curiosity. But gradually the number decreased until only 
a handful remained, who, however, showed deep seriousness, 
and learned to engage in prayer with much earnestness. 
In a few months a girls school was attempted, and a well- 
qualified native female, who had been trained by Mrs. 
Edkins at Pekin, was engaged as teacher. Fifteen girls 
were soon under careful tuition, most of whom have given 
satisfactory evidence of conversion and proficiency in 
Christian knowledge. Already this school has borne fruit in 
providing pious wives for native helpers and useful workers 
in the Mission in several departments. Too much impor 
tance cannot be attached to such an agency in a heathen 
land like China, where the education of women is utterly 
neglected, and where social customs forbid women entering 
public assemblies where the Gospel is preached. 

HANKOW. The life and soul of the Mission in Hankow 
has been Rev. Dr. Griffith John. He went out to China in 
1855, and is now a well-worn but still a stalwart veteran in 
the field. He was aided in the commencement of his work 
by the Rev. R. Wilson, B.A., who died in 1863, and is 
buried in the cemetery. There is a chapel in the centre 
of the city where daily preaching of the Word is carried on 
for four or five hours without intermission to ever-varying 
crowds of people by the missionaries and native helpers. 
Near to the English settlement is the hospital and boys 
school, with teacher s house, and in another part of the 
mission compound is a school for girls with house for the 



228 ROBERT MORRISON. 

teacher. This is a very complete mission establishment, 
and is doing a great work. There are several country 
stations, and also a mission at Wuchang where two English 
ministers reside. The commercial importance of Hankow 
makes this mission a very promising and influential one. 
The hospital, which is under the care of Dr. T. Gillison, 
accommodates about seventy patients ; and in addition to 
this, a new hospital for women has recently been erected 
chiefly at the expense of Dr. John, in memory of his 
devoted wife, Mrs. Margaret John. 

AMOY. In this important seaport, the two brothers, 
Revs. John and Alexander Stronach, established a mission 
when the treaty of 1842 opened it to foreign residents. 
They had previously laboured at Singapore. They were 
followed by Drs. Hirschberg and Hislop in 1847 and 1848, 
and slowly a substantial work arose round them. The 
senior agent now there is Rev. J. Macgowan, who began 
his labours in 1859, and next to him is Rev. J. Sadler, 
who went in 1866. Two lady missionaries are engaged on 
the Mission, and in addition to the ordinary agencies 
employed, a gospel boat has been built that the missionaries 
may visit places round the neighbouring coast, where 
preaching stations have been established. The boat is an 
excellent one, and built with special reference to the needs 
of the Mission. 

SHANGHAI. The veteran missionary of China, Rev. W. 
Muirhead, has long been in charge here, and is looked up 
to by the agents of all the societies in China with respect 
and confidence. He superintends the general work, and 
has two lady helpers who are accomplishing much good 
for the girls of the city, in the management of an excellent 
Christian school for their benefit. This is fitting, indeed, 
in the city where the celebrated well exists in which female 
babies have been for generations abandoned to die by 
starvation. 

HONG-KONG. On the cession of this island to England 




THE NL.V AMU i OOol KL BOAT. 



230 ROBERT MORRISON. 

in 1842, Rev. J. Legge, afterwards Dr. Legge, went thither 
and actively carried on mission work of various kinds. He 
was an able and accomplished man, whose fame became a 
universal possession, and who by his literary labours did 
much for Christianity in China. On the transference from 
Malacca to Hong-Kong of the Anglo-Chinese College, he 
found a congenial sphere as the principal thereof, and 
he was afterwards joined by Revs. W. Gillespie, J. F. Cleland, 
and J. Chalmers, with the medical agents Drs. Hirschberg 
and Hobson. The hospital carried on by these healers 
of the body was of signal service to the general work of the 
mission. A few years since the Alice Memorial Hospital 
was established, and is now very ably and successfully 
superintended by Dr. Thomson. The senior missionary 
is Rev. J. Chalmers, D.D., and he is assisted by Rev. 
G. H. Bondfield and Miss Rowe. 

CANTON. In this original centre of mission operations in 
China, all vestige of the work done by Dr. Morrison seems 
to have been lost, except what was preserved by the cautious 
labours of Dr. Parker, who established the Medical Mis 
sionary Society, but who was only permitted to operate 
within the narrow limits of the foreign factories. In 1848 
Rev. T. Gilfillan arrived there and commenced operations 
anew. The Rev. T. W. Pearse is now in charge of the work. 

The record of the London Missionary Society, in regard 
to Chinese missions, is a noble one. It has accomplished 
great things through its medical missions and its day and 
boarding schools for boys and girls, but chiefly it has given 
to China and the cause of universal missions scholars so 
learned, and ministers so zealous, as Dr. Legge and Dr. 
Chalmers and Dr. Griffith John, with others who are 
worthy successors of the great man whose name is the 
title of this volume, Robert Morrison. In connection with 
this society there are thirty-one ordained missionaries in 
China, with thirteen lady agents. There are eight ordained 
native ministers, and seventy-two unordained helpers. 



THE LONDON MISSIONARY SOCIETY. 231 

There are about four thousand communicants, and two 
thousand pupils in schools. When the difficulties of the 
position are all duly estimated, this must be reckoned a 
very wonderful result. 

When China was opened in 1842, and missionaries began 
to settle there in large numbers, it was deemed needful to 
prepare a new revision or translation of the New Testament. 
A Committee of Delegates was appointed, representing 
different Missionary Societies, which began its labours in 
July, 1847. The acting members of the Committee were 
the Revs. Urs. Medhurst and Bridgman and John Stronach. 
They finished their work in two years. It was a scholarly 
production, clear and idiomatic in style, as well as being 
a faithful translation. In view of the success of the work, 
it was resolved to prepare a similar translation of the Old 
Testament. The Rev. W. Milne was added to the Com 
mittee, and the task was brought to a happy conclusion in 
1854. Shortly afterwards a version of the New Testament 
in colloquial Mandarin was prepared. Soon after these 
important translations were finished the hand of death was 
laid upon Dr. Medhurst, the veteran head of the Committee. 
The British and Foreign Bible Society at once resolved 
to scatter the new translation broadcast. On the earnest 
appeal of the Rev. J. Angell James, one million copies of 
the New Testament were printed and circulated, and the 
Bible Society sent out agents to superintend and carry out 
the work of distributing and selling copies throughout the 
land. 




CHAPTER XVI. 

CONTINUANCE OF THE WORK: AMERICAN 
AND CONTINENTAL SOCIETIES. 

" The hand of God sows not in vain ; 
Long sleeps the darkling seed below; 
The seasons come and change and go, 
And all the fields are deep with grain." LOWELL. 

THE society which was the first to follow the example 
set by the London Mission in seeking to enter China 
was the Netherlands Society. It sent out Rev. 
Charles Gutzlaff in 1826, with some duties as chaplain 
under the Dutch Government. He reached Java in 1827, 
but in 1829 he left the service, and gave himself largely to 
preaching, writing and distributing Christian books, visiting 
the ships in the seaports of Siam, Singapore, Macao, and 
other places. On the death of Hon. J. R. Morrison, he 
succeeded him as Chinese Secretary in the Government of 
Hong-Kong, which post he held till his death. He became 
a very expert Chinese scholar, and prepared a translation 
of the Bible. He also issued many historical and religious 
books, which prove him to have been a diligent student 
and industrious man. He was followed by Rev. Herman 
Rottger in 1832, who laboured in Macao and Hong-Kong 



AMERICAN AND CONTINENTAL SOCIETIES. 255 

until 1846, when he retired, and the Netherlands Mission 
expired. Dr. Gutzlaffdied in 1851. 

The Americans were the next to venture into the great 
field. The Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions, 
representing the Congregational Churches of the United 
States, sent out Revs. David Abeel and E. C. Bridgman 
in 1829, and who were received in February 1830 by 
Dr. Morrison. These devoted men assiduously laboured 
among the Chinese and Malays of the Straits Settlements, 
but from 1842, up to his death in 1846, Mr. Abeel devoted 
himself to establishing a mission in Amoy, and the future 
success of the work of God in that city is largely due to 
his prudence and energy in its beginning. 

The American Board followed up the appointment of 
these men with many others in rapid succession. Revs. I. 
Tracy and S. W. Williams, LL.D., followed in 1833, and 
settled at Singapore and Macao. In the same year Revs. 
S. Johnson and S. Munson went to Bangkok and Sumatra, 
and up to the present time this Society has spared neither 
men nor means in order to follow up providential openings 
in the great dark empire. At present it has four great 
centres from which smaller stations are maintained. These 
are Foo-chow, in connection with which are fifteen churches ; 
North China, embracing Pekin, Kalgan, Tientsin, Tung-chow, 
and Pao-ting-fus with smaller stations in the various districts 
of the centre missions ; Shansi, with two stations in the 
midst of districts cursed by opium cultivation ; and Hong- 
Kong, where a missionary for the past seven years has 
resided chiefly to interview and seek to impress the 
multitudes of Chinamen going to and from the United 
States. At Tung-chow a college has been established, over 
which Dr. Mateer presides. Tung-chow is one of the centres 
for the literary competitive examinations of China, and 
therefore an important place. Dr. Mateer believed that the 
light of modern science shown in contrast with Chinese 
superstition would prove effective. He has, therefore, 



234 ROBERT MORRISON. 

taught astronomy, mathematics, natural philosophy, and 
history, devoting himself, along with his helpful wife, to the 
young men and boys under his care. The result is that 
he has placed a stamp upon his young men, which makes 
them acceptable as teachers all over North China. The 
young men whom he has specially trained in Biblical in 
struction have proved the best material for a native ministry. 
Drs. Nevius and Corbett have co-operated in this latter 
work, by giving a theological education to candidates for 
the ministry during a portion of each year at Che-foo. 

This Society has in connection with its principal stations 
large medical dispensaries and hospitals, boarding schools 
for boys and girls, colleges for native students, and other 
agencies for effecting the great purposes of the mission. 
It has twenty-eight missionaries, sixteen lady agents, ten 
medical missionaries, four ordained native ministers, one 
hundred and five unordained native helpers, nearly one 
thousand communicants, and four hundred and fifty pupils 
in its schools. 

Other American churches speedily followed the example 
of the Congregationalist Board, and commissioned agents 
to go forth in their names to aid in the work of evangelising 
China. 

The American Baptist Board sent out Rev. William 
Dean in 1834, who settled at Bangkok, but afterwards 
removed to Hong-Kong. Then in 1835 the American 
Episcopal Board sent out Rev. H. Lockwood, who went 
to Batavia, and in 1837 the American Presbyterian Board 
designated Revs. R. W. Orr and J. A. Mitchell to go out 
to Singapore. These societies have vigorously prosecuted 
the great work, and at the present time have a large 
aggregate of labourers on their various missions. The 
Baptist Board has sixteen agents at work in Ning-po, 
Swatow, and other places, and six other Baptist Associations 
have stations and missionaries in the land, although one or 
two are in a very feeble condition. 




STREET IN HONG-KONG. 



236 ROBERT MORRISON. 

The Protestant Episcopal Mission has its head 
quarters in Shanghai, where it maintains a very efficient 
staff, and does a good work. Following Mr. Lockwood, 
Rev. W. J. Boone, D.D., went out in 1837 to Batavia. He 
afterwards removed to Amoy, but in 1843 he was appointed 
to Shanghai, and made the missionary bishop of China. 
Speedily, boarding and day schools were established, a 
medical hospital opened, and Dr. Schereschewsky was set 
apart to prepare a new version of the Holy Scriptures, in 
the Mandarin dialect, which he completed in 1875. There 
is also in Shanghai a medical school for the training of 
native physicians, surgeons and nurses, and a college for the 
training of native missionaries. There are other stations 
at Wuchang, Hankow, Che-foo, and Pekin, which, including 
those at Shanghai, comprise forty-three places of worship, 
ten missionaries, three medical agents, three lady agents, 
seventeen ordained native ministers, three unordained 
helpers, and about five hundred communicants. 

The Presbyterian Board of America transferred 
two of their missionaries from Singapore to China, in 1843. 
It has now four great centres. CANTON was entered in 
1845, but it was sixteen years before they were able to 
baptise the first convert. Now upwards of four hundred 
in that city reward the persevering faith of the patient 
wo.rkers. A medical hospital is a very important factor in 
the work of the Mission. Missions in Macao and Hainan 
are sustained from this centre. Hospital work has been a 
prominent feature in this Mission. Dr. Peter Parker com 
menced a hospital in 1835, which was transferred to this 
society in 1854, and placed under the care of Dr. Kerr. 
The Central Mission has five main centres which branch 
out in many directions. These include Ning-po, Shanghai, 
Hang-chow, Foo-chow, and Nanking. At Shanghai the 
extensive printing operations of the Society are carried 
on. These comprise not only several presses which are 
constantly at work, but a foundry where seven sizes of 



AMERICAN AND CONTINENTAL SOCIETIES. 237 

Chinese type, besides English, Korean, Manchu, Japanese, 
Hebrew, Greek and others, are cast. There is also complete 
apparatus for electrotyping and engraving. Much splendid 
translation work has been done by this Society, and hand 
books of Christian history and doctrine prepared by it 
are in use on most of the Protestant missions in the land. 
The Shantung Mission extends from the capital city, Chi- 
nan-foo, northwards to Che-foo, and has many stations 
which report about three thousand members. The Pekin 
Mission is of latest date, and is doing much work in 
diffusing throughout a wide district a knowledge of the 
Gospel by its earnest proclamation of the truth to the vast 
numbers who crowd from all the surrounding regions to 
the imperial city. The totals of the mission are, forty-eight 
missionaries, eighteen lady agents, twenty-three ordained 
native pastors, eighty-four unordained native helpers, and 
nearly four thousand communicants. 

The American Presbyterian Board was followed, in 1842, 
by the American Reformed Church (Dutch). It has 
now seven missionaries and one hundred and fourteen 
unordained native helpers, working with Amoy for head 
centre, with about fifteen associated churches. In 1847, 
the American Methodist Episcopal Society (North) entered 
the field, and has surpassed all others in the number of 
its agents and members. Its pioneer was Rev. Judson 
D. Collins, who passionately besought the society to enter 
China. When he was told that no money was available for 
the purpose, he wrote : " Engage me a passage before the 
mast in the first vessel going to China. My own strong 
arm can pull me to China and can support me when I 
arrive there." Such enthusiasm was irresistible, and Mr. 
Collins was sent to Foo-chow, where, after ten years weary 
preparation, a splendid work broke out, which has spread 
itself over six large districts, and comprises sixty stations. 
A printing press is kept busily employed, which, in the year 
1888 alone, issued 14,000 pages of Christian literature. A 



238 ROBERT MORRISON. 

large college is in use through the generosity of a native 
gentleman. The mission also winds along the banks of the 
Yang-tse-Kiang for three hundred miles, and has stations in 
Nanking and other large cities. Northwards it has churches 
in Pekin, Tientsin and Isunhua, with full accompaniments 
of schools and hospitals, and it extends westward to Chung 
King, 1,400 miles from the sea. It has thirty-two mis 
sionaries, seventeen lady agents, forty-three native ordained 
pastors, ninety-one unordained native helpers, and over 
four thousand communicants. 

Two Baptist Societies already named followed in chrono 
logical order from America, and in 1848, the Methodist 
Episcopal Church (South) followed the example of its 
sister denomination of the north, and sent out its agents 
to Shanghai, where they have since laboured, extending to 
several neighbouring cities. They have ten missionaries, 
fifteen lady agents, and employ one hundred and ninety- 
eight native workers. They maintain a college at Shanghai, 
and do much dispensary and hospital work. 

Later missions from America have been established, as, 
the Presbyterian Board (South) in 1867, the Canadian 
Presbyterian in 1871, the American Bible Society in 
1876, the American Scandinavian Congregational 
Society in 1889. These young recruits in the field are 
occupying many important spheres and give promise of 
much development. 

It may be convenient here to notice the Continental 
societies which have contributed their forces in the attack on 
Chinese heathenism. In 1847, missionaries from the Basle 
Evangelical Mission arrived at Canton. These were 
the Rev. T. Hamberg, who died in 1854, and the Rev. R. 
Lechler, who still lives to superintend the work. Eleven 
churches exist around Canton as the centre, and much 
money and labour have been expended in the production 
of Christian tracts, school books and handbooks of 
doctrine. 



AMERICAN AND CONTINENTAL SOCIETIES. 239 

In the same year, the Rhenish Mission sent Revs. W. 
Roster and F. Genaehr to China. They settled at Canton, 
but the mission has experienced much difficulty and dis 
couragement. It has four missionaries, three lady agents, 
eight unordained native workers, and numbers about one 
hundred and fifty members. 

The Berlin Society sent agents to China in 1850, and 
some standing was preserved by them till 1873, when the 
work seemed to expire. But in 1882 another effort was 
made to occupy the field, and now three central stations are 
opened, four foreign missionaries are at work with thirty- 
five native agents, and about five hundred communicants 
have been gathered. 

The Berlin Foundling Society has also established 
a benevolent mission in Hong-Kong, where Rev. F. Hartman, 
assisted by four lady agents, is carrying out earnest labour. 
This institution was established in 1850. Dr. Gutzlaff 
visited Berlin in that year, and gave such a graphic account 
of the distressing misery existing in China, that the wife 
of a Lutheran pastor, named Knack, resolved to seek to 
alleviate it. Dr. Gutzlaff had spoken of the great number 
of infants cast away by their parents in China, and Mrs. 
Knack formed a ladies association to organise a plan to 
rescue some of these foundlings. A house was rented in 
Hong-Kong, and a commencement made. Not many chil 
dren were found in Hong-Kong, but many were brought in 
baskets from the country districts of China. Some were in 
such a reduced condition when they were received that they 
speedily expired, but soon a large number were received and 
placed under instruction. In 1861 new and enlarged pre 
mises were built, the funds being supplied by foreign residents 
in Hong-Kong and by benevolent donors in Germany. In 
the course of twenty years three hundred children were 
received, but of these a considerable number died. They 
receive careful religious instruction, and learn to read and 
write. They are taught arithmetic, geography, history, and 



240 ROBERT MORRISON. 

singing. They learn also to perform all household duties. 
The school is under Government inspection, and the girls 
have acquitted themselves well in the examinations. The 
girls have generally turned out well, some having married 
native Christians, some being school teachers, and others 
having gone to other countries. It is pleasant to think of 
these castaways being rescued and trained to become jewels 
in the crown of the Lord Jesus. 

In 1884 the General Protestant Evangelical 
Society of Germany sent Rev. E. Faber to Shanghai, 
where he is working alone. 

Thus it will be seen that extensive and variously adapted 
means are being freely used, in order to extend the Gospel 
in China by the societies of America and the Protestant 
countries of Europe, and it is not to be doubted but that, 
as the sore needs of the vast populations of the enormous 
empire make themselves felt, the Christian conscience will 
vibrate more adequately to the call of duty, and the instru 
mentalities, already in operation, will be multiplied mani 
fold. It is fitting now that a slight review should be taken 
of the work being done by British Societies. 





CHAPTER XVII. 

CONTINUANCE OF THE WORK: BRITISH 
SOCIETIES. 

"Fall warm, fall fast, them mellow rain; 
Thou rain of God, make- fat the land; 
That roi t.s which parch in burning sand 
May bud to llowtr and fruit again." KINGSLEY. 

THE first British Society to follow in the footsteps of the 
earliest and pioneer agents was the Church Mis 
sionary Society, which sent out its messengers 
soon after the opening of the Empire after the treaty of 
Nanking. Shanghai was first occupied by these agents, 
then Ning-po, then Foo-chow, afterwards Hong-Kong and 
Pekin, more lately in succession Hang-chow, Shaou-hing, 
and Canton. The work in Foo-chow and neighbourhood 
has been especially encouraging. Eleven years passed 
without one soul having been converted, and during that 
period two missionaries had died and two had retired, 
leaving only one in the field. Then promise of a harvest 
was given, and during the past twenty-five years more than 
seven thousand have professed conversion in one hundred 
and thirty towns and villages where preaching of the Gospel 
has been established. Very much of the work is done by 

16 



24* ROBERT MORRISON. 

native evangelists, and, in order to train these, a theolo 
gical college has been established, besides several boarding 
schools. Medical missions are also carefully cultivated. 
Similar happy results are reported from Ning-po and Hang- 
chow. At the latter place, in addition to the usual mission 
operations and agencies, there is an opium refuge provided, 
to which even the mandarins of the city contributed. This 
Society has published many portions of the Scriptures, the 
Prayer Book, and other Christian books in Roman character 
in several of the dialects spoken in the localities where its 
missions are situated. It has twenty-eight missionaries, five 
lady agents, eleven ordained native ministers, eighty un- 
ordained native helpers, two thousand eight hundred and 
thirty-two communicants, and two thousand and forty-one 
pupils in its many schools. 

The Baptist Missionary Society entered China in 
1845, when the Revs. T. H. Hudson and W. Jarrom went 
to Ning-po. In this connection it may be mentioned that 
the earliest missionaries of this Society when in India had 
intense interest aroused in their minds in behalf of China, 
inasmuch as Ur. Marshman became an expert in the 
language, translated the Bible into Chinese, prepared a 
grammar of the language, and translated the works of 
Confucius into English. The mission attempted in 1845 
lingered feebly and expired for a time, but in 1877 a new 
commencement was made, and a useful work has been 
done in the provinces of Shansi and Shantung. This 
Society is laying deep foundations of future usefulness by 
paying earnest heed to the training of native evangelists. 
Medical missions are also engaging its attention. It has 
now twenty-one missionaries in the field, with one ordained 
native pastor and eight unordained native helpers. It 
numbers nearly twelve hundred communicants. 

The Presbyterian Church of England resolved to 
establish a mission in China in 1847. r l ne services of the 
Rev. William Chalmers Burns were accepted, and he went 



244 ROBERT MORRISON. 

forth, residing first at Hong-Kong and then at Amoy. Ten 
years later he was joined by the Rev. George Smith. 
Mr. Burns was a man of flaming zeal and devotion; and, 
along with his colleague, amidst inauspicious circumstances 
and many disappointments, laid the foundation of what is 
now one of the most extensive and prosperous missions in 
the Empire. Its principal centres are Swatow, Amoy, and 
Tai-wau. It has several most complete and beautiful esta 
blishments, combining churches, mission houses, hospitals, 
and schools, and spends money freely in carrying out every 
department of operation. The senior missionaries in the 
field are Rev. H. L. Mackenzie, M.A., of Swatow, and 
Rev. W. McGregor, M.A., of Amoy. Rev. George Smith, 
the coadjutor of Mr. Burns, died only last February (1891), 
and was a man of sterling qualities. This Society is greatly 
aided by a women s association, by which female agents 
are sent out from this country. Several of these have 
certificates for the practice of midwifery, and possess a 
general practical knowledge of medicine, being thus able 
to alleviate the sufferings of the native women to a very 
considerable degree. It has one hundred and six stations 
in China and Singapore, and employs fifteen ordained 
missionaries and medical workers. It has nine lady agents, 
five ordained native pastors, and ninety-three unordained 
native helpers. It numbers nearly three thousand six 
hundred members, and has four hundred scholars in its 
training schools. 

The Wesleyan Missionary Society sent out Revs. 
W. R. Beach and J. Cox to Canton in 1852. It afterwards 
established itself in Hankow, and has now its principal 
stations in that city and others of the province of Hupeh. 
Lay agency, under the direction of Rev. David Hill, is a pro 
minent feature in the Mission at Hankow, and this Society 
is also trying the experiment of giving to some of its mis 
sionaries a medical training, that they may combine preaching 
and healing gifts in their labours. The result of these 



BRITISH SOCIETIES. 345 

experiments will be looked for by other societies with much 
interest. 

In 1884 it resolved to open a college or high school 
in connection with their Central Mission, and the Rev. W. 




REV. J. INNOCENT. 



T. A. Barber, M.A., was appointed principal, and arrived 
at Hankow early in 1885. The object of the institution is 
to provide a liberal Western education for the sons of official 
and other wealthy Chinamen. Attempts to purchase land 
for the erection of a suitable building were unsuccessful, 



246 ROBERT MORRISON. 

but in 1887 a large house was rented in the main street of 
Wuchang, and the work begun. It is proceeding with 
growing success, and much may be expected from it both 
directly and indirectly to benefit the work of the Mission. 

A ladies auxiliary society interests itself in sending out 
female workers, and almost every branch of the Mission is 
encouraging. There are twenty-five missionaries at work, 
with six lady agents, two ordained native pastors, thirty-three 
unordained native helpers, and nine hundred and seventy- 
five communicants. 

The Methodist New Connexion entered China in 
1860, immediately after the close of the second opium war, 
and after the signing of the Tientsin treaty, which virtually 
opened all China to the Christian agent. The pioneers of 
the movement were Revs. J. Innocent and W. N. Hall, 
who established themselves in Tientsin, which was then 
virgin mission ground. Mr. Hall died of fever in 1878, 
but Mr. Innocent still survives, and is the Nestor of the 
Mission. There are three preaching rooms in the city of 
Tientsin, one being in the main thoroughfare, and in these 
daily preaching is kept up. On the English concession 
there is a large mission establishment, consisting of a training 
college for native students for the ministry, missionaries 
houses, and a boarding school for the training of native 
women and girls in Christian life and work. Rev. J. 
Robinson is the principal of the college, and Miss Waller 
is in charge of the girls school. 

The largest mission of this Society is in the north-east 
portion of the province of Shantung, where about fifty native 
churches are maintained in an agricultural district extending 
over about three hundred miles. The headquarters of this 
circuit are in Chu Chia, Lao-ling district, where are situated 
the mission houses, and a medical dispensary and hospital. 
Mr. Innocent is at present the head of this circuit, and the 
hospital is in charge of Drs. W. W. Shrubshall and F. W. 
Marshall. In this place also is located Rev. J. K. Robson, 



BRITISH SOCIETIES. 247 

who has devoted himself to the work of the Mission at his 
own charges. 

More recently a new mission has been opened at the 
Tang-san Collieries, near Kai Ping, in the north of the 
province of Chih-li. This is under the charge of Rev. F. B. 
Turner, and is rapidly extending, having a church in the 
ancient city of Yung-ping-fu, near the old wall, and also 
several rural chapels in the district round Kai Ping. 

The work of this Society is chiefly carried on by native 
agency; a large number of efficient men have been trained 
and qualified by means of the training college. Several pious 
native women are also set apart as Biblewomen to their 
own sex ; one of these, Mrs. Hu, has laboured in this capacity 
for nearly twenty-five years, and was the first such agent 
ever employed in China. This Mission now numbers 
seven missionaries, two medical agents, one lady agent, 
forty-six native helpers, and six female native helpers. It 
has over thirteen hundred communicants, and about two 
hundred and fifty scholars in its day and boarding schools. 

The United Presbyterian Missionary Society of 
Scotland sent its agents to China in 1864. Work was 
commenced at Ning-po, and afterwards extended to Che-foo, 
but latterly these stations have been left, and Manchuria has 
become the special sphere of the Society. The Rev. A. 
Williamson, LL.D., is the patriarch of the Mission, having 
been in China since 1855, working in various departments. 
He has of late years devoted himself entirely to literary work, 
and has prepared some books of Christian history and doc 
trine, which must in the future be important helps to Chinese 
students and converts. The work in Manchuria has been 
remarkably successful. The Revs. J. Ross and J. Mclntyre, 
who went out in 1872, are at the head of the two great 
centres of operation, Hai-chung and Moukden. A medical 
hospital is in operation in each of these places. Mr. Ross 
has lately completed a translation of the New Testament 
into the Corean dialect, and from this Society useful work 



248 ROBERT MORRISON. 

in Corca is to be expected shortly. There are seven 
missionaries employed, one lady agent, fourteen native 
helpers, and about eight hundred communicants are re 
ported. 

The China Inland Mission commenced its extraordi 
nary history in 1865. The chief instrument in the formation 
of the Mission, under God, was Rev. J. Hudson Taylor, 
M.R.C.S., who in 1853 went to China as a medical 
missionary in connection with the Chinese Evangelisation 
Society. He separated himself from this Society in 1857, 
and in 1860 he returned to England in broken health. He 
had for some time been in charge of a large hospital in 
Ning-po, and the heavy strain of being alone in such an 
institution completely prostrated him. As he sailed home 
wards he was intensely anxious about China, and fervently 
prayed that God would cause his return home to forward 
the conversion of the Empire. He specially asked that he 
might have five labourers given him for Ning-po, and the 
province of Che-kiang. He had already written to a friend 
in England asking if he knew of any earnest devoted young 
men who, not wishing for more than their expenses, would 
go out and labour there. On his arrival in England he 
soon met with several young men who were willing to under 
take work on such terms as he could offer. Mr. James 
Meadows was the first to volunteer, and he with his young 
wife sailed to Ning-po in 1862. The five workers first asked 
were obtained, and then Mr. Taylor felt that his faith was 
enlarged to ask for and expect larger blessings from God. 
Therefore he asked for twenty-four more labourers to enter 
the interior, which, with the exception of Hankow, was 
as yet untouched by mission effort. This led to the for 
mation of the Inland Mission. In commencing a new 
association for the conversion of China, Mr. Taylor was 
anxious not to interfere with any of the existing Societies, 
but the need of increased effort and agency was painfully 
evident, from the fact that in 1865 there was only about 



BRITISH SOCIETIES. 249 

one missionary in the country to every three millions of the 
population, and that eleven out of the eighteen provinces 
were as yet unvisited by any Christian agent. The Inland 
Mission was commenced on these principles : (a) That the 
agents should be employed without reference to their de 
nominational attachments, only provided they believed the 
truths accepted by Evangelical churches ; (b) that they 
should go out in dependence upon God for their support, 
without any guaranteed income, and knowing that the 
Society could only maintain them so long as its funds 
permitted ; (c) that there should not be any collections or 
personal solicitation of money. 

Mr. Taylor sailed for China in 1866, with fifteen 
missionaries. This was the real commencement of this 
wonderful movement. Since that time the Mission has 
extended in every direction. It has established itself in 
fifteen provinces. It has ninety-one principal stations, and 
about as many out-stations. Its income for the first ten 
years averaged ^5,000 per annum, but it has risen of late 
years to from ^30,000 to ^40,000 per annum, and the 
mission staff has multiplied from fifteen in 1865 to four 
hundred and twenty-four in 1891, including the wives of 
missionaries, many of whom were already employed by 
the Mission, and still continue their labours. The agents 
have been drawn with remarkable impartiality from every 
Protestant community ; and while many of them are of the 
poorest in condition, some of them are both wealthy and of 
high social standing, who have gladly maintained themselves, 
and in addition have contributed largely to the general 
work. In the year 1888 Mr. Taylor made a special appeal 
for one hundred missionaries, and during the year had the 
pleasure of seeing his prayer gratified, for more than the 
number asked for were forthcoming. Besides the immense 
number of agents directly connected with this association, 
there are seven societies, chiefly Continental, which maintain 
seventy-nine missionaries, who work under its direction. The 



250 ROBERT MORRTSON. 

number of communicants counted is under three thousand, 
which if less than is returned by some Societies who employ 
but a. tithe of the agents of the Inland Mission, is yet a 
return to be thankful for, considering the enormous difficulties 
encountered by the missionaries in breaking up fresh ground 
in the interior, in having untold opposition to encounter 
from those to whom the very sight of a foreigner was a 
novelty and a scandal, and also from the fact that many of 
the agents of this Mission have been itinerating preachers, 
passing from town to town and village to village with the 
message of the Gospel, rather than settling down as pastors 
and teachers after the manner of other Societies. The 
facts above recorded have been principally gleaned from 
" China s Spiritual Need and Claims," by J. Hudson Taylor. 
Mr. Taylor has been nobly seconded in his efforts by 
Mr. B. Broomhall, the devoted secretary of the Society. 

The United Methodist Free Churches entered China 
in 1864, Rev. W. R. Fuller being the first agent. Resettled 
in Ning-po, and was shortly afterwards joined by Rev. J. 
Mara. Rev. F. W. Galpin went out in 1868, and laboured 
in Ning-po till 1890. In 1891 Rev. R. Swallow was ap 
pointed to the same place. In 1887 Rev. W. S. Soothill 
went to Wan-chow, and has recently been able to record a 
large number of interesting conversions. This latter Mission 
experienced a severe trial in 1888 by the Chinese wrecking 
its premises, along with other foreign property, in rioting 
arising out of the war with France. Compensation was fully 
made by the Government, and more eligible premises were 
secured. There are three missionaries, two ordained native 
pastors, eight unordained native helpers, and about three 
hundred and fifty members on the Mission. Rev. R. 
Swallow combines medical work with his ministerial 
labours. 

The Society of the Irish Presbyterian Church began 
work in China in 1869. It has chosen Manchuria as its 
sphere ; and its agents, from Neu-chwang as their head- 



BRITISH SOCIETIES. 251 

quarters, take long evangelistic journeys northwards, and 
are arranging to settle in some of the large towns they have 
visited. There are three missionaries and one medical 
agent, and nine unordained native helpers at work, and 
twenty-eight members are recorded. 

The Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in 
Foreign Parts has attempted work in the Straits Settle 
ments for many years, but only in 1874 did it seek to establish 
itself in China. It has appointed a Bishop of North China, 
with four helpers, and is training a number of young men for 
missionary work. Several other Societies have also recently 
entered the Empire to aid in its evangelisation ; among which 
may be enumerated the Established Church of Scotland, 
which commenced in 1878; the Bible Christians, who 
entered in 1885, and work in conjunction with the China 
Inland Mission; the Society of Friends, who sent one 
agent in 1886, and a few others. All this activity shows 
the widespread interest China is arousing in the Christian 
Church, and how properly its conscience is responding to 
its claims. 

It would not be right to omit reference to the wonderful 
work being done in behalf of the blind of China by 
Mr. W. H. Murray, of the Scotch Bible Society. He 
went to China in 1871 ; but knowing that there are immense 
numbers of blind people in that land, before he went out 
he studied the systems of Moon and Braille for reading 
and writing by the blind, and also took lessons in Bell s 
system of visible speech. On arriving in China he found 
that the latter system aided him in acquiring the Chinese 
language. He carefully noted every sound he mastered, 
and reduced them to the number of four hundred and 
twenty. Meeting with crowds of the blind at every turn 
of his work, he became possessed of an intense longing to 
alleviate their hard lot by teaching them to read. He set 
to work to reduce these sounds to a system of dots after 
Braille s system, and after numberless experiments succeeded 



252 ROBERT MORRISON. 

in forming a category of signs to represent the sounds of 
the language. Then he sought out a subject on whom he 
might try his system. He took a little blind orphan beggar 
who was lying almost naked in the streets ; he washed and 
clothed him, and offered to house and feed him if he would 
try to master his teaching. The boy was delighted with 
the change in his condition, and in six weeks, to the mutual 
joy of master and pupil, the child was able to read both 
fluently and accurately. Then two blind beggar men were 
induced to learn, the boy acting as teacher. One read well 
in two months; the other not so quickly, but with great 
pleasure. Miss Gordon Gumming says it was intensely 
pathetic to stand at the door of a dark room and hear 
these men read the words of Holy Scripture, who four 
months before had sat in misery and rags, begging in 
the streets. For more than sixteen years Mr. Murray has 
pursued his work among the blind, and many of his pupils 
have become earnest Christians and respectable citizens 
through his instrumentality. While he has been pursuing 
this novel method of doing good, he has diligently per 
formed his duties as a colporteur of the Bible Society of 
Scotland, and has taught his pupils in hours stolen from 
sleep. He has also denied himself at every end to provide 
board, lodging, and raiment for his ragged regiment of 
blind students. A special blessing has been conferred by 
him on a number of blind women he has taught to read, 
who have thus had not only a new charm given to their 
own lives, but have become centres of interest and living 
power as readers of the Bible to their friends and neighbours. 





CHAPTER XVIII. 
THE OPIUM TRADE OF CHINA. 

" Man s inhumanity to man 
Makes countless thousands mourn." BURNS. 

M^HERE is one evil in China which it is important to 
speak of, as being a dire foe to the welfare of the 
people, and an enormous hindrance to the progress 
of missions. It is the use of opium. Opium is made from 
the juice of the poppy head, and although it has a place as 
a medicine, when it is taken habitually it becomes the most 
frightful curse to the man who becomes its victim. It mas 
ters both body and mind, paralysing the one and gradually 
destroying the other. It deadens the conscience so entirely, 
that a man will sacrifice his mother, wife or child in order 
to gratify its insatiable cravings, and will commit any deadly 
crime sooner than be deprived of it. This curse has so 
spread itself in China, as to threaten the happiness of the 
nation throughout its whole extent. 

About a hundred years ago opium was almost unknown 
in China. It was then brought in the ships of the East 
India Company, and offered for sale. Some of the natives 
began to smoke it, not knowing its deadly nature ; and being 
delighted with its soothing influence, they bought it readily. 



254 ROBERT MORRISON. 

This encouraged the foreign traders to bring more, and so 
gradually the poison obtained a footing in the land. 

When at last the Emperor and statesmen found out the 
harm opium was doing, a law was passed that no one 
was to buy, sell, or use it under penalty of death, and 
for a brief time the traffic was stopped. The mandarins 
of China are proverbially corrupt ; and when bribes were 
offered them by English merchants to permit the entrance 
of opium into their ports, they accepted the bribes, and thus 
the buying and selling of the drug still went on. Then 
smuggling sprang up and prevailed extensively ; British 
ships brought the opium within easy reach of the shores of 
China, and Chinamen went out in boats, which were rowed 
with many oars, and brought the fatal drug to the land. 
This became known to the Government, which issued strict 
orders to the mandarins, commanding that the smugglers 
should be seized and imprisoned or beheaded. 

The English merchants had now discovered what a source 
of wealth opium might become to them ; and, as the strict 
ness of the Chinese Government made smuggling difficult 
and dangerous, they armed with guns and soldiers small 
strong boats, and sent them up to Canton, offering larger 
bribes to the mandarins, and thus still forcing their nefarious 
traffic upon the people. At last the Emperor became so 
incensed that he sent a Special Commissioner from Pekin to 
stop the trade in opium. This man boldly grappled with 
the evil. He shut up the English merchants in their 
houses, seized twenty thousand chests of opium at the 
island of Lintin, at the mouth of the Canton river, and 
threw them into the sea. The East India Company re 
sented this action, and, being sustained by the British 
Government, war was declared against China, and a cruel, 
bloody, disastrous war it proved to the unfortunate heathens. 
When at last peace was made, the Chinese were condemned 
to pay a fine of twenty-one millions of dollars, including six 
millions of dollars for the opium which had been destroyed. 



THE OPIUM TRADE OF CHINA. 255 

Then a proposal was made to the Emperor that opium 
should be admitted into China, and that he should share 
the revenue obtained from its sale. The proposal was in 
dignantly rejected, and, with a magnanimity worthy of 
imitation by some so-called Christian potentates, he said he 
would not become rich by destroying his people. 

Two wars afterwards broke out between the English and 
the Chinese, in which the former were again victorious. 
Then the Emperor was obliged to sign a treaty making 
it lawful to bring opium into the Empire. The English 
would only permit a small tax to be placed upon it, which 
was insufficient to materially check its use. Thus the 
weak and helpless natives have been dragged into the use 
of this poison, which, when once used, creates such a 
craving for more that men and women speedily become 
slaves to its use. 

The opium that is most largely used in China is grown in 
India, and the money obtained by its sale in China helps 
largely to maintain the British Government of that empire. 
The opium traffic with China is not like the accursed drink 
or gunpowder trades with the barbarous tribes of Africa, 
because these are carried on by private individuals or com 
panies, and neither the Government nor the people who 
support the Government are directly responsible. Nor is 
the opium trade like the drink traffic in England, because, 
although the Church of England is a large owner of public- 
house property, and many professing Christians stain their 
hands and consciences by engaging in the traffic, yet the 
Government does not carry on nor maintain breweries or 
distilleries or public-houses. But the British Government 
in India is responsible for the opium traffic. It advances 
the money for its growth and cultivation ; it receives and 
manufactures the juice into opium, and the sale of it is a 
Government monopoly, from which it draws an annual 
revenue of five millions of pounds. It has spent millions 
of money and thousands of lives in keeping the ports of 



256 ROBERT MORRISON. 

China open for its sale, and insists still upon the necessity 
of persevering in the trade because it cannot do without it. 
In vain Christians and philanthropists denounce the traffic 
the wide world over ; in vain Chinese governments entreat 
and bewail and seek to check the demoralisation of the 
people. Every consideration is of no avail when five 
millions of pounds is concerned for the support of the 
Indian Government. 

The influence of this diabolical trade upon the work of 
the missionary in China is distressing. It is the most 
gigantic stumbling-block in the way of the Gospel of Jesus 
Christ. As the missionary preaches the Gospel of peace 
and love in the city chapels or at fairs and festivals, as he 
denounces idolatry in the native temples, he is raked with 
questions as to the opium wars, as to the destruction of 
the people by a drug which " Christians " have introduced 
and forced upon them, and is reproached with the ruin 
manifestly spread through the land by this awful vice. 

Now, opium is being cultivated largely in China itself. 
The quality is not so good in the judgment of opium 
smokers as that produced in India ; but as the vice increases 
amongst the people, and the habit weakens the perceptive 
power, the coarser and cheaper quality comes to be used, 
and thus China is learning to furnish itself with the means 
of its own destruction. The only possible antidote to the 
evil is the restraining power of the Gospel ; the only com 
pensation which England can make to China for the ill it 
has done through the introduction of this vice is to insist 
upon the stoppage of the traffic, even if the deficiency in 
the Indian revenue has to be made up by the British tax 
payer, and then to multiply Christian agents and agencies, 
until by the preaching of the Gospel and the power of the 
Holy Spirit the evil is retrieved and the land is purified 
from the great curse. 

In the month of March of the present year, a convention 
was held in London by Christians of every branch of the 



THE OPIUM TRADE OF CHINA. 257 

Church, including delegates from all parts of the United 
Kingdom and from Holland, to consider the evils of the 
opium system, and how to remedy them. One day was 
devoted to fervent prayer for Divine direction, and three 
days were spent in solemn and devout discussion of the 
subject. Forty-five thousand ministers about the same 
time called the attention of their congregations to the 
results of the evil thing, and finally a fund for ,20,000 
was commenced to carry out by pen and voice an undying 
crusade against its continuance. The moral power of the 
council has already made itself felt, for shortly afterwards a 
majority of the House of Commons voted in favour of the 
motion of Sir Joseph Pease, that it was inexpedient any 
longer to maintain the traffic in opium, simply for the 
purpose of sustaining the Indian revenue. It becomes now 
the duty of the Government to consider in what way the 
decision of Parliament can be carried out, and it becomes 
the duty of every Christian to use his influence and insist 
that it shall be carried out. 





CHAPTER XIX. 
CHINA FOR CHRIST. 

"Oh! mighty King of glory, 

Thy chosen heralds send 
To tell the old, old story 

To earth s remotest end. 
Give hearts of love and pity, 

And willing, zealous feet, 
Through forest, plain, and city 

Thy mercy to repeat." 

WE need an army of workers in China. We must 
have a large brigade of our noblest youths for the 
great work waiting for labourers over there. We 
have hundreds of young men and women, the children 
of rich and well-to-do people, who have no special work 
in life, and to whom life will be a humdrum monotony, 
bringing little joy and no growth to the higher nature 
unless they rouse themselves to sublime and self-sacrificing 
work in the Lord s Harvest Field. Will their parents and 
friends consent to their being devoted to a calling as grand 
and inspiring as ever called Paul to the " regions beyond," 
or Wesley to labour so zealously for the semi-barbarous and 
totally degraded masses of England in the last century ? 



CHINA FOR CHRIST. 259 

It is a fact that hitherto all the efforts of the Christian 
world for China have only resulted in supplying one mission 
ary for 350,000 souls. Take the province of Chih-li ; the 
whole Protestant force is only forty, or one missionary to 
675,000 souls. If we had the means we could place in the 
unworked portion of this province 150 missionaries, each one 
having a radius of twenty miles as his circuit of operation. 

This great nation cannot wait indefinitely. While we 
are lingering, all the evil forces of the world infidelity, 
gambling, licentiousness, idolatry, opium-smoking, spirit- 
drinking, and a host of others are vigorously at work, and 
unless Christians wake up to this terribly vast responsibility, 
we shall have China waking up from its long sleep of twenty 
centuries only to plunge into an abyss of atheism and 
immorality the depths of which can never be sounded. 
Every minute that the Church delays responding to the 
cry of China, twenty-four immortal souls sink into a 
Christless grave ; every day s delay means 35,000 more 
who have gone ; every month s delay means one million, 
whom Christ died to redeem from sin, who have gone into 
the great future without having received the glad tidings of 
great joy. 

The people are willing to listen to the Gospel. If they 
are slow to receive it, they hold it the more firmly when it is 
received. The Chinese character, when it is truly converted 
and sanctified by the love of Christ, is a noble one ; and while 
the cry for help comes to us from China, it also comes to 
us from the Master who has thrust us into the great harvest 
field and given us such pre-eminent success therein. 

In the readiness of the people to hear the Gospel we have 
great encouragement to persevere ; for that mighty and all- 
effectual talisman which of old, in Greek and Roman cities, 
proved itself to be the " power of God unto salvation," has 
still "the dew of its youth" resting upon it, and as the gods 
of the Pantheon were not able to withstand its attack, so the 
gods of Buddhist and Taoist temples must also fall before it. 



260 ROBERT MORRISON. 

"The idols He shall utterly demolish." "He shall dash 
them in pieces like a potter s vessel." 

There is much encouragement to be found in the fact 
that the Chinaman, when he is converted, develops a 
Christian character and a firm adherence to principle which 
will bear comparison with the members of any church in 
the world. Trained to consider revenge a Divine quality, 
Chinese converts have manifested a meekness and for- 
givingness of disposition truly admirable ; educated in pride 
and conceit, they have become as docile as young children ; 
covetous and deceitful, taught to consider lying and stealing 
a virtue, they have showed willingness to suffer persecu 
tion and to endure death itself rather than deny their 
Master or turn from their faith. Two or three examples 
may be given out of hundreds that are ready to hand, 
and which the piles of modern reports plentifully supply. 
Indeed, few more charming and inspiring books could be 
produced than one filled with such examples of grace as 
Chinese missions have recorded. 

Mr. Wang was a magistrate and scholar residing in a 
large city in the north of China. He was over sixty years 
of age when he was taken with a serious illness. In the 
course of this sickness a friend came into his house one 
day and said, " See, the foreign teachers in the city have 
given me this book. Now, I don t care to read it, but you 
are a great reader, and I have brought it you to read 
during your sickness." The old man took the book and 
carefully examined it. It was a Bible in the Chinese 
language. He read it, and was deeply impressed with its 
contents. He was not able fully to understand it, and 
when his friend called upon him shortly afterwards he said 
to him, " Will you ask those foreign teachers to give me 
something to explain that wonderful book you brought 
me ? " His friend did so, and was supplied with Dr. 
Martin s handbook of Christian truth, which is kept on 
several missions in China to be placed in the hands of 



CHINA FOR CHRIST. 261 

inquirers. Mr. Wang eagerly received this book, and as 
he examined it and compared it with the statements of the 
Bible the darkness began to pass from his mind. Up to 
this time he had been a proud Confucianist, but now he 
firmly grasped these two foundation truths of religion : 
(a) that there is one God, the Almighty Maker of heaven and 
earth ; and (b) that He is willing to hear and answer prayer. 
Under the influence of these great truths, the next time his 
native doctor called upon him, he told him he would not 
require his services any longer, that he had called upon the 
Almighty God of heaven to cure him, and that He would 
answer his prayer. Upon his recovery he repaired to the 
hall where the daily preaching of Christ and His salvation 
was maintained in the city. He listened to the message 
as one entranced. He remained behind the congregation 
as an inquirer, and, like many other Chinese convert, she 
asked questions without end, going down to the roots of 
things with scholarly acuteness and satisfying his mind step 
by step for many days. At last his scruples and difficulties 
were all removed, and with the simple faith of a child he 
rested himself on Christ for full salvation. In the eagerness 
of his new-found peace he declared himself a Christian to 
his family and friends. But now came the trial of his faith. 
All his relatives and his friends turned against him. He 
was degraded from his place on the seat of justice ; he was 
not allowed to associate with his literary friends ; his very 
children rose up against him and expelled him from home, 
a step in a country where reverence for parents is the first 
law of life, which shows the extreme to which religious 
persecutions may be carried : but none of these things moved 
him. He found refuge in the Mission premises, and gave 
himself to preparation for the work of an evangelist. Soon 
he proved himself an earnest and effective preacher of the 
Gospel, and for years stood up boldly declaring Jesus to be 
the Friend and Saviour of sinners, always setting forth him 
self as being the subject of His power to save. In this 



262 ROBERT MORRISON. 

way he wrought, preaching in public halls and in the open 
air until the infirmities of old age made such exercise too 
much for him. Then he devoted himself to the preparation 
of a book on Christianity, which he entitled " The Bright 
Lamp of the Heavenly Way." As he concluded his task 
his strength failed and his end drew near. He called the 
missionaries of the Societies represented in the city to 
his side, and bade them farewell ; he confessed again his 
undying faith in Jesus. To one of them who was about to 
return on furlough to England he urged his request that he 
would tell his English friends who had sent him the message 
of Divine peace that he would wait for them at the door of 
heaven, and when they arrived there he would lead them to 
the throne and say to the Saviour, " These are the people 
who sent to me the tidings of eternal life." 

After his death the book he had prepared lay for some 
time unpublished, money was scarce, and perhaps the spirit 
of enterprise was low; but in 1886 Mr. Crossett, of an 
American Society, borrowed it, and was so struck with its 
eloquence and learning that he had it printed at the 
Mission press in Pekin, and the leading missionaries in the 
north Revs. Drs. Martin, Edkins, Blodgett and others, 
ordered several hundreds of copies. Many others were 
sent to southern stations ; and thus old Wang, being dead, 
yet speaketh. 

Mr. Hu was born in a large city near the mouth of the 
river Peiho. His father was a flourishing merchant, who 
owned several seagoing junks. He gave his son a good 
education, and trained him for a business life. He became 
supercargo of one of his father s ships, but while on a 
voyage to the south one day pirates boarded the vessel, 
robbed him of all he had in the world, and he was cast 
ashore at Shanghai penniless, and had to seek other 
employment. He became a teacher of northern Mandarin 
to students for the consular service, one of his pupils 
being Mr. Morrison, a younger son of the subject of this 



CHINA FOR CHRIST. 263 

memoir. One day, as he wandered along the main street of 
the city, he saw a mission chapel with open doors, and a 
foreigner speaking to a congregation of people. Impelled 
by curiosity he entered and listened to the message. He 
repeated his visit, and obtained a copy of the Holy 
Scriptures, which he carefully read. The Lord opened his 
heart, he became a sincere believer in Jesus Christ, and 
united himself with the church where he had first heard 
the Word of Life. Soon after this he became possessed 
with a desire to return to the neighbourhood of his early- 
days, and he left Shanghai, carrying with him letters of 
recommendation to the missionaries in the town to which 
he was going. On arriving there he went to the mission 
church and presented his letters of introduction. The 
agents who received him were at that time offering special 
prayer to God that some one might be given to them to 
help in the work which was opening out before them. 
They welcomed Mr. Hu, and he quickly proved himself to 
be a devoted and able helper. He was a man of fine 
presence, he had an excellent voice and style of speaking, 
he was intelligent and courageous, and as he became 
familiar with the truths of the Gospel he proved himself to 
be a preacher of extraordinary power. Soon after his 
ordination to the work of the ministry a very wonderful 
revival of religion broke out in a number of towns and 
villages in the northern part of the province of Shantung, 
and Mr. Hu was sent to inspect and take charge of the 
work. He went, and for about twelve years he laboured 
with untiring zeal, going round the district as an evangelist, 
superintending the building of chapels, keeping the accounts 
of the various churches, and fulfilling all the duties of a 
pastor with extraordinary diligence and success. After a 
tour through the eastern portion of his district, he was 
smitten down with sickness which proved to be fatal. He 
manifested the utmost calmness and cheerfulness, and when 
the end was approaching he placed his hand on his heart 



264 ROBERT MORRISON. 

and said, " ALL is PEACE HERE," and with this testimony 
to the efficacy of redeeming love he passed from earth to 
heaven. 

Mr. Wong was a young landscape painter in a large city 
in the province of Fuh-kien. An intimate friend of his 
named Hu, also a painter, was a Christian and a member 
of the church. After much prayer and persuasion he 
induced Wong to read the Bible and attend the services. 
Results were soon manifest. Wong s mother, who was 
tenderly attached to her son, was warned that something 
was wrong, and that he should be looked after. " What is 
wrong ? " she said ; " my son has always been industrious 
and dutiful : what has happened ? " " He attends foreign 
churches." "Impossible!" she cried; "it cannot be that 
my son would do such a thing." On questioning him she 
found to her horror it was too true, and he declared that he 
found what the foreigners said to be " very reasonable." 

It needs some familiarity with social life in China to 
understand the power of the parent over a son in mature 
life. She kept him closely confined to the house, and tried 
in every way to shake his determination, weeping, scolding, 
and threatening by turns. But all was of no avail, and her 
wrath grew more intense as she heard him praying, " Lord, 
bless my mother," and continually invoking the name of 
Jesus. At last she said, " Son, you must stop this praying." 
" Mother," he replied, " I have always obeyed all your 
commands, but this I cannot do." "But the noise disturbs 
me." " Then I will pray silently." "You shall never pray 
in this house again." "Mother," said Wong, "I cannot 
stop praying." "Leave the house then," she exclaimed; 
" I disown you for ever as my child, and when I die dare 
not to join with the family in celebrating my funeral rites." 

Wong was driven from the house, but not from his faith. 
He went and lived with his friend Hu, and rapidly grew in 
knowledge and grace. One day his mother sent to bid him 
come to her. He could only think it was a plot to seize 



CHINA FOR CHRIST. 265 

and kill him, but after a painful mental struggle he said to 
his minister, "I will go; pray for me." He went. The 
mother asked him if he was still determined to be a 
Christian. " Mother," he said, fully expecting some assault, 
"7 am." "Then," she said, "if you will not change your 
mind I will change mine. You may be a Christian and 
you may live at home." Overwhelmed with joy, Wong fell 
on his knees and thanked God. 

For some months he continued his occupation as a 
painter, and was then taken into the service of the Mission, 
and laboured zealously as an evangelist for about four 
years. Then a discussion arose amongst the missionaries 
about the right term to use in Chinese for " God," and a 
word was imposed on the agents which Wong could not 
conscientiously use. He resigned his office, but shortly 
afterwards joined another Society, which not only gladly 
employed him, but ordained him to the ministry, the 
members of his former communion expressing their hearty 
concurrence in his reception. Thus the Chinese are 
proving by their steadfastness and zeal that the Gospel can 
find as good material to operate upon in that empire as 
anywhere under the sun. 

The most difficult and yet the most pressing need of 
missions in China is to obtain access to the women of the 
land. 

Women are generally excluded from society. Elderly 
females are allowed considerable freedom ; but all the 
younger ones, and more especially the unmarried, are held 
by rigid etiquette to such complete retirement that it is often 
difficult to get them to attend public worship, and this not 
withstanding the fact that the women assemble in a separate 
compartment, where they cannot be seen by the men. 
They do not take their meals with the men of the house 
hold. If you visit a Chinaman s house, you do not see the 
ladies. Unless some degree of intimacy exists, it is impolite 
to ask after the health of a Chinaman s wife or daughter. 



266 ROBERT MORRISON. 

Public sentiment is against teaching women to read. There 
are some few among the higher classes, but not many, who 
can read. You seldom meet with one, except such as has 
been educated in mission schools. It is very seldom you 
meet with a woman having any desire to learn to read. 
Again, they have very little leisure time. In rural neighbour 
hoods the women work harder than the men. They spin 
cotton and weave cloth. They are the cooks and tailors 
and dressmakers of the household. They seldom work in the 
fields ; but when the crops are brought in they take their full 
share of work at threshing, winnowing, and grinding. All 
this in spite of their little feet disqualifying them for any 
great activity. The only females who have any spare time 
are the old women ; and teaching them to read is almost, if 
not quite, out of the question. 

At the same time the women form a very important 
element of society. Their influence in the household, as in 
England, counts for a great deal. Having far less knowledge, 
they are far less under the influence of Confucian ideas, the 
most conservative ideas in the Empire. Their nature is 
much more religious than that of the men. The men trifle 
with their beliefs; the women are in earnest. They are 
capable of a practical faith, the men much less so. As a 
rule the male part of the family are Confucian, the women 
Buddhists or Taoists. It is they who visit the temples. 
The incense pots which smoulder before the placid coun 
tenance of Buddha are filled and kindled by them. It is 
they who may be seen prostrating and K 6 T owing before 
the monstrous images alike of general and local deities. 
They burn ten sheets of paper to the men s one. Left to 
the men, Fo Yeh, the San Ch ing, the eighteen Lo Huns, 
Kuan Yin, Kuan Yiin Ch iang, the god of medicine, the 
god of wealth, the innumerable P u Sah, all the countless 
host of the Chinese Pantheon, would have crumbled on 
their seats and been buried under the undistinguishable 
ruins of their own temples long ago. When the men 



CHINA FOR CHRIST. 267 

pretend to worship them they only play at it. But the 
zeal of the women has kept alive the faith in these grotesque 
and senseless deities, and supplied the impulse which from 
time to time has reconstructed their broken shrines and 
renovated their falling habitations. On this account they 
make much better Christians than the men. The men are 
satisfied with the cold abstractions and moral maxims of 
Confucianism, are interested in nothing higher than the 
earth or wider than the bounds of human life ; the women 
must have something warmer and more emotional they 
have deep cravings for the spiritual and the eternal. The 
men talk about their religion much, but practise it little; 
the women feel their religion, and hence practise it. The 
men can do without worship, the women cannot. Earnest 
idolaters make earnest Christians. The affections and aspira 
tions which clung around and sanctified imaginary and super 
stitious beings, transferred to a living Christ and a God 
of eternal love, are the impulse to a new and holy life. 
Indifferent heathens make indifferent Christians. The 
habits of insincerity and practical scepticism which through 
a lifetime have been associated with a false faith are too 
often, on their conversion, retained in connection with the 
true. 

Until woman, as the ruling power in the home and the 
influential factor in moulding the successive generations of 
China, is grasped and sanctified by the Spirit of Christ, the 
work of the missionary will be largely in vain ; but as in 
other great onward Christian movements, let the women be 
drawn into the Church, and the conquest of the Empire will 
be chiefly accomplished. 

China is just now in a transition state, and is passing 
through the greatest crisis of its history. Old things are 
passing away, and all things are becoming ne\v. Institutions 
and customs of slow growth, hoary with "age, are tottering 
to their fall. Old superstitions, with which the life of the 
l>eople is inoculated, are losing their hold, and the nation 



268 ROBERT MORRISON. 

is like a giant roused from a long stupor a stupor which 
missionaries with their Divine message have had some share 
in breaking. Now a strange and undefined feeling is leading 
the nation to desire better things than she has had in the 
past. There must now go on a great fight between the new 
and the old. The intrusion of foreigners, and the intro 
duction of Western modes of civilisation and of war, must 
change the social and political life of the people. The 
breaking up of old religious ideas and practices must affect 
the Empire either for better or for worse. That it may be 
for the better in every possible sense we must Christianise 
China through its length and breadth. We have been 
in the last hundred years training small detachments of 
Christian soldiers, and doing much preparatory work ; but 
now the cry for more help and multiplied workers deepens 
itself, and comes from every province and every city. 

Shall England, that in the opium traffic and the opium 
wars has so deeply cursed China, not have mercy and extend 
towards it the love of Christianity ? 

Buddhism is a religion of mercy in Asia. She has a 
concrete embodiment of a beautiful idea in the goddess of 
mercy with a thousand arms, a relief for the thousand ills of 
life. But Christianity has the more effectual relief for these 
ills in living agencies and beneficent institutions. There is 
no power that conciliates men like love, no force that can 
save like love. It is the power of God. 

The cry is truly a Macedonian call from China. It is a 
cry from a " man," mighty for untold and incalculable good, 
but without the Gospel a curse to himself and the world. 
It comes from the deepest need of the most ancient and 
populous nation of the world. It comes from all classes, of 
false creeds and of no creed. It comes from myriads of 
infants who come to an untimely end, because of the 
misfortune of their sex or deformity. It is the sobbing, 
yearning cry of women oppressed by degrading wrongs, 
and who never knew the true blessedness and dignity of 



CHINA FOR CHRIST. 269 

womanhood. It is the cry of millions of the poor, lame, and 
blind. It expresses the yearning of spirits to be delivered 
from a bondage of corruption into a Divine liberty. It 
is the language of a widely diffused and undefined feeling 
and striving after a higher Someone, albeit along a road of 
torturing idolatry and asceticism that they may flee from a 
wrath to come or an abyss of nothingness. It is the cry of 
a strong man bound and crippled, his eyes put out, and 
crushed into almost utter hopelessness, but who in his 
last extremity stretches out piteous hands for a Healer, a 
Deliverer, a Saviour, and pleads "Oh that I knew where 
I might find Him ! " 

The answer to the piteous cry for help which comes from 
China, and, indeed, from all parts of the heathen world, 
can only be supplied by the thorough consecration of the 
wfiole Church to the advancement of Christ s kingdom. As 
Dr. Stevenson says: "The Church has been consecrated 
to this work by its Master; and when the consecration is 
accepted, penetrating not only into assemblies and councils, 
but into every little group of Christian people penetrating 
like a fire that burns into men s souls, and then leaping out 
in flames of impulse and passionate surrender we shall see 
the Mission as Christ would have it be. The story of it 
will be told from every pulpit; it will be the burden of 
daily prayer in every Christian home ; every one will study 
for himself, as Canon Westcott recommends, the annals of 
the present conquests of the Cross ; the children will grow 
up believing that this is the aim for which they are to live, 
and churches will meet to plan their great campaigns, and 
send out the best and ablest men they have to take part in 
this war of love. It will be the cause of the hour into which 
men will pour all that they would spend on the greatest 
struggle they have ever known. It is time for the Church 
to ask for this consecrated spirit, to ask for the entire 
congregation the consecration that is asked and expected of 
the single man or woman whom it sends into the field." 



270 ROBERT MORRISON. 

A year ago four hundred and thirty missionaries met in 
conference in Shanghai to consider the extension of missions 
in China. It was attended by many of the most venerable 
agents in the field, and for several days the members occu 
pied themselves in prayerful and solemn consideration of 
living subjects touching the conversion of the empire of China. 
The main outcome of the Conference was the resolve to 
make a fervid appeal to the Christian world for multiplied 
agents, and the following touching and powerful address has 
been issued. That its trumpet-tongued words may vibrate 
sympathetically in the hearts of all the readers of this 
volume is the earnest prayer of the writer. 

Bn Hppeal for <me Gbousanfc flfeen. 

To all Protestant Churchmen of Christian Lands. 

DEAR BRETHREN IN CHRIST, 

We, the General Conference of Protestant Missionaries 
in China, having just made a special appeal to you for a 
largely increased force of ordained Missionaries to preach 
the Gospel throughout the length and breadth of this great 
land, to plant Churches, to educate native ministers and 
helpers, to create a Christian literature, and in general to 
engage in and direct the supreme work of Christian 
evangelisation, and 

Having also just made a special appeal to you for a largely 
increased force of unordained men, evangelists, teachers, 
and physicians, to travel far and wide distributing books 
and preaching to the masses, to lend a strong helping hand 
in the great work of Christian education, and to exhibit to 
China the benevolent side of Christianity in the work of 
healing the sick ; 

Therefore, we do now appeal to you, the Protestant 
Churches of Christian lands, to send to China in response 
to these calls 



CHINA FOR CHRIST. 271 

ONE THOUSAND MEN 

WITHIN FIVE YEARS FROM THIS TIME. 

We make this appeal in behalf of three hundred millions 
of unevangelised heathen ; we make it with the earnestness 
of our whole hearts, as men overwhelmed with the magni 
tude and responsibility of the work before us ; we make it 
with unwavering faith in the power of a risen SAVIOUR to 
call men into His vineyard, and to open the hearts of those 
who are His stewards to send out and support them, and we 
shall not cease to cry mightily to Him that He will do this 
thing, and that our eyes may see it. 

On behalf of the Conference, 

Chairmen / Rev " J- L XEVR S D D 
X Rev. D. HII.L. 

f Rev. J. HUDSON TAYLOR. 

Rev. WM. ASHMORE, D.D. 
Permanent ] ^ R COR D D 

Co,n,mttee Rev . c . w. MATEER, D.D., LL.D. 
\ Rev. C. F. REID. 

Shanghai, May, 1890. 

Dr. Griffith John, in addressing a company of young men 
on his recent visit to England, spoke these words, with which 
this volume may fitly end : 

** It is not my habit to say anything to induce young men 
to devote themselves to this work, for I have a wholesome 
dread of man-inspired missionaries. But I cannot allow 
this opportunity to pass without telling you young men who 
are preparing for the ministry, that I thank God most 
sincerely and devoutly that I am a missionary. I have 
never regretted the step I took many years ago in opposition 
to the strongly expressed wish of my best friends ; and if 
there is a sincere desire burning within my breast, it is that 
I may live and die in labouring and suffering for Christ 
among the heathen. Oh, it is a glorious work ! I know 



272 ROBERT MORRISON. 

no work like it, so real, so unselfish, so apostolic, so 
Christ-like. I know no work that brings Christ so near 
to the soul, that throws a man back so completely upon 
God, and that makes the grand old, Gospel appear so real, 
so precious, so divine. And then think of the grandeur of 
our aim ! Our cry is, China for Christ ! India for Christ ! 
The world for Christ ! Think of China and her hundreds 
of millions becoming our Lord s and His Christ s ! Is there 
nothing grand in the idea ? Is there nothing soul-stirring 
in the prospect ? Is not that an achievement worthy of the 
best efforts of the Church and of the noblest powers of 
the most richly endowed among you ? And then think 
of the unspeakable privilege and honour of having a share 
in a work which is destined to have such a glorious issue. 
Oh ! young men, think of it, dwell upon it ; and if you 
hear the voice of God bid you go, manfully take up your 
cross and go, and you will never cease to thank Jesus Christ 
our Lord for counting you worthy to be missionaries." 



THE END. 



Printed by Hazell, Watson, & Viney, Ld., London and Aylesbury.